Mind Equals Blown’s Patrick Walford recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the vocalists of The Bunny The Bear, Matt Tybor aka “The Bunny.” They talk about the band’s brand new debut album If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say (click to read the title to read MEB’s review), signing with Victory Records, their persona, and much more.
Mind Equals Blown: The band released their debut album If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say last Tuesday on Victory Records. You have a very unique sound, blending all sorts of different elements into your music. How would you describe your sound to people who have never heard you before?
The Bunny: To put it simply, we are weird. If I had to describe it…Heavy, electronic and experimental. I write whatever the fuck I want. There’s a bit of everything on this album.
When you started the band three years ago, was there always the open-minded experimental take on things or did you have a specific vision on sound?
Definitely. I just wanted to have fun with it and do what I wanted. The older stuff is a lot more all over the place, where as this album is a lot more well-rounded. It was something I just wanted to have fun with and have no boundaries.
Part of the band’s image is the masks that you and (The Bear) wear onstage. Where did the whole idea behind the name and the masks come from?
It just kinda happened. I was just dicking around doing T.I. covers in the studio dicking around, and said I’m going to start a band called The Bunny The Bear. I’m gonna wear a bunny mask and I’m going to get big boy to wear a bear mask! My mind doesn’t really process things like a normal person. I listen to our shit and I think it’s normal. Weird to everyone else is normal to me. Some people listen to it and say “what the fuck is going on?!”
“The story” behind it is when I was a kid I got attacked by a group of rabbits and balded half of my face. I was in and out of the hospital, had psychiatric treatment; it fucked me up and I thought I was one with nature. The bear has been one of my good friends for six or seven years and he thought he would put on a bear mask so I’d be more comfortable with who I am and I wouldn’t make fun of myself.
Do you wear the masks at all times? Ever pull it off while on stage with it being too hot?
I personally don’t care about it. I know The Bear bitches a bunch about it (laughs). Our first show ever he took his mask off onstage and I almost punched him in the face. I don’t mind it, I like it. I can’t see us taking them off anytime soon.
The masks- custom made or off the shelf from a store?
I butchered the hell out of my mask and everything else under the sun. I personalize it a ton. It’s nothing like a store-bought mask, but technically you could buy it online probably.
You recently signed with Victory Records a few months ago. Can you explain the process you guys had to go through before signing to the label?
Our management was talking to them for a while. Tony loved our stuff. He called them, and he wanted us to play a showcase in Chicago. We played and within a day we were working out contracts. It took a few but we found something we liked. About two weeks after playing the showcase, we signed.
I’ve always been a fan of Victory Records growing up. I think the signing was positive. Victory is a good label for a growing band. They have the power and definitely know what they are doing.
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say is self-produced. How exactly do you go about writing music? Is it a band/collaborative effort, or does one member spearhead the process?
I write everything with the band. The lyrics, the synth/keyboard parts, guitar, bass, and drums are all written ahead of time. I write it all in FL Studio with a keyboard. Then I take out the fake instruments and get our bassist, guitarist, and drummer to record their parts.
Writing everything for the band, what does a The Bunny The Bear song begin with?
Clean piano a lot. I just change it from there. 90% of it comes off of straight keys and I build off of it. Just add other instruments in along the way.
How long does it typically take to completely write/record a demo of a song for you?
A few of the songs on it we had released before as demos so for those songs we already had building blocks and something to go off of. We went in the studio all at once and recorded it. Even with the old demos we did it that way. We left a few vocals here and there, but that’s about it.
As for writing the songs, I have hundreds of songs written. We kinda just pulled what we wanted and kept what we wanted over singles we released in the 12 months.
When it comes to musical and writing influences, do any specific bands in the post-hardcore or electronic genre stick out?
I don’t really listen to a lot of music to be honest. I listen to bands like Brand New, Chicago, The Spill Canvas back in the day and shit like that. As for anything I could listen to that made me think of this, there was really nothing. I just started writing and I guess my niche is this band. I grew up listening to everything. I’m not genre-specific and don’t really set my mind to sticking with any genre. It just kinda all happens.
Just after signing with Victory Records, the label also signed These Hearts and Design The Skyline. All three of your bands have been under criticism from a good chunk of music fans all over the internet. How do you feel about being grouped in with those two bands?
It’s in one ear and out the other. I really don’t care about it. Even with Design The Skyline. They’re fucking kids. If they clean up their shit, they have potential. There’s also a potential for sales from a business aspect. I just think it’s all bullshit. Especially old school Victory fans. A lot of them are into hardcore bands and don’t like any experimental shit like us. They were pissed off when Victory signed Taking Back Sunday a decade ago (laughs).
I don’t really get the premise for all of it. I think that if you really have to waste your time talking about shit it’s ridiculous. I think it’s a lot of monkey see and monkey do. A few kids talk shit about it and everyone goes with it. I don’t think people think for themselves when it comes to music anymore. They see what is cool and just follow what everyone else likes.
From a touring standpoint, you guys have yet to do a cross-country tour. Who are some bands you’d like to hit the road with over the next year?
Enter Shikari would be bad ass. Those dudes kill it. Any band I would want to tour with we can’t really play with musically. I am absolutely open for anything. They can stick us wherever pretty much. I think any chance we get to tour and spread our music would be great.
As far as plans coming up, what’s on tap for the rest of 2011?
Between now and then we plan to hit everywhere. We are going over to Europe in October with Funeral For A Friend. After that we hope to hop on with a bigger band here in North America. We are looking forward to getting to tour.
Thanks a lot for joining me for the interview today The Bunny. Something I like to do with the bands that I interview is I get them to pick a song from their catalogue for readers to check out and a song by any other band you dig that you want them to hear.
The Bunny The Bear- “Ocean Floor”
Chicago- “You’re The Inspiration”