After my recent review of The Format's new album, I had a chance to do a phone interview with the band.
RMR: Congratulations, your album debuted at 77th on the Billboard 200, how does that feel?
Nate: Itís weird. But thank you for the congratulations.
RMR: I read that for the first album that you were really pressured to write singles, how was that different for this album?
Nate: No pressure at all to write singles.
RMR: Did that make it easier to write songs or was it more enjoyable for this new album?
Nate: WellÖ we were asked to record a lot of songs for Atlantic when we were on Atlantic. We recorded a lot of songs and it was more about how we could go into the studio and do them up properly without pressure to make things glossier than the other thing. It didnít have to be this nice polished recording.
RMR: What ended up being your favorite track on Dog Problems?
Nate: UhhÖ probably "Dog Problems".
RMR: Is that one hard for you to perform because its personal and reminds you of all those times?
Nate: Itís a rough one but Iím definitely over the situation at this point and its a sort of thing thatís like therapy for me.
RMR: Do you still have the dog? And does he know heís famous?
Nate: Yes, but I donít think he knows, heís probably just sleeping on the couch right now.
RMR: Youíre on tour right now, do you have a favorite part of touring?
Nate: Playing liveÖ I know thatís like the bullshit answer but itís the truth cuz everything else is so boring.
RMR: Iím actually coming to see you guys in Chicago and I was wondering how you incorporate all the orchestration thatís on the album into your live show?
Nate: We have this amazing band on tour with us. They are our horn section and back-up vocal section.
RMR: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Nate: Our lighting guy gives us a pep talk before the show. Heís been lazy lately though. LightingÖ how hard is that but giving a pep talk Ė thatís hard.
RMR: Do you ever have free time to hang out in the cities you travel to?
Nate: Sound checks have been taking all day lately but hopefully today weíll get done early. Weíre in Florida and Iíd love to do some late night body surfing.
RMR: You sang backing vocals on Straylight Runís album, do you plan on collaborating with them again in the future?
Nate: Not that I know of.
RMR: Do you see yourself working with any other bands?
Nate: Probably not. I mean, right now Iím just working on some producing stuff, probably nothing in the near future. I was supposed to go co-produce the new Limbeck album but it didnítí work out with my schedule for Dog Problems.
RMR: If you could work with any band, who would it be?
Nate: I donít know.
RMR: I think its really important when a band can end an album just the right way, and I think ďIf Work PermitsÖĒ was a great end to the album. How did you come up with that song and are you happy with how it turned out?
Nate: Yeah, Iím really happy how it turned out. Thereís a few things that I wasnít thrilled with about it because I felt like we had a really great demo that was hard to reduplicate the magic of the demo but also there are things in the final version that I liked better as well.
RMR: Where do you see your band in 5 years?
Nate: I just want to get better and better and get better at writing songs.
RMR: Have you starting writing for your next album?
Nate: I have, actually, but Iím kind of caught between things that I want to doÖ Iíll probably end up doing all of it but Iím really happy with what I have so far. Itís exciting to get in and start working on it.
RMR: You shot a video for your first single off Dog Problems, ďThe CompromiseĒ Ė I havenít seen it anywhere, can you tell me about it?
Nate: That is true. Itís not out yet. OrigamiÖ is all I can say. Itís a surprise. Iíve seen the first 30 seconds and Iím really excited that our first video isnít going to just be me sitting around looking sad or something.
RMR: When can we expect to see that?
RMR: Who are some of your favorite bands out right now?
Nate: Iím a big Wilco fan, I love the new Regina Spektor album a lotÖ
RMR: Have you been to the Midwest?
Nate: Iím from Iowa!
RMR: Are there any little known facts about you?
Nate: No. Iím a boring person. I sit around and listen to music all day and thatís about it.
RMR: Whatís the best concert youíve ever been to?
Nate: I saw Bruce Springsteen in New York City and it was pretty unreal.
RMR: You are good friends with Jimmy Eat World and Jim Atkins, what is it like working with those guys?
Nate: Theyíre great. I love them and theyíre better people than they are musicians.
RMR: What are your all time favorite songs?
Nate: Thatís an impossible questionÖ not Beatles songs?... I donít know you have me stumped on that one.
RMR: Are all the events from Dog Problems based on your life?
Nate: Yeah, theyíre all based on my life. It wasnít a good time but writing Dog Problems helped me get over it and now its rough but being in a relationship is always going to be hard so Iím going to stay away that for now.
RMR: Have you heard what the ex-girlfriend you wrote the album about thinks of it?
Nate: Weíre friendly now so she understands. She knows that I forgive her for everything that happens. I just recorded what goes on in my head and she got the short end because she doesnít get a record to talk about all my problems.
RMR: Thanks for talking with me; I look forward to seeing you guys in concert next month.
Nate: I hope itís a good show. Have a save trip. Thanks a lot.
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