Minus the Bear

Seattle Weekly: Your new album, Menos el Oso [Suicide Squeeze], sounds pretty emotional, but some of the song titles are fairly goofy—”The Game Needed Me,” “Hooray,” “This Ain’t a Surfin’ Movie.” So which comes first for you guys, the song or the title?

Jake Snider (singer/guitarist): Usually the title. It definitely depends. “Hooray” is a song about playing in the snow, so it’s like, “Hooray for snow days.”

The album is immaculately produced. How long did it take to get it to sound so pristine?

We took about three months to record it, from the beginning of recording to the end of mixing. The songs were, for the most part, written beforehand, aside from lyrics—I spent a couple weeks of that time doing those. We recorded basic tracks at a real studio and then we just did all the overdubs at my house. After we got most of the guitar playing done, I started writing lyrics in my home studio. Most [of the music] is collaborative; the beginning of the songs come up from Dave [Knudson, guitarist] and Erin [Tate, drummer].

You guys are on the road right now. Are you a sleeping-on-floors or sleeping-in-motels band?

Sleeping in motels, for the most part. [We’ve done] four years’ touring, basically. We’ve got the whole thing totally dialed. We just ate.

What did you just eat?

Delicious—well, actually, horrible—Taco Bell in The Dalles, Ore. We’re right by a strange dam I’ve never seen before. We’re going east to Spokane. It’s not that bad, about seven hours from Portland.

Have you picked up any vices on the road?

Nothing that I didn’t have already. The biggest thing I’ve picked up is just enjoying it, so when I’m home I get bored—whoa, that’s a crazy drawbridge!

Describe the drawbridge.

It’s a bridge where a section of it goes up this five-story-tall thing. It’s like a train bridge, and it doesn’t, like, split in the middle and go up on either side. It goes vertically straight up into the air like a platform.

Are you a drawbridge aficionado?

I don’t think so, no. I just didn’t expect to see something that magnificent.