DS Exclusive Interview: Colin Walsh (Pour Habit) discusses serious song-writing business and being a fashion band

Pour Habit dropped their eagerly awaited sophomore release, “Got Your Back”, today through Fat Records and there have already been some serious cases of ‘raging boners’ reported in bedrooms around the world.  On a sadder note, their van and trailer were stolen today so if you haven’t already bought a copy of “Got Your Back”, help the brothers out and order one right now.

Here at DS, we talked to Colin Walsh about where the band are at and what exactly makes them kick on. We talk about the new album, the old album, being a fashion band and personal issues within the band and the effect this had on the recording of “Got Your Back”.  Along with that, we get down to discussing serious song-writing business where Colin informs us of “serious songs like “Party” which brings to the topic of the plight and torture of the liver.”  Extremely serious topics indeed and you can check out  the full, hilarious,  interview here.

DS:  I’ve noticed in interviews, you are constantly asked about the meaning of the name “Pour Habit.”  When you came up with the name did you think that something that seems so obvious in meaning could become a standard interview question for the band?

Colin:  First off thanks for taking time to interview us!  Steve and Charles are responsible for that name.  This was originally their project even though we have been friends for such a long time.  It was between that and ‘Half White’ but they did not want to get all into the whole “this will give us attention” thing.  So they just decided to name the band after a favorite hobby.  It’s pretty funny when we play France because I guess our name translates to For Dress.  People thought we might be a fashion band but after seeing us they know we aren’t.  We are consistently the worst dressed band on tour.  On a side note, people seem to not know that habit is spelled with one t.

DS:  The new album seemed to suffer numerous delays and set-backs which I read was more on the business side of things.  How does that affect you when you have to sit on the album for so long?
Now that we look back on it, the delay was a blessing in disguise.  We had new songs and were super excited for people to hear them but we were definitely able to make them better with waiting.  The thing is, with a small band everything is magnified.  You make so many sacrifices to continue doing what we do.  Sometimes when things do not necessarily go the way you had hoped, it feels like the end of the world and you can get discouraged.  We originally went into a lockout a year and a half ago but it was horrible.  The vibe was not good and pretty negative which is never a good thing when you are trying to be creative.   Our original second guitarist Shaun was not really enjoying it anymore and I was completely fucked on drugs and alcohol.  So having one guy that does not want to be there and another guy who is just a raging pile of shit (me) is not a good combination.  Fat Mike just told us to hold off for a bit and we went and did some amazing tours.  We toured Australia with Bad Religion and NoFX.  Fuck if my plane crashed on the way back I would have been content.  We also did U.S. tours with Strung Out, another with the Expendables, and one with Pepper.  We went back to Europe and played Groezrock and did other shows with Pennywise, Bouncing Souls, Strike Anywhere, and A Whilhelm Scream (fucking legends).  As a band we got really close.  We have been through so much together that we were able to help each other through our issues and get back to what we originally set out to do.  Honestly, we love hanging out with each other and playing music that we think is cool.  When we got back to the basics, we were able to write an album we liked.   We do not have some huge recording budget so we pretty much have to go in and knock it out as fast as we could.  We did it with our friend TJ because we knew he would work really hard on it even though it was not a huge budget project.   But, the album is done and we are really proud of it.  Of course I listen to it and think “I should have done this or that” but I bet everyone thinks that when they listen to their old stuff.

DS:  “Suiticide” is held in high regard by many, many punk rock fans.  How do you think the new record compares to Suiticide in terms of energy, song-writing etc?

Colin:  Well that is really awesome that you say that.  When I think of Suiticide, I think of Me, Chuck, Steve, and Eric jamming in Chuck’s house having drinks and just having fun.  We scrounged up enough money for about a week in a studio called Love Juice Labs.  We had to do everything in one take basically but we did not care.  It was the best experience.  Basically sitting in a small room on an old couch just talking shit and having fun.  That’s where we met TJ.  He would always stay a little extra and we always appreciated him for that.  I definitely think we were able to improve on our song writing just because we have gotten better at our instruments.  We definitely wanted to keep the energy up because that is who we are.  Honestly, we originally were putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to write this album.  We were acting as if whatever we did here would determine the rest of our lives.  That was why it was good to go back to remembering where we came from and just have fun doing it.  Once we were just having fun the creativity came, or that may have been the Four Loko.

DS:  I’ve had the pleasure of listening to “Got Your Back” and while it’s Pour Habit at the core, songs like “Party” and “Head in the Clouds” step away from the furious punk that PH is known for.  Writing songs  this time around did you try to experiment and try things you haven’t done before?  If so, how did that work for you?

Colin:  “Head in the Clouds” is a tribute to our good friend Danny Maguire.  He was an awesome musician and an even greater person.  Just one of those guys everyone liked no matter what.  He was taken from us by a drunk driver.  His parents put together a CD of all these songs recorded and there was this acoustic song on there and it was just awesome to us.  He was a huge punk fan and I hope we were able to do him justice with our version.  Aside from that, we definitely have expanded our horizons.  We are all into different stuff musically so we definitely have our own ideas.  We were just having fun and that really expanded our ideas.  When you have been in a band for a while I think it is natural to have different ideas.  Mostly though, if something sounds cool to us we will go with it.  We had to learn not to force a song.  Sometimes a riff that we may want to be all heavy and technical sounds better more laid back and straightforward.

DS:  “Got Your Back” has an even heavier metal/trash influence on it than “Suiticide” did.  Are these genres of music that you listen to yourselves?

Colin:  Hell yeah!!!  We love stuff that rocks.  And these days bands are really stepping it up musically.  There are a lot of great musicians in bands that just keep inspiring you to be awesome.  I would say me and Eric are way more into the harder stuff like Between the Buried and Me, As I lay Dying, Municipal Waste etc.  But then there are your bands like Propaghandi and Strung Out that we all collectively love to rock out to.  As our friend Bill would say “it’s gotta rumble the balls man!!!!”

DS:  What part of the writing and recording process for “Got Your Back” did you find the most challenging?

Colin:  Again that ties into some of the personal problems we had.  Actually, after looking back on this interview, I’m surprised my band has not kicked my ass yet!   Charles has a mantra that “this ain’t no job because a job is work”   I used to make fun of him about that because it was easy to look at it as being lazy.  But really it is about realizing that being yourself and doing what you like should be easy.  The minute it becomes a chore then what is the point?  Why are you wasting your time?  So when you are being a shit head and making it a chore it is definitely not fun.  Writing was a lot of fun when we just said fuck it and jammed.  For us it usually goes like this…Eric comes up with a riff and we will jam on it.  Eric and I will yell at each other.  Steve and Charles will laugh.  Charles comes up with vocal patterns.  Song done.

DS:  “Got Your Back” touches serious issues, “Teens Turned to Fiends” and “Heads of State” for example.  Lyrically, are the issues that you tackle those that are directly affecting your personal lives or the extension of a message that you’d like your listeners to be aware of?

Colin:  Usually we have many pages of lyrics that we might just jot down whenever.  So over time there are lots of different things someone may go through and it reflects in the writing they came up with.  For sure there are songs that directly relate to us.  For example, “For All Who Have Given” was written by me when I was living in my car and shitty hotels.  It talks about people on the outside making judgement when they don’t know what they are talking about.  It also touches on the sacrifices that have been made.  Then of course we have even more serious songs like “Party” which brings to the topic of the plight and torture of the liver.

DS:  Can you give a bit of background behind “The Expert” or who the inspiration for the song is?

Colin:  Long ago, Eric was in a band called No Identity and they were kick ass.  He had a riff that we built a song around and ended up being super pumped on it.  That song seriously came together so quick.   The verses basically explain the connection we feel towards music.  I think that anyone who is involved with music can say that people in bands are not normal.  There is a definite type of personality that can handle this lifestyle.  I mean what person in their right mind wants to travel in a dirty van with a bunch of dudes.  The chorus touches on everyone telling you what you are supposed to do.  Of course there are people who can give you good advice, but I believe everyone really knows the answer in their own heart.  Whether or not you are strong enough to follow it is where the question is.

DS:  This question is totally based on my assumptions that the average age of Pour Habit is similar to my age (in that mid-to-late twenties bracket) and that Compton in the 90s was the stereotype Dr. Dre lead me to believe.  Growing up in that area in the 90s, how accessible was punk rock and how did it influence you?

Colin:  I am very glad you asked this question so we can finally set the record straight.  LBC is the home base of the band.  Certain members grew up there certain members did not.  But, our band originated there.  It was our home base.  It was where we slept, practiced, wrote music, and where the Godfather of the band, The Legendary Mr. Green, lives.  We have kind of tried to never really use that as this selling point of our band.  That said I have always been so impressed at how everyone in my band is an individual.  No one in this band is a follower and really stays true to themselves.  So yes there are definite socioeconomic difficulties in that area but I am very happy that two of my best friends became who they are.  You never know who you are going to be friends with

DS:  My view would be that the internet has been great for Pour Habit. What are thoughts on the state of music and the music industry now that the internet is the biggest player when promoting a band and building a fan base.

Colin:  The internet is pretty amazing.  Too bad we didn’t name our band “Porn Habit”…would have got a lot more hits.  It is also too bad that MySpace sucks now because it was cool to be able to click on a page and hear music.  I mean I guess you can do that still but that fucking site is a nightmare for a noob like me.  I think it is crazy how much it has changed.  I remember just waiting for all the Fat comps and Epitaph comps and buying those to check bands out.  Also, you had to go to shows to find out about bands.  Now you have such easy access to bands all over the world.  I know I just let you in on some groundbreaking information right there!  The truth is I probably spend way too much time watching stupid videos on YouTube and should learn more about what you are asking.

DS:  Can you give positive and negative examples of how the internet has affected Pour Habit?

Colin:  The fact that we can go to other countries and people know our music is the greatest shit ever!   Negatively would be the time an unnamed member got caught looking at YouPorn by their mom.

DS:  Your reputation precedes you in that you are known for an out of control live  show.  Does keeping up appearances at each show get tiresome at all? I’d really like to know how you battle on night after night when affected by a hangover.

Colin:  Well, you never have a hangover when you are always drunk!  I seriously do not know what it is.  No matter how little sleep we have gotten or how hard we partied the night before, there is never a lack of energy on stage.  Sometimes Charles does things on stage and I think in my head “holy shit I hope he is not dead”   We just love playing so much.  What is better than seeing your best friends next to you rocking out.  We all feed on each other and we love getting the crowd involved.  Especially if someone on stage is slacking…we will make sure the whole crowd calls that person an asshole or a pussy.

DS:  Are you playing the new songs live and how have they been received so far?

Colin:  Yeah we have been playing quite a few!  The best thing we had happen is we were able to get a second guitarist.  We have playing as a four piece but we really are a five piece band.  Our good friend Matt Hawkes from Hit the Switch just had his first few shows with us last weekend.  It has really given the band new life.  We will always love Shaun (our old guitarist) but we are super stoked to have Matt.  So actually, this is new for us too hearing the new songs with two guitars live.  It has been really great and people seem to dig it.

DS:  As an Australian I have to ask, are there any plans for the band to make the trek down under again sometime soon?

Colin:  Hell fucking yeah!!!  We will be there this year.  Australia rules and there are some kick ass bands in Australia too.  I still have CDs from Anchors, Lungs and Lost Boy Found that are awesome.  We can not wait to get back there and party with everyone.  Oh and play too.

DS:  What’s next for PH?

Well we are on to writing our next album and trying to get on the road as much as possible.  We love being on the road so hopefully we will be taking many dumps at a gas station near you.

DS:  Any last words?

This is Pour Habit in the pork chop express and we are talking to whoever is listening out there!


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One Comment

  1. Amy Oshima5/1/2011 7:54 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for interviewing Colin! I fucking love Pour Habit, ever since I saw them tour with Pepper. Their high energy kicks everyone’s ass! I mean, like one of my friends has said, “going to Pour Habit is like an event, not just a show.” Chuck cracks me up, and I honestly find myself hoping that he is not dead. hahaha. They’re a great group and I would love to hear more from them!

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