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New Beat Fund Stay Fun, Add Depth
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

SoCal stoner party rockers New Beat Fund have a surprise for fans attending the band’s winter tour that began on November 10th, and will conclude on December 14th. The surprise being some of the group’s new music might not be what everyone expects.

The foursome of Snapz Lalib, Burnie Baker, Buttonwill McKill, and Silky Johnson have been steadily gaining notoriety over the past few years thanks to their ($) Coinz EP, and the heavy touring they’ve done in support of it, which has included a stint on the 2013 Warped Tour, as well as every date of last year’s Journeys Noise Tour, and a trip around the country earlier this year with Aer and RDGLDGRN.

New Beat Fund’s next album, Sponge Fingerz, won’t be out until early 2015, but they’re debuting songs off of it on their current road trip, and while they assure fans that the band’s trademark fun loving attitude is still present on the album, what they’re most excited about is the evolution of their music.

During some of the band’s downtime in-between shows, I caught up with Snapz Lalib and Burnie Baker to find out more about the growth of New Beat Fund, and hear some tour stories involving everything from meth heads, to late night bar room haircuts.

Adam Bernard: Before we talk about your music, can we discuss all the alien iconography? When did this obsession with aliens start for you?

Snapz: The alien thing started when we first started the band. I thought it was more of a symbol of being an individual, and standing on your own, and identifying with your own personal interests and things that make you happy, as opposed to following the herd, but we’ve also had a few alien encounters. One involved myself, my brother Burnie, and the guitar player.

We were on top of a mountain, and we were, in fact, abducted. That was before the formation of New Beat Fund. I think that may have stirred the whole thing up. We kind of just took it from there, and brought it to reality.

Burnie: And we went to Roswell yesterday. We hung out with some friends, and drank some antifreeze. It was cool. Alien friends.

Adam Bernard: Was the abduction fun?

Snapz: It was a really weird situation. We kind of just reappeared in the same exact place we were in. It was like a crazy fit of paranoia, and we all just started running everywhere, kind of scared and not really sure what happened.

Adam Bernard: Are you sure you didn’t just have a really bad bag of mushrooms?

Snapz: There were no mushrooms involved, but some skeptics might think that of us.

Burnie: There was a dark disco on the UFO. We were dancing really really hard, so when we came back to earth we were super sweaty.

Sanpz: And they have a roller skating rink in there where you wear roller blades, but you actually rollerblade on the roof. It was cool.

Adam Bernard: Sounds like some of my middle school dances, with the roller skating.

Burnie: And (that’s when) you hold hands with a girl for the first time. That’s cool. I remember that. Occasionally you’d squeeze a butt cheek, if she allowed it.

Adam Bernard: Moving to your music, the new single is “It’s Cool.” Judging by the lyrics it sounds like there’s a personal element to this one. Tell me about what inspired the song.

Burnie: “It’s Cool” is a little bit of a departure from the EP (($) Coinz), meaning we have songs that are a bit more introspective. It's about going through a break up, you could say. It’s introspective in that manner; (I talk about) things, and feelings, that were happening in my brain, my heart, and my butt, all at the same time. (It’s about) feeling kind of out of place, like an alien.

Adam Bernard: Is it about a specific relationship?

Burnie: Could be.

Adam Bernard: “It’s Cool” will be on your upcoming full length debut, Sponge Fingerz. Is the title of the album a nod to the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers?

Burnie: No, it’s actually not, but would it be cooler if we said it was?

Adam Bernard: Explain the title for me. The story could be even cooler than an ode to the Stones.

Burnie: Well, like all titles, it was written on a wall in our studio. It just appeared, we were cleaning the wall and we wiped off the dust with some Pledge and we were like holy shit, underneath it said Sponge Fingerz, so we went with it.

Snapz: But with sponge fingers it’s pretty hard to hold things, so we figure you have to get a tight grasp on the things that you really want in life.

Adam Bernard: Sponge fingers could also be a cleaning product.

Snapz: Yeah, and it’s actually the original term for the Twinkie; sponge finger.

Adam Bernard: But there’s no edible element to the album.

Snapz: Not yet. We’re still figuring that out.

Burnie: Apparently record stores are kind of half and half about records that have a certain amount of shelf life, and an expiration date as far as when you can eat it and not eat it. We’re trying to work that out. We don’t want to add preservatives to it or anything, so we’ll see. We got Willy Wonka working on it in the factory.

Adam Bernard: Do you have any especially memorable moments, good or bad, from the recording process?

Snapz: Let’s start with the good. I think the good was we had a three man water balloon launcher, and we decided to wreak havoc all across studio boundaries, hitting a lot of cars with all kinds of apples, and tomatoes.

Burnie: We’re obsessed with three man water balloon launchers, and this time we really stepped it up a notch and we got all sorts of shit to launch out of it. There’s a big car lot, and unfortunately for some of the cars they got tagged with some pretty cool stuff, but nothing was broken.

Snapz: I guess a bad instance which kind of influenced what was going on in the studio was a good friend of mine ODed on heroin. I went to his funeral right when we were in the middle of recording the record. Some of those pieces of emotion kind of came back (with me) into the studio, and we hashed it out to music.

Adam Bernard: That’s really intense. Knowing that your music is oftentimes light and fun, is there a moment on the album where we’re going to know that happened in your life?

Snapz: Going into the album, the EP was definitely a very light and fun introduction to what New Beat Fund can do. I feel like even with a song like “It’s Cool,” it’s kind of a hint of what we might be capable of in the future. Maybe the songs will be more introspective.

It’s still a balance of the lighthearted fun stuff, because that’s the kind of people we are, but there are moments when you really just want to get to the core of a problem, or an issue, and you just feel some deep emotion, and you want to express it through music.

As far as the album’s concerned, I do think there are gonna be some songs that take people by surprise, and some of those emotions I feel will carry on into future songs, as well.

Adam Bernard: So this is an evolution for you.

Snapz: Yeah, going back to “It’s Cool,” we kind of want to surprise people with every release we do, kind of twist it a little, so no one really has us pegged. Obviously people think (of us as a) fun, lighthearted, party band, but that’s why we wanted to lead off with “It’s Cool.” We wanted to throw people off. People can think they might know what we’re gonna release, and then a song like “It’s Cool” comes out, and there’s a very different emotion, and quality, to it than the EP.

There are obviously some dark things that happened in our lives from the EP recording to (the recording of the new album). We write pretty true to our own lives, and what we see, so the subject matter is ever changing, and we definitely wanted to incorporate these elements for the new shit.

We hope that the record takes you on a bit of a journey; light, dark, heavy, hard, makes you feel triumphant, makes you feel human, all of the above.

Adam Bernard: You are currently on a tour that began on November 10th and concludes on December 14th. I know this isn’t your first trip around the country. With that in mind, what’s been the most interesting thing you’ve seen, or experienced, while on the road?

Burnie: We’ve seen too much to really pin it down to one, but last tour it was the beginning of the year, we were in a van, and trailer, and it was snowing for pretty much most of the tour. It was cold as shit for us Los Angeles boys. Our van broke down in the middle of fucking nowhere. We were outside of Nebraska trying to get to Omaha for a show.

Luckily we made it to a truck stop. We’re there trying to figure out the van. A couple of us are figuring it out, and a couple of us decide to walk through a cemetery and kill two bottles of Fireball while we’re wasting the day trying to figure this out.

We get back, and we were pretty hammered because what else do you do in the middle of nowhere. We meet up with the other dudes, and this guy decides to hook our trailer up to his trailer to get us to Omaha, which was like five hours away, in the snow.

It turns out he’s a mechanic meth head. It was really really sketchy, let’s just say that. We piled into his pickup truck. I think there were seven people in the pickup.

Snapz: And the second we got in he busted out what they call marijuana, and started hot-boxing his truck.

The drive was kind of far, and halfway through I had to pee really really bad, but I was kind of afraid to tell this guy I had to go, because we were in the middle of nowhere. There was an empty Gatorade bottle (in the truck), and I peed in the Gatorade bottle in the backseat, and I kind of forgot it in there when we actually made it.

Burnie: But, check this out, we made it to the show. We were out with Aer and RDGLDGRN at the time, and they said it was their favorite show of ours. We literally showed up a half hour before we were supposed to play, threw our gear up on stage, and rocked the shit out of it, and a girl showed her boobs that night, so that’s pretty cool.

Adam Bernard: So it was really a “happily ever after” except for the meth head who probably drank your urine.

Snapz: {laughs} He might have thought my urine was a new flavor of Gatorade.

Adam Bernard: In addition to that tour, you were also on the Journeys Noise Tour last year with 3OH!3, The Summer Set, and Wallpaper. I KNOW some crazy things happened while you were on the road with all of them. Heck, I saw 3OH!3 smash their keyboards in NYC. Tell me what you look back on from that tour, and say, “That was the craziest moment we had.”

Burnie: New Orleans was crazy. It was our first time in New Orleans. I think it was getting closer to the end of the tour, so people had started to open up a little more. All the bands, we all went out together. We had a late bus call, and had a pretty wild night. It started at a reggae bar where the whole crew and all the bands were just jamming. We tore this place apart.

Snapz: There was an after party first. (Our friend) John tried to jump something and he face planted into the bus.

Burnie: Yeah he tried to jump this street sign, it caught his legs, and he face planted into the bus.

Snapz: Then we went to this reggae bar and we danced like a bunch of hooligans. Then our homie Ghost got a haircut and two shots of whiskey for like $10 bucks at this bar at like 2am.

Burnie: $7 bucks.

Snapz: We ended up finding a couple damsels who showed us around town. I think it ended with us finding Silky passed out in the middle of Bourbon Street with a box of pizza next to him. Uneaten.

Burnie: Uneaten and still warm.

We did make it back to the bus. We were a little late for bus call, but I would say that was the biggest night of the 3OH!3 tour, by far.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:00 PM  
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