Anarbor Interview – October 9th, 2009



(Sorry for the huge delay in getting this interview up–I’ve been really sick!)

 I had the chance to stand outside in 40 degree Midwest weather with the very charming and extremely cold Anarbor at the Picador in Iowa City, IA. As I watched the native Arizonans shiver in their flip-flops and t-shirts and talk about their current journey, I realized that they truly were a group of down to earth guys, despite their quickly rising popularity, and wanted little more than a home cooked meal””and some jackets.

 ~ Introduce yourselves to all of us at Driven Far Off!

Mike: Hey, I’m Mike and I play guitar

Slade: I’m Slade and I am lead vocals

Adam: I’m Adam and I play guitar

Greg: Hey, I’m Greg and I play drums

 ~ So what’s the story behind Anarbor? How did the band form?

Slade: We’ve known each other since we were in fifth grade and we wanted to start a band. We’ve been a band for 6 or 7 years now, since 2003 when we played our first show.

~ What were your emotions when you finally got signed to a label? Obviously it was amazing, but were you freaked out at all?

Adam: More excited; pumped, really. We wanted it to work for forever. All through high school all we wanted to do was get on the road and play shows and do what we are doing now, so it was really exciting to have that opportunity. We were all stoked.

~ You have shared the stage with big names: from Fall Out Boy to The Academy Is. Do the nerves ever get to you? Do the bands give you tips or criticism?

Greg: I actually get more nervous in front of less kids. In front of huge crowds by nerves actually go away. When you are playing a big show, basically anything you say to them they will be like “YEAH!”

~ Did you ever think that “Let the Games Begin” would be such a hit when you were writing it, now that it’s been on shows from The Hills to Good Day in LA?

Slade: We actually didn’t have it in mind for it to fit into a sports thing, but everyone we talked to afterwards were like, “you guys wrote that perfectly,” and we didn’t even mean to; it wasn’t intentional.

Adam: Yeah, the NFL then came along and turned it into the music for the macho tackle scenes, which was awesome.

~ So there’s new of a full length on the way. Can you tell me anything about that?

Slade: In this record we’ve found our style of music. It’s just something new for kids to listen to. Basically, the EP was just a taste and this is going to be the meal.

Greg: We’re working hard because it is our first full length and we’ve only just released EPs locally.

~ Are you happy with how Free Your Mind has done? Is there something you’ve noticed didn’t work so well on the EP and maybe you’ll add that to your full length?

Slade: No, we were pretty stoked with it.

Adam: As far as music goes, we’re just trying to show kids what we have to say, because we have 13 songs instead of 7.

~ So how did the name “Anarbor” come about?

Mike: My family is from Michigan, and my sister was born there and was one of the people who got me into music. It was a good one-word name. We didn’t want a long ass one.

~ If you could choose one song off of your EP to broadcast to the world, which would it be and why?

Greg: I would say “Always Dirty Never Clean,” because it’s really what we stand for.

~ What’s the hardest part about touring? Do you anything you really miss that was left behind?

Mike: We all have dogs that we miss really badly. We can’t wait for the day when we can bring a dog on tour with us.

Adam: Home cooked meals, our beds, our friends.

~ So how are you guys going about writing your new album? Do you sit in a room and hum melodies, or is it solo?

Slade: basically we just get a cool riff that we like and sit down and figure it out. We have some of the instrumentals recorded, and we bump them in the van wherever we go. Sometimes we take a guitar to the back of the van and jam. There’s no real process, we just go by how we feel. We just generally do it in the van, since we spend the most time there.

Mike: Our van is awesome. We have the windows blacked out, with black poster board allover them”¦it’s like the Batcave””it’s all dark.

Never Shout Never Is Nominated For The mtvU Breaking Woodie!

College Music Fans Have Spoken As Artists Vie For:

2009 mtvU Woodie Awards
As voted on by college music fans. Click here to vote for Never Shout Never!

Matt & Kim, Asher Roth, Kings of Leon, Death Cab For Cutie, Silversun Pickups, Kid Cudi, and Anjulie Are A Few Of This Year’s Nominees
The Sixth Annual Awards Show Will Air On mtvU, MTV, MTV2, and Palladia on
Friday, December 4 at 10pm ET

Dreams of University – Morning Rearrangement


Artist: Dreams of University
Album: Morning Rearrangement
Label: Unsigned
Purchase: CD Baby
Release Date: April 7th, 2009

Overall: 8.0
Music: 7
Lyrics: 6.5
Production: 8.5

Morning Rearrangement is fun. I was hesitant at first, as Dreams of University’s sound greatly resembles that of Fall Out Boy, but after listening to the choruses of “6:45″ and “Drop Down”, I was excitedly refreshed. Each upbeat song seems to have a surprise hook within its first minute in the form of pace changes and lyrical alterations. 

While it will undoubtedly evoke some dance moves from you, the EP will not tap on your heartstrings nor inspire you with deep, metaphorical lyrics. Vocals alone, Zimmerman (lead vocalist) lacks the range that would have surely boosted the EP an extra level, and he often rushes through a set, seeming to speak whimsically rather than truly sing. The lyrics alone are shallow and also hold little power, but they are thankfully void of the annoying repetition that many new bands implement in their lyrics. However, whatever Morning Rearrangement may lack, it makes up for it with its instrumentals, and there is no denying that this combined arrangement works incredibly well to produce an overall solid beginning for the upcoming band.

With its completely catchy chorus and guitar riffs, “Lily Love” stands out as my favorite track, urging you to dance around the room singing along with friends. “Drop Down” begins with a softer side of Zimmerman’s vocals that is greatly lacked yet desired on the EP, and momentarily offers a needed reprieve. Once again, the chorus will draw you in and keep you listening to the rest of the EP. The final track, “This Quiet Boy”, offers smooth guitar backings near the end of the song that really adds a final punch on the EP’s end.

Morning Rearrangement has the rare ability that enables listeners to find in it at least one favorable quality, regardless of the vast music paths they may follow. However, one may wonder if this easy likeability factor is attributed to the album’s often generic sound. Regardless, Morning Rearrangement makes for a fantastic summer soundtrack, and don’t be surprised when you are humming a chorus to yourself later.

Track Listing
1. 6:45
2. Drop Down
3. Lily Love
4. Yellow Sunglasses
5. This Quiet Boy

Reel Big Fish To Release New Live Concert DVD July 20th!

Reel Big Fish, voted Southern California’s best-looking and most radical band of cool dudes in a recent nationwide poll (OK we made that up”¦) will be releasing a new full length DVD this summer, titled, appropriately enough, Reel Big Fish Live! In Concert!

The live concert DVD  features 20 classic Reel Big Fish songs, as well as all of the hilarious in-between-song-banter-and-shenanigans that fans have come to expect. Be sure to pick one up on July 20th at Rock Ridge Music!

Karate High School Wants To Write You A Song!

Karate High School and Eyeball Records have launched a contest with Interpunk where the 3 winners selected will get the opportunity to have band front man/multi-instrumentalist/producer Paul McGuire write a 30-60 second song about them. To enter the contest, it is currently up and running here !

You can find out more about it on the Karate High School MySpace blog here.

On May 19th (CD Release Day) Karate High School will post on their MySpace, “One Trip Around The Sun”, the official first single off the new album Invaders. Keep checking for the latest KHS tour dates.

1090 Club Interview – March 16th, 2009



Small town bands have seldom looked so promising. Planted and grown in Billings, Montana, 1090 Club manages not only to shine against the crowd of “main scene” bands, but also effortlessly take a lead. The band answered Driven Far Off’s questions with thoughtful–and funny!–responses on their flourishing lives in the industry.

Check out the band’s recommended song, “ITSON”, by streaming it right here.

– Please state your name and your roll in the band.

Sean: I play guitar, and sing.

Megan: violinist/vocalist

Mike: I play piano and sing.

Steve: drums and vocals.

What is the history behind 1090 Club?

Sean: 1090 Club started as a pet project for a local band compilation, and originally was never intended as a working band… I wrote a song and got together some friends to help me play it. Upon request, we started playing regionally, and as it goes, people really started to like the 1090 club sound. Over the years we have toured the US countless times, and fine-tuned it to the sound we have now. While in the midst of touring, we did some send outs to labels, and Sidecho liked what they heard. We played a few shows in So-Cal that they came to, and now we’re here. This is our second record for them.

Megan: The band started with Sean and Mike about eight years ago after they both moved back to Billings from living in Portland. They were writing a song for a local compilation that Sean was putting out. I met them at the restaurant Sean owned, they found out I played violin a while later and asked if I would try playing with them. Steve played one of the first songs written but he didn’t become a member until a few years later and after we had gone through numerous member changes. In the beginning of 2005 we started writing our first record. The four of us, plus some different bass players played on the record, which we recorded at Sean’s studio and had mixed by Steve Fisk. We started working on the second record shortly after the first came out. With this record we decided to record as a four-piece and we worked with Steve Fisk again, having him record and mix it for us. We recorded it in February of last year and all of us are really excited for it to be released.

Mike: Sean and I had been friends for a while and were messing around with a song for an upcoming comp. Megan started working at Sean’s restaurant and we all started jamming together. We thought, violin? That’d be crazy. So we tried it and it worked so well. We went through a few line-up changes, having a revolving bass player at every turn. Our drummer quit to get married and we needed a new one. We all knew Steve from the music scene and from different circles of friends. He was playing in a series metal band, but we thought he’d be into trying some music with us. We all jammed one time and it was set. His hard ass style fits so well. He beats the shit out of the drums. We played with a few more bass players and realized we didn’t need one. Dropped it and added more singing and here we are today.

Steve: I was the last addition to the band. So I’m sure there was a point in time when they sucked but I wouldn’t know. But really I recorded a song with them about a year before I joined the band. The song is called “little known fact” which is funny to me cause no one remembers the name, but the song ended up on a split disk with the brother egg, and I’ve been rocking with them ever since.

– From where did the name 1090 Club originate?

Sean: Always the question… Ha! 1090 Club is kind of name that has just stuck with us. Our very first drummer came up with it about 6 years ago, and we’ve had it ever since. It’s another term for a mullet, but that doesn’t necessarily translate with our music, so we downplay that a bit.

Megan: I started playing with the band after they had the name so I’m not totally sure why it was called that but it’s a synonym for the mullet hairstyle (10% front, 90% back)

Mike: The name comes from a hairstyle the mullet. It is 10% in the front, 90% in the back. It seems to be multiplying here in Montana. It started as a bit of a joke name, because it is huge here in small towns, but then things got rolling and we had a lot of notoriety with that name so we really couldn’t change it. We like it though. It ends up taking on a lot of different meanings as well. We start to notice that there are many things with the same 1090 in them. Road signs and stuff like that.

Steve: A joke… I really wish I had something clever to say here. But our name is just a lame joke. However I have sworn to keep it a secret. I hope the others stay true to their oath. Or else they get the hose again.

– How does having the band’s roots in Montana help it flourish and have a beneficial impact on the individual members?

Sean: I think living in Montana has allowed us to write music that is truly ours, without any outside “scene” influence. With there being so few bands here you can really grow into your own thing without worry of unsetting the status quo…

Megan: I think living in Billings has a positive impact for me to write music because I’m not constantly bombarded by it. I cherish all the stuff I listen to because I’ve had to personally seek it out or I’ll hear about band from my friends. We do have a descent, supportive music scene here but the chance that you get to see touring bands is less frequent. Because of this, I think people appreciate shows and get really excited for them.

Mike: I believe we are isolated from having to be a part of some scene and live up to its standards. Having to “play the game” is tiring so we benefit from having the freedom from that and the ability to concentrate more on music than wearing the right pants or hairstyle. Montana has taught us to be self-sufficient and to take on great tasks. If you want something here you must work 10 times as hard because most of the time you have to create it out of thin air. Many people are very driven here and that work ethic has influenced all of us throughout our lives. The solace Montana provides can’t be explained. I have lived all over the place. From giant city to tiniest town and there is no place better than Montana. It has the power to renew your energy in all ways.

Steve: Wow…. I guess being far from the bustle of big cities keeps me from wandering off. “I’m prone to that” but we have a fairly central location for home base and a pretty low cost of living.

– You guys are due to release your first album, Natural Selection, at the end of March, throughout which you worked with legendary producer Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Soundgarden). Has the level of professionalism during the recording of Natural Selection impacted or changed your music at all?

Sean: Definitely. Steve is great… he is the type of producer that gets the best take of you being yourself… he’s not into changing things just for the sake of doing it, or for the sake of the mainstream radio etc… Steve liked the songs when we sent demos to him. As far as recording, we did 3 days at Avast! in Seattle (Legendary Studio), and then the rest at Steve’s home studio. That was really our pace there. We’ve done a lot of house recordings before so it was comfortable.

Megan: Our first record was recorded over the course of a whole year at Sean’s studio so we had a lot of time to experiment with our sound. With the second, we got everything well practiced and planned out before we went to track because we only had two weeks to record. After the first record we had more of an idea of how were worked together as a whole and what kind of sound we wanted so it was easier to be prepared for the second. I think it’s really cool that we’ve gotten to experience recording in two very different settings? I’ve definitely learned a lot and Steve was very fun and laid-back and open to different ideas. It was nice being able to experiment on the first but I think our songs on the second flow better.

Mike: Well, if we are talking about from the last record to this one, yes the level has changed quite a bit, yet stayed very relaxed. We recorded the first record in Sean’s house over the course of 2 years. It was very relaxed and productive. While recording with Fisk we had to really have our shit together BEFORE we walked into the studio so we spent tons of time in pre-production with rehearsals and learning parts. Although he was laid back and the feel of the time with him was mellow, he required a lot out of us and we worked 11-15 hour days straight. He wanted the best he could get from us. It was nice to have someone outside of the band there to kick us into gear. He offered us many great ideas and ways to think about the recording process. He really was an amazing guy. He really became our friend through this.
The more serious aspect of trying to really “step-up” our new record hopefully comes across as more mature as well. It influenced the music in a much darker way than I thought it would. I originally wanted to call the record, “this was supposed to be happier.” As a joke. But it kind of captures what happened. What we set out to do and what we ended up with was two different things, yet exactly the way we wanted it.

Steve: Of course, but how, I couldn’t say. We had the vast majority of the natural selection written before we went to Seattle, however Steve Fisk is an infectious character and I’m sure the fun we all had together will show it’s self to the listener.

– What song from Natural Selection would you recommend new listeners of 1090 Club listen to first?

Sean: I would recommend ITSON (the first track on the album) and Happiness. I think these 2 songs kind of sum up what we’re all about as a band. Lots of vocals, some intricate interwoven instrument lines and upbeat tempos… We have different types of songs, but it’s a good intro.

Megan: I seem to change which song I like all the time. I think ITSON and Happiness seem to encompass the basic sound of the band. So those are the ones I’d probably recommend but I really like Hearts as of late.

Mike: ITSON, Off my Mind. Happiness. They seem to capture what we’re about in a general way that can lead to the weirder stuff.

Steve: Oh boy… I think “happiness” effectively shows the many shades of the 1090.

– How is Natural Selection unique from the hundreds of other albums of the same genre?

Sean: What genre are you taking about? Ha :-) we get so many different comparisons, I think we have a lot of options as far as fans. Hopefully they will all take a listen at something a little different out there. The music biz is filled with so many carbon copy bands (same hair, same clothes, same everything) that it reminds me of the dark ages of the 1980s butt metal scene… there were thousands of Poisions and Motley Crews, and none were good… People are looking for something new…desperately..right now. And we as a band seem to translate to a bunch of folks out there. We were compared to Irish/Scottish music the other day, in a good way. None of us really listen to anything like that, but people seem to relate on a different level with us.

Megan: I’d like to think that the instrumentation is sort-of unique. All four of us sing lead parts, we don’t have a bass player, and although there are other bands with string instruments, I think that a lot of times they’re not used as lead instruments like the violin is in our band.

Mike: We have a different orchestration, and really aren’t tryin to capture the newest trend in music. You can’t put your finger on what we are, and we love that. We have just happened upon this great opportunity that people actually want to hear our silly songs.

Steve: I don’t even know where we fit as far as genre goes.

– What mood do you hope the album evokes from its listeners?

Sean: I think the record can evoke a bunch of different emotions. It all depends on the listener and how they read certain things. It’s a record about the interaction between humans, good or bad. Everyone sometime in their life has good and bad times.

Megan: I personally like music that has a sort-of dark edge to it. Something that you want to listen to in headphones so you can hear all the intricacies, but I also like music that is kind-of upbeat and I feel our record has some of all of these qualities.

Mike: I hope it is kind of a dark joy. I want them to be calmed, but a little uneasy feeling.

Steve: Confidence.

– How does it feel to have previously shared the stage with bands like Bright Eyes and Minus the Bear? Does it arouse any emotions of intimidation or reverence?

Sean: It’s a really great honor to of played with such great artists. Both Bright Eyes and Minus the Bear are great people too. They are all inspirational for me, not intimidation… It really makes you want to work even harder, and appreciate every fan you have out there. Those guys are all at the top of the game, and some of the nicest I’ve met.

Megan: Playing with bands like that totally blows my mind. We played with Minus the Bear way before they were super huge so they didn’t have that big of a production but I still loved their band so it was really exciting playing with them. Bright Eyes, on the other hand, was in a pretty large venue and it was one of the bigger shows we’ve played so I was definitely nervous. One of my favorite parts of being in a band is meeting people so it’s really cool when you get to meet artists that you have tons of respect for.

Mike: Both really, Minus the Bear are smaller so they were not as intimidating to meet. Bright Eyes was a little different. Meeting Conner from Bright Eyes was intense. I had some misconceptions about it all; I mean, “Hi, you’ve sold how many records? And you’re playing with us?” But it was so much easier and more relaxed than I could have imagined. I can truly say Conner is one of the nicest dudes I’ve met in this industry in a long time. Omaha and Montana have a lot in common. We tend to really get a long with people from there. It was also amazing to watch first hand the band Bright Eyes doing their thing as professionals. Getting to see the “behind the scenes” transformation from a bunch of dudes hanging out into Bright Eyes was pretty amazing. To be a part of that show gave us a glimpse of the next level we’d like to achieve.

Steve: The majority of big bands that we have gotten to play with have been some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I don’t feel intimidated by them at all.

– Where does the band (individually or collectively) draw its inspiration from?

Sean: Wow, that’s a tough one. We all have been trained musicians at some point in our lives, and our music collection is really vast and all over the place. So, that being said, there are numerous factors in ourselves, as well as between members. We’re music lovers, what can I say…

Megan: For me personally, I draw inspiration from all the bands I listen to. The anniversary was one of the first indie-type records I listened to, and Cursive’s Ugly Organ changed how I viewed string instruments in music. Just all the things you listen to and think… I wish I could write something that awesome.

Mike: All sorts of things, Books, Philosophy, Nature, Other music. I am really into ancient writings right now. Mystery school stuff. Hidden messages in the paintings of Michelangelo.

Steve: Collectively. It seems we write in pairs. Several of the songs on N.S. started with Mikey and I jamming some drum and keys at the start of practice and they went from there. Others are songs that we all individually brought to the table and “1090ed” them as a group like “conversations”

What is your process for writing lyrics and how long does it take you? Where do you feel the emotion comes from within you?Sean: Really depends on the song for me. Mike does a lot of the lyric writing. I’ll usually have an idea and go to him and we make a little more sense of it. A lot of times it’s words that I ended up singing while writing it, and they stick to the end…

Mike: I write about 90% of the lyrics. My process changes from month to month. For a while I could only write sitting at my desk surround with very little light and lots of loud music. Other times inspiration just strikes and I have to jot down whatever lines or words have appeared in my brain. This happens a lot while I drive. I came up with almost all of happiness while on a road trip by myself. I also have been a writer for a while and so this affords me a vast collection of tiny notes, one-liners, strange words, and rhymes to harvest from if I get stuck. At times I will be reading through old notebooks and find that one line that will work with what I am trying to do.
I really can’t say where it comes from. But it is in some essence easy to be struck with the feeling or moment you want to portray. When I space out and open up to the thoughts running through my head. The light is lit, the muse just speaks if you take the time to listen. It is constantly happening to me. I keep notes upon notes with me at all times. The hardest part is the capturing that “A-ha!” moment and wrestling it into actual words on a page.
Some of the songs have almost written themselves lyrically. The music will sometimes just click something on in my brain and the words just flow. This is how don’t tell me and hearts came to be. Occasionally they process is fast. But most of the time I am crafting, editing, changing, re-writing, and re-organizing lyrics until the very last minute of production and recording. So it takes some time.
Most of the songs are directed to a general “you”, not really about anyone specific. But there are a few songs such as Things Inside, Happiness, and Conversations that are about specific people. Past relationships of course, and other interactions. Mostly things that grew out of anger with others, but turned into something better than that.
I set out to write a happier record lyrically than the one I ended up with. I still feel even thought he darker imagery there is still hope in the words, at least that’s what I want to portray.

Steve: Most of my lyrics come from experiences with people and are usually cut directly from conversations I’ve had with them. Or they are what I would like to say to those peeps. This can take a long time to put together a song.

– Many bands take a stance against becoming “sell outs” and changing their music to hit “mainstream”. How do you feel about this issue? Would you ever consider altering your music if it were to launch you to that “mainstream” fame?

Sean: I would never change my music just for the sake of fans. That being said, I would never refuse anyone the chance to listen to 1090 Club. That’s the most important thing here.. The fans.

Megan: I never thought when joining the band we would even get this far. I hoped it became something, but I’ve never been too interested in fame. I play in the band because I like what we write, so altering that doesn’t really seem like an option.

Mike: I would love to make a living from my music at whatever level I can. I laugh at any band that has a label deal or a song on any media that talks about “not having sold out.” Umm..How’d you get here then?
Most bands I know don’t think of it as selling out or not selling out. They think of it as making a living at what they love. Who doesn’t want to do that? I think the terminology to “sell out” is part of the problem. It gives those who don’t understand that music is a business the wrong idea about why they may have that CD in their hand. I have more problems being called a “sell-out” by a fucking 15 year old that works at taco bell and is dressed up in the newest trendy clothing line sucking down his coke and smoking his cigarette. Yeah, right, I’m the “sell-out.” I do what I love for a living and I’m the sell out?” That’s fucking great.

Steve: To a certain extent, and anyone who says otherwise is lying to their self. But there are fundamental things about my music that I could never change; however if someone would like to tell me what drumbeat could make me a millionaire. I would gladly fit it into a song. I got kids to feed and bills to pay… I’m broke!!!

– How do you plan to stand out in the current music scene?

Sean: We’re hoping that our music stands on its own. I believe people are looking for a change in the current listening environment. I believe 1090 can stand out among a lot of bands right now…Thanks for the interview. This helps a lot as well!

Megan: I think we have a somewhat unique sound especially compared to a lot of the music that’s popular at the moment. I think lots of people are looking for something new and I hope that our record will stand out because of it.

Mike: Our orchestration and isolation tends to help us be different and sounding different from most all other bands. Once you have seen us live, it is hard to forget the 1090 Club.

Steve: With our hands on our hips and our pants at our ankles!!

The Color Fred Interview – March 7th, 2009


fredmascherinoFred Mascherino is almost too good to be true with the following attributes: a dedicated vegan, a gifted guitarist, a beautiful vocalist, and a passion for the environment equaling a love for his fans. Known for his time with Taking Back Sunday, he now shines on his own through The Color Fred. After tracking down the extremely down to earth and extremely busy Fred, I was able to speak with him at his March 7th show at the Pipeline Cafe (HI) about his solo journey so far.

A tremendous thanks to Gary Strack of Reybee Inc. for helping me set up the interview and pursue Fred.

– Can you tell us what The Color Fred is all about?

Fred: It’s pretty much a solo project I started called The Color Fred. It’s mostly me and I have different musicians play live with me.

– You used to be co-vocalist and guitarist of Taking Back Sunday. What made you want to branch out and leave the band?

F: I always wanted to sing a little bit more and we were actually heading in the other direction in Taking Back Sunday. We started out as a double vocals thing and it became more of a front man thing, so I wanted to front my own band.

– What were the pros and cons of leaving the band?

F: Well, in a lot of ways it was like starting over again because I had to let everyone know, “hey I’ve got this new record out, it’s new music,” and since I can’t immediately pump it to radio or anything, it’s more work. It’s also a solo project, so I can’t like blame the other members of the band if things don’t get done. But the positive part is that I’m doing what I love and it feels more rewarding when it works out.

– Were there any times when you wanted to quit The Color Fred and return to Taking Back Sunday?

F: Well, it’s been amazing because I’ve gotten to spend the last year on the road and getting to experience new things like coming to Hawaii has just been a dream come true. So it’s never gotten that bad. It’s always been great actually. So I guess the answer is no!

– So you’ve released one album, Bend to Break (2007), about a year and a half ago. Are you happy with the response you have received from it?

F: Yeah, we’ve definitely been building up our little army and I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far. I just went in and recorded an acoustic EP that comes out in April. In general, the reaction has been amazing. Just the fact that this is my first time coming to Hawaii and there were kids singing along last night is just amazing. It was one of the loudest crowds I’ve ever played for.

– What was the main theme or mood you tried to portray in your album?

F: The funny thing is I’ll think of the mood I want to portray but it always comes out how I’m feeling that month or year. So I can’t put on some phony teen angst. I definitely do have some inner struggles like every other person, so I try to write about that. It’s kind of my way of dealing with it, like counseling myself and not losing my mind.

– What is your favorite song on the album?

F: On Bend to Break it would be “Hate to See You Go.” It’s a song that came together well; it’s special to me. There’s also another song, “Don’t Pretend,” which is the last song on the record. It just moves me in the way I wanted it to.

– You are currently working on a new EP. How does it differ from Bend to Break?

F: It’s a lot different. Bend to Breakis something that I spent a long time writing and a long time recording, and with this [EP] I kind of just wanted to do something new and different. We are actually releasing it on Record Store Day, which is when they promote the idea of going to stores and buying CDs. It encourages people to support their local record store, which is definitely a dying breed.

– Were there any complications during the recording the new EP?

F: Yeah, I was actually sick. I had flown out to Chicago for a Myspace show, then I got back into Philly and I hadn’t slept at all, and my friend then picked me up and I went straight to the studio. We went back and redid some of the vocals, but some of them came out more real because of me being sick, and most of the tracks were done in one taping. The EP is supposed to capture how it would be if you were sitting in my living room and I was playing.

– Does it feel strange to have gone from playing with the extremely well known Taking Back Sunday, who has headlined Warped Tour, to playing as an opener for other famed bands like The All American Rejects?

F: Nah, it’s kind of like going back to my roots again. For a person who always wanted to play music, the fact that I’m still doing it makes me feel lucky. Of course, I’ve always played the same way whether I’m playing in front of 5 people or 5,000. I just love what I do and there’s nothing that weird about it. I still get to do what I love and it’s not for the fame. Actually, it’s even better because it’s my own stuff.

– What are a few things u can’t live without on tour?

F:  I’m a vegan and vegetarian, so I’m always looking for good things to eat, not just broccoli. I want a good veggie burger or things that are hard to find. I’m finding a lot of it here though!

– Have you ever been “star struck” after idolizing a band for so long and then meeting them?

F: It’s usually for me like, the old classic rock guys who freak me out. I’d sound like a geek if I told you, but I grew up listening to, like, led zeppelin and those guys, but I was also around for the metal years. So there is this guitarist called Steve Vai, and I met him once and was totally weird to him. He looked at me like, “you’re a freak,” but I didn’t want to say anything because it’s weird to be in that position where you can’t explain why you feel that way. You want to say that, “you changed my life,” but it always sounds strange. Most of the ’80’s people aren’t like the guys now, so I always freak out when I see them.

– Has anything completely crazy or strange happened at a show?

F: I was helping a merch guy cut a rope recently that was tied to a pole, so I got out a knife and when the rope broke I accidentally stabbed myself in my leg, 2 inches deep. I tied up my leg and played the show and later that night I went to the hospital. It was very painful…but I made it and I have a big scar. It looks tough.

– Are there any causes or movements you are particularly passionate about?

F: Yeah, I mentioned I’m a vegetarian, and one of the main reasons for that is we are pretty passionate about preserving the environment as a band. I buy carbon offsets when we go on tour and my packaging for Bend to Break is one of the greenest packaging that I could find. It’s like all biodegradable and recycled material—except the CD, of course. I just hope that other bands can take notice of that. I just didn’t feel right putting all these plastic cases out in the world with my name on it. You have to take responsibility for those things.

– Do you have advice for anyone who is trying to pursue the musical path you’ve taken?

F: I think it’s just a matter of putting your words into action. Like, I meet a lot of people that say, “all I want to do is play in a band and play music,” and I’m like, “well what have you done today to make it happen?” Like you need to do something every single day. You need to get out of the basement and get the word out. That’s usually who gets to do it in the end.

Ronnie Day Album Is Set For Summer Release

Ronnie Day has announced to Driven Far Off that he currently builds a home studio, invests Sony Money, and starts work on self-produced debut for his indie label Simplify Music.  It is set for summer release.

You can check out the soulful lyrics of Ronnie Day at:

His latest album is also available for purchase on Amazon.

Young the Giant Interview – October 13th, 2008



    In a time where cookie-cutter Indie bands are popping up quicker than hives, Young the Giant (formerly known as The Jakes) provide the cure to long lost uniqueness. This young band somehow manages to take all necessary elements of music and spin them into a refreshing new tale through their lyrics and melodies. I was fortunate enough to chat with lead singer, Sameer Gadhia, and ask him a few questions on Young the Giant history and future.

I want to thank Jamie and, of course, Sameer for making this interview happen!

– How did The Jakes form?

S: The Jakes formed as a joke garage band in 2004 with a bunch of really good friends.

 – Is there a reason behind the band’s name?

S: Yeah, it was actually just a stupid joke. It’s an acronym for all the members of the band and it ended up working well.

 – How did you guys decide that this was the genre of music you wanted to play?

S: We come from Orange County and bands like Saosin had just come onto the scene around 2003, 2004, and post-hardcore was a big deal. We liked the sound but we were kind of looking for something else. We started listening to a lot of The Strokes, essentially, and we actually just started playing a lot of 70’s inspired dance rock, and then we just kind of got influenced later on by some people that had just started to take the stage. It wasn’t really a conscience decision more so as just kind of like a joke thing; we were going to try and play some dance music and we entered in for Battle of the Bands and we won because it was just a different sound, so we just stuck with it.

 – Where do you guys draw your inspiration from?

S: We have a wide range of inspiration. A lot of us listen to somewhat different music and in the end it kind of becomes a big mix of things we like, and it becomes a unique mix. For me, The Strokes have been one of the biggest influences ever, even when I was younger. I mean, obviously there are some solid influences recently, but that was the main fueling act for me. Coldplay was also a big deal for me, Radiohead, and the The Beatles also.

 – How do you go about writing the music and lyrics?

S: Usually someone will bring a riff or something and will bring it to practice and everyone will work on it usually together; we will all work on sound structures. It’s a pretty meticulous process. During that time, I usually just make up words and when we finish the final song, I actually look at the words I was just making up and most of the time the lyrics I write are based loosely upon the gibberish that I wrote.

 – You are living in “a land of opportunities”, and numerous legendary bands have come out of your area. Do you feel any pressure to acquire the fame that they did?

S: Not so pressure as much as motivation. We never really thought that we would get even as close to this and be able to play this much. We were always inspired by the level of musicianship in the local music scene around Los Angeles and Orange County, so there hasn’t been really any pressure, just kind of like an opportunity for us.

 – What has been your largest difficulty so far that either you have personally faced or collectively as a band have had to overcome.

S: I think our biggest problem is for the last year and a half we have all been in college, and we all go to school in different places. I actually go to school in Stanford right now, and everyone is off in their own schools. We’re thinking of maybe moving in together sometime soon and taking a break from school and doing this full time. For this last CD, Jake and I would travel down to Southern California every three weeks and we had one weekend where we had a practice in which the guys thought up a couple ideas for some songs, and we did those two songs as fast as possible. We’d play our old stuff and then we’d have a show that night and we’d play some old songs and then we’d try out the new ones that we just made during practice and that was the best way to kind of gauge and see what people liked and what people didn’t like. In the process, we threw away like 20 or 30 songs, so it was a big challenge having to do songwriting in such small spurts.

 – Is music your chosen profession or do you have any other career plans?

S: We all really want to finish our college education and we are all going to four year universities. We all have different majors besides music, except for Eric actually; I think he is planning on pursuing jazz guitar, but for all of us we all have separate academic lives and if anything, music at one point might be the thing that we are doing, but we want to have a fall back plan or something else that we aspire to be.

 – What do you hope your listeners take away from your music?

S: I hope that they can tease out all the different messages and stuff that we are trying to get across through the music that we play as well as the lyrics that we portray. We like playing somewhat catchy music but we still have a harder message that I hope people take home with them; we don’t really want to shove it down anyone’s throat.

 – Do you have a continual message then that runs throughout your lyrics?

S: There’s not so much an overwhelming theme as we try to make everything relevant. We try to take a lot of influence from world music, like Native American Powwow music, South African gospel, and Caribbean music; there has been a lot of stuff we’ve all gotten to listen to and enjoy coming into college. Our theme is that we kind of embrace all the different types of music and diversity that we can and portray it into our sound.

 – Are your families pretty supportive of your dreams?

S: Yeah, they are all pretty supportive of it. Honestly, they like the fact that we’re playing music and they know that that’s what we love to do. I think that as long as we’re happy, that’s what matters to them.

 – What advice can you give to kids in your similar situation; trying to make a name for themselves in an industry where the majority of new bands are identical sounding?

S: There is a difference between playing music and playing music that you listen to. A big thing that we just discovered recently is that you are a songwriter when you get really serious in writing, and you should just let what you naturally make come out. You shouldn’t be afraid about what other people think or how it works with all the other music that’s coming out right now. You will obviously find influence from other people, but it’s about you doing your own thing in a different way.

 – What can we expect to see from Young the Giant in the next few years?

S: Hopefully a lot. We are anticipating a big national tour sometime soon, and possibly working out some deals. We hope to still be around–I think that’s definitely what we aim for.