TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM
Tim: Aptly named, Don't Quit Your Day Job, our new album focuses on issues of modern suburbia while providing a style recognized by any early 2000's era music enthusiast. If you're a fan of Fall Out Boy, A Day To Remember or Taking Back Sunday, you have to check this album out.
Chris: Don’t Quit Your Day Job is a testament to what can be accomplished when people work together. Our band has a really good dynamic of everyone playing to their strengths and letting others take the lead in their own areas. As a result of this dynamic, the album is much, MUCH better record than any of us could have made on our own, or if one person had tried to take control of the whole writing process.
Grant: As Chris said, this album was a group effort by five friends who came together to write the music that we wanted to hear. We each drew from vastly different musical experiences (Alt-Rock, Emo, Ska) and tried to meld all of our styles together into a cohesive sound. I think we did a pretty good job.
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT THE SONGWRITING PROCESS?
Tim: Songwriting for this album was usually fleeting for me. It's like I'll have a single moment of completely random inspiration and I have to write it down on whatever device or utensil I have at the moment. It was funny when I worked as a meat clerk. I would have to sneak into the freezer to write with permanent marker on deli paper! Usually, these pieces fit somewhere with something already written by the rest of the group, so I expand lyrics when I find a happy medium in both melody and rhythm for the track. I also have a nasty habit of writing choruses first.
Chris: Tim and I have similar processes in the sense that most of my songs come from something that comes to me out of thin air. I then obsessively build on that foundation until I have a complete song. Rinse and repeat. Thank god I have co-lyricists because my process does not produce songs quickly. If I were the only one writing lyrics 10 songs would have taken quite a bit longer.
Grant: I am especially good at working on an idea once its already on the table, but I have trouble coming up with new ideas out of the blue like Chris or Tim do. When they or Ben or Steve bring something to the group that we all want to work on, my main focus becomes something like “How will all of these parts sound together? Does that transition flow well enough into/out of both parts?” As for writing my bass parts specifically, I try to write them in a way that brings the guitar parts and the drum parts closer together. This can sometimes be a challenge as sometimes we end up having drum rhythms that are wildly different from our other string instrument parts.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM?
Ben: There was no inspirational ‘aha!’ moment that sparked the creation of this album. Just a bunch of regular dudes (and Grant) getting together and having fun making jams.
Tim: Now this is going to sound weird because I look forward to practice every week and I love this band: for me, what inspired the album was problems. Problems in relationships, problems in my brain, problems with drugs, problems with other people doing drugs, the list goes on. I am a writer who writes about what he sees and feels. I don't know anything else. A lot of these lyrics I didn't want to pen down, but here we are. And frankly, if I don't write this down, who will?
Chris: I guess I would say the closest thing to something that “inspired” the album, in general, is when I was a kid I always wanted to be in a band. So I set out to make that happen, connected with these guys and started writing. But overall I would say the inspiration was on a per song basis rather than the whole album.
Grant: I don’t think I can pin down one thing that definitely inspired the album. I’ve always wanted to make an album or some form of music, though. When this group formed it seemed like a great group of musicians, and more importantly, people, to create music with.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TRACK?
Ben: My favourite track has to be “Macaulay”; if I were to pick one song that I would want our sound to be defined by it would definitely be that one. It’s got it all; heavy-hitting instrumentals, smooth transitions, and catchy lyrics to round out what I think is our most well-composed song on the album.
Tim: So I have a little bias: my favourite track is “Bad Therapy”. The song is about a dear friend who passed away, and I miss him like crazy. We were sure to work in a lot of love to that track and we hope everyone who listens can feel it resonating among the rest of the album.
Chris: Ditto on “Bad Therapy” for the same reasons as Tim. Aside from “Bad Therapy” I’d say my favourite song is the whole track of “Walking Away” plus “Innocent”. It’s not necessarily the best song on the record, but it started out as the first song I wrote when I was like 16. So it’s really cool so finally, have it exist in a format besides in my head and iPhone recordings.
Grant: My favourite song is probably “Blood On The Floorboards”. Maybe I’m biased because of its insanely catchy bass riff, but that song is the most fun for me to listen to AND play live.
Steve: I'm really torn between “Blood On The Floorboards” and “Macaulay”. I think i put the most energy into those two and I'm proud of the way they ended up on the album.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
Ben: My biggest influences have to come from the ska-punk scene; growing up that was ALL that I listened to with my friends. I love fast paced high energy bands like Less Than Jake, Streetlight Manifesto, and The Suicide Machines, and hope that we can bring that kind of energy to our music and performances.
Tim: My biggest influences are definitely split between the grunge era and early to mid 2000's pop punk. The energy, the high impact vocals and the emotion behind every line of Pearl Jam's Ten or Fall Out Boy's From Under The Cork Tree is prevalent in my aggressive vocal style.
Chris: In would say my number one influence is by far The Wonder Years. In my personal opinion Soupy is the GOAT of this scene, his narrative lyrical style is something I have taken inspiration from in my own writing. Some other bands I have been influenced by include, Blink 182, Green Day, The Story so Far and My Chemical Romance.
Grant: My biggest musical influences are probably the Alt-Rock of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. When I was growing up I listened to Third Eye Blind’s self-titled album, Guster, and The Strokes a lot. I liked the feel and groove of those tracks and also how those albums all felt like one big contiguous work instead of a collection of songs.
Steve: I feel like I'm musically Influenced from a lot of different sources, I grew up listening to bands like Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco and My Chemical Romance. But I also have/had interests in other music from classic rock to rap. I think taking pieces from all genres and meshing them together has really helped me adapt my sound and character as a musician.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
Ben: To reiterate, the ska-punk scene is what got me really into music. Everything Goes Numb by Streetlight Manifesto was my gateway into that genre of music, and it has influenced my life in more ways than I could’ve imagined.
Tim: Vitalogy by Pearl Jam. It's the first time I became obsessed with a band. I just saw them live and listened to Ten and Vs., which are great, but Vitalogy hits me right in the heart. “Corduroy”, “The Whipping”, “Last Exit”, every single track hits real close to home, and almost every track has found personal meaning in my life.
Chris: The Greatest Generation by The Wonder Years. It’s a coming of age album that came out when I was 18, so it was something of a soundtrack for my transition into adulthood.
Grant: If I had to pick one, it would probably be Is This It by The Strokes. This record was just so refreshing and enjoyable to listen to without being bogged down by overly complex production or boring songwriting.
Steve: This is such a hard question if I had to choose it would be Make Yourself by Incubus. I have listened to this front to back countless times and I never got sick of it.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU DIDN'T MAKE MUSIC?
Ben: Probably what I’m doing right now, minus the music! Currently working as an engineer in the aerospace industry with no plans to quit my day job (hence the album name). If I were to pick one of my other hobbies to fill the musicless void, I think it would have to be hiking. I love the outdoors and would definitely pour all of my newfound free time into surrounding myself in it.
Tim: Well my career wouldn't change; I decided that even if I were to strike it big on a get-rich-quick scheme, I would still take the time to get experience in the field of TelData and obtain my RCDD certification. Artistically, I would probably revert to poetry. I did all forms of writing in my younger days, but poetry is the one that sticks because you can write out your thoughts in pieces and it still makes sense.
Chris: Like the other guys, I think I’d be in the same field I am at the moment but have less fulfilling hobbies. I currently work at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA.
Grant: I would definitely still be working as a Software Engineer, probably just without the band. If I had to choose a hobby to replace it would probably be modifying cars.
Steve: Hilariously enough I'm a Drummer and a Plumber so I guess I wouldn't have 2 titles that rhyme anymore so that would kinda suck haha my life would definitely be less exciting without this band.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECORD ONE OF YOUR SONGS, AND WHICH ONE?
Ben: I would definitely want Less Than Jake to cover one of our songs, maybe “Chamberlain” or “Blood on the Floorboards”. I think their punk-heavy sound definitely lends itself to our songs, and a horn section would be a killer addition to spice up some of the leads.
Tim: I think would definitely want The Used to cover “Innocent”. Bert McCracken has a crazy scream and I think his voice would really fit to the direction we went in, and he has his own spoken word stuff with “I'm A Fake” so we know he would kill “Walking Away”.
Chris: The Wonder Years covering Bad Therapy would be it for me. I am fully confident Soupy would do the vocals perfectly. The song overall fits with their style pretty nicely so saying they would do it justice is an understatement.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
Tim: So, funny story: I didn't. I knew Chris from mutual friends in our hometown. I went into the studio as a feature on “Chamberlain” when NGMI was recording a demo and when we were done tracking, we clicked immediately and had so much fun that they invited me to be a full time member before end of day. I was thinking of just keeping the option open, but 3 years later and I absolutely made the right decision jumping on board this project.
Chris: The band started when Grant and I were very drunk in college and I said to Grant “hey we should start a band” and we did. We already knew Ben from school, and he knew Steve from his high school band. Tim joined later when we invited him after he featured on a demo.
Grant: Basically everything that Chris and Tim said is true, but I have one more detail to add: Chris and I technically started the band twice. The first time Chris was very not sober and didn’t remember starting it. The second time it stuck though.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE STARTING OUT?
Ben: Fail. Get into the habit of it, but do not be discouraged by it. You can learn way more from your failures than your successes. Also bring backup power cords to your equipment if you ever make it to gigging. You never know when someone *cough* Tim *cough* is going to break them in half rocking out too hard.
Tim: My advice is to get as good as you can at taking advice. Gathering intel is the foundation of knowledge, and knowledge the pathway to success. If you aren't open to new ideas or ways of thinking, you're never going to tackle things from a new angle and thus be doomed to repeat the same mistakes and spin your tires over and over again. Don't get offended, don't nitpick, just listen to what people have to tell you...and watch where you step on stage. You never know when a rogue power cord is gonna try to trip you.
Chris: I have a similar philosophy to Ben, Just write garbage. Write just total trash songs with no redeeming qualities. Then do that again and again and again. You’ll find over time those garbage songs start turning into songs that aren’t so bad, and dare I say good even! You can’t expect your first try at anything to be a massive success and writing music is no different. So don’t get discouraged if your first attempts aren’t songs you would listen to if you haven’t written them. In the words of Jake the dog “sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something”. Also, I would say not every band needs to reinvent the wheel. I think a lot of bands fall into the trap of feeling like they need to revolutionize the scene to get noticed so they write a bunch of songs that are technically impressive, with 11 different time signature changes and stuff, but that still isn’t “good”. The goal should be to make good music not necessarily have every song be the most impressive thing in history.
Grant: The only advice that I have is that whatever you make you should be happy with it and you should enjoy listening to it. If you don’t enjoy your own music how can you expect your audience to?
Steve: Don't. Stop. Playing. Whether you're getting your band into shape to start playing shows or you're just learning a new instrument, Don't. Stop. Playing. If you want to improve and you want to learn you WILL.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Tim: Well, we just came out with a new album, so shows! We have a show coming up February 7th at New World Tavern in Plymouth, MA. We also are headed back to the studio for a couple of singles that anyone who went to Hot Topic to buy studded belts will love, I promise.
Chris: I am most excited for our new material, listening back over DQYDJ I can hear our music improve significantly over time, so I am excited to create a product where we are starting from this point.
Grant: We got shows, we got material, and we got time. Follow us on our Facebook page to stay updated!