photos by Kyle Johnson
interview by Jim Beckmann
Brooklyn’s Oxford Collapse takes the stage at Musicfest NW in Portland on tonight at 9:00 PM at Holocene. The band started as a joke (although it’s hard to figure out the joke, exactly) and in 2006, Sub Pop first released the full-length album Remember the Night Parties. The band is now on its fourth release, Bits, for which they wrote an astounding 30 songs. In the end, they drew directly from their influences rather than over-thinking the song-writing process and stayed true to their 80′s college rock core sound and nerd-boy playfulness.
After the performance, Jim sat down with Oxford Collapse -- i.e. guitarist Mike Pace, bassist Adam Rize, and drummer Dan Fetherston -- along with Susan Busch and Mona Dehghan from Sub Pop. The following is probably what everyone said, but it was hard to hear through the laughter. They could have been talking about something else entirely:
Jim: You guys are a Brooklyn band, is that correct?
Dan: Not anymore. Mike’s moving to Austin, Adam’s moving to Pittsburgh, and maybe I’m moving to Mississippi.
Jim: So that’s the end of the band?
Mike: We’ll be in satellite cities. We’ll practice on iChat.
Jim: So then why did you guys end up on Sub Pop?
Dan: I have no idea!
Mike: Sue lost a bet.
Mike: The story goes that Sue contacted us, kind of out of the blue.
Dan: No, we were on tour with the Constantines.
Mike: Mine’s more romantic.
Jim: I prefer “lost a bet.”
Mike: We did two records with Kanine in New York. But we were essential done with that contract and we were looking for a new label. We made a list.
Jim: Where was Sub Pop?
Mike: They weren’t even on the list. It didn’t seem like it was fathomable. But then Sue started a dialog with us. The timing was great.
Jim: What have you guys been up to lately, touring?
Mike: We were on tour. We just came from...
Dan: Grants Pass.
Mike: We played in San Francisco the other night and we had a day off yesterday, so we drove to Grants Pass, Oregon, and watched Tropic Thunder.
Jim: Thumbs up or thumbs down.
Mike: It served its purpose for being a movie.
Dan: Wait for video.
Jim: And you’re playing here at Musicfest tonight?
Mike: At Holocene.
Jim: What’s next?
Jim: Oh yeah. At the Sunset. See, I did my research.
Mike: I should have actually said that we’re going to Burger King tonight. We got these Burger King Crown cards. One of the guys in Love As Laughter... actually, this is a funny story. After we played in Los Angeles earlier this week, we went to this party that was at the guitar player from Tool’s house.
Mike: He wasn’t home. But we were with Kevin, who directed the Tool “Sober” video. So he gave the guy from Love As Laughter all of these Burger King Crown cards that are essentially $5 credit cards for Burger King. We try to avoid Burger King whenever possible, but they hooked us up, and you know, late night in Grants Pass the options are kind of limited.
Jim: What’s cool about Grants Pass?
Dan: There was a giant video store, but it wasn’t Blockbuster. It is called Video World.
Mike: With VHS.
Dan: And it was still open late at night. And like Mike said, Grants Pass looks like the town that Marty McFly would have lived in.
Mike: Not only that, we were listening to Late Nights with Alice Cooper, which apparently you can only get out west. You can’t get it in New York. Sadly. So we listening to Alice Cooper, driving around, doing donuts in the JC Penny parking lot, and at 11:30 going to Burger King. It was great.
Jim: Okay. Any last corporate sponsors you want to thank?
Mike: We’re doing another festival in a few weeks, and Adam’s getting a haircut from Vidal Sasoon.
Jim: That’s good to know.
Mike: Don’t want to bite the had that feeds. Shoes too. Saucony, Keds, (points to ketchup bottle on table)... Hines...