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Volumen-1 - Shane Hickey - Guitar/Bass/Vocals/Loudmouth
Volumen-2 - Doug Smith - Guitar/Vocals/Wood Teeth
Volumen^2 - Bryan Hickey - Bass/Vocals/Bourbon Testing/Dancing
VolumenBkawck - Chris Bacon - Moog and Korgs/Vocals/Spazztronics/Pressure Flipping
VolumenBeta - Bob Marshall - Drums/Tofurky Preparation/Off-Menu Ordering
1996 with Volumen1 and Volumen2 + DJ Sloppydrunk (drum machine)
~2000 with current line-up (this is where the shit got real, yo)
1) Bust out the show like it was a high school chess club party.
(Sadly, that's the only kind of high school parties that we can relate to.)
2) You can never have too much of: the Wave, the Heavy, the Dancing,
the Sparks, the Tofurky
Conversation overheard in the ambulance while backing up at Smegma Studio to record the Erika/Face 7".
"What was that noise??"
"Just a baby carriage."
Conversation overheard in the ambulance (tour vehicle) when Volumen Beta was changing
his pants while we were driving. I believe his nuts kept brushing up against Volumen^2's shoulder whenever we'd hit a bump. (Volumen 1 recounting)
Beta: "Whoops! Sorry Bryan!"
Bryan: Raging Laughter
Bryan: "Wait! I'm Bryan!"
(Repeat ad nauseum)
14 day tour of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Playing a teenage fan's basement in Northern California (next to the washer and dryer) for a
party which involved goldfish crackers, cold fried chicken and soda!
Worst Show Ever:
getting paid to play a bikini contest if you can fucking believe that.
Skipper of Reverses (2009 Volumen Records)
Science Faction (2006 Wantage USA)
Cries from Space (2003 Wantage USA)
Wantage Hits Omnibus Compilation ("Pandemonium" appears, 2004)
Ch*rch/Lady Cop split 7" with No Fi Soul Rebellion (2004 Wantage USA)
Erika/Face 7" (2002 Wantage USA)
Super Confident Guy EP (2003 Self-Released)
How Do You Spell? (2001 Self-Released)
Could we pretend we are dating again?
Sharing and Caring
Volumen Records Sampler
The Leisure Army
2 weeks - 2000 ("How do you spell?" Tour) - toured with Bob's old van -
toured midwest from Missoula to St. Paul and back again.
3 weeks - 2001 (Emergency Mustache Tour) - toured with the Amulance
(maiden voyage) - went west till portland, south to San Diego, east to
Austin, north back home
2 weeks - 2002 (Cries from Space Tour) - toured with ourselves - went
west to Eugene, south to San Diego and back home again
10 days - 2002 ("We found Canada!" Tour) - toured with Mike and a
motorcycle - toured NW US (Bellingham, Seattle, Richland, etc + Victoria and
2 weeks - 2003 (Tour:Baltic) - toured with Josh Vanek, Andy Smetanka,
Mike "Private Dick, Dirty Finn" Valentine - Toured Finland, Estonia,
1 week - 2004 ("Babies, Mortgages and Bryan" tour) - toured with Oblio
Joes - hit the NW US again
Hometown(s): (Volumen live in Missoula, Montana)
Knobnoster, MO (yes, it says Knob in there) - Volumen1
A treehouse, in Texas, infested with liquor roaches - Volumen2
Bequeathed to us by yard gnomes - Volumen^2
A New Jersey mall, where it is always 1983 - Volumen Beta
A Pastic Bubble Somewhere in Washington State - Volumen Bkawck
The International Playboys
Fireballs of Freedom
Previous bands played in/contributed to:
Bacon and Egg
Two Year Toque
Mike and Rick
Charles Dumar Trio
Some Kind of Cream
Saved for This Dark Dawn
volumen (AT)volumen (DOT) net
Interview by Rick Stoddart with Volumen 1 circa release of Science Faction:
1. Describe the new album? Is it a progression from your other stuff? An evolution? A revolution?
The new album was developed as almost a sort of concept record. We were naturally progressing towards some heavier psych waves in a sort of reaction against reviews of past records. Basically, we got tired of hearing things like "joke band" and "joke record". So, we built this new record and weaved the songs together with snippets and outtakes from some of our other projects (like the 2000 scoring of Nosferatu that we did as Nemulov). We played it for Vanek and he suggested that we strip it down and treat the record less as a concept
and more as a showcase of what our sound is. We did that and I think that made it a more accessible record, but at the same time, perhaps made it slightly less cohesive. We are still hearing things like "goofy" and "all over the place" in reviews, so maybe it's not possible for us to make a record that can avoid the stigma of novelty? Anyway, with all of this in mind, I'm more proud of this record than anything we've ever done. This record is what Volumen sounds like, right...... now.
2. Plans for the year?
We've got quite a few shows this summer and we just came back from a short two week tour at the end of April. We've playing with Elf Power tonight, so everyone is pretty excited about that. Bacon broke his arm, so we're getting creative to make some of our prior obligations.
For example, we're playing a show on Friday that features Volumen as it sounded in 1996. Doug, Bryan and I and our drum machine kicking out full blown nerd music. July will bring Total Fest! We have currently played more Total Fests than any other band in the world, in fact, we've played every one of them.
3. Would you call Volumen successful? What is your definition of success for the Volumen?
We were recently asked this question by Damon Ristau. He had entered the International Documentary Challenge (and he is currently in the top 12 with more judging yet to come) and was given the topic of music on the 22nd of April. He called us that evening and we agreed to take him on tour on the 23rd, so he could complete the movie (edited and all) by the 27th. My answer to the question of success in the movie was something like, "If you can do what you truly love, and not hurt anyone doing it, and hopefully make other people happy, then you are a success". By those standards, we are a raging success, we get a huge response from Volumen fans (The Volumany) everywhere we go and also in the online community. Volumen has enable us to tour the United States at least 6 times and the Baltic countries once. It beats the fuck outta our day jobs. So, if I have to hear "joke band" everyone once
in awhile as a form of payment for the success of Volumen, then I can live with that.
4. You've toured Eastern Europe. How much work is that compared to a US tour? I mean in a DIY sense, it is almost as workable doing a tour abroad as it is doing a national US tour, no?
It was a lot of work, and I think it would have been impossible without the help of Josh "Boss" Vanek and Andy "Rusty" Smetanka. Andy had lived in Finland and he speaks fluent Finnish. Many of his old friends helped us with shows, helped us secure free equipment and a very cheap driver and Mercedes bus. We actually got to use the same equipment that the Foo Fighters used just days before. Vanek had lived in Latvia, so he helped get us shows in Latvia and Lithuania. That only left Estonia and I handled that online. The local people were really helpful. They really didn't care what you sounded like, just having a U.S. band was novelty enough that they wanted to help you make it happen. Our Tour:Baltic was a success in every sense of the word, except financially. People invited us into their homes, fed us, gave us beer in giant 3 liter bottles and asked only that we make them dance for a few hours a day. That's a trade that we are more than comfortable with. You can view Andy's video of the tour online
at Google Video, youtube.com and MySpace. Just searching for "Volumen" should get you there, or "Lost in the Baltics" ought to as well.
5. Any nuggets of wisdom derived from trying to balance having a life and playing in a band?
The balance of band, family (most all of us are married and 4 out of 5 of us have children or children on the way) and work can be a real bitch. It's hard to focus on more than 2 out of those 3 things at any time. So, either you are on the verge of getting fired, or your wife
hates you or your band sucks. Breathing deeply and beer seem to help
6. You are elder statesmen on the Montana music scene. Written into lore. You recently inspired some younger bands (real young, yo!) by giving them a showcase and having them cover a Volumen tune. Shit, your Wikipedia profile states: "Volumen takes special steps to foster younger acts in the local music scene." WTFï¿½ How does it feel to be old? Or better yet, what impact do you think your band has had on Missoula and Montana, and even regionally?
I'm really curious about who is updating our Wikipedia profile, because it sure as hell isn't us. I need to buy that guy a beer. So, on the importance of being old. I like it. It seems like the music industry (and society in general) these days has a tendency to want their artists to be young and attractive. As a goofy looking 32 year old man, I take offense to that. We've been playing original, interesting music for 10 years. My artistic vision is surely deeper
after those 10 years. I mean, deeper, at least, than some uber-skinny, white-belted, tight-pantsed, 20-year-old clueless fuck. Woah. Apparently, I'm also 10 years angrier.
7. How does it feel to be one of the only constants in Missoula when your audience keeps changing with the continuous turnover of students? You guys are like the 'M" on the mountain!
We've won "Best band in Missoula" for 3 out of the last 4 years. I have a feeling now that we can sit back and relax and we'll keep winning by inertia. So, I, personally, love Missoula and I'm not going anywhere. I look forward to being a rock fixture until I die of Cirrhosis with ukulele in hand.
8. Is the DIY philosophy something that you guys actively incorporate into what the Volumen do or is it not that overt and the Volumen just do what they do because they have to? Is DIY a phenomena/ethos or is it just overblown practicality?
Being DIY isn't something that we wear like a badge, but is generally how we operate. But, that's primarily out of necessity. And, I suppose we aren't DIY in the strictest sense because we have a supportive community of friends and other bands helping us out. My brother, Colin, from the International Playboys often books our tours (Vanek and Andy have also helped out in the past). We recorded/mixed/produced the new record in the Volumen Compound / International House of Playboys (where both bands practiced). We screen a lot of our flyers, art, t-shirts but with tons of help from Vanek, Niki and others. So, are we more DIY than many other bands? Perhaps. Are we more DIY than the guys from Ass End Offend? Nope.
9. Describe the ideal show for Volumen to play?
There would have to be free food and beer for the band. There would need to be 2 other bands who were good people (like The Lights, The International Playboys, Two Year Touqe, The Joggers, Death Ray Davies, etc.) and about 100 people in a nice cozy space. Free food is
important though, we fucking can't stop talking about food.
10. Name a couple highlights found in the history of the Volumen?
Two of my favorite moments occurred on two different tours when we played Eureka, California. The first time we were scheduled to play Eureka, our show got cancelled. But, we were contacted by some high school kids who wanted us to play in their basement. We eagerly accepted. We showed up to find a snack table with goldfish crackers, M&Ms, ginger ale and cold friend chicken. They had made shirts with our logo and tour dates on them and their band opened up for us. It was incredible. On our last tour, we played Eureka again and these same kinds have a superhero-themed indie cover band (The Professional Superheroes). Watching them play our song "Super Confident Guy" and later seeing the video they made for "Something For the Monkey" (another one of ours) pretty much made my life.
11. What non-musical things to you derive inspiration from?
Computers, video-games, BEAM robotics, television and... oh yeah, video-games.
12. Doug and Shane kindly did the 2 man Volumen take of Love as a Battlefield for my one-shot public access television ditty Sounds of the Space Age. Any chance you guys playing that live or recording that?
Shit, I'd love to play that live. "Love is a Battlefield" is a real touchstone for me. I find myself subconsciously weaving that melody into a lot of things I write. I've heard Doug do it as well. Damn you MTV! Why can't you be good again?
13. Smetanka, a mutual friend of ours at one time was trying to construct museum of minor curiosities regarding punk rock stars such as remnants of sandwich crusts they ate, hair from combs, etc. or something along those lines (I can't quite remember it has been a long
time). He recently created a Volumen Museum zine... if we were to combine the two concepts, what minor curiosity item (piece of hair, some debris of your rock stardom) would this "Museum of Minor Volumen Curiosities" contain from each band member?
Hmm.. that is a fantastically awesome and gross concept. It would, of course, contain the mustaches that we grew for the Emergency Mustache Tour and the Sonic Infection (return of the mustache) Tour. It would also probably look like the inside of the Ambulance (we tour in an ambulance). That is to say, there'd be a box full of slowly rotting deli items from the whole food store that we couldn't finish but yet, don't want to open again. There would also be about 1000 jars of olives, for some reason. If you needed something from me, personally,
it would probably be my USB numberpad that I must use with my laptop so that I can play Nethack (the greatest game of all time) without hurting my wrists.
14. Describe a time that band has or almost has broken up? What have you learned from that?
The closest we ever came was a wakeboarding after-party and bikini contest in Sandpoint, Idaho. In fact, I think we did break up for about 12 hours. What did we learn? Playing after the bikini girls is not a choice slot.
15. What sacrifices have you had to make because of the band? What were some choices where it was either the band or something else and the band won out?
It seems like I generally sacrifice most of my summers and vacation time. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but I could tell you more about the inside of bars in Missoula than I could about the 10 miles of beauty circling the town. I'm sure as our children grow older, the band will lose more and more often in those situations. But, as long as we are creating new music and not growing fat playing "Sexy Astronaut" over and over again, I'm fine with it.
16. At what point in your career do you start wearing earplugs? I know a lot of young kids in bands, and they don't wear them. They p-shaw it. But any well-established band member knows better. Is it an age thing?
I actually don't wear ear plugs while we play, just during the other bands. Touche! I had my hearing tested and it was above average, so I don't wanna jinx it. I also paid to have molded ear plugs made and I have remembered to bring them to the show perhaps 2-3 times, ever.
Thank god for toilet paper.
17. Any thoughts on doing a Some Kind of Cream cover? Rocket Racer (?) perhaps?
Heh. Never. Although, I'm working on a Myspace page for Some Kind of Cream and you can download all of the MP3s from http://www.volumen.net/skoc/
18. If you could only play one video game for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Nethack or Super Breakout.
19. If there was a Volumen video game what would be the object of such a game? What would be its title?
It would be just like Pacman. Only, the pellets would be random tasty snacks and the power pellets would be Sparks. The ghosts would be guys wearing white belts. Oh yeah, and instead of saying "wakka wakka wakka", Volman (that's what the dude would be called) would constantly talk about food and Judas Priest.
20. What video game would you like to do the theme to?
Any and every video game ever made. If we had to narrow it down, then it would be Robotron 2084 and/or Super Breakout.
21. If you guys were in an airplane and it crashed on a deserted island which scenario would most likely happen: That movie ALIVE (where that soccer team starts eating each other), Lord of the Flies, or LOST?
Hmm... I couldn't eat anyone in the band for various reasons (i.e. too hairy, too boney, too booze-soaked, etc). A few years ago, it might have been Lord of the Flies, but we've had 6 years to work all of that shit out. At this point in time, we couldn't be a more cohesive unit.
So, it would have to be the most addictive television show of all time... LOST. I'd be Hurley.
22. If there was a movie made of the Volumen what actors would play each band member?
Oooh. Do me, do me! Hmm... that's a tough one. Bryan would be played by the actor who played "Booger" and "Charles Dumar" in Revenge of the Nerds and Better Off Dead. Bacon would be played by Jason Lee. Doug would be played by George Clooney because the studio would want one of us to be handsome. Bob could be played by that bad ass guy from "The Shield" (Bob, you'll notice I didn't say Dom DeLuise) and I would be some sort of CGI robot.
23. What country/state (that you have never been to) are the Volumen big in?
I think we are doing pretty well on a station in Illinois? Or was it Indiana? In either case, we've never been there. We've charted for in the top 10 for like 4 weeks in a row in Wisconsin, but we played there once, so that doesn't count, I guess.
24. I have an interest in Industrial Archeologyï¿½ what are the weird pseudo-hobbies of the Volumen? Spelunking or numismatology perhaps?
I'll let the boys speak for themselves. I, personally, enjoy BEAM robotics and building weird appliances out of single board computers. But, I couldn't have more nerd in me, so that explains that.