San Diego, California based rock band Transfer has, lucky for us, caught our attention here at Band Weblogs. The boys have managed to write and record one of THE BEST songs that I’ve heard this year. That song is called “You Are The Wolf”. Of course their other tracks are spectacularly superb, like “Bring A Knife” and their new single, “Sinking, Sailing”. The vocals, musicianship and songwriting that Transfer brings to the table along with mouthwatering chords and changes within songs, is tight, polished and top notch. – Jenny May
Transfer was gracious enough to take the time out between recording and preparing for a UK tour for an interview with BandWeblogs.com.
Compiled by: Dave Tommo
Dave Tommo: I hear you’re recording at present. How’s it going and what distractions are there in L.A.?
Transfer (Jason Cardenas): Ahhh.. the bright lights, the scantily clad celebrities, the seemingly endless supply of party drugs. We actually keep our noses to the grindstone in the studio. So far, the recording process has been pretty spectacular for us… we have the chance to work with a solid producer at a good studio, so we’re definitely taking full advantage. Lucky for us, we have a lot of friends in LA so after the work day we can always knock off and party at a buddy’s house (saves money that way).
How did Transfer come to be?
We all met through our mutual friend, Merlin Olsen. Apparently we had in common a love of leather bound books, the smell of rich mahogany, and making sweet music. Three years later, here we are.
What influenced your latest album/EP (Faded Signal/Sunken Eyes)?
I think the new Sunken Eyes EP has a much more aggressive sound than Faded Signal. I think the influence comes mainly from within on this one. Spending a lot of time together as a band, being cooped up in a van driving up and down the coast, eating rats on tour… I think it all added to writing some grittier tunes.
Where does the name Transfer come from?
It was actually the name of one of the first songs every written as Transfer. We felt that the title summed up the feeling at the time – we were in a very transitional period, both musically and personally. Of course, in hindsight we would have named the band something else… the name doesn’t really lend itself to a google search.
What’s the favorite drink(s) on the road?
Pre-show: Pabst Blue Ribbon
After-show: Jack and Coke
How do you entertain yourselves when traveling from gig to gig?
We have various methods of entertainment while traveling in our vansion – attempting to build perches out of gear and sleeping bags, drawing spot-on caricatures of bands we play with, drawing penises on the foreheads of passed out mates… lots of drawing. We’re very artistic, I guess.
What do you do when not on tour or playing music?
We go back to our pods, re-insert our feeding tubes, and hibernate until the next tour.
Where is the best place to gig?
We primarily gig the West Coast and Southwest in the US. For me, the best gigs are at sweaty dive bars that have open bar tabs for the bands. You set up your gear on the ground, play way too loud, and get really drunk. The band plays for drinks and the money at the door…that’s fu**in’ rock n’roll.
What is your recording procedure in the studio?
We usually have a real clear-cut idea of the material we’re recording and how we will record it… we’re very big on pre-production to save time and cost in the studio. We dial in tones starting with the drums, then lay down the basic tracks focusing on drums and bass. Then comes the magic…layers upon layers of sounds. We believe in laying down way too many tracks, then whittling this down during mix. This can be a real pain in the ass, but it’s definitely worth it.
Who is your favorite monkey?
Dr. Zaius, of course. That cold-hearted monkey son-of-a-bitch.
What musicians inspired you to form a band?
Too many to list in this interview… our musical inspirations run the spectrum of genres. Anything honest inspires us. Unfortunately a lot of new music today sounds pretty fake. Give us the real shit, man!
Can you tell us some of the guitar effects that you use?
Lotsa reverb, my man…big hall reverb! I usually use a combination of effects at any given time, reverb, slap back delay, backwards echo, tremolo, midgets beat-boxing… we try to run the effects gamut!!
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Music that gets the most plays in the vansion: The Besnard Lakes, Band of Horses, Tapes n’ Tapes, Led Zeppelin, The Shins, Wilco, Black Sabbath, M. Ward, ABBA.
How do you come up with your video concepts?
We haven’t delved that deeply into videos really… At this point, we’re fortunate to have some really talented friends who put together video ideas and setup of the shoots. We just roll along with the ideas. Recently, we’ve been coming up with some different video concepts we want to put together, but nothing that has come to fruition just yet.
I love the song “You Are the Wolf”. How do you conjure up such a sound?
Ahh yess, conjuring sound… we channeled the ancient spirits for that track!! Again, lotsa reverb. That was one of those songs that just about wrote itself…We jammed it out during some off time while touring in Washington. It’s one of those rare songs that was written very quickly, and hasn’t really changed at all from the original conception.
Do you get spooked out when you listen back to music that you’ve just recorded?
I think spooked may be the wrong word… analytical maybe? Hopeful? Embarrassed? I dunno…
Have you ever had a spiritual occurrence in the studio while recording?
Our drummer Cooper was once possessed by the spirit of Keith Moon while recording…He didn’t really play the drums at all, he just passed out and defecated himself. He claims he was possessed. Not sure if I buy it, though.
Transfer band members are:
Jason Cardenas (guitar/vocals)
Matt Molarius (vocals/guitar)
Jeremy Chambers (bass)
Mike Cooper (drums)
Transfer will be on tour in the UK with Leeds band Vib Gyor from October 18th – October 27th, 2007.
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