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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look Mexico vs. SXSW

Freakin’ tour! We rolled out of Tallahassee around six? Seven? Or eight p.m. on Wednesday with two full tanks of vegetable oil bound for our first couple of shows in Austin, TX. We drove all night, three hour shifts, and made it to Houston Texas around nine in the morning. We crashed at our good friends Eric and Val’s place from I Heart U Productions, and Eric was kind enough to let us get a quick practice in at his band’s, O’Pioneers, practice space. Following practice, we loaded up and hit the road.

South By Southwest was ridiculous. Hands down some of the most fun we’ve had in a good long time. Enough fun, in fact, to make us consider a future move to the music hot spot.

We arrived and met up with our friends at Amp energy drink, who gave us dangerous amounts of their product, and then caught up with our dearest bros Fake Problems and loaded in for our first show at Plush. We played after Consider the Source and Frank Turner. It was a real tight space, but we made due and played an all right set. Particularly in thanks to our main man John B., who helped keep folks off the dude’s pedals and cords. Our new Austin buddy Jerome, was front and center (um, mildly intoxicated) singing along, and it was real nice to know we had some friends in the audience. We were followed by our good friends Constants, to whom we owe our vegetable oil salvation. They owned and have gotten so tight and full as a three piece. Thanks to James from Consider the Source for getting us on that show.

Following the set, we took to the streets of Austin for Thursday night’s festivities. We followed Fake Problems into the artist lounge- which we would do all weekend- helping ourselves to free booze and fruit drinks… yep… fruit drinks.

Good and tired from the long drive, show, and party times, we crashed on our Tallahassee bros, Matt and Costa’s, Motel 8 floor. Those dudes are real solid.

We woke and made it over to our second showcase, the Consequence of Sound day party. We played a fine show amongst a real healthy line-up: Sybris, Gringo Scarr, among others. Oh yeah and Rachel Ray’s husband’s band. Yep… you got it. Rachel Ray- as in 30 minute meals. She failed to show, and he and his band failed to be any good. The showcase was a lot of fun though, and we are real lucky that Dan, Mike, and Alex at COS are solid enough dudes to have helped us get on that one. Not to mention we got free PBR.

After the show we rolled over to the Amp energy drink’s Rock Paper Scissors battle. The winner would walk away with five grand. Spoiler alert: we didn’t win. Smith put up a valiant effort, but was cut down in two sets. Matt, who adopted the RPS nomen “The Barber” won his first battle and miraculously by some stroke of luck or pulled strings, made it to the final eight. I, in the meantime, won five dollars from a busty babe bartendress in a side game.

The barber’s reign at the top was short lived, as he fell to the soon to be winner, and we left the tournament sad for the loss, but harboring a great deal of pride for the journey. NOT- the barber was f-in pissed. He’ll be back next year and cut their dreams.

That night we picked up a house show that our new buddy Jerome put on. It was freakin’ awesome. Hot dogs, keg beer, good people, and Jerome’s band “The United Snakes of America,” were both kind to us and a real awesome rock and roll band.
That night we got our party on with our friends Fake Problems. We crashed the artist lounge again, and were the last to leave. It seems we still have things to talk about when the beer dries up.

The next day we partook in the Austin Festivities yet again, catching sets from our friends Slow Claw and One Small Step For Landmines. Amazing to see those dudes. Smith and Slate later caught a set from Cursive which they hailed as “f-ing awesome.”

That night we rolled over to catch the Fake Problems set. Matt played horn along with them, having written the horn stuff for their latest record “It’s Great to be Alive” released earlier this year on Side One Dummy. They owned, as usual, and we stuck around following the set to again partake in the free booze and food that was offered up at their showcase spot. We eventually made our way to the Vice party, and well… things got raucous. Highlights- Casey Lee puked in a beer bin. Frank Turner (from the U.K.) got a tattoo of Texas. Party. Party. Party.

The next morning we woke and bid farewell to the sweet Fakers over a hearty lack luster meal at Denny’s, and hit the road for San Antonio.

That night we played the best set of the tour thus far. Also playing the show was Frank Turner, who wailed, and punk rock legends Kepi Ghoulie from the Groovie Ghoulies, Kevin Seconds, from the legendary 7 Seconds, with his folk project. And Steve Soto from the legendary Adolescents. It was our first show on our tour with Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts, and we were real impressed with their effortless musicianship.

It’s been a solid tour thus far. After our short stay in Austin we have been seriously considering the option of relocating to that musical hub. There will undoubtedly be more on that to come. We’re in route to a show in Phoenix tonight. We drove all night. Smith and I are coming down with something… but things are still looking good. Thanks for reading. More to come.


PS- Dave has been cooking a bunch of stuff in the crock pot.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Look Mexico vs. HOH Fest

So last week we played the Harvest of Hope Fest in St. Augustine. It was freaking awesome! We stopped by Slate’s parent’s place for a real fine meal his mom prepped for us, and then made way to the festival. We arrived punctually, signed in about four hours before our set, and were so pleased to find that we had gotten a very large write up in the HOH Guide Book, along with a Lujo Records ad for Gasp Asp on the opposite page. We met up with our friends Tony and Cam from No Idea, Nate and the Merchline dudes, Eric and Val from O’Pioneers, and Matt’s, Smith’s, and Slate’s parents all showed up to support.

(courtesy of ceephoto)

We did have a bit of a messy start to the night though. Our keyboardist Dave left Tallahassee around six o’clock for our set scheduled for at nine fifteen. That would have just barely been enough time to make it, but alas, it was the beginning of spring break for college kids all over, and there was plenty of traffic. With about ten minutes until our set, more stressed out than we’ve been for a long long time, we had to compromise our set and play a completely new one. We had practiced all week, and had incorporated three completely fresh songs into the set, but all three of them feature Dave. So we had to revert back to stuff we played as a four piece. We took to the stage a bit ill tempered, but after the first song, amazing crowd, and beautiful smiling singing familiar faces beaming up at us, it was hard not to put all that mess behind us. We played, if I might say, a real fine rock and roll set. It was so much fun and such a relief that the night wasn’t botched. Dave apologized to us profusely as we got off the stage, and all’s well. Granted, he probably won’t live that one down for a very long time.

The line up for the festival was incredible. I got a chance to see Girl Talk, Propaghandi, Lucero, Summerbirds in the Cellar, Less Than Jake, Against Me!, JohnVanderslice, The Mountain Goats, and Tilly and The Wall, among others.

After the show Smith and I took a spin on the whirl-a-gig carnival ride. It was a real fine bro- date, and I captured it with my phone. Later Smith went again with Matt. Smith is a big fan of the whirl-a-gig. Matt also captured it with his phone...

I think the stand out band of the weekend was Monotonix from Tel Aviv, Israel, who are hands down the most rock and roll band I have ever seen (we had the pleasure of playing the Summerbirds in the Cellar CD release show with these dudes over a year ago, and were amazed by them then). They wrap their arms around something more rock and roll than any band from the states could pull off without seeming a bit contrived. This three piece hurls their bodies across the stage, out into the crowd, ripping off their shirts, moving their drumset from place to place, as the singer crowd surfs like a drunk monkey, lands, chugs a beer out of some dudes hand, and hangs on to anyone within arm’s length. I caught wind from a friend that after our show in Orlando with them that the band offered him some drugs and led him to their rental car, in which they had cut out some of the carpeting to hide their whatever. Rock and Roll. If you get a chance to see these dudes, do it. If that opportunity doesn’t present itself- check out their youtube videos, and you’ll get a sense of what I am talking about.

On Saturday we were treated to an amazing meal by the Smith family, who live in Jacksonville. Afterwards we made it back to the festival for good times with our friend Nate and the awesome dudes at the Merchline booth who brought along some awesome yard games, and tons of candy and beverages. Those dudes are awesome. It was a stellar weekend. Only regret- we didn’t get to stick around late Sunday to see our good bros Fake Problems. Luckily they’ll be out in Austin for SXSW the same time as us.

The last week we’ve been working hard on demoing two more tracks. If you’re keeping count, we’ve demoed four completely- and have them in a very solid spot. We have about four other songs we have yet to demo for the new record. Yesterday we laid down some bell tracks, drums, and guitars for the forth of the new demos. We’ll hopefully have those squared away to show off before we head out on tour. We are super stoked about this record. Matt said last night, “Sometimes I listen to Gasp Asp just to be proud of it. I think I may listen to these new tracks because I honestly want to listen to them.” And I think that’s how we all feel.

We leave for tour on Wednesday with our first show in Austin on the 19th. It’s going to be awesome! Stay tuned. More blogs from the road to come!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Look Mexico vs. Look Mexico

It’s been a busy few months for us dudes here at the Look Mexico camp. If it seems like you haven’t heard a whole lot from us lately, that’s because we’ve been locked in a basement… literally… kind of.

We’ve dropped proverbial anchor in an old mattress shop below local 'za hot spot, Decent Pizza. It’s an amazing space; roomy, warm, and acoustically brilliant, especially after all the work Matt and Dave did on soundproofing it. We’re talking hours and hours of hard labor on sound panels, and some heavy-duty sound proof doors so we can practice late into the night. Usually until 1 a.m. before we start waking the dead. (The space conveniently backs up to a funeral home.) From the looks of it, the spot, which we’ve endearingly named “The Magic Cave,” will be our home for a while. After finishing up our tour last November, we’ve stayed static in the cave, meeting four to five times a week to write our next full length. You can catch a look at The Magic Cave in our video for the first track off our EP Gasp Asp, “You’re Not Afraid of the Dark, Are You?”

Prior to our move, we had already started working on the first track of what we hope will be a batch of about twelve songs, ten ultimately making it to the next LP. It’s the track “Just Like Old Times,” and you can see an early rendition of it here, documented by the folks at Bionic Ear in Orange County, California. Since that recording, we’ve made some serious instrumental additions and changes, and really spruced the song up. We’ll be playing “Just Like Old Times,” out on our next tour.

The second track we tried to write didn’t come so easily, and we entered into a bit of creative constipation.

It’s interesting being a band at this point; on a label, with a few releases, the ability to book healthy tours, a lot of great press, but still working steady jobs and a whole heck of a lot of collective band debt to boot. We’ve of late experienced a number of folks approaching us saying things to the effect of, “you guys are getting big.” Of course that’s a real nice thing to hear, but for us, it’s been close to five years of hard work, and everything comes so gradually. Ryan Slate has been delivering pizzas, while Ryan Smith puts in long hours at a pizza joint too. Dave and Matt work at Fusion CafĂ© in Tallahassee; Dave waiting tables, and Matt working in the kitchen. And I’ve been working hard to pay the bills with my design work at sharkguts design. Three nights of the week we write from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m and allot a few hours during in the afternoon on other days because that’s what our work schedules permit. And so, as we started writing more for the record we could feel the great weight of our hard work pressing down upon us. We found ourselves caught in the terrible mindset that everything we did from that moment on had to be golden, because WE HAD TO WRITE AND INCREDIBLE SOPHOMORE FULL LENGTH. (Cue lightening).

As anyone in music, writing, or art can attest, you don’t strike gold on the first go. Writing is tedious. It’s rewriting. And so we spent a long while slamming our heads against our instruments, getting stressed out about this second song- and then finally one day we stepped back and started writing the third song. And then the fourth. And things came easier, and we found a way to compromise and swallow our collective pride, and we wrote a fifth, sixth and seventh song. And it’s hands down our best stuff to date.

What can you expect? Well, it’s definitely smarter. Not smarter as in mathier, but smarter in the sense that we’ve found new weave, a new groove.. The give and take of the instrumental play is something that makes this latest batch of songs so exciting. We’re experimenting with dynamic and modesty, simple and chaotic. It’s certainly more mature. And the addition of our latest two members, Dave Pinkham and Ryan Smith (who, contrary to some reviews, have not been a part of the writing process up until now) have brought so much new material and life to the mix, that it’s hard to image we made due without them.

For a special behind the scenes look at the recording process, click here.
Okay, just kidding. That’s a video of Matt lighting Smith’s back hair on fire.

We demoed two of the tracks, laid down rough recordings of the rest, and we’ll hopefully be playing at least four of them on our upcoming tour. We’re playing the Harvest of Hope Fest on the 6th. After that we come back for about a week then head out to Texas for South By Southwest. Then we make our way to California, up to Portland, and then back home to begin recording this next record with our main man, Phil Martin in The Magic Cave. It’s an exciting time. We’ll see you out there.

Thanks for reading. Stay turned. More updates to come.