I See Stars

After doing this for four years, I've found myself in some interesting locales be it on a couple of bar stools, bathroom stalls (best acoustics) and in dark vans but recently I switched it up a bit when I sat down with Brent of one of heavy rock's biggest bands currently I See Stars. While the band dined on their dinners at Uno's pre show, I grabbed a few minutes with Brent with dishes flying over our heads and talked about everything new with the band!
The band was actually one of the first bands I ever interviewed four not so short years ago and came full circle with advice he would give to young bands just starting. Maybe it's strange though considering the band is still very young, Brent being only 22 and the singer Devin Oliver being the ripe old age of 21. The band currently finds themselves co-headling a major US tour with fellow veterans on Music Remedy.com The Word Alive and don't show any signs of slowing down. Read on for our much anticipated exclusive and check them out on their current US tour also featuring Get Scared, Crown The Empire, Dayshell and Palisades!

Obviously you guys have been doing this for a long time. Still really young doing it. Maybe to start things off, advice you would give to bands just starting?
Honestly, it's so easy to research not only your instrument but being in a band and what other bands are doing. How things work. I mean I would just suggest really trying to figure out what they want and write the best songs that they possibly can because that's really easy to learn how to do. So it's a good place to start the process of being in a band.

And I think this is your first headlining run of the downstairs Palladium which is obviously a pretty big deal. You are co-headlining with The Word Alive. Maybe how do you feel this tour has been going for these two bands so far?
Honestly, I'm not just saying this, it might be one of the best tours we've ever done as a band. Headlining has been one of the best opportunities. Kids are coming out just to support you. Show you that people love your band. They'll stick around to ten o'clock to watch you play so it's been amazing.

Then you've obviously been through your ups and downs as a band these past few years. Jumping on a tour last minute with Asking Alexandria and being kicked off a tour just prior. So maybe the things that you've learned you must have on tour to survive?
I mean you got to fend for yourself out there and everybody's got their own opinions and ways of treating you and accepting you or not accepting you.

Then the new album just came out. I know you've been putting out new music really rapidly.
Our record came out three weeks ago, "New Demons". We plan to write a new record I guess through out the next year or so then we'll put one out in a while but we don't really have a plan necessarily for a new record.

Devin: Is Brent doing an interview over here?

Brent is doing an interview over here.
Devin: That's hot, man. I'll try not to talk (laughs).

Was there a reason between doing the releases so fast?
We just like releasing records. I mean, it's not like "Digital Renegade" was a problem by any means. It honestly was one of the best records we've ever put out. We just like putting our records out and songs. There's really no rhyme or reason to that I guess.

Then maybe how has the songwriting process changed over the past few years? Has it become like a steady rhythm in the band, considering it's been the same members or is it still changing?
Yeah, it's constantly changing actually. We just keep learning new ways to collaborate and communicate and technology is changing and our musical interests are changing. Every single record has been a very different process and honestly I hope it stays that way. I hope it stays interesting and I hope different members keep seeking out different members. We kind of pull things from different people like within the band and even outside of the band. We have friends and other people that we work with and we want to constantly keep collaborating. To make it as interesting as we can possibly make it.

Then a soft one! Do you remember the first concert you ever went to?
First concert I ever went to was a band called Adema, 311, Barenaked Ladies, Jimmy Eat World and Blink 182.
That's crazy!
That might be the best concert still, like today even. Ever. So that was mind blowing. To think that we'd play, I won't say similar concerts, because that was just unreal. It was like Woah. It felt huge. It felt like unbelievable but to know that we kind of do the same thing for kids these days and that we contribute to like that same feeling, it's amazing. It's awesome. It's a dream come true.

Considering the new album is so new and you're on this tour now, what is coming up for the band within the next few months? Are you just going to keep on touring like you usually do, this non stop touring cycle?
Yeah, I mean we're going to tour and hopefully just keep on releasing cool things like acoustic things and music videos. Like we said, just keep on touring. We'll be out with The Word Alive for the whole year and then next year we have a couple things lined up. Can't really talk about them but it's all there. It's all great!
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Sometimes an interview can be the most awkward, stilted conversation you will have all week then there are bands like Kodaline. In the fifteen minutes or so that we talked this second time around, we consistently went off on little stories and wandered from the interview questions which lead to about twenty more minutes off record. Our interview was more like a conversation then a standard interview and I really think it helped Mark Pendergrast, guitarist and Jason Boland, bassist, to open up more.
The band has had a quick climb up the success ladder here in the states, particularly in Boston and are booked to come back stateside in February fresh after recording their new album in January. We talked about their experience touring here as a British band, their first musical experiences and Jason being a true rebel amongst other things. You know, after his boy band phase. With the band killing it to a sold out house only an hour after our interview took place, it's clear the kind of success this band will have in 2014 and I for one will most definitely be watching them again at the Paradise come Valentine's Day. Make them your Valentine that day as well!

This is the first proper US headlining tour for you guys. This show even getting moved to a bigger room. 1975 selling out the same room last week. Kind of being at the same level. How has this tour been going considering it is your first headlining run?
Jason: Every show's been selling out. Well, so far.
Every show has been completely sold out so far?
Mark:So far, yeah. We're in New York tomorrow but it is the biggest room tomorrow. It's good.
Jason: Did you say The 1975 were here last week?
Yeah, they played here last week and they sold it out too. I interviewed Lovelife last night. Do you know that band Lovelife? I interviewed them last night and when I said I was interviewing you, they were like "woah!" They were like , "Do you know huge they are in Europe?" They were really excited.
Mark: In the UK, we're playing like 5 or 6 thousand capacity rooms. The London show at Brixton holds five thousand. We're doing the O2 arena in Dublin which is twelve and a half thousand. It's starting out here too.
Jason: We haven't played these size venues in a while. We're kind of growing into our own here touring here. We're on tour in the UK in December. We haven't played in these size venues in a while though. But this one is incredible.
I love The Sinclair.
Mark: We've been playing at a lot of little dive bars so when we walked in the door, we were just like Shit, man! This is amazing. Can I swear in this interview?
You can swear, it's okay!
Mark: Fuck! No, it's cool.
Jason: Yeah it's nice! When we walked up, it was cool because it's the first time we've seen our name only on the marquee. Took a picture and everything.
Then maybe how has it been, because you know a lot of bands from Britian who work and work and work to get this level. Like you know, Frank Turner, You Me At Six and all these bands. For you guys, it was kind of quick US touring wise. You did the opening tour for Airborne Toxic. It came pretty fast for you guys so maybe what advice would you give to British bands trying to break out here?
Jason: I feel pretty weird giving advice to bands.
Well, it came pretty fast for you guys though compared to other acts who toured here for years and now are breaking.
Mark: Stick with it.
Jason: Yeah, just stick with it. We were really lucky. The album came out last week.
Mark: Days ago actually. What day is it?
It's Tuesday.
Jason: It is a week then.
Yeah, a week then.
Mark: I clearly don't know my days, it's alright!
Jason: So we feel kind of weird giving bands advice because we're so new to it.
Mark: Go on support touring.
Jason: Yeah, you got to do support touring. Like we came out at first when no one really knew us and did some shows in New York, one in LA, one in Boston.
You played Boston yeah at Church, like a radio show?
Mark: Yeah it was for Radio BDC. That was weird actually. We just made the announcement a few days before on the radio and it was brilliant. We came out with Airborne and that venue was fucking great.
It was packed for you too. Like it was already filled when you guys went on I felt.
Jason: That tour was really helpful to us because it took us to a lot of places in America that we had never been. Or we wouldn't necessarily go on holiday. So, it was really good. On this tour, we kind of go in a similiar direction. It was a really good tour for us. It exposed our music to a lot of people.
Mark: Yeah, a lot of people that come to our shows now say they saw us with Airborne.
Well, it's neat for it to be moved to a bigger room then sell out. It's pretty great. The demand must have been crazy because this room is about three times the size of what you were originally playing.
Jason: Really?
Oh yeah!
Mark: We're coming back, oh wait I can't talk about that yet.
You can tell me after (laughs).
Jason: Well, we'll be back in the new year. Undisclosed but yeah we're coming back.
Mark: It's so much fun. It's just so different to tour the United States. It's just huge. Drives are crazy. Five hour drive tonight. In the Uk, everywhere is like three hours away from each other. The scenery too. We were down in Texas awhile ago it was crazy. This tour has us driving through Montana and there was nothing there. We're going to drive from Minneapolis from Seattle. Two or three day drive. That's supposed to be really amazing.
That's coming up?
Mark: Yeah, that's in like two weeks or something like that.
Jason: Because it's such a big country, every state is like it's own country. To us at least.
Mark: Have you been to the UK?
I haven't but I've interviewed like countless British bands. Like Frank, You Me At Six on the poppier side but yeah I've been doing it for like four years. So I've gotten an idea from them on how small the country is compared to the United States.
Jason: I've never actually listened to Frank Turner.
He's great. He's playing House of Blues where you guys played.He's headlining there next month.
Mark: Amazing.
Jason: I don't remember any of his songs but he was at Reading festival. While we were doing backstage interviews, the crowd for main stage was massive for him. Singing back the words at him.
Oh wow, I saw Biffy Clyro like last week who I know headlined this year.
Mark: Yeah! You saw them here?
Yeah they played here like two weeks ago with Morning Parade.
Mark: Where were they playing?
Brighton Music Hall.
Jason: How big is that?
Only the size of this. No, it's smaller.
Jason: They play insane Euro venues.
It took them a really long time to break here. That's why I'm saying you guys are selling out a bigger venue then a band that's been a band for sixteen years.
Mark: They're one of our favorite bands.
Jason: It's hard when it goes the other way around because when they go back to UK and Europe they sell out arenas.
Mark: Oh jeez.
You're like 'it may be different here but when we go back home, not so much'.
Jason: They kick our asses. They would hand them to us on a pedestal.
Mark: It's really weird that Biffy Clyro played a room smaller then this.
Tour Manager: They normally play to about five to six thousand. Is it because they wanted to play a smaller show?
No, that was the first time they've sold out that room size in Boston. It took them a long time here.
Jason: Do you know Frightened Rabbit?
Yeah, they play a two night stand here in Boston.
Jason: What club?
They play Paradise. Then you said the album here only came out last week. How did you go about the songwriting process for that one? Maybe in comparison to the EP?
Mark: The writing is me and Steve, the singer who sings the main part and I write as well. We both come together and we'll bring it to the lads and we'll bring it into the studio and turn it into what you hear.
Jason: Yeah. It's a pretty simple process. We'll put in our two cents.
Mark: The lyrics themselves are made up by me and Steve.
Then maybe considering it just came out here but it's going so well in America, are you even considering like working on that next album?
Mark: Oh, we've started it. Yeah we kind of started writing it the day we finished the first one.
Jason: Once the album had been finished. We had this deadline for when we had to finish the album. Afterwards, we still had songs that we were working out in the rehearsal room that we were working on as new songs. In January, we're going to start recording the new material but the album won't be out for another year.
Mark: Me and Steven have a little home out in the country. We're going back to where we kind of wrote and recorded the first one. So many ideas and shit. So in the winter, we're just going to go there and finish them off. Then go back on tour for what looks like a year. We get back from this tour, go straight into a UK tour. We're bringing our engineer with us. He's going to hop on the tour bus for about five days where we'll demo and record.
Then maybe for each of you a soft one! The first CD or first cassette you ever bought? Then the first concert you went to?
Mark: It was so terrible.
You got to say it. Even if it was terrible.
Jason: I don't remember. What comes to mind at the moment is Will Smith.
Mark: First one I ever bought or was given to me?
That you bought.
Mark: Fucking Marilyn Manson.
Jason: It was either Will Smith or Five for mine.
Mark: Oh, Five! Scratch that. Do you know Five?
Yeah, british boy band.
Jason: Did they ever tour America?
They came to America but obviously not a thing anymore. I don't think they're even a thing in general.
Mark: They are now, yeah! Five's back together .All those nineties pop bands come together.
They just got inspired by One DIrection apparently. I've only ever interviewed one like British boy band. I mean they still play, I think, maybe they just broke up. JLS?
Jason: They did, yeah.
Well they were super nice but I know it's probably a lot different with the craziness of British boy bands actually in Uk.
Jason: There was like this big festival where a lot of nineties pop bands got back together and went on a arena tour together.
Mark: Like Five got back together but only four of them did it. So yeah Five was my first. What was the album called? I wish it was like The Velvet Underground or something like that.
Well maybe do you remember your first concert? Was it any better?
Jason: Probably a fucking Five concert.
Big fan!
Mark: My first concert was Metallica.
Jason: Was it?
Mark: Yeah! No! It was Green Day or something like that.
Jason: Mine was an Irish blues band filled with harmonica players. I got taken to the show with my mom and my dad.
Mark: Nah, it's the first gig you went to with your mates.
Jason: Oh, the first gig I want to with my mates was Snow Patrol. I didn't have to go to school the next day because I stayed at a friend's house. I had to hide around where I went to school was like four or five hours before I could go home because I didn't want my parents to find out.
Oh snap you were a rebel.
Mark: Huge rebel, huh!
Jason: It was one of the first few times I got a bus by myself as well.
Mark: What a big day!
That's a big day in your life.
Jason: Damn right! I think I got off at the wrong stop and had to walk for ages.
That's so funny, that's good. Then obviously you kind of talked about how you going to be working on the new album in January and you'll be back touring in February. The tour that you can't talk about but are you just going to be keeping busy? Like kind of doing what you've been doing? Like album, tour, album.
Mark: If we're not on tour, we're writing.
Since you've already been in Boston three times this year.
Mark: Yeah, it's our third time in Boston. It's crazy. It's fun.
Jason: I think it's like our fourth trip to the states this year and yeah, third time to Boston. This year has kind of gone so fast. It's kind of crazy. To be coming back is cool as well. As Mark was saying, it's all we'll be doing. Gigging and then writing and recording stuff. We have time off with a few weeks over Christmas.
Mark: Like we'll have some actual time off at home. When we're home, I think I will just kind of sit around at a piano. Steve's the same.
Well you wouldn't come here this much in one year if you didn't really love it.
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The Griswolds

Being a sucker for both group harmonies and accents, especially those down under, The Griswolds was a must have interview while they were on tour with fellow Aussies Strange Talk! The band is new to the states touring wise but after a incredibly successful run, they will be back on the road next month. Even coming back to Boston December 5th!
Read on for our exclusive below and you'll be sure to find me at the show at TT's when the boys swing back through town!

Being a touring band, what are the three things that you had to bring with you while on the road to survive?

Prince discography, Berocca, Jaegermeister

Currently on the road with fellow australian band Strange Talk, how do you think that has helped the experience touring as an international band?

I guess it's a heap of fun touring with a bunch of friends from the same country, we're having a killer time with Strange Talk. The pranks have already started.

How do you feel the debut EP is going over so far?

It's hard to tell, but it seems to be in all the right places which is cool, MTV launched our latest film clip last week, that was pretty spesh!

How did the band go about the songwriting process for the record? Is it one person, more collective?

Dan and myself (Whitehall) do all the writing and producing, we usually lock ourselves away for a few months and just write til we can't stand the look of each other!

What was the first CD/Cassette you bought as a kid? What was the first concert you went to and do you think either of those experiences influence the style you're doing today?

First single I bought was '€œGangstas Paradise'€ by Coolio and first album was Pearl Jam's Ten. The first gig I ever went to was the Ataris and MXPX. Not sure any of this influences the Griswolds but I'd like to think all of it does in a weird way

What's coming up for the band within the next few months?
After the tour is finished, we head to LA to shoot a film clip, then were going back to NY to do some more writing before we head back to LA again to start recording the album with Tony Hoffer.
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Strange Talk

They say it's the "british invasion" but another continent is quickly stepping up their game and giving the brits a run for their money. One of those bands are Melbourne newcomers Strange Talk who just came off a tour with fellow Aussies The Griswolds! Touting their new album "Strange Talk", the band has been winning over audiences every show and we were lucky to grab a few minutes with the band to talk about their current journey!

Being a touring band, what are the three things that you had to bring with you while on the road to survive?
Phone chargers, Bean Hunter (Coffee shop finding App) & Ginger Chews!
Currently on the road with fellow australian band The Griswolds, how do you think that has helped the experience touring as an international band?
The Griswold guys are great! They're just like us. They enjoy playing live music, have a similar sense of humor (which sometimes gets lost on Americans) and love to have a chat to anyone who comes up to say "Hey!".

You recently released "Cast Away". How do you feel it's been going over so far?
The only feedback we get is from our fans at our live gigs & we're only 1 week into a 3&1/2 week tour. The shows we've done so far have had a great response, Especially in cities we hadn't visited before! It really makes it worth the hours of driving when fans you've never met before come up to say that they love your music.
How did the band go about the songwriting process for the record? Is it one person, more collective?
Most of the writing was done between Steve & Gerard. It was mostly written between stays at a farm house in country Victoria and a beach house on Port Phillip bay near our hometown of Melbourne.
What was the first CD/Cassette you bought as a kid? What was the first concert you went to and do you think either of those experiences influence the style you're doing today?
My first cassette was Michael Jackson's DANGEROUS album & the first concert I attended was a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. Both artists are big influences on the style, especially MJ!
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