Your first producer, Eddy Offord, came from the world of ELP and Yes. On paper, the combination of him and 311 still looks kind of strange.
“Yeah, I know. It was a good fit, though. He had a ton of experience with progressive rock in the ‘70s, and to bring that kind of track record in with our crazy, 21-year-old youth exuberance, it kind of worked. He helped in other ways because he committed to working with us before we had a record deal; that gave us a lot of credibility and helped us get the record deal that we did. We owe him a big debt of gratitude.”
A lot of bands your age at the time wouldn’t have wanted to be in the studio with a guy who did '70s progressive music. Prog wasn’t cool then the way it is now.
“Yeah, that’s true. We didn’t have any of that elitism – ‘Oh, we’re so cool’ and all that. We always loved rock. We didn’t have any kind of bias towards prog rock. The truth is, there was such incredible creativity to those records Eddy did with Yes and ELP. If anything, at the time there was so much grunge and everything was sounding the same, so to work with somebody who had an ‘anything goes’ attitude, it was liberating. He wasn’t trying to keep us in a box.”
Did you record the whole album in a studio, or was there any work done at home? Anything done on laptops?
“Because we wanted to get this album out in time for 311 Day, we worked at a crazy pace. We had four different studios going at the same time. The technology definitely helped us because we could share files and send Pro Tools sessions back and forth between studios. You know, there’s so many good and bad effects of the internet and technology. There’s the democratization that’s gone on: You don’t have the gatekeepers. In the old days, you had to have a major record label; now you don’t.
On the negative side of the internet, there’s the piracy. It’s become a free-for-all, and a lot of people don’t even think about grabbing music from wherever. We’ve always been mainstays of the live performance, which is an experience you can’t bootleg. You can record it, but it’s never like being there. We’ve always kept an eye on new trends and have been learning about the new distribution deals. On this record, we’re completely independent, which is pretty exciting.”