Garrett Nickelsen: “We’re Kind of Crazy People.”

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HTS: You guys recently did a photo book with Dirk Mai. How did that come about?
Pat: It’s technically the third book we’ve done with him. So, um, it’s just kind of a continuation of that. He’s been with us since summer of ’09. And been on the road with us every tour since, all around the world. So basically, we wanted to put together something of everything that he’s- like the best of what he’s shot from then up until now. And, we did it.

HTS: Do you guys have any pictures in there that you’re just like, “Woah, awkward times?”
Garrett: More like, “Holy shit, I forgot that happened.” It’s cool to look back. Like there’s this random night, that I just don’t even remember…
Pat: Or someone ended up in a dumpster.
Garrett: Yeah, like. “Oh this was the day off in this random spot, but that was thing thing we did.” It’s cool. It’s going to be really awesome to look back in like five years at all that stuff. It’s going to be really cool.

HTS: Is that real? Did someone really end up in a dumpster?
Garrett: Yeah, John.
Pat: There’s a picture in the book, from the UK I think. He ended up in the dumpster.

HTS: Tell me that story.
Pat: I don’t know, I don’t think he knows.
Garrett: There was booze.. and dumpsters.

HTS: Good mix. Since we’re nearing 2014, what are you new year’s resolutions?
Pat: I haven’t gone that far ahead. I guess I would try to.. I don’t really partake in that.
Garrett: I don’t think I’ve ever given myself one. Ever.
Pat: I think I’d try to um. If there was anything I want to do, I’d try to do then. I’d try to change that, during the year, as it’s kind of going on.
Garrett: I’m going to try not to die. That’s my goal.
Pat: You should definitely do that.
Garrett: I think everyone should do that.
Pat: I mean, that’s my goal every single day. And I’ve succeeded.
Garrett: You have! That’s kind of crazy to think you’ve succeeded.

HTS: The EP, and this last album that just came out; Your sound has changed a lot since you started. Was that something that had to do with being on a big label before, or was it just kind of..
Pat: It just has to do with time. It has to do with, we were 18, or 17 when I recorded some of the drums on the first record. And then, you know, I’m 23 now. And a lot happens during that time. Hopefully the people are evolving what they listen to, and what they’re into during that time period. I guess, the reason that the sound is changing is because we’re not trying to do anything. We’re not trying to continue to sound a certain way to appeal to certain people. Or trying to change our sound to appeal to different people. It’s just, we made the record we wanted to make each time. And we’re different people now than we were then. That’s what I think at least…
Garrett: I agree. I mean, I think we’re all- at least I … when I grew up. I remember all my friends being mad at bands for changing. And I was always excited, and I always thought it was cool. I feel like every band we’ve been in since we’ve been a band together, we record something. And then the next chunk of songs is different.
Pat: At the end of the day, we’re not going to be happy trying to sound a certain way. We’re going to be happy if we’re playing the songs we want to play. We do everything we do for our fans, and we appreciate what they’re doing. But, we’re not going to try to please people. We’re going to make the songs we want to make for us. And hopefully, people will enjoy them.

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Photography by Rosemary Vega

HTS: You guys are so interactive with your fans on social media. Can you talk about why that’s important to you?
Garrett: We’ve kind of done it since the beginning. We’ve kept people connected with what we’re doing, and always letting them know. And trying to think of new ways to connect even more. It’s just something we’ve always done. It’s cool to go somewhere on the east coast, or anywhere, and people have gone to like 50 shows. And you know, it’s crazy. We haven’t been a band for super long, so for people to be at 50 shows, or 70 shows, that’s pretty nuts. I know for a lot of bands that would take like 20 years for that to happen.
Pat: The way I kind of look at it, and always have, I just look at our band as like, what would I want to see from a band that I was into? So, I would love to see their inner working of things and if the band talked to me every night after the show, and talked to me online, and posted videos online, and released things for free and this and that. So, we just kind of do what we would enjoy from a band and be that band for somebody else.

HTS: With who you are now, is there anything you would go back and tell yourself when you guys first became a band?
Garrett: I mean I think there’s things that you would want to. But, I don’t think I would.
Pat: You wouldn’t be where you are now…
Garrett: Yeah, I don’t think I’d ever do it. I think we’re in a cool spot, we’ve done some cool stuff. So, maybe there’s something stupid that happened along the way, but now you look at it like that’s something I learned a lesson from. Life. Same thing as someone going to school, or hanging out with a certain person, it’s kind of the same thing. You have to learn what’s good and what’s bad.

HTS: What are your plans for the next few months?
Pat: We’re going to be home for the next couple of weeks for the holidays. But just because we’re home doesn’t mean we’re not going to be doing stuff. We’re going to record some stuff with our buddy Nick Santino. We built a little recording studio, so we’re going to play on some of his stuff. We’ll be doing all kinds of stuff. We have that acoustic tour at the beginning of the year. We go to south east Asia in January. So, we’re going to be busy. We have some announcements coming at the beginning of the year for people here. So, it kind of doesn’t ever calm down. Even when we do have a break, we do things like record that acoustic EP. We’ve already been recording with friends, and just kind of trying to keep fresh, and learn things about music, like during the 12 days we’ve been off.
Garrett: We’re kind of crazy people. At least me and him, we don’t like to sit for too long. I gave myself two days… This years been pretty busy, but at the end of this tour, I gave myself two days, and then I was at the office everyday, putting the studio together and all sorts of stuff. So, you know, we’re never not doing something.
Pat: We don’t really get burnt out, because we have a good time doing what we do.
Garrett: I hate just sitting at home. It freaks me out.
Pat: There’s nothing else I really want to do besides this.
Garrett: We enjoy it. It’s not really working. It’s like, there’s this new thing I can try that I’ve never done before…
Pat: Going to go record.. It’s not like we’re getting paid. We’re doing it just to learn and have fun, and do what we do. And all that’s going to do is inform who we are as a band, and help us out as a band.

HTS: If you had to do a non music day, what would you do?
Pat: Every once in a blue moon, I like to do nothing. Just because I do so much all the time, I like to do absolutely nothing. It’s like one day, but by like half way through the day, I’m like “Aw, fuck.”
Garrett: I can’t. I seriously can’t. My girlfriend gives me a hard time because I can’t sit at home. Like I can’t. I’ll be like, “Okay, today I’m not going to do anything.” I always say that, and then like, it gets like 8-9 in the morning, I wake up and I’m like, “Alright I gotta go.” I’ll go to Goodwill and check something out, or if there’s a museum down the street from my house. Or I’ll go to the office. I can’t just sit and do nothing. I give myself like two hours and watch a TV show, and that’s it. I don’t think I could not do anything.

HTS: So, a couple more questions… This one because we’re backstage and everyone is drinking, what is your favorite thing to drink?
Pat: Vodka orange juice, on the rare occasion when I have a drink, that would be my drink of choice.
Garrett: Wine, red wine. Not before a show, because I think I’d puke. But, if I could choose, if I wasn’t doing anything active, red wine.

HTS: That’s funny. I was just saying before we came down here how I wanted wine, but I thought I’d look dumb with it.
Garrett: No! Warped tour in the UK, they had beer and wine, and I was double-fisting wine. It was awesome. Watching Flogging Molly, with wine.

HTS: Last question, who would be your dream collaboration with?
Garrett: Paul Westerberg from The Replacements. Or Jeff Tweedy.
Pat: That’d be awesome. Or if Mick Jagger…
Garrett: No, Keith.
Pat: Oh yeah, Keith. I mean lots of people. If Dave Grohl wanted to record on our next record, that’s like more of a newer person- that probably won’t die as fast. So we’ll have more time to make that one happen.
Garrett: Hey, with Keith’s record, he might outlive everyone.
Pat: Like the Earth. He’ll be the last man on Earth.
Garrett: Playing open G Chord.

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