All is not lost that is delayed. We were supposed to talk to them in Vienna in 2020, but then the pandemic hit and their show got cancelled. More than two years later we’ve met on our favorite OFF Festival just after their great concert on the main stage. Although we only had 10 minutes, the guys told us about coping with pandemic, 10 years of their debut album and spilled some beans on their upcoming one.
Great show guys! It looked like you had so much fun today.
Ben Newman (drums): Yeah. It was fun.
You were actually moving onstage!
Zachary Cole Smith (guitar,vocals): Yeah, after the second song i was like: “ok, let’s go”.
I saw you in Germany like a month ago on Mayfield Derby. It was so hot there!
Colin Caufield (bass, vocals): Yeah, they had us in horse stables.
Zachary: It was kind of dehumanizing (laughs).
Oh yes. The main stage was on horsetrack and it smelled like shit. Anyway, we also saw you in Prague two days before the pandemic hit. We talked afterwards to do an interview in Vienna the next day, but it got cancelled.
Zachary: Yeah, we never went to Vienna.
Ben: Actually, we went there. I think we stayed in the hotel. The concerts were getting canceled staggered so we were just like driving through the cancelled ones.
Was Prague your last show before the pandemic?
Zachary: No, it was Munich.
Colin: It was one of the smallest shows. It was packed and so sweaty and crazy. And then was the pandemic.
Andrew Bailey (guitar): Many people probably got it on that show.
Colin: We might got it on that show.
So I guess going back home and not being able to play music live had to be very hard for you, right?
Ben: Yeah, it was strange. Now it’s hard to go back.
Colin: Yes, it was weird but it was good. I think we needed a break from the schedule of making a record and then going on tour and just doing that over and over.
Andrew: Yeah, but also it is a nice reminder of what we missed about it. Now I appreciate it a lot more.
Zachary: And that’s how we make money.
Ben: That’s helpful too, yeah.
Yeah, but then you had some different activities. Colin, you got back to doing those gardening videos. I am a fan of those. Is that something you are doing for longer time?
Colin: I did start it before but then I think the pandemic was just like a no brainer because I had nothing to do and I wouldn’t see anyone except my roommate. I didn’t see anyone for too much except Cole and his wife came over because we were neighbors and they said hello on my birthday but I would go like many weeks without seeing anyone.
And you, Zachary, were playing Magic, The Gathering, right?
Zachary: Yeah, my friend Lucas and I started a Magic themed talk show.
Again, it’s something you did before?
Zachary: I played Magic before but the show was kind of like the same thing as with the podcast. We did the DIIV podcast and it was just like a way to stay in tune and keep in touch with the music community. And it worked out. People talk to us all the time about the podcast. I think it is also like some weird coping mechanism because everything all of a sudden was on the internet. Especially for six months, no one was hanging out with each other so it felt necessary.
Ben: And it was really helpful to process everything. Like when we did the first episode of the podcast that we talked about how we were on tour, it felt really good to talk about that stuff because it was probably the craziest experience of my whole life.
This year Oshin is ten years old. What do you think about those ten years?
Zachary: Sometimes it feels like it’s been way longer, but other times it feels like yesterday. But we’ve been lucky to have a growing audience throughout the ten years, which isn’t the case all the time.
When you think about this album, would you change anything in it?
Zachary: I mean, like, a few little tiny things, but I think there’s something kind of special about it – mistakes and all that. When we listen to records we love and you know the record really well and you can hear the mistakes and the weird decisions they made, it’s fun. Perfect records are kind of boring.
Your music now is very different. You’ve mentioned that you are making new album, so can you tell us more about it?
Colin: The new album feels more like a bridge between all the stuff that we’ve done and it feels new too. But it definitely feels a bit more, like, comprehensive in terms of balancing the really heavy, loud stuff with more atmospheric songwriting.
Zachary: Listening to Oshin for the ten year anniversary thing, we thought about that record a lot and what makes it what it is. And it’s kind of something a little bit abstract. So we tried to consider how to recreate that kind of environment. We don’t do the same stuff we did on Oshin, but some of the sun have a similar atmosphere.
Can’t wait for that. Do you know when it’s coming out or not yet?
Colin: We’re recording when we get back. It’ll come out next year at some point.
You’ve mentioned touring, and I think there’s a lot of traps for mental health during touring. How do you cope with that now, after the break?
Andrew: Lots of practice. That’s how the ten years feels different. When I think back to the beginning and not knowing all the little ways to stay sane, now I’m like a Jedi. I could teach a really good class about how to cope on tour.
Zachary: It’s important to take care of yourself, I think, and not put yourself last. I think with anything, it’s important to consider what you need and how to manage and stuff like that.
Colin: It definitely becomes way more physically demanding as we get older. Sitting in a van is different now than it was when you’re 28 or something. I think this is kind of cheesy, but it is true. We’ve had, like, a roller coaster of ten plus years or whatever, and I think we do feel a lot of gratitude to still play, like, really good shows and do this. Personally every time it gets really shitty, it’s easy for me to pull myself out of it.
Ben: I was texting Katrina [Urton, Ben’s wife, also a musician performing under her name] the other night and I was at a low point, and it was very early in the tour to have a low point (laughs). And I was like: “I’ve never felt like this”. And then I gave it a minute and I was like: “Oh yeah, I have. I just forgot how it is.” (laughs)
Yes. That’s what those two years do to you, right?
Ben: Yeah, exactly.
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