The Slants have been in court for nearly eight years, battling their right to claim their trademark of their namesake. Which in fact, they won, going on to promote their victory, in the form of a tour, playing showcases here and there, as well as write and record for a release titled "The Band Who Must Not Be Named", an EP of sorts, detailing their journey unlike any other. Founder/bassist Simon Tam that on stage goes by the name Simon Young, goes into discussion about their court battle, EP and plans to release more music and tour, tour, tour!
1. How did your band form?
Simon: The band formed in 2006, after realizing that there was a severe lack of representation of Asian Americans in the music industry.
2. What accomplishments are you most and least proud of as a band?
Simon: Some of the things were most proud of include: donating 100% of profits from our second album to research on disparate rates of cancer being faced by women of color, working with President Barack Obama on the Act to Change campaign to end bullying, playing for troops serving overseas through the Department of Defense, and winning a rare, unanimous victory at the Supreme Court to expand free speech rights for the marginalized.
3. How has being in a band impacted your life?
Simon: Being in this band has been inspiring, frustrating, and humbling. We've had some unbelievable life experiences touring around the world while making music but that's also come at a cost of a "normal" and "settled" life of consistency. That being said, it's allowed us to see places and meet people we probably would have never encountered otherwise.
4. How do you describe your sound to people who ask you what your band sounds like?
Simon: We call it Chinatown Dance Rock - a modern twist on 80's synth pop music.
5. Do you have any major goals for your band?
Simon: We're hoping to release more records and play more shows while we still got it!
6. Who are some of your biggest influences music wise?
Simon: Some of our influences include New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Cars, and Duran Duran.
7. How about when it comes to the song writing, what are your songs about and how is the song writing process laid out?
Simon: Our songs capture a variety of personal life experiences - from relationships to social commentary on what is happening to our country - all told from a unique perspective or 'slant' from being an Asian American.
8. You have released a handful of singles off this EP, will there be anymore tracks to be made into singles and or videos?
Simon: Yep! Our plan is release a video for every song from the EP.
9. Why go with a title like "The Band Who Must Not Be Named"? What does it actually mean for the EP's sake?
Simon: The title is a reference to our battle with the government, playing off the idea that "The Slants" is somehow cursed or toxic. t's also a bit of a nod to Voldemort, though it isn't like we want to end all human life.
10. Can you describe to me the story behind the artwork for "The Band Who Must Not Be Named"?
Simon: The artwork was created by Daniel Soucy, a Native American graphic designer in Portland, OR. The imagery was inspired by Senbazuru, the Japanese legend of folding 1000 paper cranes, and the power of origami. Origami is more than just folding squares of paper: it requires intention, perspective, and different perspectives to bring objects to life. The same is for our path to justice. We can't always just go with what is obvious or convenient.
11. Which of the tracks off this EP "The Band Who Must Not Be Named" would you say is your favorite and why?
Simon: Our favorite track is "From the Heart" because it is like an anthem for anyone that has felt misunderstood, misunderstood, or invisible. There's a fund sing-along quality to it. It's also our final statement on our Supreme Court case.
12. What's your take on "The Band Who Must Not Be Named" EP as a whole?
Simon: The EP represents a good preview of where the band is heading while paying homage to what the band was and the court case that defined our career for so long.
13. What would be the cinematic equivalent of "The Band Who Must Not Be Named" EP?
Simon: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
14. Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs off this EP?
Simon: Yes, absolutely. Every song has a story behind it that we visualized while writing the lyrics.
15. Do you feel any aspects of the EP were overlooked?
Simon: Yes; the acoustic version of "Sutures" has a deeply personal story behind it of losing an extremely close relationship. In some ways, it's a stripped down preview version of something that will be fully realized on the next album.
16. Describe your relationship with your fans in one word?
17. What’s in the future for The Slants?
Simon: More music, more touring.
18. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Simon: Thanks for the support!