PunkTV Interview with Joey Eppard #1


2007 – pre September tour with Scorpions
by Dixon Christie

PunkTV.ca: We are about to talk to Joey from Three. They are a new Metal Blade band who are supporting their new album “The End Is Begun”.
Hey Dixon, how’s it going man?

PunkTV.ca: Oh man it’s super awesome. How are you Joey?
It’s super good.

PunkTV.ca: Good, listen dude this new album of yours is just sick.
Oh thank you.

PunkTV.ca: Yeah it’s so different and the market is definitely filled with a lot of like sounding bands and a lot of bands that use their guitars in certain ways but obviously that is not what Three is all about.
Not at all, I think we are about expanding boundaries if anything.

PunkTV.ca: You guys are thinking outside the box. Progressive rock is not an appropriate name for what you guys are doing because to me progressive rock denotes some kind of bloated 70s YES type of thing. This is not what you guys are about although obviously you are pulling influences from some of these great bands.
Sure we are. Progressive is a funny term. The reason I don’t necessarily mind it is because if you get back to the original meaning of that it’s just sort of moving forward and doing more with rock. So progressive rock to me means doing something a little bit more than your run of the mill rock thing and in that way it does suit us. The old school way of looking at it no, I think what we are doing is just sort of a new take on progressive rock.

PunkTV.ca: We despise labels and genrefications, borders and flags here at PunkTV but obviously for the sake of creating a common understanding sometimes using these kinds of terms can be helpful for the kids to understand what you guys are doing and what your philosophy about the music you are creating is.
It’s inescapable; you are going to have to label yourself one way or another. We just want our fans to expect the unexpected and that’s the way we roll.

PunkTV.ca: Absolutely, so just so kids know you guys have been around for 3 or  years now and you got your first taste of success by getting the Coheed and Cambria tour back in 2003 and were supporting Summercamp Nightmare. So obviously you guys love this band Coheed and there is some kind of similarity in the outside the box thinking of both of your bands wouldn’t you agree?
Absolutely we have a lot in common with Coheed. We go way back together and Three has actually been around longer than 3 or 4 years. We have actually been around longer that Coheed. Back in the day they used to open shows for us under the name Shabutie. We are all really good friends and they were always my favorite local band. What sort of happened was Shabutie lost their drummer and they asked my brother Josh to be their new drummer and Josh had been Three’s drummer in the early days and he actually quit playing for about 2 years because we had lost a record deal with Universal records and we were kind of bummed out but I decided to move forward. So we go way back with those guys. They rehearsed in my living room for a year every Saturday so I knew their record inside and out before it was even put out. Those guys got out on the road and they toured like crazy and we took a different path. We went out and got apartment and had bills to pay and we just couldn’t make it happen on the road right away. So while those guys were on the road touring we just kind of sat home and worked on writing songs and it was just a real inspiration to see how things developed for them. They really helped us get our national presence up off the ground by taking us out and being real great supporters and we support each other.

PunkTV.ca: I can tell by your tour schedule now that you guys don’t have apartments anymore eh?
No we still have the apartments. It’s not easy to stay afloat but we are resourceful guys and we find a way to make it happen and as things develop for us and get better and better we start making more and more money off of tours and we can pretty much make a living or we are getting really close. The original Three when we first started we got a deal with Universal records and before we could even so much as put out a record it was just a huge corporate merger and they put out a memo that was like if you didn’t sell 150,000 records for us this year you are just automatically dropped. We were just a recent signing and we hadn’t even put a record out yet so it was just before we could even get started we were dropped. It really affected actually who we are as a band because it sort of made you face the reality of the music business and to rise above that to realize that we do what we do because this is what we love and this is what we’re meant to do and we are going to do that in the face of whatever hardships come along. So it was a great rowing experience.

PunkTV.ca: Some of the things I wanted to talk to you about is the writing process. Who does that, how does it work for your band and how do you come up with so many diverse parts for a song and what is the assembly like putting them together and making them work so well?
Usually it starts with me. I have like a little home studio where I will develop the seed idea for a sing and it will just be an acoustic demo and I will make copies, play if for the guys and get their opinions. For this record I kind of had a concept and that was in my experience so many bands take themselves out of their element when they go into the studio. They are used to playing live on stages, they are used to their rehearsal space but then they get into the studio and it’s a different situation. It is not necessarily conducive to peak performance so my thought was lets make our rehearsal situation a simulation of recording the record. So we all worked in headphones and we multi-tracked everything that we did. We got very comfortable in that situation because I wanted to put the work in ahead of time and I wanted to go into the studio and just get great performances and make this record rather than try different ideas when you are in the studio and have to edit things to make them happen. This record came together in the beginning and in the pre-production process so we were able to just go into the studio and bang it out and have a good time and I think that makes a big difference because you end up with something that is more natural.

PunkTV.ca: So you basically didn’t have any real writing to do in the studio, it was just a matter of working on the sounds and a matter of ironing out all the kinks and so forth. The arrangements were fully realized by the time you got in there?
Yeah most of the kinks and that stuff we had sort of ironed out because everything we played in rehearsal we could just listen back and it would be pretty obvious like lets cut this down or lets try this and we were able to work as a collective and really develop the stuff. I recommend it out there to any band that can set up a situation like that because you are going to learn a lot faster and it is better to learn before you go into the studio than trying to figure it out as you go because time is money obviously and it’s a great way to put your stamp on it before anyone else can interfere with the process.

PunkTV.ca: Were there many songs that didn’t make the cut for whatever reason once you got in there or did you lay down exactly as many songs as you had prepared?
We had about 30 different ideas for potential songs and they were all great idea but it becomes a question of what fits the mood of this album and what do we want to say with the album and everyone was in on that process so you got the 5 band members and our manager would have something to say here and there and we would appreciate that and take that into consideration. It’s a process and you kind of wrote songs off the island so to speak I guess.

PunkTV.ca: Certainly not Metal Blade but other labels might come to you and say that All That Remains song is really good and really catchy but can we take out all this stuff and just keep it down to verse/chorus kind of format. Do you ever find yourselves analyzing and editing the songs since you have such a progressive outside of the box approach to writing?
We try to edit things down ourselves because although we have progressive elements in what we are doing we are not writing 10 minute songs and if a song naturally needs to be 10 minutes and that’s the vibe of it then cool but other wise I like things to be potent while at the same time there is enough there that you can go back and you can keep listening and reaching new levels of understanding with the music because there is depth there.

PunkTV.ca: The tour that you guys are on right now obviously you scored quite a coup with getting on with the Scorpions, how did that come about?
We are really excited about it. Its going to be quite the opportunity and we love just getting in front of people and getting in front of new fans. I’m not sure who’s idea it started with, I think it was our agent but we had to play the music for them and they get the final yay or nay as the Scorpions so we are flattered that they want to take us out and the guys own a big chink of rock history real estate.

PunkTV.ca: And a big chunk of loot. They sold 100 million records. I actually got to interview Matthias Jabs yesterday.

PunkTV.ca: Wow is right. Is his guitar playing in any way influenced you or what guitars players have influenced you?
Despite the fact that people see me as a guitar player I have always been more focused on songs than playing. Songs have always been what sort of drive me creatively and if you can grace a good song with an interesting take on playing then all the more power to you. I have been playing for a long time and I have developed my own thing. If I had to look to someone as an influence I would maybe say Les Claypool is an influence for me even though he is a bass player just because his approach was so groundbreaking that it sort of helped me to realize that I don’t have to limit myself in my approach to the instrument. Aldo Ani DiFranco is another person that come to mind because she is a wicked guitar player but she is also a wicked songwriter and putting those 2 elements together is what I enjoy in music.

PunkTV.ca: What about Mr. Bungle?
Of course Mr. Bungle is a pretty amazing band and that’s some really wild music and I am certainly a fan. I didn’t discover them until a few years after my more formative musical years.

PunkTV.ca: Ok well listen I know you guys are coming through Edmonton, Alberta. This is your first time out to Western Canada so kids are going to be able to come out and check you guys out with the Scorpions. We’ve got 2 questions that we ask everybody and the first is Joey, what would surprise people most to learn about Three?
The original band when we first started my guitar player and my bass player actually left the band because I wouldn’t commit to being a “Christian band”/ For me it didn’t really appeal to me and it’s not really who I am although I don’t have anything against Christianity but it’s an interesting fact that not a lot of people know that my original bass player and guitarist had left the band for those reasons. Then years later after a spiritual vision quest or whatever the guitar player ended up coming back and that is Billy who plays guitar with us now.

PunkTV.ca: That’s an interesting story. Why Three then and not Seven?
Seven is actually my second favorite number. I was just born with a love of the number Three and I just see it everywhere in everything. We live in Three dimensional physical space, we experience time as past, present and future, we live on the third plant from the sun and musically I always wanted the band to be sort of a Three dimensional band and not just a one dimensional thing. Something that has depth and can take twists and turns that surprise the listener.

PunkTV.ca: OK the last question that we got is which of the following experience have you had: have you seen the face of God, have you had an alien encounter or have you seen a ghost?
Well it’s funny I am reading a book right now called “Night Siege”. When I was a kid there were a rash of UFO sightings in the Hudson Valley area. I just discovered this book but I have had I think one of the best sightings of this UFO. A long time ago I was only 6 years old but I just had come back from a little dinner with my grand parents and we pulled into the driveway and the sun was going down but it wasn’t even dark yet and this massive object was so close I could have hit it with a rock was rumbling very softly by and it was just huge and people described it as a flying city. There were over 7 thousand eye witness reports of this thing and it was such a wild experience man. I really don’t know what it was but it was huge and I could see that it was a large shape, it was one thing and in the paper the next day the government said it was a flight of 14 planes flying in formation. Well my grandparents and I and most of the people who had seen it just laughed because we saw this thing before it was night time. Maybe when it was night you would have just seen the lights and that could have passes as an explanation but we saw it before the sun had gone down and we could see that it was a massive single object. That’s the only time I ever had seen something like that and it was something really special.

PunkTV.ca: Do you feel that it affected your creativity and in some way affected the way you make your music having that knowledge at such an early age?
The funny thing is at that age I had no idea that it was as special an event as it was because I figured hey this must happen every once in a while a UFO comes by, cool. But that’s the only time it ever happened in my life and it would be cool to see another one. I guess that does affect you seeing something like that, seeing something that has got to come from somewhere whether it is as mundane as a government secret project although I don’t know why it would be and I don’t know why they would just parade it up and down the Hudson Valley like that. I guess that gets you thinking outside the box sure.

PunkTV.ca: Ok great well listen thanks a lot for your time. Kids can check you guys out at www.myspace.com/3

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