Western Settings is a 'punkish pop punk punk' band out of San Diego that I got to know through last year's "Yes It Is" album, which was indeed punkish, pop punk and punk all at the same time. Here's an email interview we did with vocalist/bassist Ricky where we talk about working with Dead To Me's Chicken, LL Cool J, their upcoming tours and... oh yeah, their new EP "Old Pain" which will be out next month on La Escalera Records and Creator-Destructor Records.
PRT: Can you give me the history of the band written in one minute or less, starting… Now!
Ricky: Western Settings is a band from San Diego California. We are two and a half years old. Adam's old band broke up. My old band broke up. Will had released our old bands' records on his record label La Escalera Records. Dylan had just moved from New York and found us via craigslist. We started hanging out and making songs. We've been making music and touring as much as we can ever since. We've been fortunate enough to meet a ton of amazing people and bands along the way that have made it a really great two and a half years.
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard you guys just yet… if Western Settings was the lovechild of two other bands, which bands would have had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Ricky: Bruce Springsteen and Jawbreaker. One day in a park somewhere in Northern California Bruce and Blake high fived. When their hands made contact a bell rang off in the distance and bright light poured from the space between their hands. It is from that light Western Settings was born... Not sure anyone would agree with those bands but I personally like them both.
PRT: You have a new EP coming out called “Old Pain”. I already liked last year’s “Yes It Is”, but this is definitely next level material. What happened? Are you Lance Armstronging it?
Ricky: I'm not sure what qualifies something as Lance Armstronging but thank you for the kind words on both "Old Pain" and "Yes It Is". I think we definitely had grown as a band after recording "Yes It Is", so right off the bat going into "Old Pain" we were in a different place musically. We also worked with a producer for the first time on "Old Pain" and having an outsider's ears and brain on the songs really helped them come to fruition.
PRT: The new EP comes with five new songs and an instrumental interlude called “Swells”. Where did that last one come from?
Ricky: "Swells" is the result of Dylan and myself sitting on the couch at Dylan's house with a lap top, a microphone, a Casio calculator from the 80's, and a ton of reverb... a TON of reverb. The melody is taken from the verse in the last song on the EP titled "Duncan". We like interludes and transitions.
PRT: One of the other songs is “The Phenomenon”, which is also the name of one of LL Cool J’s hits. How would you say your track rates next to his?
Ricky: Hang on, let me go listen to that song real quick... Alright wow, first off I'd like to acknowledge the fact that music videos in 1997 were really cool, especially the one for the song mentioned above. I would have to say I'm not entirely sure how to rate it against our song but thanks for bringing some LL Cool J into my life on this Thursday afternoon, you can never have enough LL. I wonder what else we have in common with the guy? Probably lots.
PRT: You recorded “Old Pain” with Chicken from Dead To Me. How did that come about? And was he able to bring to the table?
Ricky: So I had actually been sending brain waves to Chicken via the universe for a couple years. They finally reached him and he messaged us on Twitter regarding the possibility of working together, and then we did. He helped us grow as a band and as song writers. He spent a ton of time on the songs with us before even going in to record and then of course he was there for the whole recording process. He definitely was a huge part of "Old Pain". We are excited he will be doing the full length with us this year as well. He's a great guy, an amazing musician/song writer, and now a dear friend of ours.
PRT: Your guitarist Will also runs La Escalera Records. Is that a comfortable position for him to be in? Being in the band on one hand and taking care of the ‘business side’ as well?
Ricky: From where I'm sitting William seems to do a wonderful job at balancing the two. Western Settings has been pretty demanding as far as time goes for all of us since we started. Will also runs a full on screen printing business on top of Western Settings and La Escalera Records, its nuts. He's a busy guy. I'm not even entirely sure how he does it all but he does.
PRT: What’s up next for you guys once “Old Pain” comes out in April?
Ricky: A lot of touring. We are doing a full U.S tour in May, Europe in October, some other stuff that's still getting set up, and then some other stuff that's already set up but we can't talk about yet. Lots of touring though. We are also putting out a digital/cd release that will have three of our songs done acoustically, two songs in 8-bit, and two songs of us playing songs made by bands way better than us. That will be coming out shortly after Old Pain. Other than that we started writing for a new full length that we will record towards the end of the year/early next year.
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://laescalerarecords.bandcamp.com/album/old-pain" href="http://laescalerarecords.bandcamp.com/album/old-pain">Old Pain by Western Settings</a>