As a writer, I like to think artists enjoy answering interview questions as much as I enjoy reading the responses. Yes, I know I'm only another bunch of questions from a chick they don't know and will forget immediately. If there's a follow-up asking for the responses, I progress to an annoying lil' shit with stupid questions which they forget immediately. Luckily, there are those that allow me to revel in my delusional bliss of thinking I'm special, even if it's only for a few moments.
Despite being on tour, Offended By Everything's frontman Zak Howe dealt with an onslaught of questions without making me feel like too much of an annoying lil' shit (or at least he hid it exceptionally well!). Talking about their new EP, tours and tuna eyeballs, here is what he had to say:
Hey Zak, thanks for speaking with me. I know you're busy, so I'll attempt to keep this short. Shall we begin?
I hate asking this question, but people coming across this interview might not know who you or OBE are. So, who are you and who are Offended By Everything?
We’re a group of guys who’d probably never have met each other or be friends if it weren’t for music. I think that’s our message somewhat. Just let go and let life take its course! As for me, I’m just a dude who likes cheap beer and fun shows with the people I love.
How did OBE come together?
Jarrett and our ex-bassist Jason started the project with an intent of just playing a few local shows, coincidentally! I found out about them after I saw an Instagram ad and shot my shot with an audition! We then filled the rest of our line-up with the help of Craigslist online, funny enough.
You recently released an EP called Evergreen. What can you tell me about it?
Evergreen is a really fun record in the way that it kind of created the sound we’ve always been trying to find and be comfortable with. It’s definitely something different, and we’re all incredibly proud of it.
What was the recording process of Evergreen like?
Recording it was a looooong process; took almost a year for five songs. We were definitely our biggest critics during the whole ordeal, but that's because we wanted something no one else had! We’d spend a ton of time arguing and tweaking the SMALLEST things, and ultimately the end product was totally worth it.
Does the EP have a central theme on which it's built or do the tracks have separate meanings?
There’s not really a central theme that I can confidently say exists. What I have gathered through my own personal experience writing the record with my buddies is that it’s about how rough things can be at any point of your life. You can wallow in it forever, or you can move on and realise you’ve got at least a few years left in your life, can’t waste it on anything that doesn’t work for you!
Your EP made the Billboard charts at the end of Jan. What was your reaction when you saw that?
Seeing us on Billboard was NUTS. In the upcoming days of the release, we all had a discussion on how we wanted that to happen and how we’d do it. Plus, seeing our name above The Smashing Pumpkins was TIGHT.
Evergreen is a bit heavier than Never Too Late To Start Again incorporating more metal, screamo, and alternative rock along with pop-punk. How do you find your fans are reacting to this change, and can we expect more of this amalgamation of genres from OBE?
I think our fans love the change, maybe because we do. I think when bands put out music that’s more in their 'wheelhouse', the fans and friends notice it too, and it makes it even more special. My grandma’s face during 'Deadweight' was priceless though when I showed her.
Now musicians often say they love all the songs on an EP or have a favorite, but which is your least favorite on Evergreen and why that one?
I think my least favorite song is 'I’m Gone'. Not because it's bad by any means, we just sat on that song for SO LONG while we put our ducks in a row. I’ve probably heard it at least 400 times. *laughs*
You're currently on tour with Chin Up, Kid. What can people expect from the performances?
People that have seen us before know what to expect - high energy, a plethora of 'dad jokes', and a lot of smiles. To those that haven’t seen us yet, they’ll see what I mean!
What is the most exciting thing about being in a band?
The most exciting part of being in a band is when people at a show, on the internet, or even in person tell you how much your music means to them. It’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve never really been exceedingly talented my entire life, so hearing these affirmations from people that I’ve helped in some way is honestly the best.
Since you've come so far ...
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I heard you're a bit of a foodie, so I did a little research and found some "interesting" food items. Tell me if you'd eat them.
- Barbeque bat?
BBQ Bat? Depends on the sauce.
- Oreo cookie pancakes?
How could I not know something as beautiful as this exists? I’ll eat 50.
- Spaghetti tacos?
Don’t get me started on spaghetti tacos. When I lived alone in my apartment when I was 19 all I seemed to have was taco shells and spaghetti. So, yeah, I guess I may have already tried them. *laughs*
- Pickled pig feet?
Isn’t that an Irish dish or something? I mean if it just tastes like pickles with pork, I might be down to give it a shot.
- Tuna eyeballs?
Miss me with that one, dude. I HATE SEAFOOD and I can’t imagine eating an eyeball would help me get over that.
How would your bandmates describe you?
Probably a little over dramatic with decision making, but apparently they know I have good intentions (I HOPE). I am known to be more of a dad figure on tour because these goofballs love to come up with the worst 'would you rather?' questions on the road. At home though? Not so much. *laughs*
How do you deal with performance anxiety?
Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with anxiety too bad when on stage. I mean, the way I see it, I’m proud of our songs. I have nothing to hide on stage!
If you could play any venue with any artist, where and with who?
I’d love to play Chain Reaction in Los Angeles, California with The Story So Far. It’s their hometown, and I know it’d be awesome.
Finally, many inquiring minds want to know, how did you become so charming?
*laughs* That credit goes to my mother. She raised me to treat everyone with love and respect. She’s also my biggest supporter. Love you, Mama!
And that's it! Thanks so much for speaking with me, Zak. Good luck with the tour and can't wait to see you when you get to Europe!
Thank you so much. Hopefully, we’ll see you soon!
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Written by Nicole Mendes / Germany - Norden
My name is Nicole and I am a South African-born music writer currently based in Norden, Germany. For several years I have worked with award-winning indie music blogs conducting reviews, reported on breaking festival news, but my specialism is interviewing. I currently work as editor-in-chief for an indie music blog I founded where I specialise in interviews with independent artists.
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