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Album Releases

Water & Solutions (re-release w/ DVD)

Water & Solutions

Tin Cans With Strings To You
Far To Re-release Water & Solutions With Bonus DVD
June 2, 2004
Far will re-release their classic album Water & Solutions packaged with a special DVD on June 22nd through Immortal Records. The DVD will contain the bands own personal footage which includes live shows, a homemade directors commentary from Jonah, plus exclusive bonus material, featuring rare photos, videos and never-before-seen footage of the band on the road. You can listen to four tracks from the album and watch two live videos from the DVD
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HOME TOWN: Sacramento, CA
Jonah Matranga (vocals/guitar)
Shaun Lopez (guitar)
John Gutenberger (bass)
Chris Robyn (drums)

When Far released Water & Solutions in 1998, the band had no idea of the lasting impact it would have on young up-and-coming groups over the next six years. Nor did they anticipate that six years later, the album would be more critically appraised than when it was first released. Immortal Records will re-release what became a landmark album, packaged with a DVD featuring live footage and other bonus material. Far had its beginnings in 1992, Sacramento, California, featuring guitarist Shaun Lopez, singer Jonah Matranga, his high school pal Chris Robyn and bassist John Gutenberger. The quartet issued their first album, Listening Game, in late 1992 followed by Quick, in 1994. When Quick became a local success, the group followed with several 7-inch vinyl singles and a popular four-song tape. In 1996, Far signed with the Immortal label and Tin Cans With Strings To You, was issued, followed two years later by Water & Solutions. In the following year, the group split up, but Far had already left a musical legacy as a prime "Emo" rock band of the '90s, turning out emotionally-charged, textured songs that were both powerful and passionate. Still the band never saw itself as a forerunner of the Emo style and sound. "It seemed more a fashion thing to me," Jonah says. "Bands like Fugazi, Promise Ring, Sunny Day, Quicksand, Jawbox and us, we were all called 'Emo.' To me, it became ironic, and there was even a sub term, 'Screamo.' But none of that has anything to do with what I felt was being relatively unedited with one's emotions. Any music worth its salt has a fair dose of emotion, a lot of happiness -- joy as well as pain. It's important in music as it is in life, because it's too easy to wallow in sadness all the time. Some bands do it, but we didn't want to." The members of Far never thought of themselves as any kind of revolutionaries. "In fact, we didn't even get good reviews, nobody dug it," Shaun says, amused at revisionist critical history at work these days, now hailing the group. "It's weird. Now that we're gone we have been told that we influenced a whole slew of bands. It is surprising because at the time we felt like such outcasts. It feels good to be appreciated for that music. There's no doubt that Water & Solutions is a study in sonic contrasts and finds balance in the tension and release of hard rock on the edge and soft reflection. "I've written some of the saddest songs, definitely dark stuff, but there's a lot of light too, a lot of ambiguity," Jonah says. "You can feel super happy on an awful day and also be in a great situation and feel sad or angry. I think all emotions are equal and all worth expressing, and to me, Far was all over place. We'd do this heavy song and then a gentle song; it was a juxtaposition, and we were never presented as a tough guy posing band." Those contrasts on the album include the title song and the opening track, "Bury White," with a play on words the title was indeed inspired by the legendary soul singer, though anyone reading anything racial or political in the song is way off base. "That's not even close," we were just messing around. "Waiting For Sunday," taps anticipation and responsibility, as does the more pop-leaning "Nestle," as inspired at the time by Jonah's new-found fatherhood. Shaun feels closest to his own contributions on the album, but still finds it difficult to pick overall favorites. "When we made the record, it was a little scary, because we felt like we didn't have the songs, so everything was coming together last minute. But some of the best tunes I've ever written were on there, like "Bury White" and "Wear it So Well." The new accompanying DVD features material that was collected and saved over the years by Shaun. "I'm kind of the guy in the band who held on to all the footage and stuff. Back then, in '98, there was email, but a lot of people still didn't have that and they'd send letters, video tapes. So I was the guy going to the post office collecting them. I went through them and picked some of the coolest stuff I thought we had." On the DVD, Jonah provides track-by-track observations on some of the songs, personal thoughts, and anecdotes about working in the studio. "I did a strange experiment. I listened to record and talked about the process of making it, sort of a homemade director's commentary." The bonus disc also includes liner notes from all the band members. Following Far's break-up in the Spring of 1999, Jonah re-emerged with Onelinedrawing and learned how much his former band meant to other musicians. On a recent tour with the band Thursday, he discovered the guys were Far fans, and they teamed up on stage to perform "Mother Mary" from Water & Solutions. "We tacked on a different ending on to it, but essentially played it true," he says. "There's also a UK band, Funeral For A Friend, who cover our song, "The System"." Jonah still plays his Far songs onstage and is delighted the songs are receiving new interpretations from other groups. "To me, whatever the band name is, it's just stuff I did and I'll play it if it feels right." In the past few years, Shaun has formed his own band, The Revolution Smile, while Chris and John formed another new band, Milwaukee. "We all have our own thing going now," Shaun says. "I just think Far ended when it felt right to end it. I don't think we would ever do it again unless if felt right. That's just the way the band always operated. I think when bands stay together for fans or money or whatever it's just a bad idea and you can tell when they're not together for the music. So if feels right, we'll do it." So while no Far reunion is likely in the near-future, they're all proud of what they achieved as a band and excited at the prospect of Water & Solutions finding a new, larger audience a second time around, more than a half-decade later. It isn?t only in the US that the album has had a recent resurgence. Water & Solutions was recently named the third Most Essential Post Hardcore/Emo album by Kerrang! Magazine. Last year, the same magazine listed the album in their Top 50 Most Influential Albums of All Time. "To me Water & Solutions was the best Far record we could ever make. If we'd made another one, it might have been interesting, but it probably would've gone too much into the individual personalities of the members," Jonah says. "This was definitely a band record. There were always really different opinions, trauma and tension, but never VH-1 "Behind the Music" drama. Just different personalities. It seems many bands go on after what was a definitive statement and make unfocused records. For us, that album wasn't strategizing, it was fighting to have balance, not just with each other but within ourselves. It feels very complete."