Interview: Laugh Out Loud

You know, most of the time I kind of hate Myspace. I mean, first of all, it's pretty much the slowest-loading website ever to exist. Also, it's positively PACKED with spam. I keep it, though, because bands use Myspace to round up new fans and I enjoy being rounded up (oh yes). Recently, I was rounded up by a charming boy named Eric Reid and his (sort of) one-man band, Laugh Out Loud, who graciously granted me an interview. Here is what transpired:

Jocelyn: So you play all the instruments on your recordings yourself, correct? How does that process work? How do you translate that into live shows with other musicians?

Eric: That is correct and incorrect .. I write the songs by myself, come up with what parts I think would sound cool .. and where they would sound cool in the songs and then I record them. My producer and long time friend Karl Mohr gives his input and ideas... which are, more often than not, good ideas. He's a better piano player than me so something that would take me 9 takes to hack out he gets through in one take.

Live is a totally different feel... where i play most of the instruments the music has a lot of my vibe, and then live the musicians follow that vibe but kind of do what they want with it as well.

Jocelyn: Which do you prefer, recording or performing?

Eric: Definitely recording. I find it difficult working with other people and arranging how the songs should be played...when it's just Karl and I recording we both really get each other and what we're going for. I get really stoked off like crazy little production tricks.. like when you hear a beach boys record they have some many little sweet nothings that they throw in.. like a tamborine panned totally to the left with like 50 other things going on all around... and then live its just kind of more focused on the raw energy. I like being able to just do everything i guess... maybe i should hire a 50 piece band or something.

Jocelyn: Does Karl play in your live shows with you?

Eric: Laugh Out Loud has never even played in ontario. I'm currently on a rock and hes in Toronto. We're getting a place this summer to record the new album and then we will play together... I'm really excited to be back on mainland and playing shows with a band.

Jocelyn: How exactly did you end up in Newfoundland?

Eric: I really dont know.. I was really tired (oh the eighteen year old angst) and just kind of wanted to chill out for a couple of years.. so I went to music school in the Atlantic... my dad told me about the program and I said sure... I didnt go to much school at all first year. I just wrote songs and met cool people. I was totally into the live band last year.

Jocelyn: Well the live band is pretty great. I like the curly guy with the brown sweater.

Eric: Haha Bart Pierson is the greatest person in the entire world. We had this really staight up guy in the band who was really into the 'fine tunings' like he would tune after every song and make sure all diminished chords shone out through his perfect guitar tones.. and onstage Bart would like detune his own guitar and grind it against shit that was close to him... He was definitely awesome to have in the band

He lives in St. John's now and his afro is so huge and I don't think hes working.. but every time I see him he tells me about his recordings that he does on his casette player and at the end of every song he trashes his room a bit more.

Jocelyn: Dude's exciteable.

Eric: He's a sweetheart though.

Jocelyn: Obviously. He has a brown sweater.

Eric: Yeah he worked at a thirft store and got great discounts on discounts.

Jocelyn: Oh that is a good friend to have.

So you've got live shows in Newfoundland with the band and recordings in Ontario with Karl, but the music is all you. How does it feel to be a one man dance-rock party?

Eric: The dance parties are both Karl and myself... we wet each others whistles and scream like girls. We do Abba and barber shop boy harmonies while eating watermelon and spitting the seeds at each other (it feels like summer).

Jocelyn: That's beautiful.

A lot of the subject matter in your music is pretty dark, but it's delivered in a funny way. Is that just kind of how you operate or was it a conscious decision?

Eric: Some people say that its me being self concious of my music and diguising darkness with humor... but I'd like to think that my music can get people stoked enough to dance and then when its not saturday night dance fever they can read the lyrics and get a kind of deeper meaning... It's kind of like if you put an I'm From Barcelona song on like "Pearl Harbour"... kind of that ironic twist or something? I don't really feel self concious about my music though.

Jocelyn: How does the songwriting process work for you?

Eric: I am always recording guide tracks. I'll be fucking with the piano or guitar and come up with some sort of a cool melody and I'll record it just singing "do-do"s and "la-la"s and I'll say write down the chords and give myself a remind to have like an Abba-ish bridge in the middle or something. Like so I get the general feeling.. so I'll have a bunch of guide tracks all waiting in a folder and then when I have a cool idea for a song I put lyrics to the "la-la"s and then brainstorm other instrument possibilities.

Jocelyn: Besides making music, how do you spend your time?

Eric: I spend a lot of my time reading I'm currently obsessed with Stephen King. He's not even a horror writer. He is to an extent but there's so much more shit going on with his writing, I can sit for hours reading his books. He's amazing. I work at a movie rental place right now and I get like 3 free movie rentals a day, so I've seen every b-list actor horror movie on the market.

Jocelyn: Haha. Zombies? It's all about zombies.

Eric: Oh my god, I've seen them all. The older the better. What do you do?

Jocelyn: Watch Flight of the Cochords. Over and over. Also, I spend a lot of time ripping pictures out of magazines and putting them on my wall. I lead a fascinating life.

Eric: Do you play/write music?

Jocelyn: Nah. I leave that to people who know what they're doing. I'm a writer. It works out better for everyone that way. Secretly though, I'd love to be in a Pixies cover band and just sing all of Kim Deal's parts. She has the best parts.

Eric: Haha The Pixies are garbage now. They look like melted candles and they sound like they're starting to force it.

Jocelyn: Oh I don't really pay much attention to them now. But back in the day when they were cool and I was like four, we were tight.

Eric: Haha DO NOT Google image search them then, you'll kill your inner child. Alright sorry for sidetracking your interview.

Jocelyn: Ha. It's cool. No worries.

Eric: Let it be our interview. It's a product of us both, like a child.

Jocelyn: Yes. Our interview baby. Can we name it Alphonsis?

Eric: Is that a gender-friendly name? If so, then the answer is no. She shall be Patricia.

Jocelyn: I don't know why you get to name her. I did all the work. You just got to do the fun parts. I want to name her Astrid.

Eric: You're right. I'm fucking chopped liver. Astrid it is. She has your eyes as well as your spite.

Jocelyn: Well spite is a dominant gene. Ok! What music do you listen to when you're feeling shitty and you want not to?

Eric: Usually when I feel shitty I listen to music that makes me feel shittier... I dont know why. "Black Sheep Boy" by Okkervil River is always a good anchor to sink me into the black pit of depression. Placebo's "Without You I'm Nothing" does the trick too. As far as happy music, I love The Beach Boys, older Bowie, The Boy Least Likely To is really happy... so is Jens Lekman... all that is pretty genius music.

Jocelyn: Yeah nothing makes you feel worse like Okkervil River, God bless 'em

Eric: Hahaha.

Jocelyn: So you like to wallow?

Eric: Hahaha. No but sometimes I guess it feels nice being in that darker place and it can be hard to get out. I'm generally pretty happy.

Jocelyn: Well good. I'm generally a proponent of happiness, although misery has its perks.

Eric: We see eye to eye. Astrid shall grow to be a well-rounded woman and a leader.

Jocelyn: Of course she will. She is a gifted child. What is your favourite Laugh Out Loud song?

Eric: My very favourite is one that isn't yet recorded. I've been working on it for like 7 months. I usually spend 20 minutes writing a song, so it really is a different breed... but it has everything in it. It's my Astrid. As of already recorded I'd say "Smile."

Jocelyn: When do you think this mystery song will be finished cookin'?

Eric: I'm recording another record this summer. The song is pretty much cooked.

Here's the recording process: I pay $100 per song and I have unlimited recording time, but with this gem in particular I've been hiring on a bunch of players (violin, cello, viola, saxophone, flute & trumpet) so it'll probably end up costing me a lot more. It's my magnus opus though, so it deserves some special treatment.

Jocelyn: That's an exciting endeavor!

Eric: Woo!

Jocelyn: Well that's about it, I expect. Do you have anything else you'd like to say to my loyal readers?

Eric: Don't Google image search The Pixies in their 2008 form.

Jocelyn: Wise words.

Again and Again and Again, live in Newfoundland (check out the curly guy in the brown sweater).

As you can see, Eric and I are in love. You can testify to that in court when I sue his ass for child support.

Oh, and go to his Myspace page and listen to his amazing music. Dude's only 19. It's pretty impressive.