This band has written THEE best pop song of the year ("Run for your life"), just like yours truly, they like their beers to be ice cold and they start a Euro Tour on Octobre 26th! How many more reasons does this blog need to have a very enlightening conversation with Justin Maurer:
1) For the viewers of this blog who don't know you, What would you tell about SUSPECT PARTS to introduce yourselves? How did you meet and decided to start a band together? Who is playing what instrument in the band?
Fast forward a year or two later and I was living in London helping my friends who played in Holy Ghost Revival as their tour manager and driver. They played over 100 shows in England, Scotland, Wales, and Germany and I drove them to every single show. Driving a stick-shift mini-bus on the wrong side of the road was interesting, but I figured it out after awhile. Holy Ghost's label mates included a band called Ripchord and I saw Sulli and Phil from Ripchord play an acoustic set at the Hope and Anchor pub in London. I thought Sulli was a fucking amazing "ooh ahh," man. His backing vocals were spot-on and he was a great lead guitarist. I poached him (stole him, not poached like the egg),for Suspect Parts. Sulli became my roommate in London with my girlfriend Marina, who was Holy Ghost Revival's publicist at Sony/Columbia/1965 Records and we wrote some songs like "Change Your Mind," "City Burning," and "Man Eater." I was reading a Phil Spector biography and wanted to write some hits. Sulli and I worked really well together and he helped me write a lot of the bridges, or as they say in England, "Middle Eighths."
Smail from legendary Berlin punk band The Shocks was recruited on bass and we had a band! We toured Germany, Spain, and the UK and recorded 4 singles with a Spanish guy named Pepe Tigruss in Gandia, Spain. Our friend Chimita's mother made us paella and we ate it on the beach. It was absolutely fantastic.
2 years ago we toured Europe with Maniac from Los Angeles and Smail was very focused on his new recording studio in Berlin. We were looking for a bassist to join us on tour, and Andru Bourbon came highly recommended to us from some Berlin friends who we trusted. We instantly got along, drank his wonderful cold peppermint schnapps, and learned about the art of grocery shopping for vegan spreads. Andru also played on our debut album which we recorded with Smail the winter after our Euro tour.
Justin Maurer - guitar vocals (played in other bands like Clorox Girls, Red Dons, Mano De Mono, Maniac, LA Drugz)
James "Sulli" Sullivan - guitar, vocals (played in Ripchord and currently plays in More Kicks)
Chris Brief - drums, vocals (plays in The Briefs)
Andru Bourbon - bass (played in Radio Dead Ones from Berlin)
Former bass players: Smail Shock (The Shocks), Daniel Hadji Husayn (from Red Dons and Clorox Girls)
2) About the recently released debut full length record, what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?
Justin: We recorded our debut album in the dead of winter at Smail Shock's east Berlin studio. The album was made during a snowstorm, and Chris and I had a hard time finding the studio in the snow, we had no reception on our phones and our GPS didn't work in the snowstorm! We recorded drums, bass, and guitars all together and then overdubbed vocals, lead guitars, hand claps, piano parts, etc. I believe Smail's all-analog track limitations were 16 tracks total, so we had to really haul-ass, kick-ass, take names, and not waste any tracks. It was all analog, and we didn't have time or room for any filler, we really had to hustle to get all 10 tracks down in the limited amount of time we had. All-in-all it sounds great. Doctor Smail Shock knows what he is doing.
3) What are your favorite topics to write about or the topics that come easily when you write a new song?
Justin: I can't speak for Sulli, but my own songs usually come from personal experience. Heartbreak, frustration, sexual frustration, restlessness, anger. Some of the best stories come from when things go wrong. I believe all art is trying to find some meaning in the tragedy of human existence. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I'd like to say that my songs are about trying to find meaning and purpose in a mostly tragic human existence. Does that make sense? I came from a dysfunctional family with a lot of abuse and turmoil, so punk rock was a sanctuary for me. Instead of getting in trouble with the police or self-harming or falling into drug addiction like so many of my peers, I luckily found music and that became my escape, my literal ticket out of a small town. Music is joy and has saved a lot of people including me. I also believe in "being the change you want in the world." I want to play music that I'd like to listen to. Sometimes it seems like 99.9% of music sucks and isn't very fun to listen to. I attempt to tackle some meaningful topics but try and still make it catchy, enjoyable, and fun to listen to. My life's goal is to write the next "Hey Ya." I haven't done it yet. For the record, Andre 3000 was listening to the Buzzcocks when he wrote "Hey Ya." Food for thought.
4) Is each of you guys composing his own songs (words and music) or are composing with 8 hands?
Justin: Sulli writes his own music and lyrics and I write my own music and lyrics. What makes it really special is the collaboration. Sulli helps me with a lot of the bridges. And Chris and Andru think of parts that I certainly wouldn't have thought of. The power of collaboration is seriously underrated. The best bands have the most fluid collaborations. Luckily for us, so far the collaboration has been an absolute pleasure. Composing with 8 hands sounds like an Octopus conducting an orchestra. How many hands does an Octopus have?
Justin: As a child in the 80s, I remember my Dad singing Beach Boys, The Doors, Rolling Stones, and Van Halen. As a teenager in the 90s, I listened to stuff like The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, Minor Threat, Black Flag, The Germs, The Adolescents, GG and The Jabbers, Operation Ivy. In 1994 I moved to a small town near Seattle, Washington so of course I got all of that grunge and horrible post-grunge stuff. Nirvana were a huge early band for me to get into. We didn't know about The Who and emulated Nirvana trashing their gear. Our teenage punk bands would kick over the drums after the first song! haha I'm still upset about destroying my Dad's 1970s Remo drumkit. After Cobain's death, the punk scene in Seattle (that was very anti-grunge) was massive for me. I saw local bands like The Rickets, PUD, The Displacements, The Degenerats, The Bloodclots, Bristle, The Catheters, Murder City Devils. There were many all-ages clubs in Seattle like RKCNDY, Velvet Elvis, Fallout Records and I went to Seattle every weekend to see touring punk bands and local bands. The 3 records that were on the radio at the time that I think still hold up are Weezer's blue album, Nirvana Unplugged in New York, and the Foo Fighters first album. Also still love Violent Femmes. Oasis had a couple of songs on the radio during this time too and of course they still hold up.
My favorite band as a teenager? Probably The Germs. Funnily enough, what we also loved listening to was Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, and Robert Johnson. We were pretty open-minded kids. We even loved the Venga Boys. Early rock and roll and rockabilly (and shitty 3rd wave ska) were all around. The Specials and Operation Ivy and Rancid were very present as well as a lot of the East Bay punk stuff like early Green Day, Blatz, and Filth.
3 bands that are still an influence on my work today? That's a tough question, but off the top of my head: Roy Orbison, Arthur Lee/Love, and The Beach Boys.
6) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release?
Justin: Yes, we have a video for "Run For Your Life" from our new album that's on YouTube:
7) What can concert goers expect at a gig of SUSPECT PARTS ? Are you playing any famous cover songs?
Justin: Concert-goers can expect that we're gonna play our asses off. Cover-songs? We'll see how rehearsals go, we have to remember how to play our own songs first!
8) What are your expectations for this soon to star Euro tour?
Justin: We expect the big cities in Germany to be a blast. Haven't played the Czech republic or Belgium in awhile, hope that it's good! I also hope to expect that the Germans have learned to make their refrigerators properly chill cold beers. Warm beers are no good! Warm bier ist nicht sehr gut! I like fucking ice cold frosty beers.
Justin: Vinyl and download only! Might do a CD next year so that we can try to get some college radio airplay in the US. That'd be nice.
10) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?
Justin: 69, dudes! Catch you on the flipside. Don't eat the yellow snow.
PURCHASE A PHYSICAL COPY HERE:
HERE ARE THE TOUR DATES.