Q&A with Filmspeed: "Our Little Group of Weirdos Is Happy to Have You"
Alternative power-rock trio Filmspeed are no strangers to the hard work that goes into creating an album. From recording infamous "phone memo-demos" to tracking everything and overseeing the entire creative process, the band has had their hands on everything when it comes to their upcoming release, Hexadecimal. Out October 13th, the 11-track collection of songs isn't confined to one single genre, drawing influence from a wide range of music such as new wave, hard rock, grunge, and pop rock to create something entirely unique.
Not only does Hexadecimal mark Filmspeed's first release with drummer Oliver Dobrian, but it also finds the band experimenting with new sounds and truly coming out of their shell. The songs on Hexadecimal are not only meant to serve as a form of therapy for listeners, but also for the band themselves. Read more about the band, their upcoming release and plans for the rest of this year below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Filmspeed for any readers who might not be familiar?
I could tell you a LOTTA bit about Filmspeed, but I, like most I know, have a tiny attention span so let's talk highlights. We're 3 people who are completely obsessed with music, first. If you'd like to get real personal, we're a Pandoras box, haha!
2 of us are born-Detroiters, who headed out west a lifetime ago. Luckily these days, we get to jam with a killer who's got groove in his genetics.
The indie-warrior game is a pretty vibrant one, so we've been fortunate enough to make our own records, and I do mean actually MAKING them. From the "phone memo-demos" to tracking overdub solos, to sending the mastered DDR files off to replication, we're involved on totally a different level.
The bottom line is always the same though, "Go To a Rock and Roll Show!" Thats whole point. Maybe if the 3 of us played avant-garde/ experimental/ soft techno-Jazz,(which kinda reads like Enya) we wouldn't care so much about sound explosions. This band aims to make a whole ton of people lose their minds, if only for a few minutes at a time.
You guys have been writing together now in some capacity for over a decade. When this project first formed under a different name years ago, did you ever envision yourself here now?
Not a chance, haha! Life changes in an instant, so I dare not try to predict next week.
It all starts with four kids, a cargo van, and a crash in St. Louis so, quite honestly, its been crazy since day 1. As it stands today, I am still in a constant state of hunger, gratitude, and shock. On the upside, they say that you're defined by the company you keep, so based on that, and all the incredible folks we we've had the honor to call friends, we've never had it better.
How do you feel you’ve grown as songwriters since you first started playing together?
We learned 2 new scales, hahaha!
Ok, but for real.
I feel that the main difference has to be sincerity, specifically speaking on message and lyrics. When we first started working together, it was a conscious effort to create "pop songs" for the sake of "pop". More "She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah)" and less "Rocky Raccoon." Now, each one of our songs have an actual-life story behind them.
Musically speaking, the project has evolved dramatically. Every musician picks up influence from those they play with. Oliver makes the 3rd drummer that we've written, recorded, and officially "band-member'd". With a band of just 3, your whole project changes when you replace a piece. We knew we were on to something though when we had 10 brand new songs ready for recording in under 6 weeks. It's chemistry that separates a group of studio musicians from a band, and that's what we're attempting to bottle up and serve via audio streams.
This fall, you’ll be releasing your new album, Hexadecimal. Did you have any major goals in mind for this release?
We absolutely must hit the road. It's long overdue and would make our first with Oliver. Our biggest goal is to make as much noise as our small team can muster, and keep making jams.
Other major goals include but not limited to;
- Coachella '18.
- Top 3 iTunes sales all time.
- Grammy Award for everything.
You’ve mentioned that this album is meant to be a sort of therapy for yourselves and for listeners. Is it ever difficult opening up for others to hear on those more personal songs?
Absolutely. There's a couple songs on the record that took a few extra (failed) attempts at keeping it together during the writing process. It proved even more difficult to track vocals for.
But music is expression, escapism. Although some of the words are incredibly personal, being able to belt it out as loud as possible for some reason makes everything better. If somebody finds a piece of this band can do that for them, we all win.
Others hearing it and their judgment? Listen... we got songs for winners, losers, drunks, burnouts, cool-kids, freaks and everyone else who hates being labeled. Why? Cause, at some point, we've all been at least one of those. If the haters they don't get it, then they don't want to. Whenever y'all change your mind, our little group of weirdos is happy to have you.
Earlier this month, you released “I Feel Alright” from the album. What inspired this track?
Vices and willful ignorance.
Typically drinks and smokes help keep the daily rage in check for most of us. This song is about a whole heap of life spinning out of control, when you can't afford to let it slow you down, let alone process it. In these times we flip the bird, take another shot, and hang on tight.
What would you like listeners to take away from “I Feel Alright” or Hexadecimal as a whole?
"I Feel Alright" is a pretty solid introduction to the album as a whole. As happy as the music may sound, it's chock full o' spite and sarcasm.
The record has that same type of layered context to it. If you're looking for some hip shakers, it's on there, if you're feeling anthemic, we got you. The message and stories are spread throughout, so we invite the listener to dig down until their hearts content.
Can fans expect to hear some more new music before Hexadecimal drops in October?
I do believe we are slated for an "I Feel Alright" video, and another single should be on its way extremely soon.
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of the year?
We've had many talks about video content, and collaborative work with some visual artists. Already making moves to upgrade our road transportation. Also a strong chance we'll be recording a studio cover, and mayyyybeeee a holiday-time track.
In the meantime, we're hell bent on injecting some life into this modern "rock scene". Everyone keeps saying it's dead, but it's funny... I can't entirely hear them over the sound of this massive guitar feedback.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank YOU! We appreciate the attention more than you know.
If I add any more, there won't be any mystery, ha! There's so much great music to be heard now, we simply ask, please do not keep us a secret and we'll see you at the show.