Need To Know: The Soft Pack


By Courtney Nichols

I'm not going to ask why you changed your name from the Muslims, but did your past audience follow you? Or do many not know that you are the same band?
Hill: There are some people who still do not know it is the same band and some people don't know it's the same people -- well at least Matt and Matty are the same people -- so they'll say, 'Oh I liked them better when they were the Muslims.' But it's the same people! All the touring we've done by this point has been as us. It's just a name.

You're from San Diego originally. How has that affected your music?
Lamkin: Growing up in San Diego, following all the San Diego bands, there was a really great scene in the nineties. Three Mile Pilot -- all these bands with a really cool and creative atmosphere. It definitely shaped us.

Do you still follow any San Diego bands?
Lamkin: Totally, we just did a tour with Beaters who are a really cool San Diego band.
Hill: El Mania, their alter-ego band, is really great. It's nice to know what's going on in your hometown.

You live in L.A. now right?
Hill: We do. It's a lot better than I thought it would be. There's a lot of good random comedy to see.

You're comedy fans?
Hill: When you're home and you were on tour for a long time, it's kind of more appealing to see stand-up. When you are in a band the last thing you want to do when you got off of touring is hear somebody play really loud.

Where do you go in L.A.?
Hill: The Upright Citizen's Brigade is really good. Is there one in S.F.?

No, but I always wanted to go to the Facebook Night they have in L.A.
Hill: Oh! I heard that's really good.
Lamkin: Jeff Garlin has a weekly show there. Sometimes he's not there because he's working on a show, but he's really good. He has great guests. Robin Williams was there. And it's always a dollar. There's also the Hollywood stuff like Laugh Factory.
Hill: Yeah, Hollywood Improv has this thing -- I don't know what to call it -- with these bizarro comics.
Lamkin: There are a couple good guys. There's Joe King who is a big name in L.A., and Rick Shapiro.

Do you practice improv at all?
Hill: I have a complete respect for anybody who does it really well. I don't think I could do it. No way. It's so scary to just get up there in a theater, in front of a microphone, with a crowd.

What's the difference between that and being in a band?
Hill: You can rely on other people. I'm a drummer so I have all this stuff around me. I have this physical barrier between the people and me. I'm not really giving anything of myself except how I am playing. I'm not making up good stories so that people are laughing.
Lamkin: It's a real fucking skill. It's amazing. Dave Chapelle is my muse. He's such a genius.
Hill: He's such a good storyteller.

I'm sure comedians feel the same way about musicians.
Hill: I'm sure. Like Belushi got Fear on Saturday Night Live. He tried to get Black Flag on there too.

Do you guys have any other hobbies or do you just stick to music?
Lamkin: Brian's a record collector.
Hill: I haven't done anything productive with it like turning it into a night where I get free drinks. I'm going to work on that. That's the next step. I don't want my records to just sit there.