We the Living Revist UNH

Michelle Tapper

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Michelle Tapper: A few things have changed since our last interview.  You guys have a manager now.  Were you sought out by Red Light Management or were you trying to be involved with them?

Benjamin Schaefer: Our manager used to be an employee of our lawyer.

Matt Holmen: So our lawyer set us up with him, he thought he was cool.

Ben: He’s focused on touring musicians. He has a bunch of grassroots bands [under his management] like String Cheese Incident and Drive-By Truckers, like bands that just tour a lot and so we thought it would be a good match just because of how we tour and the extent of what we do.

MT: Does that change your hands-on approach to running the band at all?

Matt: Not at all, no.  I mean it’s cool to know that there’s someone else out there who gives a damn about us, because whenever you own your own business, you feel like no one’s on your side. But it’s cool that we have a dude that’s on our team now.

Ben: Nothing has changed day to day; it’s just that he’s kind of like a grandfather type figure.  You can bounce ideas off him and make sure that what you’re doing isn’t fundamentally flawed, I guess, but day to day we still book our own shows and promote ourselves. Everything is still the same as far as our business goes, but then there’s like a character who can oversee it who isn’t on the road which is really helpful for us because it can very easily get skewed when you’re doing the same thing every single day.  He just kind of helps refocus us on what is important.

Matt: Which right now, is writing new songs. That’s our new focus, so over Christmas we’re going to spend a lot of time at home writing and recording stuff because we haven’t done that in awhile. And it’s kind of important for a band to have music [laughs], but it’s so hard to forget because we’re so engrossed in the business.

Ben: So easy to forget.

Matt: Yeah.

MT: Do you feel like you’ve been putting too much emphasis on touring rather than writing music?

Matt: It’s sort of an either-or for us because being on the road isn’t that conducive to writing for our style. So, I don’t know. It’s like both things are important and it’s almost a catch 22. That’s how everything in the music industry feels; you need to have this thing before you do the other thing but in order to do that thing, you have to have this other thing.

Ben: In the current music industry it’s absolutely essential if you want to get anywhere especially as an independent band: you have to be touring.  You know, we’ve pretty much been on the road for two plus years and we are now at the point where a focus on music is essential to get to the next step.

Matt: To answer your question, no, but if we continue to just focus on touring and ignore the need to create new music, then yeah that would be too much, but for right now, we’re very happy with what we’ve done in the past couple years.

MT: Going back to the management, do you guys foresee a point where you won’t want to or be able to handle being as hands on as you have been with the band? Do you foresee a point where you need help booking, etc.?

Matt: Oh yeah, it’s definitely getting out of control. It’s too hard, it’s impossible to dedicate enough energy to all aspects of the band at the gear we’re running on right now. We’re constantly like, staying up traveling until four or five in the morning and getting up at like seven to give lectures to high schools while Ben is booking shows or Adam’s advancing shows and I’m promoting them.  All the while I’m still worrying about how we’re going to take the next step and start making music, so yeah; it’d be great to just worry about being a musician.  It just takes a little longer to get there.

MT: Last time, John Paul said he felt that We The Living is very close to being the band you set out to be.  Do you feel like you’re continuing to make steady progress in that direction?

Matt: Yeah, definitely.

MT: I heard a rumor over the summer that We The Living was supposed to be on the New Moon soundtrack. Is there any truth to that?

Matt: Isn’t that an awesome rumor?! No.

Ben: Unless we’re the secret track on the soundtrack or the credits.
Matt: And we didn’t get [even] paid.  But that’s funny right?  That Youtube account was really quite convincing, except it only had like one video.  So I was like, “clearly this is a hoax, but it’s still very entertaining.”

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
We the Living Revist UNH