Interview with The Number Twelve Looks Like You

Mathcore Index correspondent Carson Pace interviews The Number Twelve Looks Like You on the 12 year anniversary tour of “Nuclear, Sad Nuclear.”
Originally aired on Mathcast Episode 16.

Read the full transcription after the jump.

Mathcore Index: So you guys are on a 12 year anniversary tour for “Nuclear, Sad Nuclear,” which you released back in 2005, and there was a lot of speculation that there would be a 10 year for ‘Mongrel,’ but 12 is a very much a number you band identifies with; can we expect another 12 year anniversary tour for other records or is this just a one-off because you wanted to play this record in particular? What was the thought process behind that?

Jesse: I guess it just lined up perfectly with what we were doing. We started up the band again last year and it was the 12 anniversary of  ‘Nuclear…,’ and it wouldn’t have really worked out with the other albums because we had to learn a lot stuff, we had to start writing stuff, so it fell into a perfect time category of ‘Nuclear, Sad Nuclear.’ So yeah, I think there’ll probably be other 12 year anniversary tour.

Mathcore Index: Cool, I think that’s answer that people are gonna be very excited about.

DJ: *laughs* We need 2 more years to relearn “Mongrel.”

Mathcore Index: Fun “Mongrel” trivia everyone: earlier if it disappeared off iTunes, I believe you had uploaded it with messed up audio. What happened with that?

DJ: We took all of our music back, so we had everything taken down from all streaming services, and I was in charge of putting it back up, and I ripped a CD that had been sitting in the band van, a copy of “Mongrel” that had melted. It was sealed version, and I ripped it in and I checked one section of one song just to make sure it was alright, and that one section was the only section that was alright on that whole thing and I had to redo it.

Mathcore Index: So I also read in an interview with one of you that you felt like you hadn’t written the best #12 record yet, which is why you felt the need to do a new record: what makes the best #12 for you?

Alexis: I think that the band is always evolving, and that there’s always been progression from the band from each record to the next one since the beginning, so when we left off with “Worse Than Alone,” I think it was as close to the sound that we had all been envisioning but still quite not the best one we had written. You know, we never can make that prediction: whatever will happen, happens, and we’re always gonna be proud of what we do in the moment and every band is always gonna want their newest stuff to be the best, so I think the new stuff will equally just be a next phase of growth with new members and a whole lot of growth from our own personal lives. We’ve all grown as musicians and individuals, and I think that’s all gonna reflect in our music.

Mathcore Index: A lot of the times on your records you’ll throw in some weird stuff, especially on “The Garden’s All Nighters,” and a bunch of moments on “Mongrel” that have Spanish acoustic guitar and just weird changes. Is there anything super weird or unexpected? Are there bagpipes or marimba on this new record? What can we expect?

DJ: That’s funny, we were just talking today about putting marimba on one of the tracks that we’re working on! So I don’t know, we’ll see.

Alexis: Yeah, there’s gonna be a whole bunch of new stuff on there, new instrumentation. I’ve been learning a whole bunch instruments, so there will be new stuff: percussion, everything.

Mathcore Index: With the member changes; you guys used to have 2 vocalists and 2 guitarists; is it weird having that much space on stage?

Jesse: I wouldn’t say weird, it’s pretty great actually. Oddly, we were just talking about this I think even today, how we couldn’t believe we were able to do today what we did back then with so many people on stage. I was telling Alex yesterday that some kid came up to me, he said the last time he saw us was when we had 6 members, the other singer and the other guitarist, and he’s like “but thing is I hear you guys today, and it sounds like there’s nothing missing at all,” and I think that’s sort of the point. It’s nice to hear that, and also to feel like we can really grow into the stage and really have it be our own and not feel contained in a corner because it’s so cluttered.

Mathcore Index: So I believe the last tour that you went on was in Russia with The Dillinger Escape Plan. Had the new members ever played in Russia before? I’m so curious as to what gigging in Russia is like.

DJ: Well, we went to Russia by ourselves, that was after the Dillinger run, and it was all through Mike because his other band had been there last year or in the spring, right?

Mike: Yeah, I toured in Russia with my other band, Downfall of Gaia, and the same promoter contacted us to do the #12 run.

Mathcore Index: My apologies, I thought that one was with Dillinger.

Mike: Yeah, Dillinger was Europe and Russia was just us, but it was the same to
ur, it was back to back.

DJ: Russia is ridiculous. The people that come out are all NUTS, and so grateful and thankful for anything you do for them. Like, people were crying we were signing a ticket stub, and it’s overwhelming and it’s amazing people feel that way about our music.

Mathcore Index: Is there anything about this tour that you’ve noticed? Is playing older material more exciting? What’s the takeaway from this tour been?

DJ: Well, for me personally, I feel like every time we talk about learning more old songs, I’m always hemming and hawing about whether they’re as cool as the ones we already know, and then I get forced into it. Like this, I had to learn a bunch of songs, and every time I do, I gain a new respect for the material, and so I’m really looking forward to doing the other albums. Whenever we get to them, after we do the new music. In terms of this tour, I think we can all agree this has been the friendliest, nicest, easy going tour ever. I’ve known the Cryptodira dudes from back in the day, because I’ve played with them in my other band, Dead Empires, and the Rolo people are just total sweethearts, so it’s been a dream.

Mike: From my perspective, it’s been a dream come true, because I grew up listening to this record and I didn’t play drums on it. So to be able to learn every song and to kinda get inside the mind space of this record gives me a little more perspective going forward to the new material. So I can still kinda pay respect to the past but also still bring my influence and the new influences of Alex and Jesse. So yeah, it’s a dream come and it’s pleasure. The bands are super nice and everything has been super smooth.

Mathcore Index: Alexis, did you have to be selective with which guitar you were playing? Did you know the other parts already?

Alexis: I think relearning this album helped me self-reflect with how I used to write, and once again, how I’ve grown since then. I focus a lot on arrangement when I write, and it wasn’t too hard to fill out the sound with new chord voicings and harmony and musical concepts that I’m already familiar with to make it a bigger sound. The good thing about relearning the album is that it’s helped reconnect a little bit with the music, because I think I was pretty out of touch, as far as how I used to write this stuff or even writing heavier material, because I’ve been playing a lot of lighter stuff for past several years. So it has been a good experience to relearn it and also modify it in ways. Maybe decisions I made on that album, when I was younger, that I wasn’t so happy about, just make it a little bit tighter with the new members, and also make them a little more exciting live. I think the album sounds better live than what’s on the album, so it’s cool for fans who are a fan of the album to come out and see it, because it sounds better and tighter than on the record. There are 4 or 5 songs on this set that we’ve never really played live, at all, even back then, so fans that really like this album, this is one of the few times we’ll be playing it like this, because I don’t know when we’ll be doing it again.

Mathcore Index: So last question. Jesse: how much can you tell us about the new record?

#12: *laughs*

Mike: Just say no comment and walk away.

DJ: Smash his phone.

Mathcore Index: That would be the coolest thing ever. If you broke my phone, I’d be fine with it.

Jesse: Yeah, really, no comment. Can’t say anything yet.

Mathcore Index: Can any of you tell me anything about this new record?

Alexis: Well, I have most of the album already written…

Mike: We’re refining things.

Alexis: The album’s written, but we’re in the process of making things a lot tighter; creating different drafts and versions of songs and just experimenting right now. Working with different sounds and ideas.

Mathcore Index: Different drafts of songs, different giraffes of songs.

#12: *agreeing* Yeah, drafts of songs, giraffes of songs…

Mike: …and a lot of marimba.

Alexis: Yeah, there will be a lot of different stuff and things we’ve learned as musicians, and we’ve grown as individuals, so I think that will reflect on the album.

Mathcore Index: ..and can we definitely look for it next year?

Alexis: I friggin’ hope so *laughs*

Mike: We’ll say definitely, maybe.

Mathcore Index: You heard it here first on Mathcast: “Definitely, Maybe” from The Number Twelve Looks Like You, which is the name of the new record.

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