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members present:
Aimee Echo

conducted on:
October 2001

by: Rocio Villalobos

official website
shout-out to PZO


PZO: Whose idea was it to have your dog, Eno, howling at the end of the album?
Aimee: You know, it was just something that happened. How it happened was we were in the studio and we were watching Night at the Roxbury. And...was that how it first happened that he sang like that?
Scott: Yeah.
Aimee: We were watching Night at the Roxbury and uncontrollably whenever he hears Will Farrell in this one part he does that. So we had made him do it like 9 different times for, “Watch this, it’s so funny!” You know, people would come in the studio and the movie would be on and we’d cue it up to that part and he just starts howling. So we actually recorded him the first time we did the record. And then when we went into mastering somehow his track got lost, it was on the computer and it didn’t end up on the record. But when we went in again and re-did it, we added the 2 songs last year and we made him do it again. <laughs> And he does it, like, on cue. It’s the most bizarre thing. And it’s so funny looking. It’s funnier looking than it is sounding. He’ll just do that... <howls> It’s just his little face. It’s amazing. That’s how that happened.
PZO: <laughs>

PZO: Just by listening to some of the songs on the album it’s obviously different from a lot of bands that are out there. What kind of musical influences do you have that account for your unique sound?
Aimee: I think when we were writing we went right back to everything that we grew up on when we were little. And a lot of that was like The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Jamie is a huge U2 freak. Um, even, and this is so out of left field, but even a little bit of like early Madonna. I know that sounds crazy. A lot of like late 70s punk rock, like Buzzcocks and stuff like that; English punk rock. That’s pretty much where it came from.

PZO: What’s it been like these last couple of months that you’ve been touring with Sugar Ray and Weezer?
Aimee: It’s been interesting because all the tours are so different from one another. You know, we have Sugar Ray and then Weezer and now Incubus, and all the crowds are completely different from each other. The bands are completely different from each other. It’s kind of really cool to actually get exposure to that many different types of people. It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of fun; crowds have been really receptive. We haven’t had too many nights where we were like, “Wow, what was that about?” And we’ve had a lot of nights where we were like, “Oh my god, kids are dancing.” And it’s really fun...it’s great. And, you know, on Weezer we got to do our first arena tour. We’ve never done that before. <laughs> Our last show of Weezer was 14,000 people. It’s like...crazy. And we played at this venue that I’ve always wanted to play since I was really little, in New York, Jonesbeach. Cause when I was younger I saw Lollapalooza there and it was just amazing to be on that same stage that people that were like my heroes were on. I mean, Weezer were kind of our heroes too, you know. It’s pretty cool to be on tour with your heroes! <laughs>

PZO: I’m sure you’ve seen your share of crazy things going on in the audience. Is there any one in particular that stands out the most?
Aimee: There isn’t. You know, it’s really pretty much...there’s not...it’s pretty much the same in the crowd. Well, on Sugar Ray there was some odd stuff that happened. Girls really dig Mark McGrath...
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: And there were some girls that I’m just gonna be presumptuous and say that they pretty much would have done anything, you know. There was lots of panties flying on the stage and bras and whatnot. I actually one night saw a bra fly onstage during Weezer, which is really funny because they don’t seem like that kind of band. But there were girls holding up signs for Mark in particular that were pretty mind blowing. Like something that I would never, like I don’t even know if I can repeat some of the stuff that it said. But hey, whatever floats your boat I guess. It was really weird, so...but as far as our crowds, you know, the kids who end up liking us; they’re usually not that kind of people. I don’t know, maybe they are.

PZO: On your website there’s a section that’s labeled ACT. What moved you to have this on your site?
Aimee: I think it’s really important that...our public school system is structured to teach children exactly what...like the curriculum is pretty much the same across the board for the nation. It’s structured in a very safe way, and it’s also designed to make workers, not thinkers. People who respond to bells and show up on time, do the work, and get in and get out. Actually, in my opinion thinking is something that is looked down upon, like being a free thinker. So for me, I was raised in a kind of different way. My mom was a product of the 60s and taught me that whenever you can, you should try to make a change in the world for the better. And I though that our public forum where we can reach more people, I guess, it’s a solid, static place where you can go and find information. So I thought it would be nice to provide some information about stuff that people, you know...I guess it’s pretty much my thing more than the other guys. But the other guys have 100%...they back it. There are things up there just to make you think: question things that maybe you’re told on a daily basis that aren’t necessarily going to be in mainstream. You wouldn’t come across it everyday. I always thought it was interesting when I was raised and we were taught about the 4 food groups, this is a really basic example. We were taught about the 4 food groups and how much you’re supposed to eat of each thing, and then you look at the bottom and it was sponsored by the Beef Council. Which, you know, they don’t tell you to read the fine print. But on the thing that says eat 4 servings of beef a day it says brought to you by the Beef Council of America. We live in a capitalist country and when advertising is getting into your schools in that manner, in your basic education, I think it’s important to provide an alternative. I mean, we do that in such a small way, it’s so minor to what I would hope and dream to do later. But then also we’re a rock band and we’re here to have fun and celebrate and we’re not...as much as I’d like to be of help and make some kind of headway in a positive way, be a positive influence on people, we are a rock band and that’s why that’s just a little bit. We’re not gonna be out there spouting off about politics every 5 minutes. Cause if I did that, that would just take up so much time now, wouldn’t it? But you never know, that might change too.

PZO: Are you currently working on new songs for your next album?
Aimee: Yeah, actually we have a little studio in the back and we’re writing. Jamie is writing all the time. I think we almost finished one yesterday. Which is pretty interesting when you’re out here and when you’re at home and you have time to focus it’s a lot easier than when you’re trying to just eat and live and work and do the show. To get a couple of seconds back there in the back is a little different. But it’s also good because you’re getting a lot of outside influences as far as creativity. The answer to that was yes! <laughs>

PZO: How did you come up with the name for the band?
Aimee: My mom named the band! How about that? We had a different name in the beginning and that name was taken. Our attorney came to the studio while we were making the record and said you can’t call yourselves that name anymore ‘cause there’s about 15 other bands that are already called that, that you’ve never heard of. And I thought I was really thorough in my search for a name ‘cause there are so many bands out there right now and in America the law is first use. So even if there’s a band in, let’s say Texas, who has a CD out of their own, not on a major label, but they work in the area and they do shows in the area and they sell their CD’s regionally they have first use in that area. So we would have had to go to each one of the 15 bands and say, “Can we have permission to use your name?” The scope of that was far too grand for me to get my head around. So we gave it up and I searched and searched and searched and searched and searched and searched for a name that wasn’t taken. You would not believe how many...any word you can think of, there’s a band called that.
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: So it was a miracle actually that there wasn’t a band called theSTART. My mom was just...we wanted it to be really simple because I think that’s, you know, it’s impactive. And we wanted it to be, not have a negative connotation. My old band was called Human Waste Project, I always just liked that name personally but I had no control over that. I tried to change it a bunch of times but I couldn’t find a name to change it to. But I thought that was negative, so we kind of had bad luck with that too. Then I had friends that were in a band, Failure, so it was kind of like what you put out there manifests. So we wanted to be really careful not to manifest anything that was gonna be negative. And also since we have such a great love of bands from the 70s, and that’s just like the classic thing of a band having “the” in front of it. I was in love with that idea and my mom just called and said, “I was on the freeway and this name popped into my head: theSTART!” And at first I was like, “No! It’s probably taken! Screw everything!” I was literally up 7 hours a night online searching the copyright database, like, out of my mind, searching everything. It was driving me crazy. And all the really clever names are gone, of course, ‘cause they’re great. Unbelievably, there was one band who used the name start in the 80s, but they broke up before their first record came out and I don’t know if they owned the copyright, but it had expired and nobody had bought the copyright yet. So we got it. Everybody else, step off! <laughs>

PZO: What do you enjoy most about being a singer?
Aimee: Ooh, I think I’d have to say the show, the live show. Playing in front of people. Getting to dance and sing. Just the rush of when you’re putting something out and people take it and give it back to you. That is probably when there’s give and take onstage from the audience and myself, or and the guys. It’s the most incredible feeling ever. It’s better than anything, I think. It’s unbelievable to...I guess the first time I heard an audience of a lot of people I got the chills all over my body and I knew that bringing people together...‘cause that’s what it is. When you get a lot of people in the same frame of mind at once it makes like a magical experience. And I think that’s the high of it. Writing is really cool too, but as far as what gets me most here, <points to heart> is the show.

PZO: How do you manage to balance your personal relationships being as busy as you are?
Aimee: I don’t! It’s really difficult, especially on tour. Just for example, yesterday we had a day off, finally, and I got calls from home and I really love my friends and my family. But I’m surrounded by people all the time and I’m always talking to people and I live with all these people on this bus and then, getting solace...there’s no Aimee time, ever. It just doesn’t exist. See yesterday I was just walking down the street and my mom called and I was like, “I love you so much, but I’m just gonna walk around Austin right now and be me for a minute.” Not have any external forces driving me. So it’s difficult. It’s probably one of the biggest challenges that there is out here, balancing my personal relationships and work. It gets really lonely being surrounded by people all the time. It’s funny ‘cause once you’re out here for a long time you kind of build your own wall around yourself, you cruise around in your space all day. You can’t open up and be 100% on, whereas if you live a regular home life where you can be at home and have your home time and when you go out and see your friends, you’re like woo!! And you get to be exciting and wonderful and glamorous. You just have to find a way to be exciting, wonderful, and glamorous every moment of every day and it just can’t happen. That is, I think, the toughest part. That and finding food! <laughs>
PZO: <laughs> Food that tastes good!
Aimee: That tastes good... ‘Cause you can find food anywhere, but food that tastes good is hard.

PZO: What places did you visit while you were going about Austin?
Aimee: Um, yesterday was a little weird. We went and walked up and down 6th Street, but I’ve never been here and I didn’t have anybody to really tell me where I was supposed to go or what was good to do. So I didn’t really have much luck. It was cool to see Emo’s ‘cause I’ve heard about it for years and years and years, and we ate some good food yesterday. But I think we stopped short of seeing anything. Like I really wanted to go shopping. I thought that would be fun. But yeah, we just walked up to a restaurant and ate.

PZO: Are there any bands out there you’d like to tour with in the future?
Aimee: Oh, there’s tons of bands I’d like to tour with. Um...I don’t know, there’s a band called The Faint that’s playing right now. They just put out their third record. They’re really incredible, I think I would love to tour with them. I’d love to tour with Garbage; I think that would be an awesome thing. I think a lot of times people are afraid to put 2 girls in the same room together. I think it’d be great. I think it’s more intelligent of a choice. You know, I think people are afraid of the competition, not per se, the actual bands are afraid of the competition, but the business people are like, “Well, we can’t have 2 girls.” It’s the same headspace that radio people are in. “Well, we can’t play 2 girls in one hour. We can’t have more than one female artist on the radio.” Or one female artist on the radio at all, depending on the radio station we are looking at. It’s just funny ‘cause it doesn’t happen as boys. Bands go out as boys, there’s 4 boys on. But if it’s a girl-fronted band you can’t have 2 of them together. Oh my god, what is that gonna do? It’s gonna... maybe it’ll cause some kind of revolution. <laughs> An uprising, I don’t know.
PZO: A feminist movement! <laughs>
Aimee: You know, you never know what could happen.
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: But Garbage would be great. That would be fun. Plus, I really admire and respect Shirley Manson. I would love to meet her. I think she’s a really great woman. We would love to tour with U2, just as this big dream. That would be great. The Cure. Oh my god, I would probably keel over. Jane’s Addiction would be awesome. I know they’re touring right now, but who knows ‘cause they’re so sporadic. Every 10 years we get back together, and then maybe next year we’ll play and maybe we won’t. I don’t know. Lots of bands that we probably wouldn’t fit well with, but I’d still like to tour with. Or maybe we would, ‘cause I never know really what people’s tastes are. I’d love to tour with Radiohead just so that I could watch them every night. I could go on for days. PJ Harvey, I would love to tour with, even though we wouldn’t...See, that’s the thing. I think in my head, I’m like, “Wow, that’s really cool and interesting and diverse and maybe that would be a great bill.” And business people are like, “Well that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.” So ok, what do I do? I’ll just, you know...sit here and make my music.

PZO: What’s it like being the only female in this band?
Aimee: In the band it’s pretty easy. I mean, I’ve been the only female in any band I’ve ever been in. Most of the time I’m the only one on every tour that I’m on. Sometimes there’s not even a girl working on the staff. The problems that I encounter are I forget that I’m a girl. I have to make a really pointed effort to do “girl” things. ‘Cause it is important. I take a hot bath and paint my toenails and remember to wear a skirt and remember to put lipstick on. I mean, that sounds really superficial and lame but those are the little things that make you different than them. <laughs> But I guess that’s it. I’m an only child, so I didn’t really have a lot. I’ve always had more guy friends than I had girl friends, just ‘cause I guess I’ve always been into music. Obviously the musician ratio of females and males is low...aww, he’s just passing out on you, that is so cute! <laughs> [her dog, Eno, was jumping on our laps and licking our hands in the tour bus during the interview]
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: He’s like, don’t laugh at me.
PZO: He’s so cute!
Aimee: But, yeah, other than that...Somebody asked the other day do you think the boys are more polite because you’re around and I think maybe, yeah. ‘Cause they’re all really incredible, incredible gentlemen and wonderful guys and they don’t do anything weird or creepy! <laughs> I’d hope to say that that’s just the type of guys that they are, but I can’t say ‘cause when I’m around, I’m around. So I don’t have a little video camera to be around to see what happens when I’m not around. But it’s good, they’re well mannered.

PZO: What plans does the band have after you’re done touring with Incubus?
Aimee: I’m not sure, actually, quite yet. We’ve been kind of flying by the seat of our pants from the get-go. When we were on Sugar Ray we didn’t have any other tours booked after that. And then we got Incubus and then right on the last day of Sugar Ray we added Weezer in the middle. I know that Weezer is going out again and I know we’d love to go out with them again, I don’t know if that is gonna be an option of ours. When bands get together there’s so many people involved in why certain bands tour together. Like there are lots of people involved in why we’re touring with Incubus, regardless of the fact that Incubus and us are friends. There are so many other people with their hands in the pot that there’s all kinds of political decisions.

PZO: Did you ever think you’d be where you are today?
Aimee: God, I thought I’d be here...<laughs> No, I’m just kidding!
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: <laughs> Um, that’s a weird one. I really haven’t thought about it.
PZO: You never thought that, you know, maybe you’d be famous one day?
Aimee: I guess I’ve always had a path in mind, but I haven’t really ever thought about where I am on that path. If we drew a line, like this is the ultimate goal in my life, I haven’t figured out, I haven’t stopped to figure out where I’m at on it yet. <laughs> I think it always feels like you’re at the beginning of it. ‘Cause you get a little bit further and you feel like you’re back at the start...
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: No pun intended. <laughs> But, do you know what I mean? I guess I’m kind of a day to day kind of person. I have an ultimate goal in my life, which is to be happy and how I get there...I guess I’m happy for a lot of moments out of everyday, so...I don’t think I’ve really thought about it. I don’t know, it’s bizarre because I think from an external point of view things probably seem different than they are in reality, living out here everyday. People are like, “Whoa! You played in front of 14,000 people and blah blah blah, and you got to tour with Weezer!” And I’m like, yeah, I woke up everyday and I ate some food and I did sound check and I drank coffee and I played a show and then I went to bed. You know, it’s what I do. But yeah, there are moments where I go, whoa! I hit a milestone in my life...but hopefully those milestones will get bigger...hopefully, hopefully, hopefully!

PZO: What do you do when you get nervous, if you get nervous, before a show?
Aimee: I’m always nervous.
PZO: Really?
Aimee: Yeah, I’m always nervous. But there are different kinds of nervous I guess. I think it’s more nerve-racking to play a small club in front of less people than it is to play like a huge venue with a lot of people because the reality is that when we play a small club the person that’s in front of me is as close as you are to me. When we play these bigger places so that there’s a barricade between me and the people and the lights are blinding my face and I can’t really get a contact with....I can’t even see people half the time! Whereas when we play a little club with 200 kids I feel like I can feel every single person in the room. So I get more nervous for a smaller show ‘cause I think the bigger shows I do more for myself, ‘cause that’s the only contact I really have. I guess...you know what I mean? It’s difficult to connect with an audience who’s that large and that far away and that out of my field of vision. Plus, I use in-ear monitors so I can’t hear the crowd very well. So I kind of have to be intuitive as to whether or not they’re having a good time! <laughs> Like, I can see moving bodies. I think that’s good! And I can hear, you know, at the end if they’re clapping. But it’s not really a one-on-one kind of experience like it is in a club. So I think I get a different kind of nervousness. And it’s so weird, too, ‘cause every night you have to be really adaptable. Our set time changes a lot. We had a set time of 45 minutes on Weezer, and then we thought we were gonna get 45 minutes for Incubus. The first night we had 35 and now we have 30, just because of union labor laws, the way they have to run the stage time. It’s like, everything changes every night. So I’m kind of in the constant state of nervousness, like how is it gonna flow? How is it gonna work out? And I guess I’m just a nervous person by nature. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten completely over the stage fright thing, I guess that might be one of the things that causes the adrenaline that gives me the high that I get when I’m up there, so I guess it’s a good thing. But sometimes I’m nervous to the point that it shuts me down, which is scary. I get so scared that I forget the words! <laughs> I’m working through that....

PZO: Have you ever had anything really embarrassing happen while you were performing?
Aimee: Nah, not really. I’m trying to think of anything...I’ve always had the fear that my fly would be open. I’m sure that every single person that I’ve ever met in my life right before you go onstage, no matter what, no matter if you’ve already gone to the bathroom. You still have to go to the bathroom and it never goes away. So when I first started I was sure I was gonna pee my pants onstage. But it never happened! Thank you God! <laughs> But I thought, “What if I get up there and I just can’t control it?!”
PZO: <laughs>
Aimee: Wow, that was really honest and open of me. <laughs>

PZO: Do you pick out the clothes that you’re gonna wear ahead of time, or do you just throw on whatever’s around?
Aimee: I’m kind of flexible, but I have a few guidelines. I have to be able to move in it; I move around a lot onstage. And just be comfortable. I can’t wear high heels onstage ‘cause I’ll fall on my face. I have 5 staple items of bottom things that I wear, like pants and skirts. Then I have 5 shirts that I wear, and I’ll kind of just mix and match them. It’s like they’re animals. I mix and match them. I made sure that most of it was black so that most of it would match. <laughs>
PZO: You can’t go wrong with black! <laughs>
Aimee: You can’t. But like, I don’t know what I’m gonna wear tonight. It’s just one of those 5 tops and 5 bottoms that are gonna mix and match, so...
PZO: That was actually the last question. Thanks for doing the interview!
Aimee: Thanks for your time. Thank you for coming and talking to me. <laughs>

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