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By: Jamie Jones
Last year Big Business self-released their latest album Battlefields Forever, which recently got an official European release through Solar Flare Records. Jamie Jones asked bassist/singer Jared Warren some questions about the new record, signing to Solar Flare Records and more.
(((o))): It’s been a while since you guys released Battlefields Forever and it’s been available in Europe via your web store on and off since launch. How come it’s being re-released in Europe now? What does signing up with Solar Flare Records do for you?
Jared: We wanted it to be available without hassle to our European fans, but we don’t want to do any work to that end. Enter Solar Flare! We like the idea of doing everything ourselves, but we have to recognize when we can’t. We’re trying to learn everything the hard way. More street cred that way!
(((o))): Why did you decide to self-release Battlefields Forever? How did the process go for you, is there anything you’d do differently with the benefit of hindsight and are you planning to keep plugging your own furrow or will you be looking to get a label involved next time around?
Jared: We released Battlefields Forever ourselves because we could. We’ve wanted to release our records for a long time, but there is a certain amount of capital involved. We had to save for a long time. When Hydra Head ceased to be a label, the time seemed right. We’re still learning about the process, and being that making records is a long game, we’re not sure what we’ve learned yet. I can tell you that we don’t have to deal with any people we don’t want to, and we keep 100% of any profits made. We probably sell less records than if we were on a label with distribution, but we also see more profit from the records we sell. We don’t share sales with a label or have to buy our own records from a label. We also don’t have to accommodate or listen to any of the “middlemen” of the music industry. We will continue to plow our own fields for now, thank you very much.
(((o))): I heard that you played at least part of your last UK tour as a two-piece once more. Wikipedia currently has Scott [Martin] still on guitar with Toshi [Kasai] listed as a ‘past member’, but he mixed your recent digital single True Gold – can you clear up who’s in the current incarnation of Big Business? How do you think you work strongest as a band and how would you like to do things in future?
Jared: We are officially a duo these days and recorded the digital single as such. We seem to be doing fine as a two piece and it’s certainly easier both creatively and financially. Plus, duos are all the rage these days! We might hire someone from time to time to do a tour if the mood strikes us, but we’re going to exploit our situation for as long as possible. I’d like to tour with a choir someday. Maybe a string section.
(((o))): Battlefields Forever seemed to me like a return to the naked low end assault of your first two records and maybe a step away from the more experimental stuff on Mind the Drift. Is that a fair assessment? How do you feel about the record now that some time has past?
Jared: That’s fair-ish. A lot of the concepts on Mind the Drift ended up being unrealized for lots of different reasons. We probably weren’t quite as prepared as we should have been and the recording process itself was fraught with technical and logistical problems. In hindsight, we would probably do some things differently. I still think it’s a good record, but I understand why it confused people.
(((o))): The exception to what I just said about Battlefields Forever is probably the album closer ‘Lonely Lyle’. That doesn’t really sound like anything else you’ve done – I get an almost Pink Floyd vibe from it. Where did that song come from?
Jared: I was playing guitar one night really quietly so as not to disturb my girlfriend. I had been playing for hours, was really tired and hadn’t come up with anything new, just squirming around in my chair like a restless child. The guitar line just came about from being frustrated and tired I guess. You’re the second person to bring up Pink Floyd in regards to that song, which I think is weird because I’m not especially a fan. Other than the tempo, I don’t think it sounds that different than the rest of the record, but what do I know?
(((o))): A quick word about your time as part of the Melvins – I imagine that must have been an incredible experience and it certainly yielded some amazing music, but I wonder if you ever regret not spending the time concentrating on Big Business? Would you have been more prolific if you hadn’t done that or does the way you work mean you have the free time to fit something like that in?
Jared: Playing with the Melvins has been great and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’ve learned a lot playing with those guys. I think I would regret not getting to play in the Melvins more than I regret Big Biz not being as prolific as we could have been. It’s really difficult to give full creative focus to two bands at once. There were a few years, especially after Mind the Drift came out, that we simply didn’t have time for Big Biz biz because of Melvins touring schedule. But with that schedule came a decent living playing music, so I can’t complain.
(((o))): I’m enjoying the digital single – is that a sign of another record on the horizon or is it just a one off? And this might sound greedy after you did a bunch of shows at the tail end of the year but is there any chance we’ll see you on this side of the Atlantic again any time soon?
Jared: Glad you like the new songs! Coady [Willis] and I have about half a record ready and hope to spend the rest of the spring finishing it and record in the fall. We’re looking at doing a tour on the other side of the pond in the fall as well. Hold your breath until then!