You describe your music as being “Total Music”. Can you elaborate on the term and tell us what it means?
“Total Music” is an approach to songwriting that ignores genres, extends linearly, not cyclicly and celebrates harmony.

What bands do you think have been most prominent in influencing the Total Music sound?
Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Apart from yourselves, which other bands in your opinion specialise in Total Music?
None

Moving on from the last question, what do you think of metal today and can you give a reason as to why you rarely perform in front of real metal crowds?
I don’t listen to much modern metal. There are a few good bands – Mastodon, Confessor, Meshuggah… We don’t consider ourselves a metal band and therefore are not suprised when we don’t see a lot of metal heads at our shows.

What do you think of The Darkness?
It’s good when you’re trying to sleep.

Speaking of which, what do you think of the trend where a lot of bands (including your own) have “The” preceding their name e.g. The Pixies?
I don’t really know if that’s a trend. Way back when, people were calling the messiah ‘the’ and the pharoh ‘the’.

Which guitarists do you admire and what tips would you give to someone just starting out on playing guitar?
John Mclaughlin, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Al Dimeola. My advice is to just play all the time.

You used to be in Nation of Ulysses. Can you tell us what the emerging underground Washington DC scene was around the time of luminary bands such as Nation of Ulysses and Minor Threat? Why do you think the bands were able to make such an impact on the underground circuit and what factors do you account for them being so highly regarded today?
One thing is that everybody in the punk scence in DC back then was really supportive of each other. That helped a lot, but without Dischord I don’t think a lot of the bands would be nearly as well known.

There were a lot of other great labels like R&B, Teenbeat and Fountain of Youth, but Dischord really had their shit together and had very good distribution.

You recently licensed three tracks for inclusion in The Sims 2 videogame. Can you tell us why that game was chosen in particular?
They chose us and they pay well.

What was reaction from fans and why are we not going to see the tracks on a future album?
I don’t know of anyone who’s heard the songs in the game – including us. They asked us to write genre specific songs, for example there is a “singer songwriter” style song which sounds kinda like Neil Young or something, so it’s not usual ‘Champs fare and wouldn’t be suitable for our records.

In your opinion, what advantages do licensing tracks for videogames have over licensing tacks for traditional entertainment media (such as TV, films, adverts)?
None, except that these Sims tracks have paid better than most of our licencing to TV, movie and video.

Do The F*cking Champs have plans for contributing any more music scores for inclusion in a videogame? If so, do you intend to play a larger role in the sound composition of videogames in future?
We don’t have any plans, but if anyone asks us and pays us we’ll probably do it.

What are your top five movies?
Holy Mountain
Punch Drunk Love
Boogie Nights
Magnolia
Papillon

What books are you reading at the moment?
I’m slowly re-reading ‘Schroedinger’s Kittens’.

You guys are apparently influenced by Robert Fripp’s philosophy. For the purposes of this interview, can you tell us as to who Robert Fripp is, and what he stands for?
I don’t know… I couldn’t answer that. I like his music though.

What do you think of wrestling and can you tell us why my poster commemorating your co-headlining tour with Trans Am (at 93 Feet East, London) depicts a woman figurine and a Hulk Hogan look-alike wrestling figure?
I used to like wrestling when i was a kid, but it’s gotten too slick. I don’t know about that poster- never saw it.

Speaking of Trans Am, when can we expect to see both The F*cking Champs and Trans Am again in London?
I don’t know, we just got back from london a few weeks ago. I doubt we’ll be seen anywhere together besides next week and maybe Australia and New Zealand next summer – well, their winter.

What was it like collaborating with Trans Am on the split EP Gold? Did you encounter any difficulties whilst recording and when do you think well see another product from the Trans Champs / Fucking Am camp?
For the EP, we recorded 2 or 3 songs, sent them to Trans Am. A year later they added some parts and tracked another song. Then Phil came out and we finished the rest of the record here in San Francisco and wrote 2 of the songs in the studio. The Gold LP all started because I had a song I had written that was a little too goofy for the ‘champs (doing research for an autobiography) and I needed a nice shuffle beat so i asked Jon Theodore from Golden (hence the name – “gold”) to come up from LA to record this song with me and Soete. Phil happened to come out at the same time and joined us. I wrote another song on the spot, while we were practicing the first song, which became ‘Bad Leg’. Soete and Phil both had a song to contribute after that. A few months later I went to DC to track a few songs with the rest of the Trans Am guys at their studio. Then we took all the songs back here, overdubbed alot of stuff and voila. It was great. Gold is my favorite album I’ve ever worked on. I don’t know if we’ll do any more, we’re so busy, but it would be nice.

Do you have any tips for our readers on getting into the recording and sound engineering part of the music industry?
Only do it if you really love it cos it’s a lot of work. Learn how to fix the things you’re working on. Record as much as you can.

Finally, where can your fans get hold of your earlier released material (Music for Films About Rock, Triumph of the Air Elementals, Bad Recording Live!) and do you have any plans of making them more widely available?
The master tapes for the first two tapes have been lost. We have DAT copies of them, but they are so deteriorated that they won’t really play and Bad Recording Live! is, well, a bad recording. I don’t think we have any plans to do anything with that stuff unless somehow the tapes magically turn up. you don’t have them do you?

Thanks
Thank you

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