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Bullets and Octane interview 

Bullets and Octane
Submitted by Johan Wippsson on 2006-09-07
Pure rocknroll - that?s the message Bullets and Octane is delivering. And they?re doing it very well, well enough to get signed to RCA and tour with bands like Korn, Deftones, 10 years and many more. I had the chance to talk a little with the band?s drummer Ty Smith,on the Family Values Tour, which is one coolest guys in the business??
-Hey there guys, how are you?
Ty: Fine, thank you. My name is Ty Smith (drums) and Ill be your local bullets and octane smart ass for the next few minutes. Im just sitting in a hotel room in Kansas City, Missouri on a day off. Uneventful as all hell. Hows the land of beauty?

-You?re in the middle of the Family Values Tour. That must feel really great?

Ty: Its amazing when you get a group of bands together on one tour. Musicians are like minded in one way or another so its a very family type atmosphere amongst the bands. We all look out for one another and are always willing have a chat and share a drink or ten. Its tough beating the heat and sun but its nothing when shadowed with the great exposure we all receive on this tour.

-How have it been so far? Any smashed guitars?

Ty: On the average we smash 25 guitars a night but on this tour weve kept it down to 10. Next question!

-Any favorites of the bands on the tour? I guess it hard to pick, but are there any of the bands that you have come closer than the others?

Ty: Thats easy. Dir en grey. Theyre a metal band from tokyo, Japan with a mysterious singer who cuts the inside of his mouth everyday and then proceeds to wipe the blood all over his face. Whats not to love about that? Beyond that theyre all amazing musicians who write inspiring songs. I dont know if it has something to do with growing up in japanese culture that brings these little flavors out in the music or if its just their genius at work. Im sure its a little bit of both but you should definitely check them out if youre looking for something in metal to break the dull monotony.

-I noticed that you will do some shows in Europe later this fall. Any chance that you will play in Sweden? You have a sound that works here and most important of all, we got the best blondes in the world!!

Ty: Unfortunately were only doing shows in the U.K. but your blonde beauties are more than welcome to join us at any time! Go ahead and give them my number. Its 1-555-555-SLUT. International rates will apply. We hope to do a full european tour soon for the rest of our fans in europe though. keep your eyes pealed.

-How?s the life on tour? Is playing in front of your fans the ultimate experience as an artist?
Ty: Its why I do what I do. Its instant gratification as opposed to recording because you can see how songs effect the crowd rather than wondering if what we like in music will be something that others will enjoy as well. Its like being a dom whos looking for that perfect submissive. Again my number is 1-555-555-slut. International rates will apply.

-But you have played a lot and with some great acts. But is it always as fun? Aren?t you tired at times?
Ty: When Im on tour I accept the fact that Im going to be tired all the time. Bad food and travel are extremely draining. Ive gone three days without sleep and played some of the best shows of my life. I feed off the crowd that much. If it were just a rehearsal Im sure I would have been on the floor passed out with drool pooling around me but the energy of the crowd makes all the difference

-Your major label debut, ?In The Mouth Of The Young? was out earlier this year on RCA. How has the response been so far?

Ty: Well, lets see. Weve sold over five billion records and we have ten singles on the radio at this very moment so Id have to say things are going pretty good. Seriously though. Its been very well received. It would seem that a lot of people are getting what were trying to do. What are we trying to do, you ask? Well thats for you to find out on your own. Consider it an adventure like walking through a field of feathers naked. Ill tell you this. You will be shocked and mildly disgusted. Just like you were when you found out Lance Bass of Nsick was gay. Shocker!... Yeah, right!

-You have released a couple of independent albums. How would you compare them to the new one?

Ty: I wouldnt. They are their own entity and weve grown since then. Why bother delving into the past when things are only getting better in time? like a fine wine...

-Being signed to a major label is a great success and opportunity for most bands. How was your signing process and were you ever afraid that it wouldn?t work?
Ty: I was very wary the entire time we were in the signing process. We went to meeting after meeting with A&R reps from multiple labels before we found RCA who gave us the freedom we were looking for. As far as being afraid? Im still afraid all this will fall out from underneath me at any given moment. Ive seen too many bands come and go so for me to be cocky and say that were going straight to the top would be idiotic... That being said were going to straight to the top, my friend.

-You have been working with the two heroes Page Hamilton (Helmet) and Ken Andrews (Failure & Year Of The Rabbit). Was it you or the label that chose them?
Ty: The label found producers and mixers that wanted to work with us and made a list. We met with every one of them that we were interested in. Basically we just let all the producers give us their pitch and then asked them to continue telling us more about themselves to see if they would reveal how they really ticked. Then we bombarded them with questions that they could easily manipulate to make themselves sound something like what we were looking for. Its all politics with some of these guys as disgusting as it is. We eventually met with Page Hamilton of Helmet fame. Page is a musician first and
foremost. He came in with a game plan written up before we even met him. That made a deep impression on us. He was basically going to work for us before we even hired him. That shows true dedication to the art and an amazing work ethic. And he enjoys a stiff drink as well. Thats always a plus. Ken Andrews is known for being the drum sound god and he delivered the goods, man. We didnt want anything too overproduced and he hit the nail on the head with his work. We are all aware of his ability to mix music to sound glossier than a Robert Downey Jr. mug shot so for him to take our direction and find that happy medium of mild production in mixing was breathtaking. We would walk out of the studio after he was done with goose pimples because of his uncanny ability to take what was in our heads and recreate it so perfectly. Needless to say it was a joy working with
this team. I hope we can do it again sometime in the future...

-I think they have done an excellent job with a raw and edgy production, very suitable for your sound and miles away from being overproduced. How important is the production do you think?

Ty: Production is very important. When you have the option to do a very polished record you have to ask yourself if that?s the direction you want to go. Do you want to sound like Nirvana or Brittany Spears? Its all subjective to the style of music you play. An interesting thing you see all the time in today?s music is when Someone takes a pop song and roughens it up in the mix a little bit a viola they market it as rock. How do these people sleep at night? On a pillow case full of cash no doubt. I just want to know how the masses are fooled by this? You have a world of music at your fingertips via the internet and still millions of people bought Avril Lashits record a few years back in hopes that they too will one day be accepted as a skater punk. Ive gotten off the subject somewhat so Ill just say something trivial. Avril is gorgeous, but shell never be a skate punk no matter who she marries...

-You?ve been compared to Guns n Roses, which is nice compliment. How do you feel about that? Have they influenced in any way?
Ty: I feel very honored to be compared to my idols. Who wouldnt be? It just shows you that your influences have a way of seeping into your sound even though its unintentional.

-?Chinese Democracy? must be the most delay album ever. Do you think that it ever will be out?
Ty: Ummmm Never. I?m kidding. I believe its slotted for release very soon if it hasnt been released already. Thats why there have been "guns n roses" shows popping up.

-What do you think about rock business at the moment? Was it better before?
Ty: I think its more pure at this moment in time. People know that with downloading there isnt as much money in it. You dont hear about bands receiving hefty million dollar signing bonuses as much so some of the money grubbers arent as interested in becoming a musician anymore. Its more about the show and music now rather than leer jets, pet monkeys and opening future failing restaurants. Music is my world, passion, and sole purpose in life. I wouldnt be happy doing anything else. If I live out my days in poverty because of it - so be it. At least I had a good time and brought all my fans with me to join in the celebration.

-Thanks for your time and good luck with the upcoming shows. I hope to see you Sweden later this year. I will show you the best bars with the best chicks!

Ty: I look forward to it. Thank you for letting me type my wretched thoughts. I hope my lame humor translates well. Thanks again.