GATES

For my first show of 2015, I ventured out to my favorite spot in the city to sit down with Gates! They've been a buzz band around Boston for the past two years or so and I'm glad we were able to sit down the night of their first true Boston headlining gig at Great Scott! With their debut album out, we talked the process at length of the efforts and writing put into that project. We also talked about their previous Boston show experiences as well as tour essentials. The band recently played New England favorites Four Year Strong's annual holiday show and their performance there definitely got bodies out to their early 2015 headlining tour with Philly favorites Young Statues. You can find the boys back on tour in the US this April/May where I'll be in sure attendance too!

Then obviously I know you just played with Four Year Strong at their holiday show in Worcester and a bunch of great Boston bands. But this is just the beginning of this tour with Young Statues. I think you're only a few dates in. Maybe how has it been going so far?
It's been awesome! Really, really awesome. We did Brooklyn, Amityville was last night and the night before that was Philly. Yeah each show was amazing so far. Really, really cool. I wasn't expecting it. It was nice and cold out. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to want to leave the comfort of their homes but no, it's been really, really cool and it's been cool playing with The City on Film which is Bob from Young Statues. We did a few shows with Young Statues in the past but we haven't done any touring with them. So yeah it's been awesome.

Alright and maybe the three things you've realized you must have with you while on the road?
That I must have with me?
Yes!
Definitely my water bottle. I have a Nalgene that's like bright green so I can see it everywhere and I don't forget it. That's my number one. Two would be my iPod just because when you're in the van and you don't want to listen to whatever everyone else is listening to, it's always great to have. I've recently gotten into podcasts lately. So I've been downloading a lot of those and putting them on my iPod and listening to them. So that's a must have and I'm going to go with my hat and scarf on this tour because it's freezing. Had I not brought those, it would have been the most miserable tour of all times. Hopefully I don't forget those ever again and my water bottle which I probably will forget somewhere but those are my must haves.

Then I believe it was your first full length that came out this year. How did you go about the writing process for that one, considering it was the first full length ever. Is it something you all worked on, were they all songs that you wrote in one session or were some older, from years ago? How did you put it together?
It was a long process. It was kind of interesting because we actually went back farther for this record then we did for the last EP. Started working on ideas that we had from the past. So maybe I wrote a song like seven years ago and I kind of dug up the demo and was like let's work on this. Things like that but we also used a lot of fresh ideas too. So it was like a nice mix and we basically just got together three times a week. After work where we'd like work to five, I would drive into New Jersey in rush hour traffic. We'd go in the basement. Play for three more hours. We'd upload everything into a Dropbox. Listen to it for a day. Come back. Just rinse/repeat. The whole time until the record was done. So it took in all like a year and a half to write it then we recorded it too. The whole process was like two years from front to back. So it was a long process but I think it just worked best for us. I liked it a lot better then writing our last EP which was kind of more like a condensed time frame. We did it all in three months and I felt like I didn't get enough time to think about everything. This was more of like 'Alright well, we'll come back to that in two months.' So we'd write like half a song and come back to it in two months from then. Yeah I felt really good about it this time around as opposed to last time.

And then considering you said the last album process took around two years, are you even thinking about releasing any new songs/a small EP. Maybe not a full record.
Yeah it's interesting you ask. We have one song that didn't make the record that we're going to try do a 7" or a split with this year. It's like a six and a half minute song. We were like okay this record is like an hour long let's not put that on there. It's actually one of my favorite songs. It was just like it doesn't fit anywhere. We have a couple more that we wrote for the record but we didn't record. That one also because it was so long we were like well let's not record that one. So we didn't record that one and we recorded the other ones. Cut that one but I think we might actually end up recording that one and put it on a split or something. We've never done a split with anyone. Since we toured heavily, this year we met so many bands that I think would be cool to work with. So yeah we definitely have plans to do that.

So maybe what was the first CD or first cassette you ever bought as a kid then the first concert you ever went to?
Sometimes I get asked this but I don't remember what the first record was. I feel like I can never remember but I do know that the first CD I ever had was Green Day's "Dookie" and Soundgarden's "Superunknown". My mom bought me both of those for my birthday. I remember those being the first CD's I ever owned.

Do you remember the first concert?
First concert I ever went to was Aerosmith with my parents. That was it. It was awesome. It was cool. I barely remember it but I just remember going to Aerosmith. I think my second concert was actually Creed and Our Lady Peace opened the show. I remember that too.

Then maybe to end it off, what is coming up? I know you just started this run but we just started this new year and a lot of touring to come but what is going to be going on for Gates?
We have a tour coming up in April/May. I don't think we can announce who it's with yet but we're touring with a band in April/May. Like a full US tour then I'm sure we'll be touring after that too. We plan on touring all the way through this year. We're going to keep writing in between and everything but I think we're going to focus on touring for the remainder of 2015. We just really want to like play this record for people. We worked two years on it so it's like, let's play it! It's nice to have like a new batch of songs as opposed to the EP's where it's only certain songs. Like alright, we wrote thirteen songs that we can actually go and play now. It's cool. So we'll be playing those and like I said, we have plans of doing a few splits in between there. Just to get some stuff out since we got the songs and we're really happy with them and want to put them out. It will be cool then we have a few other kind of crazy ideas we're working on. We always have like ten crazy ideas going at once. Who knows when they'll get done but hopefully we'll finish them.

Then on that last holiday show, State Champs was also on that show but you also played with a lot of long lasting Boston acts. What are you most looking forward to with like tonight's show considering how that show went for you?
Yeah I mean Boston is one of our favorite cities to play honestly. They always go super well for us. We played this place Roggies I think it was. I don't think it's a venue anymore. We played there like two tour cycles ago and it was just so cool. It was like a floor show and there were just people screaming like every word in my face. That doesn't really happen for us. It was a very, very cool like experience. Then we played a sold out show at Middle East with Pianos Become The Teeth. We played with Pentimento and Have Mercy at Middle East this year. We played the Worcester show with Four Year Strong so like every show we play here is just awesome. I feel like there could be no beer tonight and it would still be awesome because we just like Boston. We like playing here.

It's like we could be okay with out beer.
Yeah you know I got like coffee here, some beer here. We got some friends here so it will be a good night.
It will be a good time!
Yeah, I'm excited. We just love playing here. We just said this in another interview a couple days ago that it's one of our top three cities to play. Just excited to always get to be here.
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Asking Alexandria

Despite interviewing the new pop stars to singer-songwriter solo acts, I tend to always go back to my favorite music scene. Metal. The men and women behind metal acts tend to put in endless touring, constantly are recording new music and tend to always be a terrific interview! A band that has always been a favorite to talk to because of all these qualities I just mentioned are the boys in Asking Alexandria!
Most recently about two weeks ago, I was able to grab a few minutes with founding member Ben Bruce. Ben started the band several years ago and with the current lineup that they've maintained since then, they have completely taken over the US metal scene. He told me that the band plans to hit the studio next month so I'm sure we'll start seeing new music from the band soon. Read on for our new one!

I know you're almost done with your current headlining run. How has it been going so far?
It's really good. We're just all tired. We've been out on the road for a long time. We did all of Europe and Russia and Ukraine and stuff. We were there for like two months. We got off the plane, had three days off then started this tour which is a month. So we're just tired. The shows have been really good.

Perfect then I know you just put out "Live From Brixton and Beyond". Maybe how long has that idea been kind of brewing and being worked on?I know it's a full dvd and just not that one set.

Oh Jesus! I'm pretty sure we recorded the DVD like January of 2013. So, a long, long time. I don't know what took so long to get it released but it did take us quite long. It was definitely worth the wait I think. It's a good indication as to what we're like as a live band. It's a big show. There's actually two concert DVD's on it. All our music videos. A lot of behind the scenes shit, interviews and stuff like that. It's pretty cool. It took a lot of work putting it altogether. Actually finally getting it released but I think it's been worth it.

Definitely and I know the last full length it came out in August so it's been a little over a year. Where are you currently in the process of recording? Are you writing right now?Are you recording for a new record?
We've actually written about fifteen to sixteen demos for the next album. The plan was to go into the studio in February with a guy who does like Foo Fighters records and stuff. We're close to being ready to enter the studio now to do the next record.

Perfect and then the band has remained the same line up. I know you kind of relaunched the band several years ago but for this line up, the one that's been coming and touring the US. Do you feel the songwriting process is still changing? Has it changed?
Um, no it's pretty set in stone. Unless someone dies unexpectedly which could very well happen. Hopefully it doesn't but I think we're set in stone.

Perfect and then just because lately I've been interviewing a lot of bands who have retained their original lineups. Maybe advice on bands how to do that? How to like stick it out and remain the same line up, make it work?
Oh god I don't even know what the secret is but I know that it's like the hardest thing in the world. Especially when there are a large number in the band like there's five in the band. You're all creative people. To get five people all on the same page and we're trying to write music. It gets really, really difficult at times. You butt heads. I don't know. I don't know what the secret is . Obviously I've been in many bands before and it's never worked out for the reason of members you know just not getting along and stuff like that. Especially when you're touring a lot, as much as we do. You're just tired and grumpy all the time. It's a wonder one of us hasn't killed each other off.

Then it is pretty short but like you said you've been touring non stop. What is going to be coming up in 2015? Are you just going to be focusing on getting a new record done? Are you going to be even touring more?What's going to be going on for Asking Alexandria?
We're actually taking the first five or six months off. Just to concentrate on this new record. Then come June I believe, we start touring full speed ahead again. We'll probably be out on the road for a year, two years on the new record.

Well I think that's it. I mean we have interviewed you guys in the past and I appreciate you taking the time!
Of course, thank you very much. Take care!
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We Came As Romans

Next up is another band that I've been interviewing steadily for the past five years being We Came As Romans! I've seen the band go through three full length album cycles and seen them play countless tours. In our new interview, Joshua Moore talked about the writing process and where they stand for their next album. We also talked about what a band relationship is all about. Read on for our new one!

How has this co-headliner been going with Chiodos? Obviously too Spencer (Chamberlain, ex Underoath vocalist, current Sleepwave vocalist) who's been around forever and Jonny who's been around forever. How has this tour been with their new bands coming out and everything?
It's been cool! I mean this is day three so we're officially like halfway done. I mean it's really short. We played Baltimore yesterday, three days ago now we played our like hometown show. So I mean it's been cool. Been a lot of fun. Yeah it's just a short little run before Christmas. We haven't toured since the beginning of October was when our last headliner ended. We've taken off a ton of time to write and keep writing. That's really all we've been doing. So we're like oh we have a week open right now in December. Let's go on a little tour for Christmas. So I can buy my family something besides like socks and bad Christmas presents. Even though I actually like getting socks for Christmas. Now that I'm twenty five, I'm like yes socks! So I mean that's kind of what we've been up to. It was really awkward yesterday. I was getting my stage clothes. The tour manager/merch guy for Sleepwave. His name's Brendan. He's actually a photographer but he's a good friend of mine and before the show started, I went over there and grabbed a Sleepwave shirt. So I was changing into the shirt. Put it on and turned around and Spencer walked into our green room and I'm like 'Hey this is not completely embarrassing and weird at all". I'm wearing your t-shirt. It's fine!

Maybe how has that experience been considering Underoath was a band for so long.
Yeah I mean I personally really, really like the new Sleepwave CD and so I was like stoked to be on tour with them because I was just like this is an awesome CD. It's completely different and I'm really happy about it. Pretty stoked on it. I was watching their sound check earlier. That's how much I liked it (laughs). Actually one of our old drum techs, his name's Tai, he plays drums in Slaves. We toured together for two years, like him working for us and now he's in a band. So it's cool to be on tour with him again. Got a lot of old jokes. Probably nothing that I can publicly say. Make some fans question our sanity.

They already do. It's okay!
They probably do already do. I just downloaded Snapchat yesterday for the first time ever. I was like whatever I'm bored. Brutally bored and so I like posted on Twitter. A bunch of fans started sending me snapchats and I just responded to all of them with like a picture of the ground and then I would draw a cat and I'd just send it. It didn't matter what it was. I thought it was hilarious. I'm a little quirky I guess. Losing my mind out here.

Then I know obviously you have a large hand in writing for this band. Something I don't think most people realize but you said you were taking off time to write. Is it forming into an album just yet or do you think it's still kind of the ideas phase?
No it's been awesome because of all our previous CD's we wrote primarily on the road. I mean the first two CD's we wrote completely entirely on the road. Then "Tracing Back Roots" was about seventy percent written on the road. Maybe sixty percent written on the road. So it's been nice to like not be on tour and be able to like write and concentrate on something. Instead of setting aside fifty percent of your time touring and fifty percent writing. Where it's now 100% to writing and it's coming out way nicer then any other method. I hope that we never have to write on the road again. To be able to have time off and write. It is so much better. It is so much less stressed and I think it's coming out awesome. I mean at least I'm going to like it. We'll put it out and every kid's going to be like 'I want more break downs!' That was a high pitched voice.

That was really good.
Make a note of that. I mean everything that we're writing, we're all like super stoked on it. We're all ready to put it out. It won't come out for months. It's been great. Just having time to like dedicate for that. For the first time in our band's almost ten year career.

That is crazy to think about.
I'm an old man at twenty five.

I was thinking about that the other day. I've been interviewing you and others for like five years and it flew by. It's crazy.
It's been a while. It has been a while. Let's see. Yeah we released "To Plant A Seed" at the end of 2009. So that's just so long. I remember when we were recording our EP, I turned 19 while we were in the studio. We only had six days to do four songs. So we were working like twelve hour days in this little garage with Joey Sturgis. It was like it's my birthday and I turn 19 at midnight and the guys went to like the gas station because it was like this really small town in rural Indiana. So the guys went to like a gas station and brought back cupcakes and I was like oh thanks so much. It's too bad I hate chocolate cupcakes so they just ate all my birthday cupcakes and that was that! That was a long time ago. Six years ago now.

That's crazy. Then maybe speaking of the writing, has it changed? Stylistically, is it pretty similar to what you've always done?
I mean it's definitely changed. I feel like we've done a pretty good job at putting out different CD's. To me, there's a big difference between "To Plant A Seed" and "Understanding". Especially like lyrically. Massive difference. Maybe not so much musically but between "Tracing Back Roots" and "Understanding" it's huge. Then this next CD will be different. It will always be different because I mean as normal music listeners and normal people that we all are. Our music tastes change. What we want to play changes and what we listen to for enjoyment changes. So what we end up writing is always changing. I think it's fun. I like it. I think it makes it interesting as opposed to just putting out the same CD over and over and over again. I mean there are always going to be the kids that call for more breakdowns but unfortunately for them, we are the kind of band that wants to write and play music that we want. If other people like it, then that's great. If they don't, well then I don't know. We don't want to write songs that are just out there to like make other people happy and we're on stage miserable. When we wrote "To Plant A Seed", we loved all of those songs and now still playing them on stage six years later, I'm like this is so boring. I have literally probably played this song a thousand times.
Atleast.

Yeah! If it gets that way with songs that you love, imagine how it would get if it was a song that you didn't like and you just put it out to try and make other people happy. To try and sell some singles. To try to do whatever. You would be miserable and you can definitely tell. So yeah, we don't do that. We like the stuff we play.

That's always good! Then I wanted to end with it this. I wanted to bring it back to like the first time we interviewed you . A lot of those bands that were on tour with you then have all seen member changes as well as plenty of other bands but you guys have maintained the exact same lineup. From when you started this band.
Yeah it's been the same since our EP. We picked up Kyle like three months before we recorded it. So I guess that would be five months before we put it out. Eight months before we signed. Timelines. All that stuff, yeah. So it's been a while. The same six guys which is something.

Yeah! I mean as well as interviewing you and this genre, I also you know do interview pop rock bands for the same amount of time like The Maine, The Summer Set, bands you do Warped with who have also maintained same line ups. Maybe advice to bands to try to do that? To pull through this together?
I mean if you can stick together as a band, then that's awesome but at the same time I mean if you're not happy, make changes. Why would you waste your time knowing that you're going to be unhappy. Like oh I have a month long tour coming up and these two guys don't get along and I don't get along with this guy. So okay I'm just going to go spend a month and not be happy. It's just a waste of time. I don't think that there's anything wrong with bands having member changes. Just because if both parties aren't happy, change something to be happy. I mean it might not always be the cleanest or most happy moment when it happens but it's much better then wasting your time. Like expecting something to change that won't. But at the same time, I don't think that's it right that you get in one fight with a band member and you're like kick this guy out! That doesn't happen but if that were to happen, then my band would have none of the same members. I wouldn't be here doing this interview because this band is family. You fight. There are times when you hate each other but you always love each other. It's a weird thing. As much as I talk about what my band does, it's like every band is different. Every family is different. So what I say makes a lot of sense to me and my band but probably makes not a lot of sense to some one else in another band somewhere because that's a whole different dynamic. It works for us. I roll with it because that's the only band I got.
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