I had the opportunity to interview Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou via email. Many of these questions are ones submitted by our readers both in the forums and review comments. Thanks very much to Aaron for taking his time to answer these.
Chris: Listening to your discography from Blood Enough For Us All up to the new album It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright and Brother, Sister your sound has been ever changing. However this album is drastically different from everything that came before it. What was different about the writing process for this album compared to others and what inspired such a dramatic change?
Aaron: A lot of the new songs started with a vocal melody and basic chords on an acoustic guitar. The other instruments were added on top of that. In the past we wrote the songs instrumentally first, then added vocals. Lyrically there are more coherent stories, characters who aren’t me
Chris: What is the relationship between mewithoutYou and Psalters? They’ve appeared regularly on your albums and the two groups seem to work very well together.
Aaron: We’re one
Chris: One of the questions asked the most was about the band/members spiritual beliefs. There was a lot of discussion regarding the use of Allah in place of God, along with the inspiration coming from Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Tagging onto the same question, How do you as a band feel about the way your listeners tend to look to you for spiritual guidance or wisdom?
Aaron: We are blind and with absolutely no wisdom, in no place to guide anyone. What can do but turn to God for help and mercy? We can ask that anyone who looks or listens to us would not see or hear us but the One who is good within us all
Chris: Another re-occurring question was regarding the use of Arabic on both the It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright and Brother, Sister. What brought that about and what do the lyrics mean seeing as the translation isn’t included in the liner notes?
Aaron: They are prayers, mostly that my mom taught me. Most of the ideas appear elsewhere in the lyrics in English, so translating them wasn’t necessary. Others I don’t understand the true meaning of, so my translating them might not be correct.
Chris: The lyric “that dog below our waist aroused/ when arms embraced the pretty gals/ it came much more as a surprise/ it happening when I hugged the guys” brought a lot of comments as well. Can you explain it’s meaning?
Aaron: That one’s pretty clear already, wouldn’t you say?
Chris: What do you see the future of mewithoutYou as? Touring, recording, and label-wise. There’s rumor that the band is no longer with Tooth & Nail, is this simply rumor?
Aaron: Future’s hard to say. We signed a contract agreeing to 4 records, so that’s been fulfilled now. But passing through Seattle a few weeks back we had a big barbecue together, so our hearts are still together
Chris: Will we see a balance of old songs and new on upcoming tours and shows? Or will they primarily focus on Brother, Sister and It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright?
Aaron: Our last tour was mostly from those two records and a couple from the previous. Our next tour won’t be the full band, so we’ll have different instrumentation (strings, horns, hand drums…), which means probably even more heavily leaning toward new songs
Chris: What is your favorite kind of tea?
Aaron: It goes:
1. Lady Grey
Chris: How is the great vegetable oil bus running? Will you ever replace her or do you plan to keep her in the mewithoutYou family until the end?
Aaron: Not so great…we just brought it into the shop this afternoon for engine work. It’s been pouring out white smoke which they say means it’s burning rich, too much fuel, maybe a bad injector, or like last time, some wear&tear on a piston head. You gotta be careful running grease – it can really mess things up if you’re not super careful. But the chassis is solid, not much rust, so unless we wreck it in an accident we’ll probably fix whatever goes wrong
Chris: And one more completely ridiculous question that one our readers submitted: Which one of the five bassists the band has had would win in a fight?
Aaron: Smoker’s fiesty, but the odds favor Pishock