this time, ‘free’ = quality

Image courtesy of Myspace

Think about free stuff, and the word ‘quality’ isn’t the immediate association…curbside furniture, dumpster diving and the free stuff posted on Craigslist is connotative of a great deal, but high stakes for luck at making out good.

Luck has fortunately sided with music-geeks and show-goers, for Milwaukee’s IfIHadAHifi knows how to associate ‘free’ and ‘quality’ like the awesome innovators that they are. Their CD release show for their newest, Fame By Proxy, on Latest Flame Records, is absolutely free, and promises to be quality time for both the attendee and the attendee’s ears. Fan-belt’s Erin Wolf gets the process and final product info. from IfIHadAHiFi drummer and spokesperson, Dr. Awkward…

So, there’s already press on Fame By Proxy and it hasn’t seen its actual release yet — is this giving the band an idea of how the album might fare in it’s official reception? Left of the Dial online music magazine made references to Servotron and Brainiac and claims that “It’s like a shambolic routine for post-punk gurus tethered to glittery disco globes…”

Well, in the past, we’ve always been lucky enough to get pretty decent press, so we’re hoping that continues, because we’re really proud of this one and think it’s the best thing we’ve ever recorded. The Paper Thin Walls review of “Success! Success! Success!” really made me smile because I have never seen anyone outside of Milwaukee totally *get* us as well as that reviewer did. What killed me was when he said we excelled at crafting “a perfect radio-ready hook and then burying it in screeching noise that ensures the song will come nowhere near an actual radio, coming off like Fountains of Wayne Kramer”. 

Seriously. Fountains of Wayne Kramer.

I would totally go see that band.

There was also some early album release excitement generated with your music video on YouTube for “Success! Success! Success!”. What’s the feedback on the video? It’s a pretty intense six minutes and 23 seconds.

The best feedback we got was from our parents. Just about every one of our parents who saw the video said something to the effect of “well, we really liked the first four minutes, but when the blood and gore started, we had to turn it off.” My mom personally said the video was “interesting”, and we all know what it means when a trying-to-be-supportive parent uses ‘that’ word. And my sister said that she wouldn’t let her daughter watch it when the blood started flying! I indignantly explained that it was just cranberry sauce and corn syrup, but no dice. The exception was Rev. Ever’s mom, who has been known to sing “Crazy Train” at top volume at the Cactus Club with us after our shows there. She thought the video was frackin’ awesome.

Give me the Five W’s on the writing and recording process this time around.

1. Whiskey (this was needed after each day of the recording).

2. Wilhemina (this is Shane Olivo’s mom; don’t ask how she helped, you wouldn’t want to know).

3. Wizardry (from Shane’s magical recording techniques, to John Congleton’s unearthly mixing skillz, to our bassist being known as the Fucking Wizard, the powers of the occult were all over this slab).

4. Willful self-editing (the number of songs and ideas we come up with and throw away over the course of writing any of our albums could probably fill a less-than-essential b-sides compilation).

5. Wrocking as hard as possible (yeah, I ran out of ideas for this one).

Latest Flame Records has been responsible for putting out some pretty awesome local music (IfIHadAHiFi, Brief Candles, Testa Rosa)…what’s it like to be part of the Latest Flame family?

It’s great. We loved our last label and have warm fuzzies when thinking of them, but we always stuck out like a sore thumb on it, style-wise. With Latest Flame, we feel like we can hop onto a bill with a band like The Dials, Brief Candles, or The Slats and there’s enough common ground that we’d appeal to the same audience. It’s really great being on a label with so many bands we love and admire, and twice as flattering that Dan seems to think we belong in their company!

And, a full-length on vinyl, to boot, will be out in October?

That’s the plan so far. The plan also calls for some fun bonus surprises in the vinyl version, but the best laid plans of IfIHadAHiFi tend to blow up in our faces, so let’s not go into too much detail on those.

You’ve got a pretty lengthy tour in the works (9/26-10/11), covering everywhere from Chicago to North Carolina to Ohio. What’s got you stoked about this particular tour?

Over the years, we’ve come to realize that the best part of going on tour is visiting and playing with our friends in other towns. This time out, most of our shows were booked by some of our best friends in the country — the Ho-Ag guys in Boston, the Viva La Foxx ladies in Cincinnati, the tremendous fuckers of Tremendous Fucking in Bloomington, IN. And on top of hanging out with all our pals, we get to bring some Milwaukee pals along! Having White, Wrench, Conservatory along on tour is going to do worlds of good for road morale, and worlds of harm to our livers.

One thing we’re NOT looking forward to, of course, is gas prices. With two bands on the road splitting the door, each show, we’d probably be farther ahead staying home and just setting a pile of money on fire. But then we wouldn’t get to hang out in Greenville, NC (which is a PARTY TOWN — believe it). Plus, after watching Clarke Foods go up in flames, I’m not comfortable setting fires in the city limits.

So, you’re treating Milwaukee to a free show on Saturday — how’d you swing that?

We’re paying for the sound out of our pockets and passing the savings onto the consumer! We figure if there’s no cover charge, no one has a valid reason to not buy the new disc, other than “I do not like your band”, or “I only listen to music on the commercial cassette format”. And, no, “I used the money to buy another shot,” is NOT a valid reason, unless that shot was bought for one of us. 

IfiHadAHifi’s CD *free* CD release party happens at the Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth) with White, Wrench, Conservatory, System and Station and The New Loud. Show starts at 10 p.m.

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