REMIX

Trans Am Is The Official Rock Band For TransWorld SURF

Trans Am is a band that makes rock music like no one has ever heard before. The synthetic sounds mixed with the rock these guys create is nothing short of ingenious, and anyone who’s heard them will agree with me a 150-million percent.

This interview was conducted with Trans Am’s drummer Sebastian Thomson¿both Chris Cote and Aaron Schmidt got a chance to talk him regarding the band, the music, and the future of rock and roll as we know it. During our interview, fellow bandmates bassist/keyboardist/vocodorist Nathan Stanley, and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Phil Manley were wandering around The Casbah in San Diego, California checking out the opening act and playing the Galaga video game before they went on. Here’s what went down:

How is the new album Redline different from Trans Am’s previous records?

It’s kind of like the record we always wanted to make but never could. Now we have our own real studio National Recording Studio, so we can.

Is your recording studio at your house?

We rent a big warehouse space in downtown Washington D.C.

It’s strictly for Trans Am music?

No, we record other bands there. Mainly local acts, but also some bands from New York.

You guys have a completely different sound than anyone has heard before. Tell us a little bit about the formation of Trans Am and how you developed your sound.

Nate and Phil have played together since the beginning of high school. I met them when they were in eleventh grade and I was in twelfth. This was in 1989. I replaced the drummer they had, and at that point we were just this rock band that did covers of classic rock.

The whole D.C. hardcore punk scene was big back then, so we’d go to those shows all the time. That was a big influence on us. We veered into that kind of “Fugazi” direction for a while. We had a singer that we parted ways with because we didn’t see eye to eye. We were like, “What are we going to do now?”

In the summer of 1993, we all lived together in Chapel Hill North Carolina. I had this old Casio keyboard that I practiced piano on. We started using it, and ever since then it was anything goes.

You guys have been referred to as the future of rock and roll. What do you say to that comment?

I think that the future is now. We are the rock and roll of now.

What bands are you guys listening to right now?

We have about twelve tapes in the car. There are only four artists we bought three tapes of each: AC/DC, ZZ Top, Funkadelic, and Neil Young.

As far as this album goes, is there anything you did differently? It sounds like there are some new elements.

We spent a really long time doing it. Length is stressed on this album. We have our own studio and a little money, so we could experiment. We spent a year and a half on this one. We had a lot of ideas that we’d never fully explored. Now we’re out of ideas.

What has touring and playing live been like? How have crowds reacted to your show?

Our live show is more energetic than our albums, and I think people are psyched about it. This tour has been good. We’ve had some really good crowds and enthusiasm. Austin, New Orleans, Dallas, and Atlanta were really great shows.

Who came up with the name Trans Am?

I was talking with Phil on the phone when we were in college. We had another name, which I won’t tell you. He said, “Why don’t we call it Camaro or Firebird?”

I was like, “No, Trans Am is so much better.” And that was it. I like Trans Am because I don’t necessarily think of the car. I just think of the concept of being TransAmerican, or traveling across America.

I read somewhere you guys don’t like to divulge information about what kind of equipment you use as far as sampling and electronic sounds. Is it basic stuff?

It’s a combination of old and new stuff. Whatever we get our hands on that’s reasonably priced and sounds good. It’s more old than new, but we’re not against new stuffP>How would you guys feel about being called the official rock band for TransWorld SURF? You don’t have to do anything, you just get to be called the official rock band for TransWorld SURF.

Fine with me. I’ve only been surfing twice. If we do that, can someone give me some lessons? What are you guys doing tomorrow?

We’re doing nothing.

You want to give me some pointers?

Yeah. Are you in town for a little while?

We’re going to L.A. tomorrow.

We’re in Oceanside. You should stop by the office. We’ll give you some surf lessons. The water is warm as hell right now. We have boards and stuff, too.

Give us TransWorld’s number, and we’ll call you on our way up.

Cool.

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It’s too late. Eyehategod has already infected the music scene. Expect drying vocality, ear-splitting drumming, and deathly ill guitarwork as symptoms.¿A.S.pressed. If you ever go to Germany and drive a Porsche on the Autobahn, bring this CD because you’ll be f¿king flying.¿C.C.

PhoenixUnitedAstralwerks

Phoenix is a French band that plays cool electro-pop that sounds like futuristic lounge music. These songs make guys and girls want to get together, dance, and kiss. These “Children of the 80s” play music you would listen to if you were chilling at the bar in a luxurious spacecruiser. You could dance in zero gravity and drink some crazy space drinks. If Beck took some downers and traveled into the future, this may be what you’d get. If you’ve heard of the awesome band called Air, then you’d love this band called Phoenix. I think anyone would love these guys, they’re amazing.¿C.C.

PeleThe NudesPolyvinyl Records

The indie music tree has so many branches. There’s the hard-rock indie branch, the weird-stuff branch, and there’s a branch called the instrumental branch. Bands like Tortoise, Tristeza, and 33.3 are all hanging on this branch. This is the branch Pele likes to chill on. The band members make instrumental indie music that’s happy and playful while being serious and technical. If you want some nice music to do housework to, or listen to while you paint pictures of sunny days¿this is a good CD to get. Also, if you like to chill, but not fall asleep, this CD is perfect.¿C.C.

ShuvelSet It OffInterscope

Dude, rap-metal is lame. Put on your wife-beater and kick some ass, bro. Dude, I just couldn’t get enough of that last Limp Bizkit record, so I just had to go out and get this new Shuvel record. I guess if you want to mosh and listen to the same chords and the same screaming rap, you might like this record. It seems like all the major labels are competing to see who can get the lamest rap-metal band out. This is like angry 311, or a bad motocross-video soundtrack that never ends.¿C.C.

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Contamination ingested into the bowel of music, that’s what this is. In recent years, New Orleans, Louisiana has produced some heavy-ass music. Bands like the death-metal-outfit Paralysis, and fellow sludge-grind cohorts Soilent Green, and obviously Eyehategod (or I wouldn’t have referred to New Orleans). Eyehategod guitarist Brian Patton also plays guitar in Soilent Green, so there’s a similiar sound, but Eyehategod’s sound is way sludgier than Soilent’s. Thank god some rockers start side bands so there’s more good music to listen to.

It’s too late. Eyehategod has already infected the music scene. Expect drying vocality, ear-splitting drumming, and deathly ill guitarwork as symptoms.¿A.S.