Interview | Cute Is What We Aim For



May 23, 2010
By: Rebekah Rosado
Video Interview: Available here.

* Do you want to talk about what happened with your former band mates?
Shaant:
There’s not much to talk about. They’re [Dave, Jeff, and Mikey – Nocturnal Me] doing their music, and I’m doing mine. I haven’t talked to them at all, but I mean, neither party has attempted.

* Last time we talked to you, you said that you wanted to take the music back to one-liners. Is that still your plan?
Shaant:
Last night we spent four hours drinking water and playing acoustic–just making up stupid songs. Just like, “That’s what she said! That’s what she said!” Then, you insert like one line and then you’ve got fifteen people in the front lounge who just yell, “That’s what she said! That’s what she said!” It went on for hours and hours. Our guitarists fingers were just like ridiculously beat red.

* So, what inspired your sobriety?
Shaant:
I woke up with this. I had no idea.

* Can you explain this?
Shaant:
Yeah. There was a broken wine glass on my leather couch, and I woke up after a two-day binge.

* Can you explain what this is?
Shaant:
Oh yeah. I just have some insane scars from lacerations under my arm pit. I have no idea how they got there. My friend found me, kidnapped my dog, did everything to force me to go to the ER. Then I realized–when you have this to remind you–it’s kind of like, “What else do I have?” I’m injuring my body beyond repair. There’s still a piece of glass in my arm. It was a necessary thing and it’s the best thing I ever did. I just wanted to be healthy, clean, sober, and have fun.

* Is this going to be a permanent change?
Shaant:
Yeah, when you have that type of problem, you have no leeway. It’s like, if I take a drop on my tongue, I’m just… gone.

* Has this changed the dynamics of touring for you?
Shaant:
Everybody is sober. Nobody drinks at all on the bus. No one does anything. I’ve never had this much fun on tour, ever. ‘Cause, whenever I was on a bus, I was inebriated and would just stay miserable on the bus the entire day. But now I’m sober, we’ll go out and go swimming, go to the beach, play football, or ultimate frisbee the whole tour. It’s changed every last thing. Every. Single. Thing. Every aspect. The live show is so much more fun. Like, I can get through it, and I have a blast doing it and don’t want it to end. The interaction with people after the show, I don’t go onto the bus until one in the morning. If people are there, I am there; I’m not going anywhere. Back in the day, I would stare at people through the glass like, “I don’t want to talk to them. I don’t want to talk to them.” Yeah, it’s changed everything and now I have the energy to wake up at 8:30 in the morning and want to go and do exciting things as opposed to just waking up and starting drinking. In this world, it is very easy to get away with it, and it’s all for free. No alcohol for me, but if anybody wants to do it, the more the merrier. I like moderation. You see so many people just sloppy… it’s nice being in this environment. I was nervous at first, but now as the night progresses you see the coordination falter with the people that are around the tour. They do the full on stumble, and don’t know how to get to the bus. Yeah, like, on the other side of the bus knocking trying to get in when the door is on the other side.

* Have you been worried about what everyone thinks of all of the changes?
Shaant:
You know, I did initally, but no one– it’s so bazaar. I’ve been asked twice in two plus weeks, so twelve or thirteen shows, twice–“What are the other guys doing? Where are they?” That’s it. No one is asking me anything. And I’m thinking, “Do they not know?” or, “Did they miss the memo?” Then the other part of me, just because of the compliments–“This is the best it has ever been,” “It’s so good,”–cause the energy is just so fresh. Five of these guys have never toured before. Ever.

* The Friday Night Boys are big fans of Cute Is What We Aim For. How did you go about picking them, and the others, for the tour?
Shaant:
It was interesting. Back in the day when I was picking the line up for the Take Action Tour that we headlined, I thought Breathe Carolina was Carolina Liar. Like, that’s how, that’s where I was mentally. This time around, I wanted bands that I liked. I love hanging out with The Friday Night Boys. They would even come to all of the shows that we had in their city and would just come hang out on the bus all night or all day until we left. The main bond is just the friendship. They [everyone] always say, once you’re friends with a band, that’s how you get on tour. Which is really true, because you want to see people you like every single day. Down With Webster is just insane. Their music is insane. In Toronto, five number one singles! They write songs for Nelly Furtado, opened for Ludacris, opened for Snoop Dogg, I mean they played for 5,000 people in twenty-four hours. It’s insane. But, they’re doing the right thing by coming out and doing the grass roots in the States and doing the bill. They’re just so much fun, and they’re from Toronto and that’s where I Half grew up as a kid–in Buffalo, and Toronto. The Bigger Lights were–it was interesting. I had heard some buzz about them and I really liked their music. I knew their manager really well from growing up back in the day and they just seemed like a cool fit.

* So it’s working well.
Shaant:
Yeah! Everything’s going really well.

* What one thing do you want to do before you die?
Shaant:
I’m just so happy to be alive. I’m not really thinking about that. Yeah, I can’t answer that. Day by day.

* What is your all time favorite summer jam?
Shaant:
My favorite all time–“American Girl.” No! “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty. ‘Cause that’s just a summer jam. They’re from Jacksonville.

* They are?
Shaant:
Yeah.

*Yeah, Florida!
Shaant:
What the hell. You can’t rep that they’re from Florida when you don’t know they were from Florida! “Yeah, that’s right!” It doesn’t work that way.

* What do you want to say to your fans that have continued to support you?
Shaant:
Thank you. I never thought that I would have another opportunity. The fact that so many people are even willing to click on something that I have to do with, it sounds stupid, but it means the world. I want to show everyone that I’m willing to give just as much as they are, if not more.