With The Punches

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This next band is one that I got to sit down with when they drove through Boston on Halloween actually and they are one of the most interesting I'€™ve sat down with lately. With a lot of bands going the independent route recently, this band With The Punches has been one that'€™s been doing it since the beginning. They print their own merch, design it, keep incredibly active all over social media and are a great example of making it work for yourself.

I sat down with Sam and Jesse at the last date of their most recent tour with Thieves and Villains and Just Surrender and they told me about everything from the journey the tour had been to how two of their members dropped off right before the tour to things as goofy as what they think each other would be doing if they weren'€™t in the band. Read on for everything with With The Punches and be sure to catch them in a city near you soon!

So for a soft one to start us off, take the band member next to you so you would do it for each other. What would they be doing if they weren'€™t in music? It can be goofy, it can be serious!
Jesse: Okay so if Sam was not in With The Punches, he would be a full time season ticket holder to the New York Rangers. He would have had his first and probably second liver replacement surgery and probably running the largest gold foil apparel company this side of the West Coast.
Sam: Nice! I got to think of something good. Alright well being a lead singer, Jesse would most likely be working at Chippendales as the lead stripper and making sure that all the other strippers there were doing their job and he would probably also be replacing Ke$ha on the weekends when she'€™s wasted and doing her parts and singing her shit so that'€™s definitely what he would be doing.
Jesse: Yep.
Sam: No I mean like vocal fill ins in like a wig and dressed up. He would look like a dude wearing a chick'€™s outfit like she does so it would be totally cool.
Jesse: I'€™m primed for it already.

Then considering it'€™s Halloween, what'€™s been your favorite costume for yourself so far?
Jesse: My favorite costume that I'€™ve ever worn?
Yeah!
Jesse: Man I gotta say I'€™m really bad about wearing costumes.
Uh oh!
Jesse: Because yeah we'€™re just on tour all the time so costumes aren'€™t the easiest. I will say my favorite Halloween costume that we'€™ve come up with yet was to have the Ninja Squirtle. It'€™s kind of like half Pokemon, half ninja turtle. I think that would be the best one I'€™ve seen on so far.
Sam: Uh, I don'€™t know I haven'€™t really dressed up in a few years but I went as Will Ferrell'€™s character from Semi Pro a few years ago and that was pretty funny. Especially because it was like negative twenty degrees outside and I was wearing the short shorts and I'€™m just like '€˜Oh my god it'€™s so cold!'€™
Jesse: It'€™s hard to be in costume as a touring band on the road.
Sam: When I was a little kid though I was a ninja turtle that was pretty cool but I was like five so that was a long time ago.
A while ago yeah!

Then how did With The Punches come to be?
Jesse: Started writing songs in the end of 2008 and-
Sam: 2007.
Jesse: Yeah 2007 started writing songs and didn'€™t really form a band until 2008, 2009 when we put out a record called '€œKeep it Going'€ but it really was just a matter of finding the right people that wanted to do this and tour as quickly as possible. So Sam and I had been close friends for a while so it was just a matter of me trying to get him to come do it at first and then since then, it'€™s kind of been like Dustin and I who started this originally and Sam and it'€™s really just like our three part wolf pack from then on. So we haven'€™t really, we'€™ve had some other members and we'€™re currently going through some changes but the core has stayed this. The three of us doing what we do.

So then how has the latest EP been going over? Maybe not necessarily sales but by the kids at the shows and everything?
Jesse: Well our new record is soon to be coming out. Most likely next month and it'€™s called '€œIt'€™s Not The End of The World'€ but a few months back we released a song called '€˜Dead weight'€™ that is a demo off the new record. It seems like it'€™s probably one of the favorite songs in the set so it'€™s very cool how well that'€™s been received so we have high hopes for this new EP.

Then with the new EP, did the sound change at all? Like the writing process and everything for that one or is it pretty classic?
Sam: Yeah when we did the last one we kind of just, we all lived kind of far away like Jesse and Dustin are from Newburg which is like an hour north of New York City and I'€™m from Long Island and the two old dudes in our band are from like Central New Jersey which is like another hour from the city south. So we would only really get to practice like once a week at the most and we would write and just kind of force things together. It came together really well like we were really stoked on it but we put in a lot of work and like I started writing a lot of the bases of the songs for the new stuff and we kind of just built off of it and the last song that we have on the record that we'€™ve been playing just is two clean guitars and Jesse singing on the tour so far that we wrote for us like a week before went into the studio with out the other two dudes because they bailed on us like last minute.
Did they really?
Sam: Yeah it was pretty shitty but we were actually able to pull together and I think it'€™s going to be the strongest song on the record. We'€™re all really stoked on it because we got a great response like playing it last every night just with two guitars. It'€™s a very bass driven song so when I actually get back to doing that it'€™s going to be pretty great. We'€™re really, really stoked to just get it out there and have people hear us. I mean it'€™s been almost two years since we released something so we'€™re kind of stoked on it.

Crazy so I know you'€™ve been on this tour with Just Surrender and Thieves and Villains and then you have a bunch of like local bands that are added on today. How did the tour end up going for you guys? Are you sad to see this go?
Jesse: So sad for it to be over today. Worse news of today is that it'€™s over. It'€™s been a blast! Thieves and Villains are an incredible band and it'€™s honestly been like a legitimate inspiration for me since we started this tour and Just Surrender are awesome. I grew up around those dudes kind of like we'€™re all close in age and they came out in the scene a couple years before we ever got this going so it'€™s real cool that we get to be out on tour with them. They'€™re all hometown dudes. We'€™re all kind of from the same area so it'€™s been an amazing tour. I have nothing but good things to say about it.
Those guys have been around for a while!
Sam: Yeah they have and like we finished in the studio the Monday before we left for tour which was the following Friday and we almost weren'€™t able to do it because we couldn'€™t find a replacement. We had two kids come up from Virginia that were supposed to play guitar and drums and when they got there, they just weren'€™t able to do it as well as we had hoped so we went out acoustic for a few days. It was actually a lot better than we thought it was going to be but we were able to get our fill in for this tour to come out and it'€™s just been a lot of fun playing with four peeps and just going on stage and doing it as hard as you can every night no matter what.

And then if you could take out maybe three dream bands to tour with, who would they be?
Jesse: Blink 182, New Found Glory and the Movie Life.
Sam: Sick! Definitely The Movie Life and New Found. Those are like our three collectively favorite bands usually.
Jesse: That'€™s pretty solid.
Sam: But we could give you like a million.
Jesse: If the list could go on , it would be a really long time.
Sam: One thing that the three of us care about is music and that'€™s pretty much the only thing that we really give our all to you know. We'€™ve tried so long to get to this point we'€™re at and we'€™re just thankful that even with all the shit that we'€™ve had so far, we'€™re still able to do it and we'€™re never going to stop no matter what.

That'€™s great! Then maybe what'€™s one of the wildest things you'€™ve seen at one of your shows? It could be this tour in general, maybe or while on the road?
Jesse: Wildest thing on this tour? I wouldn'€™t say necessarily wild but I would say that the best reception and the most comfortable thing we had was the first night of tour. We played in Rhode Island and we were acoustic and it was not what we wanted to do but kids came out to see us and they were climbing on stage and grabbing the microphone in a acoustic setting which I'€™ve never seen at a show before so I feel like that is something that I know I'€™ll never forget. I think it was really, really cool.
Sam: Yeah and outside of this tour, I think the coolest thing that we'€™ve ever seen was when we were in Modesto, California playing in the middle of nowhere at this weird arcade place. We'€™re outside just loading our stuff back up and this dude'€™s getting arrested and we see him in handcuffs getting walked over to the cop car and he'€™s just cracked out of his mind. Starts crip walking all the way to the cop car and the cop was just like '€˜What are you doing?'€™ and he was like '€˜Don'€™t even worry about it yo!'€™

And then being a band that does tour a lot, you are touring full time and playing all over the country. What are you three top tour essentials that you must bring with you?
Jesse: Baby wipes, toothbrush, deodorant and Axe.
Sam: I bring Axe they all hate it. Jesse and I use it sometimes. I'€™ll spray it on Dustin occasionally and he gets so pissed off. He'€™s like '€˜I can'€™t breathe! What is this grossness?'€™. I'€™ll be like '€˜Sorry dude I like to smell good. I don'€™t like to smell like an asshole'€™.
Jesse: Exactly.

Then what can fans look forward to if they haven'€™t seen you guys before? I mean if you'€™ve been playing in New York and then you started touring.
Jesse: Expect to see a band where if you love the songs and you know the words then it'€™s your turn to sing them and that really we get up there and our thing is to play the song and for myself personally, just try and get the microphone in front of as many kids as I can. So that everyone can sing along like now that we'€™ve written the songs and we appreciate people being into it, we just love being able to share it and let them sing along. So anyone that'€™s never seen us, come out and expect to sing.
Sam: Yeah and our biggest thing is that we go on stage and it could be for one person or it could be for a thousand people like we'€™re going to give it our all every night. We'€™re just trying to bring some passion back to the music scene and not just be a band that'€™s going out and doing the new pop thing or you know the new hardcore thing or adding break downs and doing stupid shit just because. Like we do this because it'€™s what we love and it'€™s what we grew up on. Like we grew up on pop punk at it'€™s pike and watched it deteriorate into a lot of shitty music that people just kind of branched off of and just made more terrible bands. There'€™s a ton out there and we'€™re just trying to get back out and you know actually make a statement and just show people what music'€™s really about.

Then I went on your myspace obviously to check out some of the music and I saw that you had a spot for donations so obviously you have fans that follow you on myspace. How has that all affected you, having that available like social media?
Jesse: Um as far as like donations stuff, we haven'€™t really used a whole lot now but we were in a tough spot on tour.
Like part of it all.
Jesse: Yeah absolutely. We were in a really tough spot on tour not that long ago and having donations set up was huge and helped us get back home. We were in a really, really tough spot with no van and no money so kids have been amazing for that. We also run our own merch store. Sam does all of our designs and we print all of our own merch in the hopes that we can get people to continually just stay up on what we do even if we don'€™t have a new record out. That we'€™re putting out new stuff for every body to pick up and enjoy what we do you know.

Perfect then what can fans look forward to in these next few months? I know you guys said that you have the new EP coming out which is exciting but are you going to be on the road supporting it? I know it'€™s pretty much a full time thing for you guys.
Sam: As much as possible. We'€™re going to release our EP with in the next few weeks hopefully before we leave for tour on the 26th and we'€™re going to be out for a month then we'€™ll be home for like a week then we'€™re hopefully going to be out for the rest of the year after that. We'€™re actually hoping to write and release a full length before this summer coming up because of how long it took us to release our EP. We just want to get as much music done as possible but we'€™re just going to play it by ear whether it'€™s writing more music or touring. One of the two. We just want to be out doing this full time.

Great and then what was the first show you went to or first concert you went to and do you think it influences you at all today?
Jesse: Um yeah I would say first show was like make or break for every body but I know for myself I was involved in all kinds of music. My parents were cool to get me involved in different music, not just punk rock and a lot of kids will say their first show was crazy. Scene essential bands that may or may not be bands that they had actually seen. I went and saw like pop rock bands that I thought were amazing when I was younger with my parents. So those kinds of things shaped my mind at a really young age just to play music no matter what and then thankfully later on, being in a lot of bands I know Sam and I specifically one tour we talked about was Taking Back Sunday and Saosin and a bunch of other bands and My Chemical Romance.
Sam: Yeah we didn'€™t even know who they were.
Jesse: And Moneen and I would probably say it was the best show I'€™ve ever seen.
Crazy line up!
Jessee: Absolutely. Incredible!
Sam: It was Saosin with Anthony Green too which was pretty really, really awesome.
Jesse: Perfect show, absolutely!
Right in the beginning!
Both: Mmhmm!
Jesse: Very early yep.
He only did like one EP! Well I think that'€™s all I have for you, thank you so much!
Jesse: Thank you!

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