Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Band Worth Knowing...

Did a brief e-mail interview recently Josh Ocean, singer with New York-based electronic/pop punk band TV/TV. They are currently unsigned, but certainly not for long.

How did you all first get together?

I started the band as a music project with my roommate in our East Village apartment. The goal was to write pop music that we wanted to listen to and play small clubs around the city. We booked a residency at Piano's on the lower east side and when we needed a drummer and bass player we searched MySpace. We first found Francois and later Camillie. Francois and I from New York and Camillie is from New Jersey.

You had a pretty big name producing team to record your EP, without label backing. Was it hard to convince them to produce your record?

Actually no. Zack and Kenneth were very into the band since we first e-mailed them a demo of "Indie Rock Girl". They were busy working on the "Band in a Bubble" (Cartel) show on MTV, but we were the first band they contacted when they got out of the bubble.

Why did you choose them?

We wanted to get out of the city to record for a few reasons. Most of all we knew that they would bring a real pop sound to our more rock and indie type songs.

Are you surprised by the amount of attention you have gotten after the release of the EP?

Yes. It blows my mind to think that we put the band together in five months and then recorded the EP. The buzz that followed was pretty crazy. The craziest thing to me is that the buzz seems to keep growing.

Do you plan on signing to a label or trying to go it alone for awhile?

Yes. We will definitely sign with a label when we feel the time is right.

What's the toughest thing about doing all this alone, without a label?

We have to pool our resources to make everything work.

What's the upside?

We own everything and we have complete control.

Do you all still hold day jobs? Is it hard to tour around those schedules?

We are in limbo at the moment. It is really hard to have a job when you are home from tour for a few weeks then have to go out again.

Have you started writing a full length yet?

We have just been focused on writing for the new EP coming out in early 2009.

What's next for the band?

We are playing the entire Warped Tour in 2009. We will release a music video and continue to tour non-stop.

Anything else you want to add?

Check us out at I just ask people who haven't heard us to take a listen because that’s all it takes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Band Worth Knowing...

Amazing new record from Richmond, VA-based band The Riot Before.

Here's a recent interview with them:

Just two records into their career, the guys in The Riot Before have managed to create an album many longtime punk vets would kill to have their name on.

“Fists Buried Deep in Pockets,” The Riot Before’s sophomore effort, may be steeped heavily in Hot Water Music and Avail, but is still remarkably original. Lyrically and musically it’s a fantastic counterargument for those cynics who whine that good punk music died sometime in the mid-80’s.

California transplant Brett Adams, now firmly entrenched with the rest of the band in Richmond, VA, took some time recently and answered a few questions via e-mail, discussing “Fists”, high rents in Santa Barbara and why guys with beards shouldn’t wear mascara.

How different is Fists Buried in Pockets from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades?

If our records thus far were that depiction of human evolution which shows a monkey over the course of five or so pictures increasing in human characteristics, “Horseshoes” would be scrunched over on the far left, Dryopithecus I guess, while “Fists” would stand a little more upright, one or two fundamentalist-Christian-denying monkey-men to the right, maybe Homo Habilis. “Fists” is more evolved in pretty much every way, though I don't put it all the way on the right because I hope that it's not the most evolved record we will ever make. Maybe a few records down the road we will be metaphorically standing completely upright and we will literally be totally rich and famous. I could go through every nuance of betterment between our first record a Fists, but instead I'll just say that we recorded “Fists,” not just as a band (something “Horseshoes” didn't even have), but as an experienced band who had spent months and months preparing for the record trying to anticipate everything that would confront us in the studio, and two years playing nearly 300 live shows. I think that increase in experience shines through on the songs. Also, I'm three years older and I think I've grown up a lot, and that maturing has shown itself (I hope) in more thoughtful and nuanced lyrics, written with a lot more perspective and humility.

How long did you work on the new record?

Total time recording, mixing, and mastering was about three weeks, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg. A few weeks before officially recording everything we went in and demoed the whole record so we could listen to it and make appropriate changes. That was preceded by about two months of very intensive practices working everything out, planning the exact order of songs and how they would all work with each other, and going back and teaching out new guitarist, Jon (Greeley), all the songs we had worked with Garrett (Berneche) on, including re-writing all the lead guitar parts. I had spent the last year and a half or so working on songs, not incredibly diligently, but at least persistently. Accumulated, it was a ton of work.

Do you guys share similar musical influences?
For the most part our musical influences fall under the same very broad umbrella of punk, though we all have our unique divergences from that. Though we were all influenced by more or less the same genre, we didn't necessarily listen to the same bands. I grew up pretty isolated from the punk underground so I missed out on a lot of the bands that defined the genre for the other band members. Also, we all grew up in different parts of the country so what was popular in Chicago was very different than what was popular in central California or Virginia. But yeah, it's all pretty similar. None of us are metal heads at least.

How did you end up connecting with Say-10?

Cory (Crime, bassist) had known Adam (Gecking) from when he lived in Virginia Beach. Adam had run a label a few years back and was looking to get back into it, so he offered to help us put out a record. We were broke, he's a really trustworthy guy, and the rest is history.

Of all places, how did you end up in Virginia?

After I finished college in Santa Barbara I knew I wanted to move far away from California (just for the hell of it really, nothing against the state) and that wherever I moved would have to be a place I could hub a touring band from. I always wanted my band's bio to read heavily of touring and hard work, and so I couldn't move some place like New York where rent was as bad or worse than Santa Barbara, and I'd have to spend more time at work paying bills than in a van paying dues. So after looking around and asking a ton of people, I ended up picking Richmond for very practical reasons. It's pretty cheap and right in the middle of the east coast so you can easily tour north or south in a part of the country that is very densely populated. Plus, I'd never been to Richmond and I knew no one, so it totally fit the and-then-I-packed-my-car-up-and-drove-across-the-country-to-a-city-I-new-nothing-about narrative that I'm so fond of. So, if anything, it was guaranteed to be a good story.

So maybe you can tell, what is it about Richmond that produces such down to earth punk bands? I have yet to see anyone from that town in a band that uses mascara?

This question kinda stumped me for a bit cause I never really thought much about it before. I just accepted the fact that if you played in a shitty pop band or had mascara on your eyes, it was probably a good idea to skip Richmond. Then again, that's really only true of the city. The suburbs love that stuff. I'm sure Aiden would draw a decent suburbs crowd here, though there's no way they'd be able to be from the city. I talked to a friend about this last night and he had a pretty good answer so I'll steal it. There's a really big art college here in Richmond, and so pretty much everyone is some sort of artist, or at least surrounded by artists, and that really affects the taste of the city. You get a bunch of pretentious artists together and the last thing that they're gonna tolerate is eyeliner and music that is a copy of a copy of something that was kinda cool in '98. Granted, there's still a lot of pretension, but its way more veiled. And when pretentious people are trying to pretend they're not, they end up liking bands that actually aren't pretentious at all (i.e. Avail, Strike Anywhere). Does that make sense at all? I think it does. Maybe the answer is simpler, like: beards are popular here, and you just look stupid if you have eyeliner and a beard, so people just don't wear mascara.

How was playing Fest this year? Did you get to catch any of the other bands playing?

This was our second year playing the Fest and it was a ton of fun but also incredibly tiring. I love the Fest because it brings together a lot of the people in the country (and a few other countries too) that actually like your band, and our show at the Fest has been our best of the year two years running. The turn our this year was surprisingly good considering we had to play at the exact same time as The Lawrence Arms, No Trigger, and Andrew Jackson Jihad (three bands I really wanted to see) and given the choice, I don't know if I would have gone to our set over those other bands. Luckily I had no choice. Not only does the Fest bring together a lot of fans of music, but also the musicians themselves. There are a ton of bands we've become friends with over the years, but because we're always on tour we pretty much never get to hang out with them. So it's great being able to catch up with good friends you don't get to see very often. As far as actually watching other bands, I tried and mostly failed. There was just too much going on. It's like standing surrounded by people shouting at you and trying to pick out and pay attention to what everyone is saying. It's impossible and really tiring, and eventually you just give up and go back to a friend's hotel room and watch House for a few hours and comment on how the show is pretty much just Scrubs but with more somber lighting and Dr. Cox as the protagonist. I did get to catch some good shows though. Then venue we played at on Saturday was good all day long so I just hung around and watched the Cobra Skulls, Nothington, Broadway Calls, The Menzingers, Polar Bear Club, Fake Problems, and a few others. I watched Hour of the Wolf's set on Sunday and that was completely insane. There was blood and nudity and trash, all in a set of incredible songs. One of the downsides of the Fest for me is that I have a really bad memory when it comes to the people I meet on tour every night. Like, I don't just forget names, I forget faces. It's awful but there's just no way for me to fix it. Let's say I meet ten new people every night on tour (which is a pretty conservative number), if we play 150 shows in a year, that's 1,500 people that I talked to in one way or another, and I'm completely incapable of remembering everyone. You never really know who you'll meet again and who you'll never see anymore, so my brain just kinda files everyone in the same brief-encounter-folder and it's really hard sorting through it all in an instant when someone says hi to you. At the Fest there are all these really great people from all over the country that I met in the last few years and they would come say hello and I would just stare at them, trying to figure out even what state they were from. And everyone kinda just expected me to remember, so they wouldn't re-introduce themselves or be like "hey it's _____ from ____" (cause once I had that info I pretty much remember everything). So the Fest ended up being this really great and fun reunion where I walked around constantly in fear of being a dick, terrified that I'd run into yet another person I didn't remember. I felt awful at lot of the time. We meet all these really generous people who basically sustain our band every single night and I can't even remember most of them. I hate it. I ended up having a lot of anxiety and not really going anywhere or making eye contact with people I didn't think I knew.
Any tour plans for Dec. or early 2009?
Sadly no. We're broke and our van is not too mechanically sound. We really don't trust it on long drives and so we're looking at trying to buy a new one, which is not cheap. At this point it looks like we're gonna try and get back out on the road and hit up the whole U.S. next March/April, hopefully Europe in May, and then maybe the moon late next summer. I'm probably going to go crazy if I have to stay in the same city until next March and I'd really like to leave before that, but right now finances are dictating out touring plans.

What's next for the band?
We'd like to spend the bulk of next year on the road. That's our only goal pretty much all of the time, to play shows. Granted, we have other goals that are more personal: Freddy wants to introduce a line of hair care products, you know like mooses and styling gels; Cory wants to be on Project Runway; and Jon wants to play forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, but all those things are a ways off. Right now we just want to play shows to more than, like, ten people at a time.

Anything else you want to add?

Check out These Numbers Have Faces over at

Thursday, December 4, 2008

X-mas Song from Scott Reynolds

Suburban Home Records received a cool little Christmas song from Scott Reynolds the other day ("It's Christmas Anyway").
Here's the message Suburban Home honcho Virgil Dickerson received from Scott:

Last year I recorded a little Christmas ditty for my myspace. It ain't much of a recording (used a toy drum set, my epiphone, and my trusty mac computer), but it's a nice song, and I figured it would make a good Christmas present this year. So here it is. If you're not a Christian, don't worry. Neither am I. I don't think it matters much. SO HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY CHANUKAH, KILLER KWANZAA, AND A PEACEFUL AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. GOD BLESS US EVERYONE, AND TO ALL A GOODNIGHT!!! ……………….. Scott

It's a great song and SHR and Scott are giving it away free. Here's the download:

Scott's a great musician, so please download it and pass it along.