Need To Know: The Soft Pack


By Courtney Nichols

Do you have a prized record?
Hill: Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Nightmares in Wax -- Pete Burns' pre-Dead Or Alive disco-punk band. I found the 12-inch. I've been looking for it for years. It's all these homoerotic songs. The title track is 'Black Leather.' So awesome!

Did you find it at a garage sale? Or online?
Hill: I found it on Ebay. I've been looking for it for years but it's always really expensive. I found a torn up copy where the record was perfect and the sleeve was really torn up. I didn't care. I had to have this record. That was Holy Grail record and now I don't really know what I need. I go to record stores and I guess I don't need anymore records because I don't need anything that I have to tear through the rack to find.

Are there any record stores in L.A. you can recommend?
Hill: Of course there is Amoeba, which is great. There's a really cool little one called Territory that used to be a BBQ place / record store but I think the BBQ side of it is closed now. Territory is in Silverlake and in Los Feliz there is Vacation Vinyl.
Lamkin: All around awesome place.
Hill: The people that run that are really cool.

You are signed to Kemado Records. They are very community oriented. How did you get involved with them? Their ideas behind co-op music shops are so utterly unique.
Hill: We just met the guy. A friend of ours, Paul, introduced us to the guys who do the label and we just hit it off with them. We thought they were really cool. A few months went by and we did CMJ and they still wanted to work with us.
Lamkin: They were the first to give us a deal. They were the longest to maintain interest.

Have you met the other bands on the label?
Lamkin: Dungeon is really cool.
Hill: They're putting out a record by this girl named Cameron and her backing band is really cool. A hardcore band. They got them reunited to be her backup band. It's really cool music -- kind of indieish and current.
Lamkin: The Sword.

I ask because many bands haven't met or even heard of the bands on their record label.
Hill: Sometimes bands put out such a variety that they wouldn't get a chance to play together.
Lamkin: Children are pretty good.
Hill: They are cool. Kind of like Metallica.

Old Metallica or new Metallica?
Hill: Old! Like Master of Puppets.

Well, let's finish off with a question about sexuality. Brian, you're out -- do you think that is necessary in the music world?
Hill: I wouldn't put it on anyone else to handle it any one way. Whatever is right for you. It's definitely more beneficial the more people that come out and are public figures or are in any kind of media position. It helps anyone who is younger or people like me who didn't have a gay role model while growing up and didn't know what it meant to be gay and be an adult and function in a cool way, not living this life that was less than what you wanted. Not like it was that hard when I grew up.

So did you come up with the Soft Pack? The name has gay written all over it!
Hill: You're only the third person who has gotten it! I've been saying it a lot more. I don't think it hurts anybody. But then again, I wouldn't tell anybody how to discuss their homosexuality. For me, now that I've been out, I never want to be closeted. Why? I feel so much better about myself.

And that has affected your confidence on stage?
Hill: Totally! I don't think I could do this if I was doing two things at once. I would probably work in an office and not talk to anybody.

The Soft Pack tour dates and awesome Polaroids can be found here:

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