INTERVIEW: Face to Face
Trever Keith (vocals/guitar) (Face to Face's webpage)
By: Crystofer Paules
There has not been a time when one of Face to Face's lyrics have not been able to adequately size up a situation or, make one reflect on their own or other peoples lives. While they have enjoyed brief mainstream success with the tracks "Disconnected" and "Debt", Face to Face have mainly maintaned a loyal following within their fan base. Through three studio LP's, a live album, countless other releases, and relentless touring, Face to Face have forged their way into great heights and success. Throughout the years their albums have comprised a unrelenting sense of style and a fast beat to pound their way into the limelight.
Face to Face are currently promoting their new album. "Ignorance Is Bliss". While this album is a great departure from what Face to Face was traditionally considered to be, it is still very much Face to Face. With it's melodic guitars, incredible vocals and insightful lyrics, "Ignorance Is Bliss" may be what fans have been waiting for, or maybe not.
The man largely responsible for the success of Face to Face is namely the very well mannered, business-minded Trever Keith (vocals/guitar).
IMWT: So why the sudden leap of style from the previous records to this one?
Trever: Well, it may seem sudden. But the truth of the matter is we haven't recorded a record since 96. So I think it's something that's been coming about over the last few years. To the public it'll seem like a leap, but you know what I mean? We haven't actually gone in to do a record for quite some time. I think when we got done with the self titled record, we just felt like we'd taken it as far as we could without really trying to stretch our creativity and our writing and stuff a little bit more. And we didn't think we could do another record without repeating ourselves unless we tried some other ideas we had you know? So, after we did the live record, we went into the studio and just started writing songs that we thought were cool. We tried to like put aside styles and what we thought people expected of us and all that kind of shit, and just wrote stuff that we thought sounded pretty cool. And this is what we ended up with. I still think it sounds, you know...it's definitely Face to Face. It's just like maybe Face to Face "new improved". I think it's a natural evolution for us. And I hope that our audience will be open-minded to us challenging them and ourselves as songwriters and musicians. That we continue to be creative and come up with shit that is different, not just putting out the same record over and over again.
IMWT: Was everyone involved in writing the new record, or was it more of a "this person does this" and "that person writes that" effort?
Trever: No, actually this is the first record where all four of us have A LOT to do with the songwriting. Where in the past it wasn't always that way. I'd done the majority of the songwriting on the other records. On this one Scott did his fair share as well, Chad had his hands in a couple songs, and even our new drummer Pete wrote a song for the new album. Everyone wrote.
IMWT: What's it like to be on Lady Luck/Beyond Records after being on so many other labels?
Trever: Well, we've been on so many other labels because every other label we've been on sucked! So that's why we keep jumping from label to label. Basically they just weren't getting the job done in one area or another. Fat [Wreck Chords], our first label, is awesome. And they've gone on to great success; I think we were like their second or third release ("Don't Turn Away"). But you know, back in the day there wasn't anywhere else for us to go at Fat; he didn't really have any sort of company or anything he could offer us cause he was so small at the time, so we went to Victory where there were more resources. They didn't know what the fuck they were doing, they totally fucked everything up. And then they went out of business, and our contract was essentially transferred to A&M you know, whether we liked it or not. And A&M made a mess of things for a couple of records. Luckily they were cool enough to let us out of the deal. We went to them and sat down and said "Look, we've been touring for two years on this album. You guys aren't doing shit. We're really unhappy, and we know that you don't really understand what we wanna do. And we think it'd be best if you let us out." Than at first they said "No". But after a couple of months they changed their minds and said "Okay". And now they're out of business. Lady Luck is our own label that we put together while we were still on A&M. The first release we had was the self-titled record; we did the vinyl for it on Lady Luck. We put out "Econolive" on Lady Luck, and then we put out the live record and home video. So it was always kind of there. We were using it as an outlet to do all these side things, and so when we got out of A&M it made sense to us to like keep our shit on Lady Luck because it's our own label. Beyond is cool now, because they'll give like a half, fifty-fifty deal. We get all the say, they get all the say. And we work together as a team, and it's been working out really cool so far.
IMWT: So does that mean that you guys are pretty much self-sufficient?
Trever: Yes and no. I mean, essentially our label is indie obviously. And Beyond more or less is. They have BMG as their distribution which is major, but they're just Beyond's distributor and they have like a limited time deal with it. So we really can operate independent of like, you know, those real corporate kind of...I mean we are both corporations technically, but, you know what I'm saying. There's not really any hidden agenda; we just want to sell records. And we want to do it in a certain way without people telling us how we should, and Beyond is really open to that. It's been awesome.
IMWT: Other than this "Econolive II" tour, what are you guys doing to really promote the new album?
Trever: Well, we're doing a tour which actually begins the day before the album comes out in Chicago. And we're playing I think like twenty major cities, right in a row, up till like August 15th. And that's kind of like a record release tour sort of thing. Then we'll be taking a little time off, going to Japan, coming back. We're making ourselves available to do some support tours, and then just one-off shows and stuff like that. So before we come back and do like a big headline tour, which probably won't be till like 2000, next winter/early spring, we might be coming back through on support. I don't know who yet.
IMWT: What's your favourite place to play, or one of them?
Trever: I don't know. You know New York is awesome. The New Jersey area, the people around there are really really fuckin' cool. Philadelphia is always great. Portland actually is really good. L.A. is great.
IMWT: So you just love it all?
Trever: Yeah. It's not like any one city where we're more welcome or unwelcome or anything like that.
IMWT: Live, do you prefer sticking to your newer material, or do you enjoy playing your older material more?
Trever: I don't know if it's such a cut and dry question. I think I enjoy playing whatever I'm not burnt out on. We're just doing the new material over and over again; I could get burned out on that just as easily, you know what I mean?
IMWT: Do you feel burned on "Disconnected"?
Trever: Totally. (laughs) But you know I don't know why I should be anymore burned on that than "I'm Trying". It's just as old. So, I don't know, it's like when you have a new record out you want to play your new material. So for now we're all into our new material and trying to push fast.
IMWT: How has your dealings with the music industry affected your music? Or has it?
Trever: There's some songs on the new record that lyrically are kind of about my frustration with the music business. Because while we were writing it we were still in kind of a "no-man's land" of like still being stuck under contract here and trying to move stuff here. I'm actually a very business-minded person. So that makes up an equal share of what my creative side is. So I would say it kind of affects it a lot. I haven't written a lot of like "Fuck You Music Industry" songs. But I think some of the lyrics kind of sprung from that well of frustration.
IMWT: Okay, so who's sexier Anna-Nicole Smith, or Will Smith?
Trever: Anna-Nicole Smith. I like big women, she's all woman.
IMWT: But she married that old guy just for his money?
Trever: Yeah I know, he's fine too. (laughter)
IMWT: What's up with this whole Y2K thing? What do you think is gonna happen?
Trever: I think nothing is gonna happen. I think a bunch of idiots of lesser intelligence might try to riot and loot on the night of. Just because whenever groups of people get together that are less intelligent people try to steal things, break into stores and try and take shit. But I don't know, as far as the computer thing is concerned. It's definitely going to affect some computers. I don't think it's going to force us into a prehistoric time period where we're farming and stuck in our own houses.
IMWT: If you could say any one thing to the world, what would it be and why?
Trever: I think I've said it about forty-five times in our songs. (laughs)
IMWT: So just read the lyrics?
IMWT: Any final words?
Trever: Our new record comes out July 27th! Buy it! Check it out!