Interviews

Masked Intruder

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

Last year, Masked Intruder released their debut album and subsequently took the pop punk world by storm. They take a unique approach with genre, combining ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll with contemporary punk influences, and emphasizing catchy melodies and humorous lyrics. The finished product is well-played, highly addictive and simply a lot of fun. The band recently played Beat Kitchen and we spoke with them before the show about their new record label, what recording the album was like, their upcoming European tour and more. Pictured above from left to right are bassist/singer Yellow, guitarist/singer Green, drummer Red and lead singer/guitarist Blue.

Bill – Your debut album was recently re-released by Fat Wreck Chords. How did you guys end up partnering with them?

Blue – We were on Red Scare and Toby, who used to work for Fat Wreck Chords and is friends with Fat Mike, he passed along the record to him. Mike liked it and I guess that was kind of what happened. It was mostly between those dudes, sort of backroom dealing-type stuff. We didn’t really have too much to do with it. Then one day we got a call and Toby asked us if we’d want to be on Fat Wreck Chords. We were like, “Yeah, definitely.” We all love Fat Wreck Chords and grew up listening to their releases and just felt like it was the right thing to do.

Bill – What are you looking forward to most about being a part of the Fat Wreck family?

Blue – Being on the label with all those bands that we love so much, and the people at Fat are really cool. They can offer us a lot of extra opportunities.

Green – Hopefully it will just allow more people to hear our music and that’s real cool, ya know?

Blue – Yeah, cause the more people that hear your music the more chicks hear your music, and the more chicks hear your music the more they might let you make out with them.

Green – So really, the answer is more chicks.

Bill – What was it like recording the album with Matt Allison at Atlas Studios?

Blue – It was great. Matt’s a consummate professional and he’s got a real process down for making things sound really good. It was cool to see that kind of process firsthand. He’s definitely recorded a lot of legendary records.

Red – Yeah, he was a whole lot of fun to work with at the same time too. Even though he was very professional about everything, he was always having a good time. He really makes you feel at home. He really is a beautiful man.

Blue – Yeah, and also he drinks a lot of Busch Light and the fridge always has beer in it, which was very comforting for us. As far as how the record turned out, I’m still surprised by how good everything sounds. It’s so awesome to be able to sit down and listen to it and have it be a total realization of the vision that we had going into it.

Bill – In the liner notes of the record, you make it clear that no Auto-Tune was used in the making of the album. Why did you feel it was important to clarify this?

Blue – When we started making it, we were working on the vocals and Matt was like, “You guys can sing. We won’t even use Auto-Tune on this record and I’m going to tell people that we didn’t use it.” We were like, “Okay, that’s kind of cool.” Then we were talking about The Beach Boys and how they put that no synthesizers were used in the making of their record, so it was kind of an homage to that. A lot of people use Auto-Tune, which is fine to do, but we figured it would just be cool to stamp it like that.

Green – We’re like authentic and stuff, (laughs).

Bill – In addition to some of the classic Lookout! Records bands of the ‘90s, who would you say are some of your band’s primary influences?

Green – I really like Green Day for what they did for punk rock and also they’ve got a really cool name.

Blue – I know that we’re all really big fans of Weezer; they’re a definite big influence on us. I think that we listen to a lot of different music and we have a lot of pop influences, especially classic ‘50s and ‘60s doo-wop and Motown. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons was a huge influence on our record. Whatever that song is at the beginning of Adventures in Babysitting, “Then He Kissed Me,” that’s an influence too.

Yellow – Yellow listens to mostly Megadeth, so that’s also an influence. The basslines are pretty heavy.

Bill – “Wish You Were Mine” is one of the more unique songs on the album. What inspired its creation?

Red – Mostly like Kirsten Dunst. I think she mostly inspired that song. Or do you mean creatively? I don’t know; you’d have to ask Blue about that.

Blue – I don’t know, that one just sort of came to me. I thought it would be cool to have a song with a cappella at the beginning. It just sort of happened. The true thing about songs is you really don’t know. You can say all day that it was this or that, but the truth is that you write what you feel and then there it is.

Bill – What are you most excited about regarding your upcoming tour with Teenage Bottlerocket and The Queers?

Red – We toured with Bottlerocket a couple times before and we’ve become pretty good friends with those dudes. I’m really looking forward to spending some more time with them and hanging out. We live far apart and don’t get to see each other very often, so that’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m also excited about all the buzz that’s going around for this tour, some people are saying it’s like a generational pop punk thing. I think it’s pretty cool to be a part of that with us being the new guys, Bottlerocket before that and of course The Queers who have been around forever and who are great.

Green – The Queers are legendary and stuff, and it’s very cool to be included in a tour that’s so unique.

Yellow – I was listening to The Queers too, when I wasn’t listening to Megadeth.

Bill – What can you tell me about your European tour that’s scheduled for this spring?

Yellow – It’s in Europe and there’s gonna be a lot of European chicks there I think. I hope.

Green – We’re going to the UK, right?

Red – We actually got asked to do a radio show in the UK, I’m not 100% sure if we’re doing that or not, but I’d really like to. They want us to do an interview on the air and then some live songs. That’s in London, that would be the first day that we were there, and then our tour would start the next day. We’re definitely doing some days in the UK, and then we’re also doing Germany, France and Belgium. We’ve very excited for the Groezrock Festival in Belgium. I’ve never been anywhere in Europe, I think Blue did some hiding out there for a little while, but I’m not too sure about that. From what all of our peers tell us, Groezrock is supposed to be one of the best shows you’re ever gonna do.

Blue – A lot of UK and a lot of Germany, and we’re playing with bands like The Flatliners, The Dopamines, Riverboat Gamblers and Polar Bear Club. We’re definitely playing with a lot of cool bands.

Bill – Do you ever worry that your true identities might be revealed with the continued success of your band?

Green – I think our true identities are revealed.

Yellow – This is who I am, this is my true identity. It’s not a secret, man.

Blue – Yeah, that’s true. A lot of people ask us, “What’s your true identity? Are you a janitor? Are you a dad? Are you a dancer? Who are you?” We’re all of the above, right? We’re dancing dad janitors.

Red – If anybody asks, we’re Teenage Bottlerocket.

Bill – After wrapping up your European tour, what else do you guys have planned for the rest of the year?

Red – Right after we get back from Europe we’re doing a little bit of touring with Mixtapes, around Pouzza Fest. We’re going up to Canada for Pouzza Fest and we’re also doing a show right after that with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, in a town that I cannot pronounce its name because it’s very French. We’re very excited for that show. It’s also cool to be touring with Mixtapes, since we did that one track with their singer Maura on our record, so we get to do that song every night. That will be very, very cool. Then in July and August we are very excited to be doing a tour with Elway and Sam Russo, the Red Scare Tour.

Blue – We’re definitely going to do more touring in the US for the rest of the year.

Green – We’d also like to get some recording done, but it’s really hard to do everything.

Blue – It’s hard to find time to get in the studio and track the new record, but we’re gonna do it. We’ll be in the studio later this year, absolutely. We definitely want to put out a new album as soon as we can and maybe some other stuff before that. No exact date or details on anything yet, but we’re definitely gonna be working on it this year when we’re not touring.

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