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As Fast As interview 

As Fast As
Submitted by Kaj Roth on 2006-06-26
As Fast As plays music that puts you in a good mood,their debut album "Open letter to the damned" is a must if you?re a fan of 70?s pop a la Wings and Squeeze.
I have a great job where I get to do these lovely e-mail interviews with talented songwriters like Spencer of this Portland based pop band,check it out.
Hi there,this band was formerly called Rocktopus and released the album
"Something fierce" in 2003,how come you have included the title track from
that album on the new album "Open letter to the damned"?

Spencer: Although we reached a lot of people with the original version of this song in Portland in the Summer of 2003, we still felt the song had more life.
Thats why I played it for our label president James Deiner, and he agreed that it should go on our Octone debut. Plus, you just cant keep a good song down.

You are influenced by a lot of 60?s bands which is pretty cool,did you
ever get the chance of seeing any of your old favorite bands live?

Spencer: Unfortunately, I was born just in time to see all my idols die, but I have managed to see Paul McCartney twice (so far.)

As Fast As plays a rootsy kinda pop/rock in my opinion and Paul
McCartney is a name that pops up several times when I listen to songs
like "Skin the cat" and "If I only knew",are you huge fans of Wings?

Spencer: I have a Wings tattoo on my neck, so...

It?s inevitable to be compared to Maroon 5 when you hear the catchy
pop song "This time",have you had enough with those comparisons
since you?re on the same label as them?

Spencer: That actually doesnt happen that often. Whereas they are more of a soul band playing pop, were a rock band playing pop, so were not really treading the same waters. There are certainly worse bands to be compared to though, M5 is solid.

One of my favorite songs "Special" has a more 80?s feel over it where
my mind goes to bands like The Cars,if this one becomes a huge hit,will you
be writing more 80?s sounding stuff on the next record?

Spencer: None of these songs were written to fit a particular template, so i cant imagine that that will be the case for the next record. Our audience demands variety, and thats what theyll always be able to expect from us.
Not just the same idea regurgitated over and over.

Have you heard Van Tramp from U.K? It?s a new band that has a sound
familiar with yours,you should check em out!

Spencer: Ive not heard them yet. Looks like Ive found something to burn up that iTunes gift certificate on.

I?m happy to say that most of the songs on your debut album are upbeat
so it?s perfect for any day on the beach or at weekend partys,do you think
it?s hard to write good ballads or are As Fast As simply better as a rockband?

Spencer: I have a slew of ballads written, and a lot of them are recorded. We were just more interested in making more of a Check Your Head than a Sea Change.

What is "Gretchen my captain" about? If I didn?t know better I would believe
this was a 70?s track by Squeeze coz it has so much Paul Carrack vibes over it.

Spencer: Gretchen my captain is about when, in the winter of 2003, I though my newly ex girlfriend had fallen for her friend and had become a lesbian.
It was this kind of delusional alcohol and pot fueled paranoia that inspired me to turn it into half space drama (being cooped up in an stranded space capsule with a lesbian commander youll never be able to please, even in death) and half a telling on her song (what would your mother say to that/if she found out about your friend/ what would your father think/ if he knew you and i/ had before and will again.) Pretty straight ahead on the choruses. Thanks for the Squeeze nod though.
Love Squeeze.

Do you play any other songs from the Rocktopus album live?
Spencer: Usually only when requested these days.

How is the music scene in Portland,are there any good places to play for
a band that doesn?t do covergigs?

Spencer: The music scene in Portland is struggling right now. Its because theres neither a ton of places to play, nor an audience to regularly go out and support as many live bands as there are that this is so. On the up note there are a few places (The Big Easy, Space Gallery, The Alehouse) and theres stations thatll play local music (WCYY, WCLZ), a store to sell your CDs in (Bull Moose Music) and a paper thatll write about it all (The Portland Phoenix). I guess its just in a bit of a funk right now. Plus there really only a handful of artists making a serious go if it at the moment. Itll turn around, it always does.

I like the design of your website where Spencer is smashing a pc in the
best Pete Townsend mood,have you played any The Who covers?
I think all their songs are made to played live,isn?t it a fantastic band?

Spencer: The Who rock in a way that words cant express. Yes, weve been known to butcher a Who song now and again

And as a last question,the folkrock tune and title track "Open letter to the damned"
sounds like a terrific single candidate to me,do you have any saying in what the next
single will be after the sunny "Florida Sunshine"?

Spencer: Not sure what the answer to that is. Thats more of a decision for the suits.

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