Operation Makeout Interview (July 2002 issue)

You can also view this here: http://web.archive.org/web/20070630032027/www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=40 and you used to be able to view it here: http://www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=40.

Jughead kidnaps Operation Makeout and takes them to a Korean health food place in Downtown Oakland.

Katie (guitar, lead vocals) and Anna (drums) share a smoothie. Jesse (bass, backing vocals) has yogurt-flavored chips. We won’t get into what Jughead ate.

Jesse is the most outspoken of the bunch. He always has something clever to say. Katie and Anna are original members of the band, so they have the wisdom that is old-school Operation Makeout. Jesse at one point even calls them “OGs.” Anna is the quietest by far. “I’m just happy sitting here.”

On stage, Katie paves the way with to-the-point lyrics while Jesse runs around with his bass like a controlled lunatic. Anna fires away behind them with some of the best drumming I have seen, with her left arm held high to keep the beat, almost looking like she has a question for a teacher that only she sees. They exhibit together a cohesive talent that one rarely sees. You won’t be disappointed catching them live, as I suspected when I reviewed their EP last fall, First Base. If you like drummers, I really recommend this band because Anna is the best of an already good trio of musicians. Still, you just can’t go wrong with any of these people. Here’s the best of our 90-minute conversation:

I’ve noticed you guys play a lot of all-ages shows, which a lot of bands claim they can’t do.

Katie: It’s easy to play all ages shows in the Bay Area.
Jesse: It’s hard to find all ages places in Seattle. They have a law there that basically says you can’t have live music there without alcohol.

I see you all are wearing Chuck Taylors.

Jesse: I like them because they are only CDN$40 instead of CDN$240. And they’re not going to go out of fashion anytime soon. Because they haven’t in like 60 years.

Permanent hipness.

Jesse: Yeah. Like certain tattoos. If you got an anchor, or a heart with your mom’s name in it, you know you’ll always be cool. Because they’ve never gone out of style. Certain tattoos, they’re staples.

What kind of direction do you see the band going in?

Jesse: I don’t think with my songwriting… I dont think that it will change much for the rest of my life. Musically, we’re starting to sound more like us. Things are starting to sound more accentuated; we’re sort of coming into are own. We’re sounding more like Operation Makeout than Operation Makeout ever did. Our new record is both poppier and heavier and quirkier and weirder all at the same time. We’re kind of a bit more eccentric. What do you think, Katie?
Katie: I don’t know. I’m always surprised with how records turn out. There will be times when I don’t think I will really like them and then I don’t like them until we record them and then I like them.

Your Web site has three people modeling Operation Makeout T-shirts. Do people think they are you?

Anna: We just put that picture up right before we left.
Katie: That’ll be really funny (if people think that’s us).

We’ll have to see I guess.

Katie: We’ll get this e-mail: Did you guys change members AGAIN?

Is it easy for you guys to just get up and tour?

Katie: I just graduated. So basically when I was in school we would tour on the breaks. But now that I have this job, they’re really nice about giving me time off.
Jesse: I’m self-employed, so it’s good because I’ll allow myself to take the time off. But it’s bad… because I run a recording studio, so my expenses (in running the studio are the same either way).

I guess the tour isn’t exactly a moneymaker.

Katie: Well, we get a grant from the Canadian government.
Jesse: My old band got CDN$10,000 to tour Europe. It’s free money but it requires a lot of paperwork and persistence. It’s pretty awesome actually. They give you so much money it’s more than you ever would have made on merch.

Have you sold a lot of stuff on your Web site?

Katie: I’m not sure how many hits we get, but we sell stuff about twice a month. We sell on the tour. We do really well on the tour.

Do you get recognized when you tour?

Katie: In Arcata we do.
Jesse: People remember me from when I was in my old band (dbs). After you go through five or 10 times, people start to remember you.

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