Claire Gallagher: Alrighty, who’s who? What are your names, what instruments do you play, etc?
Rollum Haas: Matt plays guitar and sings, Roger plays bass, Mark plays keyboards, and Rollum plays drums.
CG: Where did you meet, and how did the band come together?
RH: Matt and Roger have been playing together since middle school. I just realized that may have been in the 80s. Mark and I joined later on. Me in the late 90s and Mark in the early aughts. It's absolutely stupid how long the band has been together. It's either a sign of how much we love music or just that we're total idiots.
CG: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
RH: It's very different for everyone in the band. Our tastes occasionally crossover. We all like The Kinks and The Beatles. Three of us like AC/DC. Two of us like The Smiths. One of us loves Genesis when Peter Gabriel sang. I think it's a good thing that we don't all listen to the same records. Somehow it works.
CG: Who are some other bands you are listening to now? What do you like about them?
RH: Blue Oyster Cult, Yes, Chrisma, Star Trek soundtracks, Elli & Jacno, The Chantays......a bunch of stuff.
CG: What’s your writing/recording process like? Do you have any particular settings, situations, or conditions, etc. that help you get inspired to write, record, or jam (especially with Wilderness)?
RH: Generally Matt comes in with a rough idea and we all play off of it. A lot of the ideas on Wilderness came from us just messing around. We usually have songs pretty worked out before we record, but there were some spontaneous things on Wilderness. "Content" was written in the studio. We're pretty easy going when we write. We don't need to be surrounded by candles and incense to be creative.
CG: I have a friend from Murfreesboro, TN who told me lofty tales of the Great Cedar Bucket. Any fond memories of this? Any tragic reactions to its partial destruction at the hands of heedless arsonists? I think what I’m getting at here is: did growing up in small-town Tennessee influence your music at all?
RH: I had never heard of the Great Cedar Bucket before you mentioned this. Sounds like those arsonists were a bunch of unappreciative a#@holes. Growing up in a small town definitely forces you to search for things a little more. There was only one store that carried music where I grew up and it doubled as a video rental/tanning bed business. I had to order anything I was curious about out of a huge catalog, wait two weeks for it to arrive, and hope it was good. I definitely really appreciated the things I got into.
CG: Alas, the Cedar Bucket has failed to leave an impression. Anyways, what do you think you would be doing right now if you weren’t a musician? What did you want to be when you were a kid?
RH: I have no idea. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, F-14 pilot, professional baseball player, Airwolf pilot, Tie Fighter pilot, & professional basketball player. Maybe I'd be a pilot.
CG: What has been a personal high and a personal low about your musical career so far? Any particular moments of awesomeness or embarrassing blunders?
RH: I feel like being able to make a remote living playing and recording music these days is doing well. That's enough of a personal high for us. To answer the second part of your question, we're always awesome, we don't make mistakes, and we don't know what it feels like to be embarrassed.
CG: So what’s the story behind the name The Features? How did it come about?
RH: An ex-guitarist came up with it. If I'm remembering this right I think he saw "Daily Features" on a menu in a donut shop. I think it's a good "The" name.
CG: What can listeners expect from Wilderness? Has it changed much from the angsty-country-punk days of Exhibit A or the folkier-but-still-somehow-punky days of Some Kind of Salvation?
RH: Exhibit A definitely emphasized that brash side of the group and Some Kind Of Salvation was much more subdued. Wilderness is the first time I think our humor has showed. Other than that I can't really give an objective view other than saying we are most definitely not a country, folk, or punk band.
CG: Last but not least, what is next for the band?
RH: We're actually almost finished with the new, new record. Which will be a weird feeling when we're touring on the new record while the next one's being mixed. Hopefully we can keep on with that pattern.
Again, Wilderness is out July 26th, so be sure to give it a listen or pick up a copy. Check out a tour schedule here or catch their next show in Los Angeles on July 29th at The Satellite. Tickets are $10, the show starts at 8:30 pm, and it's 21+.