Out of Austin, Dustin and Anthony, aka Best Fwends, will turn out any party, any where, any time.
Chief Magazine: It’s hard to sound even remotely serious when saying the name of your band.
Dustin: We are terribly embarrassed by the name of our band. It started as a stupid joke and now we are way too far into the game to change it! Fuck! We actually get alot of grief for it. It’s really hard to come up with a good band name these days. I believe when we first started we were called Diaper Bra… That name didn’t last too long! We’ve been toying around with the idea of changing our name to Bestial Flatulence or Bequeathed Ferocity.How was the band born? Did the idea come to you both suddenly, or have you always wanted to make music?
Dustin : Well, I was in a band called Battle Unicron with my friend Rick and in a band called Retro Spectro with both Rick and Anthony. I was hanging out with Anthony one day and we recorded some terrible noise songs on a four track. I slapped the name “Battle Unicron” on the songs and Rick got pissed off that I made songs without him so, just like that, this new “band” was born.
Anthony: I have always wanted to make music.
I’ve heard your music described with an array of different buzz words, from punk to avant/experimental to anti-pop cute. How do you describe your sound?
Anthony: I don’t think we’ve yet reached a point where we can describe “our sound”. Most bands start with their instruments and members and that defines their sound. Like how within five seconds of hearing that floor tom you can tell it’s a Matt & Kim
song. Dustin and I aren’t talented enough to be limited to a single sound. It would be more difficult to try to make a handful of songs that sound the same since we are so inconsistent.What did you listen to growing up, and what artists or groups have influenced your sound?
Dustin : I grew up listening to Green Jello and pop punk and Korn. I also used to have a shit load of cassette singles like Shanice ,“I Love Your Smile” and “Back 2 Tha Hotel” by N2Deep. Then in the 9th grade I got into flea market death metal tapes and all hell broke loose! I was big into early Earache and old Roadrunner stuff. But on a whim I bought a Spazz cd at this place Archies Rock Shop in Fort Worth, Texas and it seriously changed my life. I was like,“This is the best music I have ever heard!” I proceeded to buy every single Slap A Ham Records release i could find and go to every punk show that I could. These days I’m still listening to a lot of fast stuff, but also cutie wuss pop stuff like Wolfie and Tullycraft.
Anthony: I grew up listening to dad rock (Supertramp, Electric Light Orchestra) so when I was about 10 years old to try to rebel against it, I started listening to adult contemporary radio. I really got into C+C Music Factory and that “Red Red Wine” song. Technically my first CD was Green Day – Dookie, given to me by my redneck aunt (you can catch her commenting on my MySpace often) but the first CD I bought was Weezer’s blue album. In middle school I listened to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. When I entered the 9th grade I got into 808 State and the Chemical Brothers, which was really difficult in my small Christian hometown (thank you Napster). I eventually started buying breakbeat records and spinning at clubs but that is such a joke in North Texas. Especially when you’re 15, doing remixes for Moonshine and Astralwerks dudes. I lost contact with that world just before Best Fwends formed, right about when I started getting into Squarepusher, Mouse on Mars, and Plaid. Now I listen to Shibuya-kei and those French guys like Mr. Oizo.How would you describe your singing style? Just out of curiosity, how much formal vocal training do you guys have?
Dustin : Our “singing style” is more like a tortured nerd-yell, I guess. We tend to stay away from things like trying to “sing in the right key,” etc. It saves us both time and embarrassment! I’ve read some reviews of your band from a while back that said that you guys didn’t have any songs that broke the two-minute mark. Now, however, you have a song like “Myself Xxxchange,” which clocks in at 3:15. Frankly, I knew you’d reach that point in your career, but... where will it end? Over three minutes!
Dustin: Dude, give us a break! [Laughing.] That was a remix done by Alex Epton of Spankrock fame! The original is like a minute-thirty. You won't catch us making a three-minute-long song! Unless the price is right, of course. Cough, cough.I must say, I have not been able to get “Myself Xxxchange” out of my head. That thing is catchier than meningitis. The lyrics are simple and a little inane, but completely blissful. And I'm almost tired of it. Not yet, but almost. Do you ever get tired of playing your own songs, or do they still get stuck in your own heads at times?
Dustin : We’ve heard our songs so many times that we seriously cannot tell what is good or bad anymore. We listen obsessively, critically, and analytically. We have a 30% Love, 70% Hate relationship with our songs. That's why we are constantly writing and recording new stuff.You have a peppy, high-energy, sometimes tongue-in-cheek sound. What does the typical audience reaction tend to be – are people willing to move and get into it, or does the hipster-skewing crowd tend to stay somewhat stoic?
Dustin : We get a lot of the “what the fuck are these guys thinking?” look. It honestly just depends on where we are playing, and if the mood lighting is set.
Do you guys actually play instruments on stage, or are you too busy dancing and rearranging your thong? You do still wear thongs onstage, right?
Dustin: No thongs ever! Manties sometimes but no thongs because they would chafe and rub us the wrong way. And it’s totally not a, “Hey! Look at us! We are sexy!” type of deal. It’s more like “Holy Jesus it is fucking hot in this gross-ass basement! I can’t breathe! Pants are coming OFF!”. Anthony, talk about us playing instruments.
Anthony: Okay Dustin! Well, we simply aren’t talented enough to play instruments and sing AND look damn good. All of the music is recorded and we are the ones playing those instruments. However, if you’re lucky we might bust out a drum set and a guitar and play fast as fuck punk versions of all our songs. Actually we recorded some of that a few weeks ago when we broke into Matt & Kim’s practice space (thanks to Parts & Labor for unknowingly allowing us to use their drums and guitar amp!) so that might surface if someone wants to help us put out a bad ass tape.What’s the craziest comment you’ve ever gotten from an audience member?
Dustin : I distinctly remember a girl saying, “Ew I saw his balls!” How did you end up getting a song of yours on a British Bacardi commercial? Did the song already exist, or was the song written with
the commercial in mind?
Dustin: Our record label (Moshi Moshi) registered us with an advertising agency called Woodwork Music UK. Next thing we know, Moshi Moshi gets a call from Bacardi wanting to use the song "Bedroom Music" off of our first 7" for one of their commercials! And you know, "Bedroom Music" was the first song that we ever wrote as Best Fwends. The funny thing about it is that the original title for the song was "1st Money Maker"! Now that I think about it, we should really make a song called "$1,000,000". Because hey, there's no harm in trying!The song is great, and is used effectively, but what’s going on in that commercial? I can’t really figure out how the visuals relate to rum.
Dustin: Yeah. It's probably one of the worst commercials ever made. Let's leave it at that!How much free rum did you get for doing the commercial?
Dustin: You know... I’m straight edge as FUCK!Can you play drunk? Or maybe I should ask - do you ever play dead sober?
Dustin: Actually, neither of us really drink. Well, I had a sip of fine wine with my lady one time but other than that… Actually one time I had a sip of Sparks at a party because someone said that it takes like Sunkist. God, now that I think about, I’m the worst straight edge dude EVER!
Anthony: I never play drunk. I drink occasionally (I think it’s vile but cool) but I don’t think it would be possible to play drunk. Even though it looks effortlessly uncontrolled, our live performance is as physically and mentally demanding as an Olympic event.Your sound seems to be the type that could develop a fan base in other countries, especially in the U.K. – they love electronic music there, and they love cheekiness. Do you have an overseas following?
Anthony: Most of the people who write to us are from the U.K. I think often they do not understand the “punk” aspect of our music. Like, we really want to be an entertaining show more than we want to show off our musical abilities (which frankly speak for themselves). So when we toured there last year people were really slow to react, but the enthusiasm after a performance was incredible. But I hear they’re supposed to have come around in this past year, my friends there say that many of their shows are wild mosh parties now. This is what we are bringing when we return there in April.Describe your prototypical fan. Do they love life? Are they sauced to the gills?
Anthony: Uhh, “open-minded”, “not a music snob”, “adventurous”. We are lucky to appeal to many people. The most unforeseen “good show” we had was in Gulfport, Mississippi (R.I.P.), where we played at a karaoke/biker bar to ex-Marines. I honestly thought we were just going to endure people spitting on us and calling us “fags” but after we played all these old ladies hugged us and dudes bought me beers and said that we were incredible.What’s your songwriting process like? Do you both write stuff for the group?
Anthony: Lately Dustin has been writing a lot of guitar riffs, so I’ll make a very basic metronome/beat and record him playing them. This is not the way our older songs were written. Our best songwriting mode is Dustin on guitar or bass, and me on drums. Other good songwriting modes include Dustin freestyle rapping over a beat I made, or Dustin freestyle keyboard/guitar-ing to a metronome. I can get pretty deep into cutting up audio and turning it into songs.
Lyrically I have been known to contribute maybe one or two lines a song. I write country songs when I walk somewhere, I think some of those might make their way onto the next album. When I write lyrics I am not confident enough to show them to anyone so many of my songs just go without vocals.
Dustin: Yeah, I think that I write like 70% of our songs. But Anthony programs pretty much everything. Most of what I write is total garbage but Anthony makes it sound listenable. He is truly a technical genius. I sit over his shoulder for hours and hours while he is typing and adjusting and clicking and I just think to myself, "I really wish that i knew how to do all of this shit." If we made a Speakerboxxx/Love Below type of album, Anthony's side would sound complicated and beautifully polished and mine would sound like it was recorded with a tin can.How long has it been since you stopped performing songs with tape on your face? Why did that get phased out?
Anthony: It didn’t get phased out. Nothing gets phased out, we do what we can when we can. Its pretty natural, it all depends on the moment. If you saw us in NYC last month you saw us in our nasty red shirts. We’ve had those for 3 years and they’ve been washed about 3 times. Those shirts are sort of our “fetal position” shirts. We go back to them when we are nervous. Tape face is a similar convention.
What’s the city that you’ve played in where you would never voluntarily go back?
Anthony: We will play anywhere any time. Worldwide. Guaranteed.
Dustin: Pretty much, if you pay us to come, we'll play anywhere without discrimination.How many times have you guys done SXSW? Is the festival way over-promoted and full of posturing, or is it still being run with the right intentions?
Anthony: For us it’s a way to see good bands for free. We aren’t really worried about self-promotion or anything, but evidently it is a really productive time for a lot of bands. We should probably be worried about self-promotion but we are so dumb in that department.Do you get to see other bands when you go? Any favorites from years gone by?
Anthony: If it weren’t for other bands we seriously wouldn’t do it. In rough order of bad-assness:
1. The Salteens
2. Galactic Heroes
5. The Toadies (1995) (I wish)
6. The Thermals
7. Hot Chip
8. Matt & Kim
I can’t remember any more but there have been a lot of good bands in the past three years.
Do you see festivals like SXSW as an effective medium for getting discovered as a band, or is MySpace a better way to get the word out and disseminate your songs?
Anthony: I hate MySpace as a poorly-designed poorly-maintained ad-plagued website but its nice to be able to communicate with absolutely everyone regarding your music.How did you get involved in remixing the SpankRock song?
Anthony: We met through our friends. Our friend Emily Rabbitfoot in Baltimore hooked me up with an acapella of “What it Look Like” and I did a quick remix while we were on tour and my friend Beau passed it onto Alex Epton. Alex then sent me all of their acapellas so I did a remix of “Rick Rubin”. When Spank Rock came through Texas, we played with them and they offered to perform the remix I did. They liked it and hinted to me that “Bump” was their next single so I should do that and send it to Big Dada. Well I sort of forgot about that so the remix I had was half finished, but Alex emailed me again a few months later and told me to send it. I sent it (half-finished) and Big Dada liked it. I was embarrassed. It isn’t finished!Do you want to do more remixing or producing for other people?
Anthony & Dustin [simultaneously]: Yes: email@example.com.Who are you listening to these days? What bands or artists do we need to know about?
Anthony: Our collective favorite bands are- Fat Day, Gerty Farish, Wolfie, Dynamite Arrows, Bossy, Galactic Heroes, The Like Young, Tullycraft, Matt & Kim, Finally Punk, High Places, The Death Set, Quiero Club, Chico y Chico, Look Look (Dancing Boys).Do you listen to much mainstream hip-hop or top 40? I feel like I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that one of you is a closeted Justin Timberlake fan or something.
Anthony: Our policy on mainstream music is that it is obviously good. By default.
What’s the best show you’ve attended as an audience member recently?
Anthony: DYNAMITE ARROWS.
Dustin: DYNAMITE ARROWS! For sure.What from your daily routine or your childhood can you enlighten me with to prove to me that you are truly white trash and not just claiming it to sound funny?
Anthony: Actually I get embarrassed by my heritage, Dustin is the only person who I’ve ever met who thinks its funny to talk about. The first time I ever got drunk was on a beach at the age of two. One good thing is I’ve never paid for a haircut.
Dustin: I remember in 7th grade i got my first pair of "name brand" shoes. I got an Academy Sports and Outdoors ad from the newspaper and saw that there was a pair of Reebok shoes for $19.99 and ran to show my mom. She was initially like "I dont know..." but I totally convinced her. That was a really big deal to me back then becuase I was made fun of in middle school and elementary because of the stuff i wore. I grew up wearing some of the gnarliest Kmart/Payless stuff EVER. I also remember that for my 7th grade Christmas i got a Guess long sleeve shirt from my moms friend and thought that it was so cool.I saw interview footage of Dustin’s dad where he did not seem thrilled about the idea of his son pursuing a career with the band. Has Mr. Pilkington come around on the idea yet?
Anthony: He really likes the Xxxchange remix of “M.Y.S.E.L.F.” Like, he really likes it.
Dustin: He was like "Dustin, this is a hit song." Hahaha, awww dad.What career would you both be pursuing if you didn’t have the band? What did you think you would get into when you were growing up, or what did Mr. Pilkington (and your family members in general) think you would get into?
Anthony: I would be building weird music instruments right now if I hadn’t dropped out of school to be in Best Fwends.
Dustin: I've been toying around with the idea of going to school for special make-up effects. I loveeeeeee Paramount-era Full Moon movies like Subspecies
and Demonic Toys
. At the end of every Full Moon movie, there is a segment called "Videozone" where they show behind the scenes footage. I would get soooo psyched watching those when I was little. I'm very much interested in learning how to make masks and foam rubber prosthetics for horror/sci fi movies. What do either of you do outside of the band? Any creative abilities or activities you’d like to let people know about?
Anthony: I have a music-electronics company boxed up in my basement. Dustin is a highly bad-ass weird head drawer and we are trying to get our limited run clothing line off the ground. Also, we don’t mean to brag but we are the best DJs in the world, we seriously need to get booked around the world (somebody make this happen). You Chief
guys saw that Super Bowl party right? Back me up! [Ed: Anytime, hommie. Come DJ Saturday's Valentine's Party!}Who drew all the faces that decorate your website and your banner that you perform in front of? And is there anywhere else we can see more of that stuff?
Dustin: I drew all of that stuff. Just simple line drawings scanned and colored with a photoshop paint bucket.
I pretty much exclusively draw weird heads and an occasional chip covered in nacho cheese. I’d love to do more album artwork for ourselves and other bands so… get at me y’all!So what should we expect from Best Fwends in the future? When’s a new album coming out? Let’s give Mr. Pilkington a reason to keep his chin up.
Anthony: New album out on Moshi Moshi UK around April. New stuff coming out in the U.S. any time. We are also looking towards Mexico where our friends Quiero Club reside.One last thing: tell me a story about a time when you almost died or when you got away with something crazy that you think everyone should know about.
Dustin: In 9th grade I was walking to the grocery store with my friends GB and Marshal to buy 10 cans of food to get into a benefit concert downtown. We were about to walk underneathe an overpass, like one with a concrete slope attatched to it, when all of the sudden I saw a tire rolling down the street. I was like, "WHOA! A TIRE JUST ROLLED AROUND THE CORNER!!" and my friends totally didn't believe me. So we ran over there and we saw the tire wobbling to a halt. My friend Marshal grabbed it and said, "whoa its hot!" and he threw it up the concrete slope.
Now, you have to understand that this overpass was over one of the biggest streets in Fort Worth, Texas.
The tire that Marshal threw comes bouncing down in ultra slow motion while we looked at each other and said "FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKK!" The tire rolled out into the middle of an insane intersection and cars were screeching and flying left and right while we watch in utter shock and amazement and fear. No one got into a wreck but at least five people screamed at us frighteningly. I remember a guy yelling " !@#$% ... WITH YOUR WHITE ASS!". And we ran away freaked!
DownloadsBest Fwends - Dump In The Dark.mp3Best Fwends - Camouflage (by Skull Kontrol).mp3Best Fwends - Skate or Live.mp3