Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
Will: We are alt rock/post punk. Our songs are meticulous and our lyrics are angsty. I am also in the conservatory at Purchase College for percussion.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
Emma: I’m an actor-turned-musician who just happened to find herself in really amazing company. I’ve been writing music forever, but for the past two years, I’ve been playing more and more with other people, and there’s nothing like it. I was originally going to drum for Bren and Scott, but I low-key begged them to let me play bass and sing.
Will: I joined late in the game and started adding drum parts to some songs. We rehearsed for a while and started gigging, and once we played out enough we started working on new songs collaboratively- one person presenting an idea, and us jamming on it/coming up with parts on our own. Our sound began to evolve when we started doing this, and I hope to continue writing songs in this way and continue to evolve our sound.
Scott: I was raised in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and needed to ventilate my emotions so I resorted in songwriting. I primarily am interested in computer science and mathematics.
Brendan: I started playing music when I was 8, and stuck with the guitar at 9. By the time I was a senior in high school I decided I wanted to study music. I tried out for the conservatory of music at purchase, and was accepted. Now I’m going for my masters at hunter. For the past 5 years I’ve been studying with João Luiz from Brasil Guitar Duo.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Emma: Joni Mitchell, Steven Wilson, and Pema Chödrön. I really have reverence for people who are that in-tune with themselves, and who respect their emotions for what they are.
Will: I am influenced by math rock and post punk bands like Deerhoof, Gorge Trio, Don Caballero. I think we all have a wide range of influences and different things we are into, and that is reflected in our music and the parts we come up with.
Scott: Elliott Smith, Green Day, Carl Jung, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Brendan: As far as popular (non classical) music goes, my all time favorite band is The Cure, and amongst my favorite rock guitarists are of course Robert Smith, and also East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys), Johnny Ramone (of the Ramones. Go ahead and laugh, he’s highly under appreciated), and Graham Coxon (blur). My all time favorite musician is Julian Bream. He utilized the variety of tone color offered by the guitar more than any other classical guitarist, and to date is the most intuitive and expressive musician I know of. As far as non-musical influences go – I watch cartoons more than any adult should.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
Emma: My lifelong dream has been to be in a band that’s this committed and connected and loving, so there’s that. My dreams for myself are love and contentment in whatever form they manifest, to make music with people I admire, and to keep surprising myself.
Will: I want to continue to write songs and evolve our sound. We want to get more experimental while remaining catchy and energetic. My personal dream is to become a professional musician, which I am working toward now by practicing a lot in music school.
Scott: I want to live in a clean home with a pug named Taco.
Brendan: My goal is to be a successful musician – whether it be as a performer or an educator. What matters is that my career concerns what I’m passionate about, and knowing I want to be occupied with music means I’m more than halfway there.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
Emma: The songs that I write are all about different things that’ve pissed me off: Teachers, anxiety, organized religion, old friends. I have one song about reformation after the Civil War. I have a lot of pent-up anger, and music is the second-best therapist (after real therapists, of course).
Will: Scott and Emma write most of the songs; they have ideas of what they want, and we build our parts based on those ideas. I want to write a song for the band soon. It will be an interesting one.
Scott: I write the songs as well as Emma. In a broad sense, the songs are about the effects denial can have in interpersonal/romantic relationships. UFO Song is a “fuck you” to Trump but it’s put a little more abstractly. Songs are about love, heartbreak, such as Its Just Love and Irreplaceable, but also feelings of wanting to let go of a bad group which is what I Wont Be There For You is about. Brendan: Emma and Scott write most of our songs – I have a few in the works that I’d like to record for our next EP. Most of our songs cover some kind of emotional distress – whether it be anxiety, anger, defeat, or even heartbreak. I pride in the fact that we’re not melodramatic though – I think Scott and Emma know how to write about those things honestly.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
Scott: Emma does all the work because we don’t deserve her. Brendan: Instagram and memes are our friends
What do you think about downloading music online?
Emma: It’s taken away from albums being complete, narrative works of art, but it’s made music much more accessible, which I really appreciate.
Will: Downloading music online is very convenient. I don’t blame people for not wanting to go out and get CD’s and vinyl; as long as they hear our music somehow, that is what matters.
Brendan: I’d need to do my homework, but for the time being, I think there are much better things to talk about. Mainstream artists make money whether their music is illegally downloaded or not, and I doubt a struggling artist will benefit much from their music being “legally purchased”. The way talent is perceived by society and industry officials is a much bigger subject worth discussing, in my opinion, and I think blaming technology on the shortcomings of the industry is a total cop out.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Emma: Anything and everything by Steven Wilson (“Men of Wood,” “Trains,” “Holy Drinker,” and “Three Years Older” are faves), because he has incredible artistic control and really precise visions. He’s so versatile and confident, and his music is very moving despite him not knowing a whole lot of theory.
Will: I wish I wrote the song Biblical Violence by Hella. It is such a genius, catchy math rock song that sounds very complicated but when you dissect it it is in 4/4. I need a bit more practice before I can write something like that.
Scott: I wish I wrote Holiday by Green Day. Underrated song that very poetically encompasses what was happening politically during that time without being too childish or snobby. It wasn’t “fuck the system” as much as it was “fuck the system, and here is why.”
Brendan: . My all time favorite song is “a letter to Elise” – aside from the cure being my favorite band, Robert smith is also one of my favorite writers. I love the way the song is built up, both lyrically and instrumentally – and the coherence between the lyrics and the music itself. The verses, aside from being written in a letter like manner, consist of metaphors that give depth to the narrators experience, with climactic moments consisting of lines more declarative. “Elise, believe I never wanted this!”. I also love the instrumentation – there are moments that are scarce, consisting of just bass, drums, and vocals – and upon layering of keyboards and guitars, builds up to a sound that’s almost gargantuan. I could go on, there’s so much to love.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
Emma: Jello, forced positivity, especially when it’s an excuse not to be introspective, science denial, especially under the guise of religion, victim complexes, the NYC transit system, and flakiness.
Will: I love when bands can make their sound interesting, and go the extra mile to not just make music by the books. I wish people would experiment more in music. There are definitely bands doing interesting things with their sound and writing rhythmically complex stuff, I just wish there were more of them. My pet peeve is probably the singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar- it’s just a boring sound for me.
Scott: Denial. Everyone has it somewhat but still. I don’t like when people say “everything causes cancer” or “everything is good in moderation” cause bananas don’t cause cancer and lava is not good in moderation. Its just a false statement. Toilet paper roll needs to be on the right way. Being a dick and being mentally ill are two different things whether or not they hold hands.
Brendan: Trash TV.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
Emma: Every show we’ve played recently has been super tight, so I have a new “proudest moment” every time we leave the stage.
Will: My proudest musical moment was probably getting to be a percussionist for the Yarn/Wire festival this past summer. I worked with some amazing musicians, made some good connections, and grew a lot as a percussionist. Scott: I’m usually most proud of whatever the last concert was. I don’t really hold on to anything too much because its more about having fun in the moment on stage. I once played in front of a couple hundred people when i was a teenager and it felt pretty cool.
Brendan: I try to make every performance a proud moment. In the end, the biggest triumph for me is to be involved in what I love.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
Will: We are working on the album, it’s probably about halfway done. We are trying to finish it ASAP. It’s sounding dope so far and we’re excited for people to be able to hear our songs in this format outside of just our live shows.
Scott: Recording our new album, “Possum,” as well as writing new songs. After this album, I’m hoping to go much more political and more experimental. I want people to be sincerely shocked at how different the new-new stuff will sound.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
Will: Our shows are great because we sound tight, and we perform our songs with energy and passion. If you want to hear good alt rock/punk music, come to our show, you will not be disappointed. Plus we do some good covers. And if you don’t dig us there will probably be another band there that you’ll dig.
Scott: You should see us because we’re really genuine. At least emotionally, we don’t really hold back and I would personally watch us live just because i love our songs. Theres no fake personality we put up and were not trying to like put up some pretentious image, were literally just a bunch of friends who musically vent about our problems on stage together and its a great experience.
Band location – Purchase New York
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