Meghan: This is Meghan with Blitzen Trapper at Download 2008 for SomaFM. Can I have you guys introduce yourselves and give me what you play?
Erik: I'm Erik. I play Me.
Drew: I'm Drew. I play the keyboard.
Marty: I'm Marty. I play guitar and stuff.
Earley: I'm Earley. I play chicken-wire and walking stick.
Brian: I just play drums. I'm Brian.
Meghan: Nice to meet you all. So chicken-wire and walking stick, you mentioned? I didn't know those were very musical. But do you make it work?
Earley: They are! They're a long Asian tradition.
Meghan: Thanks for the heads up! So you guys have been together since about 2000, right? The year 2000-ish? How do you feel like you've grown and changed since then?
Erik: We've put on about 20 pounds each probably.
Earley: I've actually lost about 20 pounds. Each year. Since 2000. I'm barely here.
Meghan: Wow, congratulations. You're from Portland, Oregon? How did you all meet each other?
Brian: Well, we all kinda grew up together, in different forms.
Marty: I grew up as a raccoon, Brian grew up as a chunk of ice.
Meghan: You've developed well.
Marty: But yeah, we grew up together and we've been playing music for a long time. We just kind of gradually became Blitzen Trapper.
Meghan: And where did you guys get the name Blitzen Trapper?
Blitzen Trapper: [general confusion]
Brian: [to Earley] You found it, right?
Earley: Oh, I read it on the side of someone's Winnebago on the freeway.
Meghan: Does it have any special meaning to you?
Earley: Well, yes and no.
Meghan: You guys just recently got signed to Sub Pop, right?
Marty: About a year ago.
Meghan: To release Furr. Was it different recording that particular album because you were with a more major label? Did it have any effect on the way you write, record, produce, etc.?
Blitzen Trapper: Not really.
Meghan: Exactly the same?
Blitzen Trapper: Yeah.
Marty: That's why they hired us, I think.
Brian: Different four track machine. That's about it. The last one died.
Meghan: And you guys got a lot of critical acclaim on Wild Mountain Nation. That didn't have any effect on the way you guys approach studio time?
Meghan: You're pretty constant. Solid as a rock. Do you guys do a lot of touring or do you prefer to be at the studio recording?
Marty: Last year we did a lot of touring. We were on the road for 8 months out of the year. We like being in the studio, too.
Meghan: Do you prefer one to the other?
Marty: I don't know. Probably being on the road. It's pretty fun to play music every night for crowds and see America and meet cool people. Being on the road is fun.
Brian: It's pretty new to us still too though. We've been playing together for ages but we have only been touring for about a year. So it's new.
Meghan: Do you do a lot of writing on the road or is it mostly just sitting in the studio?
Brian: I write in my journal a lot.
Meghan: Do you guys update your blogs from the road as well?
Brian: Not really. We flirt with it every once in a while but we really don't.
Meghan: It's hard to get the wireless Internet, right?
Brian: Yeah, yeah.
Meghan: What were some of your inspirations for Furr?
Brian: You wrote the songs, Earley.
Earley: I did. Um, I'd have to say Louis L'Amour novels and traveling across the Atlantic Ocean.
Meghan: Do you exclusively write or is it kind of a collaborative process?
Earley: I pretty much write it all.
Meghan: And these guys are kind of your bitches? They play whatever you tell them?
Meghan: Are you missing a member? I have notes that you have six.
Earley: (Makes a smoking sound)
Marty: Yeah, we're usually missing Mike, our bassist.
Brian: He's out having a "tobacco" smoke.
Meghan: Right, right, out of a pipe.
Marty: He claims he never says anything but there's a definite palpable absence, isn't there?
Meghan: There is little bit of a pocket of silence, yes.
Brian: We could ask somebody to step in for him. Perhaps one of these passers by...
Earley: You can pretend you're him. He's got kind of a beard. He's Cuban. Actually no, he's Puerto Rican. He came over on a raft.
Meghan: Good thing he's not here. He might have been insulted.
Earley: Yeah that's a good point. He might have knifed me. The bastard.
Meghan: Do you guys have favorite bands to tour with or do you bring buddies with you on the road or anything?
Drew: We try to keep it friendly.
Meghan: How friendly is friendly?
Drew: I can't really talk about it.
Earley: Sometimes too friendly.
Meghan: If I turn off the microphone will you talk about it?
Drew: Maybe. That and if you buy me some whiskey. Lots of whiskey.
Marty: We just got off a tour with Fleet Foxes. It was really long and they are great guys. And we had a really fun time.
Meghan: And you guys still like each other?
Marty: Oh yeah, we like each more than ever. And we toured with Two Gallants for about 3 months last year. We got to be really good friends with them.
Meghan: Do you guys have a favorite city to play in? I want individual answers.
Earley: I like the city of America. And I like the city of Europe as well.
Meghan: Way to be vague. Thank you.
Drew: Hattiesburg, Mississippi is good.
Earley: That's not a real city!
Drew: It's not really a city but it's one of the coolest places to play. It's this tiny little hole in the wall.
Earley: It's like a gas station with a train track.
Meghan: Do you guys have a big following there?
Marty: Oddly, yes.
Brian: It was about 70 kids.
Meghan: You guys broke even for the night though, right?
Earley: I can't remember.
Marty: There are lots of good cities to play in.
Drew: It's hard to really say one is better than the other. They're all different.
Meghan: You don't want their feelings to get hurt?
Drew: Yeah, exactly.
Meghan: What do you guys do to mentally prep for a show? Do you all hang out and drink whiskey?
Marty: There is usually a huddle, lots of headbashing. That sort of stuff.
Earley: I talk to my spirit animal which is a squirrel.
Brian: I have a complex ritual of breathing exercises and finger stretches. I'm the drummer so manual dexterity is key.
Meghan: Is there anything you'd like to pass on to your listeners? Anything you'd like to share with them or let them know?
Earley: I just thought of a bunch of things but I can't share any of them.
Meghan: Polite things, please.
Marty: We saw the ghost of Bill Graham's beard. He's roaming the Shoreline amphitheater.
Earley: What does that mean? Who is Bill Graham?
Meghan: Bill Graham is the famous concert promoter?
Brian: The preacher?
Earley: You mean Billy Graham?
Meghan: Are they one and the same?
Earley: They might be.
Brian: He had a beard?
Marty: He had a beard when he was a promoter but when he was a preacher...
Meghan: I'm actually pretty sure the promoter is dead.
Marty: They're both dead. Dual incarnations.
Brian: But are the beards dead?
Meghan: Does your facial hair die with you when you die? It's hard to say.
Brian: Something gets left behind. Something.
Meghan: Sort of a cosmic dent, if you will?
Brian: What was the question?
Meghan: Do you have anything to share with your listeners?
Brian: Who are they? In general, I mean.
Meghan: I personally am one of them.
Brian: Well then I would say "Hi!"
Meghan: We're past that stage.
Brian: "Nice to meet you!"
Meghan: Past that stage, too.
Brian: "This is pleasant!"
Meghan: Alright, I think that's about it. Unless there are any parting shots you guys have.
Marty: Thank you for listening, listeners. We appreciate you. Thank you.
Earley: We appreciate you appreciating us.
Brian: Get out there and vote. It doesn't matter for who or what for. Just be out there voting.
Earley: Or don't. Because I don't.