**Interviews By Emillie Marvel unless otherwise noted.
|Posted by punk-nation on August 21, 2014 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
They say that Dave Grohl is the nicest guy in rock. But there’s a new contender in town, in the form of Nick Santino. You’ve probably heard his name before—as the singer of A Rocket To The Moon—but he’s writing a new name for himself through his country-infused rock and roll. You’re guaranteed a damn good time when listening to his latest album, Big Skies, with its sunny disposition and down-to-earth honesty. The most poignant part is you can hear in every note that Nick Santino has found his home, and he’s here to stay. Check out what he had to say when we caught up with him at Michigan’s Vans Warped Tour date, and don’t even try to tell us you don’t want to be his best friend after this.
So how’s Warped Tour been going so far for you?
It’s good. I’m having a lot of fun on it.
You’re on [the] Acoustic Basement stage. Pretty awesome.
It’s really cool, it’s interesting in a good way. It’s very intimate and one on one, and I think I like that the most.
How has it been different playing just yourself, rather than with A Rocket To The Moon?
It’s a lot different. When Rocket was on Warped, we were on a stage. We were on like what the Warheads stage is, but it was Smartpunk or something back in the day. It’s different for that obviously, ‘cause you know I was on a stage with a band playing in front of a bunch of people and now I’m in a tent. But I’m more of an intimate one on one storyteller kind of guy, so I think I like it a lot better now. Where I can get on stage and kind of be myself, and be weird and people think it’s funny that I’m being, you know, me being myself is being really weird and awkward but I think you can see that, and you don’t really get that on the rest of Warped. You walk around every stage, it’s all a band playing and you feel the connection, but you don’t feel it. You kind of feel like you’re in a different room and you’re watching this band play and they won’t ever notice you, where you come into the tent and it’s like, I’ll see someone standing there and I’ll be like “Hey, what’s your [name]”, you know, and talk to them that way.
And that’s so important.
Yeah, it kind of makes you feel like, “I went to Warped Tour, and I saw a bunch of bands, but I saw this one person that actually talked to me while he was on stage.” That’s the kind of thing I like to have people leave with.
That’s so cool when you go to a show that’s so intimate, and like you’re a part of something.
Totally. If I went to a show and like Tom Petty was on stage, and he was like “Hey! What’s your name?” and I’m like “Nick.” [Laughs] You know what I mean? That’s something that I would remember for the rest of my life.
It’s cool that you get to create that memory for someone else.
Totally, totally. And I remember it too, so when they come to a show in two years, they’re like “Hey, you remember when you said hi to me on stage?” I’ll be like, “Yeah, I do.”
There’s so much, in things like this, like Warped Tour and even in regular concerts that you go to, there’s so much distance.
There’s plenty of bands where I’ll stand there and I’m like, “I wonder if they even see me.” Like I’m watching The Summer Set, who I’m really good friends with. Brian always, everytime he sees me in the crowd, he’ll call me out and say hi, but I’ll stand there for like twenty minutes. I’m like, I’m standing with nobody around me, you know, he can definitely see me, and then finally he’s like “Hey, Nick!” You know, there’s so many people to see where when you’re in a tent and there’s a hundred people in there, you see everybody. I could probably remember everybody’s name, if I asked it. So it’s cool.
That is really awesome. That’s probably the best way to experience a show.
Last time I interviewed you, you were Nick Santino & The Northern Wind. Will you be going back to that at all?
Probably when I get an actual band, when I have a northern wind. You know, I’ll refer to them as the northern wind. I’m kind of working on that now. So for now it’s just me. I thought it was a cool way to come out of the Rocket thing, with a new tag on the end of my name, so people didn’t think it was like some singer in a band that’s gone solo again, you know? I wanted people to be like, “Wait, does he have a band? What’s going on, what’s this northern wind thing?” And I think it worked. It was a little bit of a talk. It had a little bit of buzz to it, which is cool.
Tell me about Big Skies. What’s your favorite song from the album?
Well, there’s a bunch for different reasons why I like certain ones. There’s a song called “It Is What It Is” on there, and I honestly wrote that song — I woke up at like two in the morning and I had weird lyrics and for some reason a melody in my head. In my phone notes, and I still have ‘em in there, I just wrote down all these words, and I wouldn’t go back to sleep until I wrote down all these words that were in my head. And then I went back to sleep, and I woke up and I was reading them and I’m like “These are the weirdest lyrics I’ve ever written.” It’s talking about being an outlaw in the old West and ride in box cars, and running away with the circus, and it’s like a song I’ve never written before, but you know, I guess when you’re asleep and you’re writing songs in your head it makes sense at some point. It was perfectly fitting for me at this time in my life, like not really knowing what you wanna be doing or where you wanna be, but knowing that you’ll be happy once you figure that out. And then the bridge, the lyrics in there are like, “Truth is I’m a boy just trying to become a man, not sure what I got ahead of this but I’m happy with the hand this life has dealt in front of me, and what happens next it is what it is.” So it’s like kind of not really trying to get your hopes up too early and just being along for the ride and enjoying the journey, really. So it’s a cool little positive song, and it kind of just came to me when I was sleeping, which is the craziest part, you know?
When you were recording that album, what was the whole feel in the studio?
It was awesome. I recorded it with my buddy Pat, [who] plays drums in The Maine, and so we did it in Phoenix. There’s no label, so it was just our own clock. We didn’t have to rush in for time, which we’ve done before. In the past, when I was in a band, there was always the label calling in, being like “Where are we at with the record? How’s it going?” you know? You’re trying to be creative, and you’re trying to have this just being one on one with the music, but you have all this business to deal with at the same time. This time it wasn’t like that. Me and Pat would lock ourselves in the studio, and come out for air every couple hours and get food and whatever. There was no time restraint, so we kind of had the freedom to do what we want. I think it was the best environment to do a record in.
And you got to work with someone you liked on it, too.
Totally, he’s one of my best friends. Everybody in The Maine kind of contributed a little bit. Played guitar, played bass, drums, whatever. It’s like, “Garrett, we need some bass! Come play bass.” And he’d come in and play some stuff. It was definitely the way to record a record in my opinion.
Anyone I’ve ever met or interviewed from EightyOneTwentyThree has been insanely nice.
Well, I think that’s the reason why we started doing the EightyOneTwentyThree thing. It’s a family. It’s our management company at the end of the day, it’s kind of like our label, it’s all in house, but we want people to look at it like they can be a part of that family, as well. You know what I mean? We try to give back to our fans because we realize that EightyOneTwentyThree wouldn’t be here without the people that support it. Where a lot of bands out there get escorted around Warped Tour by their tour manager and they’re too good to talk to. Where like, I’m walking around all day just hanging out, watching bands. Kids come up and ask for a picture, I’m not like “No, you have to go to the meet and greet later.” I’ll take one then. I’m like “No, come chill.” And The Maine do it, they do a meet and greet every day and they do it until the line’s done. That’s the thing we want people to see, is like “These guys make cool music, but they’re also real human beings.”
That shows that you have the right motives in it, too. That you’re not here to act like you’re better than everyone.
Exactly, exactly. Makes us feel better about ourselves, too. I think for me, and for them too, we both kind of went through some major label issues and it kind of makes you take a step back and realize like, “I could lose this all tomorrow.” So, do I want to lose it tomorrow and be a dickhead and trash all my fans, pretend I’m like the coolest guy in the world, or if I were to lose it tomorrow do I want to go out on a note where at least everybody still likes me.
And that’s the thing; you’ll never lose it because you have this relationship with your fans.
And that’s cool when you have that kind of a relationship, is they’d never want to let you down. Where if you’re an asshole to your fans, they could be like, “He’s a dickhead, anyways. I don’t care what happens to him,” but if you have that interaction with your fans, where they genuinely care about your well being, where if they see you’re having a hard time or whatever, they’ll back you up. They will never let you fall hard. It’s really cool, you gotta have that. I think a lot of people overlook that. It’s the most obvious and important thing. You play shows like this, it’s like there’s two thousand people watching you playing on stage, and you just run back to your bus with your tour manager with like a towel over your head so no one can see you. It might make you feel like you’re this cool rockstar, but in my opinion the rockstar doesn’t exist anymore. You know, it did when it was Jim Morrison and John Lennon, like those guys, ‘cause you didn’t know anything about them. They were like this person that I’ll never get to be. Now it’s like, thanks to like Twitter and Instagram, you know someone’s favorite cereal, and you know their dog’s name. You never knew that about any of those guys. So now, trying to keep that mysterious rockstar thing doesn’t really work that well, so just be a normal person. You know, be one on one. That was what was cool about Elvis Presley, you were like “He’s just a picture in a magazine.” You never thought you would ever see him in person. Now it’s you see these people in person all the time, at Chipotle and Panera Bread. It’s like, why be the rockstar there? You just kind of look like a jerk.
Plus you’ve gotta have way more fun, being out there in the crowd than sitting on a bus.
Exactly. Like I have to go back to the bus after this, and I don’t want to. I think I’m just gonna go to the tent. It’s a lot more fun. I don’t listen to a lot of the music on Warped Tour, I’m more of a Tom Petty kind of guy, but there’s music out here that I can appreciate and respect, and I go and I watch the bands because for what it is, these guys do it right. So that’s what I do a lot of the time, I just walk around and take in what’s cool. Going into Warped Tour, I didn’t know really like the bigger bands on this this year, because I’ve been so out of it the last year with my band splitting up, and trying to take as big [of a] break as I could from the scene. So now coming in here, I’m like “That band’s big?” Like, holy crap. It’s nuts, and it’s cool to see friends actually succeeding, like Mayday Parade being one of the biggest bands on this when they were struggling in a van like six years ago on Warped Tour and they were selling CDs out of their backpack. Now they’re one of the headliner bands of mainstage.
It’s cool seeing bands who are here selling CDs out of their backpack too, because you know one day one of these bands you run into are gonna be on the Warped Tour.
The coolest thing too is seeing a band like The Maine. They walk the line every morning and sell their CDs still. They don’t have to do that, but they do and people think like “Wait, that’s The Maine. Why are they out in the line?”
I have a friend here, she was in the line and The Maine sign went by and she texted me what time they were gonna be on. I was like “The Maine’s walking the line?”
Everyday, our whole bus gets up at 8:30 in the morning, and everybody has their jobs. Jared goes out and hangs up all the posters with the times on it. Kennedy, Pat, Garrett and Eric go out and they walk the line with CDs and the sign with the times. I have to do eight things at once, ‘cause I’m one person. We all help Peter set up the merch tent every morning. Nobody thinks they’re better than another person.
You’re a part of it.
Yeah, a lot of people take their crew for granted on Warped Tour. They’re like, “Oh, we have a guitar tech and he takes care of everything.” Where like The Maine, they’re just as much as their own guitar tech as their actual guitar tech is. Same with the merch guy, it’s like why should he be out there at 7:30 in the morning while we’re all sleeping? That’s not fair. So we just go out, we set up the tent with him. It’s like, all here for the same reason, just some of us play guitar.
The music industry can be a really cool place when you use it right.
Yeah, when you meet the right people.
What keeps you so positively driven?
Honestly, it’s like the creative freedom now. I was in a very dark spot toward the end of my last band with everything going on with our label and stuff. Everything was negative coming out of my mouth. I’m like, this is never gonna work, you know, everything sucks. Now that I don’t have to deal with that, and I can call up my manager and be like, “Hey, I wanna record this acoustic EP. Let’s release it next week.” He’ll be like, “Okay cool, let’s do it.” That makes me happy. Actually being able to release music, and not having to ask ten people and get approval from an entire record label, that’s the best part about it. I’m the happiest I have been in the last five years now*. I think The Maine’s the same way. They went through a bunch of stuff with Warner Bros., their last label, and now they’re free to do whatever they want and I think they’re just stoked to be able to do that.
So is there anything you want to push to our readers?
I’ve got the new record out, Big Skies. It’s like seven dollars on iTunes, or something, so it’s not too bad. I’m gonna be doing the UK in the fall, and then I’m working on a big November tour in the states, a full US thing.
Catch Nick on The Long & Winding Roadshow tour this fall!
|Posted by punk-nation on August 13, 2014 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
Seeing as this is our third interview with alternative rock band The Maine, it's probably not surprising to learn that they're some of our favorite people to chat with. The charismatic guys who make up the incomparable band never fail to impress us with their humble attitudes and unrelenting dedication to their career. This time around, we caught up with guitarist Jared Monaco at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour to talk about the band's past, present and future, the new studio they built in Phoenix and the stories behind their latest projects. Check it out below, and the next time you're looking for a new favorite album, grab a copy of Forever Halloween (Deluxe Version). You won't be disappointed.
So, we interviewed you last [in] October. What’ve you guys been up to since then? I know you’ve got a documentary, and a deluxe edition of Forever Halloween.
We’ve been very busy, yeah. The deluxe edition actually, we’ve been selling that on Warped Tour. It’s a five dollar bundle, and you get the actual record and you get the five extra songs. We had a bunch of leftover music, we had stuff from Forever Halloween sessions in Nashville, we had stuff from Pioneer, which was like two or three years old, but we brought those into the studio and kind of polished ‘em up and released them as a deluxe edition. So that’s kind of the vibe of the summer right now, is the deluxe edition.
And you also have the Rdio session?
That was a blast. It’s kind of cool to go into a different setting than you’re used to, to just be in a different studio and try to make it sound as good as you can. It’s cool, I think it put us in a little bit of a different element. [We’re] so used to being on stage as a live band, the Rdio sessions were definitely a unique experience.
Then you did the documentary too, what was the inspiration behind that?
I think we just wanted to kind of showcase what... I guess kind of what goes on with our band, you know? We’re always trying to give people as much content as we possibly can, and that was kind of accompanying the acoustic EP that we put out. We had these songs, it was kind of like the deluxe edition, we had… there was a demand for an acoustic EP, we’ve never done one before. So we built a studio in Phoenix and it was the first thing that we did in the new studio, was an acoustic record. We didn’t want to do like a rock record, we didn’t know what the studio was capable of, so the acoustic thing made sense. And then we wanted to go on tour with it, so we just figured we’d document kind of what that meant to our band. You know, it’s kind of weird to be a rock band putting out strictly acoustic music, for a brief moment at least. I think it’s kind of cool, I think I discovered a different side of myself, and I think our band kind of discovered a different side of how we write and how we record. So yeah, that was kind of the inspiration behind the tour and the documentary.
Is there any kind of special decoration or capability that [the studio] has that’s your favorite?
Yeah, I mean we’re still kind of throwing it together. It’s kind of a DIY project for us. Our management company, or our label I guess, is Eighty One Twenty Three, and we have an office downtown. There’s two small rooms in the back, we converted those into a studio. One of them is where the control board is at, the other one is like this tiny — it’s like the size of my bedroom, like my childhood bedroom — like a ten by ten room. We keep our drums, everything in there, all the amps and guitars and stuff. It kind of cool because it’s like our spot at home. Everytime we record, we go to LA, or we go to Nashville, or leave the state. It doesn’t feel like home. We can go downtown now.
Now you have your own.
Yeah, it feels like home. I guess we’re more comfortable there.
And it’s easier to get stuff done that way, when it’s right there.
It is! And it’s also harder too. We have friends coming in, and like you know family and stuff. But it’s cool, I think we’re gonna scope out a bigger place, actually build a proper studio, but for the time being that’s where we’re at.
How many times is this on Warped Tour for you guys?
This is technically the third time. We did it in ‘08, when we were in a van, we did two weeks. [We’ll] never do that again. It was fun, ‘cause we were young and... resilient, I guess. We were going on like no sleep and stuff. The next year, in ‘09, we got a bus, and things were going a little bit better for the band. So, yeah, we did ‘09, then we had a five year break.
How’s this one been going?
This one? This has been awesome.
What’s the best memory you have so far?
We played a show in Northern California and I wasn’t expecting it to be a good turnout. The crowd was just nuts. I don’t know what happened. It’s weird, being a band on Warped Tour, especially like us, usually there’s a few bands who are like, they’re on different stages, that we could clash with. Kind of like the Mayday Parades and Summer Sets, stuff like that, so when that happens you’re sharing all the fans, so kids are torn. I think we had a set one of those days, where we were really nervous that it was just going to be a small show and it ended up being crazy. And I love that about Warped Tour, you can’t have any expectations, ‘cause it’s always gonna change. Things are always different. You never know what to expect. Same thing with Las Vegas, we never tour Las Vegas. We just don’t go through there ever. We played the show and it was insane.
They were deprived!
Yeah. We took a portion of our merch money, and bet it on black. [Laughs]
How’d that turn out for you?
We lost it. We always hear of bands doing that, we’re like “Hey, we should do it.” I felt confident.
So is that why you don’t go to Vegas?
That is exactly why, yeah, we have a gambling problem. [Laughs]
Well what’s next for The Maine?
We’re gonna go home. We’re gonna take showers. Sit on our butts for about a month. Gonna start rehearsing, we’re doing a little over two weeks in Europe. We’re doing Amsterdam, we’re doing the UK, it’ll be cool. So we fly home from that, and we’re scheduling some shows in the fall in major markets, like California, some stuff on the East Coast, to kind of close out the Forever Halloween album cycle. It’ll be about almost two years at that point. Then we’re gonna go in the studio, we’re gonna actually start writing and we’re getting a place - We’re gonna do like a house record, rent a house, like a nice house, for a couple months and just take time. Spend a lot of time making this one. It’s album number five, we have to do something important.
[Do] you find your perseverance, the way you guys have worked so hard, is what’s obviously led you to the level that you’re at right? Just the not giving up.
Oh yeah. We came up with a lot of bands that just aren’t here anymore, they’re just gone.
And lot of those bands were good too! That’s still what I listen to.
They were! It was great, and a lot of ‘em are gone. It’s depressing to me sometimes, but at the same time that kind of fuels the push and the drive. That’s why we keep doing things. Stop swimming, you’ll sink, especially in this world. We’re not a huge band, we’re one of those mid-level bands who thrives off of content and relationship with our fans, that’s kind of what’s brought us this far.
Well don’t ever lose that. So many bands, once they do get past that point they become not there.
I’d like to consider us pretty well grounded. Especially on Warped Tour, we hustle. I’m out putting posters up every morning. Pretty humbling, to go out and do that stuff yourself. The guys are walking the line with the set time, John’s at merch every morning, he stands there and shakes hands for you know, two hours or whatever. I just think it’s a matter of being immersed in it. Not being lazy and sitting on the bus just waiting for things to happen. I feel like nobody can do something as well as you can do it for yourself. We’ve relied on other people, like record labels and stuff...
No, nobody does it the way that you could do it. Especially if you’re motivated and you’re seeing results.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Pick up the deluxe edition, it’s out now. It’s cheap, it’s very cheap. 17 songs. If you live in Europe, we’ll see you in the fall. Specific few shows in the fall in the states.
|Posted by punk-nation on August 5, 2014 at 6:20 PM||comments (0)|
NGHBRS may be a band missing a few vowels, but what they’re lacking in grammatical correctness, they make up for in style. Their 2013 debut full-length, Twenty One Rooms, marked the explosive start of a career that will only continue to skyrocket. With the release of a brand new EP on the horizon, their no-nonsense approach to good old-fashioned rock and roll is going to see the Long Island trio into the big leagues this year. And from what we’ve heard so far, this is an EP you’re going to want to get your hands on. We caught up with the band to chat their new single, “Small Talk”, the Long Island music scene, and more!
“Small Talk” is the first song you have released from your upcoming EP. Is there a reason you chose this song? Does it summarize the collection?
“Small Talk” was the first song we wrote from this collection of new songs. I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s a good representation of the bunch. We chose this one because we felt it was a fun, upbeat tune, with a repeating phrase that says “it’s been a long time,” which it indeed has been a long time (since we’ve put out a new single!).
Long Island’s music scene has not been quiet over the years. How does coming from such an internationally respected scene played into your music?
Long Island has been a great place to grow up as a musician, there are so many talented bands and artists rooted here, it’s almost a network that we were born into, which is awesome to have. It has made certain goals of ours seem tangible.
Your last album, 2013’s Twenty One Rooms, is held in high regard by all those who have listened to it. What’s the best comment you’ve seen/heard on the album?
I can’t really say I have a favorite comment, I’d say that I do love to hear that it is certain fan’s favorite record of the year/ to date etc. I also love to hear peoples interpretations or connections to certain songs. I obviously have written certain lyrics because of specific experiences in my life, but to hear how that relates to fans is a really comforting and humbling thing.
If you had to go back in time and recreate Twenty One Rooms with the knowledge you have now, would you change anything?
Not a damn thing.
Tell us about your first “big break”.
Honestly, having Cedarmere, the house that we recorded Twenty One Rooms in, fall into our lap was a pretty gigantic break for us. I can not even tell you how we swung living in an abandoned mansion legally for 2 months, building a studio/live room, and tracking a full record, but it happened and it was amazing.
What’s the most important thing you do to prepare for a show?
We jam a bunch, and make sure we are being as interesting and engaging as possible. We’re not just a band, we’re entertainers.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Bio; Alex Bear
Interview; Emillie Marvel
|Posted by punk-nation on August 3, 2014 at 7:05 PM||comments (0)|
If one thing's sure, it's that Alive Like Me is a band that's destined to be known. It's only been a little over a year since their formation, but their schedule would never reveal it. With a trek on the Vans Warped Tour to their name, an upcoming August tour with Slaves, and a Japenese fall tour with Issues on the books, there's no doubt that the band are diving into the industry with full force. Join in or get left behind, because with a work ethic like this, and an incomporable sound to aid them, the band will soon surround every aspect of the music scene you know and love. When the Vans Warped Tour came through Auburn Hills, MI, we caught up with three-fifths of Alive Like Me to chat about their upcoming plans, first albums and how they approached the music scene in their hometown. Click the photo below to hear what they had to say!
|Posted by punk-nation on July 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
So how’s Warped Tour been going for you guys?
Lee Weiss: It’s been incredible. It is the most fun a band can have.
Josh Hall: This is the happiest I’ve ever been to be this tired and sweaty.
Weiss: If you would have told us like three months ago, you’re gonna be half dirty, half wet all the time and just be disgusting, but you’re gonna love every minute of it. You know we’ve always heard the stories from our favorite bands, but to actually experience it, it’s a hundred percent right. It is the most fun you can have in the summer.
Brandon Koflowitch: It’s really surreal to be out here.
I’m glad to hear your enthusiasm about it! You don’t hear that enough from bands.
Weiss: Because of Kevin Lyman, this institution still exists and allows bands like us to be discovered and found, and kids to have an outlet. For me, for the Warped scene, like I believe in Kevin and this tour so much because my favorite bands blew up from this tour. I came to this tour to discover bands. If it wasn’t for this tour, you wouldn’t have the success of Taking Back Sunday or Fall Out Boy or Blink because-
Hall: Mayday Parade!
Weiss: Or Mayday. It’s like all of our favorite bands just started here, and it’s always been kind of this like legendary thing you hear about from all of your favorite bands. Since I was fourteen, I’m like “I wanna be on the Warped Tour one day.” It’s my dream, and to be here at twenty five doing it, it’s incredible. I never would have believed it.
With the first days of the band, besides the Warped tour, what were your biggest goals?
Koflowitch: Meet as many people as possible, get the music out there, get it into kids hands.
Weiss: The way that our band is is that we write from personal experience and things that have happened to us, and whether we say names or not, it’s all about our lives and our experiences and to share that with kids that are going through similar situations is kind of the biggest thing for us. Because like I said, the bands that we all grew up were like on this tour, did the same things for us. So like Brandon said, 100% right, just get the music out there.
It’s like coming full circle.
Weiss: Exactly! Exactly.
What’s been the coolest thing you’ve done on Warped so far?
Koflowitch: Honestly just playing. It’s so unreal to be on stage, playing the Warped Tour. Like, if you asked me ten years ago if I would ever play the Warped Tour, I’d say probably not. But being here today is just such an honor and it’s so surreal.
Hall: My favorite thing that I did today - and I haven’t tried this yet, but I did today and I’ve always just wanted to pour a can of water on people and them be really stoked about it. [Laughs] Normally I’d get punched, but today everybody loved it.
Weiss: I’m on stage watching and I’m like “Wow, this is great”.
This is like the one place where you can throw water on people and they don’t get mad.
Hall: I can’t do that at home!
Weiss: I think for me, the coolest thing today has been being between Teenage Bottlerocket and Neck Deep. It was really cool because for the first time, you see bands like Real Friends over here, Every Time I Die over there, and then our stage, it’s two really great punk rock bands, you know, and we’re sandwiched between. It’s like, we couldn’t be in better company.
You have your Sleepless Nights EP out, right?
Weiss: We do.
Koflowitch: It came out two days ago.
Weiss: Five songs. Took us the last year to record, and we’re super proud of it. And anyone [reading], you guys should pick it up.
What song are you most excited for fans to hear?
Weiss: That’s like asking me who my favorite child is, like, that’s asking a mother that.
Koflowitch: I don’t think I could pinpoint it to one. I have three that I really enjoy playing, which are “Overreaction”, “Day → Ftl”, and “Bad Names”. They’re just fun songs to play.
Weiss: [To Hall] What about you man?
Hall: The one I’ve always been showing people in the lines or when they come up and check out our band, I always show ‘em “‘Reaction”. It’s because it’s really fast paced. I mean all our songs are fast paced, but it’s like really driving and it’s kind of one where people start foot tapping, their head starts nodding, they smile, then they’re like “I’ll take it.”
Weiss: “Bad Names” for me. It’s one of the harder songs that we play, and I mean like technically for us because it’s so fast and it’s just back and forth vocals between Josh and I the whole time, so we really have to be on our A game, but it’s so much fun to play and it just gets me so pumped up.
Koflowitch: Yeah, I remember the first time we practiced it together. I wanted to cry because it was so fast and I was just like… [Laughs]
Weiss: By the time we were done with practice that day, it was like a four hour session, Brandon’s like “I can’t move my arms, please take me home.”
What’s next for the band, after Warped Tour?
Weiss: We’re gonna get back, we’re gonna finish recording. We have six or seven songs that we’ve recorded that aren’t on the EP, and our goal is to get a full length done before the end of the year. Either get it out by the end of the year, if not the first of the year. And definitely tour in the fall. East coast, Midwest, down to the South.
|Posted by punk-nation on July 27, 2014 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
The Northern Light have something special, a fact evident in every facet of their two year career. Formulating interesting beats composed of stellar instrumentation and backed by indie folk fueled vocals, there's no question that TNL put out something you'll want to hear again and again. With the right momentum and a few more wonder filled jams, the band will soon find themselves in venues across the world, and in the headphones of all those who appreciate a uniquely flavored music experience. Recently, we checked in with Rory Maclean and chatted about the local music scene, show day routines and his preferred music format.
How does your local music scene play into the sound you create?
You're only as strong as your support system, and Saskatoon has a pretty tightly woven music community. Those bands that you play with and organize with just rub off. Muskwa Lerat, who engineered most of our upcoming EP, happens to be an MC in a rap group called Unsatisfied Poets. When one day we had this funky kinda hip hop jam come up in a rehearsal, where otherwise that kind of musical digression might just be forgotten, we thought, “why not ask Musk if he’ll rap on it?”
We’ve had a lot of support from local record label Sound and Silence Collective, and members of the bands they work with. People are always willing to lend a hand in the studio or on stage. We've been recording this one track for our upcoming EP where I had a vision for this big finale -- cello, violin, tuba, trombone -- I wanted a big, skronky, orchestral sound. We got some help from a few of our pals and label-mates in Minor Matter, Wizards, and Wolfen Rabbits. It sounds epic. I’m really grateful to be able to call on such talented people for help.
What’s your best memory from being in the band so far?
Sometimes we just have shows that make me remember exactly why I play music.
I’ve always loved performing a lot more than recording. A performance is fleeting, the music comes out of you then it’s gone. So the people there listening and dancing are sharing something with you that will never be repeated.
There was a new club that opened in Saskatoon this year called the Capitol. We played there in its first month of business and the venue was untested. I was nervous that people wouldn’t come, or the vibe would be off. Later, looking upon a capacity crowd brimming with friends, family and strangers alike, and the crowd of people dancing, joyful, I just thought, “this moment. This is what I’m looking for.” When I can see so many people responding positively to the racket we’re making, there’s no better feeling.
Tell us what a typical show day is like for The Northern Light.
It’s pretty routine. If the show’s at night (and it usually is) I’ll start get into show mode sometime after dinner. We’ll load into the venue and kind of get our bearings, see who’s doing sound and who we talk to about payment, rough the gear into place on stage, set up drums and whatever. After that most of us will typically share a joint. It’s never a good idea for me to do that right before we perform, but it’s kind of a way of getting everyone on the same level before sound check. If for some reason I’m nervous about the show I’ll ask Alex (who plays keys, guitar and also sings) to do some vocal warm ups with me. Our trumpet player Paul skitters off into a quiet corner or alley to warm up his lips, which he’ll often do right up until the point when we take the stage. After that we just kind of let it rip. I’m pretty much always nervous before taking the stage but once we start that just melts away.
When, and why, did you get started in music?
I’ve been playing guitar for 15 years now but I don’t think I really got into music until a few years after that, when I got involved with my first band. We had three guitar players and a drummer and wanted to start a band, so I decided to take up bass. During summer holidays we would smoke pot and go to my drummer Ian’s house to jam almost every day, for hours and hours. He had this wood panelled basement with red shag carpet and a reel-to-reel system. We would record our jams to cassette tapes through this rinky-dink boombox. Just going over blues forms in different keys, cycling them around until they melted into weird psychedelic jams. That’s where I actually learned my instrument. It made practice way more interesting than sitting at home alone practicing scales.
What album do you have on repeat right now?
I have been listening to a lot of Doug Hoyer’s record Be A River. He’s this guy out of Edmonton that I think is Canada’s answer to David Byrne. He’s got a really nice funky style that’s injected with a healthy dose of weird. Check out the tracks One Foot and Bulgogi Pizza on his Bandcamp.
CD, vinyl or digital?
Digital is obviously the most practical medium when you’re on the go, hands down, but I do love records -- the sound of the needle touching down, actively changing the sides of the record, not to mention just the sheer size of the album art. It makes an album feel like a collector’s item. CDs just feel disposable and a little antiquated now, but cost wise it’s hard to beat, unless you’re joining in on the whole cassette resurgence thing that’s happening. I have some strong reservations about this move to cassettes, but it is the cheapest option for physical copies. For the average consumer, if you have a CD for $10 and a tape for $7 -- and you get the download card for the album anyway -- why not just buy the tape?
What does the future hold for The Northern Light? What do you have planned?
We’re releasing our debut self-titled EP in September, which is really exciting. We’ve put tremendous effort into it and I can’t wait to share it with the world. I’m also in the middle of shooting a music video for one of the tracks called Gravity. I’m shooting it all on actual film with a Super 8 camera. I want it to feel really summery, upbeat and psychedelic: sun fun through a 60s lens. All that footage has to be sent away for processing before I can edit it so the timeline is not really firm yet but expect that to come out sometime in the fall. From there we’ll just keep working our way out west for shows and start working on the next record over the winter. We’re brimming with new songs that are ready to be immortalized.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
|Posted by punk-nation on July 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk are on top of the world. The band have conquered multiple continents since their 2007 formation, and they've really only just began. A band formed on the foundation of having fun, their mission to recreate the genre of party rock has caused their career to skyrocket in record time. Part of the credit is due to Chunk!'s latest release through Fearless Records, Pardon My French (Deluxe Edition), which hands over popcore tunes that'll soon find their way into your heart. Another sizable contribution to the undeniable achievements seized by the band comes from the Vans Warped Tour, which is exactly where we caught up with vocalist Bertrand Poncet. Check out our conversation with the frontman on Warped Tour extracurriculars, music from the 90's and the time of the emo.
You’re from Paris, right?
So what’s the culture shock like? I know you’ve been coming back and forth for awhile now, but what was the initial opinion of America?
Opinion? When we were kids we all grew up with the American culture, so it was not such a big surprise. It was actually a good surprise. We are not that kind of French guys who talk shit about Americans. I know this is like a stereotype, I know some people just don’t like America for some random reasons. I mean for some reasons I guess, but it’s just I feel this is very stupid. There’s like stupid people everywhere, so...
There’s no time for that, no time for hate.
Yeah, that’s it. So we’re like, we love the United States. Everytime we play here it’s a blast. Warped Tour is the best tour ever, so I cannot complain. Even coming from France, we enjoy the food. This is good. We love touring here.
What’s been your craziest Warped memory so far? Like not just the shows, but all the activities that happen afterwards?
We did this bowling thing, which was pretty fun. So the idea was to — every band has a fan with them, and we had this girl who showed up with her mother. And her mother was like very fun, you know, and uh… she started to drink.
And then she got even more fun?
Yeah, yeah for a moment. At the end of the game, she was wasted and we felt bad for the daughter. That was pretty funny, I think we called a cab to bring them back. That was a good memory.
How’d you do with the actual bowling?
Oh, we sucked. We lost. That was kinda bad. I’m kind of tiny, so every time I threw the ball, I was like falling down. It was fun, it was a good time.
What’s the best crowd so far on Warped?
California was amazing. I was surprised, yesterday in Cleveland was maybe one of the best shows. But I think crowd-wise, the biggest was Cincinatti. Which is weird, but it was a very, very good surprise. Every show in general, every show’s been pretty amazing.
You were just on the new Punk Goes 90’s 2 comp, and you did “Allstar”. How’d that come to be?
So we love the song, honestly, and I feel like the song kind of fits to our band, which was pretty cool and it turned out actually good. We actually had a whole list, and we gave the list to the label and we asked them to choose for us because we couldn’t really decide. “Allstar”, Spice Girls, it has to be from the 90’s you know so… “Barbie Girl”, Aqua. The last one was Venga Boys.
90’s music is awesome anyway.
Yeah, there’s some very good stuff. We had some good stuff in France actually. I thought it could have been famous here but it didn’t work out. We had to choose an American thing. But I’m very glad we covered “Allstar”. I think that was the best choice.
You have Pardon My French (Deluxe Edition) that just came out. What went behind the decision to release a deluxe edition rather than another EP or another album?
We could have released an EP, that’s right, but I feel like the first release of Pardon My French needed to be more complete. I think the first release was good but, for example, we had no acoustic songs, so this is something we wanted to do. The new songs are slightly different from the rest of the record, but I think it completes the whole thing.
What was the first music moment you had in your life that it really clicked? You wanted to be in music.
I first started with piano. Piano is good for writing music. You can do pretty much everything. When you play guitar, you can just play chords. With piano, you can do pretty much everything and it gives you a general idea of how it works. I started learning piano, and then I started to do my own thing, you know? Like, writing songs. I showed my songs to - I was doing just for me, for myself at first, and then I showed my songs to my family, my friends, and they were like that’s good, you know, and you should do something, and this is how I started a band. My first band, before Chunk!, had a piano in it so I could play piano at the same time, which was actually interesting. There was a good mix. And yeah, it’s worked out. I think the reason why I’m still here is just because everything we’ve done kind of worked out, and we had always a good support.
How has the experience you had in your first band played into this band, now?
It was a long time ago. The first show with my first band was like in high school. I played in front of the whole high school. It was pretty impressive.
You were the rockstar of your high school.
And we were like... this was the whole emo time. You know, dark hairs...
I wish it’d go back to that!
I’m pretty sure that it’s gonna come back, somehow. Maybe not the same way.
Some area of it.
We’ll see. Yeah, this is how we started, but it was [a] totally different style. This band was like more... emo. Chunk! is more party, fun, stuff like that. So it’s different, but I’m glad we moved on. This first band helped the one that I am [in] right now because it was a good practice for shows, [writing] music.
It’s cool you’ve grown up in the music industry. Growing through all your bands and all your experiences.
I mean, our first real experience with the whole music industry is with Chunk, obviously. Because in France, there was like no way to get something bigger. I’m glad we got signed here, I’m glad we’re touring, we’re very lucky and very thankful to do what we like, actually.
You’re on a pretty cool label, too, Fearless.
Yes! I love it.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
[Tell] everyone to check us out on Warped Tour. We still have, I don’t know, maybe twenty shows left. It’s gonna be a blast. Every show is getting bigger and bigger, so it’s very cool. I recommend also everyone to check out the new Pardon My French deluxe thing, and the new songs, and I hope everyone will like it.
|Posted by punk-nation on July 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM||comments (0)|
Pittsburgh's own The Homeless Gospel Choir is coming to a pair of headphones near you with vibrant, outspoken, indie-folk tunes that'll make you shout along in agreeance. The most recent of the one-man-band's collection is I Used To Be So Young. The album is dying to invade your music collection and become your most played disc. Before you become completely infatuated with the sounds THGC is cranking out, get to know the man behind the moniker, Derek Zanetti, a little better. We chatted with Zanetti about the new album's lyrical content, Pittsburgh's influence and two toned sunglasses.
How does Pittsburgh play into your sound?
Well, that's a great question. Pittsburgh is not only my home but it's also the greatest city in the world. I'm continually inspired by the local music scene here, and by the wonderful friends, family, and topography that surrounds me on a daily basis. Pittsburgh is known the world round for its inventions and creativity, it's hard for me NOT to draw from that.
What's your best childhood memory involving music?
I was about three or four and my Aunt Robin and Aunt Judy made a music video on their brand new over the shoulder VHS cassette video recorder of me singing money for nothing by dire straits. They spiked my hair with shampoo and gave me a pair of sweet two toned sunglasses.
Your lyrics tackle everything from preppers to materialism. What draws you to these topics?
It's hard to look at the world and not see that things are drastically changing. Wars, landfills, political and religious corruption, Walmart, Fox News, the fact that Ann Coulter exists, and disposable diapers. If I just sat around and thought about this shit all day, I'd probably go crazy. But I try to approach these topics with a lighthearted flavor as to not bum everyone out. I've tried to write love songs, but that bores me pretty hard. Politics make me angry, anger is always good fuel for good song writing. At least for me.
Why are you using the moniker "The Homeless Gospel Choir" as opposed to your name?
I never really liked my own name, my dad said he wanted to name me Dante, or if I was a girl he thought about Rebecca. I got stuck with Derek, so I just made up a name for my guitar songs.
What's the most important thing you've learned so far in your music career?
Honesty is the most valuable ally you can have. A lot of very talented, "showy" guitar players are amazing musicians, but can only make what they've seen or heard. Even if you are an average guitar player and an average singer, but you really mean it, it's way more valuable. At least in my opinion.
What is your ultimate goal with your career?
My goal is to play shows to people who like to experience music and art in a unique and interesting way. That there ARE sustainable ways of making a living creating art and music without playing into the hand or big business. Ultimately I want to try to be free in creating the music I want to make, and hopefully people enjoy it, and want to hear it.
Where are you going from here? What's next?
Well, I'm currently out on tour all of July on the new record with Listener and '68. Which rules extra hard cause we have all [been] buddies for a long while. I'm in the middle of sorting out a European tour this winter in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I'm super stoked to get to play a ton of shows with my big brothers in AntiFlag next year. Other than that I'll be constantly out doing long weekends in people's basements attics, bars, clubs, everywhere. I'm booking a living room tour for the fall where we'll be filming some house shows and whatnot.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yes! Listen to the new '68 record In Humor and Sadness, Chris Stowe's new record Hollow, go see Ramshackle Glory live this summer, their live show is fucking amazing, listen to the newest Listener record Time Is A Machine, read Buddy Wakefield (everything he's ever put out). Oh yeah #upthepunks.
|Posted by punk-nation on July 9, 2014 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
Porterville, California's Hotel Books believe in love. This isn't the only thing they put their belief into, but above all, they believe in love. It's the underlying emotion in every square inch of their career, and the fact is abundantly apparent. This isn't a band that's in music for anything other than the purest of intentions, which is what makes their music so significant. The newest addition to their discography is the double EP, I'm Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home, a collection that puts the band's poetry style lyricism and vocal delivery and grunge/hardcore sound aestethic on the highest pedastool. When we caught up with frontman and lyricist extraordinaire Cam Smith, we chatted about the album's mood, preferable lyrics and his vinyl collection for what became one of our best interviews yet. Check it out, then pick up your copy of the double EP here.
You just released I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home. Tell us about the writing and recording process for the double EP.
The album was mostly written on the road. The lyrics, which I wrote, were basically the result of daily journaling. The music was composed by Jordan Leal, and then he and Dan, our drummer, would find downtime on tour and figure out arrangements. We would just kind of set up wherever we could.
The first EP, I’m Almost Happy Here, was recorded in Phoenix, AZ by our friend Hiram Hernandez. We did the full EP in two sessions across December and January. The second EP, But I Never Feel At Home, was recorded at the house my grandparents lived in when I was younger, and where my mother lives now. We wanted the album to be a representation of where I had come from, so we felt it necessary to record in such environment. The drums were recorded by Dan in Massachusetts at Kennedy Studios, near his home. The album was mixed and mastered by Jay Maas, who did a fantastic job.
A lot of the influence an album has on a person is the mood it puts them in. What mood(s) did you originally hope to create with the music? Did they change at all?
That’s a tough question. I never really go into a song with the expectation of creating some sort of mood, especially with But I Never Feel At Home, but I do feel the album(s) convey a strong somber tone to them, which is fine with me. We never sat down and were like “Let’s write sad songs,” but we do intentionally do what we can to silence any emotional reserves someone might have. I guess our goal is to remove the listener from any sort of social or emotional walls so they can just experience our record free of stigmas or expectations. I don’t know if we have mastered this, or even gotten close, but that goal will never change.
What’s the story behind the album art?
We found the photographer on Instagram, believe it or not. The artwork for I’m Almost Happy Here was a photo of a girl’s naked back with a crown of flowers. We wanted to convey the image of Eve, from the Garden of Eden, but then expanded on that concept with the new artwork. We wanted to take that image of a girl’s back, and place it in present time, with a mirror reflecting, as one reflects on the past. We wanted to take that idea of Eve, a simple person with flaws and weaknesses, and plug it into today.
I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home will also be released on vinyl. What does your vinyl collection look like?
My vinyl collection is fairly small these days, but I am proud of it. My most recent additions are the latest xLooking Forwardx EP, Everything is Debatable by Hellogoodbye and a first pressing of Sad Sappy Sucker by Modest Mouse. Beyond that, I have a few more hellogoodbye records, a couple Black Flag records, several Modest Mouse records and releases by My Iron Lung, Jars of Clay, Thursday, Death, and a few others.
What is your favorite lyric from the double EP?
I’m not entirely sure what my favorite lyric is, but I really like the line “Scream hallelujah until you cough up blood” from the song "Lungs", as well as the lyrics, “Sometimes we are weaker than what we create, what does that say about our love and our hate?” but my favorite overall song, lyrically, is probably "Nicole".
Where does Hotel Books go from here?
We’re already mapping out a full length album, as well as planning out some new tours. At this point, we are just seeing where God leads us, as well as building a team to help us along the way.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank you for this interview. Also, I would like to thank InVogue Records for all of the support and for making our EP a reality. We had worked so hard on these songs, and we’re so blessed to have the InVogue family along for the journey. Also, we are very appreciative of the Hotel Books family who has been with us through going to our shows and listening to our songs.
|Posted by punk-nation on July 1, 2014 at 10:45 PM||comments (0)|
Californian rock band White Noise Owl have been busy with the release of their latest EP Until We Meet Again. The collection has created plenty of buzz in the music industry, and it's well deserved. The band have taken to crafting a stellar quality of music over the past, and with the assistance of producer Ben Grosse they've managed to do exactly that - to the tenth power. While we could go on and on bragging about the group's stylistical brilliance, we also realize you'd probably like to read our interview with bassist John Fahnestock. So we will stop our endless praise (for now) and let you dive into the conversation about the EP, previous musical experiences and bass lines.
What can new listeners expect from your EP Until We Meet Again?
A Big Rock Sonic set of Balls!
What was it like working together as a band without knowing each other first? Do you think it’s easier or harder for a band to create an album/EP this way?
I thought the organic meeting of us becoming a group as the songs was recorded to tape was a mutual experience of respect and trust for each other's talents. We all was aware of each other's skills but still trusting that each other would compliment the songs as a whole unit.
Where does your main inspiration come from when creating bass lines?
I try to create a bass line that has a series of notes introduced as a hook within the melody of the song.
How has all of your previous experiences with other bands helped in the creative process of White Noise Owl's EP?
I enjoy playing different styles of music, and by doing this it has taught me how to approach a song by playing with emotion. Love Anger and Happiness can all be created by the way you attack your instrument.
What was your favorite part of recording Until We Meet Again?
I enjoy working in the studio with Ben Grosse and the other guys, tracking bass searching for that ultimate tone and watching the riffs evolve into songs
What’s next for White Noise Owl? Any tour plans?
We are rehearsing for showcase shows in Los Angeles & NYC the tours will follow....
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Real music created from the heart and not the wallet is a rare find anymore in this fast becoming commercialized world. White Noise Owl is one of the last bands to Breathe pure honest music to the masses, enjoy "Until We Meet Again" before real music is lost and gone forever.