Of Mice and Men

Austin Carlile is known as one of the lead front man in this scene and for good reason. He's been the front man of scene kings Attack Attack as well as returning to his current band Of Mice and Men after leaving the band for a short amount of time. While his road may be a rocky one through the music industry, it was a pleasure to sit down with him for the third interview Music Remedy has done with Of Mice!

The circumstance for this interview couldn't be better as the band just spent their first headlining summer on the Warped Tour despite only having two full lengths under their belt. While the deets haven't been announced just yet for that record, the band is fresh off of their US run with August Burns Red and have announced their new headlining run which includes playing a capacity of over a thousand here in Boston in February. They have consistently played to huge enthusiastic audiences and are sure to put out an insane third record now that the line up is concrete!

You'€™ve done Warped Tour once in the past. How has it now being a veteran and playing main stage? How is it to be a headliner after working so hard?
It'€™s surreal! It'€™s awesome being that it'€™s something that was started three years ago and in so short of a time. Going from playing our first show and three years later, playing Warped Tour on main stage. We'€™re the youngest band on the whole stage so it'€™s cool to kind of see everything we did in such a short amount of time getting us where we are.

You re-issued '€˜The Flood'€™ as a deluxe version of the record. Are you writing the next record?
Actually, Alan was writing last night. We all write. It'€™s really hard to write on the road but sometimes it just comes and ten minutes later, we'€™ll clear everybody out and work as a band. Times like that don'€™t work out too often especially on Warped Tour but we'€™ve started on it and the album that we'€™re re-issuing. The sound we have with that is a completely different thing then anything we'€™ve touched on before because we just wanted to have that chapter of '€˜The Flood'€™ be that chapter and have that area and that ink and that sound that we wanted there. And the next chapter will be completely different.

And I know it'€™s going to be your third record as a band. You'€™ve obviously gone through some changes and some rough times. Maybe what are you most looking forward to like with working on that record and being this group together?
I like that we get to take time on it. Our first record was something that we wrote in about three weeks. Our second record, well Al and I wrote basically like half of it. I started my own project and Alan and I wrote in his apartment when I was out of the band and then I joined back in the band and literally two days after he met the band, we were recording. So we took all the songs that we had from my solo project and we just put them on '€˜The Flood'€™ and that'€™s the album. So it'€™s cool that this time, we actually get to take time to work on it because we'€™ve never had time to work on an album. Even out of our forty songs that we had, I had literally like two days to record all of them and as a vocalist I like to record, then listen to it for a bit. Meditate on it, hear it, feel it then go back and change it and change it but I mean I hear songs from everything that we do and I want to change them all but that'€™s what new music'€™s for.

Then to maybe end it off, what is coming up after the Warped Tour? Are you going to maybe be focusing on that record? Are you guys planning on touring?
No, we'€™ll be on the road! We have three weeks off. I'€™ll be in LA for a week then I'€™m going to Costa Rica for two weeks. Then we have a co-headlining tour that I can'€™t tell you about.
Of course!
Then coming up right after that, we have another week off then we have another headliner in the UK and Europe which should be great. The last one we did was all sold out every day so we just moved into bigger venues and got even bigger support. I'€™m super stoked about it then after that we have three weeks off then we'€™re going to another country on a whole other continent but we can'€™t release it yet. We'€™re just on tour for the rest of the year but tour'€™s home. So it works out that way!
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Michelle Branch

My passion for music started when I was a pre-teen listening to the "mainstream" radio which at the time was really all I knew. Clearly I've broadened my horizons since then. With my music library shuffling between everything from noise rock duos to pop rock at its' poppiest, the classics still find their way in on occasion. Okay, more then on occasion. To me, one of those classic artists of my generation was Michelle Branch. Be it her solo work to her time in country duo The Wreckers to her collaborations with Santana, she always stood out in the steady stream of music that we listened to on car trips and on MTV!

While she may have stepped away from the spotlight these past few years, she is working on a new record 'West Coast Time'. While no longer flying solo, she does have a husband and child in tow, she is sure to regain the superstar stardom she once knew. For our interview, we sat down in a room off of the Goo Goo Dolls' vocal warm up and discussed everything from her new record to what she's been doing the past few years to how antsy and excited she is to be back on the road!

It's definitely been a while since you've been on the road but what are the three things you must have while on the road?
Oh wow! Um, the must haves have changed having my daughter out on tour. We try and make it like as normal and family life as possible during the day so we actually have a kitchen on our bus and the first thing we do is go to the grocery store and stock up. Just as much food as we can. What else do we have? A yoga mat! Me and the band do yoga we try to. Doesn't always happen and it's funny to see the boys do it then what's the last thing? And that would be counted as the incense I guess. We go through it like crazy!
And then I believe this is like your first major tour in a while.
Well, yeah it is! Actually it is my first like "tour" tour. I've been doing one offs for the last few years which has obviously been like the biggest tease because I'll have like three shows with some one and then I'm like 'Okay, that was fun I'm going home now' but yeah it's nice to be back out on the road again. It takes a while to get back in the rhythms especially now because having my daughter out- it's just a million different things pulling my attention in different directions. I think it must be the same for any working mom. You have the things you're supposed to do and things you want to do. Some days you get all of it done and some days you don't but it's a definite balancing act.
Sure! How has it been to be back on the road. I mean I was right behind the girls with the signs.
Sorry then (laughs)!
No, it was funny! Clearly, you still have those fans that have like stuck with you this whole time even though maybe you haven't been playing as much. How has it been to be back on the road and playing these shows?
It's weird because, in a sense, it feels like I haven't left in the grand scheme of things because I have been working this whole time then I sit back and go 'Oh yeah you're right I can't remember the last time I was here'. It's like how many years ago was that? So I definitely have my insecurities and I'm like Okay are people going to show up? Are people going to like it? Will people know the songs and it's just the same I'm sure as any other artist. You just wonder like if people are actually going to come!
That's what's the best part of being on a opening spot. It's a relief just because of you not having to worry about if I'm having my own show if people are going to show up or not. You kind of just get to relax.
And then 'Hotel Paper' was the last solo Michelle Branch record, right? I know you had The Wreckers' record but that was your last solo. Maybe how do you think it actually helped you with putting out the new record this fall?
In a way, I feel like doing a record just really gave me the chance to grow up a lot and having found success so young in age I think people were just, when I say people I mean people at the label, completely content to keep on shelling out the same kind of songs over and over and that's why I did The Wreckers. To kind of get a different perspective away from that and some time to just do an album because I liked music. So yeah, it's kind of given me this fresh start and it's going to be really interesting to see how people react once, you know, the album's out.
And do you think the songwriting has changed for you? Like as a singer-songwriter.
Yeah (laughs). I mean a lot of the songs that were on the first record especially were just kind of fictional songs. You're a writer so you know I would just conjure up different scenarios in my head and go maybe 'Oh this is what it's like' and have a little bit of experience on the subject but I mean what do you know at fifteen and now cut ahead to where I'm 28. Married and have a child and I've seen the world as opposed to wondering. So definitely, I think that it's changed!
And then the first single 'Loud Music' just came out a little while ago. What's the story behind that song as your first one out?
'Loud Music' is a song that is kind of like a homage of what my favorite records growing up were and it all started where Jim Irvin and Joe Emery and I were all writing and we came up with the line 'driving too fast is the definition'. And we were like wouldn't it be cool if we could hook that, put that hook from, 'Immigrant Song' in there and snuck the oh woah part in there. It was like 'Wait a minute, what other bands can we talk about' and that's kind of how the whole thing started. Was just the thought of like 'Wow, how would my life be different if I didn't find those records?' It changed my life.
Then obviously, like at the show tonight, people were into it and they knew the song. How has it been going over to like the fans? Is it a good indicator of what's to come on the record? I know it's hard to put it in boxes, it's no fun!
Yeah it's hard because of course like I am so excited for people to hear new songs and there were three new songs in the set tonight. There were three new songs in the set tonight and that's a lot for an opener slot so I know like some nights I'll take one out and put an old one back in and play with it a bit. It's hard when you're opening up for some one and especially when we're trying a new format where we're not playing with a drummer. So we have nights that like are dependent on audiences. Honestly it's more based on the venue. Like if people are closer to the stage and standing, it tends to be better but like stadium style seating isn't so great because no one wants to stand up so it's just different every night.
Then how did the recording process go for 'West Coast Time'?
It went really, really well. I went to London to record half the record which is something that I've been wanting to do for a while and it was just so nice. Like I definitely am very affected by whatever environment I'm in so being there and being so far away from home changed my writing a lot and it changed just the sounds that I was playing with. Then the producers coming from England, they had a completely different background so it was definitely something where thye pushed me a little bit in certain ways and I pushed back in different ways.
Then maybe obviously you've toured with records when you were younger and fifteen I think you said when 'Everywhere' came out. So maybe what's the most familiar sounding song on this record for past fans and then most out of left field?
I would say the most familiar is 'Loud Music' and that's probably why it was used as the first single. It's definitely a kind of like just straight ahead pop song. So I would say that's probably the most similiar. There are a few songs on the record that are really different from anything that I've done. One is a song called "Master Mind" and it was produced by a guy named Mike Hellazondo who has a really amazing background of working with a lot of urban artists like Dr. Dre. So not like mine at all but he was an amazing musician and I kind of wanted to make kind of a pride song like with spaghetti western guitars and that type of thing. So it's definitely different and my brother, my older brother, loves that song and that's a good indicator because he doesn't listen to the same kind of music I do and he's like 'When can you email me that song?' So, we'll see!
Perfect and then I actually spoke to Tyler Hilton last year and he said he has written with you a little bit you guys have messed around and then obviously you've collaborated with Santana. So who would be like your dream writing partner?
That's a good question. I am so obsessed with Jack White and I recently was on a flight with him by chance from LA to Nashville and I literally like sat there and was like 'Oh god I can't listen to his music while he's sitting next to me' but I would love to like one day make kind of a more rock record and I would love to see what he would come up. Like that would be my dream.
Great, then these to end it off, are bringing it back a little bit. The first CD or cassette you bought and then the first concert you went to?
Yes! Well, I remember the first record I actually bought so even further and it's embarassingly enough. It was Pebbles' 'Mercedes Boy' or single for 'If You Want To Ride My Mercedes Boy', that was it! And then I got the Beatles 'Love Songs' compilation in the same setting so it balanced out.
Then those experiences, like the first concert and everything, do you think that really influenced you maybe just as a person or your style?
They definitely, I think, I remember the excitement of it all and still whenever I see people who I really, really love live I still have moments where I kind of drift off and just 'Oh my god I can't believe it!' You know I'm a big fan. Fan. Music fan first. That's why I'm here. So I definitely still have fan moments. There was a moment when I got to see Neil Young play in Hong Kong and no one spoke English and then he went out and played and everyone sang every word and I was just like 'Life is so great right now. How am I standing here right now?' So I just love music.
Perfect and then I know you said that you are touring in the fall or you plan on it? Are you going to be back touring?
I will be doing a headlining club tour in October/November which I'm really excited about. I don't know who I'm bringing out with me yet we're still trying to figure out what openers there are that I want to bring out but I'm really excited to get back to them. I would say clubs are my favorite places to play. I'm looking around the audience, seeing like the girls with signs here and there and go 'Well okay if we were all in a small room, it would be really high energy'.
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Glamour Of The Kill

No one can deny the insane amount of buzz that is surrounding British imports here in the US this past year. While it was happening in the past few years to be exact, it's this year where it's not only in mainstream with boy bands like The Wanted and One Direction but it's even crossing into indie singer/songwriter types like Passenger, Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran! One area that it's always been happening in is heavy metal, nu-metal, you name it heavy music. I recently caught one of these acts Glamour In The Kill on their first US run ever, in fact their second ever US tour date!

I got the unique opportunity to speak to lead vocalist Davey of the project who after success in UK was seemingly incredibly excited to dip his toes in to what the fans in America have to offer. While not only playing stages across the states, they also are in the midst of working on their next studio record with acclaimed producer Joey Sturgis who has produced some of the most well recieved metal records in modern day music. It's only obvious that this band is meant for success and will be hitting the grindstone for it!

Obviously, this tour started last night and the record just came out here in the US in the beginning of the month. So since you're touring, what are the three things you must have while on the road to survive?
Must haves? My bass guitar (laughs), my voice and probably money.
Money?
Yeah (laughs)! But yeah, definitely I think the passport is a big part. Add the passport and I really don't need much anything else.

Then obviously the tour just started last night but you were in New York City which is a huge market. How did that show go and what do you think is going to be the best part and the hardest part of this tour?
Last night was amazing! It's only our first US tour so it was awesome to play New York City on the first day we had ever been to the states. The crowds were amazing. Like they made us feel so welcome and it was just surreal. In my head I was like 'What's going on? Why am I here?' but that night it was incredible. We feel so lucky to be a part of this tour. I think the hardest part is probably just staying well because we drink quite a bit. So I think we've just got to have our vitamins.
Then speaking of your first tour, as I've seen, it's kind of hard for a lot of British bands to grow here but you do have ones that are kind of at the top like Bring Me The Horizon, Asking Alexandria. Maybe was there any advice that you got from other bands who have toured here before?
I think it's just to smash it! Give it everything you've got I mean we're good friends with Bullet For My Valentine as well and Mike our guitarist is just starting a side project actually with Matock and Liam from Cancer Bats and Matock just said give it everything you've got. Give it a hundred and ten percent every night and that's what we're doing, you know. Is just smashing it! That's the best thing to do.
Then are kids knowing the words at all?
Yeah, definitely!
They already know all the words?
Yeah, which has been amazing like the album came out October the second. We playing New York and there were so many people who knew the words. We went and hung out at the merch table after the show and people knew us. It was really crazy (laughs).
They already know who you are maybe from past listening of the band?
Which is awesome!
And I know while it did just drop here just over a week ago I think but it did come out previously in the UK. Are you working on the new one, are you writing or are you still going to hold off a bit?
Well, actually, yeah, the album came out in January of last year in the UK. We signed to EOne entertainment in the US. It was actually a soft release really. We didn't want to push it too much. We actually have the new album fully written and this tour finishes up on the seventh. We go into the studio with Joey Sturgis on November the 8th and record the new album.
Perfect!
Yeah!
He's worked with so many people.
Yeah, yeah! So we're really excited like he did Asking and We Came As Romans and stuff. So I'm really excited. It should be great.
And do you think it's, to you as the singer of this band, sonically already changing from what kids are hearing now or is it pretty similiar?
Oh, it's a complete step up! I mean as a band we've always said every album needs to be better then the one before. You see so many bands that release an amazing debut and the second album's not so good or the third album is not so good. I think with us, we always try to push to make every album we release the best one that everyone's ever heard you know. So each one is just a step up. It's just an example of how much we've come on as a band and how much older we are. So I'm really excited for this new record.
And how does the band typically go about the songwriting process? Is it just one person or is it more collaborative?
I mean we all get together and write. Obviously we have different ideas and we have different influences and I think the sound that we have is just all our influences. The thing about Glamour of the Kill is we're not afraid to write a really heavy part and then go into like a melodic singing catchy part. Especially with my voice. My voice can get really high. A lot of people wouldn't put my voice with the kind of music we play but I think it seems to fit well and it stands out so it's good. People like it (laughs)!
And then a soft one! Do you remember the first CD or cassette you ever bought as a kid? Then the first concert you ever went to?
The first records? I can't remember the first record I ever bought but I will always remember the first record I ever heard. I went into my dad's garage and I found loads of records like LP's. I found this record, loved the artwork and went in, put it on the record player and it was just like 'This is it.' I think that pretty much changed the way I felt about music. That was pretty much one of the heaviest albums I heard at that point in my life which kind of lead onto a few different things but I think the first show I ever went to one of those shitty little shows in my hometown. Like ska bands and punk pop bands. But it was when like Reel Big Fish were huge and things like that. I honestly can't remember what my first big show was, probably something like Sum 41 (laughs).
Sum 41?
Yeah! I used to love like pop punk and stuff. I still do!
Maybe then to end it off, like you said, this is your first US tour ever despite being a band for a little bit of time now. Are you planning to come back pretty quickly? Are you going to just see how this run goes?
Well, we're looking to! We have got good people behind us like the Artery Foundation and a booking agent and a really cool label behind us. So I think we're going to head into the studio, get this record laid down and probably try to release it in April/May and trying to come back as soon as possible. Probably something in the summer. I really want to do Warped so (laughs) I guess we're just going to see what happens! I'm excited. Really excited to get into this new album and excited for the things that are going to come after!
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Vacationer

Side projects are one of my favorite things in the music industry. One of those projects that I recently got to take in live? Vacationer, the indie buzz band that no one can get off the tips of their tongues. What's great about this band in particular alike to Ryan Gosling's project Dead Man's Bones amongst others is that it's a partially well kept secret that the front man just happens to front some pop punk band you may know from the past called The Starting Line. It's best though to not realize that until you take in a live show from Vacationer. It is something completely different and beautiful on its' own. A friend even mentioned a few days later that she had no idea that it was the same singer despite talking to Kenny and buying a record from him when he was working merch post set. She wanted to buy the CD purely because of how blown away she was by the bands' performance!

First say your name and your role in Vacationer.
Yeah, okay! I'€™m Kenny and I play bass and sing in Vacationer. I play guitar on the record too.
Perfect!

Then maybe a soft one to start off. Obviously you do your fair share of touring with this band. What are like three things you must have while on the road to survive?
The three things I must have on the road?! I like my pillow but I lost it on the last tour so I don'€™t know if I'€™m going to trust myself to bring another one. What do I like? I like my music collection. It'€™s important! Then the third thing. Pencil and pad or pen and pad. Either one will work but it'€™s good to have something as an outlet to rub your brain out onto something.

Then maybe how has it been headlining? In comparison to opening for other people?
We really haven'€™t headlined too much. Have we done anything that'€™s headlining? I think that this is it. I want to say we'€™ve headlined like one or two other shows but they'€™ve been in really off places or really small cities like when we'€™re trying to fill dates on tour and those are usually pretty cool. They are usually something where local bands will help to bring people out. What'€™s the word? I guess it'€™s a little bit touch and go because we really haven'€™t done it yet. We'€™re trying to make our way out there and make more of a presence and trying to see who are our fans.

Considering, like I said, it'€™s kind of under wraps, how did the band come to be as Vacationer?
Well, a couple years ago, I wanted to do something in the electronic world. I wanted to have some sort of project that I could set up kind of simply at shows. Just with electronic backing and maybe just play guitar and sing over top of it. I started making music with these guys Matt and Grant who are in a band called Body Language. Because I heard their band and I really liked it and they do some production. I met with them after never meeting them before. We just went straight into a session and started writing some stuff and it went really well. I went up there again and we doubled our production. It just really flowed well from the get go and then the more we started writing music together and the further along we got with making our record, they convinced me that I needed to have a full band and then needed to really go all out with this. Not just have it be some sort of little side project that I do. Try to stand in front of a computer and try to look cool. They were totally right because the electronics is really just the start to it. It'€™s just a bed for it because it'€™s really interesting. Meaning the world of like hybrid electronic indie music that has full band elements and also electronic equipment. That'€™s how it started! So, we did that the summer of 2010 and then by the next year, we pretty much had the record done.

And even though it has only been out since March, it is a new project. Are you working on new music or do you think that'€™s going to be a while?
Yeah, they'€™ve been sending me lots of stuff. They'€™ve been wanting to get the ball rolling and I'€™ve been working every day. Like building off of that. Really, just in the past few weeks, it'€™s picked up as far as new material goes. Yeah, nothing totally complete yet but we'€™re trying to get enough songs and enough ideas together so I can go up there and have a session with them. After that, I think the production system will be moving a lot quicker.

So that'€™s something where they don'€™t tour with you, you have like a different band live?
Well, Matt is one of the producers and he'€™s going to be playing vibraphone and singing with us today. It'€™s tough because he'€™s in Body Language and they'€™re pretty active too. So the next couple headlining shows, he won'€™t be with us and when we go out on Bombay he'€™s not going to be able to go. Anytime that he can came out with us though he tries to and always enjoys himself and we always enjoy having him. He'€™s such a force!
Force to be reckoned with!
Yeah definitely!

And then obviously this is a bit different from the other bands that you have been a part of. Do you think that time spent with those bands has helped you as an artist in doing something very different?
Oh, yeah absolutely! I mean that'€™s how I really cut my teeth. From being in those bands. I was never really traditionally schooled in music. I just really came from the streets (laughs). So anything I'€™ve learned has just been by trial by fire and just putting my hands on instruments and trying to pretend to sing like people I like and I'€™m glad that I'€™ve had the experiences I'€™ve had to go and work with these guys because they went to school for music. To be able to hang with them, it'€™s a good feeling I'€™d say that they even were willing to bring me in and have me collaborate with them and I'€™m glad that it'€™s gone so swimmingly.

Then those two (Matt and Grant) may be your dream collaboration but is there anyone that pops to mind for you?
I mean there'€™s lots of people. It would just be ridiculous dream stuff. Like, I mean because I'€™m so happy working with them I wouldn'€™t really be quick to work with another producer because they have it so down and I love the dynamic. I like that we can work in both production and songwriting together but if they were willing to bring someone in or just go to someone else like that, I would love to work with like James Murphy. Or like David Byrne or Thom Yorke. Just people that have been going on tour doing what I do.

Then a little softer one! Do you remember the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying and the first concert?
Oh, man! The first cassette was, this is so embarrassing, something where I heard this song and I was like '€™Oh I like that song!'€™. I must have been like seven or eight but it was Doctor Feel Good by Motley Crue (laughs) and that couldn'€™t be further from what I do. Even maybe three months later, I was like '€™This is a little bit not good'€™ but after that, pretty soon after that, it was Nirvana '€œNevermind'€ and then I remember '€™Fields of Gold'€™ Sting was another cassette I had and then when I started learning bass. The first cassette that I brought into him was AC/DC'€™s '€œHighway to Hell'€ and I was just like '€™Can you show me '€™If You Want Blood'€™? Can you just show me the bass line to it?'€™. He was like '€™No, no, no! We'€™re going to learn the whole thing. This guy was like a whole rock and roll guy through and through. I was just like '€™Oh I saw this song in Empire Records'€™. So first record I learned on bass was '€œHighway To Hell'€.

Is that how you like first got interested in music? You were just being taught these things?
Yeah! I just thought bands were cool. I thought Green Day was like the coolest thing in the world. I guess I was just a slave of Nirvana and Green Day when I was eight, nine years old. Then I started playing bass!

Because you'€™re still pretty young even though you'€™ve been playing music for a really long time.
I'€™m 28, yeah!
Still young!
I mean in the grand scheme, yeah.

Perfect then what is coming up? Obviously we talked about that time with Bombay and I know you personally are doing Starting Line shows at the end of the year but what is coming up in particular for this project? Are you going to be writing more, touring?
Well, we'€™re going to be touring all through October with Bombay then right after that we'€™re going over to Iceland to do Iceland Airwaves. Yeah, I know it'€™s crazy.
How did you get on that?
It'€™s really, really nuts! Yeah it'€™s Sigur Ros and Dirty Projectors and Phantogram and all these really, really good bands. I don'€™t understand how it happened.
Especially being such a new project.
Yeah, we'€™re really, really blessed to get to do that. And then after that, we don'€™t have anything else in the books at the time being as far as shows go for Vacationer but I think I'€™m going to take that time through November to work on music. I think we'€™ll rehearse a handful of times for those shows and then I'€™ll be trying to get together all the ideas for Vacationer and try to get some new songs.
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Craig Owens

I hate to admit that I see this interview as a "lost interview". While thinking about not posting it due to current situations, I think that it deserves to have some light on it. Craig Owens has definitely been through the wringer in this music industry. The band that he currently finds himself back in was with out him for several years after being one of the founding members for ten years. While not in Chiodos, he did, still does have solo music as well as being the founding member of D.R.U.G.S. whom we did this interview for!

He was an excellent, low key interview for some one who has such fan insanity about himself. It was, still is clear how much passion he has for music and it is encouraging to see. He's one of the front men who stands out amongst the majority and is sure to have been seen by the majority of readers at one point in his career if not multiple times! As of now, D.R.U.G.S. is still on. Seemingly on the back burner but the band was touring as recently as February of this year!

You'€™ve had this project in the works for a long time now.
Right!
D.R.U.G.S. has been in the making for a while. You have this first full length out. Are you recording or writing?
You know the concept for it came around two years ago. We finally started writing and then the first record came out in February so the record'€™s really only nine months old something like that. We do live in a world where it'€™s instant gratification and it'€™s almost like kids go through or people go through music like it'€™s nothing. It usually takes a band one or two years to release a record however yes we are in the process of writing and hope to have it come out early next year but don'€™t quote me on it in case things come up in the process.

Perfect and then you all came from bands where you all had a strong hand in the writing. So how has that come together as a band now?
It'€™s been pretty good! I mean we all have the same vision you know and that'€™s to write the best song as possible. I think one of the best parts'€™ about being a good leader which all of us were is to make sacrifices when necessary for the better of the group and I think that all of us have done a very successful job at doing that.

And then you'€™ve been touring constantly! We talked to Aaron and Nick at AP tour and then Nick himself at Warped Tour but obviously you'€™ve been touring what feels like non-stop.
Kind of non-stop!
You'€™ve had your breaks but you'€™ve done Warped Tour, AP Tour, that first tour with Eyes Set To Kill.
Yeah, this is technically our third US tour. We haven'€™t even been touring a year yet which is pretty crazy to think about and we'€™re just very thankful. Very, very thankful. Being the people in our situation who are being offered second chances. The fact that we'€™ve come together and bring something all different and we'€™re all so passionate. That also connects with quite a lot of people. It'€™s just truly, truly a large blessing so we'€™re very, very thankful.

Then I know this is a project that you thought of in your head and you have all the other members that slowly joined after one another. Were you friends in the past or people maybe you admired?
Matt has been one of my very best friends for a very long time. Aaron was one of my friends for a long time after touring. I toured with Nick and finally met him on Warped Tour in 2003 or 2005, one of those years and then Aaron and I toured together in 2005 so I think Nick and I met in 2003 and Matt and I had toured many times together and I never had met Adam before in my life. He came into the studio, we were introduced to each other by John Feldman and we just hit it off. We had the same goals and the same drive and we liked the same kind of music and we had the same roots so it all clicked and everyone had an awesome personality. It was a lot less boy band as well. It'€™s just very fortunate. I wanted to make sure because this is my go at it. I wasn'€™t about to do it the wrong way and I wasn'€™t about to jump into something very quickly. I wanted to make sure that all the pieces fit and you'€™re only as strong as your weakest link so I wanted to make sure I had none.

No weak links at all. Then you'€™ve been doing this for so long obviously with your past band Chiodos and then doing this. How has this been? Like having D.R.U.G.S. catch on so quickly with all the fans and everyone being really happy about it?
It'€™s amazing. Like I said, I don'€™t think that a lot of people really get what we'€™ve been given and I think that this year is just something that shows that I'€™m not going anywhere. We came together, we formed this and it caught on because I think that a lot of people can relate to my lyrics. A lot of people enjoy it and the best part about it is doing it the right way this time. Coming up and being thankful and not taking any moment for granted. Like I said, we do all feel truly blessed to be where we are and we know that this has come very quickly but we still have something to prove and we still have a long way to go and we look forward to doing that and showing the world what we are capable of.

Perfect then a little soft one to end it off! What was the first CD or cassette you ever remember buying and the first concert you remember going to?
Oh my gosh! The first concert is actually like super cred.
Oh really? It'€™s like actually legit.
It was Murder City Devils besides like local shows but that was my first real show at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit where I'€™m from and as far as first cassette or CD that I ever bought, I'€™m pretty sure it was Weezer'€™s '€™Blue'€™ album. If it wasn'€™t Weezer, it might have been Offspring. I know it was that era.

Then you said the show is still like the music you'€™re doing today so maybe that influenced you obviously. Maybe did those CD'€™s influence you, maybe as you personally as Craig?
Noooo! Maybe sub consciously. I mean I wouldn'€™t say that Weezer and Offspring really was the reason that I play music. The real change in my life was that I wanted to do musical theater and then a group of friends in early high school of mine introduced me to all this new music that was a bit more underground then Offspring and Weezer were at the time. Because they were kind of mainstream at that point in their careers and then we formed a band together and that band was Chiodos.
It'€™s definitely been a long time!
Yeah, it'€™s been a long time but a lot of people don'€™t realize that a lot of the Chiodos stuff was written when I was like seventeen years old.
When you were really young.
Yeah exactly so when I was younger. I mean I'€™m still young.

Then maybe, since you'€™ve been doing this for so long, what'€™s like the biggest life lesson you'€™ve learned?
I don'€™t know if I could sum it up into one thing.
Maybe one of the first big ones you learned.
For myself?
For yourself.
For musicians?
For aspiring musicians.
As far as musicians, be nice to everybody and just don'€™t take anything for granted. You'€™re not going to end up being better then everybody and you probably won'€™t be doing this when you'€™re fifty or sixty years old so just make sure you enjoy it. Don'€™t take yourself too seriously and be thankful for every single individual that you reach out to because you really are changing lives whether you accept it or not so make sure that you'€™re in control of your own.

Perfect then to end it off, you obviously talked about writing. I'€™m not going to quote you on it because you don'€™t want to say things but what is going to be coming up? Do you think you'€™re going to continue touring a lot or maybe take a breather?
No, we'€™re booked until the summer so we have a tour that'€™s going to be announced very, very soon and then there are more tours after that that are booked and ready to go! The kids are going to be really excited! I'€™ll just continue to be sending the message and continuing to reprove myself. It'€™s been really fun on this tour because I believe a lot of the Asking fans, a lot of the We Came As Romans fans, all those kids I think are very aware of who we are and what we do. I think it'€™s really awesome to get in front of them and remind them just what it is that we do and win them back over as a band because it is a new band.
It is a challenge because you are like you said a new band. Maybe the fans from the old bands will have to be won over again.
It'€™s very difficult to recreate. The reason a lot of people listen to bands is because they'€™re attached to it and have the sing alongs in cars and stuff like that. Very difficult to do that and as long as we continue to remain genuine, passionate and we go out there and kill it every night, you'€™re not going to ease into a void of wasting. We'€™re going to be around for a while!
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Jay Brannan

Next up is one of my favorite interviews and performers from the summer being the lovely Jay Brannan! This incredibly talented song writer spent these last few months consistently touring all over the world solo. Solo being not just as the performer but doing his own merch and traveling by himself which is super inspiring considering how many insanely large crews I'€™ve ran into this past year through doing this.

His rigorous touring schedule has been in support of his excellent new record '€˜Rob Me Blind'€™ that dropped in March of this year. Through our interview, I learned that he draws all of his music from his personal experiences and history which he admits has been rocky including his rocky present! Be ready to see much more from this talented artist and check out the album I'€™ve been raving about all summer!

A Soft one to start! What are the three things you need on the road to survive?
The three things I need? Oh god! Well, my labtop and my iPhone are number one (laughs). Probably my labtop is the number one thing. It'€™s like more important then oxygen.
Especially for what you do.
Should I count my guitar?
No.
Okay! I can'€™t? Okay, my labtop, my iPhone and what else do I need? Hand sanitizer (laughs)!
Those are great. Really good! You meet a lot of people! Then obviously the new record came out in March '€œRobs Me Blind'€. So that'€™s been out and you'€™ve been touring consistently since that came out oversees and here so how maybe have these shows been going?
It'€™s been amazing so far! It'€™s been really fun. I started off in April and went to Ireland and the UK and Paris. Then in May, I did like ten shows around continental Europe. I just got back from Australia. I had like ten days to get my shit together and now I'€™m doing about twenty eight, thirty shows around the US then I have some festivals in September and I'€™m already booking the UK again in October (laughs).

Then maybe how long has that record been in the making?
Forever! I mean technically since I was born. My last album of originals was four years ago and my last kind of big release was a covers album three years ago so I wrote the songs over the course of that whole period. I'€™m not good at just sitting down and being like I need to write a song and picking something to write about. It all kind of is organic and just comes from real life experiences. I have to be pushed to this point of frustration or boredom or pain or something to be driven to write so writing hits me all the time. Then I wanted to be really specific with it sound wise. Like do something that is very minimal and acoustic. Very me but to experiment with more textures and more instruments. I just wanted to do that with the really right person so I waited until I found the perfect producer which I think I did. His name'€™s David Kahne. He'€™s like this superstar producer. He'€™s produced so many amazing people. Regina Spektor and Kelly Clarkson and fucking Paul McCartney and you know all sorts of amazing people. The Bangles so he'€™s really busy and it took us about nine months to finish the music but the long answer is it took about three years. It was a long time but I was really dedicated to make the album I wanted to make. So, I'€™m really happy with how it turned out.

That'€™s great and then you said it takes a lot for you to write a song. Like it takes a big event for you to write a song. Maybe how do you go about the writing?
Yeah, when I write, it'€™s sort of a coping mechanism for life. I'€™m inspired by pain and frustration and fear and anxiety. It'€™s just these thoughts that are constantly running around and racing around in my head for years. So I write songs so that my head doesn'€™t explode, you know what I mean? I just don'€™t sit down and go '€˜I'€™m going to write a song today!'€™ I don'€™t have much of an attention span so it'€™s kind of been a long process but I feel like it makes it all pretty authentic because it comes out of my own life. So normally I sit around and play with the guitar and come up with something then kind of hum a melody to it and then the lyrics and the melody happen together but I normally just start with a guitar. And I'€™m not very good at playing guitar.


Then I was reading your bio and I know it stops about eight years ago. It becomes obvious through reading that you'€™ve had a bit of a rocky past.
I have a rocky present too (laughs).
Rocky now too and rocky in the future but how long have you been like writing these songs, maybe writing music and knowing that music is what you want to do? From the beginning of all that?
I mean, I'€™ve been around music since before I was born. I grew up in church singing constantly in choirs and doing solo and then school choirs and talent shows. My family was very musical and to me, I'€™m not crazy about organized religion but one of the sort of productive things that I think religion has to offer is arts education. They funded a lot of visual arts and music over the years and you'€™re exposed to a lot of art that way. So I'€™ve been around it forever. I always kind of wanted to sing but didn'€™t think I could write my own music or play an instrument and I didn'€™t just want to be like a covers sort of A&R style artist. So I focused on acting for a while and then gave that up eventually even though I still do some little bits. I guess my first song was like ten years ago at this point. Yeah, I bought my first guitar. Learned a few chords, wrote a couple songs. Put it down for several years and didn'€™t actually start writing till I moved to New York which was like 2003-2004.

Then maybe as a songwriter, who would be your dream person to maybe have on a song with you or just have a chance to maybe write with?
There'€™s a lot! I mean, I would love to work with Lisa Loeb who like wrote a bunch of great songs. Regina Spektor is like one of my favorites. She'€™s just so good. I'€™d love to sing with her. Sinead O'€™Connor. I love sort of angry women.

Then do you remember the first CD or first cassette you ever bought as a kid and then the first concert you ever bought?
I think the first CD I ever bought was called like '€™Beach Blanket Ditties'€™ or something. It was like all these beach boy songs or something. Like old songs. I think that was the first tape I ever bought and then the first CD I cannot remember but I'€™m sure it was something country like Garth Brooks. That'€™s what my brother liked so that'€™s what I went for first. That'€™s just living in Texas.
Do you think those influenced you at all? Maybe just with your music? Because those influences are a little bit different from what you'€™re doing?
I mean I doubt the Beach Boys tape influenced me a whole lot but I definitely think that I'€™ve gone through lots of phases in terms of what I'€™ve listened to. I listen to religious music. In contemporary Christian music, musically speaking, I'€™m freaked out by some of the content but musically I think there'€™s just a lot of amazing music out there! In that genre and that influences me a ton. Or even just church music I'€™m sure has influenced me a lot. I went through phases with hip hop and r&b and you know alternative nineties. That'€™s so my generation. Country music I listened to for a long time which is awesome. There'€™s a lot of great music there. I think all those genres have influenced kind of what I do!
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Laura Stevenson

I'€™m a sucker for a strong female presence in rock music and not the kind that is found in the '€œParamore'€ stereotype bands that are all over the alternative scene. Instead, I'€™m more a She&Him, Jenny Owen Youngs kind of girl. One of the bands that falls in that vein is Brooklyn based Laura Stevenson and The Cans! With punk backgrounds, they are indie rock darlings that are in the process of making their follow up to their debut record '€˜Sit and Resist'€™.

During their time in Cambridge on a headlining run, we discussed everything from the writing process they are taking for the new record to their first musical experiences to the essential Twazzles and Beef Jerky they must have while on the road! Read on for our exclusive with Laura and Mike!

Last I saw you guys, you were still finishing up the album when you were on tour with Fake Problems. Obviously you'€™re toured quite a bit, what are the three things you must have while you'€™re on the road?
Laura: The things I must have? Eye make up remover because I don'€™t really wash my face that often. What else? Twizzlers if I'€™m doing a late night drive. What do you do when you do a late night drive? Jerky?
Mike: I have beef jerky, red bull and a large coffee. It keeps me occupied.
Laura: Everybody has their candy and energy liquid that will sustain them when everybody else is sleeping. So yeah mostly Twizzlers but I call them Twazzles.
Mike: When we stopped for gas today, I saw a 4 ton container of Red Vines.
Laura: Yeah for 7.99.
Mike: It'€™s a good deal.
Laura: I almost got it but I read the container.
Mike: Yeah, five vines is one serving.
Laura: They'€™re long vines. Anyway, mostly candy. Really. And instruments. So Candy, eye make up remover and pajama pants because I usually go asleep in my shirt that I wear when I play and in my jeans but I bring myself some pajama pants and an extra pillow case.
An extra pillow case?
Laura: Yeah, because then your face is on the same dirty pillow case so it'€™s good to change it.

So the record came out a while ago. April 26th of 2011. So obviously it'€™s been a while. Still a young record since it'€™s under a year but how do you think its'€™ been going over so far?
Laura: I would say it'€™s a grower, I mean every record is, but it didn'€™t come out with this crazy backing push. It was more like now that it was the end of the year, you know the January top ten. A lot of people were blogging their favorite albums, like anybody cares, but a lot of people put our album on there. That was cool.
Mike: Yeah I think it was more of, like Laura said, there wasn'€™t much media reaction to it but over time, I think a lot more people have come around to it. Which is good.
Laura: Yeah! Next one hopefully, we'€™ll do both. Big good bang to start and slow burn. Two opposites.
Mike: Like rice! That'€™s what we should call it. '€™Like Rice'€™.
Laura: Cool! At least we got that part nailed down. Maybe we can get a rice sponsorship.
Mike: We could!
Laura: Could get sponsored by Uncle Ben.

And then even though it still is really new, are you even writing the new one? Because you guys joined in 2007 but then it wasn'€™t that long into it. Like you were playing with Bomb The Music Industry! And then you put out the debut with you guys on it.
Mike: Yeah me and Alex played on it.
So you must be constantly writing. Is that some thing that you'€™re even working on?
Laura: Yeah, we have like the majority of the new record written. So we'€™re ready to start thinking about the next step with it.
Mike: Actually, we'€™ve gone over ten.
Laura: We'€™ve gone over ten? That'€™s as many as '€™Sit and Resist'€™ had, right? '€™Sit and Resist'€™ had thirteen. Well, there is a song like that'€™s a minute and half. So let'€™s say eleven songs. So probably like twenty second oh no'€™s and then we have a record. Doesn'€™t matter for shit. Just kidding, it does matter.

And then how do you normally go about the writing? Is it one person, is it more collective, does it change?
Laura: I mostly do a lot of the writing alone and then I bring things. With the last record, it was like where a lot of things were pretty much done when I brought them in but this time, there'€™s a lot more things that were in pieces and they all kind of helped me mend them together. So it'€™s been a more collaborative writing process which is cool. It took me a lot of time to be able to get comfortable enough with people to be able to do that. I still am not able to sing my lyrics until they'€™re exactly what they'€™re going to be. So yeah it'€™s definitely more collaborative.
So it changed from the first record?
Laura: There was a big step. I'€™ve kind of been lanquishing more of the power I'€™ve so desperately held on to for five years but the last two years I'€™ve been like easy going. Right?
Last two years out of twenty seven? You'€™re pretty good about it. Then maybe would you say it'€™s pretty similar or dissimilar sonically from '€™Sit and Resist'€™?
Laura: I think that it'€™s a little bit more different maybe and there'€™s some more of like a country influence on this record. In a way that I like it.
Mike: Not in like a Kenny Chesney kind of way.
Laura: No! I just started listening to Brad Paisley a lot so I guess I'€™m writing more like him but whatever that'€™s cool. But, you know, I don'€™t know, it'€™s exciting. It'€™s a new step!

New Step! Then maybe for all of you, who would be like your dream person to collaborate with, to write with? Like in any sense? Maybe just have them like on a song and still write their part.
Laura: I think John K. Sampson. I feel like that'۪s a bit of a clich̩. Kenny G! That would be pretty good. No, maybe Sampson I think. I think that that would be cool!

Then maybe the first CD or first cassette you ever bought and the first concert you ever went to?
Laura: I went to rock concerts when my dad was a big Dead Head and he would bring me with him but the first concert I ever wanted to go to was Soul Asylum and Spin Doctors. It was awesome! It was so awesome! I loved the Spin Doctors. I thought that '€œTwo Princes'€™ was something where nothing could ever get better then that song when I was little and it never did! It never did! Then first tape I ever bought was '€˜In Utero'€™. I walked to the store, bought it with my own money and I listened to it constantly when I was ten or eleven. There were some things on there I shouldn'€™t be hearing so it was definitely interesting but I loved it. I loved it and I didn'€™t have MTV so it was really hard for me to acquire the new music. I heard '€˜When I Come Around'€™ like playing at somebody'€™s birthday party and I was like '€˜Woo I like this'€™. Yeah I guess Nirvana and Green Day were records that I bought.
Mike: Green Day'€™s '€˜Dookie'€™ was the first thing I ever bought but my mom made me record over all the curse words with my Talkboy that I got for Christmas that year. So yeah the first tape I ever bought with my own money was littered with all these blank spaces where every curse word I had to record over.
Laura: What was the first CD you ever bought?
Mike: First CD I ever bought was Sixteen Stones and I paid like twenty dollars for it. It was insane that people would spend twenty dollars for a CD.
Laura: So good though! I bought me an import. It was called Brown Bush. Nobody had it. It was same songs just the British name.

Did any of those influence you at all? Like maybe you guys personally or as a band?
Laura: I don'€™t know. What would you say? My mind'€™s really drawing a blank.
Mike: Well, what do you like listening to?
Laura: Well, those didn'€™t at all.
Just those music experiences. Did those influence you? Like going to those concerts? Not just in general like on your sound.
Laura: Oh, okay! Yeah, absolutely. I think Spin Doctors, whatever I'€™ll say it, had really, really great melodies. Timeless! I'€™ll say. And then listening to Green Day, just like '€˜Distortion'€™ because I grew up on like music from the late sixties and early seventies. My parents were like old hippies so I didn'€™t really get into that. And then my dad listened to a lot of Neil Young. Neil Young'€™s '€˜Crazy Horse'€™. I was like '€˜Woah, woah what is this?'€™ So definitely a lot of that and then The Beatles. That was constantly playing in my house so I was forced to listen to the melodies.
Did it influence you with your Green Day?
Mike: Yeah it was really a big part of my teen years. Still like a lot of punk.
Laura: We still play with a lot of punk bands. That'€™s our thing.

Then you have toured with a bunch of different kinds of bands per say. Like I said last time you guys were here was with Fake Problems in May like Pomegranates and Into it. Over It. So maybe would be like your dream three to tour with? Like anyone? Like three alive bands still doing it?
Laura: Um, what would you say? Bands that we would want to tour with.
Mike: We have a whole list of them.
Laura: Yeah! I don'€™t know. Arcade Fire.
That'€™s not a bad thing!
Laura: No but that'€™s a band that'€™s like..obviously! That'€™s like when you say oh we want to tour with Arcade Fire, Radiohead.
Mike: Bob Dylan!
Laura: Oh yeah, Dylan! How about we say Arcade Fire, Neil Young and Wilco!
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Yellowcard

During these past three years of being a music journalist and interviewing to be honest hundreds of bands, I'€™ve seen hands on the return of bands to their full force that they had when I was in my early teens as well as seeing bands leave the scene that were seen as rock gods. You see William Beckett returning after The Academy Is called it quits and doing it on his own. You see bands like Taking Back Sunday reunite as their original line up and one that holds a special place in my heart is Yellowcard who'€™s brand new album '€˜Southern Air'€™ just debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 charts!
We lost the guys in the music scene for about three years when they went on hiatus after several incredibly successful records but the band is back and here to stay for the long haul. With two records dropping since they returned from hiatus, they just finished an inspiring summer headlining the Warped Tour again and have a huge fall US tour featuring The Wonder Years and We Are The In Crowd opening! Over the past year we'€™ve had the excellent opportunity to steadily talk to Ryan Key of the band as well as famed violinist Sean Mackin about the come back they are currently having. Read on for my most recent exclusive with vocalist Key about the writing process for '€˜Southern Air'€™, their future plans and advice to Warped newbies!

How long has the new record Southern Air been in the making?
We started writing in January. I mean we took the holidays off and it was a crazy process because there was such a deadline on it! We had Warped Tour, Warped Tour was booked. And it was early on in the process, there was the conversation of like '€˜Well, if we'€™re not going to be done, we have to do it later'€™ and we were like '€˜Hell no. It'€™s not going to happen'€™. We'€™re going to get it done so I think in the end, the pressure of getting it done and writing songs was really an ally and not an enemy. It was pushing us, driving us, inspiring us in a way. It was incredible! It was definitely probably the most painless writing project that I can recall. Everything was so fluid and our sort of camaraderie in the band was amazing. I don'€™t remember a time where we all were so good working with each other on so many aspects of the record. You know we were all involved in every part of it. It was really great!

And then clearly this is the second record since coming off hiatus. That record is a very recent release. Was there a reason to put out these records so close together? Maybe because you were coming off hiatus after several years.
That has a little bit to do with it but really Warped Tour was the driving force behind that decision because we all desperately wanted to be part of this tour this summer. It'€™s been five years since we'€™ve done the tour and to have the opportunity to do the whole tour this year, that was really important to us. If we had waited till after Warped Tour, we wouldn'€™t be putting a record out till some time in 2013 and I think that in the end is just way too long. I mean five years from now, I hope we'€™re still making records and then maybe we can take a couple years between albums but I think it is important that we keep putting out music for now because we did take some time off. We have no right to complain and say '€˜Oh we need rest!'€™ because we had three years to rest. Everybody'€™s really inspired us to keep going so we had the moment of like how are we going to do this. How are we going to accomplish writing a whole other record right now but then that moment passed and we said we write songs. That'€™s what we do. We need to stop bitching and just get in to the studio and do work. We ended up writing the best ten or eleven songs we'€™ve ever written.

And then obviously, you'€™re on the main stage with bands that have been around for years upon years like Taking Back Sunday, The Used, New Found Glory. How has that been being on the main stage and what advice maybe would you give to bands who are doing like their first Warped Tour?
It'€™s really cool this year because-. Well, it'€™s kind of bittersweet because NOFX and Bad Religion are not on this tour and New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday and Yellowcard, we all are. So there'€™s this feeling of kind of taking the torch. Carrying the torch on. I saw Fat Mike from NOFX in San Francisco and he was like '€˜How does it feel? How are they treating you guys? Since we'€™re not here!'€™ It'€™s like man we'€™re getting old, we'€™re moving on up there. So it'€™s both things but I mean the friendships we have with the bands that we'€™ve been touring with, it'€™s really amazing to be all sharing the main stage at Warped Tour. As young bands, this was such an important thing for us to do and it was such a big dream and a big goal to be on the Warped Tour. So for us to all sort of be a flagship band this year or whatever you want to call it is really special. I don'€™t think any of us are taking it for granted at all. Don'€™t realize how far we'€™ve come and how much it means for the tour to have all of these bands on. As far as the younger bands, it'€™s just we wouldn'€™t be there with out this tour and we'€™ve done it in a van with a trailer ourselves ten years ago and it was miserable but magical at the same time. So you'€™ve just got to deal with it and fight through it because if you can get your band to a place where the Warped Tour will have you regularly on the tour, it'€™s really a great thing for your career. Not just the fact that you get to play for so many people but I mean it'€™s a steady thing. It'€™s a steady job to have in the summer every couple years to be on the Warped Tour. It'€™s great! So it'€™s worth the work!

Then obviously this record comes out in less then a month I believe August 14th. You'€™ve been touring pretty steadily since you'€™ve come back but are you just going to keep on going that way for now?
Yeah, Warped Tour ends on the 5th of August and we fly to Europe on the 8th so we'€™re just getting right back on it. We'€™ll be in Europe till the end of August and then in September we have a massive Southeast Asia thing planned. Something like 45, 000 kids we'€™ll be playing to on that trip. Then when we come back, we'€™re going to take the month of October off and then do our fall head line tour in November and then yeah, so! We'€™ll take the holidays off and get back at it next year. I mean another thing about Warped Tour for us is that we knew that if we could do Warped Tour at the beginning of the album cycle, we might be able to get 18 months of touring in support of the record. You get an extra three at the start if you'€™re doing Warped tour so you don'€™t really have an album out to do Warped Tour. So we'€™re hoping to be touring through December of next year.
Thank you so much, Ryan. I always appreciate you so much for taking the time.
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In Fear and Faith

Summer for me has been metal after metal after heavy rock after death core show and festival and I'€™m super content with those scenarios! Something though that kind of differed in that coverage was the band In Fear and Faith. They are part of the massive Scream it Like You Mean It tour this summer which came in two packages, blue and red. On certain days though, it was a gold day where you would be able to see around 15-17 bands on average during that day! We were lucky enough to cover the first gold day where we talked to about thirteen bands about their new records (if coming), the ones they just released and were given a good preview of what is to come for all the bands this fall!

First band up is the aforementioned In Fear and Faith! We had the opportunity to talk to the band a while back now in 2011 where they had been working on the reworked '€™Symphonies'€™ EP and in our new interview, we learned about a record from Ramin that has been kept severely under wraps. It looks like it will be a full band feel of the last EP but doubles as a concept album as well. Read on for our exclusive!

So maybe a soft one to start since it has been a while. How have these shows been going despite the tour just starting?
The last two shows have been pretty awesome. If we were a metal band (laughs). They were good. It'€™s definitely been metal kids expecting metal bands on it. Hands like Houses and In Fear In Faith aren'€™t really that kind of style but our fans are incredible and they'€™re very receptive to our set. We'€™re kind of like the band that are the outcasts on it but it'€™s fun regardless because we love playing shows but these gold dates with the whole tour package are awesome.

And then it has been a little bit since you'€™ve toured at least at this level of US touring. Maybe what are you most looking forward to like being back on the road for the whole summer?
Yeah our last tour was a co-headliner with For All Those Sleeping and we did an almost full US tour yet it kind of seemed short because we hadn'€™t toured with them before and when you tour with a new band, you kind of become friendly with them half way into it. For this tour, we'€™re friends with so many people that it'€™s just exciting. It'€™s like a family reunion or something. It'€™s like a mini Warped tour. So I'€™m excited because it'€™s a mini Warped tour inside air conditioned venues. Pretty sweet!
Just taking the heat out of the situation!
Yeah! Though the AC went out on the way here so that kind of sucked.
That'€™s a really great start to your tour!
Great start!
Sure you'€™re pumped!
55, maybe 56 hour drive from San Diego straight.
Well the first date for you was New York? Then you played New Jersey?
Yeah, we literally arrived there one hour before load in and we didn'€™t stop driving from Sunday midnight through. It was an adventure to say the least.
Good times!
Good times!

Then, '€˜Imperial'€™, it'€™s obviously been a while since you'€™ve released a full length with it being in 2010.
Quite a while, yeah! Two years! Yeah, most bands don'€™t have a two year cycle for their albums any more but we'€™re putting a lot of work into this new album. By far the best album we'€™ve done and I think people will appreciate what we have done. We have Scott doing everything. Screaming and singing. There'€™s almost half of the CD that doesn'€™t even have screaming but we also have our heaviest songs so it'€™s going to be interesting to see how it'€™s success is. Hopefully it'€™s good!

Then you say you think it'€™s the best album you'€™ve ever made. Has it changed sonically a bit or is it pretty similar to the sound kids have grown to known?
'€˜Imperial'€™ was supposed to sound different from the way it ended up sounding. Our producer really didn'€™t give a shit about the band. He hadn'€™t ever done a band like our sound and it was an impersonal process and we thought that he just didn'€™t really push it and there'€™s a lot of things that are supposed to be on the album that really just ended up not getting completed. It'€™s kind of a bummer so to a lot of people, it'€™s going to sound completely different but our roots are still the same. We'€™ve always tried to be a very theatrical band. With orchestrated piano, different sounds that people don'€™t really utilize in this scene so it'€™s going to sound very different to a lot of people but a lot better. It'€™s like a movie score for a hardcore band (laughs).
Is it going to be kind of similar then to what you did with '€˜Symphonies'€™?
Very much so. Our new album is essentially going to sound like '€˜Symphonies'€™ on steroids with a full band. So '€˜Symphonies'€™ was all done with a friend at my house on Midi and it'€™s all fake sounds and stuff like that but this is '€˜Symphonies'€™ as a full band essentially. It'€™s really cool. It came out really awesome and I can'€™t compare it to anything out. It'€™s very weird and theatrical and not really something you'€™d hear in this scene.

Well that will be good! That'€™s exciting! I mean it will be a fresh breath.
Yeah and I'€™m all about taking risks and taking chances and we did exactly what we wanted to on this album so we'€™ll be happy with it regardless.

And then I know you had other people on that record meaning '€˜Symphonies'€™. Like Nick Martin for example. I'€™ve asked this to people in the past and since it'€™s such a big tour you'€™re on, if you could pick like any band to do a song with, write with them, who do you think they would be?
On this tour?
Who would they be and what do you think it would be about?
Attack Attack! Is literally like our little brothers. Our little more successful brothers but they'€™re like our best friends. Any time anyone asks us anything like that, they are the first band that I think about. So our new album is a concept album essentially. Can'€™t really give away too much because it won'€™t make too much sense yet but essentially, it'€™s a story about humanity'€™s own self-destruction to the end of the world. It'€™s a very detailed graphic story and a lot of people are questioning what our first single means. Whatever we do on this album is going to have to fit the theme of that so anyone can write a story about that kind of thing but it'€™s presenting it the right way with the right people but we haven'€™t actually decided on any guest vocals just yet. We definitely are going to have some but we haven'€™t set any thing in stone. We have some very high hopes and big expectations and there are certain people we'€™d like to have on it. Especially, people we might have stolen our band name from. So, hopefully that happens.
And is that something that is probably going to be like 2013?
No, it will be coming out this year. We were hoping to have it release this summer but it wouldn'€™t be happening till the end of the tour which we don'€™t want to release an album at the end of the tour.
So it'€™s that close?
Yeah. The album'€™s pretty much done. We just have to finish it up and get it mix and mastered and we have to get our guest vocals on it. So we'€™re looking at early fall.
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The Company We Keep

The Company We Keep has been a project that Brian Southall has had in mind for a long time now. Really always working on material and playing around with it when Justin Pierre approached him about possibly working on a new project together. It came from that duo to now include their singer Amy Brennan and Branden Morgan and that quartet will be hitting the road all summer playing shows!

Read below for an exclusive interview with Brian Southall!

It'€™s something where you'€™re the first band to release a 7'€ in the Making Moves series. It was something where you tour manage Motion City. Was this something that you always wanted to propose to Justin? Did he know you were working on this? How did it come about?
Justin I think proposed it to me actually.
Oh really?
Yeah, I was always working on material and demo ing but I didn'€™t know what I was going to do with it and he had actually kind of heard stuff. From me playing on the bus and then initially he said he just wanted to try to do something with it, I still didn'€™t really know what to do with it. Then he wrote to it and I was like this is better then I thought it would ever be because he'€™s really good. That'€™s what he does. He writes all these lyrics. So as soon as he knew rough demo'€™s of the stuff, he was like this has to be a band. Let'€™s make this happen and then obviously it was a nice in that he did do the Making Moves series. That was like a Motion City Soundtrack thing.
Project at Drexel, yeah!
So, obviously, we had a little edge there in having a member of Motion City Soundtrack in our band. So yeah, it just kind of worked out! It was like his push though that I think made it a real band. Opposed to me just writing music or whatever.

Then it'€™s going to be the first release.
It will be the first 7'€. I think just because we recorded first. We recorded over Thanksgiving last year before any one else did anything so I think that'€™s the reason why. It was done before anyone else so it will be pressed before anyone else.
Was that before it was even announced? Since I'€™m not sure how long the Making Moves series has been planned.
We didn'€™t announce it for a while after that. Definitely got to happen but when they were saying let'€™s do it, I just pushed for it to be as soon as possible. I mean we definitely weren'€™t ready to do it that soon but we didn'€™t want to wait. If we had waited and didn'€™t do it at Thanksgiving, it wouldn'€™t be till January that we could record. This has been kind of a band for almost four years before doing anything. As soon as TREOS broke up, I was doing this as a thing. It wasn'€™t anything. I just had a few like songs. So to me, it was like, No we'€™re recording it right now. I don'€™t want to take any chances of something happening. So we just got it done and got it out. They did all the other bands after us.
I know! I just interviewed A Great Big Pile of Leaves and I know they'€™re one of the bands that are working on their 7'€ right now. They were really excited about it.
Yeah, those dudes are awesome!

And then obviously a 7'€ is coming out but is this something where a full length record is in the works? Is it something that'€™s possible?
Yeah! We have enough songs to do a full length record because the band has actually existed for almost four years, maybe more but we'€™ve only released two or three covers here and there in random compilations. So I have probably twenty or thirty songs for the band that exist. It'€™s just a matter of like finding the means to release it. Like a record label and all those things. It'€™s an evolving music industry that now makes record labels a bad thing. So one thing is figuring out how to be a band when no one buys records. You don'€™t need record labels but I'€™m kind of stuck in that whole mentality of some one giving you money to record music. So, I don'€™t know! So we have a song and we'€™re going to try and record an album as soon as possible. If some one wants that to happen. If not, I guess we'€™ll find some way. I'€™m trying to avoid the Kickstarter thing as much as possible. I almost did that originally before the Making Moves thing came up but I don'€™t know. The whole idea of that just freaks me out so much. I feel like it'€™s the ultimate end of a career if we tried to do it and no one gave us money. It would be like '€˜Well, okay, no one likes us'€™. Anyone can do an album and I guess now I'€™m so picky and particular that I like to have it a certain way. That'€™s a very long answer to the question. I'€™m sorry.

It'€™s okay! Then obviously you have been tour managing for a while. Pretty sure Dev is some one new for you but obviously Thrice and Motion City. Maybe how do you think being an artist yourself, a veteran, has helped you? I mean I'€™m sure both of those bands are more like peers now.
I mean quickly with people like that you become friends very fast. Stops being so much of a job and it'€™s awesome. It'€™s definitely helped I mean music wise doing the tour managing job. I mean obviously The Company We Keep as it is right now wouldn'€™t exist if I never worked with Motion City. If Justin had never heard the songs. It would definitely still be a band but probably wouldn'€™t be as good. So like that helped a lot. It'€™s great! I'€™ve gotten so many new connections, met new people. It seems, at least so far, to maybe be helping the band to get going. Like having that edge. That I can call in favors and bug people. They think they owe me things or people hopefully like me enough to give us a break.

Then maybe musically for you and softer, what was the first CD or cassette you remember buying as a kid and the first concert you remember going to?
First record I bought?
Yeah, the first record.
The first record I ever remember buying was Pearl Jam. That was the first CD I ever bought I know for sure because I went into this store and there was a whole wall of Pearl Jam CD'€™s and I was so stoked but before that, my first tape I ever bought was Boys II Men. I don'€™t even remember. I think that record was called '€˜Cool and High Harmony'€™ or something like that. Whatever Mo Top Philly was on, I have that tape. It was awesome. First concert, I didn'€™t realize that concerts were cool when I was a kid. My parents were into music but they never went and saw bands play. So the first show I ever went to wasn'€™t until I was like fifteen and I went and saw Reel Big Fish and that was like the first few shows I ever went to were all ska shows.
And do you think those obviously influenced you? At all as a person or as your past bands?
Oh, for sure! I was so punk. I hated everything. I used to play sports. I quit all sports because I was so punk. It'€™s like the biggest regret of my life because I'€™m not still actually playing sports because I was too cool. When you'€™re a young punk rocker, you hate everything. You'€™re too cool for anything but you can'€™t tell anyone not to do anything. So I stopped from doing anything I actually liked back then and just got into that.
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Walk The Moon

I'€™ve been spending nights in rock clubs several nights a week for three years now and a band that I'€™ve seen truly go so far is about to drop their much anticipated self titled sophomore full length with that band being Walk The Moon. Our history with the band dates back to over a year ago and since then I'€™ve talked to them during their time opening for scene main stays like Fitz & The Tantrums to Kaiser Chiefs to Young The Giant but finally it'€™s their time to rock those same venues!

Our last interview took place while they were opening for Kaiser Chiefs in a thousand capacity venue and now with their album dropping the day after, they are about to headline that same venue less then three months later. While being an under the radar band for years with their viral hit '€˜Anna Sun'€™, the band is about to let their efforts shine and couldn'€™t possibly be in a better home for it. RCA has a great track record of signing bands that have developed a great indie following to then explode with their backing. I'€™m sure the names Kings of Leon and Hot Chelle Rae ring a bell? Walk The Moon I can promise you will be the next name to blow up.

For transcribing purposes, if you could just say your name, you don'€™t have to say what you do obviously but just in case I miss anything!
Nick: Yes! Nick Petriecca.
Sean:Sean Walkman.
Eli: Eli Brozeman.

So obviously since we'€™ve talked, you'€™ve put out the Anna Sun EP which had the new songs but is that what you guys are going to stick with for now? Are you going to do the full length?
Nick: Oh the EP is intended as kind of a teaser for the album. The album'€™s going to come out in May and yeah, everything is sort of pointing towards that release. We'€™re very excited about Anna Sun starting to hit the radio in June. It'€™s already kind of popping up just because nice radio stations have been supportive and we'€™ve been really grateful for that but yeah we'€™re going to hit it with radio and drop the album before the summer and see what we'€™re made of.
Eli: Hit you with everything we'€™ve got.
Sean: Bam!
Eli: Which is exactly an album (Everyone laughs). That'€™s it!
Huge things!

Then you finished the tour with Fitz which was a huge tour. Sold out show here in Boston with 2,500 people then you did Young The Giant who are obviously blowing up. Maybe what'€™s coming up in the next year for touring? Are you just going to keep on touring with this record coming out? Are you going to take like a little breather?
Sean: Yeah, pretty much the whole next year is just going to be touring. We'€™re going to probably do Europe a little bit. Hopefully do some festivals over there. But we are going to do some headlining stuff in the states.
Nick: Yeah as soon as the album comes out, we'€™re going to hit the road.
Hit the road running!
Nick: Doing some of our own stuff!

Then we talked a little bit about it before but obviously you signed to a major but you'€™ve been a band for a while. How do you think that'€™s affected the way you do things? Has it changed the way you guys are doing things? Like management wise?
Nick: I guess in certain ways it'€™s enabled us to do more because when you'€™re an indie band like us, all of the stuff that the label does, the manager does, you have to do yourself. So a lot of music time is spent doing business and so we have the privilege nowadays to do music and live in the van all the time.
Sean: Just changes the focus. It'€™s gone like 180 degrees. It just expands the music, pushes it much more then the business.
Nick: Yeah it allows us just to play, play, play. Which is great and really I mean as far as them affecting how we come across and how much what you see of us is us. I mean their sort of thing when they came to us is '€˜We don'€™t want to get in your way. We just want you and we just want to push you in front of people'€™. So we haven'€™t felt like misrepresented or anything it'€™s been great!
It'€™s the same label that'€™s had a lot of indie acts like that too, right? Like Hot Chelle Rae was indie for years before they went RCA.
Nick: Yeah and I mean Kings of Leon, although they were signed to RCA, they were very non-mainstream for a long time. The record that broke them was their something like fifth record so that'€™s certainly a big example of RCA kind of nurturing an artistic rock and roll band. That'€™s one of the things that attracted us.

Well, we did one in November so I think that'€™s all I have for you guys! Just a little short one!
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The Maine

I'€™ve seen this next band blossom and grow over the past two and half years that we'€™ve done interviews together and I couldn'€™t be prouder of the point they have gotten to today. That band is Arizona based The Maine and currently they are one of the biggest alternative names in the game. Besides the rocket to fame they have had, with our last interview happening at the huge space that House of Blues is in Boston (about a 2,500 capacity), they are consistently making moves with their music.

With three full length records under their belt since the band formed over five years ago, '€˜Pioneer'€™ is the latest one to be added to the family and quite possibly the effort the band is proudest of. Since the band formed and quickly signed only a few months into the band'€™s existence, this is the first release that hasn'€™t been on a label and they couldn'€™t be prouder of that accomplishment. The boys have been giving me the run down on the new record since it even hatched in their minds and currently are '€œinvisible'€ to their major label. Making this their first independent release this year, it is also the first effort that included no cowriters and was fully self produced by the talented band. Read on for our sixth interview, which is record breaking here at MusicRemedy.com, with Jared Monaco and Garrett Nickelsen of the band!

If you just want to introduce yourself to get started!
Garrett: Hi I'€™m Garrett Nickelsen and I play bass.
Jared: My name is Jared Monaco I play guitar.

Perfect! Then we have done interviews in the past with various members over time. This is like number five or something!
Garrett: Right on!
Since like the Boys Like Girls tour so maybe a softer one to start. This tour'€™s obviously a little bit different for you guys. Just different acts with you that people may not expect in a good way though because it goes really well with this new record. But how has it been with Lydia and The Arkells?
Jared: Amazing. Incredible.
Garrett: It'€™s nice to really appreciate all the music that is on the tour. It'€™s not a normal thing that happens when the kids like all the bands'€™ music. I mean I try to catch at least one song of both of them every night.
Jared: Yeah! The thing is is that we'€™re pretty much fans of these bands before this tour even started so it'€™s awesome to be able to watch them live every night and I think it'€™s a really cool vibe to the show. I think it flows really nicely and it'€™s a great mix of great music so it'€™s been awesome.

Then now '€˜Pioneer'€™ has been out for a few months. It came out I want to say right during that last US tour or right before. So maybe how has it been going over?
Jared: Awesome! Seems like on both tours, kids seem to be singing the new songs rather then like the old songs.
Oh really?
Jared: Yeah, it kind of helps because of what we went through to make the record happen and stuff. I think people who are fans of our music really like respect it and seem to love it a lot. We put our hearts and souls into it and it seems like they'€™re doing the same every night.
Garrett: Yeah, it'€™s been great.
Like they respect what you guys went through?
Garrett: Yeah our fans know the story and everything. They know how we kind of fought to make sure that we could put this album out and apart from that, they just seem really passionate and it'€™s great to see them action and get to play new material and they absorb it like that. It'€™s so overwhelming for me, so great.

And then I talked to Pat during the last tour when you guys were at Brighton (Music Hall) and he said at the time you guys were kind of being '€œinvisible'€ to Warner. I'€™m not sure if you'€™ve officially left or that'€™s a rough subject. I wanted to ask because a lot of bands are walking away like This Providence and The Cab.
Garrett: Yeah, we haven'€™t really had too much communication with them since the whole thing happened. As of right now, we'€™re not ready to record or anything yet, so we have no real need to talk to them. So I guess if you ask us in a few months, we'€™ll have a better answer (laughs). So you know we'€™re focused on this record right now and there not really doing anything for us so they'€™re not pushing it or anything. When we'€™re ready to do a new record, I think we'€™ll talk and see what happens from there. I hope that was a good answer.
You gave a great answer! Good job!
Garrett: I was hoping that would work.

Then obviously, you guys did this record by yourselves and you put it out yourselves. That'€™s becoming something really common these days. Big bands now kind of going more independent like you guys and The Cab doing '€™Symphony Soldier'€™. They left their label to put out that record.
Garret: Totally.
And like a lot of people are realizing maybe labels aren'€™t needed. The scene is kind of going back to DIY and doing it yourself. How is it maybe to go back to that? I mean you guys got signed pretty early on in your career as a band.
Garrett: Yeah everything major that we'€™ve done has been on a label.
This is your first fully like independent?
Garrett: Yeah. It'€™s one of those things that we'€™ve always tried to do things using the record label as a tool. Not something that like you have to use. So it'€™s always in the back of our heads that we can manage to put a record out by ourselves. It'€™s just that nothing seemed to really work out. So we were really excited to try this.
Jared: It'€™s a huge thing to do that. We were all a little nervous to do it and I think now that we'€™ve done it, it'€™s like awesome to know that we can do that. And so that'€™s why the whole thing with Warner, we'€™re not even really thinking about it at this point. Just whether or not we'€™re on the label and now that we know that we can do that, we'€™re really excited.
Garrett: Yeah! The reason this happened is because we had plans to do something drastic. So I think knowing that we still kept a lot of those people that'€™s awesome and it feels great. We all feel super proud of what we did and it'€™s awesome.

Then as you'€™ve put out your records, you'€™ve steadily changed. You haven'€™t put yourself in one box or stayed the same. Obviously, '€˜Black and White'€™ was a huge difference from '€˜Can'€™t Stop, Won'€™t Stop'€™ and then '€˜Pioneer'€™. Like you said, fans are sticking around. How has it been? For me, it'€™s something completely different from what you guys started as. You'€™ve definitely grown.
Jared: Yeah! I guess the real reason for that is because a lot of our earlier albums, our first two albums, were influenced by a lot of people that aren'€™t in this band. So now that we kind of stepped back and went into Pioneer completely on our own. There was no cowriting, nothing like that. It'€™s just more of a accurate representation of where we'€™re at as muscians and I think that that is another thing that our fans connected with is the honesty involved with '€˜Pioneer'€™. No bullshit.
Garrett: I think we'€™re also huge music geeks. We really just love music so much. In the past five years, we'€™ve really just opened our ears up to a lot of music and obscure bands that we really enjoy. Studied how to write a song and not like in a specific way. First chorus, first bridge, same structure. I think just learning how to do things differently because we have the opportunity to I think has helped change the musical process.
Jared: Yeah! And having '€˜Black and White'€™ was huge for us because that was such a transitional period for our band. I think it really helped set us up for '€˜Pioneer'€™. I feel like our band kind of went through this transformation through '€˜Black and White'€™ and I think that'€™s why '€˜Pioneer'€™ didn'€™t seem that out there when we finally put it out. It might have come as a shock to some people but I feel like it wasn'€™t as crazy to the fans that have been with us for the first two albums. So that was crucial.
Crucial step because that'€™s true. I feel like if you put out '€˜Pioneer'€™ right after that ('€˜Can'€™t Stop, Won'€™t Stop), it would be like a complete 180 for people but '€˜Black and White'€™ kind of was a smooth transition.

And then maybe because we do interview once in a good while with the band, maybe, obviously I'€™m not going to ask you again questions like '€˜How did your band form?'€™(the boys laugh) '€˜How did you get your name?'€™ You like make different stories each time. What is coming up after this tour? I know you haven'€™t announced too much.
Jared: We have a little less then a month on this tour. I know we'€™re all pretty tired because we were out overseas and we just went straight from that over into this tour.
Garrett: For some reason overseas tends to kick your ass more. Going into this tour, I was kind of already like tired.
Jared: Oh yeah! We landed in Texas for this tour and we realized we had like forty seven shows alone on this tour.
Garrett: This is the longest tour we'€™ve ever done.
Yeah this is a gigantic one! It'€™s awesome!
Garrett: But it'€™s been a blast! We play this entire tour and forty percent of the days I'€™m sick but I get over it and try to be professional. Put on a good show every night but it definitely is brutal but it'€™s been really fun.
Jared: Um, but yeah, after this we have a little bit of time off and then we'€™re going to do some videos and stuff when we'€™re at home and then we'€™re going to shoot a DVD and we'€™re hoping to do more touring at the end of July and then we'€™re planning a fall tour.
You guys never stop!
Jared: We don'€™t!
I think I missed like one tour but still the last time was December and then the Augustana run. You tour all over the US.
Garrett: And somewhere between there, we recorded this record (both laugh).
Somewhere inbetween that time!
Jared: We don'€™t like to really breathe ever. We just always like to be on the move and I just feel if we'€™re idle for too long, we start getting restless.
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William Beckett

It'€™s becoming a common thread in my interviews lately that we are leaning to a more do it yourself movement in the music industry. Established bands making records that maybe their record labels don'€™t like is becoming scarily more of a pattern then it truly should. One band that had their fair share of being pulled around by record labels was lead by vocalist William Beckett who spent several years with his band The Academy Is. Instead of leaving a label, he is now doing his own solo project during the aforementioned band'€™s hiatus and decided he wanted to do it all on his own!

The first EP was an independent release and the two EP'€™s to follow this year will be independent as well. For fans of the scene, William Beckett has been a huge part of the alternative scene for years so it may come as a shock to many that he wants to be independent now that he has returned to music. He took over a two year break from the road and plans to be on it constantly this year and I'€™m assuming in the future. In our time together during the interview, I learned a lot about William. His need for toothpaste on the road, his love for the cover of Green Day'€™s '€œDookie'€ but we got serious I promise you when we talked about his career and his songwriting. Read on for our exclusive!

A little soft one to start because obviously it'€™s been a while since you'€™ve been on the road. I believe it'€™s the first since the AP tour in Fall of '€˜09. What are like the three things you must have while on the road to survive?
Three things? Toothpaste (long pause). Can that count as all three?
Just all three? That'€™s cheating!
Toothpaste. I actually bring a few luggage bags at least. It'€™s now coined the '€œdiva'€ bags because we are actually on the road with Cara Salimando who is a girl clearly and she has smaller bags then me by a lot and I just thought that was pretty embarrassing. But on the plus side, I have fifteen different looks with me on the road.
Looks ready to go?
Yeah. And I would say, yeah that'€™s three right? My diva bag and just supplies for the road.
That diva bag right there! Hey, good job!

And then '€˜Walk The Talk'€™ was obviously your first solo record you'€™ve put out. So maybe how has that been going over while on the road? Having that music out?
It'€™s been great! I'€™m playing a pretty good mix of my new material and a few old songs from my band and it'€™s really interesting to see that there are some people that really gravitate toward The Academy Is songs and there are others who like don'€™t sing along to those but they sing along to the new stuff which is really interesting. So I'€™ve kind of discovered that like I'€™ve gained some new followers which is really fun and it'€™s cool to see that. But it'€™s been a combination of both ends of it. On this tour, just playing whatever I want. It'€™s great to have the music out finally. It'€™s been so long that I'€™ve had this record ready to go. So to finally have it out is really exciting. The new EP comes out in July so I'€™m pretty non stop.

Well, that'€™s what I was going to ask because I was talking to your publicist in the past and she said that you were already in the studio working on something new and so maybe is it because you have had those songs written for so long?
Well, my plan all along was to release an EP every three months. So every three months, I'€™m releasing an EP for the rest of the year so then at the end of the year, there will be twelve songs that would have otherwise been on a full length record. But since I have the freedom to do what I want and really arrange it the way that I want, I wanted to do some things that were different and fresh and exciting since I hadn'€™t put out music in so long. I wanted to do it more frequently. Sort of like high end material quickly as opposed to like an all you can eat buffet. So it'€™s like my Top Chef approach to music.
To music? Putting out the EP'€™s every few months?
Little tapas. It'€™s like a tapas bar.
The tapas bar way to your music!
Yeah, small portions! Perfected.

Then obviously you'€™ve been in music for so long considering how long The Academy Is was active and was around playing music. Has it become something still really different of a writing process? Or is it something that'€™s really become a consistent idea?
Well, I mean well writing songs, there is no right way but there'€™s no wrong way. Often times, it starts with melody and often times it starts with lyrics or just a musical piece. But the good thing about writing the new music is that I wrote and recorded it all at once so this record would be conceptualized in the song writing it and then performing it. And seeing it out and what it should do as far as production elements were all right then and there so it was all super fresh. Where as in the past, I would write a song in pieces and still have it being involved in for the next month and sometimes I would lose perspective. I would just get used to the acoustic versions and wouldn'€™t know where to implement it into a full band production. So it was fun doing it that way.

And then I wanted to ask you something! I recently talked to Joe Trohman from Fall Out Boy for his new project With Knives. He talked about how he'€™s kind of going about it very indie and booking their own shows. Like begging people to put them on a show and just getting started. Him obviously doing Fall Out Boy before, it was kind of like them in the beginning. Maybe how do you think that experience of being in a band that was touring and was signed to a major label, how do you think that like affected you, maybe helped you as an indie artist '€œstarting over'€? Having to re-grow.
Yeah, I mean it'€™s intense. I'€™m intentionally doing it on my own. You know the last thing I wanted to do was after getting the run around for a year from a major to go out and find another major label. I had 40+ songs under my belt and basically I wouldn'€™t have had music out for another eight months. Just how it is. I really wanted to feel like a part of it and they wanted me to do more songs with different writers and all that crap. So, for me, I was just ready to put music out and Fall Out Boy is a good example. I mean, we started the same way that they did. A lot of touring, a lot of emphasis on work ethic and putting in your time and your miles and it wasn'€™t pampered. We were very very DIY. That'€™s how they started and that'€™s how we started. So it'€™s not really new to me. It'€™s exciting in a lot of ways because of the freedom. The additional control over everything.
So it'€™s then maybe going back to the way that you started.
Exactly! Yeah and building it in a organic way so it'€™s not like on the radio but you hear it some times and that'€™s how you hear it. That'€™s why I wanted to do a tour like this. Have something really intimate, small because this is how I started. I wanted to go back to that place and share this new beginning with everybody in a comfortable setting.

And then I'€™m from suburbs of Chicago too so I wanted to ask this. Like Wheaton/Warrenville area. What up (laughs)?
I pitched against Wheaton.
Did you really?
Yeah! In high school.
Then obviously there are the bands that have broken out of Chicago'€™s scene but there are some that do like one tour and they kind of stop. You know it'€™s hard for a lot of Chicago bands to really break out. It'€™s a big scene, it'€™s a hard scene. Maybe what advice would you give to bands that are trying to break out of that area?
The largest bit of advice I would give to any band from any city is just focus on your songs and knowing exactly what it is you want. I'€™ve seen a lot of really talented writers who get lost in the writing shuffle of just trying to write hits. And I feel like focus on doing you. Focus on whatever is unique about what you do and emphasize that. And run in that direction! As opposed to trying to chase a hit because those songs usually end up boring and no one cares. It'€™s usually how they end up and I'€™ve written a bunch of songs like that too but I'€™ve shelved them to never be heard.
Oh really?
Yeah. Just when you'€™re trying too hard to just write good songs that aren'€™t that meaningful to you and then also don'€™t rely so much on the internet because that'€™s the worse thing you can do. Is to start a face book and expect people to care. You know I feel like as much as the human element seems to have been ignored or just left to seem not important for bands, it'€™s extremely important. For me, that'€™s what I'€™m most in love with. The human interaction as opposed to having a bunch of likes on your face book.

Then a softer one! Maybe the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid and the first concert?
'€œDookie'€. I remember looking at the cover art and all the poop. So many poops.
Yeah there was a lot.
Looked at it all day. Just poop. And couldn'€™t find Waldo in all the poop. And monkeys. Monkeys and poop. In their own poop. Oh, '€œDookie'€! '€œDookie'€ was the first record that I purchased with my own money. I was so excited.
That'€™s a big one!
Yeah!
Do you remember the first concert?
I think I saw The Lawrence Arms at Our Side in Chicago. A punk rock place and I didn'€™t really go to like big shows. Like I would never go see Third Eye Blind or something like that. I would just always go to punk shows and that'€™s a big part of my attitude and our attitude as a band early on. I remember seeing those bands on tour in small places just doing their thing. It was really eye opening. It was cool to see that and inspiring.
Do you think those obviously influenced you then?
Yeah, for sure. Yeah I mean the great thing about them (Green Day) is that they were kind of a punk rock band that had made really great songs with really good lyrics and that'€™s what really drew me to them. The whole package is important. Not just being a cute dude with a cute haircut in a band and playing cute songs. There'€™s more to it for me at least.

And then you said the next EP is coming out in July so that'€™s obviously coming up but do you think you'€™re going to tour again pretty quickly after this one or are you going to hold off for a bit?
Yeah, I'€™m touring a lot. May 29th is the last show of this tour in Chicago and then the next day I fly to Japan and I'€™m there for ten days. Then that EP comes out after that. Going to tour Malaysia, Thailand and then where else? The Phillipines. Which is crazy.
Is it because you have been off tour for so long so like you'€™re doing it all right away.
Yeah, it'€™s my first time there.
Like ever?
Yeah.
You never went there with Academy?
No!
That'€™s crazy. That'€™s awesome!
It'€™s pretty cool and then in July, we'€™re doing this tour on the West Coast which is supporting. I can'€™t talk about it yet but it is happening. Right now, we'€™re looking at the fall to book it up. Hook it up!
Book it up! Are you excited to get back going on the road more like you'€™ve done in the past?
I mean, yeah! I'€™ve been doing this tour which we'€™re over half way through and it'€™s been a lot of fun. Tough to be away from home but it'€™s part of it, you know.
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