East of the Wall Interview

An interview with The Band:

Please introduce yourself, tell me what you do in East Of The Wall, and how long the band has been together?

Kevin Conway: Guitar. The band has been together for 5 years. The original members (Brett, Mike, and Jeff) played for almost 2 years and put out the EP.

Matt Lupo: Guitar. I got Jeff and Mike drunk and took them to my room, at which point I played for them their own cd, to which I had recorded my own guitar parts. THAT is the way to audition for a band.

Brett Bamberger: Bass. I tricked Conway into spending thousands of dollars and a good amount of his free time for the band once Jeff quit. Best move of my life.

Where is the band from and what is "the experimental scene" like there?

Kevin Conway: We're from various parts of New Jersey. The experimental scene here is small but quite good. We're able to play shows with "experimental" bands like So Is The Tongue and A Fucking Elephant on a regular basis, so that's a plus. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a really popular style of music around these parts, but people do come out to the shows and that's all you can ask for.

Matt Lupo: Actually, there's some pretty crazy stuff going on around here. Can't say that I like ALL of it, but I'm glad it's happening all the same. I think that band of robots started here. Also, that band Big Mechanical Bull is (I'm pretty sure) from around here. They're kinda like rodeo metal. Awesome.

Brett Bamberger: Mainly booth walks and adult squid orgies.

Is there any story or concept behind your CD title "Farmer's Almanac"?

Kevin Conway: Pretty sure "Farmer's Almanac" was Brett's idea. There's really no story behind it. It just felt like it fit pretty much immediately. We think it captures the vibe of the record really well.

Matt Lupo: I like to think of it as a guide for us that we WISH we had in writing our music. We're always trying to harvest this really perfect emotional product from our brains and turn it into music and that doesn't always go so smoothly. Woulda been nice to have our own farmer's almanac to give us some help.

What do you know and think of Romania?

Kevin Conway: Your website is basically the only thing I know of that's from Romania. But it's pretty cool that anyone over there has heard our stuff before.

Matt Lupo: I was in a class with someone from Romania last semester. She was very nice and gave a great presentation for class. I think it might have actually been about farming.

Who did the artwork on the new CD and how much input did you have on it?

Kevin Conway: This guy Eric Nyffler did the artwork and we're thrilled with how it turned out. We pretty much just gave him a basic concept and color scheme and he ran with it. From the first draft he sent back to us we knew he was on to something awesome. He did a really great job of getting the vibe we were looking for.

Matt Lupo: The dude is awesome and the first draft he sent us made us so happy. We gave him a few suggestions and he took those to the bank. When he sent us the finished product I pretty much looked at it and said "That's the best album artwork I ever seen!".

Brett Bamberger: I've only seen the guy when I've been completely wasted. He sounds great on the phone though.

Is MySpace the great Satan of the 21st Century?

Kevin Conway: Well there's two different ways to look at it. On the positive side, I think MySpace is great in the sense that it's really the best way to promote your music these days. For a band like us, we don't do a lot of touring. If not for MySpace, not too many people outside of New Jersey would have heard our stuff. Since we have a MySpace page, people all over the country get to hear our stuff. On the flipside, MySpace has really changed a few things in a negative way. For example, there is now a plethora of bands that have gotten famous solely because of how many friends they have on MySpace. It seems like the record industry has gotten really concerned with meaningless MySpace statistics. I think we'll see over the next few years some of these MySpace phenomenon bands will disappear. I don't know how much staying power their music has.

Matt Lupo: How else would I keep up with everything my friends are doing? Twitter?

Where did you get ideas and inspirations for some of the riffs on "Farmer's Almanac"?

Kevin Conway: I think we just have an unique chemistry when the 4 of us are in a room together, and this ends up being the driving force behind most of the music. For example, when we wrote 'I Am Crying Non-Stop Hysterically', I brought most of the riffs for the song in and played them for everyone. I had a pretty solid concept of what the song was going to sound like. By the time everyone wrote their own parts for the song, it had become something totally different. That seems to be a frequent occurrence with us. Once we get in the room and start doing what we do, things just sort of take shape. There's not a whole lot of planning in advance.

Matt Lupo: We've talked a lot recently about how we've changed since the EP. I like both incarnations of our style equally, and I'd really like to take a stab at trying some material back in the original style, as that was what attracted me to this band in the first place. We'll see what happens.

What are your future plans for East Of The Wall?

Kevin Conway: "Farmer's Almanac" will be coming out on Forgotten Empire Records in mid-November. After that, we have a split EP coming out on Level Plane Records with Rosetta and Year Of No Light. There will be 3 new songs on that one. We've already started writing the next full-length record and have one song finished and a few other ideas that we're working on. Beyond that it's hard to say. Either way, I think you'll be hearing a lot of material from us over the next year or so.

Would you ever want to do an all acoustic show?

Kevin Conway: Definitely. Larry from All Parallels actually just recorded an acoustic version of 'Century Of Excellence' and we might do something with that. I think a good portion of our music would sound really good played acoustically, so who knows? I would definitely entertain the possibility.

How did you come up with the band name?

Matt Lupo: It centers around the concept of espionage and being a spy on the other side of the wall. Think of a spy living a life that's basically a complete lie and trying to cope with that: being in enemy territory, pretending to be someone you're not, and searching for emotional resources to support you in this endeavor. Getting to know people and the culture and maybe even falling in love with someone and not knowing how much of your life is made up and how much of it is real. Did you fall in love with this person because it's your job? Or do you really care for them? Are you listening to the music of the culture that you're situated in because you need to appear to be one of the locals? Or do you actually like those songs? Losing track of who the real you is, and coming to realize that "you are who you pretend to be". And then think about how this translates into playing music. When we play as a band, where does Matt as an individual end and where does East Of The Wall begin? Should this music actually be an accurate representation of who we are deep inside? Or is it an opportunity for us to "play spies" and become something entirely different? I actually expanded on this idea in a song of my own, which is up on my own MySpace page.

Brett Bamberger: Yeah, don't listen to him he's not an original member. If you ask him where he came up with the band names "trap" or "nothing", he'd probably give you a more accurate response. Be wary not to judge him though, my first band was named "ugly" (I was 13).

What bands have you toured with? Are there any that you would definitely want to tour with?

Kevin Conway: We haven't done a full tour since I joined the band. There's a million bands I would love to tour with. Off the top of my head, Dysrhythmia and Don Caballero are 2 bands that I think would be a lot of fun to tour with.

What's your number one favorite style of music to listen/play?

Kevin Conway: That's a tough one to answer. I listen to a really wide variety of music, but I tend to gravitate towards metal, experimental and jazz. That being said, I don't think I've encountered a style of music that I don't enjoy in some form. In terms of playing, I'm most comfortable playing heavier stuff, and occasionally some Naked City type experimental stuff. Playing music is fun no matter what. I don't think it's possible for me to have a bad time if I have a guitar in my hand.

Matt Lupo: I have this problem where I really want to play basically everything that I listen to. It's not even like I get on kicks. I just listen to stuff and get kinda bummed that I will not have enough time in my life to play all the different types of music I want to. Take jazz for example. I would love to play in a little jazz quartet, just standard tunes, nothing too crazy. And also, how about an ambient/drone kinda band? I'd be into that too. Maybe next year.

When you look back on when East Of The Wall first started out, what do you think of you guys now?

Kevin Conway: East Of The Wall existed for a few years before I joined the band, but I was a huge fan. I used to listen to the first EP constantly and still love it to this day. Jeff's guitar playing on that record is really incredible. I think the band has changed a lot since then. What Beards and I do is really different than Jeff, and the dynamic has changed a lot because of that. At the end of the day, I'm incredibly proud of the record we just made and our new material is shaping up really well. It's really amazing for me to be involved in a project I care about so much and to get to play with the guys I get to play with.

Matt Lupo: There's always room for some more blast beats.

Brett Bamberger: I've always held East Of The Wall very close to my heart. Despite all the line up changes the music has always put me in the same spot. I think of us as the same unit that we have always been. Maybe just a bit more dense nowadays.

What do you think of your friends in Biclops and all the projects you guys are involved in now and in the past?

Kevin Conway: Those Biclops guys are dicks. I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them. Actually, me and Brett both play in Biclops. It's a lot different than East Of The Wall, so it's nice to have another creative outlet. There should be a Biclops record out sometime next year, so be on the lookout for that. In terms of Day Without Dawn/The Postman Syndrome, I was a really big fan of those bands also. Out of Biclops and East Of The Wall, I'm the only guy who wasn't in The Postman Syndrome. That band had a huge influence on me as a musician, so it's really cool to be a part of that musical family now.

Matt Lupo: "Understanding Consequences" (Day Without Dawn album) is one of my top 3 favorite albums for 2008. And 'Beasteater' (Biclops song) is one of my favorite songs ever. I regret that I haven't played music with Chris in a while. I pretty much grew up playing music with him and learned so much from that guy. We do have some unreleased material. Maybe we'll finish it up some day. It's some of the most solemn music we've ever written.

Brett Bamberger: Squid & South Gunn are the bomb.

Any final words of wisdom, thoughts or comments?

Kevin Conway: Don't shit where you eat.

Matt Lupo: Always bring baby wipes with you. That way, if you have to eat where you shit, it's not that big deal.

Brett Bamberger: When you go out to eat tip your server well, or else they will have to eat your shit, be forced to get another job & not play their bass guitar. And thank you so much for this opportunity to share our thoughts. Can't wait to see it on your site!


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