200 West is the definition of Southern California rock. After forming in 2005 as an acoustic group, 200 West has grown significantly in both style and talent. Chris, Jon, Greg, and Adam, four laid-back boarders from Rancho Cucamonga have created a mishmash of reggae, rock, soul, and hip hop, a sound and feel that can only be described as “chill.” Fresh off the release of their newest EP “5 Leagues Under” 200 West is focused on growing and finding new fans across the world.
I got the chance to interview 200 West and ask them about how the band’s sound developed, why they believe in free media, and where they see themselves heading in 2013.
TA: You have a very apparent laid-back SoCal feel in your music, is that a conscious choice while writing?
200 West: It’s weird. I think that after all these years of writing and playing music together we are just now finally beginning to write towards that SoCal theme. In the past we kind of let it develop organically and hardly put any thought into it. I think some of the newer songs we have written though were in some ways written with a conscious effort to express that “laid back” theme that represented our lives at home in Southern-California.
TA: What bands did you listen to growing up that you feel influenced your musical direction?
200 West: I know we are all 4 huge fans of music, so we don’t like to box ourselves in with specific genres or artists. If it sounds good we like it. But we all do certainly have major influences that have shaped us as musicians. I have always appreciated the songwriting from bands like America, Fleetwood Mac, etc. I would say Stevie Wonder has had the biggest influence on me. Jon has an obsession with Sublime, and listens to everything from Bob Marley to Dr. Dre. Greg and Adam have a great appreciation for the greats like Led Zeppelin, The Police, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
TA: It seems that you guys are constantly writing and recording new material (thank you for that by the way), what can we expect from you in the near future?
200 West: More music. We never stop writing. Song writing has become an obsession we have to satisfy. I think we are continually trying to write that “perfect” song, we just don’t know what “perfect” is, and that’s what keeps us going as a band.
TA: A lot of your music is offered as free downloads on your website 200westmusic.com, why?
200 West: We have chosen to share our music with people. Giving the music away for free feels like the right thing to do for us right now. With music sharing sites like Spotify, Youtube, etc. it seems like streaming/sharing music is the way to go, so we figure “why fight it?” We would rather people enjoy the music and maybe in return come out to some shows and support the live music aspect of us. We just want people to listen and enjoy the music.
TA: What music do you have on your iPod that you don’t want your friends knowing you listen to?
TA: What are the plans for 200 West in 2013?
200 West: We are staying busy as a band. We have recently released our newest EP “5 Leagues Under” and will be giving away all the music for free. We have begun shooting a new music video that should be out in late April. We will be heading out on a summer tour spanning from LA to Seattle, WA in June of 2013. When we’re not on the road, we play all across Southern-California and have a couple of residency shows that we continue to play in Southern-CA. Hopefully we will be recording some new songs we have been working on in the near future as well.
We can’t wait to see what comes next for 200 West. They have been a favorite of ours for a long time.
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