Red Animal War: Justin Wilson, Brian Pho & James (the band’s merch guy)

JM: How much of an influence is J. Robbins (jawbox, burning airlines) and the greater D.C. scene on your music? justin: The first time I saw Jawbox was on Conan O'Brian. They blew me away. I've been a huge fan ever since.

this interview has responses from Justin Wilson (vocals, guitar),
Brian Pho (bass) and James (the band’s merch guy)

JM: How much of an influence is J. Robbins (jawbox, burning airlines) and the greater D.C. scene on your music?

justin: The first time I saw Jawbox was on Conan O’Brian. They blew me away. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

brian: As far as the D.C. scene is concerned, Minor Threat was a huge influence in the early days of me picking up the bass guitar, and Fugazi to a lesser degree. Their music was amazing to me and it inspired me to learn how to play hard.

merch guy james: Big influence. Those bands have some great roadies and tour managers.

JM: Or the Minutemen of early 80’s punk?

justin: I was into some early 80’s punk, but the punk stuff I mostly into was Sex Pistols and Green Day.

brian: misfits, bad religion, circle jerks, adolescents, agent orange, sex pisols, 7 seconds, tsol were big influences.

merch guy james: Punk? Yea, punk is great!

JM: What bands are your main influence?

justin: Bjork, James Hall, Jawbox, Nirvana, Michael Jackson

brian: every band i’ve been into since i was 12 has been a major influence (the cure, new order, depeche mode, jane’s addiction, sex pistols

merch guy james: Nerf Herder, MxPx, Skuss

JM: What’s life like in a band in Dallas?

justin: Life here is great. We have lots of good friends and there’s alot of really great bands. I wish we had a subway system though.

brian: there are pros and cons like any other town i’m sure. we have a fairly supportive local scene and decent embracement from radio with just about every major and college station having a program dedicated to local music. on the other hand there are plenty of people who go to clubs to drink and socialize rather than see bands. most clubs are professional and treat bands with respect. Pantera are from here!

merch guy james: Pretty cool. You get to move alot of heavy equipment, use fake id’s and drink!

JM: What other Dallas bands should be be listening to?

brian: doOsu, the pAperchAse, [daryl], tendril, chomsky to name a few. dallas bands like to spell their names funny like.

justin: my spacecoaster, lewis

merch guy james: Nerf Herder, MxPx, Skuss… oh dallas…. umm…. i’d have to say anything from the 4-peice [Daryl] days, and anything poppy like Adventures of Jet.

JM: Do you think new bands along with the greater separation of the mainstream/major acts from the indie-world and the greater expense oftouring than it used to be, will create a new music scene based on the local?

merch guy james: I hope not. Touring GOOD… Dallas BAD.

JM: Do you think cities/regions will further develop their own sounds?

brian: yeah, it will continue to evolve. whether or not it’s good or bad is a different story.

JM: And do you think this will increase the amount of music venues where new bands can play?

brian: all depends on the strength of the DIY spirit. most people in the “club” business are driven by how lucrative business can be, so it’s easy for quality of music to suffer if they’re not making any money showcasing new indie bands to 10 kids versus having 100 drunk frat daddies moving to the beat of the new limp bizkit album.

JM: Do you think there is an audience, will there be an audience for this localized music?

brian: there is and will be.

JM: Where did you draw your biggest crowd?

brian: I think i speak for all of us when i say, Valdosta, GA!

merch guy james: At the merch table after the Valdosta show.

JM: Where did you play your best gig?

brian: see above.

JM: Where do you think indie music is going? More folk, more pop, more hip hop?

brian: more heavy!

justin: more electronic.

merch guy james: More cd’s and tshirts hopefully.

JM: Does it take a good booking agent or management to make it in this biz?

brian: what’s your definition of “making it”? getting on MTV? if so then that’s what it takes. compromising integrity would be another key ingredient. but that’s all temporary and short-lived. i consider staying true to yourself by creating music that’s true to yourself. if that music happens to evoke emotions in someone else than you’ve been successful. your success could be gauged by word of mouth which is the best form of advertising anyway.

merch guy james: Now, this is a great question. I think the key to making in this ‘biz’ is a great tour manager. Tour managers hold the band together when little things like “wheres my cheese in a can?” and “who gets the bed in the back?” might normally tear a band apart. Plus, a tour manager can talk to the fans(girls) and video tape the shows (girls).

JM: How long did you play together before you recorded the album?

brian: i had one practice with “red animal war” prior to going into the studio but the other three guys had been together like a year and a half? also, jeff and justin and i all played in this other band prior to the incarnation of the animal called ‘the briefing room’.

justin: we’ve been a band since fall of ’98.

JM: How does this album translate into a live show?

brian: i always read about certain albums “capturing” the live experience of a particular band but i guess i always missed it. experiencing a band live just can’t be duplicated by listening to a studio recording of them on a stereo. so this album, as rocking as it is, translates into a even more rocking live show.

merch guy james: well, like…. the album is at the live show on the merch table.

JM: How often do you tour? Nationally or locally?

brian: we just returned from our first tour. it was the first time for all of us to be on the road and was a HUGE learning experience. it lasted two weeks and lead us on a journey from our home state of texas all the way to boston. now that we’re back home we play locally every chance we get, which is at least a couple times a month. another tour is already in the works.

merch guy james: whenever my schedule allows the band to tour. We tour global.

JM: What does it take to have a hit song?

brian: a catchy melody usually. heavy radio play will also do it.

merch guy james: Poppy, easy chord progression, with a ‘sing-a-long’ chorous.

JM: Would you sell your songs to a pop-star band if they wanted to record them?

brian: depends on which pop-star band…and only if they would sell us one of their songs to record them!

merch guy james: We are a pop-star band.

JM: Would you be happy being a one hit wonder?

brian: i would be depressed.

justin: that would never happen.


for more informtaion on Red Animal War, make contact

deep elm records
po box 36939
charlotte, nc 28236 usa

sound spirit fury fire

(704) 333-4732
(704) 333-7732 fax