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Interviews

Whether your favorite bands play punk, pop, metal or anything in between, you'll find an interview with them here. Always honest, occasionally hilarious, mildly intrusive and quite interesting if we do say so ourselves, we promise to deliver only the best interviews with the hardest rocking bands in the world. 


**Interviews By Emillie Marvel unless otherwise noted.

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Keeping Up with The Maine!

Posted by punk-nation on August 13, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments 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...

 

Nope?

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.




Get To Know NGHBRS with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on August 5, 2014 at 6:20 PM Comments 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?

 

Listen to/share “Small Talk” and be on the look out for more new tunes!! If you’re in NYC come to our show on 8/22 at The Bowery Ballroom!

 


Bio; Alex Bear

Interview; Emillie Marvel

Get To Know Alive Like Me with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on August 3, 2014 at 7:05 PM Comments 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!


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Get To Know The Lost Boys with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on July 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It's time to declare our love for The Lost Boys. The Ohio based band rest their reputation on remarkable pop punk beats that show plenty of love for the punk rock heritage of the genre, with dual vocalists thrown in to ensure comparisons to Blink 182. But a badass sound isn’t the only thing the band have to their name - they also have an energy like no other. Five minutes of chatting with the guys who make up The Lost Boys will open your eyes to the excitement surrounding your life. Why is that, you wonder? Because they have so much enthusiasm for everything they’re doing, and it’s a trait that will certainly help in their quest to rock the world. At the Detroit stop of this year’s Vans Warped Tour, we caught up with vocalist/guitarist Lee Weiss, vocalist/bassist Josh Hall and drummer Brandon Koflowitch to chat about Warped, the band’s new EP and what’s next on their schedule. It turned out to be one of our favorite interviews of all time, and we're beyond excited to share it with you! You can check it out below, then pick up the band’s debut EP Sleepless Nights here!

 


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.

 

That’s awesome!

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.

 

 



Get To Know The Northern Light with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on July 27, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments 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?

Merci beaucoup pour votre temps. 



Get To Know Chunk! No, Captain Chunk with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on July 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments 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?

Yes.

 

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.




Get To Know The Homeless Gospel Choir with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on July 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM Comments 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.


Get To Know Hotel Books with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on July 9, 2014 at 9:35 PM Comments 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.




Get To Know White Noise Owl with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on July 1, 2014 at 10:45 PM Comments 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.



 

Get To Know Homemade Crazy with Punk Nation!

Posted by punk-nation on June 30, 2014 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s safe to admit we’re all a little crazy—so this one’s for anyone not in denial about that fact. Homemade Crazy are a four-piece hailing from McCook, NE, and they describe themselves as indie electro punk—now there’s a mouthful. But in the age of genres and labels, maybe Homemade Crazy have it all figured out. The genre-hopping group defy any expectations, so you’ll have to go try them out for yourself, something we highly recommend if you’re up for something utterly original. We caught up with the band to talk their new album ‘Synergy’, influences, and more!


Tell us about Synergy. What goals did you go into the studio with?

Koby Blake: My goal for ‘synergy’ was to recreate this sound I had boiling in my head the last few years and to get it on a record so everyone could hear what I’ve been talking about for so long. We just wanted the album to sound as good if not better than it did live. We wanted a professional album that could be taken seriously and it was scary cause we had a really low budget, but we are proud of what we've created.

What did you learn from the experience of creating this album?

Max Kugler: I definitely learned that it is more than just playing the song into a bunch of microphones... The click track was my biggest challenge, I'm used to keeping the time in my own head so I was fighting the metronome a lot... In the end I left realizing that I needed to practice with a click track and that has helped me immensely .

Aaron Paiz: I learned that it's better to have all if the pieces put together well in advance. Get your album art, track list, album name, mastering engineer and schedule worked out before you enter the studio. It will save you time and a headache.

You describe yourself as “indie electro punk”. That’s definitely interesting, where does your inspiration for such a unique style of music derive from?

Breezy Ortega: All four of us are into different types of music. Each of our styles coming together makes for an interesting genre. Our good friend DJ Sammy Marz actually gave us that label. He came to one is our rehearsals and just through it out there. We always had a hard time describing ourselves and he figured it out without hesitating.

Kugler: Indie electro punk is pretty much just the best way to describe our sound. We have a pretty diverse selection of music that all of us listen to and that is what you hear when we create a song... Picking a genre, to me, is so hard because we wouldn't like just writing songs in that genre but it mostly comes from our heavy guitar riffs and driving rhythms with a lot of synth overlaid for a nice poppy sound.

What was the first album in your music collection?

Ortega: My first vinyl was The Doors self titled album and my first cassette was Sublime's.

Blake: The first record I ever owned was sublime's "second hand smoke". I stole it from my oldest brother and from there I was hooked. I used to stay up late at night listening to it over and over again in bed with my head phones on so he didn’t hear it or would of knocked me around a bit lol I just loved the fast pace and high energy and those smooth hooks sublime is so known for!

Kugler: The first album I remember getting was the "blue album" by 311. It was a hand me down from my sister. I was always stealing it from her so she gave it to me so from then on I did little chores around the house to fund new additions to my cd collection.

Paiz: "Inner secrets" by Carlos Santana. My mother was always my biggest influence. I listened to all of her albums.

How did Homemade Crazy form?

Paiz: Koby and I started Homemade Crazy in 2012 about a year and a half after we walked away from our last project Kaleidoscope Eyes. We stopped playing together for about a year. Until Koby's marriage started to collapse he pretty much stopped writing all together and eventually he couldn't hold it in anymore. There was so much stress and emotion building that he had to let it out so he finally gave in and wrote "time bomb". I liked his material so we showed him some of Breezy's songs and it just kind of happened. A few weeks later our old buddy and original junior high drummer moved back to town and hopped on the opportunity to play with us again. We got our set together and started playing local gigs and just started branching out from there.

What’s next for Homemade Crazy?

Blake: Touring and promoting this album to as many ears we can sing into and to get our merch catalog where it should be.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, email us nice things and most importantly....Stay Crazy Everybody!




Bio; Alex Bear

Interview; Emillie Marvel


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