Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Part 2 of our interview with J. Loren from HURT

Had some great feedback to part 1, so without further ado, here's part 2:

1. The band has seen a number of line-up changes since it's inception in 2000, do you feel this has been detrimental or beneficial to the band?
Hmm, it’s hard to say as I don’t know it any other way.

2. Line-up changes are never easy and given the headway you made with 'Vol. I' and 'Vol. II', was it hard to lose Josh and Evan? Did Rek and Louie bring something to the band that you thought was missing?
It always sucks when a band member leaves, but as in life, with every change is a chance for improvement I would say Lou has a better grasp of delicacy which I felt was lacking in a few songs and Rek is a more core-solid hold down the bottom end style player when compared to Josh. I believe both of these aspects alone brought significant improvement. But everybody has their own style. There is no real right or wrong. It’s just music.

3. As the only remaining original member of the band, and as the bands principal song writer, do you consider HURT to be "your" band?
I do, as should Rek, Paul, Louie and Michael.

4. How much do the other members of the band contribute to the song writing process?
Depends on the song, we just do our best collectively and basically let the song finish itself. I’m sure that any one of us could finish any one of the others duties if we absolutely had to but that loses that magical combination of different intuitions and styling’s united under the same goal.

5. Do you feel that the line-up changes have accounted for the subtle shifts in style between the periods of the band ('The Consumation'-era, 'Vol. I' & 'Vol. II'-era and the current 'Goodbye to the Machine'-era)?
Umm, Goodbye to the Machine was the first record that was heavily co-written and was also a record that we did not want to sound like it should be called Vol.3 It’s hard to say what changed the style more. I can tell you that The Consumation, to Vol.1 changes are just the way things seemed to go with the production.

6. What influences you both as a person and as a musician?
I was greatly influenced by getting to know the Deleo brothers (best known from Stone Temple Pilots) It was their genuinely kind and gracious character and pay-it-forward attitude that I found to be even more impressive than their formidable musical prowess.

7. You've been quite outspoken in the past on trying to assure people that you're not a metal band but, if anything, a rock band. Why do you feel the need to make this distinction? After all, past great bands such as Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were labelled as metal but still had a wide range of styles from their heavier tracks to acoustic and blues inspired songs. Is this simply to try and avoid the stigma that gets attached to many metal bands with the non-metal listening general populace or is there some other reason?
I simply want people to know what they are buying so that they may better enjoy the tunes. For instance, if a commercial for a movie depicts it to be a comedy and it ends up to be anything else I am one of the pricks who will get my money back and leave the theatre. I’m not just illustrating a point; I actually don't even give the movie a chance and leave. I believe the same thing could happen when someone wants to jam out to some metal and finds out that’s not what they bought.

8. Do you feel you've maybe not had as much mainstream success as some of your peers because of the fact that you want to write good songs, songs you want to hear and not just write songs you don't believe in but know will make you money? Does this ever bother you?
I never regret being true to myself as this was the best piece of advice I’ve even heard from such a considerate mind as your William Shakespeare. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we never had a push from a label (they never really did the full scale promotion with us). If a band as quirky as System of a Down can become the next big thing, I don't think that my music would be found unpalatable once properly introduced.

9. Have you ever done anything in the music business you regret?
There were a couple people I probably should have murdered with a cheese grater, but I’m sure they will get what's coming to them from the next crazy guy they fuck over. But, seriously, no, I don’t focus on the business now that I am no longer a businessman.

10. Some of your lyrics seem to pertain to faith and God. Do you yourself have faith? If so, what sort of role does it play in your life? How does it affect your attitude towards the music industry?
I have no interest in telling people what they should believe. I attempt to do what I believe to be right and considerate while simply hope that others will do the same. I can easily say that my faith or lack thereof plays no role in my business decisions since I would place strong character (demonstrated honor) above the grandest non-adhered-to ideals.

11. Many people believe that the recording industry will cease to exist in its current form sometime within the next five years. What are your views on the current state of the recording industry?
Music will survive, but barely. It will be very tough for new bands that don't do quick, fast and cheesy tunes greatly aided by their home computer and you can expect to hear some really poor quality recording become the norm since professionals will be working at gas stations instead of studios. A band will make a good sounding record at home because they had all the time in the world to do it and then the next album will likely sound like garbage without time or money.

12. How does illegal downloading and file sharing affect HURT as a band? Are you against it or do you view it as a 'necessary' evil and that's its getting people to come to the shows that matters?
Nothing in life is free. My albums certainly aren’t as they come at tremendous financial cost to me. I constantly worry about how to gather enough money to make the next album whilst people download crappy facsimiles and low res mp3s of my music that was painstakingly manicured.
Every album costs me enough to buy a home outright and yet I am homeless because I have to eat the cost of the album instead of profiting. The deficit increases as more and more people talk themselves into thinking that there's nothing wrong with stealing music.
We tour our asses off in a losing battle to try to not only get enough money to make a new record but pay off the debts that shouldn’t be there from the last one.
I don’t care what it is you do for a living if someone takes your labor without compensation you will eventually have no choice but to stop and buses don't run on dreams. No, downloading is not a "necessary evil" I have absolutely no idea why our governments allow the rampant downloading of IP - music, software, movies, and games which will eventually crush the entirety of the entertainment industry (which makes up around a third of our economy). There are multiple effective methods of almost completely stopping the theft but no attempt at all has been made to implement them since politicians around the world refuse to cooperate on this very global problem.

13. In closing, what does the future hold for HURT?
There’s only one way to find out.

14. Anything else you’d like to add or tell us?
Every day is a gift, even the dark ones. I have not forgotten how lucky I am to get to do what I do and I will continue to do my best in hopes that it doesn’t end. I am so grateful for my little role in so many people’s lives.

And that's it folks. I want to thank Tom and J. Loren for not only agreeing to this interview, but for being so friendly and accomodating. I hope you've all enjoyed reading it as much I did!

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