Justin Wilson and Matt Pittman on Tonight's Red Animal War "Reunion" Show

Categories: Interviews

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Whenever Red Animal War plays, it feels more like an event than a show, which is great because the four-piece doesn't shortchange an audience with their Texas-tinged version of post-hardcore. In the last few years, the band only plays around the holidays, but for plenty of good reasons. This year, their holiday show happens tonight at the Double Wide.

We caught up with mainstays Justin Wilson and Matt Pittman about the status of the band, why they play around this time of year and what's coming down the road for the band.

Red Animal War never officially broke up and has never used the easy phrase "indefinite hiatus." What do you guys consider the status of the band?
Justin Wilson: We play less only because Jeff [Wilganoski, drummer] and Brian [Pho, bassist] live out of state now, and that's the line-up we've gravitated back to. If we were all in the same area we'd be much more active. We still pass recordings around and see each other even when there's not a show. As far as the people that were in the band after Pho and Wilganoski, it's pretty simple. [Drummer] Todd Harwell and [bassist] Jeff Davis got busy with other bands that were more active so when the time came to reconvene it made sense to go back to the line-up that wrote and recorded most of the music. Jeffy D did do his fair share of touring though, that's for sure.

The band has done holiday shows for the past couple of years. Who suggested doing them?
Wilson: Jeff suggested it this year. Plus, the show's on his birthday so what better way to throw a party for him? We have some additions this time around that will make for a fun night.

With new material on a recent End Sounds sampler, is there more forthcoming?
Wilson: We record new material as much as we can. With limited time we're sometimes forced to choose between rehearsing and playing a show or going into the studio to record. So far, the shows have outweighed the recordings. If we're lucky, we'll do both this time around.

You two have also played together in various line-ups of Saboteur. Any word on the status of that band?
Wilson: Matt and I are still working on finishing the Saboteur full-length album we started. It's 13 songs and shaping up to be a great release. We've both been super busy with other projects so it won't be completed until sometime next year. On top of that, Jon moved to San Antonio and Patrick moved to San Francisco. So while the future of the band may be in question, it's only a matter of time before we release the music.

Matt, what's the word on your other band, The Light Fantastic?
Matt Pittman: We have actually just started recording our second album with Todd Harwell finishing all of his parts this past weekend. I am hoping to finish it up by spring and we will be playing live in support of the new album.

Lastly, if someone were to make a documentary on Red Animal War, would there be enough archival material, and would you guys be interested in making one?
Pittman: Well, there is an unfinished doc that runs about an hour in length. No word, to my knowledge, on it ever getting completed but I hope one day it will. There is tons of footage from tours/recording/videos.
Wilson: A Red Animal War doc would be awesome. We started making one with our friends years ago but have yet to finish it. There's a rad group of filmmakers who believe in our music so we're still working towards getting done. Being in the film industry ourselves, there's no shortage of all our international exploits.

Red Animal War plays tonight, December 23, at the Double Wide with the Me-Thinks and Bad Design.


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