Car Bomb are one of the most interesting bands of recent years. Whether you know them from their eye opening film, Why You Do This, various support tours or just their incredible music, you won’t be in a hurry to forget them. Before they headed off on tour to support Gojira and Code Orange in Europe, I got to speak to one of the mastermind’s behind the band, guitarist Greg Kubacki.
Jack: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Greg Kubacki (Guitar): We’re doing good. Right now we’re practising and preparing to travel to your side of the pond for a while…pumped, pumped, pumped!
Jack: Meta came out in October, are you happy with the response?
Greg: The response has been overwhelming at times but pretty amazing. We’ve been a band for a while so it feels like we’ve broken through into new territory with this release.
Jack: There was a four year gap between w^w^^w^w and Meta. What was the reason for this gap?
Greg: We like to take our time with writing and recording to make sure the songs are exactly the way we want them. ‘Nonagon’ was the first song I started writing and my computer says that file was created on March 3rd, 2013. We didn’t receive the final masters from Josh Wilbur until August 2016. I also do the artwork for everything and that takes time as well.
Jack: In September you released five second fragments of the song “From the Dust of This Planet” through music sharing for fans to assemble in any order to form a complete song. Why did you do this?
Greg: I’m a big fan of Boards of Canada and how they did something insanely creative for the release of their last record Tomorrow’s Harvest. So when Jonny came up with the idea of the puzzle thing I was immediately stoked that we could announce the album in a unique way similar to how they did. We weren’t sure how people would come together to put the pieces together or if they will even figure it out, but within a few hours fans were using Reddit and Facebook to trade pieces with each other. Within a week fans put all of the pieces together and posted the completed song up on SoundCloud. So in a sense our fans released our first single…not us.
Jack: Did you listen to many of the fan submissions for this song?
Greg: There weren’t any mashups with the audio that I saw, but there were fans that created some interesting artwork from some of the album cover puzzle pieces. That was something we didn’t expect at all and I thought was pretty cool.
Jack: What was it like working with Joe Duplantier from Gojira on the album?
Greg: We’ve been good friends with Joe for a while and had collaborated with him before on the song “Third Revelation”. But I wanted someone to help steer the ship this time around and though he’d be perfect. While producing this record with him I learned a tremendous amount about work ethic, how to be inspired, and how to capture performances in the moment. The fact he was so hands on was really surprising: he jumped right in running the Pro-Tools sessions and making edits. He’s a pretty phenomenal person when it comes to how he works and where his art comes from and I hope a little bit of that rubbed off on us with Meta.
Jack: How did Suffocation’s Frank Mullen become involved with your song “Sets”?
Greg: He’s from Long Island as well and we bump into him every once in a while at shows. On one of those occasions I was pretty drunk and just blurted out the idea to him. We’re such huge fans of Suffocation and didn’t expect him to say yes, but fortunately he did. He worked with Joe Cincotta at Full Force Studios in Long Island and banged out the vocal parts pretty quickly. We gave him no direction except which part to sing over and he just knocked it out of the park. Sets sounds so much heavier now with what he has contributed.
Jack: Your documentary Why You Do This came out in 2011, since then has it got harder to balance the day job with the band or has it got easier or remained the same?
Greg: It has stayed about the same. We now make a conscious effort to involve other people into the process to help us out, which unloads a lot of the burden of work that we have to do. But at the same time since Meta has had such a big response there’s way more work to be done. We are now just as busy as before but doing different things.
Jack: Would you consider making a follow up at all?
Greg: I never thought of that, but that’s a great idea!
Jack: Did you expect the band to be this big when you formed in 2000?
Greg: We don’t consider ourselves a huge band by any means but the fact we keep getting asked on these amazing tours is something we never expected. Doing a tour with Meshuggah was completely impossible in our minds back when we started out, so to accomplish that has been a huge milestone for us.
Jack: What do you feel is your proudest achievement with the band?
Greg: For me it’s definitely been writing and recording Meta. Since we hired professionals to help out this time around (Josh Wilbur and Alexis Berthalot) I feel like we really got it right as far as how we wanted the record to sound. Anything else that happens is all icing on the cake that already has a ton of icing on it. The end result for me is always the songs and the album as a whole because that’s the thing that sticks around for a long time.
Jack: In March you’re touring Europe/UK with Gojira and Code Orange, will you mainly be playing material from Meta?
Greg: Yes we are actually practising some new ones right now. We’ve played a bunch on the last DEP run but we’ll be adding a few more on this tour.
Jack: Code Orange are supporting too, are you a fan of theirs?
Greg: Totally. Mike and I grew up on hard-core around Long Island so we love that type of energy in their music. I’ve been listening to Forever since it came out and will definitely rip off some of their tempo change tricks for our next record.
Jack: What was it like coming over to the UK for the first time with Meshuggah in 2014? Did you have any preconceptions about the UK?
Greg: We didn’t get to see too much of the UK because we arrived one day and then had to leave the next. But the show itself was one of the best show we’ve ever had. Fans at the Roundhouse were really receptive and energetic…and that place was just huge. I still see a photo of the crow from that show and think “Jeez, did we actually play in front of THAT many people?”
Jack: Do you have fond memories of supporting The Dillinger Escape Plan?
Greg: The opportunity to see Dillinger’s set every night was the best part of that tour. It’s sad that in a few months they won’t be a band anymore so I’m glad I got to overdose on their live performances for a while. With the addition of some tunes from “Dissociation” I feel like their live set was so well rounded, dynamic and professional for some reason. Like they could play a permanent residency in Vegas now like Celine Deon because they’ve completely perfected what they do. They were definitely at the top of their game, and to be a part of that was an honour.
Jack: What will you miss the most about this band?
Greg: I’m definitely going to miss their new records. Every time they put out an album it’s something to obsess over and dissect for at least six months. Not having those insanely dense and complex album releases to nerd out to is going to be a real drag.
Jack: What are your plans for after the Gojira tour?
Greg: We have no definitive plans yet, but there are some other touring opportunities tentatively in the works. I’ve also started writing the next album and hope to keep working on that as much as I can.
Jack: Finally how do you pronounce w^w^^w^w?
Greg: [Laughs] You can pronounce it however you want. Fans have called it “waveforms” or “W’s”, but we refer to it in the band as “w click w”.
Jack: Thanks for your time and I’ll see you in London!
Greg: Awesome, definitely come say hey!
Car Bomb dates with Gojira and Code Orange:
11 Mar – Birmingham Academy
12 Mar – London Forum
14 Mar – Manchester Academy
15 Mar – Newcastle Academy
16 Mar – Leeds O2 Academy
17 Mar – Glasgow ABC
18 Mar – Bristol Academy