Interview: Whole Wheat Bread

Out of breath, from walking through the maze of Newcastle Academy’s narrow passageways and mass amounts of stairs, we finally got to Whole Wheat Bread‘s dressing room, naturally, with a fridge stocked up with beer.

Faye: Can you say your name and what you do in the band?
Mr. Whitefolks: I’m Mr. Whitefolks, I play the drums.
Will Frazier: Will Frazier, I’m the bass player. Lead bass player.
Aaron Abraham: Aaron Abraham a.k.a. The Bakerman, I play guitar, sing and rap.

Faye: For those who aren’t familiar with the band, could you tell us a bit of history about Whole Wheat Bread?

Aaron: Well, basically, I was born with extra super powers when I was young and it made me do all kinds of versatile things, like play rap in a totally different way, but at the same time, pat my head and rub my stomach, so I was born and destined to be a rock star. I was born into it! That’s what happened.
All: [Laugh]
Frazier: Yeah, born to be destined.
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, we’re some pimps. That’s about it.

Faye: How would you describe your sound?
Aaron: It’s a little bit of everything, our sound is like an iPod, that’s the best way to describe it. Like an iPod Shuffle, it can go from all different things to one extreme. We can be rapping one minute, then we can be playing some fast-ass punk rock the next. That’s how we are, we’re everything.

Faye: So, it’s your first time in the UK, how are you finding it? Are you enjoying it?

Frazier: I love it.
Mr. Whitefolks: We’ve pretty much been up since the sun has come up every morning, except for one night so far. It’s been fun.
Frazier: It’s beautiful, the weather’s been pretty good since we’ve been here.
Aaron: None of us got laid, though.
Frazier: I’ve seen the most beautiful girls, just gorgeous, everywhere.

Faye: You’re currently on the Give It A Name Introduces tour, how are you finding it and the rest of the acts you’re sharing the stage with?
Mr. Whitefolks: We’re the only band on this leg of the tour that doesn’t have a female.
Faye: Yeah, being on tour with a bunch of babes, how’s that?
Frazier: Yeah, it’s great! They’re all gorgeous.

George: Have you heard of much from that bands that are going to be playing the main Give It A Name festival?

Frazier: Yeah, of course, I’m a huge Taking Back Sunday fan, I think Adam Lazzara is amazing. Thursday are awesome, UnderOATH, kind of got into them recently, they’re from the same state in the U.S. so they’re pretty big where we’re from.

George: Are you looking forward to be playing in front of an audience as big as you will be on the two shows?

Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, it’s always fun playing in front of huge audiences, I mean, the more people you play in front of, the more energy the crowd can create that you can feed off of, y’know, go back and forth with the crowd. So, it’s always awesome to play big festivals.
Aaron: Yeah, it’s like an adrenaline rush almost, with the more people. I mean, when it’s just ten people, you might be more nervous. But when you got a big sound and a big crowd, and everything is how it’s supposed to be, it makes you feel like now we got where we’re supposed to be.
Frazier: Yeah, I actually feel more comfortable when there’s a big crowd verses ten people, because I feel like they’re looking directly at me. Festivals are always better, because everyone always goes nuts at festivals, when we play festivals in the US, it’s good times.

Faye: How’s the audience reaction been so far on the tour?

Frazier: It’s been amazing.
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, it’s been great.
Aaron: The fans seem to be very, very easily influenced. Like in the United States everyone’s kinda got a stick up their ass and they’re too cool to move. Over here, they’re like ‘We came to pay our money to go party, so we’re gonna party and have a good time’, that’s what it seems like out here.
Frazier: And we’re definitely more of the party band on the tour.
Mr. Whitefolks: The cool thing is on this tour is that it’s our first time in the UK and we’ve seen a lot of people singing along with the songs.
Faye: Cool, people have been familiar with your songs?
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, and that’s really cool too, especially for being in some place we’ve never been.
Aaron: Yeah, I don’t know what to say about the Scottish, though.
All: [laugh]
Faye: How come?
Aaron: Actually, no, it was Wales. I don’t know what to say about them down there.
Frazier: Yeah, we were in Cardiff, the night before they had a big rugby game, and, man, they were getting rowdy with each other, bickering with each other. We saw a good fight.
Aaron: Oh my God, yeah.
Mr. Whitefolks: We thought we were gangsta until we saw all the rugby people walking around.
Frazier: Yeah, you don’t mess with rugby players.
Aaron: People fight different here too, we never saw a fight like that.

Faye: You had a day off yesterday, I heard you went to Edinburgh, what did you get up to?

Aaron: We went to the castle and shit, we never saw anything like that in our life where we’re from ever, we saw crown jewels, and saw the whole view from the top, which was just breathtaking shit.
Frazier: Me and Joe [Mr. Whitefolks] had haggis for the first time, it was great. I was scared to eat it at first, but it was nothing.
Mr. Whitefolks: I thought it was going to be really disgusting, but it was good.
Frazier: We had some great whiskey, that was local, went to a couple of bars.
Mr. Whitefolks: Hung out with some Swedish chicks.
Frazier: Yes! And I met the most gorgeous girl from South Africa, and that was it, good times.
Mr. Whitefolks: Staying up until the sun came up.

Faye: You’ve been on some pretty big tours in the US, with all kinds of different bands like, The Bouncing Souls, Suicidal Tendencies, Reel Big Fish, Madball, Streetlight Manifesto, Big D and the Kids Table, do you feel your music can appeal to everyone?
Frazier: Yeah, it’s really cool, because at our shows, you’re gonna get something that everyone can like.
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, there’s a wide variety of fans at a Whole Wheat Bread show, you don’t just see one type of people, like we said, it’s like an iPod shuffle, anyone can enjoy it, we appeal to most that hear us.
Frazier: Yeah, Whole Wheat Bread is the human iPod shuffle.

Faye: So, your first album, Minority Rules, was more pop-punk, but your new album, Hearts of Hoodlums, featured a bit of everything, as you’ve said, like rap. Do you think you’ll be wanting to focus on rap later on, or are you wanting to keep a mix?
Aaron: Well, honestly, most of the stuff I write is rap, but it works out funny, because when I write a song sometimes, I’ll be writing a rap song and I’ll just take the lyrics and use it for a punk song. So it’s hard to really say which direction we’ll really go, but I’ll tell you we’re definitely more mature, like the songs are different. I look at it as a sign of maturity, because all those songs were exactly the same and focusing on being a certain way on that album.
Frazier: The Minority Rules album?
Aaron: Yeah, the Minority Rules album, focusing on one type of thing, but now we’re using everything we can possibly use, we aren’t cutting ourselves short.

Faye: I heard you’ve been working with Lil Jon, what have you been doing with him?

Aaron: We’ve got a few songs, we’ve got one song that’s our song, that’s actually not on the album, but if you search for it online, it’s called Ghost Muzik, and it’ll come up, everyone can get it. We’ve actually been playing it live. And on his new record, we’ve got a bunch of tracks, we’ve got a track with him, Ice Cube, and The Game, another track with Cisco Adler, Kid Rock, and Lil Jon, and we might have another one with Lil Jon, P!nk, and Katy Perry.
Frazier: We also have a side project called the The Invincibles with Murs, a hip-hop artist from L.A., he’s been in the game for quite a while, but he’s starting to blow-up now. We wrote an album with him, it’s not out yet, but we’re finished with it, it’s called The Invincibles, so keep an eye out for that.
Aaron: We actually have a song featuring Murs on our new record.
Mr. Whitefolks: We also have Mike McColgan from Street Dogs on one of the tracks on the new record too. We’ve tried to work with a lot of different artists, because like we say, we’re a really diverse band, it’s always fun to be able to work with anybody.

Faye: Who are you listening to at the moment?
Aaron: My favourite artist right now is T.I., T.I. is the fucking shit. Every time I hear Transplants, they’re tight too, T.I. and Transplants.
Frazier: Right now I’m listening to, probably one of my favourite artists right now, is Thrice, and Brand New and Three 6 Mafia.
Mr. Whitefolks: I don’t listen to music, I hate it.
All: [laugh]

Faye: Unfortunately, your old bassist, Nick, got arrested for attempted robbery, how do you feel about that? Are you still in contact with him?
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, he’s my brother, we talk like once a week. It was sad that it had to happen, sometimes you make decisions in life that you have to pay the consequences for and he’s definitely having to do that now.
Faye: Is he in jail now?
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, he got six years, but you move on and the band and every thing’s going along great. If you have the desire to make it happen, you’ll work through tough times and make it happen.
Frazier: Yeah, I talk to him, he calls, so it’s pretty cool. Since he’s been in jail, he’s made this awesome comic, a Whole Wheat Bread comic and, hopefully, we’re gonna start producing it and we’ll get it out to people overseas.
Mr. Whitefolks: You should be able to get it online.
Aaron: He also has a prison band.
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, he’s playing in a band in prison too, so he’s still active, writing music and doing stuff.

Faye: Do you see it as an advantage or a disadvantage, being labeled as a ‘black punk band’?
Aaron: It works in the same way as Eminem or Elvis works, it’s just a reverse, or kind of even Beastie Boys in a way, so it definitely gets attention. Also, a lot of punk bands don’t get the opportunity to work with people like Murs, Lil Jon, Rob Base, all these rappers, so it works in our benefit, but it’s also something we can’t help, it’s not like we said, “We’re just gonna be black one day”, you know what I’m saying? [laughs]
Frazier: And here’s been great, we haven’t been here very long, but in the U.S., if some people haven’t seen us before, they think we’re a gimmick. I actually like those people because almost every time we blow their socks off, then they realise we’re not a gimmick.
Mr. Whitefolks: People see you walk on stage and think we’re gonna be like a rap group, then be amazed at what we do. After the show, they’ll be like, “I was gonna go to the bar, get a beer, and go smoke, then you guys started playing and I was just blown away.” It does make people criticise you a bit harder, but at the same time we have to give the show our best and put on our best performance, so people won’t say it’s a gimmick, because it’s not. We love to do it, it’s in our blood.
Aaron: It’s no different from Dropkick Murphys, everyone knows them as an Irish punk band, everyone has their labels, you can’t really do nothing about. If they’re Irish, they’re gonna label them Irish punks, if we’re black, we’re gonna be labelled black punks, so we can’t do nothing about it, you’ve gotta go with it. There’s nothing wrong with them bringing their Irish influence into punk, there’s nothing wrong with us bringing rap into punk. You’ve just got to do what you know and what’s natural to you.

Faye: So you’re touring with MC Chris in America after this tour?
Frazier: Yeah, we did a tour with him last year actually, for like a week, he’s a cool guy, we’re looking forward to it. It’ll be for a month this time.
Aaron: Yep, that’s coming up as soon as we get back, we fly straight to Orlando, then we’ve got to drive all the way to Cleveland, and that drive from Orlando to Cleveland is probably longer than any drive you can make in the U.K.!
Mr. Whitefolks: Yeah, that’s like a 17-18 hour drive.
Frazier: If you drive from east to west coast, that’s like a 36-hour drive non-stop, we’ve done that many times.
Aaron: Yeah, I’m not really a fan of the United States [laughs], I like being over here.

George: What are your favourite past times when you’re touring on the road?

Aaron: Smoking weed.
Frazier: Listening to MP3s, playing music.
Mr. Whitefolks: Getting drunk.
Frazier: Playing acoustic guitar.
Mr. Whitefolks: Wanking.
All: [laugh]
Frazier: Reading books, girls. Girls are good. We have a lot of them.
Faye: Do none of you have girlfriends?
Aaron: I do.
Faye: Do you miss her on the road?
Aaron: I do, I miss her very much.
Frazier: Not any more, no girlfriends for me.
Mr. Whitefolks: No comment from me.
Aaron: It keeps me out of trouble and saves me money [having a girlfriend].
Frazier: Yeah, I’ve noticed that.

George: So, where do you get your name, Whole Wheat Bread, from?

Aaron: Because ‘Chocolate Cake’ would sound too gay.
All: [laugh]
Aaron: The main reason is because back where we’re from, sometimes they call white people ‘white bread’, so we’re Whole Wheat Bread.

Faye: Any plans to come back to the U.K. soon?
Frazier: There’s nothing official, but it looks like we’re going to be back in September, I’m not sure who with, and then possibly in February as well next year, but none of that’s official, so don’t quote me on that.

George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Frazier: Whole Wheat Bread!
Aaron: [laughs] Yeah, Whole Wheat Bread.
Mr. Whitefolks: Check out Street Dogs, if you haven’t heard them. Beat Union from over here.
Frazier: Beat Union are awesome.
Faye: Beat Union haven’t really got a good rep here.

Frazier: Oh, really?!
Faye: Yeah, they used to support everyone, people got sick of them.

Frazier: I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys, they did well in the States.
Aaron: I could probably tell you more rappers to listen to.
Faye: Ok, cool, feel free.
Aaron: Ok, I’ll say don’t listen to Lil Wayne, don’t listen to Lil Wayne at all.
Frazier: I thought you liked Lil Wayne a lot?
Aaron: No, I don’t. T.I., listen to T.I., listen to Rick Ross, Lil Jon’s got an album coming out, we’re gonna be having a lot songs on his album, so definitely listen to that, it’s different, there’s lots of rock shit. It’s kind of gonna be a band, because we’re going to be the band for him, so it’s going to be some band shit. And definitely Murs from the west coast, check him out. What about Dizzee Rascal from over here? Do people like him?
George: Yeah, everyone loves him.
Aaron: Because he’s like the biggest rapper from here over there, you know?
Frazier: Oh, you should also listen to the Krum Bums, they’re from Austin, Texas in the U.S., I think they’ve toured here a bit. Those guys are rad.
Aaron: I’ll tell you certain bands that get credibility, and even though they’re big, I’d say Gym Class Heroes, they got cred, because they were underground and working for a long time, they got well-deserved stardom. There’s a lot of big bands out there that’ve just got no cred whatsoever, a lot of American bands, but Gym Class is not like that.
Frazier: Yeah, and for those of you that listen to Thrice but haven’t got the Alchemy Index, most amazing album ever, people should listen to that album. I don’t know how it did over here, but in the U.S. it got them dropped from their major, so they probably didn’t do as well as they used to, but that’s my new favourite album right now.
George: I love the Fire volume.
Frazier: Fire is ridiculous. I just got Earth & Air, so I’ve been rocking that the last couple of days.

Faye: I think that’s about it, have you got anything else to add?
Aaron: Whole Wheat Bread ain’t nothing to fuck with!
Frazier: Oh, what’s the easiest way to pick up chicks here?
Faye: If you’re in a band, you should be able to get anyone!
Aaron: [laughs] I wish that was the truth.
Mr. Whitefolks: Also, check out our MySpace and regular website, send us a message, come out to the shows.
Aaron: We do write our fans back, especially if you hit us up on our personal MySpaces, for sure.
Frazier: Yeah, the personal ones are on the band’s top friends.
Mr. Whitefolks: We do have a Facebook too and a Twitter.
Frazier: We also have a MySpace street team here in Europe now, it’s just started up, so you guys should go and blow it up. I’m talking to the microphone, that is, not you two, but it’d be cool if you did too. Oh, and buy our new CD, Hearts in Hoodlums, that’d be great, and buy some merch too. Even if you see me on the side of the street, I’ll run 10-miles to get you some merch and some CDs, any of that stuff, and come hang out with us.
Mr. Whitefolks: Bring us some weed.
Frazier: Erm, just come hang out with us, that’s all I’ve got to say.
Aaron: Yeah, that’s one thing I want to say, all the fans bring us some weed in the UK., because we don’t know anybody over here, we don’t know where to get it from.
Faye: [laughs] Right, you want some hook-ups.
Aaron: Yeah, come to Whole Wheat Bread shows and bring weed.
Frazier: Yes, but don’t bring MDMA, I heard that stuff’s pretty big over here. None of that stuff, that’s bad. This isn’t like a Christian interview, is it?
Faye: [laughs] No.
Frazier: Ok, just checking.

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