Thank you very much for your time. I've been wanting to speak with you for awhile. I just want to start by saying that Leaving VA is brilliant. It's quite a beautiful piece of art, and one of those rare things that after I first listened to it I went out the next day and bought every other album of yours.
Samezvous: Thank you.
I'm not usually struck by an album like that, so I've been looking forward to speaking with you. I saw you play at http://www.thecrocodile.com The Crocodile in Seattle a few months ago with a full backing band. I'd never seen you play live before, and I was a little struck by how upfront and roadhouse rawkish you sounded.
Samezvous: Well, that was a rough show! [Laughs]
In what way?
Samezvous: We were exhausted, quite honestly. We'd just gotten done playing some 20 shows in about as many days, driving from Philadelphia down to Memphis and over to South Carolina, then driving all the way over to San Diego in California and driving all the way up the coast -- playing shows every night. The Seattle show was our last one of the tour and we were just beat to shit. It was one of those nights where we didn't have enough energy to be tight. We only had enough energy to just... go apeshit. [Laughs] You know what I mean? If we had tried to play tight, it wouldn't have worked. So, we gave it every ounce of energy we had and then collapsed at the end.
It came across really well. I guess from only having heard your music on album I was expecting things to be a little quieter.
Samezvous: The albums are all done by myself. I play the drums and the guitars. Whatever's on there, I play it. The guys that are in the band with me know that this is my vehicle, so they're not really involved in the creative process of writing and recording the album. But when we get together and play live it becomes a situation where I don't want to be a band leader telling everyone how to play their parts. That takes away all the joy from them. They can't make up their parts and feel the songs their own way. For the current foursome that plays as the live band, I think our strength lies in the heaviness that we do. We're not necessarily strong in our tightness, it's more in our outright volume and intensity. This particular band has only been together for less than a year, and we all have full time jobs, and school, and what not, so we're only able to jam once a month, and it becomes one of those things where we just go with our strengths. It's what works best and is what makes everybody happiest, so it's what we do.
I try to balance that out with solo acoustic shows. I enjoy doing both, but the solo shows I especially enjoy because it really gives me the opportunity to stretch. I can go anywhere I want with any of my songs. I can play all of my songs with an acoustic guitar pretty effectively, and I can better control how they're played.
Do you try to reinterpret your songs for those shows, or just strip things down to the bare essentials?
Samezvous: I have to do that -- I absolutely have to strip things down. It's a necessity. I honestly make an effort sometimes to throw it all out completely different to give myself something new to try and find in the song. When you play a song the same way every time you get to know all its nooks and crannies, so it's refreshing to mix it up.
You're quoted as saying that: "My favorite part about making music is going inside and finding a spot that you didn't know was there before, however small it may be, and being able to come up with something that never existed before."
Samezvous: And that's exactly it. To me, anyway. That's why I make music.