Questions answered by:
Shaun Lopez (Vocals / Guitars).
Interviewed by Pedro
PRP: Ok, Shaun. Normally I'd start the interview asking how the was band formed, but I believe that The Revolution Smile is still in it's formation, since there are currently only two official members, you and Tim, and the band is currently looking for a drummer. So I'll change the question a bit: Since I know you're the band's mastermind, I'd like to know what motivated you to form a new band after Far's split. Did you feel the necessity to continue working, or even better, writing music?
Shaun: Actually, we now have a drummer, and his name is Jeremy. We like him a lot. But to answer your question, yes; I do and will always feel a need to make music.
PRP: How old is The Revolution Smile? Is it an old project you've been working on since the Far days that only now took shape, or is it new?
Shaun: The idea of the Revolution Smile is less than a year old. We played our first show (with the old lineup) in march of 2000.
PRP: What's the story behind the band's name?
Shaun: I just wanted a name that I felt fit the sound of the band, and that is what I came up with. The word "revolution" sounds a bit radical and aggressive, but the word "smile" kind of evens it out a bit. I don't know. Names are just names, it's the sound that counts.
PRP: Even though The Revolution Smile still carry a lot of emotion in their songs, you have opted for a more straight-forward, almost grungy rock instead of maintaining the same style as Far. Was that your intention the whole time, to start a new band whose sound would be as different as possible from Far?
Shaun: It was never my intention to try and sound different. I am just doing what is natural. Even though I wrote a lot of the material in Far, I was still only the guitar player. I think everyone in Far played a major part, so I guess that is where the difference comes in. Also, I would like to consider this the "phase one" of the band in that when I wrote these 6 songs on the cd I was thinking that:
(a) I would have to sing while playing these parts and that is something I am still getting used to; and
(b) I wrote them thinking we would be a 3 piece for a while.
I would like to think that the band is entering a new stage in that I am trying to incorperate more of the guitar playing side of myself into it and add a bit more depth. I think the newer songs show that a bit. The band is still undergoing 2nd guitar decisions.
PRP: Do you think that The Revolution Smile falls into any category, like "grunge", "emo", "new metal" or whatever?
Shaun: I think most bands hate calling themselves anything. I don't want to get caught up in anything that is "current" or "cool". I do what I do and I write what I write and I would like to just call it rock and roll, because that shit never dies...:)
PRP: It says on the CD's cover that all songs were written by you. How does it feel to start writing lyrics now? Was that any difficult for you?
Shaun: It was at first, but it gets easier with each song. I find myself enjoying it much more now. I have always been up for a challenge, and at times it can be that.
PRP: What do you want people to feel while listening to "At War With Plastic"?
Shaun: It would be cool for them to feel whatever comes natural. That could be dancing, singing, moshing, or screaming.
PRP: What's the meaning behind your album's name, "At War With Plastic"? Is the song "Plasticman" in anyway related to the title?
Shaun: Im still trying to figure out what Plasticman is about. That was one of the first songs I wrote for the band. I think it's just about feeling like you have nothing in common with anyone. I think we all feel that way sometimes. As for the title of the record.... the word "Plastic" refers to modern music. I don't really feel like there are many bands out there doing anything natural. It's like some of the "new-metal" bands have more in common these days with the Backstreet Boys than let's say Slayer. To me that is just plain wrong. It all seems pre packaged and easy to swallow, and really, the only people to blame are the people buying into it. You can't blame the record companies, they are just trying to make a dollar and package whatever kids will swallow. I don't know... it's kind of depressing sometimes. I think within the next two years we will see some changes. One can only hope.
PRP: Any favorite song off of the album?
Shaun: Payday, it's the one that took the least amount of time to write as well.
PRP: Considering the fact that the band only have 2 members at the moment, how do live shows work?
Shaun: Well, now that we have a drummer we have some shows planned. We haven't played for a long time since our last drummer Mike, left. As soon as we have another guitarist we plan to play a lot more.
PRP: What should fans coming to your shows expect?
Shaun: That they will rock and maybe throw up the metal sign once or twice.
PRP: Let's talk about influences. What bands inspired you to develop the sound The Revolution Smile has today? Could Far be listed as an influence?
Shaun: Of course Far could be an influence. It was a major part of my musical life, but in no way would I ever want to capitalize off of that. I want this band to stand on it's own. I think if I tried to promote this band by using Far too much I think it would tarnish the Far thing. As far as other influences it's hard to say because I love a lot of very different types of music. Some that stick out would be The Pixies, Nirvana, Quicksand, Barkmarket, Oasis and Failure.
PRP: What are you currently listening to?
Shaun: It changes from week to week, but this is what I have been listening to this week and last: Placebo - "Black Market Music", Grandaddy - "The Sophtware Slump", Kent - "Hagnesta Hill", Living Sacrfice - the new one, Outkast - "Stankonia", Cave In - "Jupiter", Queens of the Stone Age - "R".
PRP: After Far broke up, you tried for the Foo Fighters and were part of the band for a few weeks, if I'm correct. What went wrong?
Shaun: Well, to make a story short, Nate (their bassist) called me up and asked if I was down for the tryout, and I said "yes". They sent me a tape of some songs, I learned 'em. I played them with them all. It went good, no mistakes, and I heard I was in their top 2 or 3 or something but I guess they thought i looked too young. Im not sure what happened. It was a fun experience, but I wish I could have just gotten Dave on the drums and played a little "Scentless Apprentice" or something, heh heh....
PRP: Do you think it is still possible to be original now a days?
Shaun: Not really, but I do think it's possible to be influenced by bands without ripping them off. Some bands don't get that. Everything today is compared to something. When Korn came out, it was Primus mixed with Faith No More with a little Rage Against The Machine, but now they are sort of their own thing. Time and success changes everything.
PRP: Even though you're kind of a new band, do you think that the internet has helped The Revolution Smile so far?
Shaun: Yes, I think the net has been a huge help to us and it's always great to see so many people that are into getting involved with the street team and everything. It's a beautiful thing.
PRP: What's next for The Revolution Smile? Any big plans on the horizon?
Shaun: More recording. More playing. More ROCK. Actually, we are doing the Quicksand tribute which we will be recording for early next month. We should have a clip up on the site shortly after.
PRP: Ok, I'm curious about this one: how serious is The Revolution Smile? What I mean is, do you want to make it big with your new band, or did you start it only to have fun and to be able to release your demons?
Shaun: I am very serious about this. It is for fun but everything I have done for music has always been about fun. If I did this for anything else but fun I would have quit a long time ago and would never have had the urge to create another band. That's for sure. About making it big, that's fine as well, whatever that means. I just know that if that would ever come, it would have to be something natural.
PRP: In its short time of existence, has The Revolution Smile ever approached by any labels or management groups?
Shaun: They are starting to come out a bit. The curiosity is there and things feel good, but of course they have never seen the band play live yet. I'm not really worried about it too much. I learned a lot about this music world with the Far thing, so I know what to do and what not to do to a certain extent. You just can't get caught up in it. The music is what's important.
PRP: Now putting the interview in a Far direction, I can't let this opportunity pass without asking you this question: Considering that the band never really made clear that you broke up, is there any chance of Far reforming? If so, would The Revolution Smile turn to a side project of yours?
Shaun: Far played it's last show in November of '98. Far broke up some months before that in a sense. That is truth. Whatever else you hear is not really the full truth. I know a lot of stuff goes around but that's what it is. There is not a chance of the band getting back together. I know that is not really what a lot of people want to hear but I don't want to be the one out here spreading false hope. Know this: when Far ended, I felt like I was losing a child and it was really hard to accept. I put a lot of hard work into that band and us breaking up was not really what I wanted. But we all move on and have to realize that sometimes, things just don't work out and never will. I look forward to my future musical endeavors.
PRP: Here's a question parallelto the interview. If you want me to put it in the interview, I'll do it, but I'm not sure if it fits very well. Do you know what's currently going on with Chris and John, ex-Far members? I haven't heard anything about them in a long time.
Shaun: Of course you can add this into the interview. Yeah, John and Chris have kept pretty low key but have recently entered the cyber world. They have a new band called Milwaukee where John sings and plays guitar, and Chris obviously rocks the drums. They are very cool, but very different than what you would expect coming from former Far members. Check out their stuff at www.milwaukeetheband.com. I still talk to them pretty often, and actually before we had Jeremy in the band, we jammed with Chris for the Quicksand tribute. I'm not sure if he is going to play on the recording now that we have a drummer. Regardless, Chris is one my favorite drummers, period, and I will always be down to play with him. He rocks it.
PRP: That pretty much wraps it up. Any last comments, thanks, shout outs or fuck you's ?
Shaun: Thanks Pedro. ThePRP.com is a great site that I try and visit daily to keep up on things. I think it's great what you all do. Thanks to anyone who has read this far. And especially, thanks to anyone that has supported/helped The Revolution Smile, and Far as well. It really means a lot.
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