Relient K

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Interviews

Relient K - Matt Thiessen and John Warne

  • February 22nd, 2006
  • Red's - Edmonton, Alberta

During their first ever trip to Edmonton, Relient K‘s Matt Thiessen and John Warne were nice enough to take some time out of their day to talk to me. It was a fun interview, where we discussed their recent EP, George Washington’s birthday, and John’s tasty ass. So read and enjoy 🙂 I’d like to thank Anthony for setting it up, Matt and John for doing it, and the entire band for the birthday cake.

Bobby: Starting with the basics, you guys have been on this Matt Hoopes Birthday tour for a while now, how’s that going so far?

Matt: It’s good. This is what? Our sixth, no this will be our seventh show. It’s been going really good, every show has been really fun. A lot of times when you start up a tour, especially when you haven’t played for two months like us, the first couple shows are a little rough, but I think we got some good practice in and everything has pretty much gone off without too much of a hitch.

Bobby: That’s good, have there been any really memorable moments from it so far?

Matt: Um… Let’s see. Nothing too crazy, we’ve just been chilling, playing a lot of poker. I won poker in Boise, Idaho the other day; that was nice. That was a memorable moment for me because I have more money now.

Bobby: This tour is called the Matt Hoopes Birthday tour, why did you decide to call it that?

Matt: Our first show was on Matt Hoopes, our guitarist’s birthday. We think it’s really dumb, but we thought it would be kind of funny to name the whole tour after that – continue the celebration or what not. But Matt Hoopes, if you know him personally, he doesn’t like the spotlight too much; so the fact that we named the whole tour after him kind of embarrasses him so it’s kind of an inside joke as well.

Relient KBobby: Well I know over the next couple of days a lot of my friends are turning eighteen, so they are all getting ready to go out to the bar to celebrate because that’s the legal drinking age here. What have you guys done to celebrate some of your birthdays? What are some of your fondest birthday celebrations?

John: I remember on my twenty-first birthday, which is the legal drinking age in the States, I went and saw “Chicken Run” in the movie theatres. That was probably my most memorable birthday.

Matt: That’s funny.

Bobby: That’s a good movie though.

Matt: I don’t think I saw that one. I don’t know, we’re usually pretty laid back about birthdays. Yeah, nothing really crazy.

Bobby: That’s like on my seventeenth we went to go to see “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Matt: Well there you go.

Bobby: While we’re still on the topic of birthdays, today is actually George Washington’s birthday.

Matt: Wow. That’s good to know.

Bobby: So someone on your message board wanted to know if you could take a stab at it, how old do you think he would be?

Matt: George Washington? Let’s see, he would be…

John: Do you know?

Bobby: Yeah.

Matt: Alright, I’m gonna guess. Hold on a second. *Matt starts adding up numbers in his head* 200… plus 4 is 224… plus 6 is 230… plus… I’m going to go with 274, two hundred and seventy four.

Bobby: I gotta admit, I’m impressed. That is right.

John: Wow! No Way! 274?

Bobby: Yeah. He was born today in 1732, two hundred and seven four years ago.

Matt: I just took a guess, because 1776 is when they signed the Declaration of Independence and I figured he might have been around forty-four years old around that time.

John: That’s crazy.

Matt: That’s really crazy. I should gamble today.

Bobby: Yeah, I didn’t think you’d get that one.

John: Some pretty quick math there.

Bobby: Okay, a few months ago you guys released the “Apathetic” EP and one thing I found interesting about it was how little press there was about it. I only got one press release about it, it was only mentioned on your website once and still isn’t on your CD release page yet. Why so little press about it?

Relient KMatt: I don’t know if it’s intentional or not. I mean, I feel like there’s been more press about it than our other EPs, we’ve put out a lot of EPs. Really the whole purpose of it wasn’t so much to be a new release, but mostly just to put something out there before Christmas because it had been a while since we put out a record, you know? So it was just like a little bit of exclusive new material that people can get if they like our band a lot. So it wasn’t like it was “the new record” from the band or whatever, so maybe that’s why it was a little bit under wraps, but I’m sure there probably should have been more press about it if it wasn’t much.

Bobby: Out of the seven songs on the record, three of them were re-recorded acoustic versions of songs from your last CD “mmHmm.” Why did you decide to do that?

Matt: Well, A) It’s really easy. The songs are already written, so it’s not like you have to write new songs; and we’ve been doing a lot of radio shows and playing on TRL where they always want you to do an acoustic version of something. So we were just like “you know, these sound kind of fun” and thought it would be cool to just record them. And then you know, instead of putting out a four song EP you get a seven song EP – it’s a little bit better.

Bobby: How did you pick which three songs to do?

John: Well, they were the ones that we knew really.

Matt: Yeah. “Which To Bury”, in hindsight, I probably would have picked a different one. I would have probably done “Consequences,” like “I So Hate Consequences.” But it was kind of like we had already started them, and then the idea of the EP came out and we were like “let’s just finish these songs.” The EP was actually… Capitol wanted us to do a DVD and I don’t think we would’ve had time to do a really good job at a DVD so we were like “Why don’t we just give you a EP instead?”

Bobby: One of the songs on the album, “In Like A Lion (Always Winter)”, was written about C.S. Lewis’ famed novel “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” Why did you decide to go with that theme?

Matt: Well, there was actually talk about doing a soundtrack for the movie. A bunch of Christian bands did a soundtrack, and then there was talk about doing one with bands, like not for sure, but bands like Coldplay, people like that. So they talked to people about writing songs for this thing. So we wrote that song in case that soundtrack ended up happening, and it never happened. So the song was done and we thought it was cool so we just put it out on the EP. And the EP came out at Christmas time, right when the movie was coming out, so it kind of all just fit together.

Bobby: In an interview with Biola, you said that you had written two songs for the movie that were on the EP. What was the other song?

Matt: The first song was actually written with a few themes from the movie in it, the song’s called “The Truth.” I ended up changing a lot of the lyrics because “The Truth” is actually written from, I don’t know if you know the book very well, but at the very beginning, Lucy, the young girl, comes out of this wardrobe and she’s the only one who has seen Narnia or whatever and she’s talking to her oldest brother and none of them believe her. But the whole thing was that she never lied to her brothers and sisters before, so it was like “why would she be lying now? Why would she be making all this stuff up?” It was so hard to believe it that they couldn’t buy it, but the ironic thing was that she was telling the truth. So the whole song is kind of like sometimes the hardest thing to believe is actually, you know, reality. So that was the whole “you never lied to me before but the things you’re telling me I can’t believe yet I can’t ignore them.” I equated that to my faith in God and stuff, because sometimes that seems like it’s a little hard to swallow too, but you know, there’s really no reason not to believe it. Sometimes the hardest things to believe are actually what is true.

Relient KBobby: Do you guys have any plans to work on a new full length any time soon?

Matt: Yeah, we’re chiselling away. It’s kind of slow coming right now, but we’re writing a few songs just trying to figure out where we want to go with it.

Bobby: Later on this evening, forty-five minutes from now, at six, you guys are doing an in-store signing at HMV in West Ed. Is it weird that people are waiting in line right now just to meet you and grab an autograph?

Matt: Yeah, kind of weird.

John: The weird thing I think is that you get used to it. That’s what’s weird. But it’s also crazy that people are that into a band that they wait for hours and hours. But it’s cool, it’s flattering.

Matt: Yeah, very flattering.

Bobby: When I was doing research for this interview, I went on your message board to try and find out what some of your more hardcore fans wanted to find out. And one question that a lot of people asked was why Matt, why do you always wear buttoned up western shirts? But they were also quick to follow up that you looked fine in them…

Matt: Oh, thanks.

Bobby: But they wanted to find out why.

Matt: Umm, well let’s see. It’s a funny subject; I don’t know how much I want to elaborate on it, but okay, I have this complex. In junior high, in the locker room in gym class, whenever we’d be taking of our shirts and stuff like this, I had a lot of my baby fat and stuff like that and I actually got the nickname “Nips” because I had “man-boobs” or whatever you call them. So, you know, as a young kid, this really kind of screwed with my head a lot so I stopped wearing t-shirts and I started wearing collar shirts instead, and I just never stopped. Like now, actually I’d probably feel really uncomfortable, even though I probably don’t look terrible in a t-shirt, I feel really uncomfortable in them.

John: I can’t believe you told them that. That’s funny.

Matt: I’ve told people that before. That’s the truth.

John: The hardest thing to believe.

Bobby: You guys are a Christian band, with a more moral and spiritual outlook. A lot of your fans take that to heart, while others just love you for your music. But what’s it like touring with bands that don’t exactly have the same types of beliefs as you, like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte who you toured with just recently?

Matt: I feel that that should just be normal, like it should be reality. Like when we go to the mall, all those people out there, we can start a conversation with anybody, we’re all hanging out. Not everybody has the same beliefs and it’s not like you can’t get along. I don’t see why bands shouldn’t be able to go on tour and be like “hey, those guys over there in that band believe that and those guys over there, they don’t.” So I feel like it’s normal. Some people who only listen to music of people that share the same beliefs as them, they think it’s not necessarily a cool thing to be mixing it up like that. But that’s not us. A lot of the bands that we listen to aren’t necessarily Christian bands or whatever, so we want to tour with bands that we listen to.

Bobby: Okay, if you guys could pick one person or band, dead or alive to tour with, who would you pick to tour with and why?

Matt: This is a tricky question, it’s not like you can just name you’re favourite band, you know. Because, like my favourite band of all time is The Beach Boys. So say I wanted to tour with The Beach Boys in their prime, our music wouldn’t go over very well with the Beach Boys fans. So while we’re opening up for the Beach Boys, we’re going to get crap thrown at us and people are going to be booing us off the stage. So that wouldn’t make any sense. So you have to think of a band that you really like, that’s really amazing, but also at the same time, that you would work well with them, like opening. So it’s kind of challenging. So maybe like Green Day or Jimmy Eat World, stuff like that. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous, but hopefully someday that can happen. That would be awesome. But it’s not like we’d pick Jimi Hendrix or someone like that because I don’t think that would work.

Bobby: Okay, now onto to some more unusual questions that I like to ask at all my interviews just to you know, keep it interesting and stuff like that. First off all, if you guys were stranded on a desert island, with no food and nothing to eat to survive, which one of the band members would you eat to survive and why?

John: Probably not Jon, he’s slim pickings.

Matt: Yeah. I hear that the butt is the most delicious part of the human being. So I’ve seen in the movie “Alive.” John Warne has by far the biggest boom-boom, so sorry.

John: I don’t like how it’s “by far.”

Relient KMatt: Well, Hoopes is close. But like, I’d probably keep him alive. Like just eat delicious pieces of his ass, and then bandage it off…

John: With palm leaves, assuming that there’s palm trees.

Matt: Yeah. I’d probably sauce it in some coconut juice and “mmmm”. Well, anyway…

Bobby: If you were the member of the opposite sex for a day, week, month, however long you wanted; what would you do and why?

Matt: What would I do?

Bobby: Yeah.

Matt: Um… What would I do if I was a lady? The splits! I would do the splits.

John: *laughs and sarcastically* because every one of them do it easier than us.

Matt: Yes.

John: *thinking for an answer* Yeah, that’s a great answer for both of us.

Bobby: Could you tell us something about the band or one of it’s members that not many people know about, like a little quirk they do on the road or something like that?

John: Hoopes.

Matt: What about him?

John: Hoopes is a big golfer; a lot of people do know that, so let’s move on. Umm… It’s hard to think, we don’t really have a ton of quirks.

Matt: Sorry, using up all you’re memory. Precious tape.

John: Precious… Is it tape?

Bobby: Nah, it’s digital.

John: Ahh cool *plays with it for a bit*

Matt: Something somebody doesn’t know. Lalalalalala. Sorry. We’re trying to think of something good.

John: Dave has a pet ferret.

Matt: Dave has a pet ferret, and he’s thinking about getting another.

Bobby: That’s good.

Matt: There!

John: That was not interesting.

Bobby: Ah, it was good enough. Okay, if you guys could have one thing at this moment, anything at all, either materialistic or something just like better weather outside instead of this snow, what would you have and why?

Matt: Well, you know, obviously like a genie in a lamp. Three wishes, and then the first wish is obviously infinite wishes and then you’ve basically taken care of yourself.

Bobby: *gesturing with hands* I guess that’s about it, thanks a lot for doing it. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?

Matt: Sorry, I thought you were going for a handshake. *laughs* Let’s do it again. *we handshake* Can you hear that? *shake again over the Dictaphone* Handshake. Umm, final thoughts?

John: None.

Matt: None, but thanks a lot for the time.

Bobby: Thanks a lot for doing it.