Matchbook Romance give a great interview from Germany!

SJM: Well, September, 2nd and you arrived in Cologne. How about the experiences in Europe? I think it's the first time you're here. Your first impressions?
Andrew: So far - great impressions. I like Europe. The kids here are great. The reactions are really good here in Europe.

SJM: Can you please introduce Matchbook Romance? Who is playing which part in the band?
Aaron: I'm Aaron, I play the drums.
Andrew: I'm Andy, I play the guitar and lead vocals. And there's another guy - Judas, who's the guitarist and backup. And Ryan is the bassist.

SJM: Can you give me a short history of the band? When and where did it all start?
Andrew: It began with Ryan, Judas and Andy who were playing in a band called Fizzlewink. And they were friends with my old band. And they knew a new drummer because their drummer committed. So, I tried out with them and then we started and were called The Getaway. That was our new band-name. We started playing a lot of local shows. Just as we were gone out, Brat from Epitaph found us on the internet and called us up and said he wanted to sign us. So we signed with Epitaph a little over a year ago. A year and two month. And there we could write the music, we recorded our full length record which will come out September 22nd and right after that we went out touring. and we played the Warped Tour this summer and now we're here in Europe with the Ataris.

SJM: How does a typical Matchbook Romance song come into life?
Andrew: A typical Matchbook Romance song? It takes a lot of work. Usually we'll start with either me or Judas or one of the other guys coming up with a piece , you know, by themselves, the bass-part, the guitar-part or a drum-part and we just show it to each other in band practices and we all kind of just vibe off this and start writing free right away. Once we get a solid sound together we're completely overwhelmed by how it makes us feel, to feel the music and we love it and we're overwhelmed by it. Then I go home. Especially I have to feel it because I have to write the lyrics to it. So, if it doesn't move me I can't do it. But, if it does and it's a great song then I go home and write the lyrics and the melodies and then we practice it, get it taped and that's the song.

SJM: What are the lyrics dealing with?
Andrew: A lot of it is personal. Sometimes even from other peoples' experiences. Like the bridge of 'the greatest fall of all time' that part is about a relationship he (pointing to Aaron) had and it kind of affected me. I felt for him in the sense that he was obsessed and I put it in the song. Sometimes it's even a story that I'll create and that may turn into reality. Sometimes it's story sometimes it's real live.

SJM: The info says while recording your debut full length you 'were trying out new things, experimenting musically, trying different song-writing processes'. What's meant by that?
Andrew: We experimented with sounds, with equipment and stuff like that, singing styles. We experimented with different types of instruments like different kinds of guitars. We also experimented with orchestra. Hopefully, the time we get bigger I wanna have a whole damn string section that makes it even more intense.

SJM: One can't deny that there are musically parallels with a band called The Used. Especially when one listens to your debut EP 'West for Wishing'. Are you often asked about these parallels?
Andrew: Not really. I guess we don't really hear about these parallels. No-one really talks about it 'cause when you really look at the two, compare the two, there's a big difference. We have more of the pop influence. You can't say our lyrics are like theirs. You can't say our drummer plays like him because he doesn't. You can't say our bassist plays like theirs. It's all different people with different ideas.

SJM: Just a rumour: a band (Matchbook Romance) presents its debut EP when The Used were about to get very famous here in Europe, and Matchbook Romance is directly sent back into the studio to record a full length. It first sounds like using a footboard. What would you retort to that?
Aaron: Oh no! Even if it's true the EP sounds a bit like The Used CD but then we went into the studio and changed that sound. We're not trying to copy them. That's what I wanna say. We love that band. We like them a lot. We like their style. We like their vibes. We definitely didn't go back to the studio to copy them. They're definitely an influence to us as well as Thursday, Taking back Sunday, they're all influences on that album. But we will never be a copy of a band.

SJM: Listening to the new CD 'Stories and Alibies' and comparing it to the EP, the new record seems to be more catchy, more pop. What would you say are the main differences? What can the people, not knowing 'Stories and Alibies' expect from the new record?
Andrew: They can expect, I think personally, a much better CD. I think that the full length is starting. It sheds light on who we are and what we wanna sound like. We're still maturing our music because we're so young. We're doing whatever the fuck we want to make us happy and nobody else. You know, we are not in to please other people. We want to help ourselves get out what we want, what we wanna say with our music and how we wanna deal with stuff like that.

SJM: The internet played a great part in your career. Can you tell me in how far?
Aaron: Yeah, the internet. We were using it for promotion. We posted songs on absolutepunk so the kids could hear us and then even Brat Gurrewitz from Epitaph discovered us off the internet. That was the biggest influence, we got signed because of the internet.

SJM: Reading through the info it reminded me a lot of the American dream. It almost sounds like this. For example 'It's like living inside a dream and I never want to wake up'. Does the American dream work out for you in these days or what is it?
Andrew: Yeah! I think we're living in a dream. I think we're dreaming a dream that a somewhat million people dream. And I definitely don't wanna wake up.

SJM: What music do you listen to, personally?
Andrew: The Beatles, Cursive, Thursday, Taking back Sunday,
Aaron: 311, yeah I love 311. And A new found Glory.

SJM: What does punk-rock and especially playing music mean to you?
Andrew: I wouldn't characterize it as punk-rock. It's kind of like deeper than an outlet. There's something inside me, when I write a song and its about something that bothers me or something I wanna get out of, and I wanna get it out and once the music is there and the lyrics are there, it's like a release, I just let go some part of my life that really piss me off. The same with the guys. I think that each one of us had some point in our life that really affected us, really pissed us off. I think it shows at one stage. That's why you have the marriage between pop-punk and the harder side. I think that's what it is.

SJM: What do you think about downloading music via the internet?
Aaron: Anyway, it's gonna happen. It's not much use to shut down the fucking internet, whatever it is, Napster..., I think it's gonna happen. The kids can use the technology, it happens. They can download full CDs.

SJM: ...but now the people are somehow stealing your money by downloading 'Stories and Alibies'...
Aaron: I think it depends on the people. If people love the music, really love the band, then they gonna buy the CD anyway.
Andrew: My opinion on it, I think it's awesome. I don't think it's all that bad. I think that there's a lot of kids out there, and a lot of bands. It's some kids that downloaded the CD and they love it. And they turn around and say 'but I'm still buying it when it comes out, I want to support you guys 'cause I understand how it is'. There are lots of kids having band on their own but either way even if the kids do download these albums we gonna see the money later on because they'll go to our shows and buy something from the merchandizing or something like that.

SJM: What's the next stage in your dream? What can we expect from Matchbook Romance in the foreseeable future? Lots of promotion, live shows?
Aaron: First we gonna tour our asses off for the new album. We'll do a lot of shows and build a fan base. Not only in the US but also in Europe, everywhere. And we gonna write more awesome music.

SJM: You're already well known here in Germany. A final message to the fans out there?
Andrew: First, I'd like to thank everybody who supported us and went to our shows. 'Cause we could see them standing there in the crowd, slowly moving their lips to the lyrics. We appreciate everybody coming out. We're not going deprive Europe. We gonna keep coming back. And go buy our album which will come out September 22nd ! Otherwise we can't come back here (laughs).

(Dennis Grenzel)