Four twenty-something year old musicians lock themselves in a house, musical toys in tow, and start breaking down their ideas, building them back up, and one hundred days later a sonic formula is found. Next thing you know you’ve got yourself a band. And what else would you call yourselves but, The Hundred Days. And that’s the method indie dance rockers Jonathan Smith (Vocals), Jimmy Chen (Guitarist/Keyboard), Collin Crosskill (Drummer) and Brett Zaldo (Bassist) used when they first started experimenting as a group. And together with production Michael Patterson (Beck, Ladytron, She Wants Revenge) and Nic Jodoin (Great Northern) they've got themselves something that's really working.
The Hundred Days' debut album Really was released back in August and since then they’ve been rather busy bouncing around the US (with some UK dates thrown in), as well as some showcases at SXSW, CMJ Marathon in NYC, Noise Pop Festival and the BDF Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre alongside Moby, MGMT and Pennywise. Look for them on the road this fall with Art vs. Science.
Their first single off the album, “Sex U” caused a bit of chatter not only because it’s catchy as hell, but also because of the video directed by David Dutton. It’s basically him following the band around on a wild night out on the town where the ladies they meet aren’t exactly what they seem. It’s sexy, it’s funny and Director David Dutton captures the magic again on “Girl At A Party” his second video for the band and we’ve got the exclusive for you right here. We also threw out some random interview questions to Smith and Crosskill, which they seemed to have some fun with.
The video was shot in one day and the band made a real (sorta) party of it, which we’re sure was a helluva lot more fun for the extras. And a bit odd too, according to Jonathan Smith. “We kept everyone in the backyard, and then shuffled them all in for a few minutes to film the crazy party scenes. There was one scene with a bunch of champagne glasses falling over, which we had to film a few times to get right. Naturally, that took a bit of time, to clean the floor and fill up the glasses each time. But it came out great.” We agree… David Dutton did an amazing job.
The Hundred Days “Sex U” (download: right click, save as)
We were playing a small club in San Jose years ago, when a girl began to masturbate in front of us in the audience. At first the bassist looked at me, getting my attention, and then nodded towards her. Im pretty sure I forgot the lyrics I was singing. -Jonathan Smith
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
Jonathan Smith: First I would turn up the bass really loud and play one of our songs, so that they can feel the beat and tempo. Then I would point to a really pretty girl and hold up a piece of paper that says, “Imagine her dancing to this beat, and that's what our music sounds like.”
Colin Crosskill: I would do some sleazy dance moves and give them a look that shows I'm not really taking myself seriously.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
JS: My favorite toy I think was a little plastic truck big enough to sit on and ride around. I was a terror on that thing, honking the little squeaky horn at all the imaginary people on the sidewalk. Then a big storm came, and the next day it was gone. I completely forgot about it. Then one day (when I was about 19) I was hiking along the stream behind our house and I saw a little plastic steering wheel sticking out of the mud. I reached down, pulled it out, and there was my trucky. It brought back all the feelings of being five years old.
CC: My favorite toy as a child was called a Wee Wee and you know, when I think about it, I never really stopped playing with it. The only thing that's changed these days is that I refer to it as my penis.
Any memorable incidents involving a fan?
JS: We were playing a small club in San Jose years ago, when a girl began to masturbate in front of us in the audience. At first the bassist looked at me, getting my attention, and then nodded towards her. I'm pretty sure I forgot the lyrics I was singing.
Eventually I think listening to a song could be like stepping into a video game where you are an active participant, like an audience member. -Jonathan Smith
Favor us with a moment in life that changed the course of, or defined, your aesthetic philosophy/position.
JS: I would say it was my first real show. I was a freshman in college, and we were really worried that we were going to bomb as we had never played a show before. We opened the set with “Tales of Brave Ulysses” by Cream. As soon as the band came in on that first hit, I felt that magic feeling. I don't think I even realized it at the time, but after that show I was addicted to the stage.
CC: The moment was when I was watching the Justin Beiber documentary. He's on stage, and he yells “just remember...never... say... never!” And I was like, “Woah, that's so true!” Wise words from such a young kid. Because in life, anything can happen at any moment. You never really know which way it's going to turn. I never really thought about life in that way. But then I was like, Aw fuck! I just said “never” twice.
Lets talk creative arc. Take us from alpha to omega with a project.
JS: Hmm... how do we write? You know how penguins take care of their young, by sitting on the egg and then taking turns with it? Well, it's nothing like that. It's more like making spaghetti: everyone throws in an ingredient and then we see how it tastes at the end. That may not be how you make spaghetti. But if you wanted to make some really cool spaghetti you might want to try it. It might even make you dance.
CC: It all starts with a bassline. If you listen to “Girl At A Party” and a lot of our other songs, the bass is very prominent. That's cause our songwriting usually first starts with our bassist, in rehearsal, throwing out a big pelvic thruster of a bass groove. And then the rest of us jump in. Then I throw down a beat, then our guitarist plays chords. Next our singer starts singing gibberish just to get the melody out and get the song off the ground. It's kind of a race to catch the excitement that's in the room and turn it into a song as quickly as possible before it goes away.
They were really going for it and the girl is shouting, Ride the pony! with a strong southern accent. We eventually fell back to sleep but were woken up again an hour later when she was leaving out the side door and said, I feel like a sluut!
CD to MP3 was a big paradigm shift in the music business. Look ahead for us...What will be/cause the next big shake up?f
JS: Multimedia. The lines between recording, performing, and film/video are being erased more and more. Eventually I think listening to a song could be like stepping into a video game where you are an active participant, like an audience member. There's no way to prepare except to keep checking out what is already going on. The more time you have to do this the better. Art and technology are currently having really kinky sex, and I think the offspring will be beyond what we can even conceive.
CC: I don't know, maybe the next big shake up happens when someone masterminds a new kind of digital music format that's mega-protected and impossible to copy and the record companies rise up again. But in the near future we see bands putting everything they can into their live show because that's how they'll be making their living. And everyone as a whole is entering a time in music where more emphasis is put on performance. Survival of the fittest according to who really brings it live. Which is how it's meant to be and we're happy to be a band in this era.
Do you think there are any commonly held societal beliefs that are false?
JS: I think the biggest obstacle we face is close-mindedness and black/white thinking (in a dualistic, not racial sense). As soon as we think we know what's going on, we are probably wrong. But it takes a lot of courage to accept and understand that.
CC: I pretty much disagree with any commonly held belief that puts blame on our surroundings and not on ourselves. “Video games and movies cause violence. Pornography causes rape. Advertising causes tobacco addiction.” To me, these beliefs are just encouraging people to carry a victim mentality and avoid doing the work within themselves to find where the problems truly lie.
What is the most colorful/memorable incident you have involving a fan or fan relations?
CC: Change names to protect the innocent, if you care to. On one of our US tours, a fan in South Carolina came to the RV we were staying in and drank with us after the show. At around 4 am we were all woken up by what felt like an earthquake but was actually one of the band members having sex with her in the compartment of the RV that extends out above the driver's cab. And they weren't having that kind of sex like when you're in a place where people can hear you, so you do it kind of quiet and sneaky. No, they were really going for it and the girl is shouting, “Ride the pony!” with a strong southern accent. We eventually fell back to sleep but were woken up again an hour later, when she was leaving out the side door and said, “I feel like a sluut!”