Reema Desai: Could you all introduce yourselves and state what you do in the band please?
Kenny Vasoli: IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m Kenny and I play bass and sing.
Matt Watts: IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m Matt and I play guitar
Mike Golla: IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m Mike and I play guitar too.
RD: How has the tour with the All American Rejects been going to far?
KV: ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s been going good. Some shows are goodÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦some shows are great.
MW: I think that all around, IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m going to say 8.5 out of 10; Maybe 9 out of ten.
MG: We have a whole lot of down time but the shows are good.
RD: Do you guys prefer smaller clubs or the arenas that youÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re playing on this tour?
MG: I prefer kids that like us. I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t think it really matter what venue.
RD: (laughs) Are you saying that there arenÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t kids that like you on this tour?
MG: (laughs) no!
MW: the arenas are kind of overwhelming. Every show is really big and the kids are kind of young to the point of not being really familiar with who we are. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s cool cause weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re winning over a lot of kids, but the club shows that we normally play are just strictly for our fans so weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re used to seeing kids rocking out a little bit more and being able to interact with the kids. Both things have their plusses and minuses.
RD: So youÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ve made a lot of new fans on this tour?
MW: IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢d like to think so.
RD: You were on Drive Thru Records when they were huge and arguably at their peak. How has that affected your band today?
KV: Yeah, we definitely were on Drive-Thru at a good time. It was sort of like the Fat Wreck Chords of its time. When they were doing really well I was always looking at Drive Thru to see what bands were coming out and to be signed at that kind of time was really exciting. It did really good things for our band.
RD: How has the recording been going for the next album?
MW: we actually havenÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t started recording yet. We go in the studio the first week of January but all the songs are pretty much done. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re all really excited about it and weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re excited to make this record.
RD: Do you think that the songs are carrying a certain theme so far?
KV: No, IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m trying to stay away from themes for this record, because when you start getting tied up in a theme and trying to make everything follow some sort of common tie then I think itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a little bit too difficult to write what youÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re thinking about. So all the songs are completely disjointed; itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s just going to be a bunch of songs.
RD: When is the soonest anyone will hear the new songs?
MW: ThereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a couple of floaters on youtube and we have demos but our managers being a nazi about letting them out. (laughs) So weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re gonna try to muscle some out of him but hopefully soon.
RD: How would you describe the transition the band has gone through from Say It Like You Mean It to Based On A True Story to now this upcoming record?
MG: I think its better and a lot more positive than the last record we did. We got out of Geffen and that was really a low point in The Starting Line as far as morale and being positive while writing the record. This time everybodyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s really excited and energetic. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s kind of like going into the studio for the first time all over again.
MW: ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s sort of been like a natural progression. I think as a band, weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re all just super excited to do this.
RD: How was the transition between labels?
KV: It was a great transition! ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s no real secret that we had our differences with Geffen. Our relationship with Virgin is something weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ve never experienced before from labels. We really seem to be a high priority for them over there, which was definitely not the case at Geffen.
RD: Is there a certain band that has been particularly influential to you while writing the new songs?
KV: Personally, Radiohead has influenced me a lot. Its not gonna sound anything like Radiohead because you knowÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦
RD: That would be really different!
KV: (laughs) yeah! I just really like what they do with every record that they put out; the steps that they take towards maturing and all the different kinds of music that they put into their own music.
RD: Are there any musicians from this generation that you think will be remembered in the future?
MW: ThatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a really good question. IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢d definitely say Coldplay. I think theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re the closest ones to itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦or Radiohead. I think those two bands are the kind of bands that will stand the test of time. I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t want to say their marketing, but their music isnÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t built on a shtick or a certain selling point. People buy their records because theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re genuinely great records and they love the band. I think a lot of the bands that are popular, that sell a couple million records nowadays, I feel like two or three records down the line they wont be remembered because theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re big right now because of a certain cool trend.
RD: So its safe to say that you guys would prefer to get big the way that Radiohead did versus the way that a band like Panic! At The Disco did?
KV: Much rather.
MG: I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t want to be a fad.
KV: With bands like that (Coldplay and Radiohead), they were never trying to hop on something that was already going. Those bands took a kind of music that wasnÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t really commercially successful and just stuck with it and perfected their sound and perfected what they were trying to do so much that people couldnÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t help but listen. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a lot different from kids now looking for a carbon copy of another band. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a lot easier for a band to get successful that way than to try to pave their own path.
RD: What is one album that you would suggest as required listening for everyone?
KV: IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢d say Clarity because itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s such an under-heard record. A lot of people in our scene know about that record, but if you tally up all the people in the world that listen to music, not a lot of people have heard it.
MW: That recordÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦everybody can enjoy it no matter who you are, no matter what music you like.
KV: At least something on that record
MW: Yeah, itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s for everybody.
RD: What upcoming albums are you looking forward to hearing?
KV: Brand New (everyone agrees)
RD: They played here at UCF a couple of nights ago and it was amazing.
MW: Did they play all new stuff?
RD: It was like three or four older songs and the rest were new.
MW: How are the new songs?
RD: REALLY good.
MW: Yeah? IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m psyched.
RD: Has their been a specific moment in your bandÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s history that has stuck out for you?
MW: Getting signed to Drive-Thru was the coolest thing. I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t know if weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll ever be able to top that in my book. It was such like a surreal moment. It was so huge to sign to a label with like New Found Glory, Fenix Tx, Midtown on it. To be apart of thatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦ I just started freaking out. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s like someone being like Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Here, hereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s your dream. You have to work your ass off now but hereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a ticket to go do that.Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? It was a big deal.
RD: What is your opinion on the current state of the music industry?
KV: ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s in shambles! (laughs)
MG: ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s hard to find honesty. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s like a diamond in the ruff.
KV: ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s tough because you know the music industry still spends so much money on a lot of shit that they really donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t have to or that ends up costing them more than it makes them. Especially since downloading is so big now, kids arenÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t buying records nearly as much as they were but you know labels are still spending the same amount and kids arenÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t buying nearly as much so it kind of causes turmoil, for major labels especially.
MG: Labels donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t really want to take a chance. If you are a unique band, to find a label that actually wants to support you is difficult cause labels kind of just look for the next carbon copy of whatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s big right now.
MW: I feel like labels will probably be obsolete in the next like ten years just because there is so much like home-recording equipment. Bands can essentially cut out the middle man and with something like iTunes, if its marketing the right way you can still be a successful band and put out your own records and you might as well do that. No oneÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s going to believe in your band as much as you.
RD: Do you support illegal downloads then?
KV: No, I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t support illegal downloads unless you canÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t find the record like if you cant find it on iTunes because then how else are you going to get it?
MW: Or if the Brand New record happens to leak like a week before, IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m totally listening to it but IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll buy it the day it comes out.
RD: It did leak!
MW: I know! I canÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t find it though!
RD: So if you could do one thing to change the industry, what would it be?
MG: Fire a lot of people.
KV: I would un-sign a lot bands that have been signed to major labels. TheyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re just too many bands that do the same thing and labels just sign them because they play that kind of music not because of how good they are or how long theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ve been together or how many fans they have. I wish that that shit meant a little bit more.
MW: I feel like thereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s none of those classic bands anymore. ThereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s no like Led Zeppelin. ThereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s no band thatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s going to stick around for thirty years.
MG: ThatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s like the Coldplay-Radiohead thing.
MW: Right, those are the only two bands. It seems like nowadays labels almost bank on a band being disposable within like three to five years. People sell their couple of million records and then they know theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll be done. I wishÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦
KV: I wish there were more career bands out there.
MW: Yeah, thereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s not. But bands also used to be a lot more talented than they are nowadays.
RD: Do you think bands nowadays can even be revered the way those classic bands were?
MG: ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s definitely possible.
MW: Yeah, look at Nirvana; they changed the world. There has to be another Nirvana.
KV: Right, thereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s always, at least in technology, a progression in music. Its been going on since music started so something big is bound to happen with music again.
MG: People are gonna get sick of seeing all that stuff. WhatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s the next genre going to be?
KV: It kind of feels like weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re in the eighties again right now as far as music goes.
MG: We need a big grunge take over. Not grunge but something like that.
RD: What do you think that next big thing will be?
KV: I always pictured music turning more experimental and a little bit more electronic. Not like eighties dance electronic, but actually like intelligent electronic kind of music. It seems like itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s just kind of likeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦
MG: Watered down pop right now
KV: It seems like its still Hawthorne Heights bands right now. I really donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t know what musicÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s gonna have for us next. Every time I say Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”ThatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s going to be a total failure!Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? its like number three on TRL! (laughs)
RD: Where do you see the band heading in the next five to ten years?
KV: Doing what weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re doing right now. Probably on this bus someplace.
MW: Hopefully trying to carve our own path.
MG: Hopefully not has-beens!
RD: Do you ever get tired of playing Best Of Me and will it ever be retired?
MW: you know what? Kenny can answer that question!
KV: I always get tired of playing it and I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t think weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll ever retire it!
MW: I still like the song and I enjoy playing it.
KV: Yeah? How much do you listen to it?
MW: I listen to it every night when we play it!
MW: I think itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a good songÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦ I think itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a catchy song.
KV: Thank you.
RD: Matt, is it difficult managing bands while touring?
MG: No. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re on a bus with wireless Internet and thereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s so much downtime throughout the day that I can kind of do what I need to do and still have timeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦
MG: and still have time to play football.
MG: Yeah, I still have time to play football and lead a normal life so it works out perfect. IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢d probably be really bored if I didnÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t do it.
RD: Ok, any final comments?
KV: Thanks for listening, if you listen to it or heard it before.
MW: Thanks for reading it, if you read it!
KV: Yeah, thanks for reading. Thanks for looking.
RD: Thank you!
MW: Yeah, of course!
Trevor Bivens says
Awesome that you got to check in with them. BOATS took a while to grow on me, but it finally did. I’m excited for a new album and thankful they’re off Geffen.
Bryce Jacobson says
Great interview Reema! I hope their new stuff is good.
Manuel Garcia says
Solid interview. I liked the interaction between the band and you, it felt more like a conversation than a question and answer interivew.
Greg Murphy says
damn everyone everyone even startling line is excited for brand new! when is driven far off gonna post a review?!?!!? i read the rolling stone one but they don’t matter
i like how they through brand new in there.
ahh reema your amazing a long with TSL
nice interview. i’ve really missed hearing about theses guys. they are one of my all time favorite bands and i can’t wait to hear the new stuff!