Interview with Makeshift3
Interview by: Aaron Feldman
I recently caught up with the guys from Makeshift3 before they played at the OC Mini-Fest Christian Punk show in Orange, CA. They were kind enough to lend some time.
AaronF: You guys have been playing for how long?
Jeff: A little over 10 years.
AaronF: How do you do it?
Ty: (Laughing) We don’t know.
Jeff: It got to the point where, instead of really focusing on where we were gonna go, to wherever God takes us is where we’ll be. We have always had fun with it. We always said ‘When it begins to not be fun anymore, that means its time to stop,’ but it’s still fun.
Aaron: So many bands these days get together put out an e.p. or maybe a full length and then they break up in couple of years. You guys have managed to play for over 10 years. When you first began playing was there a goal? Was there a particular message that you wanted to give out?
Ty: Recently we started out just to have fun.
Eric: Originally, I think we started out playing our favorite punk songs, covers, and then trying to write our own originals.
Aaron: Who are/were the bands that of influence?
Eric: Guttermouth, Minor Threat, Swindle and Lagwagon and then it moved into new school like Blink and MXPX
AaronF: So you guys are currently signed with New School Records. How is that working out? Why did you sign with New School with all the other labels out there?
Eric: We found about New School through Off the Record (Also on New School Records) through knowing them and playing shows with them. They highly recommended New School. They gave us a really good deal. They have good distribution. They gave us a lot of opportunities.
AaronF: Awesome. The name of your latest release, Florescent Black, totally rad. How did you guys come up with the title?
Ty: (Laughing). We are the most random people ever. You get three guys who pretty much have done this forever. That’s pretty much it.
Jeff: Actually it was a random phrase that we just threw out there, we decided we liked it. But it does represent our music. We are at the exact point where pop and metal meet, and black is like so dark and florescent is so bright and poppy!
AaronF: (In between laughing) Yeah, man your music has a really distinct sound, especially Florescent Black kind of punk, hardcore and metal. What genre do you guys consider yourself now?
Ty: I don’t even know.
Jeff: We just let people label us.
Eric: Pop-punk metal.
Jeff: When we recorded this album, I think that was the first time we just said, ‘Let’s just write music that we like and we’ll make it work.’ We laughed a lot of times because of songs that sounded really popular, like Blink, and then at the same time they have Pantera riffs in them, but we were like, ‘This is the stuff we enjoy, so we’re gonna make it work.’
AaronF: So basically, throughout the 10 years, your music has sounded totally different. From Fuel for Life, Game Day to Florescent Black. Has God been leading you towards any music direction?
Eric: I think that it goes with the bands that we like in current time, with the old school punk in the late 80s early 90s to the mid 90s Blink, pop-punk, then kind of going backwards then going to old metal roots,
Jeff: But, I think that that all of us collectively have really different music preference and influences. I mean I like everything from Pantera to Enya.
AaronF: Man you guys are hilarious.
AaronF: So, Irish Sky, first time I heard it was live in Riverside at Harvest Christian Fellowship Church. I was blown away by the lyrics. What is the meaning of the song?
Ty: Yeah, I think that (Harvest) was the first time we ever played Irish Sky. Well, it was about the loss of a good friend that was so tragic and it happened so suddenly and unexpectingly, kind of how we take life for granted. We have to live each day like it’s your last. So much to live for and you overlook the little things. Like today, I drove over the bridge where he passed and it hits me every time. It’s one of those things that was a reality check for all of us.
Jeff: Ty was the one that called and told me, his name was Ryan. When he died I remember what you said (Ty) in the conversation ‘A 100% of people take life for granted a 100% of the time.’ I think that is so true, it takes something like to be a wake up call. And you realize how much you have, and then when it is gone, that it is the only time that you realize that you had it.
AaronF: Yeah, life goes by, man those lyrics totally blew my away. That is some pretty deep stuff.
AaronF: What is the Christian punk scene nowadays?
Ty: You know it’s so hard to say, you don’t know anymore. It’s like you read a magazine, hear a band, it’s like a bandwagon people jump on. You just don’t know.
Jeff: We don’t know what it is. I honestly feel disconnected. I look in HM magazine and I don’t know any of the bands. I haven’t heard of them and I don’t know any of their stuff. They are all really good bands but it’s a lot of names I never have heard of.
AaronF: Yeah, for real. I noticed a lot of Christian bands these days put out their first album with Christian lyrics, and maybe the in next album they drop all the Christian lyrics and the spirituality. How did you guys survive the past 10 years? Your still putting out Christian lyrics and people are coming to the shows and people are digging the albums.
Jeff: Part of it is that we’ve always been with labels that are Christian based, or they are fine with whatever we do. I found that you may get some people that are turned off to that. I think a lot of people respect it, Christian or not that is what they are about. I mean you can sing songs about girls all the time like everybody else. Everyone’s got their niche; this is what we feel passionate about so that’s what we sing about. I think that is the only way you keep on writing about the same stuff over and over, cus it’s about God, and because there is so much to say.
Ty: I just don’t think that we get offended by what other people say. Either as far as the reviews and people are like, ‘This band sounds really good, but they’re horrible because they are Christians.’ That actually sometimes makes us laugh, we like hearing that stuff, it makes things fun, we don’t take things personally. God’s given us a gift, great friendships and stuff and its lasted 10 years.
AaronF: Yeah it’s true, I really believe that there is something here, you know spiritually.
Jeff: Yeah, along the same lines, the song Vilification in Outline on the new album is kind of about reviews that we’ve gotten from secular magazines or websites or whatever, it’s insulting in a lot of ways and it does sort of hurt when you read a review saying, ‘All these guys are Christians.’ You know, ‘You can’t take them seriously, go play your God music somewhere else.’ The message is one thing, but if you do a review of the album, you know. They won’t say anything about drums, guitar, bass, vocals, it will just be ‘These guys are Christian, they’re no good’ and it’s kind of interesting how it happens. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I am fine with secular magazines reviewing our stuff, but I think that they should give us a fair shake. And if they don’t like the music then, hey that’s fine, but don’t cut us short of the message.
AaronF: Yeah, wow totally. Okay, few more questions. You guys all have full-time jobs what do you do.
Ty: Serious? I manage a skate shop, Active Ride Shop.
AaronF: That is one of the band’s sponsors right.
Eric: I am a fireman for LA City.
AaronF: And you were working in South LA right?
Jeff: High school and junior college football scout. I scout football players for Division I colleges.
AaronF: What is your advice for bands that are trying to make it now? Just beginning, trying to get recognized, promoted?
Jeff: You gotta learn how to walk before you can run and take things as they come. I think that it is always a good idea to get a demo out something to have at shows, but make sure you are ready to put something out like that. Go in and record a few times, get used to the process, cause we put out so many songs on albums that we look back and say ‘If we only took more time on that’ being too inexperienced. It’s always good to have something for people to walk away with from a show, but make sure what you’re cutting the tape is something that you are going to enjoy.
Eric: Along those line at a minimum, it has to be comparable to what is already out there. If it is anything below it is not going to cut it.
AaronF: What about Myspace.com. How do you think that’s changing music distribution and exposure now?
Jeff: It levels the playing field for a lot of bands because it’s exposure for as much as they want to promote themselves. We had mp3.com back in the day and that helped us a lot. I am sure that Myspace is doing the same thing for a lot of bands.
Eric: Myspace is a whole turn up thing, which makes the whole band volume really saturated, so it makes it that much more competitive but it also brings out a lot of good quality stuff.
AaronF: Where is a good place to eat around here after the show? (At this exact moment a train, about 50 feet from us fly’s by, sounding its horn really, really, really loud.) Oh, man should I hop on that?
Some one in the band yells “Oh my gosh!” Everyone laughing
Ty: Well take that North. And that’s where you go.