September 9, 2007

Interview with Nate Ruess from The Format

All you need to know about what a show from The Format is like can be learned by watching this (bouncy, sometimes too loud) video that I shot on Friday night at the Gothic Theatre:


Don’t you just want to be a part of that? Yes, yes you do.

The concert was every bit as fantastic as I was expecting (a few more pics here) and I was pleased to get a chance to catch up with Nate Ruess, the frontman of the group. The Format was formed in 2001 by Nate and his longtime friend Sam Means; they make great music.

Me: One of my favorite songs from you guys is “The First Single,” where you sing “You know the night life is just not for me.” However, you have chosen this nightclub-rock&roll-saturated 2am lifestyle, at least for now. Do you find it draining or do you love it? Or both?

Nate: We are fairly boring people so I’m still sticking to our guns on this one. And because we are so boring I think the “rock n roll” lifestyle gets to us really quickly. Unless it involves watching a good movie. Then I am game.

Denver is honored to be the last proper show of the long-running tour for Dog Problems. What’s next for you guys after this?

Gonna take a break from touring and being in a band, and try to write and make a record all at the same time I’m looking forward to it. But the first thing on my mind is finishing the tour.

Now, no pressure (who am I kidding, I’m eager) — but are you already working on writing a follow-up to Dog Problems?

Yeah we have five or so songs in their incubent stage. I’m anxious to hear what it’s going to sound like. In my head they’re great songs so far, but we have so much work left.

Here’s a possibly hard question – Everyone always asks me to “describe the sound” of The Format when I rave about you all to whoever will listen. How the heck do you usually answer that same question when people, doubtlessly and ad nauseum, propose it to you? How then shall we refer to you?

It’s the question that angers me most. I say pop if I’m not scared of the person asking me. But I’ll say rock if I think they pose a threat. But really I don’t know.

What new and distant horizons would you like to explore musically with your next album? I read something about steel drums?

Maybe a little bit, I tend to throw crazy words and instruments around but in the end it comes down to what’s best for the songs. With that being said…I hear a gospel choir.

[New song] Swans is fantastic, and I gotta say I loved the fact that there are jingle bells in there. Far underused outside of December festivities. I am curious to know what your studio space looks like, in terms of the dozens of instruments you use. You’ve got some awesome wacky stuff, eh?

Yeah for awhile before Dog Problems was recorded we spent a lot of time collecting crap, but the studio we recorded at in California had so many great instruments that we never used our own stuff. We are toying with the idea of make the next album in Arizona so I guess we might get to put 5 out-of-tune pump organs to use.

I am very interested in hearing about any new developments with your Vanity Label. Are you planning on adding some other artists to the roster? It must be a pretty cool feeling to be able to help and actually get good music heard by the general populace.

Yeah, we tend to forget we have the ability to sign other artists because we are so wrapped up in running the label for The Format. But once we hear something great or get a significant amount of time to work with someone, it’s something we would take very seriously.

[Me and Nate and my friend Jill after the show]

Bonus reading: A highly entertaining two-part tour blog written by Nate for Spin Magazine, wherein they crash a frat party and hone their skills in competitive drinking. [Part One] [Part Two]

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  • great interview! i love the format. they seem so cool…i mean, they gave away their album for FREE. how hardcore is that. and their songs aren’t bad either. hahah.


    Anonymous — September 9, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

  • Check out the priceless sweatshirt he wore at the philly show ( p.s. I blame the internet, but as a 24 yo, I felt like a senior citizen at the show.

    Greg — September 10, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  • it was great show indeed – i learned about the band from your blog sometime ago after you’ve enthusiastically described their live show – it was very good indeed – thank you…

    PS. long live Soda Jerk Presents!

    Old is the new Young! — September 10, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  • saw them in NYC…they closed out with ‘Caravan’ which was awesome…wrote about the show here:

    did they close out with that tune at your show? it was definitely the highlight…

    Jack the Rabbit — September 12, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

  • fantastic breasts in this picture. kudos!

    Anonymous — September 14, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

  • We aim to please. that was, clearly, the point of the post.

    heather — September 16, 2007 @ 11:05 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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