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  • 3:23:06 am
  • Saturday
  • 20 July 2024

Friends For Heroes Interview

Friends for Heroes duo Brendan Bosworth and Josh Ottum recently sent us their soft electro-pop debut Years in a Costume and we prompty requested an interview.

With a whole nation between us, email was the interview medium of choice. I had their CD on repeat while scavenging the Friends for Heroes website for fun details to ask about. Finally I tossed off some questions to Brendan and Josh who replied separately.

Where does the name “Friends For Heroes” come from?

Josh: We thought of it at a sales training seminar.

What inspired you to slice up your sounds? How does your live performance compare to your studio work?

Brendan We grew up playing in band-bands, not e-bands. Everytime someone stopped wanting to be in a band with us, we became more of an e-band. So chopping up sounds started out of necessity and quickly became lots of fun. The live show is a lot different than our CD, and our next CD will sound more like the live show. We tried playing live with fake beats, and it seems to sound better to actually be beating things on stage. So now the live show has fake beats and real beating.

Josh: We’re pretty current on electronic music and like those sounds. So Josh makes demos and Brendan makes them sound broken and better. Our live performance is Brendan on drums and iPod control. Josh is singing and playing loud guitar. Recording is a whole different deal. We’re both playing a bunch of instruments and programming and freaking out then e-mailing what we’ve done to each other.

Was the repetition of certain imagery—such as four-leaf clovers, birds, memories as reason, and god/heaven/angels/wings—intentionally repeated, or is it just coincidence?

Josh: The album is sort of dealing with some sort of sorted concept about trying your luck and trying your hope and seeing which one brings more success. The answer must be in there somewhere.

Brendan: I didn’t write or sing any of the lyrics, but I’m pretty sure Josh repeats words instead of writing new ones.

What’s the significance of the untitled “Don’t Shoot Me” track?

Josh: Just a reprise of the original track. The don’t shoot me thing sort of deals with feeling weird about girls or they all hate you.

Brendan: It’s just a remix. We figure if we include remixes on the CD beside the original track, eventually we’ll get good enough to put out remix CDs before the actual CDs, or at least learn how to write remixes instead of songs. It is obvious to us that remix CDs are more adventurous and urban than actual CDs, so why put out the CD when you can just put out the remix CD?

Who is Grandpa Melvin Bernasconi??

Brendan: A great Californian poet.

Josh: He’s my grandpa. He’s the one reading at the end of the album. He’s a poet, Artist and lives in a town called Independence. He’s incredible.

Some of the lyrics seem to paint the two of you as religious. Is that so? Does your religion play into your political decisions at all?

Josh: Not really. I’m thinking about trust and faith and things like that most of the time.

Brendan: The only time religion seems to impact my politics is when Americans condemn other Americans based on religious beliefs. I think the current debate over gay marriage is one of the most engaging conversations that has happened in our country in a while. I look forward to the time when homosexuality does not make so many people shake in their boots. As for voting and local politics in general, I usually consult the cooler of Seattle’s two free weeklies in order to have my political decisions made for me.

I love Weezer too! How deep is your obsession and what’s behind all those =W= cover songs?

Josh: We have a strange knack for getting invited to cover songs by bands we’re not that aware of. It’s been incredible to cover Weezer’s tunes and other groups as well. Up next for us is TRex.

Rivers Cuomo’s Nirvana obsession is well documented. What’s your impression of Seattle a decade after the grunge hype?

Josh: There is a crazy grunge cover band that plays for 37-year-old people downtown every weekend. I’ve been meaning to go for the past 8 years. Rock is still the main deal here because of all the rain and the beer and people not bathing. Seriously though, its a very inspiring place to be.

Brendan: It is a fun place to make music. I was in San Diego buying all the grunge CDs during the grunge hype, so I’ve only experienced the post-grunge Seattle. People here just seem to love live music. I don’t want to live anywhere where the community is letting live music die.

Does the coming presidential election scare you at all? Do politics ever play a part in your lyrics?

Josh: I’m not a fan of our current situation at all. I’m going to make sure to remind, or force, people in our age group to vote. Politics don’t play a direct role in the lyrics but I recently wrote a song about politicians/world leaders not paying attention to their significant other. Maybe it’ll be on the boxed set....

Brendan: I was very smug toward people that voted for Al Gore just to keep GWB out of office. I thought that the two-party system needed to crumble, so I voted for Nader. I don’t regret that vote, but this time I will vote for whoever gets the Democratic nomination.

Are you ever coming to play on the East Coast?

Josh: Hopefully in the winter. We both used to live in Boston and we hope to be out there more often in the coming years.

Brendan: I hope so. Still working out the jetBlue sponsorship.

Stewart Smith
Wednesday, 18 February 2004

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