I met Sean last December at Twenty One Pilots tour and he was really friendly and stopped to take a pic and chat for a bit. When they went on tour with Neon Trees, we quickly bought tickets. Smallpools killed it as usual and I loved hearing all the great songs live, even for the third time. Despite a rather lame and inexperienced crowd, which I accredit to a lack of an age limit for a Neon Trees show, the only thing that saved the night was after we left the venue. We waited outside the House of Blues for a while before we spotted Sean leaving through another entrance. We quickly ran over and nearly bowled him over while Kelly ran past. I called out for Kelly to come back and Sean echoed with, "Yeah, Kelly, over here!" We chatted for a few minutes about our first meeting and then I asked Sean if he'd be open to answer a few questions for the site. He said yes, but he wanted to drop off his suitcase in the van. We waited in the light of a restaurant next door as he dropped off his bag. Kelly teased he wasn't coming back, but I said, "No, he'll be back. He's the sweetest, he wouldn't do that." A few minutes later, he returned. I gotta tell you guys, he's very warm and open. Of course I can't forget to mention he's a funny guy too!
P.S. Sorry for the shitty audio. I did my best at making a transcript, but there were parts that even I couldn't get. Enjoy!
First question, I feel like you guys have a really unique sound, what music influences you?
Sean: Um, interesting songs, I guess. That make you say, 'Oh, it's cool they did that.' I like to be a little funky with the lyrics, I like the dark too, but I try not to be that generic, but still be digestable. Don't want it to be too weird. I don't know, a lot of my parents' taste came back. Like, I didn't care when I was a kid, but Paul Simon, ya know? Stuff like that. I don't know...that guy.
So, what's the story about the 'Smalldogs'?
Sean: It's very random, we were in a bar in LA doing hip hop bingo. If you guess four in a row, you have to do a lot of hip hop, like you go get four in a row and have to dance around. So, there's a pile of people that get four in a row and they obviously have to ???. And that was just one of tho prizes. So I won, picked that prize, and we kinda took that around the rest of the night. And it got a lot of attention, like annoying attention. I guess if you walk into an establishment with a procelain greyhound people wanna know what's going on. I don't know why we got on stage or why we take pictures with them. It kinda just evolved into that. The first one that I actually got, shattered at a party. So, we just kept buying them on Amazon.
Well, I first heard you guys perform with Twenty One Pilots back in NYC in December, what was it like touring with Tyler and Josh?
Sean: They are really cool dudes. Their show is amazing, I watched it almost every night just to experience it. They're crazy dudes. I keep running into them actually, with festivals we're also playing at. Actually, just recently, we were in Columbus at a hot dog joint and Josh walked in with all his friends. It was, it was funny. I love those guys.
Me: Tyler and Jenna just got engaged.
Me: Yeah! So that's exciting.
Sean: That's amazing
Last question, have you ever written a song about someone and it didnt work out, and if so, do you still play it? How do you handle shows after that?
Sean: What do you mean? Like -
Me: Like the relationship didn't work out.
Sean: Umm, I've written a lot of songs. A lot of them are inspired by females, I guess. Can you say the second part of that question again? I definitely have.
Me: If it didn't work out and people are like demanding the song and they like it a lot, how does it feel having to play afterwards?
Sean: I don't know. Whenever something didn't work out, I feel like it didn't work out for a reason. It's always been like a mutual thing where it didn't work out. I feel like I can kind of disconnect from the song, like it's probably not gonna stir up any emotion. There's no trouble with me. It's never really been an issue, I just kinda let it fly. After hearing the song 8 billion times in your own band, you don't even know what they are anymore.
Me: That's what I figured, there must be some kind of emotional connection to it or at some point you just get so numb from playing it over and over again. You get used to it.
Sean: Even in the right process, before you play it a million times, you never hear your full song fully finished the first time. That's one thing a songwriter can never do, because you're starting with the melody, chorus, and you do that over and it's building a song. But you wanna be here, finished product, like a friend. So, yeah, just become numb.