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Q&A w/ These Four Walls

We hope you enjoy your meal which is tonight prepared by These Four Walls.

Does each member of the band have a nickname? If yes, spill them! If not, please make them up right now!

Well, Steve is the only one with a “nickname” and he gave it to himself (thus breaking all laws of nicknames). He just turned up one day with pink tape over all his gear with the word “Package” on it and an item number. So apparently, we’re supposed to call him “Package”. I don’t know whether it’s in reference to the old saying “good things come in small packages” or not, but that’s the only conclusion that I can come to…

Care to give us a gear rundown?

Absolutely! So Steve and I moved to full digital rigs about a year ago. He’s running a Line 6 Helix Pedal Board, and I’m using a Headrush Pedal board. We run those straight into Front of House and send a Split to PAM (more on PAM later). Elliot is running hands down the most punk rock bass rig he could – and Ashdown Bass Head, with 2 4×10’s and 2 distortion pedals. He’s recently started experimenting with a signal splitter that keeps his clean signal active 100% of the time so he doesn’t lose his bottom end when he turns distortion on, which is the bane of the bass players world (apparently). He runs a DI out of that splitter into PAM as well. PAM (Personal Audio Monitor) is our onstage monitoring system that receives a split from the pedal boards, vocal microphones, the kick drum and a room mic for drum sounds. The idea behind it is that we split everything into that and control the interface (Studiocraft UI16) with our phones so we can have our own personal in ear mixes perfect wherever we go. We’ve played too many venues with terrible or no monitoring and not being able to hear yourself is a great way to destroy your live show. Going with the digital / minimalistic approach means that we can take our entire rigs with us (except a full drum kit, obviously) anywhere in the world and we have the exact same setup, sounds, and monitoring wherever we are. Pure Bliss.

What was your first ever favourite song?

When I was 10-11 I was at a Blue Light Disco at the Northcote Netball Centre (this is back in Auckland) and I remember them distinctly playing the “Heavy” songs all in a row. If I’m not mistaken, it may have actually been DJ Starlight riding the wheels of steel that night (he was a bit of a local school disco celeb). The Heavy songs were 3 tracks, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory, and an unknown track that hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t catch the name or artist, but I could remember that track clear as day. So the next day I went down to Sounds in Takapuna and ask the guys at the counter (by describing the riff in all of its glory) and after about an hour of listening to various cd’s they had there, I found the gem – Enter Sandman. I don’t know why but that song absolutely resonated with me and I was a lost cause after that. I don’t know if it was my first favourite, but probably the most important.

Does your music have consistent lyrical themes (if yes, what are they?) or do they change from song to song?

There’s no individual theme, although we did once try to write a concept album (emphasis on TRY). With our vocals and thematic ideas, they usually do come from a relatively dark (or at least a poorly lit) place. Songwriting is a healthy way to get unhealthy thoughts out of the head and turn them into something positive, which is what we always try and do. Over and Over is a great example of that. We all suffer poor body image, or self-esteem, or self-worth, but in acknowledging our faults and embracing them we can find legitimate happiness. That’s the goal of our writing, to take something dark or bad and make it a lesson, or give it purpose in a positive way.

Favourite Simpsons episode? Discuss.

22 Short Stories About Springfield: Hands down the greatest episode ever. From Steamed Hams, to Cletus yelling at his mum to get off the roof, to the giant in the tiny car – there isn’t more than a minute of that episode that isn’t quotable and instantly recognisable. I think Brad and I have been using the term “you steam a good ham” since the first airing of that episode, and I still use it in my professional life at least once a week. Also… that monkey’s going to pay…

What’s the best show you’ve been to this year?

The Butterfly Effect at The Triffid. Such a killer venue that always has a great vibe. Osaka Punch and Rival Fire are both amazing bands and rad people. Seeing Butters get everything back together and come back as strong as they have was so damn amazing. We had the pleasure of touring New Zealand with them a few years back, and watching them again was like watching your old mates back up there absolutely destroying the place.

Where are people able to hear your songs?

Anywhere and everywhere. Bandcamp, Youtube, Spotify, Google Play, itunes, my house, Steve’s house, Air New Zealand’s inflight entertainment (actually true).

Do you believe in the term ‘sold out’?

It depends on how much you trust the promoter, Most venues will allocate a portion of tickets aside for guest passes, door lists and that kind of thing despite a show showing as sold out. So, my answer would probably have to be no, as I have personally managed to get into Sold Out shows after the sign has been put up.

Are you Pro or against streaming services and why?

Pro – you have to embrace technology or you’ll get left behind. People complain about revenue streams and all sorts, but the good old days are gone, and singles / albums mean something differently to what they did ten, twenty years ago. Your music is now your advertisement for your live show, and streaming platforms are the best way to gather interest in that domain. Our last single Bravery hit 200,000 Spotify plays this week, that’s a lot of reach for a song to have and not only that but if someone hears your song on there, they can look you up, check your other music out, subscribe to you and you’ve got an instant connection to a new audience in the palm of your hands.

Who would play you in a movie about the band?

Bill Baily – we have the same hairline and waistline…. Although he’ll need to step up his beard game

Tell us 3 bands that we should be listening to/be keeping an eye out for?

Something awesome is happening in the UK at the moment. Indie rock has taken a heavy turn and there’s a lot of really cool stuff coming out of there. Don Broco are incredible – big heavy riffs blended with ultra pop stylings. Arcane Roots droped their last record in 2017 and it’s an absolute banger filled with big synths and huge production over an essentially metal base. And for something really obscure, there’s a band called Pandora’s Fox who released an EP last year that I can’t stop listening to. Funky, heavy, some really solid song writing. There are always trends in music, we saw the New Wave of british heavy metal in the 70’s, then that turned to the American Metal in the 80’s. Once grunge died down in the 90’s, Brit Pop started to take over. In recent years, the American Active Rock market has started to become quite stagnant with only a few unique bands poking their heads through, but this explosion of fresh music coming out of England is absolutely fascinating me at the moment.