We recently interviewed Micah, Cole, Leo, and Brett who collectively make one of Provo’s awesomest bands, Saint Sebastian’s School for Wicked Girls. Their shows are filled with a lot of energy and their songs are fantastic. They are playing this Saturday, December 6th at Muse Music Cafe with Coup De Grace and Maple Grove. The show starts at 8pm. Seriously, you don’t wanna miss this one.
So you guys have an interesting name. What is the inspiration behind it?
MICAH: we were looking for something sassy. “Saint Sebastian’s School for Wicked Girls” came from The Simpsons when Milhouse’s girlfriend was sent off when the two of them were caught kissing in Bart’s treehouse. Who is in the band and what role do they play?
MICAH: Me, Cole, Leo, Bret… our roles are becoming less distinguished as we go on. We’re more equals, all writing and producing the music.
How long have you all known each other and how did you meet?
COLE: Micah and I have known each other since ’99. We met at a battle-of-the-bands type concert at Ricks college. We’ve been playing together almost straight since then. During one span when we weren’t—while I was in Korea—I introduced a friend to Micah and they eventually formed a band in 2002 called Magnolia. Leo was in that band. So, Micah and Leo have been playing together ever since then. And then Bret’s the drummer that didn’t leave us. He’s been with us since last year and we hope he doesn’t leave soon.
How did you first get interested in music and/or playing music?
LEO: I’ve always been interested in music. I remember watching crappy 80s videos with my sister after watching the Thundercats. That’s a pretty big part of my childhood—cartoons and music videos.
MICAH: I just started writing music when i was little. I always have, always will… BRET: I started playing in clubs when I was 13. It has pretty much been a staple in my life since then.
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
LEO: Creating, playing, performing… it’s always been the same and it will never change.
What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?
COLE: Struggling to write new songs, to change with our personal growth and interests, and to balance making music with work and family life.
MICAH: Originally, we just want to be this straight rock thing and it’s not really us anymore, nor is it very appealing. But bringing in those things that would make it more appealing takes so much time and it seems like the band’s more of an afterthought now. We don’t have the time to put in the kind of time it would require to do what we want to do.
In what ways does living in Provo, or other places you have lived effect music you create or your music taste?
LEO: Places don’t effect the music i create or my musical taste. MICAH: I never really look to my surroundings for musical inspiration. The scenes in Rexburg and here are really different now… there’s a lot of synth and tight jeans.
COLE: I don’t really feel like we’ve ever been very connected to the Provo scene. Not that we’re above it or anything, we just never really seemed to fit. Ugly duckling or something.
BRET: (take or leave it…) Living in Provo has put a bad taste in my mouth for playing music. Everyone takes themselves so seriously, and does absolutely nothing to warrant it. Bands play at same venues once every other month and put out a CD every two years. Whenever the new fans arrive in the fall they can pretend they are celebrities for a while. I have resigned myself from trying to do anything about it. Any band that doesn’t fit into the already established mold is shunned, and any band who sucks up to said celebrities is privileged. It’s more funny than anything. The only reason to write music anymore is Provo is and try and piss people off.
What band or musician do you love? Is the music you listen to similar or different from your own?
LEO: I listen to many bands. I listen to music that’s similar and definitely i listen to stuff that’s totally different.
MICAH: I don’t really feel like I stick to a genre… unless you want to call it “indie.” But indie covers such a huge spectrum now that you could be listening to anything really.
COLE: The music that i listen to is often quite different from what we play. I like artists like Jens Lekmen and Beirut—artists that really make the most of their instrumentation. And I love The Beatles. Also, I’ve been really into hip hop like the Blue Scholars and Kanye West.
Can you describe the music making process for you as a group?
MICAH: um……… it would be nice if that were clearer.
MICAH: Basically, it’s been “micah has an idea and he brings it to the band,” but now, the whole band tries to bring something to the table.
COLE: Part of dealing with the change that I mentioned earlier is re-learning how to make new music in a new way. We combine in the music writing process more now than we used to, but we still haven’t quite learned how to be what we want to be.
What are the main themes of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
LEO: I have no idea.
COLE: Micah writes a lot about growing up, i think. it’s hard to understand a lot of what he says.
MICAH: If you look at How to do Everything Correctly, the overall theme of the entire album is revisiting childhood. Now I kinda wait for the song to dictate what it’s going to be about. It starts out as a mumble to a melody. And then some words will form. Then some more. And then it starts to becomes about something. And, eventually, it has meaning—it turns into something. Once i know what the songs about, I can go back and write the song because I have a subject.
How has your music evolved since you first started songwriting? MICAH: gotten better. haha.
LEO: I don’t think it’s changed that much. Technology changes, but songwriting is still the same.
COLE: I don’t know. I think we have changed. It’s messier now, for sure. And, although I think we like giving the audience a good pop hook to enjoy, we also try to challenge them a bit more—whether it be with time changes, dissonant chords, noise jams or whatever… and then we try to reward with something really beautiful on the other end. We push ourselves compositionally more now. Either that or we’re bored with what we typically used to do and that’s why we do what we do.
Do you have a favorite song to perform?
LEO: Carpal Tunnel.
COLE: Yeah, that’s at the top because it is, musically, probably our best compositions. And Kandahar has been really fun because it’s a dirty, happy, rock song and both us and the audience tend to enjoy it. But, I think our favorite changes.
MICAH: I’m hoping that our new song will be our favorite song to perform. It’s pretty cool… I like what we do.
COLE: Exactly. If we ever have something new that generally jumps to the top.
What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you have now?)
LEO: I use a Rickenbacker 4003 Bass. I’m not loyal to a brand, but I won’t just play whatever’s laying around. I love guitars so I chose quality instruments. I’ve loved Rickenbacker basses since I was twelve. I went to the music store and tried it and I bought it.
MICAH: Mine were the best sounding instruments for my budget. And they’re all classic instruments. The amp is a remake of a classic Fender amp. And the Danelectro—while not the most sturdy guitar—the sound is a classic sound. I don’t really have brand loyalty, but aesthetic loyalty—It’s gotta sound good and look good. I don’t have a sponsor, so i have no loyalty. My loyalty can be bought—or at least paid for.
COLE: I’m never totally comfortable with what I have because I always kinda of feel out of place in the world of electric instruments. So I like trying new things out—be it pedals or amps or guitars if someone has one to loan. But, recently, i’ve started growing into my sound and would be less apt to swap. I think I finally found the guitar that fits me… and I can’t even think of what it’s called right now. Bummer.
What advice do you have for people who want to write and perform their own music?
COLE: Anytime you step out of your comfort zone, it’s generally going to be appreciated by the audience. Be honest. Don’t give too much heed to the trends. Provo’s too mired in them as it is.
LEO: Do whatever you want to do. Be yourself.
MICAH: Quit. Go get a job. haha. It’s addictive. It’s hard to get out of. I can’t stop. It will ruin your life.
BRET: Do it. Just go on tour as soon as you can if you’re serious.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a CD?
LEO: Yes. Myspace.com/sss4wg.
COLE: And like a million other places littered throughout the web via CD Baby. even iTunes. We do have a CD.
Any last words?
LEO: Queria mandar un saludo a todos los que me conocen. Y, siganme que no los voy a defraudar.raudar.