Music News

Reformat

Hailing from a little town in Arizona called Peoria, the Format lives up to its name by making pop music that is easily accessible and, well, true to the format. And the fun bus doesn't stop there: The band went through the formalities of being almost famous with a stint in the majors before garnering its own vanity label through Nettwerk named (natch) the Vanity Label. We recently spoke with vocalist Nate Ruess about Format's latest effort, Dog Problems, and about making the transition from being on Elektra to running their own label.

Westword: Don't you ever get tired of writing pop songs about girls?

Nate Ruess: Yes, actually, I do. But I think that's where pop music comes from, so I don't really mind it. But, definitely, I do get tired of it. Now maybe I'd rather write about being human or just observing things. I mean, I don't think I'd ever write a song about being on tour or anything, like, 'Oh, I stepped outside the venue and my friend was smoking a cigarette and then we played a show.' I wouldn't write a song like that.

Was it difficult to transition between a major label and then having to deal with doing everything yourself on your own label? Like marketing and promotions?

Actually, labels don't really do any of the things you just said. To be honest, they just give you money; they're like a bank. We've always had to deal with that stuff ourselves. But labels do try to tell you what to do. We've been told before that we need to stop touring or that we need to do something a certain way. But now, with this record, we've been able to do things exactly the way we want. And maybe we have less money and we have to watch out for ourselves a bit more, but we're much happier.

I saw this three-minute-long interview clip of you on the Internet where you're talking about vegetarianism. Do you think that a band's personal lifestyle choices have much impact on its fans?

I would hope that it doesn't. I was asked earlier today in another interview if I had any strong political opinions that I wanted to sing about, and honestly, I don't think I know enough about anything to be the one to guide people in their decision-making. I mean, I know what's right for me, but that's certainly not for everybody. People shouldn't base their decisions on what they see some guy in a band doing.

Have you done a lot of interviews already today?



This is my fourth one today. One day I had nine.

Do you ever get bored of the music-industry machine? Doing interviews, marketing records, dealing with managers and everything else?

It's definitely a routine. The hurry-up-and-wait thing bugs me -- like hurrying to get on stage to do sound check and then having to wait. But the end reward is that you get to play shows and that you're doing what you want. You can't really complain. Well, actually, you can -- but you can't really bitch.

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Tuyet Nguyen