311’s Big Return to the Big Easy!

00:00 March 05, 2014
By: Kimmie Tubré

In the mid to late 1990s, 311 rocked the music scene with hit songs like "Down" and "Amber", while creating chart topping albums like Transistor and Grassroots. Their sound put a unique twist on the ever so popular genre of music titled alternative rock. 311 came on incorporating reggae, funk and hip-hop with rock guitar riffs transcending a new genre of music; creating a cult fan base that has continued to follow them into the 21st century.

These super fans get the opportunity every year to live it up and party with 311 for a special party and concert the band hosts every year on March 11th (311 Day).

Hosting this year's party in New Orleans, it was only right for 311 to sit down with WYAT and talk about revisiting one of their favorite cities for an extra special 311 Day celebration. For the first time since the beginning of 311 Day, the band will simultaneously release their album Stereolithic.

For the fans, WYAT chatted with the bands guitarist Tim Mahoney as he kindly spilled some details on 311's return to NOLA, the new album, and the bands success.

Where Ya't: 311 have always incorporated reggae, rock and hip-hop into their music. What and who influences your unique musical style?

Tim Mahoney: We have a wide variety of influences: Jazz, Drum Core, Roots Reggae, some punk rock, Hip-hop and funk. We are especially big fans of Reggae. That blend between dance hall reggae drum beats and hard rock guitar riffs is sort of our point of reference when it comes to music. But we make sure to never limit ourselves, or put our band into one particular category.

As for artists; Bob Marley is one of my personal Favorites. Bands like Bad Brains and Fish Bone are also huge influences for us; a lot of old school music. Our lead singers sometimes like to pull more so from rock and hip hop: people like Public Enemy, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Ghetto Boys. Basically, we just love music.

WYAT: Since the late 80s, you have recorded several albums, performed and traveled the world along with maintaining the band. How would you say 311 has improved and/or progressed over the years?

Tim Mahoney: We are always trying to improve with each album we record. We aim to make the best music for our fans whether we're in a studio or performing on a stage.

20 years goes by so fast and a lot happens and a lot has changes. Now we have families and many factors that have made our lives as a band much different today than it was 10-15 years ago. With that said, I almost feel like we are actually having the best time now than ever before. Our progression over the years as a group has been interesting yet also a fun process.

WYAT: You have spent 311 Day in New Orleans quite a few times. What makes this city so special?

Tim Mahoney: We just love New Orleans. The first time we coined the phrase "311 Day" was in New Orleans. This year is more special because typically albums are released on a Tuesday and it just worked out that 311 Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Mostly, we're just really happy to get back to NOLA, eat great food and enjoy the people there. It's a great city.

WYAT: Stereolithic reconnected you with an old producer you've worked with prior, Scott "Scotch" Ralston. How was it to work with him again?

Tim Mahoney: It was great. Scott really brings the "311" out of us. He's been a good friend of ours for quite some time and has always been around working with us on different albums. Stereolithic was his first full project with us in a while. He engineered and produced the album.

Scott has a lot of great ideas and is a fun guy to work with. He knows music and he knows us. We've been trying to get him the work on an entire album for a while. We have such a dynamic working relationship with him.

WYAT: 311 Day is proof that you guys have diehard fans all around the world. Is retirement ever a thought?

Tim Mahoney: We are in it for as long as we can possibly go. We are so fortunate to be able to make money doing what we love and continuing to do it. It's amazing because at this stage of our career we have become more in sync with each other. Everyone is pretty much always on the same page.

The best thing about music is that there is no timeline. We will be creating music for as long as we can. We love this.

For more information on 311 Day go to http://www.311.com/311Day2014

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