Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
David Raymond + Jeremy Perez-Cruz. We create things collaboratively - music, photo, video, stories, art, design, etc.
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Given Names? How long has the band been around?
David: Hidden Hospitals, Damiera. Jeremy: The Still Voice, Inkwell, Sleeping Girl Drowning.
We've been unofficially making music together since 2012. Collaborating philosophically, much longer.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
We write fictional (mostly) narratives - it seemed fitting that while pretending to be someone else, Given Names being a playful anchor. We cycled through a few names previously but Given Names felt right almost instantly.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
They're written in tandem, collaboratively. The topics vary but we find ourselves often going back to death and religion. It's not that we're morbid, it's just that those two topics are closely intertwined and rich territory for metaphor. We can explore lots of ideas through the lens of death, and that's been interesting to us particularly in the way it can manifest in visual formats.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
This is going to sound terribly pretentious but I promise we’re just nerdy...We're more influenced by literature, photography and films than bands. Lots of classic American literature - Salinger, Hemingway, Faulkner, Whitman to more modern writers like Ellis, Roth and Gladwell. We're drawn to the mood and stories from filmmakers and cinematographers like David Fincher, Jeff Cronenweth, Emmanuel Lubezki, Darius Kjondji and Roger Deakins.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
It was our friendship. After meeting while touring in different bands, we spent the next decade talking about playing music together. A few years ago, we did.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
We haven't performed live in any traditional sense. We've been thinking a lot about what Given Names looks like in that type of setting. We consider ourselves more as multi-media artists who are anchored in music, than a "band." So, we've been spending a lot of time thinking about how that manifests itself in front of an audience - Art show, theater experience, cocktail party, perfumery, all of the above?
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Being able to make art together. David and I have circled each other for years, in different bands and different jobs. It's been rewarding to be able to finally make things together.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Talking Heads, St. Vincent, Solange, Bjork, Hans Zimmer - anyone who is doing the live thing a little differently.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We appreciate your attention, time and kindness. Thanks for the opportunity.
You can check out their single "East to West" below!