Interview by Natalie K.
July 30, 2008
Estrella: Can you please state your name and what you do in the band?
Yuri: My name is Yuri and I play the drums.
Estrella: What is so different about your most recent album Secret Weapon than previous ones?
Yuri: We went into recording with a mindset of recapturing the energy of our album Life in General which was put out eleven years ago. The idea of not trying to hard, just capturing what comes out natural instead of putting it through the projection ringer. We used to make records and as soon as the song was written we got through the song and that’s it; we put it down on tape and that was it. As time went on you have producers and people want to get a pop song, so you spend all this time on a song and it sucks the life out of it trying to make it perfect. So what are we really good at, we are really good at being an energetic three piece, so let’s just do that.
Estrella: Are there any songs you can specifically name that producers forced you to make more mainstream.
Yuri: Our whole record, Before Everything and After was very produced. What happens is the record label, the people writing checks they want a certain thing. Obviously they give you freedom to do what you do but they also are going, “Hey why don’t you try this, hey why don’t you try that” and they are also telling the producers the same thing. That record which was three records ago was our most produced record. I like that record, I am definitely a fan of it, but I think it was the least like us. It was the most stretched that we ever were. It was a good experience, but I don’t know if our fans really embraced it. Now, this one that came out, I think they were kind of relieved.
Estrella: What were some of the sacrifices you have had to make over the years by being in MxPx?
Yuri: The biggest one is family and you are never home so you are never apart of things that your family is doing. You are doing what you love to do but at the same time you are really missing out on things back home as well.
Estrella: Has it gotten easier to get used too, or is it still hard?
Yuri: To a certain degree I don’t know if it’s easier, but you made your choice so to speak, you cannot have it both ways. I wouldn’t say it’s easier because things change. You get married and it gets harder, then you have kids and it gets even harder.
Estrella: Right now you are touring to support Secret Weapon, how long does it usually take before you start doing a new album?
Yuri: It all depends. Secret Weapon came out a year ago and we haven’t started writing new songs yet so maybe 18 months to 2 years. Typically that’s about when you start thinking about it. I know with our record Panic we thought we were going to put it out an entire year before we actually did. I’m glad we took the time and made the changes that we needed to make it the best. Timing is important, you have to weigh out a lot of different things and you need to have songs as well (laughs). At this point we don’t have any, but I think we will have time at home at the end of the year so we will probably start thinking about it.
Estrella: Is there any difference with your fans overseas than here in the states?
Yuri: If it’s a country that doesn’t get a lot of music then they are much more appreciative of any band coming over there. We played in Jakarta earlier this year and it was a huge show and we especially had a good time. You can tell they were just hungry for something like that. Russia is another country, more bands go there but people that are not spoiled by live music all the time; those are the best places to play. They are so happy to have you there, it is uncontained joy whereas in the United States they love to see you, but it is just different. There is more history I think, which is not a bad thing, it’s just different.
Estrella: Is there a song that you never get sick of hearing?
Yuri: There are a lot of songs that are like that, usually a nostalgic thing. There are a lot of songs from the band The Cure that when I hear them it feels like I am hearing them for the first time again. I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one song.
Estrella: What is one of your favorite lines in one of your songs?
Yuri: That’s a tough one; I don’t know any of the lyrics! (Laughs) Not by heart. I hear them a lot but I never really sat down and read them or anything. The best I can answer the question is, the song “Tomorrow is Another Day” is my favorite general overall message. It is a message of hope and a message of second chances.
Estrella: Is there something you have always wanted to do but have not done yet?
Yuri: There is something that I have done once, and I would like to do more which is scuba diving. I have always wanted to do it again but it is difficult because where I live is not a great place to do that. We travel around the world and go to places that are great but cannot take the time to get certified and do that kind of stuff.
Estrella: When you go overseas, do you get to sight see a lot?
Yuri: Not a lot, it just depends. We have been to Japan and Australia at least a dozen times and over the dozen times we’ve gotten to a lot of awesome things but not all in one shot. Every time we just get to see a little bit here, and a little bit there. Last time we were in Australia we got to go to a rugby game. We are playing Israel next month and we have 2 days to go to Jerusalem and that will be fun. That kind of stuff, it comes rarely, so you really appreciate it when it happens.
Estrella: If you could see any band or artist perform any song live what would it be and why?
Yuri: That is a lot of music to think about. Maybe U2’s “Where the Streets have no Name”.
Yuri: It’s a song I like, and I have seen it on video but I need to see it in person. It is a really powerful song.
Estrella: Any final comments?
Yuri: Thanks to the fans that have stuck with us for 16 years and counting, we appreciate it.