What are your day jobs?
Tim Rieker: Computer programmer for a shipping/warehousing company.
Sam Rasch: High school English teacher.
Ben: Nurse assistant in an operating room and in school to become an EMT.
Tell me about the album and what it means to you.
Tim: It's a culmination of years of work. We learned from our first time in the studio and we were able to go in with a better idea of what needed to be done. It's satisfying to have created something that we are happy with and proud of. By drawing on our new experiences, we will be able to set the bar that much higher for the next album.
Sam: The songs on this album were written in a pretty rocky time in my life. My ex had just dumped me after cheating on me, my old band had just fallen apart and my job at the time was going nowhere. These songs are basically what I wanted to hear at that time. I wrote them for my own therapy. It's great to hear the music on this album captured so well with so much amazing talent.
Ben: When we started this album, it was about getting the job done and doing it well. It was about getting the best possible product without any sacrifices due to time, money or any external responsibilities. To me, now that it's done, it really shows what we are capable of and what we can accomplish.
Who wrote the lyrics for New Age Hustle?
What inspired each of you during the making of this album?
Tim: A desire to see a product we were happy with, without cutting corners.
Ben: Sausage and cheese kolaches, breakfast tacos, coffee, starburst, cigarettes.
Sam: Watching the guest musicians do their thing on the album.
What people, events, music and books directly contributed to New Age Hustle?
Ben: Everyone we know has played some part in contributing to this album. One of the songs, "Call the Doctor," was inspired in part by both the Schiavo case and "Ligeia" by Edgar Allen Poe -- the prominent theme of this song being alienation. Some of our album references while mixing were Pete Yorn's Music for the Morning After, Radiohead's OK Computer, Coldplay's Rush of Blood to the Head, Guster, Elvis Costello, and Tom Petty.
A huge portion of this album pertains to people who have problems, who just don't "get it" -- they feed off their own anger, fear, greed, etc. You express your dismay and disappointment in the other person's flaws/failings. What do you do to stay balanced? How do you keep yourselves above all of that?
Ben: While some of the dismay might be towards others, much of the disappointment that you sense is towards our own shortcomings. When people have flaws of shortcomings, they often fester from their own inability to communicate and work through this. By creating music, we are able to grow and learn from our shortcomings and turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Who is Holly? Why did you put her voicemail message in the song "My Band is a Waste?"
Ben: Holly is our former bassist's ex-girlfriend. She had a hard time with how much time he spent with the band and was openly cynical regarding the band's purpose and possible successes. The voicemail is unrelated, but it fit so well with the song we had to put it in. It was actually left by one of our friends who were pretty hammered at the time. We heard it while we were in the studio and thought it was too funny to leave off the album.
How did you get hooked up with the Heights Chamber Players, Two Star Symphony, and DJ Sun?
Ben: Heights Chamber Players had actually been hired to play at my wedding and made quite the impression. Two Star Symphony had been recording at RBI around the same time as us...who can resist them? When we were looking for a DJ, we just sought out the best we could think of...we looked up DJ Sun and emailed him. April Rapier is from Sugar Bayou, another great Houston act. She has helped us with instruction in the past and we were pretty excited to have her on the record. Jon Durbin is from a band called Salmerum. We had a hard time finding a trumpet player. He was highly recommended by a friend of a friend. We couldn't be happier with how he contributed to the CD. Alfred Tam plays with Clouseaux, once again another great performance by another great musician.
Who should listen to this album, and why?
Ben: Everyone -- because they might like it.
What are your future plans as a band?
Ben: Play lots o' shows. Tour next summer, maybe. Record another album.
Your Top Five Albums ever.
Tim: Led Zeppelin, IV; Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here; The Doors, Strange Days; Radiohead, The Bends; Guns N Roses, Appetite for Destruction.
Ben: The Beatles, Abbey Road; Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon; Blind Melon, Blind Melon; Tori Amos, Under the Pink; Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magic.
Sam: Pinback, Pinback; Radiohead, Hail to the Thief; The Beatles, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; Augie March, Moo, You Bloody Choir; Pete Yorn, Musicforthemorningafter. END