Muhammadali - August 2013

Muhhamadli Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: March 9, 2013
Posting Date: August 26, 2013
Artist Hometown: Houston, TX
Links: Facebook, Bandcamp
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil

Heroes and Gods
Leave Daddy Alone
ONE: How did Muhammadali get started?
John Zambrano: Jeff and I had known each other for a long time, and then we were at a party…
Jeff Smith: Yeah. I think it started on drugs.
John: No…we were at a Halloween party.
Jeff: Yeah, Adderall. You can blame Adderall for this madness.
John: My roommate had Attention Deficit Disorder—
Jeff: Poor guy!
John: He survived, though. You know, we got to talking, and that’s how it went.
TWO: How do you see Houston compared to other Texas cities?
John: People kind of just do what they want. It’s really not— I mean, it’s an art town, but it’s not really like a music town, so music’s just weird.
DJ: I guess it’s known more for hip-hop than punk.
Jeff: Yeah, there’s a lot of rap, but there’s a good music scene. A lot of it is just younger kids, and then the old guys are kind of coming back, too. It’s weird. It’s doing really well now. It seems like it’s kind of back a little bit, you know? Population’s grown a lot.
John: Houston!
DJ: What sets Houston apart?
John: Money and people who don’t have it. And people that have it and…
Jeff: Houston’s weird.
John: There’s oil. Space.
Jeff: One thing that’s different about Houston from other Texas towns— the only one that could be related is Austin, but it’s that it doesn’t stop, you know? It’s 24 hours a day. You can do whatever you want. There’s shows at 3 o’clock in the morning, fun stuff happening all the time. It could be a Monday and you could be having the time of your life, and you’re like, ‘Wow, it’s Monday! I have to go to work! This sucks! But I had a great night!’ You know? I don’t think you get that in other places in Texas where it just kind of shuts down.
Juan Uceda: Like, a Monday could be better than a Friday on a certain night.
Jeff: San Antonio being one of those towns where everything just shuts down after midnight and you’re just left to—
John: What about Dallas?
Jeff: I don’t know about Dallas.
John: Denton is raining whenever we’ve been here.
Jeff: Denton is always raining. The last time we played here we trashed some guy’s house, and there was just mud everywhere. I think it’s going to happen again tonight.
DJ: You’re playing at Dave’s tonight, right?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s supposed to rain and be muddy. [Laughs]
THREE: What are your plans for Muhammadali over the next two years?
Jeff: Probably just the same thing we’ve been doing, just light touring and…hanging out, you know? We’ll try to maybe do some more records, which we have a hard time doing, but, you know, we get them out every once in a while.
DJ: What makes it hard for you to make records?
Jeff: It’s just, in Houston there’s a few people that record who are really good and that’s about it. You’re at their discretion, so it seems like a lot of times we have to wait for somebody to be ready, and by the time they’re ready, we’re not ready, or things are going on with us, you know? So, it’s just been hard to record, but…we’re about to record soon, I swear. I keep telling people that all the time. I’ve been telling people that for years, like, ‘We’re going to fucking record. It’s going to happen, there’s going to be a new record.’
Juan: We’re recording right now.
John: That’s true, this is being recorded.
Jeff: Right now.
John: Two years…Somebody asked me that at a job interview. They were like, ‘Where do you want to be in two years?’ and I was looking at them, and I was like, ‘Not where you are.’ ‘But that’s a negative answer!’ ‘No, I mean, somewhere else, not here.’ [Laughs]
Jeff: Did you get the job?
John: I got it for like…three jobs, I was travelling with this guy, and he had this business called Teach Like a Rock Star, and I traveled with him and basically was like his assistant, and it was really horrible.
Juan: I think that’s one of those questions, like when you go to a class and they’re going to ask where you’re going to be in two or five years, because they want to hear, ‘Well, we’re going to be big stars, mister! You’re going to be buying our magazine!’ [Laughs]
Jeff: We’re going to put out a magazine?
John: Yeah, we’ll basically be a part of corporate media in some kind of way, because that’s where the money is. And so, people are like, ‘Oh, fuck corporate media! DIY!’ That doesn’t really make any money. But, it does something else.
Jeff: You can eat rice.
John: You can eat rice and garlic and hang out with David Yow, and he’ll tell you about cats scratching his eyes out and having to get surgery.
– Interview and transcription by Dale Jones.