The HV Scene Interview with Joey Eppard

http://www.thehvscene.com/interviewtext.php?id=132

January 25, 2005
by Morgan Evans

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1.So you guys, collectivelly known as Three have a new
CD out called “Wake Pig”. Could you describe the
albums inception and how it came together in
comparison to other works? Also, what’s in the name?

Joey Eppard (vocals/guitars): The concept for Wake Pig
was to allow the band to sound more like
itself. After years of exploratory writing we decided it was
time to return to rock in a sense, really to allow the band to do what
it does best in its current line up. “Pig” is our most cohesive work to date, although our brand of rock draws from some pretty eclectic sources. I’m still playing drums on guitar and stuff, my concept was to encourage everyone’s individual personalities. That gave Billy some space to up the rock anti, if you catch my drift, and the rest just fell into place. The rest of us are all members of the rhythm section, which is part of what makes us unique. Also, I recorded, engineered, produced and mixed the record myself so it was quite a learning experience.

2. So the last time I saw you guys was your set at
Roseland playing with Underoath and Coheed.
“AmazeDisgrace” live at big venues like that comes off
like some massive 70’s endeavor but with I dunno like
operatic space parts. Is it intentional to try and
update the past incorporating prog elements into your
work, like the sick leads and how does it feel getting
to channel that to larger audiences?

This was our first real tour of the entire country and
we all realized that this is what we are meant to be doing. We are being
labeled a “prog” type band, which I guess is fair, but I think we’re
bringing more than just complex arrangements to the table. We averaged more than a few Mars Volta comparisons at each show, which makes sense I guess when you realize that alot of these kids haven’t been exposed to diverse musicality. I’m not so much focused on the past as I am trying to open doors for the future of rock. I mean there are some bands out there that actually memorize every gig magazine, their moves onstage are premeditated and rehearsed. If I see another psuedo angst ridden emo brat twirl his mic and dump water all over himself and shake his hair at the audience I am literally gonna puke. It so un-rock to conform, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that kids at these shows are really begining to sense that. I mean they’re Coheed fans so we know they have good taste.

3. You guys have been involved in the Hudson Valley
scene as staples for awhile now, certainly paying your
dues. Are there any specific pros and cons of the area
in its current state that you could comment on?

I’m not big on this area, I love alot of people here but on the whole it sucks for bands. Its funny, we have a bunch of kids from California on our message board who were wishing they lived here cause there’s such a great scene… I didn’t shatter the illusion, because this is a special area, we’re just lacking a solid community of music supporters.

4. With so many people in your band does it ever get
difficult writing or is it mostly democtratic or
shaped by you these days? Also, what is the most
noticeable difference in approach you take as an artist when writing solo?

I guess I’m the producer/band director which means I’m responsible for the end result of the sound, but I like to let the band be a band. In other words I’ll help hone parts but I don’t tell everybody what to play. I save complete control for my solo work which I have been playing all instrumentation on lately.

5.Your sound is very layered and textural and yet
you’ve played with lots of bands over the years of all
kinds from the Bronx, to Coheed to Woodstock 94′ to
Boys Night Out and my group Divest. But you guys seem
to always translate well. What gives you these secret
powers of adaptability while still retaining your
integral and unique sound? Also, do you ever worry it
will go over the heads of some punk fans?

Eventually things evolve… I think some punk fans can’t handle music outside of there genre, but fortunatley on this past tour with Coheed, we’re playing in front of smart punks, so we were received I think better than anyone really expected. I mean level of musical conformity in rock today is creating a niche for a unique band like ourselves.
What is punk anyway? It sure ain’t what it used to be… These days people are looking for something more from music. Its the big companies that are trying to hold onto the ways of the past. We can play in front of anybody really, its pretty funny but it always seems to work. I mean I go from this tour to playing w/ P-Funk, to playing folk shows and its all great. Thats my dream, to bring people together in a celebration of individuality…

6. “Bramfatura” from message boards seems to be one of
the more popular new songs from “Wake Pig”. Could you tell us a little bit about that one’s story/message/creation?

A good story. I’m finishing the record to go to mastering, I’ve been up 3 days straight mixing, my ride shows up to take me to the mastering studio and I have this realization; we need one more song. We couldn’t be late, I knew I only had one shot at it. So I set up the mic and played my guitar instrumental “Bramfatura” and it was good… This was at 8:15 in the morning by the way. That was fun.

7. Any good anecdotes from the CoCa tour, dude?

What happens on the raod stays on the road… No, I’m just kidding, but seriously…

8. Some of your band were previously in the seminal HV
freak-funk jamcore band Peacebomb (who rumor has it
are gonna do some reunion shows!!??). Also there is
another project Dent, right? Could you fill us in on
that?

3 is virtually Peacebomb under my influence. The singer Max is even our merch guy, and since we were performing “Where’s Max” on tour we made a habbit out of getting him up onstage to sing along, and
freak-dance of course! We were selling the 10 year old Peacebomb record, which just came out, at the shows…the band Dent is Joe Stote on guitar, and Chris Gartmann on Drums, and sometimes Cooch and Max join in. Chris and Joe are awesome together and great to watch. Joe has a great sense of rhythm on guitar. its all part of the vision for “thefamily3”

9. Are you still working with the P Funk related band Drugs?

Rumor has it we’ll be working on the next DRUGS record this february…

10. So Joey I’ve noticed on the last few releases like
the awesome ‘Summercamp Nightmare” and this one for
Planet Noise you’ve started incorporating your own
artwork. Is it hard applying your vision to the sound
in multimedia or as a composer is it easier because
you know more what the “mood” or “message” is? Also,
how long have you been painting and do you have any of
those dope “Summercamp” hoodies I saw you’re roadie
friend wearing at the Lazy Suns house recently (haha)?

It was never a conscious intention for me to do the visual art for these records, it just worked out that way. We had several to pick from, and Joe Stote and Laura Pepitone did most of the design work for Wake Pig. They used a photo of my sculpture and framed it in a really cool
way, I really dug it. They deserve at least half the credit for that. I think there is something to be said about keeping the art in house so to speak.
In the case of someone with abstract lyrical imagery, such as myself, it can offer the listener further insight into the artist’s state of mind.

11. Billy when he joined seemed to bring a lot of more
spaced Floyd kind of sensibilities to some songs and
Gart seems to layer his parts structurally in a
different manner than Josh did on drums before he
briefly worked with BFD/Divest and then joined Coheed
and started Weerd Science. With Three, it seems each
member of the band over the years has contributed a
special spark/approach to your impressive catalogue.
How would you in your own words describe the bands
growth over the years and where do you see it going
next soundwise?

The band has gone through countless phases, most of them poorly documented. Unfortunately, some of our best early moments were never captured in any material form. I think now the project has returned in a more mature way to its early progish type of songwriting, with strong melody of course. As for the future, we’re going to push the envelope, expand the pallete of rock. Personally, I’m developing more and more of a flemencoesque style of playing, and I suspect you’ll hear more latin infused power prog epics in the not too distant future. We’ve had some older fans complain about the abandonment of our funkier material, but thats not what 3 is about, thats what DRUGS is about. I more into utilizing the counter rhythmic orchastration typified by funk music in a new form of percussive epic rock. Stuff that makes you move and feel the power of rhythm without the hoakiness of gettin’ funky! (not that there’s anything wrong with getting funky, I’m just feeling more apocalyptic these days)

12. I’ve noticed that you have developed a sort of
optimistic cynical lyricism (even though that sounds
like a contradiction) on some songs like my newer fave
“Dive” where there is almost a light vocal interplay
of melody over the music yet the lyrics convey a sort
of somber mood sometimes or a bleakness. Care to
comment?

I’m an optimistic person but my songs tend to be, in
the words of my good friend David Linhart: “a dark night of the soul that delivers [you] to the light” I seek a balance or perhaps transcendence of the duality of our conciousness in this world…

13. Lastly, well, hey man, what’s Three plan on doing
for ’05 and will you ever play “Astroknot” again?

Now that we’ve got a seious agent, we’ll touring a lot more. Also, keep your fingers crossed, Coheed is starting their own Label and they want to rerelease Wake Pig as the first record. Anything is possible but I have a feeling that its going to work out nicely.

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