Nick Santino

My next interview is with local Boston boy, Nick Santino! A name you know from his previous project where he sang lead vocals, A Rocket To The Moon, has just finished his second successful headlining run. His record "Big Skies" dropped in May and was on the road with friends in This Century, Technicolors, Austin Gibbs as well as on several dates each Brian Marquis and William Beckett! With the run ending on the 22nd, he told me that he was planning to release some new tracks he's been working on as well as the fact that he'll be heading out for a handful of dates with friends in We Are The In Crowd!

The first show actually happens in Boston so be sure to catch him on a rare hometown gig, at Mid East Club on December 16th!

So this is your first tour headlining since your solo album came out. I know you headlined before.
Nick: Yeah!

Maybe how has it been going so far?
Nick: Yeah, it's been going great. I mean I'm in the van with most of like my best friends just playing music!

Cool! Then "Big Skies" came out in May. How long have you been working on these songs? Maybe had some of them been done for a while, like after the band broke up. Are they songs that you had already written in the past that you just didn't use for your old band.

Nick: Yeah a few of them were ones that I had for a while. For a couple years, actually. Like "Back To Where I'm From" and "Can't Say I Miss You" were old ones but everything else, I wrote while I was preparing for the record. When I knew I was going to go record the record. So I started writing some new stuff. So they kind of varied from a couple years before the record started being recorded to, you know, the night before recording the songs. Kind of all over the map.

Then I know you were a main writer in your previous project and you started as a solo act. Has the writing process changed now, now that you're back to being a solo act? Or is it pretty similar to what you had already been doing?

Nick: No yeah, I'm used to writing with like a band. So now writing by myself again, it's like an interesting thing but I like it because I can be a bit more honest and real. With the content and like stuff that I'm writing about. Which I like because I can improve as a songwriter. When I'm kind of challenging myself to write better.

Then I know the album is still really new and you're still really new in touring this new act, Nick Santino & The Northern Wind. Is a new EP or new full length even being worked on right now or do you think that's still a while away?
Nick: I actually worked on like six new songs. I think either this month or next month, I'm going to put out like a little EP. They are a couple acoustic based kind of tunes but yeah I'm always writing. I'm always recording stuff so a new album would be like new content but not a full new record. It will be a while to the next one comes out but there will be a couple new songs here and there which is cool.

And is it pretty similar to what kids have already heard or do you think it's going to be a little different?
Nick: I think it will be a little bit different but I think they'll like it. I feel like I've noticed in the past that kids really like when I play acoustic kind of stuff by my self. So this EP is a lot of that. Acoustic solo stuff. So I think they'll dig it.

Perfect and then I know it's only getting started with these shows but what is coming up after this run?
Nick: After this run I'm going home for a couple weeks. I do five shows on the East Coast with my friends in a band called We Are The In Crowd. They're doing like an acoustic holiday run. Actually I'll be there in Boston. We're starting there on December 16th I think at the Middle East? Then I'm home for the holidays and then next year just focusing on touring. Getting a full backing band together and playing these songs off "Big Skies" the way that they sound on the recording.
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This Century

This next band were one of the first bands I ever interviewed at my "debut" into journalism at the 2009 Warped Tour date in Montreal! My eyes hadn't opened yet to what was cool to cover, who were the new buzz bands on Warped Tour. I made it a point to see at least a song or so of every band I interviewed which is incredibly hard after doing this for so long. This band, This Century though , caught my eye from our first interview. With the same line up intact since and now two full lengths deep with a third on the way, I still steadily catch up with the guys over time!

This time around we spoke with Joel about the new album, how the writing process was affected by founding member Alex leaving, and talked their tour that finished last week with 8123 mate Nick Santino. Read on for our exclusive and be prepared for plenty of news from these guys in 2015!

So to start it off, you're currently on tour with 8123 bands and playing as main support for Nick Santino. How do you think it's been going so far?
Joel: The tour? It's been going great! I mean it's been so laid back and easy because we're on tour with a bunch of 8123 artists who are our friends. So it's been going amazingly. Especially with it being an acoustic show, this is something that we don't really do too often but when we do, it's usually a very easy going tour. So everything's been really great this run. Fans have been amazing. It's been nice for us to be back out on the road because we haven't done something in like over half a year. So we're very happy with how's it being going!

Perfect then while it has been a while since you put out your last full length album, I know you just released the new song, "Talk To Talk". Is that an indicator of a new album coming or is that still awhile away?
Joel: That was more or less us just wanting to put out a song. We didn't really want to put any kind of label on it. We just kind of wanted to put out a song to show our fans that we were still here and we're still doing stuff. We were kind of forced into a break this summer so we just wanted to give them something new. We are working on the record. We're not exactly sure when it's going to be done. We're kind of just playing things by ear but the plan is to get back home from this tour and then finish up tracking vocals because that's really the only thing that's left. So we'll try to finish up the vocals then start doing our mixing. Working on the album art. Getting all our ducks into a row. The goal is to try and get something out early next year. Spring the latest. So that's when fans can be expecting to start hearing some new stuff from us.

Then considering you've been doing this band for so long, is the songwriting changing? I know there was a slight line up change but do you feel it is changing or was it not really affecting the writing process?
Joel: It was affected a little bit. Alex was pretty involved in the songwriting process but it didn't feel too much different. With this new record, the three of us just put ourselves into a room for two weeks. I mean we gave ourselves two weeks and that's it. To write a full record because with "Biography of Heartbreak", we had so much time. So it was different in that regard. With a time limit but it didn't really change in our roles really. We just kind of did the same kind of collaborative thing that we did with the last record. I think it worked out pretty well. With "Biography of Heartbreak", usually it would be like Sean had an idea with a guitar riff and then him and I would get together and write a melody and lyrics. Stuff like that. Then we'd bring it to Alex and he'd kind of do his thing with it. Then we'd all add our bits and pieces. With this new record, it was Ryan, Sean and I in a room together. We would kind of just jam out a song and kind of see where it took us. Then we would kind of add on like the melody and lyrics. So it was slightly different but it still felt pretty This Century.

Then at least to me, "Talk To Talk" seems like kind of a departure from your previous style. Do you feel the style has changed a lot with whatever is coming out with this new record or do you think it's pretty similar?
Joel: It's changed quite a bit. It's a bit of a different sound. If you were to compare it to "Biography of Heartbreak", it is for sure. I still think it sounds like This Century. It's just not dressed the same way as "Biography". That record is a very rhythmic, polished, pop/top 40 kind of sounding record. So with this one, we kind of were like let's just make the music that we like. I mean we loved "Biography" but it's been a little bit since we released it. Maybe our tastes have changed or it's just us getting older. So I mean we kind of just decided to go with it. I think fans are going to love it. It still sounds like This Century. It's got the same fun melodies and all that jazz but it's just dressed a little bit different. I would say we're going towards our roots again with the feel that we had in our first record, "Sound of Fire". It's not the same as "Sound of Fire". It's hard to explain so you'll just have to wait and see!

Perfect then I know you still have a little bit to go on this run but what is coming up? Are you just going to be focusing on getting the album out, do you think you're going to tour again pretty soon? What's the plan?
Joel: Yeah we're definitely planning on touring. Now that we're pretty much almost done with the album. Once we're finished with that record and have all that ready to go, the plan is just to tour as much as we possibly can. I mean that's always been the goal for us as a band. My vocal issues have kind of been a huge but all of that, it really shouldn't be an issue now that surgery is out of the way and all that stuff. So the plan is to do the record, tour as much as we possibly can. We don't really have any tours lined up as of now but again, we're taking it one thing at a time. Once it comes time to start working on putting together a tour, we'll do that.
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The Tragic Thrills

While I had interviewed these two guys in the past, The Tragic Thrills seems like something they should have been doing the whole time instead. We sat down with the guys at their first headlining show in Boston and talked everything to do with their new project. From their re-release of their debut album to even working on their second album already. Read on for our exclusive with the guys!

This band are veterans in touring in other projects. Maybe what are the three things you must have with you while on tour? Playing these smaller rooms and having vans over big busses to tour in.
Cameron: Three things I've realized I must bring with me. Actually I have an answer for that because I was just talking to my family members a few hours ago today. I realized that on the road it is essential when touring in a van, like in previous projects we were in a bus, I highly recommend bringing your own bar of soap because certain people like myself have very sensitive skin. The hotel soap that we've been using has been making me very itchy and it smells terrible.
Zach: It smells industrial.
Cameron: It smells like you're at a hotel. If we're being honest, it smells like Comfort Inn. It has a very unique smell. Another thing that I would bring on tour would be, I don't know Zach I'll do the last one if you do the second one.
Zach: Every time I go on tour, I just decide I'm going to bring less the next time.
Cameron: Seriously
Zach: It's just a pain. Your clothes are going to get dirty and they are going to be next to your clean clothes and they're going to make clean clothes dirty. So it's better to just do laundry like once a week.
Cameron: Yeah!
Zach: Not much more then a backpack's worth of clothes I find.
Cameron: So a good reliable backpack is number two.
Zach: A good reliable backpack. That's mine, yeah.
Cameron: Yeah and number three, I would say off of what Zach said. That bringing less is more. So I stopped buying socks and I just bought foot spray because it gets the job done and there's no smell. I feel one with my shoes.

You feel one with your shoes?
Cameron: You know just really connecting with the sole, you know what I'm saying?
Zach: I do just buy socks and throw them away then buy new socks because they're only like five bucks and they get pretty gross pretty fast.

Then I know you've been doing this tour for a few weeks and tomorrow is the last day?
Cameron: That is correct.

Maybe how has it been going so far?
Zach: I think this has been the best first tour that we've done. Definitely the first tour we ever did sucked a lot more then this.
Cameron: I would say overall it was a success because we still had fans that really enjoyed The Tragic Thrills for what The Tragic Thrills is. I would say that we were fairly surprised at the draw and the way that our fans handled the new scene because the new venues that we've been playing are completely different and they're really fun. I mean there were some that for instance we played in Philly the other day and the stage was just so crazy. It was so small.
Zach: It was smaller then like a stage in a honky tonk bar in Nashville.
Cameron: It was like the size of a mini cooper. That was the size of the stage and we almost couldn't even fit but it was one of my favorite shows just because of the audience.

Then I know for the first album, it's self funded. How was that considering it's a huge risk going into your first album as a new band?
Zach: I thought it was a really unique opportunity at the time personally. I was going to do it regardless. I just wanted to put it out. I didn't really care what happened. So I wasn't really too worried about the risk at the time. Maybe more now.
Cameron: We put a lot of money into this album. This is a big project.
Zach: Yeah but I don't know. I really wanted to do it. Didn't really know what else to do with our time so we did it. So I think at the time it was really a unique situation because we didn't have anyone telling us if it was good or bad and we just kind of went for it. Most bands don't get that opportunity in their whole career. To not have people, A&R, just intensely guiding the process. It's really huge because you can do whatever you want. So it was cool just to feel like we did it and it was what it was. A unique opportunity.

Then how did you guys go about the songwriting for this record, this first album as Tragic Thrills? Is it one person, is it more collective? Do you kind of bring your own ideas?
Zach: It was a pretty intensive long process. A lot of rewriting. It was basically a year and a half of rewriting and working on about maybe twenty songs and narrowing them down to the ten that are on there. There wasn't any real trick to it. It was just writing lots of songs and it definitely had like a narrative in mind that I wanted to keep consistent throughout all the songs. So that definitely helped. The idea was in no way that it was like a conceptual album. It was more the idea of the narrative and the voice coming from the same place. The same perspective of a human being through the whole thing opposed to having contrasting contradicting ideas through out an album. I find that a lot of albums these days, people don't listen to all the way through these days. You have an eleven song album and it's like eleven shots at a radio hit. There's just a lot of contradiction in that because you'll have your break up song then your power song then your love song. It works in like the radio format but I still like the idea of an album. It bothers me when it's too many contradicting songs. It should be like a singular voice. Not in everything but definitely in what we're doing for an album. It's definitely something that was focused on.

Then you guys are signed to Washington Square. I know it's a very new label but it's also very different, very unique roster-wise. You have acts like Augustana and The Hold Steady but then you have like Deaf Havana. It's a very weird, unique mix but it all kind of comes together. How did being signed to them come together?
Zach: This is super new. We still haven't really done anything yet but we played some shows with Dan in Augustana. So we were really interested in what was going on with Washington Square. We met up with them in New York and they seemed to like the record. It was already out and they liked what they heard. We were just really happy to see that those bands were taking a risk and going with a new label that was just starting out. So it's definitely cool to be signed with those acts. Even though we are very, very different from them in a lot of ways but yeah we'll see what happens. It's super new still so we'll see.

Then maybe this question for all of you because I know you guys all haven't really been part of this interview as much. Maybe the first CD or first cassette you ever bought as a kid and the first concert you remember going to?
Cameron: Ans, what do you think?!
Ans: First CD?

Yep or cassette.
Ans: Oh jeez this is embarrassing.
Gabe: I bet you mine was more embarrassing.
Ans: It was Limp Bizkit, "Did it all for the nookie". Whatever album that one was on. Needless to say, I don't listen to that one anymore but first concert? My brother was really into music and he took me to see some of his favorite bands. I think the first one we saw was Sevendust so I'm like a small little boy at this hardcore show. Skinny Puppy probably opened.
Zach: That explains everything.
Ans: So that was my first experience.
Zach: What about you Gabe?
Gabe: My first tape that I ever bought, I bought that Hanson album that had Mmmbop on it and all that. Then my first CD I ever bought I think was like a 70's disco compilation because somehow I was into that also at that point.
Chris: The first CD I ever bought by myself was Good Charlotte "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous".

Chris: Yep!
Zach: I used to buy a lot of Weird Al. Started all with Weird Al. I liked Weird Al because he did all the hits. I didn't really care about the lyrics, I just liked Weird Al so that's pretty much what I did.
Cameron: My first concert was Peter, Paul and Mary. It was awesome.

Then to end it off, I know you guys talked about how this is the first like real tour for The Tragic Thrills. Maybe with the album being so new, what is going to be coming up for the band? Maybe are you going to be touring?
Cameron: Re-releasing the new album.

You're going to re-release it?
Cameron: Through Washington Square, we're going to put it out September 30th. So that's really new. I guess we'll really see what happens with the label. Then after that, we're just going to be trying to tour the rest of the year. We don't have anything set in stone but you never know.
Zach: Yeah and we're just working on a new album as well!
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Lily & Madeline

Next up are Lily and Madeline! They make up a dreamy duo that just dropped their latest full length "Fumes" and we were able to catch up with them for a few minutes while they were on their US Run. With Europe plans before the end of the year, the girls are sure to be around for a good while. Look for new touring plans soon!

What are the three essentials you must have while on tour to survive?

Madeleine: Recently I bought a pair of Nike running shoes that are made of this knitted material so they fold up and can fit in my suitcase. They're amazing!!! It's so nice to be able to run while on tour. Also I have a Bubba brand thermos that's great for tea and really handy for travel.
Lily: Coffee every morning and headphones for long drives.

You are on tour through December 3rd. What are you most looking forward to during this run?

M: So far we've had a lot of fun in the US but I'm most excited to return to Europe. We've never been to Amsterdam so I'm looking forward to visiting.
L: We've had so much fun already and we're only a few days in! I'm looking forward to meeting new people, it's my favorite part of tour.

Your second album '€œFumes'€ just came out. How do you feel it's been going over so far despite being so new?

M: I feel really good about it. We've gotten some great reviews and lots of radio play and we've even picked up some new listeners. I'm excited to see where this album will take us.
L: People seem to be excited about our growth as artists and that feels really good.

How did you go about the songwriting process for this album? How did it differ from the first album?

M: The writing process actually wasn't that different, but when we got in the studio and began arranging the songs we experimented a lot more and tried new things.

What was the first CD you remember buying as a child?

M: I remember buying Aly and AJ's Into the Rush and bringing our boom box outside to listen to it while we jumped on the trampoline in the summer.
L: We bought a Bach classic cello solo CD that summer too I think. It was during the time gauchos were in and we felt so cool listening to Bach in our baggy pants. It's hilarious to think about now!

What was the first concert you went to and do you think either of those musical experiences have an influence on you today?

M: The first concert I went to was Ben Folds with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 2011 I think. It was an amazing show! I was so inspired by his performance. I never imagined that a few years later Lily and I would perform with the ISO on the same stage.
L: Madge and I went to that concert together and it was the first show I'd been too also. It was amazing.

What can we expect from you in 2015?

M: Probably some more touring and maybe another album.... We'll see.
L: I'm very excited for 2015. Expect awesome stuff ;)
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The Ready Set

The other night, I headed out to "The Outsiders Tour" and met up with the headliner for an interview a few minutes before his set, The Ready Set! We've talked to him over the years but this time around was his first headliner in a few years now. Considering he's out with the recently reformed Metro Station, it's an exciting time for this tour. With Jordan constantly producing new music, he told me that he is working on new material and to expect a possible new full length this spring. If it goes the way he wants it to that is. For now though, read on for our latest and catch him on the Outsiders tour!

I've been talking to you for a while but you haven't done a headlining run in awhile. How has this tour been going considering it's Metro's first tour back as well?
It's been amazing! All the shows have been sick and especially really proud of the turnouts. It's been pretty good so far.

Then "The Bad and the Better" has been out for a few months now. How do you think it's been going over?
It's been good. This is the first time we played a lot of the songs off of it. So it's awesome to see everyone already know all of it. To see them react to the songs first hand, it's been awesome. It's been great.

Then are there certain songs off the album that you think kids are really connecting to?
Yeah! I was trying to figure out which songs people were liking the most from the new album. So I've been trying them out. I think one of the cool things that I realized is this song "More Than This". It's not one we intended to make as a single but kids have been singing it. So hopefully kids like it.

Then this tour is a pretty unique line up. Because of that, are you seeing a more varied audience maybe in comparison to the past?
A little bit, yeah. Yeah. I see a lot of people come back. There have been a ton of people here that I haven't seen before though.

You're always working. You're pretty much always releasing EP's, new singles, albums.
Are you working on stuff right now?
Yeah actually! After this tour, I have a lot of stuff that I'll be working on. I want to put a new album out, if I have it my way, it's going to be less then a year between the last album and this one. I want to keep putting things out. I don't really believe in the whole classic record release cycle. I think it's really outdated.

And in the past you've had the major label experience, you're now on still a relatively major minor label. How has it changed for you?
It really hasn't been that different. We still had a big radio push. It's really, really similar. It's not as powerful but there isn't millions of dollars behind it. It's been great though.

Then you do still have a while to go on this tour but what is coming up for you maybe in 2015? I know you said you're working on new songs. Are you going to be focusing on getting that album out, are you going to be touring?
There will be some touring. I'm hoping to have the album out in the Spring at some point but I'm not really sure right now. I kind of want to do maybe some support touring. Maybe a few new music videos. Just stuff like that.
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