Words: Miljan Milekić
It’s impossible not to love Masked Intruder. Their music, lyrics, humor, everything around them is one of a kind. I remember getting into their music back in 2012 or 2013 when I first heard ‘Heart-Shaped Guitar’ off their self-titled debut, and I’m a fan ever since. Earlier this year, our favorite criminals released their brand new album ‘Masked Intruder III,’ and we were lucky enough to catch Intruder Green for a quick chat during their stay at the Bay Fest in Italy. Tune in below!
Once again, you’re back to rob us of all our money and steal our hearts. How does it feel to finally drop the new record?
Intruder Green: (laughs) Oh, it’s great to have a new record out, it was kind of a long time coming. Everybody’s happy that we finally did it, and I hope everybody likes it.
‘III’ looks like a logical next step after the first two records. You kept your signature elements in your sound, lyrics, and approach, but yet, you made it sound fresh and new. In your opinion, where does it stand compared to the previous work?
Intruder Green: I mean, I think you just totally summed it up; that’s exactly what we were trying to do. And if that’s what you think we did, then we accomplished our goal. The idea was that we don’t just want to make another punk rock album. We want to expand ’cause we’ve all learned a lot and have some new ideas. We’re still a punk rock band at heart, and I hope people understand that, but we wanted to do some new things and expand our, I dunno, what do you call it? Musicianship or something?
Like we’re magicians and, it’s like, what’s his name, David Copperfield or somebody has made the Statue of Liberty disappear one day because he’s like – “what else can I do?” And, that’s where we’re at. We’re like, what else can we do? How can we make this even bigger and better, but without losing the core of what we do? That’s kinda what we tried to do with this album. And I think we did it, I think we pulled it off. Everybody in the band is a fan of what we’ve accomplished, and I think it’s important to be a fan of your own music. I’ve heard other people say that you should make music that you want to listen to. And that’s what we do.
For this record, you broke into Roger Lima’s studio and kidnapped both him and Mike Kennerty to work with you. How did that go? How did you get them to work with you again – Stockholm Syndrome or you know something the rest of us don’t?
Intruder Green: Well, there might be a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome in there. I don’t know why, but they actually agreed to record with us. Could be Stockholm Syndrome, could be the money that the record label is paying them, I’m not really sure, but it worked out great. We’re good friends with those guys, and we couldn’t imagine a better team to record with. They never say no, they’re always into like, trying shit. They might say like, “maybe not,” but they don’t say “no.” (laughs)
They might be like, “Oh, I don’t think that’s going to work but let’s try it.” And then, if it totally doesn’t work, they might be like, “Well, maybe do this instead.” And if it still doesn’t work, they might just be like, “Yeah, I don’t know if it’s going to work.” They’re really into finding ways to make things work, and, I don’t know what to call it, like decorating the sound a little bit. That’s what they’re both really good at, making it sound more magical than it is when you’re just like a four-piece punk band playing in a backyard or something.
So, what’s the most valuable thing you’ve stolen from the studio?
Intruder Green: From studio? Roger‘s studio?! Oh, I stole nothing from that studio. We respect Roger too much for that. But I would say he’s got a lot of tight stuff to steal, so, you know, we’ll see what happens if things don’t go too well for us. If people don’t buy the record enough, and we need some money, we gotta hit up The Moat House and see what’s up!
You recently finished a massive American tour with The Interrupters. How did it go? Did they lock their rooms when you’re around?
Intruder Green: Oh, lock their rooms? No, with The Interrupters, it’s another case where we just respect them way too much to actually rob them. Even though they also got a lot of nice stuff. You know, they’ve got those Fender amps and Fender guitars and stuff. They got a lot of nice gear, like wireless systems and stuff like that. I would love to have that. We probably should’ve stolen from them. (laughs) But I have to say that was an amazing tour, and we love that band. They’re like the best people to know and to tour with. We would do it again in a heartbeat, and I wish them all the best. You know, when it comes to stuff like that, we don’t want to steal from them too much.
The record is still new, but you already had the chance to play it to your fans. How do they react to the new stuff? Are you happy with the feedback?
Intruder Green: We already did that tour with The Interrupters, but we weren’t playing too much of the new stuff, ’cause I think it takes a while for people to get into it. Like, you don’t want to come out with a new album, and like a week after it out, start playing all the new songs, cause nobody’s gonna know them yet. So, we kind of held off on that tour. But on this tour, we got a good amount of them on the setlist and I think people have been into it. It’s actually really fun to play them too because some of them are a little slower, and I guess I would say maybe a little poppier, and people are into dancing to ’em a little more.
We try to mix it up, to make it as perfect of a setlist as possible for the audience. We’re like – alright, we’ve got to get these people moving, so let’s play some fast punk rock tunes. Then we’re gonna give them a break and slow it down with some of the new stuff. And then they start dancing around a little bit, and then we rip ’em back into some old school stuff. It’s really nice to be at the point where we can do that. But yeah, as far as the new stuff goes, I think people are liking it.
How come that you still don’t have any sponsors for the masks, or at least for the laundry detergent? I mean, how often do you wash those things on tour?
Intruder Green: Oh yeah, the masks, we got to wash them pretty often. We stink all the time, masks stink, and there’s no getting through it. You know, after the first show we’re screwed. And yeah, we would love a laundry detergent sponsor or a mask sponsor. If anybody wants to sponsor us for anything, we’re way open to it. Please get ahold of us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us up on any of the Social Media. We would love to be sponsored! (laughs)
You tour Europe a lot. Do you like playing over here? How does it feel to tour countries with not so many cops around?
Intruder Green: Yeah! (laughs)I mean, I saw a lot of cops today in Italy, but I’ll have to say the thing about the cops in Europe is they not nearly as fucking scary as the cops in America, you know? That’s kind of the main thing. It’s just nice to be in Europe. It’s nice here because everybody’s really friendly and stuff. I think Americans always get worried because they’re coming to these other countries and they’re like – “I don’t speak the language. I only speak English, and I don’t really know that much about this country because I grew up in a shitty educational system that didn’t teach me shit about anything outside the US.” But I think that most Europeans understand that, and they understand that we’re trying our best here.
We’re not, I mean, other than the crimes; well, I guess that kind of makes us bad people, but other than that, we’re not really bad people. (laughs) So yeah, people are into it, they’re into us, they are friendly, we try to be friendly, and I just love being in Europe. It’s very calming, you know? Especially down here, like the drive down here, you got to see all these mountains and stuff. We had a great dinner. We stayed in like a Como in Italy last night. Our buddies at the restaurant put us up and gave us dinner. Everybody is so accommodating, it’s amazing. I think everybody could take a lesson from that. Just be nice to people, you know, don’t be a dick. I think that’s a good thing to say, don’t be a dick. A lot of people being dicks these days, they should probably knock it off.
Officer Bradford seems to be around wherever you go. Did he ever have the courtesy to actually thank you for letting him see the world, or he doesn’t really appreciate it?
Intruder Green: (laughs) You know, I think Officer Bradford probably enjoys seeing a world, but he really just needs to find a bottle of whiskey and some donuts, and he’s happy. He doesn’t thank us for shit, and he’s only here because it’s his job, really, which helps out because, you know, we could have had like a really good cop and he’d be all over us and making sure we’re not doing anything good. But look, he’s right over there. He’s drinking a bottle of whiskey right now. It’s great. (laughs)
The best thing about officer Bradford is that he’s really bad at his job, and we appreciate that. And I think that probably, deep down, he appreciates us taking him around, or at least, he appreciates his appointment. I don’t know how his sergeant keeps letting him do this, other than we’re just kind of annoying to the whole police precinct, and they’re just like, “Just fucking give it to officer Bradford, he’s worthless anyway, so I’ll let him deal with this bullshit.” And they have no idea that he’s getting to see the world, and like a party with all these cool people.