Further Seems Forever Interview
AARON ROBERTSON: Have you guys had your first big fight yet?
JON BUNCH: No… Not really. I mean, I’m still very new with the guys and getting to know them every day still so. It’s like, imagine having seven brothers in a band, you’re going to argue over stupid stuff you know. We try to keep it down to a minimum, but you bicker over things that don’t matter and let some steam off or whatever but it’s been going really well, considering the fact that I’m brand new to the family… The Further Family… They’re not as crazy as everyone says they are.
A: Is that true?
STEVE KLEISATH: Eh… For the most part. Every once in awhile we’ll get crazy.
J: Yeah. We actually have more fun than I thought too. The after parties have been really fun and we’ve had some good times together so far.
S: It’s been good camaraderie.
J: Yeah. It definitely outweighs the pettiness.
S: I would say this lineup definitely has been the most fun, on a daily basis, in my experience since the origins of the group. You know, just hanging out, no drama, there hasn’t really been a lot of drama or just crap tension or anything.
A: That kind of leads to my first real question… How do you feel the tour has gone so far? This being the first headlining tour with the new lineup, the new lead singer?
J: From my experience I feel like it’s definitely a situation where the band is starting over in a lot of ways. One of my fears was that we would lose all the old Further fans because I joined or whatever, but it hasn’t been the case at all. All the Further fans have rallied to the cause and they’re supporting the new album and they’ve received it really well. This tour has been really great. Every night’s been worth coming out and playing and I’m pleasantly surprised with how well it’s gone. They said the other times, when Jason toured, there was a lot more static and was more difficult to make the transition. I think the smartest thing we did was to make a new album right away and so that period in between records went by fast so. They (the listeners) have a new record to listen to and decide whether or not they want to continue with the band.
A: As far as live performances go, where do you feel you guys are at right now, just starting out the tour? I know you guys have done a few shows and Cornerstone Festival up till now, but where do you guys feel you’re at now?
S: I think we’re light years from the first Cornerstone Festival, haha. I mean it’s sort of hard when Jon’s coming in on his first show and we’re playing in front of ten thousand people. We’re at the point now where we’re half way through tour and it’s a well oiled machine at this point and we’re definitely getting in a zone and definitely enjoying where we’re at in our set now.
J: It becomes second nature at this point. There’s all these things you want to try and improve upon in your own mind and you think of how you can do something better. But everyday is different because it depends on how you’re feeling on that day, you might not be the healthiest on one certain day and so you’re just trying to, like, improve and at the same time one day you’re feeling really good and you’re not able to pull it together. It’s just really weird, touring is a definite challenge.
A: Can you guys describe the process on how you acquired Jon after Jason left the band? How’d you get to know him?
S: Our former road manager, his name is Chuck, he used to road Sense Field and his (Jon’s) boss also use to road manage for Sense Field for years. Chuck had just called me and was like hey, you know Sense Field had broken up a year previous, you should give Jon a call and give it a shot, he’s probably looking to do something. So I gave him a call and we talked for a while and there definitely was interest. We didn’t know if it was going to be Further Seems Forever or maybe just do a new group. But, we already had all this music recorded that was slated as Further Seems Forever to be on Tooth and Nail and so what wound up happening was Jon was sent the music that we had already recorded, that Jason was suppose to do, he (Jason) had already recorded one song lyrically for it actually. Jon listened to them and laid down some vocals for some rough stuff on a couple songs and sent it back to us and we liked what we heard and…
J: Rough? Rough?! The recording quality added the roughness… Hahaha.
J: No. But you know the other cool thing too, that Derick makes a strong point of, is that if we were to have started under a new name everyone would have been yelling for the old songs anyway and so I just think it was a smart thing to do. To continue on with Further instead of starting under a new name and having everyone wish you were playing Further songs, you know what I mean?
S: Yeah. We’ve been working at this for six years so why let somebody who’s not going to be a team player ruin the whole name. We got a lot of overwhelming support through emails and letters to continue on as Further as well, that helped us in our decision making.
A: I won’t stay on this subject much but I know your fans want to know… What is the relationship between Further and Jason right now? I know in his release he called it a “divorce”.
DERICK CORDOBA: It was actually more like catching your wife in bed with your brother or something.
S: There is no relationship. I’ve never heard from him since the day he sent an email, that he didn’t even type, saying that he’d be done January 13th of this year.
D: The only person that’s even spoken to him is Chad. Chad really made a strong effort to kind of bury the hatchet and try to remain friends, but he wasn’t having it.
J: I don’t have anything against him. I have no reason to. I understand these guys’ positions but I don’t have anything against him at all.
A: Well that’s cool… Moving on to Hide Nothing, can you explain the wacky, hectic recording process. You were saying earlier that you had recorded the whole album musically and all you needed were the vocals. How did all that go about?
J: They had been sitting on their music for this album for a long time. They sent it over to me and I started writing songs before they really even asked me “do you want to sing on this?” I was driving around listening to it and they were like “Well Jason is still singing on it… Lotty dotty da”, and didn’t know what was going to happen so… But I just started to write a couple of ideas down and then two days later they were like, “Would you be interested in singing on this record?” I had already written a couple songs so I demo’d them and sent them over right away and they were like “Yeah, we liked what you did”. And then I flew out and met everybody, then flew back out and started working on the record right away. It was pretty amazing.
A: When you guys (Steve and Derick) received the final cut how did you feel about hearing Jon with the Further background? Did you guys immediately feel it was a perfect fit?
S: I think it was unbelievable given the amount of time. Jon’s only been with us technically since March and he went in to the studio only a month later. It’s such a short time to come up with what he did. Our engineer had a great year for us as well, he helped the process along the way. It’s just miraculous. Nothing short of a miracle, I think it’s our best record to date.
D: I tell people that basically the way I feel is that he was the vocalist we’ve been looking for the entire time, we just didn’t know it. That’s how good of a fit it is.
A: What is the main concept behind Hide Nothing, musically and lyrically? What’s the meaning behind “Hide Nothing”?
J: In my mind it would be nice to get to a point in life where you don’t have to hide anything about yourself. We all have our little dark secrets…
S: We do? Haha…
J: Yeah… You know, it’s like to be free of deceit or attempt to be. It’s not something that I would in anyway say that I’ve been able to achieve totally or completely but it’s a goal where there’s so much freedom in not having to hide anything. Be able to express yourself and be happy with who you are without having to hide who you are. Part of that is accepting other people and accepting yourself, it’s not an easy thing to do, loving yourself is particularly not an easy task.
A: Judging by the lyrics of this album, it seems to be your most spiritually driven album. Where are those lyrics driven from? Do you agree with me to some point?
J: Well… It is. It definitely has a certain optimism you know. But it also has a very human element as well. There is definitely a spirituality to it. I wanted to write about just what you kind of go through as a person and searching for a higher power or being or whatever. I’m hoping that there’s a good balance. I wanted to present a good balance. I didn’t want anyone to be turned off by it or turned away from it. My lyrics have always had some sort of optimism in the song whether it was written for Sense Field or Further. It’s all I’ve ever really done.
A: Further has always been known as a “Christian band”, being that you’re setup on a Christian label and are open as Christians. Where do you (Jon) stand on faith and God?
J: Definitely. I’ve always believed in God my whole life and in that I’ve always been a Christian, not always a “good” Christian. So it’s been a part of me my whole life. It’s important for me to have it as part of the work I do, the words I sing and the songs that I write. I want to have that in there. I’m not ashamed of it.
A: Where do you guys feel the church is? Our culture seems to be shifting from the church and “religion” to looking for God through spirituality. What do you guys feel about church and “religion”?
J: Everybody has a different experience. Church works really well for some people and then others are betrayed by it on some level you know, through molestation or Lord knows what’s going on? I just think that it’s not really up to us to say. Definitely spirituality and religion is a very personal thing and I think that if a church works for you and it makes you happy and you find that you get closer to God through it then it’s a good thing. You can’t blame people who like it and you can’t blame people who don’t like it. It’s totally an individual personal thing for everyone.
S: As far as my experience, I’ve definitely been to a lot of churches. I wasn’t raised a Christian, I’m actually a Messianic Jew. I’ve been to a lot of churches where there definitely seems to be an over-zealous type attitude where it’s drawing attention to the people there, sort of rowdy or preachy and disorderly; I feel that God creates order not disorder. The church I go to now is called Calvary Chapel, it’s a non-denominational. It’s just teaching and worship, they don’t even ask for tithe…
J: They ask for the gross don’t they? Haha…
S: Yeah… Haha… It’s ten percent of the gross, cause if it’s ten percent of the net you’re going to hell. Haha… But seriously, that’s probably the first church I’ve actually felt connected and I think the church is not really a building it’s sort of the people too. The Bible definitely talks about fellowship and to have people be accountable to a certain extent, and you be accountable to them too. I think more or less just having fellowship with people opposed to going to an actual building per say.
J: Yeah. It’s such a personal thing man. You can’t judge another man’s experience with church. It’s really just a very personal, personal thing.
A: What is the message you guys want to get across to your fans? What is Further about as a band?
D: Hopefully we’re about good music and positive lyrics and hopefully bringing joy to people. We try to have fun when we play, we hope that the people out in the audience are having fun when we play and when they listen to the record. To me, writing this record was a thousand times better than writing the last record. It was just so much better of an experience. When we were writing How To Start a Fire, Jason was brand new, I was brand new, we weren’t use to working with Chad and Steve and Josh. I was so much more comfortable when we were doing Hide Nothing and it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a band. It definitely, musically speaking, was a huge step forward and hopefully without being overly complicated. We don’t set out to write a complicated song, we just write what comes to us and hopefully it sounds good, and hopefully people enjoy it.
S: The overall picture, we want people to be able to relate with it, no matter where you’re at in your life, no matter what faith you claim to be of. I think that’s something like the band U2 has mastered; you can talk to all kinds of people, different walks of life and different styles of music, but they’ll get something out of those songs by that same band. To be able to play for as many different people as possible, I think that is sort of our goal.
A: Now some random questions… Who are some of your guys’ musical inspirations?
J: A lot of punk hardcore stuff got me playing in bands in the beginning. Back then you could pick up an instrument and basically be in a band whether you could play or not. There’s a lot of great bands, like I really do love U2. I love Richard Ashcroft who was formerly of The Verve, he’s one of my favorite singers. There’s a lot of old 70’s rock stuff too. There’s just so much to name. There’s too much music to name for inspiration. Cause you get a little bit of something out of everything. Whether it’s “I never want to sound like that band” or “I really want to emulate that band”. There’s so much to get out of it.
S: That’s the same with me, there’s so much. 70’s era, obviously classic rock, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Police. And then the 80’s, much like Jon, I liked a lot of hardcore and punk for the energy and participation of the live show. It was a great vibe and feeling. Then the 90’s, just the alternative music that was original and creative, not stereotypical mainstream, not what the radio says it is. But yeah, I’m all over the place.
J: Derick is a jazz guy…
D: Yeah I’m kind of the odd man of the group. I started out playing metal and then I got into jazz when I was 15 or 16. That’s kind of where I’ve been focused for many years now. My inspiration is probably Cold Train. If you listen to him live there is probably no one in the world that played with more energy than he did and if we could do a tenth of that, that would be amazing.
A: Randomly again… What’s one thing that you’re fans don’t know about you that would be cool for them to hear?
D: Jon’s really tall.
J: Yeah I’m very tall. I’m six foot six. And I have a strong low post domination… Hahaha.
D: I’m a vegetarian. So don’t eat meat.
S: My frisbee name is bullet. And I’m sure you’re familiar with the band Me Without You. They have a song called Bullet to Binary. That is based on Aaron throwing a frisbee to me.
A: Is this ultimate frisbee?
S: No. We just had this thing called Pro Circuit; we had it back in Strong Arm days. You do a couple tricks and then the rest of the crew would name you, knighting you in a way, and then you would be part of the Pro Circuit. I’m sure nobody knows about that, or probably wants to, but hey, there it is anyway.
D: Now when you see our weird t-shirt with the frisbee player you’ll understand.
A: What is in the immediate future of Further Seems Forever?
J: Playing Denver.
D: No. We’re going to be finishing up this tour for a couple more weeks. Do some sporadic shows and then do a little over a month with Sparta in November doing the full U.S. again. And then hopefully next year we’ll continue doing the U.S. and going over seas a little more.
A: Now Jon you said that you’re going to be the first lead singer of Further to record a second album with…
A: Is that a Guarantee?
J: It’s a guarantee because even if we break up tonight…
S: Is that a threat…
J: There’s no reason to…
S: Or a promise… Haha…
J: There’s no reason why we can’t do another album. I think it’s in the cards. Josh writes the main crux of the material and there’s no reason why we can’t go and do another record. Whether we decide to stop touring or never see each other again, I didn’t even see them the first time I recorded the record. So there is no reason why we cant and I look forward to it too. I think it’s going to be a really good time.