The Outline

Gr aham Fink – guitar/lead vocals
Ryan Rabin – drums/vocals
Austen Lee – guitar/keyboards
Max St. John – bass/vocals

“On a very basic level, it’s us trying to create something that interests us,” says The Outline’s Graham Fink concerning the band’s Fearless Records debut, You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It. “It’s the element of construction versus deconstruction. There’s a lot of negativity without contribution, and we’re attempting to make music that means something to us and that people can get behind.”

And there are plenty of constructive ideas to be heard on the band’s first full-length, You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It. With an album title referencing a modified John Lennon quote, The Outline’s continual building process has been in place since the Los Angeles quartet assembled four years ago. Founded by high school friends Fink and guitarist/keyboardist Austen Lee, The Outline’s initial goal was to simply pen a few songs. After bassist Max St. John and drummer Ryan Rabin joined the band, the hobby became a full time occupation. Composing its material cooperatively as a unit, the members of The Outline soon noticed a shift in its musical direction. “It’s a huge part of how we’ve changed,” says Fink. “It’s not just one person’s perspective and it makes for a much better end result.”

With a solidified lineup and a completely fresh approach to making music, The Outline self-released its debut, The Chestnut Tree, at the end of 2004. However, the cash-strapped outfit was unable to tour on the EP release until the next year, when it brought its live act on the road through the West Coast and eventually on its first national tour.

The Outline headed into the studio with producer Chris Fudurich (Nada Surf, Simple Minds) to begin work on its debut album. After finishing the record on their own, they earned a position on the Fearless Records roster.

While the powerful, anthemic rock song “Shotgun” is one of the band’s oldest tracks, some of the album’s songs were created entirely in the studio during the recording process. “Why We’re Better Now” is one of The Outline’s most recent compositions — strongly melodic, yet lighter in presence. As for the song’s lyrical significance, Fink says, “the human species would not be the dominant species on the planet if it were not for its capacity for evil and selfishness. It’s about self-involvement and how it operates in culture, whether it’s necessary or not.”

Sporting a sci-fi synth line, with both dance and heavy rock elements, “Death to Our Enemies (We’ll Make ‘em Sorry)” runs the gamut of the band’s musical exploration. “It’s a song about mortality and the inevitability of our own end, which is something that permeates through a lot of my lyrics, something I still have trouble coming to terms with” says Fink.

The Outline’s recorded diversity also extends to the band’s stage show, which has allowed it to perform with a sizable spectrum of acts, including Jack’s Mannequin, Panic At The Disco, Ben Lee and the 5,6,7,8s. This creates a fan base that ranges in age and taste. Parents that accompany their teenage offspring to concerts are often the most zealous and complimentary audience members.

Now based in eastern Los Angeles, The Outline hope to make the road its second home, including selected dates on its first Vans Warped Tour appearance this summer and a possible full-scale tour in the fall. “We hope to be on the road — not forever, but for quite a while,” says Fink.