24 March 2006

totes an interview: steven hawley of codebreaker

Codebreaker proved my theory wrong that the only good things coming out of Wisconsin are cheese and...er...cheese hats? (no offense cheeseheads, I've never actually been to Wisconsin...but I did see a bunch of WI kids in cheese hats chanting "Moo-Ha" at a student council conference.) Apparently, somewhere under all this cheese and misunderstanding....there is delicious dance music that will "make you wet where it counts".

The group has shared a stage with a variety of musical artists, including Har Mar Superstar, Hot Chip, Electric 6, VHS or Beta, and Phoenix. On top of that, they've made quite an impact on college radio with their previous releases and received rave reviews from several blogs...

"Ambitiously eclectic, exotic, purposeful, wildly individualistic, all the while carrying addictive future-funk ridden charm."- Take Your Medicine

"Modern electro-funk so endlessly danceable even Chromeo must be jealous."- The Prettiest Pony

"It’s like one of those cheesy radio stations that promises the best of the 70s, 80s and 90s, but unlike those radio stations Codebreaker really delivers. In a good way."- Bigstereo

"It sounds like the funky child of the Brooklyn dance rock movement, and yet manages to somehow imply certain elements of big midwestern drama rock, like fun crowd call vocals, foward rolling guitar lines, and britpop arrogance."- Palms Out Sounds

"I discovered this song on a mix sent to my sister by Marlboro cigarettes and became obsessed with it for most of my frosh year at Wes. At least smoking is good for something..."- Me

And if that's not enough to convince you of their fabulosity, maybe these songs will help...

CODEBREAKER- Beat Electrique
(BUY What Is This Earth Love?)

Now to the interview...
JOE JOHN: How would you describe your sound to the unfamiliar ear? Who are your biggest influences?

STEVEN: Sorry, I'm never good with the 'decribe your sound' question, as I'll inevitably end up sounding like a pretentious asshole.

As for our influences, Nile Rogers, Francoise Hardy, Twilight 22, The Clash, King Tubby, Scott Walker, Casino Vs Japan, Moroder, The Beach Boys, Depeche Mode, J Todd, Antenna, The Ventures, Kraftwerk, Bobby Womack, Rolling Stones, Francis Lai, Mcneal & Niles, Chic, Hasshim, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force, The Buzzcocks, Dr Dre, New Order, Annie, Kurtis Blow, Vanity 6, Man Parrish for starters.

JOE JOHN: Hmm, there's always one artist on these "influences" lists that bands give that completely surprises me or throws me off. Dr. Dre?

Dre? Yeah sure, I mean his production sense is great & the way he revved up those old David Axelrod compositions and crossed them with his attitude was a really effective combo...

JOE JOHN: How has your music evolved in these past years? Where do you see
yourselves headed in the future?

STEVEN: Eclectic yet cohesive i'd say. I didn't spend the mid/late 90's really following the Alternative music of it's day...I never really felt a real affinity torwards that stuff. I spent those years lost in a multitude of genres, from all different decades before & tried my best to understand what and why I thought those songs were great.

As for the future, new ideas, new material always. I'm a lifer. Like I've said before, sonically, it's all a wide open canvas of possibility from where I see it, I don't subscribe to the 'it's all been done' attitude, it just means you're a bore really.

JOE JOHN: Coming from Wisconsin, is your fan-base mostly local?

STEVEN: No, it runs in little pockets all over the globe. Though our core fanbase here is really supportive.

JOE JOHN: What was the best show you've ever played? You've shared the stage with a diverse group of acts. Who was the most fun to do a show with?

STEVEN: I dunno, playing with Outhud & Radio 4 were definitly good times. My favorite show had to have been the Halloween before last. We were headlining, the club was packed with hundreds of people in costume. The place went fucking bezerk! Stage diving Gorillas, sweaty Magnum PIs, dancing french maids, Munsters keepin' it real, a Stay Puff Marshmellow
Man singing along, playboy bunnies doin they're thing, everyone just sweating & getting down.

JOE JOHN: Other than stage-diving gorillas, what's your wackiest memory as a band?

STEVEN: Happy hour, Chi Chi's, silly straws, & a jalapeno popper buffet.

JOE JOHN: Haha, care to elaborate?


JOE JOHN: Fair enough...How'd you wind up on the Discovery Channel? How'd you get involved in the "Calling All Bands" contest?

STEVEN: That's not too exicting really. They were looking for new music and I sent some and they liked it alot, and ended up using like 6-7 songs for "Urban Explorers."

As far as the "Calling All Bands" thing...a friend of mine emailed me the link to the contest on MySpace and I figured, hey "Saturn Life" would make a fab fucking ringtone!

Now go vote!

JOE JOHN: What were your proudest moments as musicians? What's the
best compliment you've ever received as a band or individual?

STEVEN: Proudest? I don't know, I never think too much in specific landmark moments.

I take comfort & inspiration in everyday things & just people telling me how much they are digging on our stuff or whatever. This one guy in Italy wrote me the other day telling me that he and his friends have been riding around, listening to our latest record, while going from spot to spot every night. He says, it's their perfect soundtrack right now...stuff like that.

JOE JOHN: Speaking of compliments, a MySpace fan wrote, "oh my oh my oh my...your music makes me hot and wet where it counts ;)...seriously i can't stop dancing around my room (naked) singing your songs into my hairbrush. YOU guys are fucking sex!!!!!...sexy bitches!!!!" On that note, have you ever received any creepy or hilarious fanmail? Any stalkers?

STEVEN: I used to receive annoynomous emails telling me where they saw me the night before & say shit like.... "Hey did you enjoy your sushi the other night? Your date looked skanky!" Then a few days would go by then another email, "hey so what were you reading at such & such coffee shop, do you always wear shorts in the day?" etc...yikes! Some of the other stuff isn't as hilarious as it is endearingly sexually charged.

JOE JOHN: Are there any celebs who make you wet where it counts? Who would you be most likely to stalk?

STEVEN: Yes, Scarlett Johansson, He-Man, & Elisha Cuthbert, that is until I saw
her on Conan & someone told me that she had her own NHL blog.

JOE JOHN: Are there any new artists out there that you think we should be
> listening to? What's making YOU dance?

STEVEN: There's this guy Jason Todd, who did a remix for us on our last album, you're gonna here ALOT more about this guy real soon. He is such a huge bundle of talent. Also, my guy Casino Vs Japan makes some brilliant mellow music. For more modernish dancing music I'd say 12th Floor, Reinhard Voigt, Lindstrom, and i'm usually game for some uber cheesy dutch club pop.

JOE JOHN: If you were to go on a secret agent mission, which of your songs would be your theme?

STEVEN: Beat Electrique!

JOE JOHN: I was sort of hoping for that answer...Just for fun, Who should have won season 2 of Project Runway?

STEVEN: Ya know I never followed season 2. I did however watch the entire season 1 in just one Sunday afternoon though. That self righteous, plus sized model christian bitch was a real burn up.

JOE JOHN: Anything else you'd like to say to fans and listeners? Final words?

STEVEN: Expect a follow up EP within the year. Thanks for all the kind words and support we've been getting from the underground, it means alot! Keep on keepin on.

Can't get enough? Check out Codebreaker on iTunes. If that wasn't enough, hear their song "Sabrina" as the theme to children's movie The Adventures of Megabyte Man...or, er...friend them on MySpace.

Gone like "Gone Daddy Gone",
Joe John

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fun interview, good one.