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Interview With Tim Lash

by Andrew Kirkpatrick

The Arcade spoke to guitarist Tim Lash by phone from New Jersey.

Arcade: How's the tour going so far?

Tim: It's great. We've had a lot of sold-out shows and we're playing really well together.

Do you guys enjoy touring, or do you prefer the studio life more?

I enjoy recording more. I enjoy writing songs in our basement more than anything. I mean, it's hard to be creative when you're on tour. Recording, I like that a lot better. It's just a lot more room to stretch out and be submerged in the creative atmosphere for days on end, you know.

How are your touring partners?

We've got Swervedriver and Heroic Doces, from Chicago ... Both bands are amazing, and we rarely play with bands I actually enjoy as much as these guys. It's nice to be inspired right before you play, and both these bands are amazing. Everybody's great. We all get along pretty well.

Now, you all are from Champaign, IL. Do you find it easier or harder coming up through a college town like that as opposed to someplace like New York or L.A.?

The town didn't really have much to do with us becoming successful. Pretty much, it was just a luck thing. This RCA guy, he's our A&R guy now, went to a record store in Chicago and asked the girl at the counter what she was listening to, and she gave him a copy of our independent CD, Electra 2000, and just drove around in his car listening to it, which is what A&R guys do a lot, and he came to a show in Pittsburgh. It just fell into our pants, which is a blessing. That's very rare.

How did you guys arrive at the name Hum?

There's not a lot of legend or myth behind it. Matt (Talbott) started the band seven years ago, and just thought it was a cool word. It was just a word he liked, and it stuck ever since then.

Let's talk about the new album for a moment. You had all these space themes going on in You'd prefer an Astronaut (their last album, which sold almost 250,000 copies). Is Downward is Heavenward a repudiation of the space-rock tag some have given you, looking down instead of up?

We kinda wanted to get away from that whole space thing. You know, we all like space and like the idea of being in space, but I think Matt just had a lot of other things on his mind. It's actually taken from a line in one of the songs, "Afternoon with the Axolotls." From what I've heard him say, he just liked the way the words flow together. The album has just a more melancholy mood to it. It's kind of open to interpretation what it means, which is like all his lyrics. It's exciting in a way; just let your imagination run with it, if you will.

Please tell our readers why they should buy Downward is Heavenward and not, say, the Titanic soundtrack.

Because it has a picture of a beautiful tropical plant on the cover and ... yeah ... and plants provide fresh air, so you have to respect that and pay homage and put it on the mantle and sing the Titanic soundtrack to it every day. So you should buy both. You could get a cactus, too.

One more, and I really have to know this. What was up with those outfits on (MTV's) 120 Minutes Sunday night? (Editor's Note: Tim and Matt showed up for their interview on 120 Minutes with super-VJ Matt Pinfield dressed like a rabbit and a chicken, respectively.)

I don't know, we were just trying to be funny. We wanted to be a crocodile and a lobster, but it's really hard to find costumes in New York City, if you can believe that. We just found the two that fit us the best and ended up as a chicken and a rabbit. We just wanted to make fun of ourselves, I guess, it's healthy to do that sometimes. But now I feel stronger, now that I've been a rabbit. Rabbits have a good life. Lots of sex.

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