Cut & Sewn talks to The Main DragPosted on December 13th, 2008 by lee
The Main Drag hailing from Boston is the latest to talk to Cut & Sewn. Playing a vast variety of instruments, including synthesizers and glockenspiel, they have a sound that many bands wish for. Their last album, Yours As Fast As Mine has earned them Salon’s Best Unsigned Artist as well as reaching #78 on the CMJ top 100. The track A Jagged Gorgeous Winter is being used in Rock Band 2. Enjoy the interview and mp3s at the end, too.
Lee Frank: I’m talking to Matt Boch and Adam Arrigo of The Main Drag. What instruments do you both play?
Matt Boch: Adam and I are both multi-instrumentalists. Most notably we’re the singers in the band, but we both play guitar, keys, bass, xylophone, and I play the trumpet on some songs.
Adam Arrigo: Yea, we’re the front men. We don’t need the other people. Wait, I’m kidding.
How long have you guys been playing music?
I first started taking piano lessons when I was 3 and I’ve played music ever since. Since then, I’ve played rock music.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 8.
Where did the name “Main Drag” come from?
It could be a lot of things. It could reference the main drag of a town. But maybe someone could interpret it as a Death Cab for Cutie lyric, but that’s not really cool anymore.
So you don’t want them to attribute that to them anymore?
I used to like that band.
No more? You don’t like Narrow Stairs?
No, I really hate it.
We’re indie snobs over here, I guess. The earlier stuff is always better. That’s why we’re not making anymore records.
Who is the heart throb of the band?
Oh yea. Absolutely.
He has that cool laid back guitarist vibe. You that manly attractiveness that no one can resist.
He gets really sweaty on stage, too, which I’ve talked to some girls and they found that to be a turn on.
What bands are your influences?
I’d say Broken Social Scene, John Vanderslice.
The Notwist, Neutral Milk Hotel.
Hot Chip, Of Montreal.
What do you think of the current state of the record industry?
It’s a mess. I think that there was some arrogance on the part of the major labels. They thought their continual sales wouldn’t be hampered by new technologies and they were unwilling to flex even late in the game when they saw that the technology was actually changing the industry. As a result, the forecast isn’t great for the record industry as a giant corporatized institution. However, I think the opportunities for the individual musician have never been better. Over the next twenty years, we will see more bands with fanbases and more total number of bands with pockets of fans all over the country. The recording tools have gone from being multi-thousands of dollars just twenty years ago to under $1000 you can make a record that sounds pretty great. Music as an industry is always going to exist and there’ll always be opportunities to have people hear your music and make money by playing live shows, selling merchandise, and selling music. But the current state of the industry as a whole is somewhat depressing. That said, I can point out a huge number of artists that I have respect for that are on major labels that continue to play that game pretty well. I’m a huge fan of the new Lil’ Wayne record. He has his game. There’s money to be made and he’s making it. Obviously, I don’t think the same sort of strategies work with our type of music and we want to be more ad-hoc about the development of our band and fans and push forward. We just aren’t really a perfect fit for a major label given how we sound and what our ethics are like. And indie labels are like ‘you guys are a little too pop, you should talk to the major labels.’ We find ourselves somewhere in between, but we’re finding success in that place.
The interview continues after the jump as well as 3 tasty mp3s.
So the blog world has opened up the world for smaller labels?
Yea, I don’t have to do the same sort of heavy lifting I used to do in the 90s. Like when I was in junior high school trying to hear some Pavement 7” that I couldn’t find and had no way of getting outside of a tape of a tape of a tape.
I used to tape stuff off the radio. Or wait for Y100 to play that Bush song that I’d have to wait like four cycles of commercials until they finally played it.
In a similar way, I think that businesses like yours, small bands are able to get up and get on the internet and make something happen. It seems like you guys are doing the same thing.
How did you guys get onto Rock Band 2?
We all work for Harmonix. Harmonix has a tradition to release the company’s bands as a bonus tracks.
How does it compare having a single out on the radio vs. having a song in a video game?
I think we’re out to get much more dedicated fans and people who are really psyched about our stuff because we get to form a relationship with them by playing it. We’re also reaching out to a lot of people who may not have the knowledge of all the avenues to find new music. We get to people who see us in the same continium as the other huge bands that are on the disc. It allows for a better relationship to form because people who are big fans of Rock Band can pop onto the Harmonix Forums and say something about the Main Drag and suddenly hear back from us. And that pseudo-intimacy wouldn’t happen if there was just one station playing our song.
Also, I’d like to add the fact that you’re interacting with the song in the game, you develop a closer relationship with the game. Because, we did a self-funded college radio campaign, we had pretty good response, but there’s a difference between passively listening to something and suddenly having to play the rhythm and hone in on what’s going on in the song. It forces you to pay attention to the song; you run into it on random setlists in the game. We ran into comments like “I hated the song when I first heard it, but then I heard it a few more times and now it’s one of my favorite songs.”
This is a great avenue to access a lot of potential fans.
And we’ve seen a wide array of fans from it. A kid in Oklahoma who is 12 years old and a 40 year old guy somewhere else.
I assume you play Rock Band. Which is your favorite song?
I would say Lit’s My Own Worst Enemy. I love 90’s rock.
Alex Chilton by the Replacements.
2008 is almost over. I’m curious what you guys thought were some good albums that came out this year.
Sun Kil Moon’s April. I really liked that one, it doesn’t sound like us, but I’m a big Mark Kozelek fan. I like the Vampire Weekend record. I love the Fleet Foxes record.
Matt: Yea, the Fleet Foxes was really good. I really liked Damon Albarn’s Chinese Opera called Monkey. As I said earlier, Lil Wayne’s record; I think very little music has reached the heights of that record this year. I’ve been listening this record called Amateur Dramatics by a band called Minotaur Shock that I really like. And the No Age record Nouns and the Cut Copy record.
Would you guys say that Kayne West is the “Voice of the generation of this decade?
I would have to say not.
I haven’t listened to enough Kanye. I really like him. I just think it’s an arbitrary media thing to point out the voice of our decade.
Well he pointed it out.
If he says so, I guess.
Kanye West is really talented; I think he’s a much more talented producer than he is a rapper or a singer. I think you don’t get to say things about yourself like that; I just don’t think you get to say them. You wait for other people to say them if they’re true.
Are you guys touring now?
The hope is for a spring tour. We’re gearing up for that and trying to figure out the logistics of that. It’s difficult with a band of our size, but that’s the plan to hop out on tour sometime in April or so.
Lastly, it’s customary to ask what you guys would love to see on a shirt.
Less than 3.
Drag it out.