Interview & Photos by Christina Morgan
There’s a ton of cool bands who have come out of New Jersey, most recently the revival of MCR was a huge thing that shook the internet. How does it feel to be from a place that has so much talent/What is so special about the music scene in NJ?
Alex- I’m glad that you brought up the MyChem thing about NJ because yesterday, which was the announcement day, we played our tour kickoff in Asbury. It’s a super popping scene, Asbury Park, NJ. It’s also where MCR played their final show at Bamboozle. There was a rumor going around town all day saying that MCR was gonna play a secret show at The Stone Pony, like popup show. Those kind of rumors do pop up around Asbury Park specifically, very often and a lot of NJ, because there’s so many great little pockets of music that those kinds of things do happen there. Special things happen in NJ for whatever reason in music, and I don’t know if it’s just because it’s a super dense population, but there’s a lot of great musicians from there. So even like a festival like ‘Sea Hear Now’, that came up recently, there was a rumor going around that Bruce (Springsteen) was gonna play, or he was going to show up. I feel like every time there’s a big event in Asbury, somebody starts a rumor like that.
Freddie- I just wanted to say that New Jersey is just like- I feel that it’s such a crossroads from pretty much every NE state. You know, like from PA to NY, to even down to VA, and MD. Once you get past NJ, you’re kind of around everything and I feel like because it’s basically this throughway to NY, especially North Jersey, and stuff right off the parkway, there has always been so much music because there’s just so many people. There are a whole bunch of little scenes popping up everywhere.
Were there any bands who made you decide to start playing music?
Freddie- I could just go right back to MCR, because I remember seeing the ‘I’m Not Okay’ music video when that record came out, in 2006. Watching that in the morning before elementary school, with my little sister and it was based in a school too, the whole video is based around not being accepted and being rejected and literally knowing that I was going to do that. That’s definitely one of the first.
Sam- I would say MCR, Thursday is out of Jersey as well so they’re definitely a huge one. If we’re talking super local scene bands, this band called Love You Maid, The Butcher, was from my town, was 14 when I found them. Or the band The Air I Breathe who got signed to Rise Records, and then broke up after their first record. There are just so many, local and big bands.
Alex: The band that really made me want to be in a band and to start my own was All Time Low, for sure. They’re not from NJ, but they used to play NJ a lot and they were just a band that showed me that you could actually do it, you know? Yourself, and make something special.
Freddie- Also, along with our parents, I know my family grew up on rock n’ roll, Bruce was huge, the whole Bruce Springsteen fandom, the Jersey pride thing is totally real. It’s insane. That was a big impact.
‘Talk it Out’ was recently released, can you talk a little about the writing process behind it?
Freddie- Well, I was listening to Biggie Smalls and I was just like, those are some amazing bass lines, and it was the first time I had picked up a bass in a while and started just riffing. And I walked away that night with just two separate riffs, and we just expanded on the one which ended up being the riff that the song enters on. We just brought it to practice and it was one of those songs that we just vibed it out, just riffed that beginning with the bass, and then everything kind of came together.
Sam- We just tore it to shreds in practice, until it got shelled out to what it was. But- we did maye 75% of it on the first day, and then the last 25% over the next month or two. So there’s like different voice memo versions on my phone under different song names.
Alex- I think it was called ‘The Day After’ or something.
Freddie- I remember that the verse definitely came first and then we were like hearing the chorus before we wrote it like ‘aghh I’m feeling like a fucked up carnival-type vibe’, and that is still what I hear when we play the chorus.
Sam- We just dissected that riff, until it showed itself.
What does your previously described ‘Millennial Rock’ label mean and what does it mean to you individually?
Sam- Facebook wants you to add genres, so we had to pick something. It’s just current rock music that has seen the history of rock music behind us. Anything is possible!
Freddie- I think the combination of me and Alex playing music together since we were 12 years old, and also knowing Sam and knowing that he was in bands forever but not personally knowing him. That coming together, and being able to make this and write music, that just comes right out of our hearts and hands, it just keeps it youthful. It’s ‘for the youth’. The fact that we all came together, and we all met at like 22, 23, makes this project just very energetic and youthful music. I don’t really care about the genre name ‘millennial rock’ but it is ‘for the kids’.
Pure was your first EP in 2017, how do you think you’ve changed musically, but also as people since then?
Alex-The amount that we’ve changed as people, and as musicians since 2017 is hard to even grasp. There’s been so much growth and Pure was this really great thing that we did, as a unit when the band first started. It was a different band then, it was a 4-piece, it was basically like our debut just to kind of start playing shows on our scene and it was a sound that we had been pursuing basically our entire adolescence. It felt really good just to nail that down, and get the band going. But then shortly after, a member left, we became a 3-piece, and then our other friend left, and it was just Fred and I, we went through about 5 drummers, and then Sam joined! Since he joined, it kind of revolutionized our sound a bit, we were able to really incorporate a ton of new elements, and the three-piece really allows for so much breath for every instrument to really live and each player to really show themselves and their character through it.
Sam- I wasn’t around when they put that out, and all that but it was a good example to learn from, as the first piece of recorded history for the band. To adapt that, and take it to the next level. I was playing in an entirely different genre, so I had never really dabbled in rock n’ roll, or emo, what have you. So it’s my first time to really like explore all that. Pure was a great first issue of that.
Your approach to music videos are very interesting, and the visuals really blend well with the songs/energy. How do you go about having a conversation about creating new videos?
Freddie- We’re always brainstorming way too many ideas. But- once we shed away like 100 ideas, then there’s a bunch, maybe one or two or three that really click. For example, the I Don’t Wanna music video we went through so many different storyboards even before we brought it to our friend Ben.
Alex- We had a completely different vision, but we already knew who we were gonna shoot it with, and we had planned with him to (it was Benjamin Lieber btw- very talented person) and we had planned to do it one way. But then, I had this idea while in my car driving, and I was like ‘what if we made it about this?’ and I had this lightning bolt idea that I then explained to Ben, to see if it was even something that we could potentially do somehow. So I wrote it out, and he checked over it, and said that he dug it and so did the rest of the band, so we obviously moved forward with it.
Freddie- With Ben, he took it into his own hands and into a million different other directions, and it was his first video too. But I also wanted to clarify that what we have going on right now, we’ve been dropping a bunch of singles and that’s kind of been the focus, because we went into the studio in January of 2018 to track a record, and we really attacked each song after that, the mixing process and we attacked it one by one so we started with I Don’t Wanna, and then Talk It Out, and followed up with the rest. But it’s cool because then it allowed each dropping of a single was a project in of itself. There was the whole streaming side, and then we did a music video for each one, so I think it all just comes together and after that much time has been put into it, there’s just so many different angles that you could see it from.
You’re touring now and you’ve just released a few singles, what’s next?
Freddie- So we’re in the process of finishing a record, we started working with Pete Andrews after working with a bunch of other people. We worked with Gary Cioni, and we worked with Rob Sharapa. Rob helped us mix two songs after Gary recorded a bunch of our songs for the record. But yeah, we’re finishing it with Pete Andrews, we got some plans for dropping the record in the new year, and we’re already writing a bunch of new material. So, as much as we can get together, if we’re in the same room even if it’s just two of us, or even when we’re not in the same room, we’re always doing stuff to ‘further the movement’.
Alex- P2 Album, 2020.
Sam- More, bigger, and better tours, more successful tours, with more people.
Freddie- And experimenting recording with different artists as well, features and mixes.
Sam- And playing mixed lineups, and playing sick lineups and festivals.
Freddie- Just trying to get the record out, I think is the most important thing.
Sam- Stay scheming.
Freddie- We’ll be touring all year long, see us out there!
Are there any bands or artists that you’re really into right now, you think people should check out?
Alex- Just Friends
Sam - It’s a hard one, because things that are currently coming out, that are cool and the things that I listen to lately are totally different. So what I’ve been listening to lately a lot to for no reason is Enter Shikari. And someone you should check out, are Mover Shaker.
Freddie- Check out The Blue Chips, from Peekskill, NY. And A Will Away too.