Questions answered by:
TJ Orscher (Drums).
Interviewed by Pedro
PRP: You can start by telling me how In Pieces was formed, and how long you've been together.
TJ: Ok. This is complicated. In Pieces formed from Born To Resist, which was with Steve Butcher, Steve Elin, Ryan Horrigan, Scott Gibson, and myself (TJ Orscher). Elin was vocals and Ryan was guitar. We changed our name to In Pieces from Born to Resist because we wanted to change our sound and get more melodic. Born to Resist started in 98. We changed our name to In Pieces in early 99. Then some things went down; personal conflicts and commitment issues, and we had to replace Steve Elin and Ryan Horrigan. That was in march of 2000. We knew that Scott (our then guitarist) had an amazing screaming voice, so we moved him to vocals; and our friends Val Loper and Rick Quags came on as the guitarists. So... really, that's when we consider In Pieces to have started: march 2000. We sort of had a little following before that, but until then, we never really had a solid sound. So, with the line up change, came more enthusiasm and more creativity and a lot more talent.
PRP: That's cool. Any reason why you decided to change your name?
TJ: Eh, we thought Born to Resist was cheesy, and if we got to be really popular (which was very unlikely at that time), it would be even more cheesy: after 10 years, we would be 30 year olds called Born to Resist.
PRP: Hahaha. So, how would you describe your band's sound?
TJ: Hmm... whenever i talked about it online or to someone, it's emotional melodic hardcore/metal; but its so much more than that... which I'm sure every band will say, but it is - plain and simple. It's just music that we love to play, and its actually connected to us, which really gives the audience a good show, because we go nuts.
PRP: The hype is growing around you guys. Your first 7" was recorded by Adam D. of Aftershock and your new demo CD was produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge. In your point of view, how does the future look for In Pieces?
TJ: I think it looks amazing. We've gotten so much great feedback from that one song we put on mp3.com, and we're anticipating some good things from our demo cd and a split cd with a band called Craig from LI, NY. We're hoping to sign to a label and possibly become a full time band; put out a full length in summer/fall, stuff like that. But things are really up in the air. Scott, Rick, and Val are in college, I'm doing music full time and Steve works a lot, but we all talked about it (at a band meeting - haha) and we're all willing to take time off to focus on the band and tour. Really, that would be the greatest thing for all of us, but it has to have a kind of "guarentee" because we'd be giving up a lot of time from our other lives. We're all definatly willing to sacrifice that, though. That's about it... good things and good times.
PRP: Are group hugs a common activity for the band before live shows?
TJ: Haha, not really. We are close, but no group hugs.
PRP: Not even in band meetings?
TJ: No. That's just us sitting in a circle like therapy. Hahahaha.
PRP: Hahahaha, ok. What should fans coming to your live shows expect from your set?
TJ: Stand back so you dont get hit! Hahaha. No, just expect a really intense performance. We go nuts. Even I do, and I'm confined to my drum seat. We love it. It's weird, we connect with the audience in a strange way, like they can feel what's happening to us.
PRP: Hahaha, what exactly do you do that I might consider "nuts"?
TJ: Nuts would be Val and Rick swinging guitars and jumping everywhere, and Scott in screaming in your face, everyone screaming for that matter. It's great. A real outlet for emotion, anger and frustration.
PRP: Nah, but I meant you, TJ.
TJ: Me? I scream....I thrash... uh... I bang my drums louder. Hahahaha.
TJ: At the end of a set, I'm so exhausted. The adrenaline rush and energy just flows and it's great. I get shaky before a show if i haven't played on in a while.
PRP: If forced to eat elephants shit, would you prefer it as nature made it or in pieces?
TJ: Probably in pieces, hahahaha. You know, in between me throwing up......hahahahahaha.
PRP: Hahaha, ok. Influences of the band?
TJ: Cave In, Bane, Shai Hulud, Poison The Well, Grade... lots of bands. Those are the major bands... then there are artists like Jeff Buckley that is nothing like anything we play.
PRP: Hahaha, Jeff Buckley?
TJ: Yeah. He's great.
PRP: Now that deserves a WOW.
TJ: You like him?
PRP: Hahaha, not really. Hahahaha
TJ: Hahaha. It's weird: you either love him or hate him.
PRP: How much strain on your personal life has the band brought upon you?
TJ: Hmm... Well, I do the band in most of my spare time. Between the website, booking shows, designing whatever, and writing songs (not to mention practice and playing shows), it's a pretty large commitment. But for some reason, I love it. It's been getting really hard lately because of work and christmas, so after the cd demo, we're going to look into a booking agent.
PRP: I'll tell you the reason why you love doing it: you do it because you feel good when you notice it all paid off. When you do a hell of a set and kids come to you and say: "hey man, nice show, you kick ass."
TJ: That is exactly why. You said it for me. Hahaha.
TJ: I guess because this is what I want to do with my life, and the harder I push myself into it, the better off I am. Because if for some reason In Pieces doesnt work (which is highly unlikely), I will definitely start another band and/or start my own recording studio.
PRP: I understand. How has the internet been treating you so far, considering that you just recently decided to promote your band through it?
TJ: Very very good. We put our song on mp3.com about 2 1/2 weeks ago, and we shot up in the rankings.
PRP: Hehehe, yup I noticed you're high up there.
TJ: We have gotten over 1250 plays in those 2 1/2 weeks.
PRP: That's an impressive number.
TJ: Shot up from the 12000 rank to 500 on the entire mp3.com in about 4 days. We were very very surprised and estatic.
PRP: Hahahaha, did that make your ego get big?
TJ: Hahaha, not really. I became really competitive though.
PRP: I see, hahaha. How much have you evolved, in your opinion, since your first 7" released by Sike Records?
TJ: Oh God, soooooooooo much. An entire different sound, so much more developed and mature. We were still transforming out of our "Hatebreed / Earth Crisis" stage. Those are great great bands, don't get me wrong. Just not how we wanted to sound like.
PRP: Does the fact that you're from the same state as Hatebreed, which is one of the most well-known names in the hardcore scene today, put any kind of pressure in your shoulders?
TJ: It's pressure, but kind of on a different level, because Hatebreed plays a different kind of hardcore that we do. It's not pressure from a competitive level, but amounting up to them - there's pressure.
PRP: I understand. Were you ever labeled as a straight edge band by people, because of your music? What I mean is: quite often hardcore bands are labeled as straight edge or christian or vegan or whatever due to the style of music they play. How does that make you feel?
TJ: Early on we were. Back when we were Born to Resist, we were "brutal sXe hardcore". If a band wants to be for a cause, that's great. I love a lot of bands that are for causes. We're not really like that. We're more heart and emotions. I happen to be straight edge, but I don't necessarily write about it. I used to, but just not anymore.
PRP: That's cool. What are you currently listening to?
TJ: Hmm... I just picked up the new Bane again. It's been on the back burner and I just got into it again. Cave In, both Beyond Hypothermia and Jupiter albums. Glassjaw, At The Drive-In.... some emo stuff, hahaha. Poison the Well...
PRP: Good stuff. What is the most negative/optmistic thing the band has been through to date?
TJ: The most negative thing: hmm, we get into some good size fights. Usually it's just Val and I, haha, but it all settles. It's usually just about stupid stuff that we all know really doesnt mean anything. Optimistic: probably our new recording. Recording with Kurt was awesome. He's really really cool and helped us out a lot; and the recording sounds amazing!
PRP: I know it does. Ok, the hardcore and metal scene are kind of getting mixed now a days. Bands like GlassJAw and At The Drive-In are some of the hardcore / emocore bands which are the new sensation for the metal kids. Do you feel this is something good for both sides?
TJ: Yeah, I think it's good. It's kind of what we do, emo-metal-hardcore. Blurring the lines. I think it just might be a new thing that sounds really good. Kids love the straight forward hardcore, but sometimes a variation is good to slip in there, you know?
PRP: Ok, but would you choose, let's say, Ross Robinson, as a producer for an upcoming In Pieces album?
TJ: I don't know. I like what he did with At The Drive-In, but I don't like what he did with the Glassjaw album. Well, personally; as a drummer, but also as a prospective engineer myself. The drums on the Glassjaw album could have been better. The cymbals were too quiet, but that also just could be the band's personal taste. As far as I know, Ross Robinson does a really good work. We'd have to look around, I guess.
PRP: But don't you fear you might get mistaken as one more new metal band if that happened?
I mean, I've heard from people that "At The Drive-In" is the new pimp rock sensation, hehehe. Don't you think people maybe would put your hardcore side aside?
TJ: I don't think so, just because we're harder, and we bring out that hardcore side more prominently. We'd consider ourselves a hardcore band before a metal band. Hopefully great bands won't start to get lumped together.
PRP: Ok, cool. I understand. Have you ever thought of mixing a style such as Tango into your music and becoming the only band in the world with a tango/emo/hardcore metal style in the world?
TJ: Well, we do have a morocan song. Very tribal. Hahaha.
PRP: Hahahahaha, morocan? What the hell is that?
TJ: I have no idea.
PRP: Hahaha, ok, I heard you are a big Jean Claude Van Damme fan. How many of his films you have taped?
TJ: 152. Hahahaha.
PRP: Hahaha, god. I wonder how old he is.
TJ: Like 54 or something. Hahahaha. Nah, seriously, none. Isn't he in that time cop movie?
PRP: Hahahahaha, I'm not sure. Are you in Boy George's official fan club?
TJ: No, no... but I am in Vanillia Ice's fan club.
PRP: Oh really? How hard to swallow is his new music?
TJ: I don't know. I think my ears swell up too much to listen. Hahaha.
PRP: Hahaha, that's cool. Anything you wanna say to wrap it up?
TJ: Uh, thanks.
PRP: Hahahaha, come on! Elaborate.
TJ: Haha, I don't know...
PRP: Shout outs, maybe? Shameless self promotion?
TJ: BUY OUR CD!!
PRP: Hahahahahahaha, right on. Buy In Pieces' CD, people.
TJ: Haha, nah, thanks and rock on. Thanks to everyone.
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