MTV World Stage : Interview with Stank

Hoobastank has been around for about 15 years now. How do you think your music has changed over the years?
Dan: You know how you hang out with the same bunch of friends, and you cannot really tell what has changed because you see them every day. It is the same for us as a band; we see each other every day, and we cannot really tell the difference. I can say our music has progressed throughout the years, but to get a better opinion, you would need to ask the fans who watch us from the outside.
Throughout your career, was there ever a time when things got too hard and you want to just give up?
Chris: Not really. We enjoy what we are doing, so we are really excited about it to even think we should quit. The only time we thought if we should give up was before we were signed to a label. We were a band for about five years before that, and things got grim as the days passed by. We were beginning to contemplate if we should call it quits, and that was when our record company picked us up.
What do you think keeps a band together?
Chris: To me, being in a band is like being in a relationship. We have to want the same things out of life. Also, giving each other ample space to grow. And of course, most importantly, be humble.
Hoobastank’s music is all about self-motivations and lessons in life. What would you say is the most important life’s lesson you have learned?
Dan: The older I get, the more I learn that not everyone feels the same and go through the same emotions as you. Looking back now, I wish that I have done some things and faced a few problems differently.
Chris: As I grow older, I realised that less things matter. The more important things in life are things like family, health and music. We don’t need to fuss over smaller and more detailed things other than that.
In light of your recent album, For(n)ever, what would you do forever, and what would you never do?
Chris: I would forever do rock songs, and will never do country songs.
Dan: Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing country music. I mean, obviously not with these guys here, but someday, I do wish to write some country songs just for kicks.
The Reason has gotten tremendous approvals from fans worldwide. Why do you think it is so?
Dan: Our lead, Doug (Robb), writes a lot of his songs based on the relationships he has gone through, and The Reason is one of them. I guess, why it got so famous is because everyone, at one point or the other of their lives, can relate to it. Whether if it is with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your mom or dad, or your friends, it is one of those songs that generally click for everyone. Besides, it has a catchy beat!
OK, tell us something true: are you guys sick of The Reason yet?
Dan: Haha, no, I don’t think so. The Reason is one of the few more chill out songs for Hoobastank. It is probably the only time when we can stand still and perform instead of jumping around on stage like we would for the other songs. It’s also a nice feeling to listen to an entire arena of fans sing along to The Reason.
Chris: I mean, why wouldn’t we want it? It’s always good for a band to have such an influential song to our name.
Dan: It’s always a good thing to get airplay for the song on the radio. We didn’t expect it to get so big. It’s gotten bigger than the band, even.
Do you guys find it hard to live up to The Reason after that?
Chris: Well, we don’t really sit around and think of how we can keep producing songs as famous as The Reason. The song did wonderfully for Hoobastank, and it has brought us to renewed heights as a rock band. But it would be silly to mull on the fame of it; the only way is to look towards the future and do our best in producing subsequent albums.
Karaoke is a popular past time here in Asia. Which songs would you sing at a karaoke session?
Dan: I would definitely sing along to Sir Mix-a-lot’s Baby Got Back! Also, maybe a few hip hop and rap numbers like Dr Dre.
Do you guys have any guilty pleasure songs stored in your iPods?
Chris: I wouldn’t call them guilty pleasures because I think they are quite talented in their own leagues. I enjoy listening to Justin Timberlake, and I think Christina Aguilera has an awesome voice too.
What about songs out there that make you cringe?
Chris: Hmm, I would have to say songs that sound British but are sung by non-Brits. Yeah, that makes me cringe every time. It just shows that they’re trying too hard.
Dan: There are a few bands out there who dress up all flashy like those people back in the 60s and 70s. I mean, I’m alright with that; I have nothing against their fashion sense. But I guess, your music has to measure up as well. A lot of bands out there recently don’t seem to be real anymore in their music, and they seem to spend more time prepping their image with fancy clothes instead of focusing on getting their music right. I’m just not convinced when it comes to bands like that.
What made Hoobastank say yes to performing at MTV World Stage?
Dan: Well, it is a good opportunity to leave home and play with some other awesome bands in the line up! Why say no when you can say yes?
Compared to your last performance in Malaysia in 2004 and the MTV World Stage tonight, how differently would you guys say the performances would be to each other?
Dan: Hmm, the only difference would probably be me dropping 20 pounds since our last performance here, haha. What with all the jumping around onstage.
Chris: MTV World Stage is almost not like a real show, because we’ll only be doing about four songs out there. I don’t see it as raising the bar since the last performance, but we’ll still do as good as we do in full blown sets, and try to keep it as enjoyable as we can for the fans, of course.
No matter how long we have been on the road, and how tired we get till we just want to go back and laze around on the couch, when we get onstage it is a completely different thing. We just go on autopilot, and we’ll channel this live energy we have from within us and just rock it out.
Hoobastank consists of lead Doug Robb, guitarist Dan Estin, bassist Jesse Charland and drummer Chris Hesse.
Their latest album For(n)ever was released in January 2009 with notable songs like My Turn, The Letter and So Close, So Far.

It feels like another lifetime ago, when I would listen to albums after albums of rock music, shack up at a place of a friend I barely knew just so I can attend Hoobastank’s concert in 2004 (also finding ways to get rid of the cans of complimentary Coke upon entrance), jump till I sweat along to Crawling in the Dark and scream at the top of my lungs to Running Away and The Reason. Uh huh.

Fast forward five years later, and I got a call that I will be interviewing Dan Estrin, the guitarist, and Chris Hesse, the drummer. I spent the night downloading all their albums because I left the first two back in my hometown and the other two I did not bother to even check out, and spent the entire day before the interview blasting the music in the car and on the headphones.

And I noticed how cheesy Doug Robb’s lyrics were for the first time that day. But at least it was a nice blast to the past, when everything was just loud basses, screeching solos, cymbalic ratatats and all too obvious lyrics with no metaphors whatsoever.

Hoobastank has been around for about 15 years now. How do you think your music has changed over the years?
Dan:
You know how you hang out with the same bunch of friends, and you cannot really tell what has changed because you see them every day. It is the same for us as a band; we see each other every day, and we cannot really tell the difference. I can say our music has progressed throughout the years, but to get a better opinion, you would need to ask the fans who watch us from the outside.

Throughout your career, was there ever a time when things got too hard and you want to just give up?
Chris:
Not really. We enjoy what we are doing, so we are really excited about it to even think we should quit. The only time we thought if we should give up was before we were signed to a label. We were a band for about five years before that, and things got grim as the days passed by. We were beginning to contemplate if we should call it quits, and that was when our record company picked us up.

What do you think keeps a band together?
Chris:
To me, being in a band is like being in a relationship. We have to want the same things out of life. Also, giving each other ample space to grow. And of course, most importantly, be humble.

Hoobastank’s music is all about self-motivations and lessons in life. What would you say is the most important life’s lesson you have learned?
Dan:
The older I get, the more I learn that not everyone feels the same and go through the same emotions as you. Looking back now, I wish that I have done some things and faced a few problems differently.
Chris: As I grow older, I realised that less things matter. The more important things in life are things like family, health and music. We don’t need to fuss over smaller and more detailed things other than that.

In light of your recent album, For(n)ever, what would you do forever, and what would you never do?
Chris:
I would forever do rock songs, and will never do country songs.
Dan: Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing country music. I mean, obviously not with these guys here, but someday, I do wish to write some country songs just for kicks.

The Reason has gotten tremendous approvals from fans worldwide. Why do you think it is so?
Dan:
Doug writes a lot of his songs based on the relationships he has gone through, and The Reason is one of them. I guess, why it got so famous is because everyone, at one point or the other of their lives, can relate to it. Whether if it is with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your mom or dad, or your friends, it is one of those songs that generally click for everyone. Besides, it has a catchy beat!

OK, tell us something true: are you guys sick of The Reason yet?
Dan:
Haha, no, I don’t think so. The Reason is one of the few more chill out songs for Hoobastank. It is probably the only time when we can stand still and perform instead of jumping around on stage like we would for the other songs. It’s also a nice feeling to listen to an entire arena of fans sing along to The Reason.
Chris: I mean, why wouldn’t we want it? It’s always good for a band to have such an influential song to our name.
Dan: It’s always a good thing to get airplay for the song on the radio. We didn’t expect it to get so big. It’s gotten bigger than the band, even.

Do you guys find it hard to live up to The Reason after that?
Chris:
Well, we don’t really sit around and think of how we can keep producing songs as famous as The Reason. The song did wonderfully for Hoobastank, and it has brought us to renewed heights as a rock band. But it would be silly to mull on the fame of it; the only way is to look towards the future and do our best in producing subsequent albums.

Are there any songs out there that make you cringe?
Chris:
Hmm, I would have to say songs that sound British but are sung by non-Brits. Yeah, that makes me cringe every time. It just shows that they’re trying too hard.
Dan: There are a few bands out there who dress up all flashy like those people back in the 60s and 70s. I mean, I’m alright with that; I have nothing against their fashion sense. But I guess, your music has to measure up as well. A lot of bands out there recently don’t seem to be real anymore in their music, and they seem to spend more time prepping their image with fancy clothes instead of focusing on getting their music right. I’m just not convinced when it comes to bands like that.

What made Hoobastank say yes to performing at MTV World Stage?
Dan:
Well, it is a good opportunity to leave home and play with some other awesome bands in the line up! Why say no when you can say yes?

Compared to your last performance in Malaysia in 2004 and the MTV World Stage tonight, how differently would you guys say the performances would be to each other?
Dan:
Hmm, the only difference would probably be me dropping 20 pounds since our last performance here, haha. What with all the jumping around onstage.
Chris: MTV World Stage is almost not like a real show, because we’ll only be doing about four songs out there. I don’t see it as raising the bar since the last performance, but we’ll still do as good as we do in full blown sets, and try to keep it as enjoyable as we can for the fans, of course.
No matter how long we have been on the road, and how tired we get till we just want to go back and laze around on the couch, when we get onstage it is a completely different thing. We just go on autopilot, and we’ll channel this live energy we have from within us and just rock it out.

Here is The Letter, featuring Vanessa Amorosi, taken off their latest album, For(n)ever.

++
Also check out:
MTV World Stage “Live in Malaysia”
MTV World Stage : Backstage

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2 Responses to “MTV World Stage : Interview with Stank”

  1. Hooba Fan Says:

    Thanks for this post. a little correction needed though. you got the song titles wrong. it’s Running Away and not Run Away, and it’s Crawling in the Dark and not Crawlin’ in the Dark.

    i’m sorry for doing this. i’m just being a HUGE fan of Hoobastank. =)

    take care!

  2. redzord Says:

    Owh n 1 more thing… it’s DAN ESTRIN. you got his name wrong. must be typo but juz thought i’d let u know. =)

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