AN INTERVIEW WITH THE LAST ORIGIN
Hours before leaving for the first show of their Wild, Wild East tour, The Last Origin sat down on my couch for this interview. The three piece psych rock band from Louisville, Kentucky recently released their EP God Keeps Calling. All three members, Grant Howell, Kenny Tayce, and John Anderson have been playing together since 2015; starting in Kenny’s basement but graduating to playing in front of piss chairs across the US.
WITH GOD KEEPS CALLING OUT THAT MEANS THAT YOU ALL ARE ABOUT TO GO ON TOUR. HOW ARE YOU ALL FEELING ABOUT THAT?
GRANT: I’m excited to go to some states we haven’t hit yet. We hit a lot of the eastern states, but we haven’t been to New York or Maine or Connecticut.
JOHN: We’re going to Portland, Maine and I hear there’s more than just lobsters in Maine.
KENNY: I’m real excited to go to New York but I do not want to drive there. We played in Philadelphia the past two years and one time we got into Philadelphia as soon as traffic hit, and it was the worst thing I’ve ever drove through. I don’t even think they had lines on the road.
J: The first two tours we did, we did them in a big 1990s van and the back of it had a bed; so when you’re driving it, you’re in the front stressing out and everyone else is in the back hangin’ out. But now we’re just in my smaller car. We still haven’t exactly figured out our sleeping situation.
WHAT ARE YOU ALL GOING TO DO WITH YOUR DOWNTIME ON TOUR?
J: I’ll preface, so we always do something really weird on tour. We always pick up a weird hobby. This last tour we got into whittling. It’s surprising that you’ll just sit down and do it for four hours and then you’re like “oh it’s time to play the show? I thought it was still noon.” On this tour though, I’m bringing juggling balls. I can juggle three but I’m trying to work on five. Grant is already working on trying to do three and Kenny wants to work on four.
K: Hacky sack… that’s something we like to do. Ah, I wish we brought a frisbee.
J: We’ll pick one up.
YOUR BANDCAMP BIO SAYS “WE STARTED PLAYING IN KENNY’S BEDROOM IN 2015 BUT WE’VE GRADUATED TO PLAYING BATHROOMS ALL AROUND THE US.” DO YOU HAVE ANY STORIES ABOUT PLAYING IN A BATHROOM??
J: Not exactly. But I can tell you a story that might count as a bathroom story. Whenever we get the opportunity to do house shows we like to sleep in the house. The people there are awesome but sometimes they’re a little weird. There was this one time on our first tour, we were in Illinois, and we played an amazing house show and I was hanging out with the homeowner. Grant and Kenny were sleeping in the van and I was just hanging out inside about to fall asleep and then this guy gets up and walks over to the homeowner and just started unzipping his pants. The homeowner gets up and is like, “What’s going on?!” And then the guy just starts peeing on the chair and then the owner of the house goes, “That’s my favorite chair!” So then the drunk guys walks out, and I’m awake by this point, and they took the chair outside and started hosing it down trying to resuscitate the chair, but it was done. But that was also at a great show.
G: The owner of the house was like, “No this is so wrong.” And then the guy peein’ was like, “Nah man. This is so right.”
J: The moral of the story is, house shows are awesome, but they can have some crazy people there that’ll pee in chairs and have their rabbits roaming around the house.
YOU LIKE TO USE HANDMADE POSTERS + ALBUM COVERS. DOES THIS TIE INTO THE LOUISVILLE SCENE AND HOW DIY IT IS?
J: I do a lot of the art for the band. I really do like working with artists on stuff like that but sometimes we get the music done a couple days before we need to put it out and we need the art right then. Collectively, we’ve put together all the album covers; well besides for one, Hannah Moles did the second album, All We Have is Rock and Roll and then We Die. I think people involved in DIY stuff are a lot more willing and accepting and not as cliquey as other venues and other things. For house shows you just show up and have a good time.
K: Our cassette tapes, we ended up making those ourselves and doin’ all that. I feel like people who come to our shows really appreciate that. It adds a whole new value to it.
WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF DIY, DID YOU ALL DO ANY HOME RECORDING?
G: We tried. We did it in a room in my house. It’s not released because it’s basically a demo of our demo album. And it didn’t turn out very well.
K: We had one mic, maybe two to record it. So we’d split up the drum parts like “you can only play half of your drum part and then we’ll add the other half in later.” We went about things the hard way.
FOR YOUR LATEST RELEASE, GOD KEEPS CALLING, YOU RECORDED AT LALA LAND. HOW DID THIS GO?
K: Well the environment there is really great. You just feel comfortable. That’s a really important thing for me when I’m playing. The way Ann Gauthier works with us is really fluid and she just knows exactly what we want.
GOD KEEPS CALLING + ALL WE HAVE IS ROCK AND ROLL AND THEN WE DIE ARE THE TITLES OF YOUR TWO MOST RECENT RELEASES. DO RELIGION + DEATH INSPIRE YOU ALL?
J: I’ll preface this, I have a problem. I like to write songs about really intense, heavy stuff. The second album was about heavier stuff. This last one is still about heavy stuff but trying to be a little bit lighter in the delivery. But now, we’re trying to write songs about random stuff. We specifically try to have the titles really weird and outlandish. We have a new song that we’re playing calling “Prom Queen Hartford, Connecticut Spring 1983.” You can do so much with titles, and it can really add to the song. Sometimes the titles will be kinda heavy but sometimes it’s kinda fun to put some weird words together.
K: Honestly, I feel like it’s the way you interpret the album if it involves religion or death. I was talking to my dad about it because there’s so many different ways to interpret it. “God Keeps Calling” for instance, is like god keeps calling but I just keep hanging up the phone. Once you say god, it’s instantly religious but you can still take it somewhere else. Like you can replace a different object or person in place of god and implement that into how you perceive it. I don’t like saying the song is about this or that because when anybody hears it, that’s the only thing they’re gonna think about. I want somebody to explore the song in their own way.
FINAL QUESTION. FAVORITE SHOW YOU’VE PLAYED SO FAR?
G: I think for me, my favorite show was at Zanzabar this January with Jeez Loueez and Quality Cable. It was one of our biggest crowds. Just being around that many people when you haven’t played a show that big before, and you’re shoving through people you’re like, “this is awesome! I can’t even get to the stage.”
K: My favorite show was the All We Have is Rock and Roll release show, mainly because I got to crowd surf. I’ve always wanted to do that but being a drummer, you never really get a chance to do it. It was just too much fun. Johnny Conqueroo and Quality Cable were on that bill.
J: My favorite show is actually the same show that the guy peed in the chair. We were playing in the basement and we were playing really well and you can tell it was a good show. There was a metal head in the audience with super long hair that was doing the metal head dance when we were playing. And we don’t play metal music. It was so awesome. It’s hard to describe but I feel like that was one show where us and the audience were one entity. It’s so, so, so rare to feel like that. They just clicked in with every little thing that we were doing.