About a year ago, The Letters Organize of Atlanta, Georgia were signed to Nitro Records (The Offspring’s Dexter Holland’s label). Although you may not have heard of them yet, expect to hear more from them very soon as they attempt to bring their new brand of angular and edgy Rock ‘n Roll to the masses. I had a chat with bassist Garrett and guitarist Zach before their intimate London show.
So, is this the first time you’ve been in the UK?
GARRETT: er, this is the second time. The first time we got deported. We came and didn’t have the right visas so were sent home immediately so this is the first time we’ve actually gotten in. We’ve been to Gatwick airport before…
Ah, is that what the song ‘Dressed up in Gatwick’ is about?
So how are you finding all the shows?
ZACH: Yeah, it’s good. I mean, we’ve done a few small shows – one in Leeds the other one in Cardiff and they were really good. Then we had a few shows with The Offspring. Those went really well too. It’s really different playing to that many people. It’s weird cos everybody’s there to see The Offspring and then like five dirty-ass rockers get on stage and I don’t know, I don’t know how they…
Yeah, you’re quite different to The Offspring…
Z: Yeah, I don’t know how they really accepted it, but I mean it went well. We didn’t get boo’d so.. . What do you think?
G: Um, I think, I don’t know, I think it’s hard to play to crowds that big, like 5000 or 4000 or whatever. You know, I think we had like 400 people that liked us every night. But those people don’t really drown out the people that don’t care. So that’s sort of discouraging, but we were playing on the same stages as Spiritualized and fucking Radiohead. I mean, there was like 3 people at the front that were really into it and that’s three people that would’ve never heard us before so…
How has the last year been for you guys, signing to Nitro and everything?
G: It’s been pretty hectic. I mean, it’s been fun. Since we did the record we’ve basically been touring. We’ve been touring now straight for, I’d say four months and we’re not gonna stop ‘til the end of the year. We’re never really home you know? I mean we’ve been touring for five years but not like this much. We did a U.S. tour, then I was asleep in my bed for two weeks and woke up in Europe. We go home for 2 weeks or a week and then we’re back on the road again. I don’t know, it’s been really fun but really, really busy all the time.
So do you know when you’re going to start the new record?
G: Um, we’re trying to.. we’ve been talking about putting out like an EP here and we’ve actually started writing the new album too but not really working hard at it yet but I think next year, the beginning of next year we’ll take some time off to start writing the new record. And try and get it out round the end of next year I guess.
Do you ever write on the road?
G: We never really do that. We don’t ever have time, I mean sound checks are really short so we usually play a song and are like “yeah ok, we’re done”.
Is there any story behind the name ‘The Letters Organize’?
G: Donnie came up with the name and it basically had like no… His explanation of it is like the music, sort of like a language kind of thing where like with anything the letters sort of have to organize themselves to have any meaning so I think that he was the one that came up with all that and he has a whole explanation. He basically just called me at work one day and said “Hey, what do you think of ‘The Letters Organize’?” and I said “Sounds good!”
What about the story behind your album’s title ‘Dead Rhythm Machine’? It seems to me like rhythm is anything but dead on the record.
G: That came up… we were gonna use a quote from a Frank Zappa song but it was taking a while to get approval for the title so our record label didn’t think we were gonna be able to use it so we just came up with something. We sat around for like weeks thinking “What are we gonna call it?” And Donnie again came up with ‘Dead Rhythm Machine’… And just for the record, it has nothing to do with the Refused song ‘Deadly Rhythm’ cos we get that comparison all the time to Refused and honestly me and Donnie one day were going to band practice and I had it on my IPod and I looked at it and I was like “Hey shit dude, this song’s called deadly rhythm.” So we had no idea. We just came up with it cos I guess it sounds cool.
Some of the press have described your music as ‘uneasy listening’ and kind of frightening. Is that how you see it yourselves?
G: No… I mean, Zach and Casey and Donnie pretty much wrote it. I mean, I wrote all my bass parts but they wrote most of the music. And the riffs alone are like really normal fuckin’ rock riffs but then I guess when you like add everything into it like all the noise and distortion and drums and screaming and shit it becomes… If you just listen to one thing alone it’s pretty like normal but I guess when you add it all in it sounds like a noisy racket.
I think it’s fun music though…
G: Yeah, I mean it’s a good record to get drunk to.
So, how would you describe your sound?
Z: Ummm (ponders a moment), noisy, fun rock. I mean, it’s pretty straightforward, to me at least…
G: Crazy, Sexy, Cool
Z: Crazy, Sexy, Cool.