Saturday, December 11, 2010

We Are The Union (Part I)

Signed to Paper + Plastick records, Detroit natives We Are The Union are a band breaking out of the current musical mold of Myspace scenesters and Facebook hipsters, by creating their own unique style.  These guys have a mixture of influence from ska to pop punk, and even hardcore.  Check out this interview with trombonist/vocalist Matt Belanger and bassist/vocalist Brandon Benson as the two discuss the current state of ska music, playing with The Suicide Machines, and working with Matt Allison.

WATU is heavily ska influenced, who are some of your favorite ska bands? 

Matt: Less Than Jake and Rx Bandits, but honestly we don’t listen to ska bands that much anymore. Back in the day we used to listen to everything from Reel Big Fish to Mustard Plug. Reed and I were in a total third wave sounding band when we were in high school, we’d do The Aquabats and Mustard Plug covers. Now the only stuff that gets spun on the regular is Rx Bandits or this band Sonic Boom Six from the UK, who are a really dope, up and coming band. We still listen to everything else once in awhile though.  

You don’t hear about many ska influenced bands these days, what’s your input on the current ska scene? 

Brandon: The current ska scene is kind of inexistent, but there are still high school bands that play ska and still play the same Mustard Plug Songs.
Matt: Yeah, there are bands that do the ska covers that Reed and I used to play. 
Brandon: Plus, there are a few bands in the UK that still play ska and they’re a little bit more popular than they are in the states. Ska bands that used to do really well in the 90s in the states do really well overseas now. For example, we’re doing a Less Than Jake tour in the fall and there are a ton of pre-sold tickets, so it should be a pretty good tour.
Matt: It’s like all the bands that were big when it was big are still around, but there’s nobody up and coming doing that style of music that are hitting the road really hard and getting attention.
Brandon: Aside from Fatter Than Albert, who were good friends of ours for a long time, and they are still one of my favorite ska related bands. They put on an amazing live show. And there are The Flaming Tsunamis and A Billion Ernies, who we still play shows with.
Matt: There are tons of bands in the self-contained scene almost. There’s a bunch of bands that are younger who are touring occasionally and doing stuff with the style, but for the most part there hasn’t been anybody that came out and crossed over from that self-contained indie/ska scene to being on a tour or even on a label. Everybody assumes if you’re in a ska band it’s going to be goofy and songs about my dog and pizza, there’s a stigma about ska music. The Aquabats and Reel Big Fish are the top two reasons, even though those bands are great, why no one takes it seriously anymore. They’re doing their thing and it’s tight, but people grab onto the goofy aspect of it and that’s their picture of the whole scene. A lot of people just aren’t into it and even if you do ska mixed with something else, sometimes they automatically write you off because of the stigma.  
Brandon: We spent a lot of time getting out of that scene, getting people to see that we’re not just a ska band.
Matt: Not even getting out of it, just getting people to...
Brandon: To listen! 
Matt: And to get...
Brandon: The fact that there is a point to this.
Matt: Exactly! To get that there is a point and that this is actually legit and cool, and serious! Well, relatively serious.

Speaking of ska influence, what was your experience like playing with The Suicide Machines at their reunion show in your hometown? 

Brandon: Dude, that was probably one of my top five favorite shows of all time. 
Matt: Definitely.   
Brandon: That place was so packed, they didn’t have any fans on and it was dripping from the ceiling. Everybody was so anxious for that show. 
Matt: It was oversold like three-hundred tickets. It was the first announced show they had done since the band broke up and it was a huge fucking deal. 
Brandon: And I got to play!
Matt: Yeah, and Jason Navarro asked me to play trombone with them on a couple songs, which I hope I didn’t fuck up too bad!
Brandon: No dude, it sounded great!  
Matt: They had all kinds of great things to say. They played our cd release, it was like a secret show back in March and they did like five songs. Then at the reunion show Jason Navarro gets on the mic and is like “This band is like the new Detroit ska/punk band. We’re old and we’re not doing it seriously anymore, but We Are The Union is fucking awesome and we’re passing the torch to them.” I would never go so far as to put ourselves anywhere on the same level as The Suicide Machines because that’s like the first real show I think I ever went to. That band is so completely untouchable in my mind. 
Brandon: It’s like a childhood dream realized. The Suicide Machines were always one of my favorite bands as a kid, so to hear something like that from one of my idols back in the day was a really cool thing for me to be a part of. 
Matt: And the fact that they are from Detroit too, I mean I’m an equally huge fan of other ska/punk bands we listen to, but that was a band from our general area that went out and did that style of music. I don’t know how you define success but as far as inspiring other people, they inspired us to go do that shit. It was totally unreal to play with them five years after I thought I’d never see them play again.   

WATU tours with everyone and play shows with every kind of genre from ska to hardcore, do you want to back up this claim and explain the importance of touring?

Brandon: In my book, in order to gain any respect from the community you have to spend some time on the road and hit the streets with your music. Sell your music, play your music, that’s the only way to really get anywhere. And the internet just changed the entire music industry as a whole, the internet helps bands get out tour date information, rather than just word of mouth or flyers.
Matt: We booked whole tours on myspace, just messaging random people.
Brandon: That’s how we started out, messaging random people!
Matt: Punk and ska don’t have mainstream visibility anymore, like bands don’t get recognized in the scene anymore for selling a shit ton of records or having videos on MTV, because MTV doesn’t fucking play videos anymore and nobody sells records anymore. So the only way anyone will pay attention to you is if you go out there on the road and get in front of them.
Brandon: Touring is all about making friends, it’s all about talking to people and making connections, that’s one of the most important things a band can do. Hanging out with bands and it doesn’t matter how bad your band is or how much the other bands don’t like your music, if you hang out with them and mesh with them, and become friends...
Matt: Well, I don’t know if it doesn’t matter 100%....but it makes a huge difference to network and know people in the industry. Really for us it’s been kind of cool because like you said, we tour with all sorts of different bands, because there are a handful of bands that exist in our sub-sub-sub genre and most of them only tour a handful of times. So if we’re trying to go out and hit the road all the time we’re just gonna have to tour with punk bands, or pop/punk bands, or hardcore bands. It’s kind of liberating in a way to be the band that no one is gonna be stoked on right off the bat, there’s no hype-machine like that for ska bands. It’s almost better, people have no preconceived notions for what you’re going to sound like at all, except for what Reel Big Fish sounds like, and then you go out there and play. I think most of them are surprised at the kind of music we’re playing and get stoke on it.
Brandon: That’s why it’s good we’re on a tour with a band like Strung Out because they’ve been around for a long time and they have diehard fans that come to all of their shows and we try to appeal to some of those guys, hopefully.

We Are The Union (Part II)


WATU lyrics “We’re just being who we are and you can’t take that away”, almost sound like an anthem for the band. With that in mind, what’s your main goal as a band? 

Brandon: I would say my goal in this band is to be able to play music the way I want and maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle, in whatever form that takes.  
Matt: When you start playing music everybody is like “Man, I wanna fucking ride on a bus to all the shows and fly on my private jet, I want to make a living making music.”  Everybody wants to make it huge playing music but because of the way the music industry is, and the relation punk music has with the industry, it’s not necessarily possible to do that. I think the band is on the same page with what Brandon said, we can keep doing this as long as we physically can and get home to have enough money to pay the phone bill. We all work and have jobs, we don’t sit around and you know, eat fucking caviar or whatever because we make so much money touring. We bust our asses when we’re on the road and we go home and bust our asses at work. Our goal is to be able to keep doing this as long as we can and have just enough money to get to the next place. I just wanna go play to kids every night and have a blast, and show people our music. 

What was your personal experience like working with Matt Allison who produced your latest release Great Leaps Forward

Matt: He’s just like the best dude ever. He’s recorded all these bands that we all have listened to for years and years, and all the records that he’s ever done are huge. I remember the first record we did was right after This Sinking Ship came out by Smoke or Fire which Matt produced, and I spun that every single day while we were recording. I remember before I went to record vocals, I was wondering around the woods outside the studio listening to that on my ipod while screaming the words to it out in the middle of nowhere, like warming myself up. Then we got into the studio to work with Matt and he’s super cool, he has all these fucking stories and has met everybody in every band you’ve ever heard of. He has all these awesome stories about just throwing down with The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio, and Less Than Jake. He would work from noon to midnight and then leave the studio for a minute and come back with a case of beer, then he’d sit there in the studio and just tell amazing stories. It was like having...a punk rock dad! 

If you could pick only one song for someone to listen to by WATU, what would it be? 

Matt: Everybody in the band will probably tell you something different.
Brandon: Yeah, because honestly there are some people that are more tired of our first record than others. I would say our classic song is “This Is My Life (And It’s Ending One Minute At A Time)”, but not necessary my favorite.
Matt: That’s a good mix though, it has ska parts and the pop parts, and these fast beat parts.
Brandon: I wish we could redo that record, just record it all with current members.
Matt: That’s the hardest, its like all the songs are your kids. I’m going to make a horrible analogy now, but maybe like the first time you weren’t really that good at raising kids and so you just love them for what they are, but then you look back and go “Man, I would have done a couple things differently.” 
Brandon: It’s just that we’ve grown since then and we see all the mistakes that we’ve made, well mistakes in our book. 
Matt: I don't think you’ll find a musician that is ever completely, 100% satisfied with anything they’ve done. You always do stuff and the moment you leave the studio you’re always like “I wish I had one more take to do that part.” I think we are just focused on the next thing, that’s the attitude that is necessary. Every month, every week, every day, we’re just constantly growing as fans of music and musicians in trying to incorporate new and different shit into what we’re doing. To answer the original question though, I would say “Rearranging Deck Chairs On The Titanic” or “What We Have Here, Is A Failure To Communicate”, a good mix of pop and fast parts but also technical. 

I heard WATU wants to play the next Vans Warped Tour, which seems to pull both positive and negative outlooks from bands. What’s your perspective on Warped Tour?

Matt: I would love to play Warped Tour next year because it’s just a huge, awesome experience. There are a variety of bands on Warped Tour, you have these older main-stage bands for the punk scene and new stuff, and then stuff people wouldn’t even consider punk. It brings out the wide variety of people and this huge variety of bands. People call it “punk rock summer camp” all the time, and I think that’s the most accurate.  It’s just total fun.

Less Than Jake Photos

Friday, December 10, 2010

Man Overboard

This interview can also be found on the National Underground website HERE

Straight out of South Jersey, Man Overboard is jumping into the music scene with their catchy lyrics and fun-loving attitudes.  Newly signed to Rise Records, these guys are proving they are more than just a small town band.  Don't worry though, these guys are still down-to-earth Jersey boys.  Check out this interview with Justin Collier and Nik Bruzzese from Man Overboard as they discuss heartbreak, touring around the world, and Beyoncé.   

How long have you been a band?  

Nik: That’s a hard question! We started in August ’08. 

Best part about growing up in New Jersey? 

Justin: Diners.

Nik: Diners? 

Justin: Oh yeah...Wawa!

Nik: Definitely Wawa. And Dunkin’ Donuts, plus the weather is beautiful. 

Justin: We got the shore, Wawa, diners, and pizza.

Nik: And Atlantic City!

If you could pick just one song for someone to listen to, what would it be?

Nik: I’d probably choose “Montrose”, it’s like my favorite song.

Justin: And I think that portrays us well. It’s got a lot going on.   

You guys are currently on tour with Fireworks on the All I Have Left To Offer Is This Tour, how has your experience been so far?  

Justin: It’s cool, we’re good friends with Transit and I was already friends with Fireworks and some of the Swellers guys. Everyone is good friends on this tour, so it’s cool to hang out.

Nik: When the tour is over I’m going to severely miss being around everyone. It’s been so much fun. It’s like everyday you don’t have to worry about being bored. Everyone is cool as hell, I love everyone. 

Justin: Good times!

Best part about being on this tour?

Justin: Not having a real job. Not being in school or working!

Nik: It’s cool because you don’t have to answer to anyone. I wake up and I go “Fuck the world!”  Basically we play songs to kids who like them and we’re like “Holy fuck, how did that happen?”

There’s a lot of talk that you guys are going to “blow up” in the music scene.  And after this tour there is Japan, then Europe/UK.  As a band from a small town in Jersey, what’s your thought process like to the attention and new experiences you’re getting?

Nik: I feel like it hasn’t even hit me yet. I’m still on cloud 9 from people singing our songs. 

Justin: We just think it’s cool that we can go to places like San Francisco and kids know our songs.

Nik: It’s just crazy, when we first started touring it was with Transit and we shared a green van. So it was all of us and all of our friends, and just packed to the brim. We were just hanging out and partying our asses off, and that was fine with us. And now it’s like we’re going to Europe with Transit and we’re like “What is happening, are people liking us?!”

Justin: So, I’m 21 and Lacy from Transit is 19, and we met 3 years ago...

Nik: Longer than that, like 5 years.

Justin: Well...a really long time ago when he was still in high school and now we’re going to Europe together. It’s surreal. 

Nik: It’s like when do we have to wake up? Because I’m chill, I’m having fun. 

Your latest album is Real Talk, which seems to revolve a lot around relationships. What was the inspiration for that record? 

Nik: Broken heart syndrome. Zac wrote a lot of it and then we just take it and try to figure out how we want it to sound. We all bounce off each other really well. 

Justin: Zac gets mad at girls a lot too. 

Nik: Yeah, we all got fucked over when we were younger. We still probably are. Honestly, me and Zac have no lives, and Zac has been writing songs forever. 

Was there a message you guys were trying to get across?

Nik: It was basically just telling people what’s good and saying what happened, like if you relate to this then maybe you’ll like it.

Justin: It’s just about making music that people know is true.

Nik: Like if somebody sees it from one of our prospectives, then it might help somebody get through some shit. I know a lot of people have been saying it’s been helping them out, so that’s cool. 

If you were the product of two bands joining together, what would those two bands be?

Nik: Alright, Limp Bizkit.

Justin: And Aerosmith.

Nik: Not Aerosmith. Definitely Limp Bizkit, and then Papa Roach.

Justin: Ehhh...

Nik: I would say Limp Bizkit and 311.

Justin: Yeah, 311!

Nik: Justin doesn’t like 311.

Justin: I love 311!

Nik: This is off topic, but we actually tweeted P-Nut, the bass player of 311 and he tweeted back. I was like....speechless!

Justin: He said “Much luck to the next Gen Rockers.”

Nik: The Next Generation of Rockers, and I was like fuck yeah!

Who would you love to collaborate with?

Nik: I would love to collaborate with Chris Conley, that would be insane.  And Steven Tyler.

Justin: Joe Perry.

Nik: Definitely Chris Conley though.

Favorite Saves the Day song?

Justin: “A Dragon In D Flat”

Nik: I was gonna say that! It’s the sickest song.

Would you rather cover Lady Gaga or Beyoncé?

Justin: Lady Gaga.

Nik: Beyoncé! Come on, son!   

Justin: Nope, Lady Gaga. Bad Romance.

Nik: Get out of here. Beyoncé, you’re not ready for this jelly. (starts singing) “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.”

Justin: Is that what she says?

Nik: Yeah! My body’s too bootylicious. I’d definitely make it work.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cheap Girls/The Dopamines

In a new age of digital music, YouTube videos are replacing live shows just as digital downloads are replacing records. One record label fighting against the grain is Paper + Plastick, owned by Vinnie Fiorello, the drummer for Less Than Jake. Paper + Plastick has a passion for producing records with incredible artwork, but also of producing passionate music to put on those records. Recently, two Paper + Plastick bands played live at Garfield Artworks. Not only did I have the pleasure of seeing them perform, but I was able to sit down with them and discuss the one thing that brought us together: music.

Cheap Girls are a rock/power pop trio who hail from Lansing, Mich. They began by just hanging out and isolating themselves from everything but music. They have a rock/pop influence, and they love music that has a hook and isn’t over-thought. It is all about the hook.

Even before these guys hit the stage, you become transfixed just watching them set up. It’s like a surgeon prepping before he goes into surgery, and where there was once dead empty space, there are now instruments coming to life. At first glance, these guys don’t really seem to go together, but once they start playing it all blends well. The lead singer, Ian Graham, is laid back; guitar player, Adam Aymor, loses himself in his guitar and whirlwind of hair; and Ben Graham, the drummer, plays intensely covering the entire drum set. This band is definitely out to show the audience that musicians don’t need smoke and mirrors to make a great performance, just talent.            

This year, for the second time, Cheap Girls played the Harvest of Hope, a festival which showcases a colossal amount of bands. People from as far away as New Mexico and England travel to Florida for the event. I asked Cheap Girls, having played numerous shows and venues, if they prefer bigger venues like Harvest of Hope or smaller ones like Garfield Artworks, but the band has no preference. “We just played a house show in Columbus, Ohio and had a blast," Ian says. "And we’ve also played packed shows with 400 to 500 people.” The band also agrees that the audience does not really matter to them. “As long as [the performers are] happy and everything sounds alright, then that’s all that matters,” proclaims Ian, “It’s the one time that it’s totally alright to be selfish."

At the end of last year, Cheap Girls released My Roaring 20’s, which fans had high expectations for based on their first release Find Me A Drink Home. Cheap Girls did not seem to let the pressure weight on them though. The process of making My Roaring 20’s involved “living in a house where you could play music all day until 8pm” where the only obstacles to the creative process were “self inflicted." Even if you’re doing something you love, being stuck in a house all day makes most people go a little insane. Cheap Girls also notes that the recording process has never been highly stressful, but these guys are way too prepared to let stress get to them. “We can produce a 7 inch in a day and a record in three or four days,” Ian boasts modestly.    

If Cheap Girls could pick one song for you to listen to, it would be “Ft. Lauderdale” off My Roaring 20’s. These guys are all about that hook, Adam claims, “If it was on a mix CD, then I wouldn’t put anything over three minutes because it’ll have no tempo." As for their future plans, they are no different than most bands; they just want to stay busy and regularly put out music. “Do what all the bands we love did,” Adam declares. “And avoid home life,” adds Ian. With a music world based so highly on profit and scheming, these guys just want to do as much as they can while staying true to who they are.     

The Dopamines are a pop punk trio hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. At first, I was a bit worried when I got to the show and The Dopamines hadn’t even arrived yet. As soon as they arrived, however, my dread faded, and I was actually extremely impressed. All the guys worked together to set up the stage pretty quickly, and before I knew it, the show was starting up again. At most, there were twenty people there, but The Dopamines still managed to sing their hearts out. You have to admire a band like that, and there is no denying their passion for music. Aside from that, these guys know how to have fun on stage, which is what you would expect from a good pop punk band. A special treat of the night was Mikey Erg, formally from The Ergs!, who played guitar and provided backup vocals. I could not help but smile as Jon W shook his hips on stage while Mikey and Jon L played with their guitars upside down behind their heads. The music was awesome and the band was entertaining as hell — there is no way The Dopamines could ever bore you on stage.     

The Dopamines first fell in love with music from pop punk bands such as Dillinger Four, Green Day (the old stuff obviously), Teenage Bottlerocket, and even The Ergs!. Another huge influence was Less Than Jake, whom they have gotten to know now that The Dopamines are signed to Paper + Plastick records. “We grew up listening to Less Than Jake; it’s almost like a half circle. Or a full circle. Or a quadratic triangle,” jokes Jon W. “Roger (bassist/vocalist for Less Than Jake) sometimes pushes ideas that have worked with Less Than Jake, but wouldn’t work for us," says Jon L. “We’re The Dopamines, and we’re a different band." Although, the band concludes, “We might not always agree with Roger, but he pushed ideas on us that helped the final product in the end."

The Dopamines have a new album coming out called Expect the Worst, which is expected to release sometime this summer. Jon W proclaims that the album has a political and economic level and also a level based on “Jon’s life going down the drain." Either way, it sounds enticing enough not to expect the worst from this album. “If the album is a failure, then people can’t complain since we’re telling them to expect the worst,” laughs Jon L, “but if the album is a triumph then it’s ironic.” Based on their live performance and array of songs, I don’t think these guys have anything to worry about.

Unlike Cheap Girls, The Dopamines believe that the crowd is the best part to a show. “Live shows are the only thing that keeps a band interesting to other people,” claims Jon L, “whether it’s the Insubordination Fest or 15-20 people like tonight.” Mikey Erg also adds in a quote borrowed from the band Minutemen, “The album is the menu and the live shows are the meal." These guys are all about having fun, but at the same time, they want you to have fun too. I also love their simplistic approach to keeping a band together. As long as there are similar expectations and no one is trying too hard, then a band is solid. Of course, they need to be having fun while doing it.  

If you want a killer song by The Dopamines, Jon L suggests a personal song he wrote called “Operate” off their debut LP Soap and Lampshades. As for the new record, look out for the song “Dick Simmons,” which is about how much emphasis society puts on looks and vanity. “It’s bullshit,” protests Jon L. “You do what you do because you love it. Forget everything else.” There is no doubt that these guys have their heads on straight; they just want to take things one step at a time and move forward. One of their goals is to play places around the world they have never been to, but even if that doesn’t happen, they are still happy with what they achieved thus far. The Dopamines have already accomplished so much and these guys are heartfelt enough to appreciate it. In the end, the guys are already thrilled with where they are. Matt concludes, “All I wanted to do was play in a band.”       

Needless to say, Paper + Plastick records aren’t producing the mainstream fluff you hear on the radio. Whether it’s the laidback sound of Cheap Girls that you desire or the hard-hitting sound of The Dopamines, Paper + Plastick has it all. So what are you waiting for? Put your digital abilities to good use and pick your poison. Trust me now and your ears will thank me later.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dead To Me

The December issue of The Cut is finally coming out and this is my DTM interview that's featured in the magazine. 

Punk bands. Don’t they all sound the same, and isn’t punk dead anyway? Well, San Francisco punk band Dead To Me is not afraid to mix up their sound or freshen up the punk scene. Don’t take our word for it thoughThe Cut threw down words with core member of the group, Tyson Annicharico aka Chicken (Tyson Chicken, get it?), as he reflected on the band’s changing sound and his punk rock journey thus far.  

DTM’s sound has changed a lot since the release of Cuban Ballerina and the loss/addition of members. Would you agree?

Chicken: I do agree with that and I’m proud of it. I don’t ever want to keep putting out the same records. There’s a lot of bands that every record sounds exactly the same, the first song on the record sounds like the ninth song. It’s an easy way to do things and an easy way to make sure people are going to stay your fans. Like with my favorite bands, their records sound different. The Clashall their records sound different but they have that core element and that’s what we try to maintain. Jawbreaker and Fugazi records all sound different. I just don’t want to be repetitive. As far as the members being gone, it was always circumstantial. The dudes we have now are permanent and everybody quit their jobs to be in DTM.  And we’re just going for it.  

Do you see DTM's sound changing from what it is now?

C: We’re at the point now after two full lengths and the EP that keeping things fresh is always a priority, but honestly, songs just come out the way they do. Not to be a total hippie, but the Navajo Indians have this term called “catching a song” as opposed to writing a song. I feel like I catch songs more than I write them. I feel like there’s shit floating around in the ether, and when I was a young dude I started paying attention to all these sounds that I was hearing around me. Like I have this little antenna on my head and it comes through there. I don’t really get to pick what they send me, it just comes to me. By listening to that voice and listening to myself, I’ve got to go all over the world with my best friends. I grew up on a dirt road; I never thought I’d be in Prague or Tokyo someday.    

Two of the songs on the new 7’’ were originally Bad Friends songs. What’s the story behind this side-project?  

C: Bad Friends grew out of this weird, in-between spot of us being like “what are we gonna do after Jack (founder of the group)” and making a new DTM record, we weren’t ready to start playing shows as a three piece yet. You have to figure out how to play the songs differently with three people, because the songs are written with two guitars so you have to figure out how to do it with just one. So we started Bad Friends as an outlet for new songs. It was basically just to play shows in San Francisco because we love playing shows. We’re a live band and we’ll always be a live band, that’s our favorite thing to do. Honestly, it was just like a little secret code-name for DTM.  

What was the inspiration for these songs?

C: All three of those songs are different, one of them is down-tuned which is guitar-nerd talk for tuning your guitar different. I’ve never tried anything like that and something was telling me I should tune down this thing and see what it’s like to write a song like that. So I did and that’s how “Wait For It” came. The other two songs were just like me staying true to the songs that I love to write, but also trying different stuff as a guitar player. The truth is I write DTM songs on guitar, bass is secondary to me. You know, we needed a bass player so I play bass.

Is it easier to write songs on guitar than bass?

C: I think so, and I think it’s easier to play bass...if you’re in DTM. I won’t say that for true bass masters out there, like the dude in the Descendents, don’t tell that guy it’s easy to play bass! 

If you could pick one song for a new listener to hear, what would it be?  

C: I mean, they’re all my babies, it’s really hard for me to say “check out this one” over the other ones. If I had to though, I’d say “Little Brother” because I love that song lyrically. It was this weird afternoon one time with me and Jack, and I had the guitar parts down and he’s like “Lemme take this home and work on it for a minute.” He came back the next day and he’s like, “dude, I think it should be a reggae song” and he had this really cool baselinemy favorite DTM baseline that I didn’t write and I was like that’s the shit! That’s why I love writing songs with people because they’re always going to think of something you didn’t and sometimes it just clicks.  

How does DTM differ from the other bands you've been in and has your influence changed with the bands?

C: In the other bands I was in, I was never a songwriter. I never started singing before DTM either, so it’s different in that way. As far as influence, I feel like I’m influenced far more by life in general than by music. I don’t listen to a record and be like, “I wanna write a song like that!” I’ll experience something in my life and be like, “whoa, that’s pretty crazy.” Songs are this really cool outlet where we can express these crazy, surreal things that happen in our lives and there’s a place for them. I wish I could express my feelings better to the people in my life, but for some reason when I go to sit down and write a song I’m able to communicate with music. Me and music have this dialogue where she listens to me and I listen to her, and it works out.

What's your current outlook on music?

C: I could be anywhere and if I hear something that I’ve never heard before and it catches my ear, I’ll have to find out what it is. I’m like “What is this, it’s amazing, it’s hurting my stomach right now, in a good way, and I need to know what this is!” Also, the older I get I don’t have guilty pleasures anymore—I just like what I like. I don’t secretly listen to stuff on the side.  

Future plans and final thoughts?

C: Well as far as our plans, we’re just touring, touring, touring.  We just got back from Europe, we were there for a month. Now we’re doing the US for a month, then I’ll be back in San Francisco for a little while, and then we’re trying to get back to Europe early next year. It’s just tour, record, and write songs. For a final thoughttell people to love themselves because everything in our lives tells us that we are not good enough, but forget all that. We’re awesome.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Copyrights

Currently signed to Red Scare Industries, The Copyrights are like most pop-punk bands---they know how to have fun. I had a little fun of my own in a Q&A with vocalist/bassist Adam Fletcher, check it out! Then, be sure to check out their music if you haven't already. And if you have, blast that shit.  

Your music can take a shitty day and make it an awesome one, are there any songs that do this for you?

Adam: First off, thanks for the kind words. I guess we make music with the idea of turning a shitty situation into the best it can be. I’ve been pretty deep into reggae for the last few years, which seems to have a similar theme running through the music. Which most likely stems from artists writing from a desperate point of view…..Anyway to answer your question it’s probably the song “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat. That shit slays.

Are there places you want to tour but haven’t been able to yet? Or places you just never want to visit again? 

A: We haven’t made it to Japan yet, that’s on our schedule of places to go. We’ve covered most of Europe and Canada, and we even toured Puerto Rico. I think if I never have to play a show in Las Vegas ever again, I would be fine with it.

For anyone that hasn’t heard your music, what’s a good song for them to start off with that represents what The Copyrights are all about?

A: To be honest, most of our albums and songs are pretty similar. We come from the AC/DC and Ramones school of music, where we keep it simple and straight forward. If you pick up one of our albums, chances are you’ll like the rest. I would suggest getting our last record Learn the Hard Way. It’s a bit shorter, faster, and louder.

If you had to choose between a cover song would it be a Lawrence Arms song or a Teenage Bottlerocket one?

A: “Earth Angel” by Slapstick

What do you guys consider to be your best album?

A: I’m going to go ahead and give the stock answer most artists say, and go with our new album. It’s in the mixing stage right now and will hopefully be out later this year. We spent a long time working on it, and I think we’re all pretty excited to get it released.

Riot Fest!  Besides the mass amounts of partying, what are you looking forward to about Riot Fest?  

A: We’re playing with Propaghandi on my birthday, so I’m pretty excited for that. I really want to see the Corrosion of Conformity show, it’s the original lineup from the Eye For An Eye album. I also really want to check out the Cro-Mags set. I saw them in the late 90’s with Harley singing and it was a total joke. I’ve never been able to catch the John Joseph version of the band, so I want to see that for sure. Just hanging out with all of our friends who come out to the fest is always a good time, just one big party.

Future plans?

A: Like I said earlier, we just finished recording a new album. We spent a really long time working on it. We usually go into the studio pretty unrehearsed, and just knock it out in 5 days or so. This time around we worked with our friend Matt Allison (Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake, etc) at Atlas Studios in Chicago and we took our time. It’s still being mixed and probably won’t be released until later this year.

If you could sum up The Copyrights using a song lyric, what would it be?

A: "Shits Fucked"