2002 Interview: Built to Spill
Q&A with Doug Martsch
By Matt Ashworth
Boise’s Built to Spill recently completed a national tour behind their excellent 2001 release Ancient Melodies of the Future. Nada Mucho recently caught up with the band’s brain trust, Doug Martsch, for a short interview.
Nada Mucho: Hi Doug; thanks for talking with us. How’s it going?
Doug Martsch: Fine, thanks. How are you?
NM: Just peachy. You guys just finished a long tour in support of Ancient Melodies of the Future. Other than getting sick at the end there, how was the tour?
DM: The tour was fun. Brett Netson, who had gone across the country with us as a guitarist/keyboardist/tamborinest/back-up vocalist decided at the last minute not to join us, so we had to change our set quite a bit. That was kind of a pain at first, but turned out to be great. We ended up doing Clash songs. We also did a lot of poppier songs so I think the crowds were satisfied.
NM: Rumors have circulated that Ancient Melodies will be the last Built to Spill album. Is that true?
NM: Whew. It’s rare these days that a rock band like Built to Spill, who doesn’t sound like Limp Bizkit/Britney Spears/Puff Daddy can survive on a major label. Should this give hope to other bands that may not fit the major label profile?
DM: I grew up assuming that only the most mediocre crap is on major labels and I haven’t seen much to change that opinion. Of course there are always exceptions, but any good band shouldn’t expect a major label deal or even assume that it’ the right thing for them.
NM: What’s the greatest evil in music today?
DM: The same evil that affects most aspects of our lives: corporate dominance.
NM: The same way that no one seems to wear hats anymore, people who wear beards are sometimes perceived as shaky and untrustworthy. Why do you think that is?
DM: I was unaware of this, but perhaps it looks as if we are trying to hide something. But I CAN be trusted.
NM: What was the last record you bought, and what albums are currently in your stereo?
DM: A bunch of reggae compilations.
NM: What current artists and bands are influencing your music?
DM: I don’t listen to much current music, but I love the Delusions.
NM: How do you feel about the myriad Built To Spill Jr. bands out there? Too much or not enough? Do you ever feel like they’re horning in on your scene?
DM: None of those bands sound like Built to Spill or like they’re taking from us. To me, Built to Spill is just reworking our influences and has no sound of its own.
NM: You’ve chosen an interesting assortment of artists to cover (Steve Miller, Neil Young, Heavenly, George Harrison, Macy Grey, The Clash). How do you choose which songs are “right” for the band?
DM: It’s pretty casual. Sometimes I love a song so much I want to hear it all the time, others are things we stumble across at practice and think, “that might be fun to play.”
NM: Can we expect another BTS singles compilation in a few years?
DM: There hasn’t been much run-off in Built to Spill land so probably not.
NM: It’s the year 2020 and the Built to Spill Behind the Music is on. What will they describe as the reason for your meteoric fall from grace?
DM: People coming to their senses.