SeepeopleS - Last Sane Men on Planet Earth

Seepeoples provide the cathartic tension and release of improv stunts, but with a firmly grounded songwriting style and lyrical impetus. Hard-hitting political lyrics skitter over dreamy, moody, echo-laden songs that are all about substance and style. Leaping from style to style within their own musical framework, Seepeoples astounds with masterful production and serious sounds. Truly a must-hear!
Interview by: Chris Robie

Will Bradford - Vocals, Keys and Guitars
Tim Haney - drums
Dan Ingenthron - Bass
Peter Keys - Keyboards

HGMN: How would you describe the music of SeePeoples?

Will: I can't. I hope I never can. That's what makes SeepeopleS special to me.

Tim: Seepeoples music to me is the challenge of simplicity. The material is really centered around accomplished songwriting rather than musically challenging arrangements. It's a really dynamic approach to playing---sometimes we will be playing really loud yet it is still reserved. Keeping the music dynamic is the most important thing to me because you really get the point across with whatever vibe you are trying to accomplish with the music. With us its "songs" not "hey lets see how many notes we can play in a minute and how many times we can change time signatures." Don't get me wrong, I love the really hard shit but that's not SeepeopleS, and that's really great. It's also really great because we all come from different musical backgrounds and I think that shows through the material seeing how a lot of the music really ranges in different genres. The range in genres to me keeps it fun and interesting.

Dan: It ranges from nice and polite to full freakout explosion. We have fun with it. It's not so easy to go beyond that.

HGMN: So what does Apocalypse Cow mean?

Tim: My guess is that it has some type of personal reference to Will in some type of sarcastic way tied in with some satirical political views.

Dan: That's a good question. Maybe it refers to all the people out there feeding on the idea of the end of the world instead of making the most of the days they have in it.

Pete: Apocow means the end is near...I think the bovine revolution is close at hand.

Will: The actual meaning of the title is perfectly captured in the Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss. "And they all marched down a hole for their country, and right side up butter!" It's about the sacrifices we all make at the ends of things, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

HGMN: "Holding" is one of my favorite tracks off of Apocalypse Cow. Do you guys favor any particular song from the new CD?

Will: I can barely remember what songs are on the album! I'm sure the other guys have some songs they like...and hate.

Dan: "Last Sane Man." It's simplistic; but solid. I think it best represents how we bring sound together as a band, but in an opposite way as we've usually done it before; all subtlety, no frills.

Tim: "Holding" because it alternates 7's and 8's and it rocks, and at the end when all of the crazy stuff is going on there is a synth sound on it that when I listen to it I feel like I am licking a battery.

Pete: "Last Breath" may be my favorite song because of the wide dynamic range. I really dig that it starts so laid back, and ends so powerfully... with lotsa cool textures n stuff in the middle...also that it is so organic...and I love Will's melodic...uh...melody.

HGMN: How is this new album different from the previous SeepeopleS albums?

Will: I'm not sure how, but it is different. But we always try and make a different album every time we make one. I think this is a more mature record than anything we have put out before, but I suppose if we didn't get wiser as we got older, than we would really be in trouble!

Dan: There was less production - less overdubs and less instrumentation, and the focus was more on letting the songs speak for themselves than experimenting with ways to sauce them up. There are exceptions, of course - we do like the sauce. But it took a fraction of the time to make, compared to the first two, because we could let these songs go out completely stripped down.

Pete: This album strikes me as more mature than the previous two. Not that they were bad, or adolescent, just that on this one, I think we really worked as a band. All the shows and miles in the van together solidified us as a whole. Rather than a bunch of separate minds, we melded.

Tim: I feel that it is our most professional approach to recording as of yet. When we recorded For The Good Of The Nation seven years ago, in my opinion, none of us were really all that studio proficient and hadn't had much studio experience so we didn't necessarily go about it in the best way. I'm pretty sure none of those tracks were recorded with a click track so that automatically made the rest of the tracking fairly difficult I'm sure. Also, when we recorded that I think we were SeepeopleS for like two weeks or something because that was when Will, Dan, and I decided to leave Cosmic Dilemma which cut our song list down about a quarter. In my opinion though, I really kind of like that record a lot - it has a very charming character for a first release and I was very young at the time so listening to that record makes me reflect back on a very transitional period of my life. The Corn Syrup Conspiracy I think is a very brilliant record and the whole album is basically Will. Dan and I had nothing to do with that record seeing as how we weren't in the band at that point. That record to me shows how incredible Will has become in the studio and what different types of twacky shit he can come up with when he is given the time. Apocalypse Cow to me is a extremely beautiful record in the sense that it is the first recording in over three years that Will, Dan and I did together and then adding Pete to me is kind of like the icing on the cake so to speak, or cherry on top kind of thing. That whole record was basically ready to be recorded for a long time and we cranked it out. As far as I know when Will went into the studio to record Corn Syrup, a lot of that record kind of happened in the studio rather than it being kind of done already in his head and ready to be tracked. I gained a lot of studio experience while I was with Dreadnaught, which was the band that I was in when I took a few years off from Seepeoples, and going in to record Apocalypse Cow was great, I felt really good going into it and the studio experience that I gained had a lot to do with that, and in my opinion it really shows through on apocow with all of us and you can almost hear raw emotion and that is what music has pretty much always been for me.

HGMN: What's Cosmic Dilemma?

Will: I haven't the faintest clue as to what you are talking about.

Tim: Cosmic Dilemma was a Boston based jam band in the nineties that Will and I played with for a few years. Dan later joined and a short while after that the band broke up mainly because Will, Dan and I had some musical issues with the other guitar player. Long story short, the other guitar player came up with the name Cosmic Dilemma and wanted to keep the name. Will, Dan and I wanted to keep playing together so SeepeopleS was born.

Dan: There was a link on the band's site for a while to explain what it meant. It linked to some guy's grad school thesis and about 50 pages of quantum physics equations. I didn't read it, so I can't sum it up. Basically, it was a not-so-good band name and the first time that Will, Tim and I played together.

HGMN: Tim mentioned that both he and Dan took some time off from Seepeoples for a couple years. Why were you guys not in the band?

Dan: We broke up, as bands do, usually for reasons that don't make a lot of sense further down the road. We had our own thing going for a while. Will kept playing with a couple different lineups, Tim started touring with Dreadnaught, and I moved to Chapel Hill and played with a few bands, including the Three Torches. Our first gig back together was almost 3 years to the day since our last one, and was the first of a 3 month tour. I think we had three rehearsals before it.

Tim: Bands to me are kind of like marriages. Sometimes they work, most of the time they don't, and sometimes they can really piss you off. We had all spent a lot of years together at that point and we were all still pretty young so I think there was maturing that needed to be had, other musical ya ya's to get out, personal differences, you know the whole nine yards. To be honest I knew that that wasn't going to be it forever. I had a feeling that we would regroup at some point. I didn't really know when, how, or to what extent but I knew it wasn't over. I've been playing music with Will since I was about eleven and I am very close with his family so I knew that splitting up wasn't carved in stone. It was just kind of a break so to speak.

HGMN: You guys have a cool little music video on YouTube What's up with that?

Pete: A photo shoot gone horribly wrong.

Will: When I lived in Boston I saw two homeless guys in Kenmore Square with a boom box, and two cardboard cut out guitars. They were just rocking out while Red Sox fans were leaving Fenway Park. Their performance was captivating, and I never forgot it. Also, much Thanks to the Grey Eagle, best rock club in Asheville, for letting us act like morons in the club while they weren't there.

Dan: I didn't know we were shooting a video until about 10 seconds before it started. I was running around trying to find twine to make a guitar strap for my cardboard bass. There's a high kick in it that had me walking funny a couple days later. This is what the business is all about.

Tim: We felt very silly that day and ended up getting a great result out of it in my opinion anyway. I think that originally it was going to just be a press photo shoot and we decided to try actually playing cardboard instruments along with one of the album tracks and "Apocalypse Cow" just made sense.

HGMN: How long do we have to wait for the Apocalypse Cow Vol. 2 release? What are your plans? Will it have a similar sound?

Tim: Will? Answer please.

Dan: No, you don't get to know, that would spoil the fun.

Will: Hopefully we won't have to wait too long. I am already writing songs for the album after Part 2. I promise, as always, that it will be different.

HGMN: Pete also plays with George Clinton. How did he end up playing with SeepeopleS?

Will: I met him backstage at a Pfunk show. They had just screwed him on a ride to the airport, so I drove him. The rest is history. Funny thing though, we had actually met years before when SeepeopleS played with Parliament at a festival in Maine. We partied all night together, and neither of us really remembered it for some reason.

Pete: SeepeopleS opened up for P-Funk in Maine a few years ago, and apparently I hung out with Will and the boys. I didn't remember a thing. They erased my cerebellum. Or it was the mass quantities of bad things I used to use? A year later, Will showed up at a show where I was stranded without a ride back to the airport (bad planning, a P-Funk regularity). He said he'd give me a ride to Boston, where he was going to record this new record (The Corn Syrup Conspiracy). I happily got in the car, and was quite surprised - no, blown away - by the rough mixes he played me. We got to talking, I played him some of my tunes, and he asked if I'd like to be on the album. I said fuck yeah and flew to Boston a couple weeks later and tracked an obscene amount of keyboard parts in two days. Much to my amazement they all made it onto the record! After working with Will in the studio, and hearing the end result, I knew I had found something very rare and special, so I joined the band, and have been touring with them ever since. I still don't remember meeting them for the first time and we hung out for hours apparently. Must have lost some marbles. Shrooms were involved I think. Lots.

How did the rest of you guys meet?

Dan: I met Will in Boston in 1999 through another guitarist, and we started playing. He told me he was waiting for his drummer to get out of high school. Tim got a front-page feature in his hometown newspaper for blowing off college and joining a rock band; he moved down to Boston and we started touring around New England. Pete came along during Corn Syrup. He'd put tracks down on the record and was originally going to come out with us just for a handful of dates, but then he decided to stick around instead.

HGMN: Front page in the paper?

Tim: I started playing with Cosmic Dilemma when I was a sophomore in high school. By the time I was a senior I knew that being in a rock band was something I had to at least try and after a few arguments with my folks, they kind of agreed with me. As far as the paper goes, that just kind of happened. I called the newspaper to see if they could put an ad in it seeing how Cosmic Dilemma was playing in my hometown the same weekend as my graduation. The person I was put in contact with was actually a reporter and I think he found it interesting or something. He ended up coming to my parent's house and interviewing me at the dinner table over a cup of coffee. At that point I REALLY wanted to be in a rock band.

HGMN: Any regrets?

Tim: I don't really have any regrets. I still haven't received a day of college education and it bothers me a little bit but not to the point where I am necessarily worried about it. College will always be there. Being in a successfully touring rock band may not.

HGMN: Do you find that your politically charged songs make for better songwriting or do you plan to mellow out anytime soon?

I try and plan as little as possible. But I will always write about the world around me as long as I remain a part of it. Ever since I became a father - my son is four - I began to see many things for the first time again. Many of those things inspired me, and filled me with motivation to make big songs with big emotions. Some of the things I've seen again for the first time, piss me off almost as much as when I really did see them for the first time, and for some reason, some crazy reason, politicians just do lots of things that really piss me off. I have no idea when they will stop making me so angry! I do hope they try and stop.

Dan: There's a lot of mellow on this album. It's impossible to not get angry with the state of affairs, and so it's more important than ever to make sure people are awake and aware. But for exactly that reason, it's just as important to be able to find happiness. If you can't find peace within yourself and the people you know and love, there's no chance of the world ever finding it.

Tim: I feel that there are a lot of pressing issues in this world and even in everyone's everyday life that can definitely spark some creative flares in everyone. They just need to figure out how to do it. Will is a prime example of being able to harness what it is he is trying to say through very smart, thought provoking lyrics. I think Apocalypse Cow is kind of mellowed out in a way. I think that it is a very personal record for Will and a lot of the personal things that come out through the lyrics are comparable to some of the issues that everyone is pressed with everyday in this world.

Pete: I Hope we never mellow out...the world needs to wake the fuck up! Music can change the world if people listen.

HGMN: On Corn Syrup, you had a few guest musicians appear on some of the tracks - Tim Reynolds, Dan Colley, & Dave Shaul to name a few. Anything like that with AC Vol. 1?

Will: Nope.

Dan: We had a string quartet come in on a couple of songs. Other than that, it's just the band.

Tim: And an alien kids toy megaphone.

What's it like setting up a tour with band members living in three different states? It must be difficult.

Dan: Nah. More tearful reunions. It's sweet really.

Tim: This is definitely a question for Will but the way I've seen it is that it seems like its kind of worked out in the sense that all of us living in different parts of the country has allowed us individually to focus on different markets. Before I lived in Asheville, I was going back if forth from Maine. So I was able to promote for northeast shows, Will for Southeast, and Pete and Dan for Midwest. We've seen pretty decent results. I think living apart from each other has also prevented us from going commando on each other, you know like throwing on night vision goggles with a paint ball gun and sneaking into each others rooms at four in the morning, either that or a hand full of flour.

Pete: Divide and conquer. I got Detroit, Dan's got Chicago, Will and Timmy got the south. When we get together, the whole damn country should know about it. Makes rehearsals a little rough though. The good thing is we never get sick of each other, hardly ever.

Will: It sucks. Please tell Dan and Pete to move to North Carolina