Love is Against The Grain was a landmark alternative album...on the eve (well almost eve) of DSP's new album, Fantastic Distraction , Our friend Carter Hasegawa takes a journey through lead guitarist Masaki Lui's mind...hold on.
How did Did DSP get started? "Justin and I were playing in different bands in the bay area, and we knew who each othere were... My band at the time fell apart, and justin started using a few of the guys from there... eventually I joined in the band and it was called 9 red roses... that fell apart, and justin and i kept playing together... Phil Meads joined us on drums later...someone told us they knew a bass player in Seattle that was cool, and so we looked into it, who the person was was more important to us than how well he could play bass... Sam joined the band, after that Phil left to pursue ministry, Sam knew Joel, and contacted him in LA... He moved up and DSP is where it's at now..."
How did you get started in music? "My parents started me on violin when I was six... in high school, i gave it up to play guitar because I thought that would be cooler...ha ha. Do you play any other instruments besides guitar and violin? no..."
In the DSP demo, the date is 1994: was the road to a record deal a difficult one? "Not really... I've known Frank Tate before he started the label... we've been friends for a long time... he approached the band about doing a record... we were hesitant at first, but now we have no regrets...."
How is it being a leader in the world of Christian rock? "That's a hard question because I don't really consider us as "leaders"... I love making music and working with music... and I love being able to use that as a tool for pleasing God... it's funny how some people place musicians on the same level as pastors.... but very few people ask pastors to write songs... I enjoy the fact that people like what we do... it's great, but I'm not a pastor type person, so it's a little freaky sometimes when people ask you questions that should be directed to professionals... I know we're handed a responsibility in what we do, and I'm not trying to dodge that, (i've been working with a jr. high group faithfully since 1987) but it is weird to be put on a pedestal sometimes, just because you make music..."
When, where, and what was it like hearing DSP on the radio for the first time? "I don't remember, but it's always strange to hear your songs on the radio and know that other people are hearing it as well."
You've done a lot of touring over the past couple of years: how's it been on the road? Do you have any horror stories or cool stories you'd like to share? "I'll have to think some more... there are countless cool stories, just meeting people from all over the country (world sometimes) and that is a blessing... it's easy to miss home sometimes and that gets a little rough... but overall I would never want to complain about doing what many dream about... We all feel really blessed..."
Which do you like to do most and why: produce, record, perform? Did you plan on doing so much producing? "I like doing all but I really like writing and creating a lot... I do another project called Rivulets and Violets, and I really enjoy that as well, it let's me be spacy."
What kind of direction are you and DSP headed? "We want to just make honest good music... we'll never be pop icons or musical cheerleaders, but we want to make music that is as good as anything out there Christian or mainstream, and we'd like to have appeal on both ends while reamaining honest to ourselves..."
The Beattles attribute a lot of their musical influence to Elvis Presley: what bands or musicians have influenced you? The writing style of the album was very similar to Prayer Chain's "Whirlpool"; did Prayer Chain have any influence on you guys as musicians? "No, The Prayer Chain didn't really have any influence on us... we all have different influences from Lenny Kravitz, to Cocteau Twins, to AC/DC etc..."
How do you feel about the emergence of third wave ska in the Christian market and where do you feel it's going? "I like where it's going and I'm really proud of the FIF record... I think that some people are getting a little over analytical about it in comparisons/rivalry type things, the music is what matters when you compare bands...."
What were your favorite song or songs on the "Love is Against the Grain cd" and why? "'Daddy's Gun'", because it's melancholy."
There's been a lot of talk on the meaning behind "Hitler's Girlfriend"; what does this song mean to you and the band? "It's about becoming jaded and blind to caring about the things jesus told us to care for... at least that's my personal angle one it... there was a great explanation on RMC awhile ago... I should've copied it..."
What's going on with 5MW now that Sara Bellum is out and Dr. Tony Shore has left to work Sub-Lime? "Sara Bellum is doing great... FIF is going to the general market on SB, and DSP, Dryve, etc...Warner has been great..."
The new album is due in May 6th, what kind of musical direction do you think it will take? Is there a name for the album yet? How many songs are you shooting for to be on the album? "There are 10 songs. I just finished mixing them... we did 4 songs with John Keane producing (REM, Widespread Panic, Cowboy Junkies, Indigo Girls, etc) it was a great experience... I produced the other 6... it's not quite as folky, but it's kind of like DSP meeting Tom Petty on Wildflower with a little bit of AC/DC thrown in for fun..."
Who are the Electrics and are they signed? "They are a celtic rock band from Glasgow, Scotland... I just went out there to track their album for SaraBellum...they are great...lot's of energy, fun fun fun...they will be at Cornerstone, and they will be touring with DSP, Model Engine and Dryve this summer..."
Where do yo thing the Christian music industry is headed, and do you think that this is a good thing? "The more people are honest the better the industry will be.... we can't exist as a subculture forever... Jesus hung out with people, not in churches... we're here to spread the love, and I hope the industry moves that way as well..."
Reese Roper (FIF) was angry with the posts on rec.music.christian, and I was wondering how you felt about the newsgroup. "I like it...I love technology...People get worked up about opinions there, but in reality...I think everyone has the capability to upset someone if they express their opinions...you can't please everyone..."
Finally, we have something called Desert Island Discs where we list the ten cds/songs we would want with us if we were stranded on a desterted island. What cds/songs would you wand with you? "Not necessarily in order... Cocteau Twins box set... Cocteau Twins Four Calendar Cafe... Billy Holliday CBS box set... Los Lobos The Neighborhood... AC/DC Highway To Hell (sorry if this upsets you)... AC/DC Back in Black (ditto)... Nat King Cole Unforgettable Enya Shepherd Moons... Enya (the second one, I forget the name right now)...