Wayzgoose! Celebrate UCI!
Self Against City, Rooney, Crown City Rockers and other bands found themselves rocking out with the students of UC Irvine at this year’s annual Wayzgoose.
The boys of Rooney were back and this time they called out their critics with some new songs from their long-awaited sophomore album, ‘Calling the World.’ The lawn was completely covered by a sea of people dancing, clapping and singing along to Rooney favorites such as ‘Sorry, Sorry’ and ‘I’m Shakin.’ Yet, within the last four years of touring, two unsuccessful album recordings and a switch from Geffen to CherryTree Records, Rooney proved that their time wasn’t idly spent with new songs such as the heavy ‘Are You Afraid of Me,’ and back-in-time 80’s song ‘When Did Your Heart Go Missing.’ Though still retaining their melodic rock-pop Rooney sound, the audience was extremely receptive to their new material.
Ever since Run DMC and Aerosmith teamed up, creating ‘Walk This Way,’ they proved that hip hop and rock are as delectable as peanut butter and jelly; a tasteful fusion that music junkies have been long overdue. Over a decade later, we have Crown City Rockers, a five-member group based out of Oakland, whose sounds of hip hop, rock and jazz rap vibrate substantial influence from The Roots and KRS-One but with a sound unique to themselves. Crown City Rockers managed to attract the attention of the scattered Wayzgoose audience with songs such as ‘I Love Being a B-Boy.’
Self Against City, an upbeat rock/pop band from Sacramento, was one of the many rising acts that the Associated Students of UCI managed to bring to our campus. After witnessing the spectacle of knights jousting and a few unsuccessful attempts at finding out where the free beer was being served, bassist Blake Abbey and guitarist Jack Natranga decided to explain what exactly has been going on with the band.
The New University: Have you guys had any musical changes in your full-length ‘Telling Secrets to Strangers’ since your EP back in 2005?
Jack Natranga: Big changes. We’re constantly growing as people, learning about this world and learning about life, which in turn affects our taste in music and our taste in what we create. I think we grew up more within the last year than the year before that, exponentially.
The New U: What inspired the song ‘Becoming a Monster?’
Natranga: Becoming a Monster’ is about…
Abbey: It’s a motivational speech.
Natranga: It’s introspective. Basically, it’s like you’re telling yourself, ‘You know, fuck it. I’m going do it and I don’t care what it takes to do it and I’m here for it and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. So why not give it my all? Why not take it as far as I possibly can?’ Talking about what we’re trying to do with our band. Being the first song off our album we thought it was [important to] start off with a mission statement.
The New U: In the song ‘Talking to the Mirror,’ your lyrics are about fighting the fight that’s worth winning. What is the fight that’s worth winning?
Natranga: It’s different for every person but it’s the fight within yourself. [‘Talking to the Mirror’] kind of builds off ‘Becoming a Monster.’ It’s about finding out what you want to do with your life and doing it, no matter what battles you have to overcome along the way.
The New U: You also recorded ‘Alone on Christmas’ for Drive-Thru Records’ Christmas compilation. I was under the impression that Self Against City was forced to do this?
Natranga: It was offered to us. We had just signed at that point and Drive-Thru said, ‘Hey we’re putting out a Christmas compilation. Do you want to do it?’ We had never done something like that before. So we were like, ‘We’re a brand-new band, they’re going to release this nationally, so it would be a good way to introduce ourselves.’ So we took a song we got off the ‘Home Alone 2’ soundtrack and put our little twist on it. We definitely weren’t forced.
The New U: How did you come up with the concept of your new album?
Natranga: Basically, all the songs on the record are our lives in a nutshell over the past few years. And you don’t really go around telling random people about your life unless you’re in a rock and roll band. We thought that it would be cool if we told stories about our lives [and] shared it with everyone, that’s where the ‘strangers’ comes in. I mean, we’re hoping that these ‘strangers’ won’t be strangers eventually. Right now they may be because they’ve never heard of our band or what we’re all about, but hopefully that’ll change.
The New U: Would you ever change your band name to something else?
Natranga: Probably not, unless something happens where we had to. Our lead singer, Jon Temkin, heard a DJ mention ‘Suffragette City’ by David Bowie and [Self Against City] was a cool play on words. It’s taken on personal meaning since then. We’re country dudes, we’re pretty lax about it.
The New U: But you’re from Sacramento?
Natranga: Our bassist Blake Abbey grew up in Florida. Three of us are from Sacramento and Temkin grew up everywhere.
The New U: How do all of your different musical backgrounds play into Self Against City?
Natranga: That’s going to help out our next album. Being from different backgrounds, we haven’t written an album with Blake or Justin Barnes, our drummer. So this time around it’s going to be awesome to grab these different backgrounds and throw ’em into the mix.
The New U: Any last words for your fans?
Abbey: Come see us on tour. Don’t be afraid to talk to us but don’t kick us either. I got picked on recently a couple of weeks ago.
I gave this one girl a hug, signed stuff and then I got kicked. And there are some people who go up to you and are like, ‘Your hair is different,’ ‘You have an earring’ and ‘Oh my gosh, you have totally different hair than the last time I saw you.’ Like yeah, people do change, hair does grow and you do cut it.