Monday, April 27, 2009
The Exclusive Interview with Gym Class Heroes' Guitarist
Assistant A&E Editor
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Photo by Abby Sanford
Zach Fraser: For a UT student who hasn’t heard your music, how would you describe your sound?
Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo: Um, I think I’d just say it’s rooted in hip hop but influenced by everything, that’s about the best description I can give you ‘cause it’s all over the place.
ZF: Very few bands can say they’ve toured with such a wide variety of genres. You’ve toured with The Academy Is… and Fall Out Boy and on the last tour with Lil’ Wayne and T-Pain, is there a genre you prefer to tour with?
DL-K: No, I mean, not necessarily. I would say I really enjoy touring with the Academy and Fall Out Boy because we know those guys so it’s kind of like going out with old friends. But I think every tour we go on is a new experience, we can take something away from each of those.
ZF: How has the crowd been reacting to the new album, “The Quilt?”
DL-K : Good. It’s been a really good reaction I think, especially on this last tour. We have done, like you said, arena tours before. We did that with the All American Rejects and Fall Out Boy but Lil’ Wayne was the first hip-hop arena tour we ever did and it was really cool to see the fans react really well, cause’ on tours like that there are a lot of people who don’t know Gym Class Heroes or maybe they’ve only heard “Cupid’s Chokehold,” so it feels good to win over new fans every time.
ZF: Is there a favorite song of yours of the new album?
DL-K: Um, I have a couple. I like “Live a Little” and “No Place to Run.” I really like “Live Forever,” it’s a really meaningful one too. But I think that answer changes everyday
ZF: On your Last album, “As Cruel as School Children” you had appearances from William Beckett of The Academy Is… On this new album you have appearances from The Dream and Busta Rymes, is that a testament to the direction the band is going in?
DL-K: I wouldn’t say necessarily, I think that those appearances we felt would work well for those songs so we got a hold of those people. Actually Busta Ryhmes heard the song we were working on while we were in the studio and Travis was in the studio and then he was like, “I gotta get on this, I gotta get on this,” so I think in that case even he wanted to be on the song and pursue that. I think people only make guest appearances on any song that we have, I think its more important to us that the song fits the person who’s playing with us rather than getting someone for the sake of getting a name with us.
ZF: I noticed a few college shows after tonight, maybe a handful, but not too much after that, do you know what the future entails for the band?
DL-K: I think we’re going to be writing for most of the summer and yeah, that’s the only plan right now which is kind of cool because I haven’t had a summer in like five years, so it’s kind of sweet.
ZF: You know the whole thing is going on with the music industry, how it’s changing, with online piracy and everything. As an artist, how does that affect your band and how do you view it?
DL-K: Well, financially speaking it takes away from the band because, you know not that bands really get that much off of record sales, but the record labels do. When the record labels lose money, then they start holding back on the money they allocate [to the band] but, in terms of people hearing the music I mean it’s really good actually because it allows more people to get access to our music so I think it’s kind of just changing the way that music works, which happens you know, every so often, you had tapes and CD’s and then CD’s with burning and after that came the whole digital revolution so I think it’s just a natural evolution of music. I think it’s good to find ways to evolve with it, which I’m sure will happen, but it’s a new thing so it’s a real transitional period for the music industry. But I’m still for what it holds in the future, because I think that people are going to start taking music into their own hands more and they’re relying less on labels which could be a good thing so we’ll see.
ZF: What bands have influenced you and the band as a whole?
DL-K: As a whole I’d say probably the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the very very early Black Eyed Peas stuff, as far as me personally a lot of music has influenced me. When I was first getting into guitar I’d say bands like Green Day, Nirvana, the alternative music. And I think later in college underground hip-hop and hip-hop in general and at this point it’s whatever I think sounds cool, I listen to, I’m really into Muse, I think they’re amazing.
ZF: I know you’re on the record label Decadyance which is part of Fueled By Ramen which is in Tampa so is anyone going to be here from the record label tonight?
DL-K: Probably (laughs). I don’t know actually. But there was one of our friends I knew was gonna be here, but she can’t because she has to do some teaching stuff.
ZF: Has there been any differences in the college shows compared to a normal crowd that would buy tickets as is, have you noticed any differences in the crowd?
DL-K: Yeah, the transition between the Lil’ Wayne tour and this. It’s hard to tell differences in the crowd, but in terms of the overall show, these shows are a lot more intimate because we’ve been playing arenas. It’s kind of a little bit harder to connect with the individual people because there’s so many, but these shows are cool. They’re a lot more laid back and people kind of come to these shows I think like chill out and have a party mentality which is just really cool.
ZF: And finally, what do you expect from the UT audience tonight?
DL-K: Debauchery (laughs), madness, just a good time I hope. It’s cool ‘cause we’ve been playing a couple outdoor shows and spring is finally here so we’re coming out of the east coast where it still might be snowing, so it’s good to get out.
To hear the interview, make sure to tune into WUTT 1080 AM, or campus cable channel 95.
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