Posted on May 20, 2014

Interview

1. Could you tell us about your band, as though someone was hearing about you for the first time?

Jeff : We're awesome. We're the greatest band in history. We're sarcastic assholes. We've been at it for five years and gone through a lot of members over the years. My wife Trash and I are the only main-stays. The first show that we played was for our wedding reception, and Trash was still in her old band, BB Lucky Town. We put together a show for our wedding reception and she played with them, Ska Sucks played, and a whole bunch of other bands. I didn't have a band, so [former drummer] Hong Gu and I just sorta threw something together. That was the first show. That's where we got our band name, too. The poster had all these bands listed and it said "And Jeff ...Whatever That Means." Because when we made the poster, I didn't know who I was going to play with or what I was going to be. When the poster came out, I wished our name was on the poster. So we just pretended it was our name. It was only supposed to be one show, so if its a stupid band name, who cares? We just kinda stuck with it. We got back from our honeymoon and decided we were going to keep going. Now, Hong Gu just had his last show with us last week, so Mizno is our new drummer. It's weird. Hong Gu's been our logo for five years.

Trash : I even have a Hong Gu tattoo!

Jeff : Our biggest influence has been melodic punk from the 90s, I grew up listening to Bad Religion, Social D, and The Descendents--bands that were around in the 80s, but got big in the 90s. The Fat Wreck sound and the Epitaph sound.

Trash : I was more into Japanese punk like Hi-Standard, Hawaiian 6, and Sachi... and more melodic Japanese bands, And also, at that point I was also listening to Lagwagon and Strung Out. I was kinda into both Fat Wreck and the Japanese Pizza of Death label.

Mizno : I like crust. Tragedy from the US. Melodic with crust influences.

2. So you would say that melodic punk is what you guys are all about?

Jeff : Yeah.... Pop-Punk has become such a euphemism. We're a pop-punk band, but in the strain of what The Descendents, The Queers, and bands like that did. Not Blink-182 and not anything after the year 2000.

3. Mizno has recently joined the band as the new drummer. What bands have you played with before?

Mizno : I have played with Find The Spot, Pariah and ICBM before now. The bands I currently play in are: ...Whatever That Means, Dead Gakkahs, and Far From Here.

4. So, you guys have finished your 2nd full-length album... It's called “Sixty-Eight, Twenty-Two” and is coming out in May. What's your concept for this album?

Jeff : We wrote a lot of the songs in 2012 when Trash and I were living in the states and our band was on hiatus. The title track is all about how, even though I'd grown up in Pennsylvania, it didn't really feel like home anymore, and Korea is my home now. I was kinda homesick for Seoul one day and I went on Google Earth and found out that the distance from our apartment in Pennsylvania to Hongdae Park was 6,822 miles. There's a line in the song that says “Where you grow up, and where you're from don't always stay the same.” We kinda carried that theme through the album.

5. So what's your writing process like? It sounds like this album had a really clear concept, with deep influences for you, but what do Trash and Mizno bring to it?

Jeff : Nothing.

Trash : Yeah.... He's the only one who changes the songs.

Jeff : I'm the band dictator. Usually songs come to me when I'm driving my scooter, because that's the only time I'm not listening to music. Something will pop into my head – whether it’s one line or one melody, I'll just keep singing it over and over in my head until it develops. Usually I'll have a basic idea of what I'd like the drums to sound like, and I'll go to our studio and write out midi drums and record the guitar over the top of it, and sometimes when Trash isn't looking I'll grab her bass and record that. Usually I'll e-mail them a nearly completed song before we ever touch it as practice. And from there we'll work together.

6. For this album, where did you record it?

Trash : In Binary Studios.

Jeff : Binary Studios is our extra bedroom. A lot of purists won't like it, but we call it that because everything is digital. There are no amplifiers. Everything was plugged directly in the computer and recorded that way. We also helped record Rudy Gun's 2 song demo at our house. I keep telling Trash that this is our “Punk Rock Retirement.” Eventually, when we're older and only want to play a couple of shows a year, I still want to be involved by having an affordable way for younger bands to record demos. Rudy Gun's demo cost them a Pizza School Pizza. But we don't mix and master on our own. Kirk from Thunderhorse Tavern is a genius. He came over and helped do all of our pre-sets. We recorded with those and Kirk went in and just made everything really pop. We can do a basic recording, but Kirk is the genius that makes it really sound like a professional studio.

7. For your album, was it a long process recording, and did you have any obstacles?

Jeff : We've actually recorded this album 4 times. We were supposed to record this album in the US. Hong Gu was going to record the drums here in Korea and send the tracks over. I recorded the vocals and guitars in the US, we were going to finish it when we came back to Korea. And then our old lead guitar player quit. So we weren't sure what to do, so we just decided to record it at home.

8. On this album, you guys have a cover song of an older Korean punk song. Can you tell us about that?

Jeff : We have a cover of the old Suck Stuff song “This Wasteland.” We actually started covering that three years ago when the Korean punk scene was in a bit of a downturn. To me, I think it's the best Korean punk rock song ever. The ideas behind it fit the timing of what was going on in the scene at that point. After [former-Suck Stuff guitarist] Paul left Korea the first time and they stopped playing it. And we started covering it because, if Suck Stuff's not going to play it, someone had to. When we were on tour in the States, for some people it was their favorite song from our set. When we got back, Paul was back and was playing that song with his new band “Heimlich County Gun Club” so we stopped. But we had already planned on putting that on the album.

9. You guys have two shows coming up for the CD release of your new album. One in Gwangju at Club Boojik on May 3rd. The other is in Seoul at Club Spot on May 10th. What's your favorite place to play and what can people expect when they see ...Whatever That Means?

Trash : Recently we had a show in Daejeon at InSky2 and that was pretty cool. If Skunk Hell still existed, I'd say that... but it doesn't exist anymore. So our favorite place to play is definitely Club Spot. With Skunk gone, Spot is the one that's most comfortable.

Jeff : For me, my favorite place to play is Gwangju. The kids down there are nuts. You'll get like 30 or 40 people at a show, but they all go crazy. We had never been there and there were kids singing along with entire songs. It was greatest

Mizno : Badabie. There's no stage so you can be closer with the crowd.

10. What's next for the band? Any plans for another US tour?

Trash : Yeah, I wanna go...

Jeff : It's really expensive to go to the US. The problem we have right now is I haven't visited my family since we left in 2012. If we go on tour, we wanna go on the west coast again and my family lives on the east coast. If I'm in America, and we don't come visit, they'll disown me. I wanna go on tour in the States again, but we'll probably go on tour in Malaysia again before we go to the US. This summer is kind of up in the air. We're doing those shows in May and we've just confirmed that we're doing Ink Bomb in June. Beyond that, we might not be having any more shows in the next few months. I'm having some medical problems. I have two lumps on my vocal chords—not cancer—but ever since we went on tour in the US, I lose my voice a lot. So we might have to break for awhile so I can let it rest.

****Thank you so much for answering our questions. DoIndie staff and readers all wish you the best for your CD release show and for the future!****

_____________________________________________________________
Interviewers : Jesse & Jen
Translation : Solmin
Interviewees : Jeff, Trash, Mizno

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...Whatever That Means CD Release Shows :

1 - Gwangju

Date : May 3rd (Sat) - 18:00
Venue : Club Boojik (부드러운직선)
Cover : 10,000
Lineup : 왓에버댓민즈 (...Whatever That Means) / 베티애스 (BettyAss) / 스타트라인 (Startline) / 몽키피콰르텟 (Monkey Pee Quartet) / 세이브 마이셀프 (Save Myself) / 데드가카스 (Dead Gakkahs)
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/events/303363646480238

2 - Seoul

Date : May 10th (Sat) - 20:00
Venue : Club Spot (Hongdae)
Cover : 15,000 (Free CD)
Lineup : 왓에버댓민즈 (...Whatever That Means) / 웨이스티드쟈니스 (Wasted Johnny's) / 베티애스 (BettyAss) / 스카석스 (SkaSucks) 21스캇 (21Scott) / 1톤 (1Ton)
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/events/1433528336885109/

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...Whatever That Means :

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/whateverthatmeansmusic
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/whatever-that-means/
Bandcamp : http://whateverthatmeans.bandcamp.com/
Contact : wdibooking@gmail.com

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