POZ Interview: You, Me & Everyone You Know
You, Me & Everyone We Know released I Wish More People Gave A Shit last week, and it’s turning out to be a new favorite for fans. PropertyOfZack was stoked to have Ben Liebsch do
So we spoke in November as you were putting out the EP. Suddenly, here we are five or six months later and we have another EP and you’re doing your first tour in two years.
Two years. And the first show on Friday was my fourth show sober. And my fifth show playing alone. It was cool but yeah it all happened pretty suddenly.
Could you talk about what changed so quickly? I know that you were taking your time writing music for the first EP. This was a quick change.
You know after recording that EP, we kind of did what we did last time with the EP. I recorded it and then put it out as quickly as humanly possible. Last time it was a week after we had recorded it or something crazy like that. This time it was three weeks, I think. It’s kind of strange how this EP came about. I had been pawing at the idea of writing some of this stuff – writing sort of fanatically the kind of lyrical content I did on this EP. I had been sending it to people, the lyrics, like, “Is this stupid?” Because I had really only ever written about one broad topic in the past. I always cared about the issues. I had been dealing with too many of my own problems to really delve into it or think about how to express it in the way that write on more than a line or two on each record. Some people were like, “I think you’re on to something, keep at it.” And right around that time, Trevor, the drummer I have been recording with for years was like, “I’m moving to Santa Monica for a year.” I was like, “Let’s record a record while you’re out there man. I’ll come out and we’ll do another EP.” He was like, “Well, do you want to do it before I move?” I was like, “Well, when’s that?” and he was like, “May 6th.” So I was like, “Yeah let’s give it a shot dude.” So that leaves me two and a half weeks to write as much as possible. I put together, I think all total I had, like six or seven song ideas. But the ones that were more done than the others wound up on the record. I just got to it – put my nose to the misanthropic grindstone and wrote what I think are some very good songs. They have a lot of content to them. They have a purpose to them, more than just expressing myself.
That’s a good point. This EP is equally personal and relatable, but just more real world and not personalized subject matter. What was it like to write like that?
Yeah, it’s interesting because I knew what I wanted to write. I was trying to write music or songs that were similarly themed about problems that we all – that everybody has. My problems are not unique to me. But rather than them being emotional issues, they’re psychological problems, rather than problems with drugs – which I have written about in the past. I was trying to turn the lens onto social issues. How up against your personal and emotional problems, you often feel helpless and have trouble getting through those. It’s the same way with large-scale social issues. You know? It all seems very insurmountable, but we’re pretty stubborn as a species. We’re not giving up. Before it was super condensed on an individual, now I guess it’s more large scale issues. But it’s still focused on the individual and how I deal with stuff like that – the things I think about.
When some bands comment or write about more social issues than themselves or their girlfriend that broke up with them, it can get a lot of “Why the hell is he commenting on that? Stick to music.” Have there been positive reactions to the lyrical content?
It’s been great so far. I haven’t had any – I’ve had a few people use the word “preachy” – like I mentioned the other day through social media. I think the difference there is that “preachy” is excluding yourself from the problem. A preacher is preaching to you from a position above, quite literally in a church. That’s not where I’m coming from this at all. I’m very much a part of the problem. Make no mistake. We’re doing this track-by-track thing and I bring up the point that at any point when I in the lyrics might think I may be better than an individual person – all of that’s negated by all that I’m not feeling or have an apathy towards. To have all of that balance out is pretty fuckin’ impossible, man. Destruction is necessary for creation. I could not drive a car. But right now I think that we’re not in a balance. There’s way more destruction going on than creation. That’s part of the problem. But yeah it’s been really good. In its first week, just through trying to spread the word on social media and sites like you guys covering it, I’ve sold more of this EP in the first week than I sold of the last one in the first six months of it being out. Ideally, that says something. It’s a sign that people are paying attention again. Maybe I’m talking about some things that people want to hear a successful band talk about. Punk bands and tougher bands have been doing this for years. And folk bands. But not everybody is into that. I think that I’m in a unique position to talk about those things and maybe spread the word to people that will start conversations to circles that wouldn’t necessarily have them immediately. You know?
Those sales numbers are nice for you. Are you feeling good about everything?
Yeah it’s working out. Yeah, I’m feeling good, you know? I’m eating a little worse than I’d like to on the road so far. Not anything terrible by any means. Other than that I’m feeling good. I’m just getting back on the road. I’m more nervous at shows than I used to be, just because I’m sober now and I’m playing alone for this tour and my Florida dates. But that’s just something I’ve got to get used to. It’s just the trials and tribulations of doing that. I work for an hour and a half a day. I get paid for people to watch me talk about myself and complain about things I don’t like in the world. Then after that they come and tell me how much they like it. Like that’s not a job that’s–