Formed in 2003, Kingston-Upon-Thames based 'and now we're even' are an infectious third-wave ska-punk quartet with an ambitious project to create an album to embody each season. I caught up with vocalist Resheed to talk about their latest release and their plans for the future ...

R13: Hi! Firstly would you mind introducing yourself and telling us about your role in the band?
R: Selaam Alaykum, ismee Resheed. I write and sing songs in a small room and forward them to a talented band that make up the rest of And Now We're Even. They make them sound good.

R13: What's the story behind the name 'and now we're even'?
R: At the end of the fourth album we will reveal this. The album titles are clues though. It's pretty cool - but we can't be telling just yet.

R13: How would you describe your musical style?
R: Pick 'n Mix. You get some coke bottles, some pink shrimps, jelly beans, sour keys and lips. You don't always get one type of candy because the other colours and flavours are appealing. Music is an emotion so as our albums reflect the seasons, the sounds also do. For [Summer With You], our album was very up-beat and at times hit some 90's Skate-Punk lines and nice upstrokes. For [Winter Without You] it's sounding darker. It's great because Jan-Vincent [drums] has a heavy influence, Ramy [bass] is of the Sublime school of thought and Johnny [guitar] is pretty much an all-rounder like me. Genres are so 90s to me; if it sounds good, it sounds good.

R13: Which artists have particularly influenced and inspired you?
R: That's easy; Kurt Cobain because he taught me to play guitar. That's why the first song we ever put out on an album [Hunter] mentions him. I would watch him on VHS tapes and nothing else mattered, he taught me bar chords! He had a huge punk influence like myself. The way he would speak was amazing - he didn't care about what people thought he did what he wanted to do. And I'd like to add to the record that I don't believe he killed himself, the way the 'suicide note' changes font towards the end infuriates me - can't people see that!? I believe he was just going to call it a day for the band in the first half of the letter.

As a band, we're really inspired by bands like 'Big D and the Kids Table' - who we played with last night - and 'The Bouncing Souls' because they just keep on going in the DIY style of things, even if the cheque won't pay the rent. There are a few other artists mentioned on [Summer With You] on the sly that are a pretty big influence, but you have to read the lyrics.

R13: If you could play with any band or artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
R: Last night I think we did! Big D; it doesn't get any better than that. They came all the way from Boston and were in our home town, Kingston Upon Thames, on our doorstep. In fact, where we practice is where they played! I would have loved to meet Kurt Cobain though, just to say thanks.

R13: Talk us through 'Summer With You.' What does the record mean to you, what are your favourite tracks and the inspiration behind them?
R: Sure. It's the first in a series of four albums all based around the balance of seasons and the emotions each season can bring. There was a lyric in a Nirvana song that said "Weather changes moods" that stuck in me. 'Summer With You' [the title track] is also the first song I ever wrote and so it was the first album to be released in tribute to that. I really like the track 'Stephanme' because it reminds me of some of the fast sloppy punk I really like such as Diesel Boy and Gittermouth, it's played a bit sloppier live on purpose because I can just give it everything and people tend to love singing to it. 'Sing Me Something New' was another side to our band, so as a track I think that can stand out as it helped us pave the way to other sounds the band can produce because I hate when people say "oh this band have changed". So we deliberately had a change on our first album and from the outset pretty much said "we will change because we're human and emotions change". I think the album is perfectly represented to how it was meant to be from the outset and so is the upcoming album, [Winter Without You].

R13: What's it like releasing your music yourself? You get total creative freedom, but do you wish you had a record label to help with production, distribution and publicity?
R: We're artists. If no one hears us we will still be making music of course, hearing us means we can do things such as share our sound and party but these songs stared off in a room and are now in cars and we sold our first tracks in Japan the other day. Japan! Imagine that. How far a song can go! Total creative freedom is more important than distribution and publicity in this age. Track two on our debut album is 'Stay True, Stay You', that song is pretty much about this question. "He's afraid 'cause you're brave and you've got a point of view. Don't follow the leader cause the leader won't have a clue, follow yourself". I guess when we first worked out how to release stuff ourselves all we needed was to get word out there and so we sent out our own press packs and did/do whatever possible. It's much more rewarding to know you can do something in your room and have it on sale the next hour. We don't have to wait for a label to tell us when we can next do anything which is pretty neat. But again, we're terrible at booking shows so a label could help us with that.

We need a distribution deal, for our physical CD's. It's pretty hard not having our CD's in shops and just selling them as a digital format. Not everyone likes to use iTunes and other MP3 stores and just like to browse a record store. We're saving up for some print runs of CD's to have at shows so we have to have day jobs but they still won't be in HMV sadly. So I guess we're an internet type of band. Viral Marketing.

We have friends who help us out too, so for example our friends Terry D Photography and TSCphotography take pictures for us in exchange for experience and we plug them as I just have! That was smooth, no?

R13: What's it like recording two albums in a year? I imagine it's pretty hectic!
R: I don't know why bands take so long to release stuff, I can't believe how many great B-Sides Weezer have! It's hectic sure and we have to make lots of sacrifices to make it possible but I get itchy and feel a constant need to produce more material. I don't want to be playing the same show every night. As long as we have the right ingredients, i.e. the right band members, money and the time - we all have video game addictions, we will continue to release material as fast as we can - of course not at the risk of poor songs - when they are ready, they will be out. We could take a year or five working on the third album. But I'm really proud of the band though for being able to pull it off, I actually can't think of a band that has done that, so that's a cool achievement unlocked - like that xbox reference there?

R13: Why choose to create an album for each season?
R: The albums are all representative of different moods. If you want something happier, go for [Summer With You]. Some darkness will be coming to our band with [Winter Without You] for sure. So yeah, a season for every feeling I guess. It was a pretty nice theme and I love linking things. So each album has a title track of the album on track three for example and each album will refer to older albums in some way, either through lyrics or references if you listen carefully, some lyrics speak of the last or coming albums.

R13: What are your plans after 'Winter Without You' is finished?
R: Our third seasonally themed album will be [Fall For You] - I think you're the first person to hear that title! That will be a mix of the Summer and the Winter. I'm totally excited to get Winter Without You out soon. It's sounding awesome. So yeah, a season for every feeling. It will be out this winter on iTunes.

R13: Have you noticed guitarist John's striking resemblance to Claus Fluoride from the Dead Kennedy's?
R: It's amazing how many look-alikes our band have. We get told that a lot. I haven't heard that one yet though.

R13: Any parting words?
R: Well, in the world of D.I.Y. press space is minimal so I guess I'd say our next album is out Winter 2007 on iTunes! Check out our 'Makin-The-Band' tv-show on our myspace [www.myspace.com/ANWE] it's pretty funny and has become cult! Oh and we'll be touring around the UK in June playing most of [Summer With You]. And while I'm at it a shout out to everyone at Ignition Studios London for working with us, it's an awesome place (Lester/Kyle/Sean).

R13: Thanks for your time!
R: Stay True.