Sparks The Rescue

Dating back to January of 2010, I'€™ve had the great opportunity to consistently sit down with quite possibly the kings of New England pop punk with Sparks The Rescue and our latest took place as they headlined a huge local show this summer in Boston which ended even in advice for the local bands in Boston just starting out!

The band is two full length records deep now dropping '€˜Worse Things I'€™ve Been Cursed With'€™ this past May and while they are unsure where their fall is going to lead them (you know besides that big U2 tour) they are sure to be on everyone'€™s radar soon enough! These are some great gents in Sparks The Rescue and if you haven'€™t checked them out yet, I hope you do soon!

Before this album came out, it had definitely been a while.
Alex: Yeah it has.
How has it been going over so far?
Alex: It'€™s been great! I mean we just started touring on our new record. We just got off tour with Ludo and that was our first full US on the new record and it was a great time and people have been responding really well to it. It'€™s been awesome!

Perfect and then this is obviously a little bit different from '€˜Eyes To The Sun'€™.
Alex: Yeah you know we wrote this record altogether and lived in a house for three months and wrote it and we tried to make something that'€™s like '€˜Eyes To The Sun'€™ but definitely a little grown up and taking it to a couple different places. We had a bit of a different feeling to songs. A few slower ones and some more jamming songs to kind of bounce a little bit. We had a blast just writing it.

So maybe on this record what'€™s like the most familiar sounding song, like maybe for past fans of the band and the most unfamiliar?
Alex: I think the most familiar song would be '€˜Saturday Skin'€™ on the new record and '€˜Better Side of Me'€™ even though there'€™s a rapper in it. Yeah I think those are like the two most familiar songs.
Nate: I'€™d say the most unfamiliar would maybe be like '€˜Vanities'€™.
Alex: '€˜Weirdest Way'€™.
Nate: Yeah just like the more mid-tempo songs.
Alex: We never got to do like a ballad so '€˜How To Make A Heart Hollow'€™ is kind of like our ballad.

And then I know you guys were on tour with The Scenic and The Dangerous Summer into the Ludo tour so how has it been going? Like with the new CD?
Alex: It'€™s been awesome. I mean we'€™re still a relatively small band although our fan base is growing every day which is really, really cool to watch. With the Ludo tour especially, we went out there and were playing for a lot of kids that have no idea who we are. I'€™d walk around and tell kids like if you'€™ve ever heard of like All Time Low or Mayday Parade a lot of kids are just like '€˜No? Like I have no idea who these bands are'€™ which shocked us but at the same time it was amazing. It was like pretty cool to get kids interested. Getting these fans that are a little outside our usual genre that we'€™ve been in.
Nate: They'€™re wild fans! At shows, we'€™re used to seeing kids come and just stand around, no offense, till the band is on that they really want to see.
Alex: Yeah they were really good to all the bands that played on that tour. It was really cool!
Nate: Dressing up like vampires, aliens every night. The tour was themed!
I saw you for like a second that night and there were kids with like aluminum foil hats?
Alex: Yeah it was space night! There were three themes on that tour. Like we dressed up. Like when it was Dracula night, we would dress up like victims. We'€™d be Men In Black on alien night and then the Sparks The Rescue basketball team and I was a referee with a prison shirt on because I bought the wrong kind of referee shirt. Apparently, vertically is a referee shirt and I brought a horizontal shirt so I looked like a prison ref but it was okay because I had a whistle so it all worked.

And then what is coming up? Are you guys going to be touring again?
Alex: We'€™re going to be doing a lot of college shows in the fall and sticking home. We'€™re hunkering down and are going to write this winter.
Nate: We'€™ll play at your college, let us know!
Alex: We'€™re looking for a bunch of college shows and we'€™re probably touring. We always are! We don'€™t have anything confirmed right now. We can'€™t say what'€™s confirmed I mean yeah we'€™re doing a full world tour with U2 coming up but other then that!
Nate: We'€™re gonna write a lot! Yeah this record just came out and we just started playing it but we'€™re just going to have a little time off and get creative you know.
Alex: Yep!

That'€™s what I was going to ask because I know when you signed to Fearless, you re-released it but it had already been out I think since '€˜08.
Alex: Yeah it had been out for almost a year before Fearless released it. We put three new songs on there.
Nate: But it was remastered and all that jazz.
Alex: So I think we'€™re trying to put a new record out by next May or June. So about a year after this last one then we'€™ll just go on it! We'€™re going to keep touring that'€™s all we do. We love it!

Then you guys aren'€™t from Boston but you are from Maine so as some one who is breaking out from New England, you'€™re touring nationally, you'€™re signed to a label with two full length records out. What advice would you give to bands first starting in New England in general?
Nate: Write great songs, do shows and the only reason we got out of Maine is because we got lucky. We wrote '€™Secrets'€™ years ago and kids just loved it and we packed the places we played and then we changed our sound and it happened again.
Alex: Yeah for us I mean it'€™s just take over your local scene. Like wherever you live. If you'€™re a band from Boston and you'€™re not, you might get signed and blow up right away but for us, it took us like really being the biggest band in Maine. You got to build that home base. Maybe you'€™re not the biggest but you'€™re still strong. Like three to five hundred kids when you play and if that'€™s happening there, then you could say well '€™Alright if we can do this here, it can happen all over the place'€™. Like this has some longevity. Either way, you just got to play and work hard and be driven.
Nate: I see so many bands that have so much talent.
Alex: They just don'€™t take it seriously it bums me out. You got to work hard!
Nate: And I see bands that are absolutely horrendous but they just got a lot of heart and that'€™s why they'€™re doing what they'€™re doing.
Alex: The amount of effort you put into anything is pretty equal to what you get back. We definitely put a lot of effort into the band and what we do and talking to fans and making new friends. That'€™s how we'€™ve been successful.

Then obviously to start it off, you don'€™t have a choice of where you play on tours when you'€™re opening for some one else so you guys don'€™t play too, too often when you'€™re in Portland or Cambridge today when you'€™re on tour so how is it to be these local shows, like as direct support for Hey Monday?
Alex: It'€™s amazing you know? We got the call for this and we were just like hell yeah we have a hometown show coming up on the 20th in a couple days now in Portland, Maine so it'€™s just amazing to come home. We'€™re definitely ecstatic when you can have hundreds of kids sing along, it'€™s such a rush!
Nate: It'€™s also great because we'€™ve always played upstairs here and it'€™s always been great. We played it with Ludo but after the Ludo tour and this show, playing downstairs! Oh my gosh, I never want to go back upstairs again. It'€™s amazing down there! I mean we totally will but you always walk by the door and you'€™re like '€˜Oh man I want to be down there'€™
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Bass Drum Of Death

Hot off the presses, tonight I got the excellent opportunity to speak to really one of the most buzzed about bands as of late in Bass Drum of Death at their Boston show this evening with Japandroids and it was an insane set. With maybe two seconds in between each track, they played straight through ten or eleven songs really performing the whole record and the passion shined through that the band has for their music!

Post performance, I talked with the boy who started the band as well as being the lead vocalist John and we talked about everything from the writing process for the record to how the band really has been a growing process and what's coming in the future! You can find them in Fredericton tomorrow and post their time with Japandroids they will be heading out with Toro Y Moi!

You're touring a lot lately and you have the next full month with Japandroids and Toro Y Moi. It's soft but what are the three things you must have while you're out on the road?
Things you must have? A GPS, phone and deodorant. It can get nasty, you know! Yeah that's pretty much it. Usually as long as I have my phone, I'm all set. I don't really bring a computer or anything because I'm just able to do everything on my phone. It's pretty much what you have to have.
Then I know you put out your new record in April so how did the band come together?
I started it by myself and it was really just a one man band then after like a year of touring by myself, I was like man this is fucking work. I need to get some one else in here so I've known Colin since we were little and he didn't play drums before but I knew he would like the touring so he self-taught himself drums two weeks before we had to go out. So then he's been with me for like two years and now we have our second guitar player Print. He had played in bands before. The way I made the record was with two guitars so for this, I had him to play the other guitar parts and the lead guitar parts that weren't accounted for live. Yeah it's kind of been a work in progress and maybe even the next time we come around the city, it will be even kind of bigger. I kind of like being able to play with different line ups and everybody's always weirded out when they just see two guitars and no bass. That's how I made the record so it would be kind of impossible for me.
So it was a solo project? I know your myspace link even is still not Bass Drum of Death but your own name.
Yeah, yeah! I mean and it still kind of is. For the record, I wrote and recorded all the songs myself but Colin did have a big part in the arrangements. He tried songs different ways and he practiced and he played them really differently live.
Then how has it been going over? Like the first record? I mean it's only been a few months.
Yeah no it's been great. We've been super busy so that's good. With our band, it's like very wanting to get out and play. Go to as many different places as we can. You know we're not going to be like one of those blog bands that's just the one song and kids are like 'woahhhh'. We're going to actually go out and like change people's minds. We're playing a ton of shows and it's getting better as we go.
But how do you think that buzz maybe helped you? I mean I know you played a bunch of sets at South By like before the record came out. How do you think it's helped you?
I don't know I mean it's hard to say. Basically the important thing is the people who actually listen to you. You know the more you play and the more stuff that is out there available. I know this from my experience. I'll hear about a band for a long time before I ever actually listen to them you know what I mean. So I want people to listen and make up their own minds. You know it's hard to say. It certainly has helped us but it comes down to whether people actually like the songs enough.
Then how did you go about the writing of the record?
It was kind of a long process. I never set out a time to do it. I just kind of like built up a bunch of songs that I wrote and would record when I felt like it. Like when I had a song that I wanted to record, it was never really necessarily looking, trying to record an actual whole full length. It just got to that point that I had eleven songs and I listened to all the tracks together. It took about a year just kind of recording off and on but I think it worked out well and it works weird. Like kids sing along. I'll put out shit for forever. I'm going to try to get better about it because I don't want there to be three years inbetween records. I've already been working on stuff.
People are doing that all the time now. Like putting out records every six months if they have the material.
Yeah I still want it to be good but I also think that I don't want to follow the traditional cycle.
Then obviously I watched your set where you would stop for maybe two seconds and then go right into the next song. Is that how it always is? I mean the fans were clearly still into it.
Yes. Well yeah funny you say that because being out with Japandroids like Brian is really awesome about talking to the crowd and kind of making everybody in the crowd believe that he is literally like their best friend. So he's really awesome about that and we've always just been like let's play the songs. I love bands like that. I saw Jay Reatard before he passed away and he did fifteen songs in like twenty three minutes and I love that shit. So that's kind of how I've always done it. I've been a lot more conscious of it and I'm not going to talk unless there's something that needs to be said. I'm trying to get better about that and I do that but if I don't really have anything to say. I'm not a comedian. It's one of those things! I'm fine on stage like playing music but I'm deathly afraid of being in front of people talking. It's a weird thing but like I've always been like that.
Like having a conversation?
No, not having a conversation but just like being up there in front of people and having to talk. School projects and stuff like that, I hated it. I'm fine if I'm like singing or playing. Like entertaining people is a lot harder.
Well then how many songs do you normally play? I mean you played for like thirty five minutes.
We played about ten or eleven songs. Basically everything off the record.
You pretty much played like the record?
Yeah I think it was all but like one song. We have some older stuff that we used to play and we may bring that back out but Print has only been with us since June so we practiced with him and he basically learned ten songs and a couple of covers that we'll pull out on the rare occasion that we get an encore for a show. Yeah so we just kind of play those ten songs. It's usually opening so thirty minutes of it and that's kind of how I like it. Being a band that kind of leaves you wanting a little more.

Then these are obviously bringing it back a little bit to end it off. What was like the first CD or cassette or record you bought then the first concert you went to.
I actually have no idea what my first concert was. It might have been this festival in Memphis. Saw a bunch of bands like Dave Matthews.
Huge influence.
Oh yeah! I was like eight or something. I do remember seeing George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars and that was awesome. Scratch the Dave Matthews thing.
Dave Matthews never happened.
Yeah that never happened. I saw Saliva and George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars and the first CD I ever bought was because of my mom having that deal where you do eleven CD's for a penny with Columbia House. She was like okay you get one and your brother gets one. I got No Doubt's 'Tragic Kingdom'. I had a tape before that but I'm not sure what it was. That was my first big CD.
And do you think any of those experiences influenced you at all? Like you personally or Bass Drum of Death as a group?
Probably not. I went to that festival just because I wanted to go to a music festival and I got that No Doubt album because I loved that song Spiderwebs. It was an awesome song. That record is a great record but I don't think any of that has any influence on what I do now. I was getting into like indie rock.
Then what is maybe coming up? I know you said you may be working on your new full length and you have a while to go on your current tour. What's going to be going on? Are you just going to keep on touring?
Yeah after this tour we have two weeks off then we go to Europe for five weeks.
Five weeks?!
Yeah it's crazy. Then we're off for Christmas and then I think we go to Australia.
That must be crazy. Being off your first record.
Yeah it's real cool. It's cool to be able to do that and this time last year, I had no idea like all this stuff would have been happening. My goal with this whole thing is to make good songs and see as many places as I can. So yeah we're pretty busy through January and then we probably will take some time to chill and make another record.
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Terrible Things

Being at Warped Tour for a day filled with interviews for the third summer in a row, I was actually looking forward to speaking to a band that wasn'€™t brand new or the band on everyone'€™s lips. I was most looking forward to the opportunity to speak to Josh Eppard and Fred Mascherino of Terrible Things who have been in the music game really for their whole adult lives and killed it to a crowd of fellow Warped tour mates later on that day when I was able to catch their set!

The band dropped their debut full length last year and quickly after the release, they left Universal to become independent artists once again which in our interview we discussed why there aren'€™t exactly cons to doing so! Read on for my exclusive time with these Warped Tour vets and look for new music to come soon from the boys!

The record came out last year. How has it been going over so far? You guys have been playing shows and touring steadily how has it been doing?
Fred: This is really the first tour where we can see some affect of all the work we'€™ve been doing on the road. It'€™s kind of the biggest tour we'€™ve done and seeing people in the crowd knowing all the words has been really exciting. You know the first record was our very first effort here and we weren'€™t overly enthusiastic about the job the label did. So we'€™re now away from them and looking forward to actually future records and that'€™s one of the things we started doing was writing before we left and we'€™re actually playing a new song at some of the dates.
Josh: You know I think it'€™s worth saying that I still look at the Terrible Things record like a new record. We'€™re still out here supporting it and we still believe in this record. Definitely excited about where the band is going to go. We'€™re creative souls so we'€™re definitely itching to get into the studio and do a new record of course but we did put in a lot of work. Fred'€™s very nice because we weren'€™t really overly enthusiastic about the job. We felt like the record still does deserve a chance and it'€™s kind of ironically appriopate that now that we'€™re not with Universal, now the crowds have been bigger and people are singing along and we are getting to see some of the seeds that we planted and it'€™s been really exciting. I can'€™t say enough about how excited the band is and how great Warped Tour'€™s been for us so we'€™re lucky to be here and trying to make the most of the opportunity.

Perfect then obviously you both have been in past bands and now you'€™re Terrible Things. How is it been being Terrible Things on Warped Tour? Kind of like, well not smaller but newer band.
Josh: Oh definitely a smaller band.
Fred: Yeah, yeah!
Josh: Well, it is! That'€™s fine. That'€™s the thing! People ask us that and there'€™s no shame in loving music.
Fred: Yeah!
Josh: We'€™re starting over. Sure I was in Coheed and Fred was in TBS and we played to ten thousand people but neither one of those bands play to ten thousand people anymore. We'€™re a new band! But I'€™m saying even those bands, I mean Coheed'€™s been able to hang on to their audience and let it kind of grow and evolve and they'€™re doing great. I'€™m just saying that it'€™s a new band and I think it'€™s for the love and the music that'€™s the reason that it doesn'€™t even phase me that we play in front of smaller crowds. I'€™m just excited that we get to touch anybody with our music. We definitely have been watching it grow and evolve so.
Fred: I think like the fact is that it is what it is. Josh and I have been playing music since we were little kids and it really doesn'€™t matter what the size of the crowd is. We have a good time. Even if no one was watching, like when we play at practice, we still play our hearts out every time.
Josh: You would think we were playing a show.
Fred: Every show we do, I mean we'€™re rock and rollers, we'€™re musicians. So we'€™re right at home on that stage. Whether it'€™s twenty thousand people or twenty people.

Perfect and then you said you'€™ve left Universal. You'€™ve both been independent in the past like The Color Fred and then Josh obviously has Weerd Science so how has it been? Like what would you say are the pros and cons to being independent maybe?
Fred: Right now I can'€™t see any bad part of being off of it (laughs).
Fred was not happy (laughs)!
Josh: That'€™s like Fred for fuck you basically. No, I'€™m just joking around.
Fred: No but we'€™re looking forward to things that we couldn'€™t do before. Like put some songs up for free for people to hear or for donation or maybe not record meaning maybe not be rushed to record and maybe do an EP and put it on vinyl instead of a full length. Essentially what I'€™m looking at it as is whatever our fans are calling for, we can now do it instead of having to follow the factory assembly line that we signed up for mistakenly two years ago.
Josh: In hindsight or 20/20, I don'€™t think there'€™s any band on Warped Tour that kind of still in their first years, playing to a hundred to two hundred people a day would be complaining. I mean I'€™ve seen this thing growing. It'€™s really exciting. What could be more exciting and like Fred said, I mean when we were off in our other bands we were playing hometown shows in small clubs because it'€™s just what we loved to do. When Fred mentions putting a record on vinyl or doing some of those other things, I think that'€™s why Terrible Things is more exciting now then ever. For where the band is headed and anything even in the present right now we'€™re really excited to be on Warped Tour. Universal or no Universal or whatever may transpire, we'€™re always going to be a band and always putting out good music.
Fred: I also feel like we'€™re playing better then ever on Warped.
Josh: I think anything has to come in its own. I agree!
Fred: We did a lot of rehearsal before this tour and we were doing some writing. Like we have had Brian Weaver playing bass for the past year. He'€™s officially in the band now and it feels like '€™Okay, this is starting to happen'€™ and we'€™re getting into our groove.

And then to end it off! Where can kids find you this summer? What stage are you playing, are you doing signings, are you hanging out?
Josh: Well we'€™re always out and about. Either at the Terrible Things tent, we'€™re playing the Ernie Ball stage, and we'€™re just always out and about. Meeting people and just kind of come to the Terrible Things tent and you'€™ll definitely catch one of us or our roadie Dennis who'€™s probably the most interesting character. Definitely! No fault there!
Fred: Yeah we'€™re not sitting on our busses in the air conditioning. We'€™re old school Warped Tour veterans and we like to go out and meet people. So come say hi!
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Bombay Bicycle Club

Last night I got the excellent opportunity to head out to the debut night of the current Two Door Cinema Club headliner to speak to Jamie of Bombay Bicycle Club where we learned all about their new record and their time on this tour. It'€™s not a secret that his band while at home as well as Two Door have developed a huge following in the UK where they'€™re from despite maybe being a support act here but as you can read in our exclusive interview below, it will be like a relief for the band to play in that position! Still the pressure will be there as the tour has really almost completely sold out already with the Boston show last night being sold out the day it was announced.

The band just dropped their third full length release '€˜A Different Kind Of Fix'€™ on August 26th in the UK with the release available on iTunes and on their current tour but they are in talks with several labels to sign so a physical is sure to be dropped soon here. For now though, get your fix by checking out the band on the road and reading my exclusive with Jamie below!

I know you just put out your new record like a little over a week ago.
Yes, in the Uk.
In the UK. Is it coming out in the US?
We'€™re just sort of finding out, well, deciding on the label at the moment. But I mean it'€™s on iTunes and people can illegally download it.

And then like how is it going over like maybe you said back at home and then you did play New York last night so how have the kids been about it?
It'€™s really good. It hit like top five in the UK so it'€™s good. Yeah because it'€™s kind of different to the first two albums well like all the albums we'€™ve put out have been a little bit different to each other. So it'€™s probably quite hard as a fan if you really like one album and then this is something that'€™s a bit different but people like it. That'€™s what'€™s important.

And then how did you go about the writing for this CD? Was it just one of you, was it collective?
It'€™s always been Jack the lead singer that drives the live tunes. He'€™ll just have a riff or an idea or something and bring that to us so that record was no different to that. He also did a bit of writing with one of the producers Ben Allen in Atlanta.

So did that change on this record? Like is it something new?
It was more just, I think it was because, he was a bit sort of stuck at one point for some of the songs and then they recorded our new record so he just got caught. In a way that producers do quite a lot of writing.

And then on this CD, what would you say is the most familiar sounding song for past fans of the band, like on your last releases and most unfamiliar/?
So the most familiar?
So if they like bought the CD tonight, what would be like the most familiar sounding song for past fans of the band and the most like new or left field?
The last song on the record called '€˜Still'€™ which is just like a pianoy ballad. Sounds lame, it'€™s not (laughs). It sounds like Thom York or something. That would be most different. There'€™s songs that would fit on the first album like the classic indie rock songs. Probably like '€˜Leave It'€™ I would say would be much familiar.

You played in New York last night but this is your first night on the tour with Too Door. You and The Lonely Forest I would say are more like dreamy and pretty sounding a little bit. A little bit different from Two Door. They have that but then they'€™re really electronic and dancy so what are you looking forward to on this tour?
Well to be honest in the UK like fan wise, if we did a joint headlining tour we could probably do like stadiums.
Oh really? Your fans cross over a lot?
Yeah I mean really our new album is quite dreamy but live we'€™re very energetic and it'€™s more of a rock show probably then it is on the record. It'€™s also going to be like a bit of healthy competition between all the bands on the tour. Out for each other.

Then obviously both of you are big in the UK both you and Two Door and you'€™re both gaining success here as well. How are the shows different from shows in London and you said stadiums if you were co-headlining?
Well we'€™ve been doing bigger tours in the UK like we'€™ve got this like month long UK tour in October but it'€™s quite nice to be able to have the pressure taken off a bit by being a support band. People don'€™t really expect anything from you. You can only sort of do better than their expectations and also it'€™s a chance to make loads of new fans and you can only do so much touring in the UK. It'€™s not like a big country. You can'€™t go to like a hundred cities like you can in the US so we'€™ve kind of reached that tipping point in the UK like maybe we'€™ll do two tours for this album but hopefully we'€™ll keep coming back here.

That'€™s what I was going to ask. I mean I'€™m sure it'€™s going to go well playing these big rooms and kids are sure to be crazy but do you think if this goes well, you may come back to the US pretty soon?
I think we'€™ll come because we haven'€™t been to the West Coast to tour yet so I would have thought we'€™d come back maybe in November to do some dates over there but it depends on the label situation so hopefully by then we will have a physical release. We have CD'€™s with us as well.

So as a band you'€™ve released three albums and toured your fair share. It'€™s goofy but what would be like the three things you must have while on the road to survive. Like tour essentials!
I'€™m a bit sad I always just pack everything really. Just pack a wash bag, a good supply of food and green tea.

Then maybe who would be your dream act to tour with? It doesn'€™t have to make sense it could be with anyone.
Well we supported the Pixies actually in Europe which was pretty amazing. That was kind of a dream. I would like to tour with Radiohead but their fans are quite militant. I don'€™t know yeah that would be cool.

Then taking it back a bit. What was the first CD or cassette you bought as a kid and then the first concert you went to?
First concert was (Iaughs) Limp Bizkit. The first CD was Offspring I think. Pretty lame!

And then maybe that doesn'€™t influence you now personally or Bombay but do you think it does?
(laughs) No! I'€™ve always liked the guitarist in Limp Bizkit so maybe I'€™ll start wearing like the masks and stuff.

And then we talked about it but you just put out the CD, maybe you don'€™t know the situation in the US signing wise and stuff but are you just going to keep on touring in these next few months?
Yes I think so. The US is particularly hard. You can'€™t keep touring as all. It needs to be something, especially with a British band, it seems to be like there is one thing that sort of pushes you from being just like a british band playing to three hundred people to being Mumford & Sons and playing to thirty five thousand people.
I'€™ve interviewed a band You Me At Six who I believe as well is big in the UK and they'€™re in the same situation. Like this will be their first time back in October and they'€™re opening for other people it'€™s understandable.
And yeah they'€™re pretty big in the UK.
Yeah that'€™s what they told me (laughs).
It'€™s like I promise you we are.
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