Copyright © 2009 by Neil C. Obremski. These are exclusive interviews conducted by Stephanie Schoppert for FanSiter in 2009. MP3 files belong to individual copyright owners and used with their permission; they may be downloaded and played but not redistributed.
Peratus is a band in Washington that is really making waves with a style all their own. They have dubbed their music as Punk n Roll which features a seamless combination of punk rock and rock and roll. They have a wide variety of dedicated fans that is continually growing both in size and diversity.
Stephanie: Why don't you guys start by introducing yourselves?
Scott: I'll start with me. I'm Scott.
Oliver: Hi I'm Oliver, I play bass and I also hump the bass onstage.
Sev: I'm Sev, I play guitar and sing. We're missing Bud, Buddy Bones is not here. He is the one that had the car breakdown. But we do have our new drummer.
Andrew: I'm Andrew I'm the new drummer for Peratus. Yeah I've got my plate full but it's kickass and I love it.
Sev: That's all of us that are here right now.
Scott: And Sasquatch, he's really tall. He's our roadie.
Sasquatch: I kinda help.
Stephanie: You kinda help? I'd hope you'd do a little bit more.
Sasquatch: I help.
Scott: He carries stuff.
Sev: He's big.
Scott: He keeps the ladies from attacking us. He's not very busy lately though.
Oliver: I gave him the official title of panty catcher.
Stephanie:Okay the first is the basic question, the one I ask every band and it's how did you guys get started?
Sev: This band really started in California. It was me and just a few buddies down there that were jamming and writing some songs and we knew that everybody was moving at the end of summer. We just did a couple shows, called ourselves Peratus and then I moved back up to Washington. It was right away after that that me and Buddy Bones, the other guitar player, started playing music a lot. Originally it was a couple other members it took us a couple years of sorting people out but me and Bud about three and a half, four years ago we met up with Scott and Olie and it was Adam at the time on drums and we've just been playing steady ever since. Adam recently left the band and Andrew stepped in and he's got about two weeks practice and four shows on his plate already. So pretty much that's where it came from. It's just been slowly evolving into whatever we are now.
Stephanie: It's a great way to refine your music before you get out there and then you are sorta stuck.
Sev: Exactly. We were out there a few times and every time the band kinda changed, as far as personnel or whatever that's where it really evolved. The acquisition of new members or people who weren't happy with it leaving and wanting to do something else. It was made the band take each new step forward. It's brought us some limited success which is really nice and we're getting some cool internet reviews from YouTube and stuff. We've got a video that our buddy made for us with WoW characters animated to it. So we're really liking that one.
Stephanie: Yeah, I actually love that video. I won't admit to how many times I've seen it.
Scott: Yeah most people like it, I like to think that they like it.
Andrew: Probably not as many times as I've seen it. Hey I played DnD too man.
Sev: Shut up. That was Andrew, I want to make that very clear.
Andrew: Yeah with the exception of Ollie I think we all played Dungeons and Dragons.
Sev: Yeah I did. I was bad I played Star Wars, I played BattleTech, ShadowRunner, DnD…
Andrew: Did you ever play the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles roleplaying game?
Andrew: I did!
Sev: I've got the comic book though.
Scott: Sorry Stephanie, I figured out what girls were before they did.
Andrew: Girls were the things you rescue in my DnD game right?
Sev: Moving along…
Stephanie:Yeah you guys were what I called Quixotes in high school. All the roleplaying people were like Don Quixote because they saw things that weren't there.
Sev: Let's make this very clear, in my high school I didn't play role playing games. I was into football at that point. It took me getting past my fear of being a nerd, cause I'm a super nerd now, ask all of them. I've got all this crap tattooed all over me. I had to become secure in my nerdality because I could come out of the closet and let everyone know. But in high school it was off by then I was like no way.
Andrew: This is the real revenge of the nerds right here.
Sev: Yeah I'm in charge now. I'm a big tattooed nerd in charge.
Oliver: What he forgot to mention is that he is dressing up as Princess Leia again.
Sev: Oh you shut the hell up.
Andrew: We call Sev the HNIC the Head Nerd in Charge.
Sev: I will accept that.
Stephanie: So you're big nerds, but there isn't anything very nerdy about your name. So tell me a bit about where that came from.
Sev: Actually I was in the Coast Guard and everybody has heard the Marines call out "Semper Fie/Semper Fidelis" means always faithful. For the Coast Guard it is Semper Paratus which means always prepared. I changed the spelling a bit but I thought the name was cool for a rock/punk band. Prepared, ready to go, so that's where it came from.
Scott: And now we have to spell it and pronounce it for every single person we talk to.
Sev: Cause nobody understands until they've heard it, how it's said.
Stephanie: So you call your music Punk n' Roll. Why don't you explain to me a bit about where that came from and what it means to you.
Scott: Our music is not a current genre that I would say is mainstream or know. We're kind of a combination of Punk rock and rock and roll. It's somewhere in the middle and I guess Punk n' Roll just sounds cool.
Sev: It was actually our manager, Jerry who thought it up. We've been classified as just extremely alternative because there is a lot of different influences you can probably pick out. There's not too many of the sounds that sound a lot alike.
Stephanie: Your first two albums were great. I personally love them. Do you have anything new on the way?
Sev: We've got a new album's worth of music but we're going to try to do a little EP with a few songs by the beginning of next year, summer time at the latest and if we end up having extra time or extra cash flow then maybe we'll get another album out but at least we're shooting for another EP. We might have a single before that but that's our goal right now.
Oliver: The economy is not our friend so hopefully we can put out somewhere between 3 to 5 songs, very strong.
Stephanie: Unfortunately that's been the problem for a lot of bands.
Sev: Yeah but that's the way it goes you either deal with or go home and play in your garage and cry to your Mommy.
Stephanie: So why don't you tell me a little bit about how you write your songs and how you come up with them.
Sev: I'm trying to get somebody else to talk but I have a big mouth. The main way I personally do it with this group of guys is we jam out rifts or I get a couple chords or something in my head that I start writing to. We'll either sit there together and start creating different parts and put the songs together and then start writing lyrics to it. I kinda do it backwards from a lot of lyricists, I write the lyrics last. We write the music first and then we decide what we're trying to talk about. So I'll either write a song and bring it to the guys and they will all write their own parts to it or we'll write a bunch of parts and slam them all together at the end. Then I'll take it off on a tape recorder or something and I'll write some lyrics to it.
Andrew: We kick it 1988 tape recorder style.
Stephanie: Alright not that we need to but I like to have a few fun questions. So something that works great with punk rock bands and rock bands is Who's got the Coolest Tattoo?
Sev: I feel out of place in this band some days of the week because I am covered in tattoos. I got them on my face, on my hands…I got like 23 tattoos on my hands, my sleeves, my back, my legs so I'm covered in tattoos. I'm sure if everybody else in the band had a bunch of tattoos then there would be a little bit of argument. But I work at a tattoo shop and I tattooed Bud like a couple months ago but I haven't tattooed anybody else. Oh Andrew.
Andrew: You put a kanji on the front and you got my koi on my back. He does incredible work.
Sev: Oh shush. The point is I have the most.
Andrew: He's too humble. He's definitely got the coolest but the tattoos he put on me were pretty cool. I can't hold a candle.
Sev: Yours just aren't done yet.
Andrew: He's got the wings on the back. One is like a skin dragon the other one is like a metal dragon. You know how most people get the wings on their back of the demon or the angel wing and he's got like two different kinds of dragons on his. It's pretty bad ass.
Sev: That's just one of them it would take hours of talking to go through all of them. I'll take some close-ups for the MySpace.
Scott: Actually it's funny because when friends of mine or people I work with first see a picture of the band and they see Sev's tattoos. They're always like oh you Metal band and then it's Wow you guys don't sound anything like your pictures look.
Sev: I've been stereotyped since the moment I got a tattoo.
Scott: You're pretty sensitive for a hardcore tattoo guy.
Sev: Peratus was like my first dreamchild and I wanted it to just rock. I didn't want it to be fun I didn't want it to be angry. Peratus has been mostly a high energy fun thing to watch, to go enjoy to dance around and sing along and our hardcore fans are always out there, always singing, like playing games with Scott while we're playing music. So Peratus has always been about that I guess I do get stereotyped as metal a lot and I do have a metal band also with Bud and Andrew actually. But this was the first and this was the one that got my juices flowing.
Scott: Ollie and I are untattooed…do you have a tattoo Ollie?
Oliver: I have zero tattoos.
Sev: I've been begging them for years now to come get tattooed.
Scott: I'm gonna get a tattoo of a lot of hair on my back.
Sev: We'll give you big silverback gorilla hair.
Oliver: I'm trying to keep my individuality by not watching too much UFC and not having a tattoo.
Sev: He just wants to be a loner in the band. I'm trying to conform them all to my regime and get tattooed but they resist. I use the force, I use it daily but…
Scott: Stephanie, the question is do you have any tattoos?
Stephanie:I have two, I actually just got one on my wrist. I've been told I'll never get a job with it now.
Scott: Well it is a bold move to get one on your wrist.
Andrew: Yeah, what's it of?
Stephanie:It's a quill with a rose with the words "I must"
Sev: Come to Seattle and I'll give you a tattoo.
Stephanie:See, I've got two and I'm already in trouble.
Scott: You never did tell us where the other one was it.
Stephanie: It's on my lower back, it's a tramp tat.
Andrew: I love those and I will go on a mission to change the name of those tattoos. They are beautiful.
Stephanie: Now I really like Wrought where did the idea for that come from?
Sev: Wrought was a mixture of a bunch of things. I just had gotten dumped by a girl again or something so that was part of it. The only thing I was reacting very emotionally and angry to it so that was… it had a lot of negative feelings in it, where my lyrics and stuff came from. By the end, it kind of evolves throughout the song and by the last verse of the song, it was more about the music actually making me happy about all those angry things I was feeling. The last verse actually goes "I see a monster on my wing" that was all about being on stage and looking over and seeing Bud you know on my wing there, rocking out with me and us having a blast, even though my life was Hell at the time.
Stephanie: What are some of your favorite crazy moments together as a group?
Sev: Remember the Wildcat. You really want to hear this story?
Andrew: It's about the old drummer so I'm excluded.
Oliver: Don't worry Andrew there will be more.
Andrew: No I'm proud to be excluded from this one.
Sev: For Remember the Wildcat, we were on tour down in California a couple years ago. We just went on a California tour and we were on a day off in Santa Barbara just crashing at my Mom's house. We decided to go out to the club because we had been partying and working and just killing time on the beach until our next show. And so we decided to the club and it was a Sunday night and it was like 80s night.
Oliver: Not to correct you but when we walked in the door the bouncer stopped us and he goes "You know it's alternative night right?" and we thought he meant music but apparently he meant something different.
Sev: No, he meant something else. But Adam our old drummer was in Hog's heaven apparently because about an hour after we'd been there, we'd all been drinking a bit and Bud comes up to me from the back and I'd been talking to some girl or something and he goes "yeah, they're about to kick Adam out." So we go to see and Adam had been dancing on the floor with some guys and some girls all in a big group and he had in the fever of the moment ripped his shirt off. He like Hulk Hoganed his shirt right off his chest and he was a skinny guy and he was just really wasted.
Oliver: He also had no shoes on.
Sev: Yeah he took his shoes off so they tried to kick him out, but he pulled his shirt back on and put his does back on and for like twenty more minutes they let him stay because he had a big ripped shirt but it was on and he was just dancing.
Oliver: No he was rubbing up against this guy.
Sev: No he was freak dancing with this dude.
Oliver: It was like Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey man.
Scott: Except for two Patrick Swayze.
Oliver: No one of them might have been Patrick Swayze the other one was more like Gilbert Gottfried.
Sev: So anyway he lasts about another 20 minutes and then Bud comes and finds me in the back and goes "dude they kicked out Adam." I'm like ughhh so we go out to the front of the club because we're out in California and we can just leave him out on the streets because he doesn't know where he's at and my mom's house is like ten blocks away or something like that. You gotta understand the level of wasted that Adam is at this point. He's trying to kiss us, like he tried to kiss me on the mouth when I tried to put him in a cab, and I almost punched him. So anyway I sent him home to my mom's house and gave the cab like twenty extra bucks to make sure he got there, and think this is the end of the story but it's not.
We all go back to the bar because we're not going to leave because he got kicked out. So we close out the night there at the Wildcat in Santa Barbara and we end up going back to the house. So now, we're all in our 30s we're sneaking back into my mom's house and we get back and I guess Adam in his drunken stupor did the right thing technically and locked the door, the back door that we were supposed to come in, when he got there earlier. So we couldn't get in, so like 32 years old banging on my mom's window going "Mom, please let me in the door is locked." So she gets up and she does it and we go into the living room and there's Adam naked, splayed out, wang hanging stuck to his leg, and he's just like laying on the floor… my poor mother I don't know how much of that she saw. But we covered him up, stuck some cookies in his mouth and took some pictures and that was kinda the story of Remember the Wildcat. That was a traumatic night for some.
Stephanie: Well I think I'm always done with you guys, I just want to know. You've got a very diverse range of fans, what do you think about that? Is it more fun?
Sev: I'm going to let everybody answer that question, because it's a good opinion one. I personally think that it's more fun because no matter where we go somebody likes us. It doesn't matter if they're 15 or if they're 50 you know what I mean. They don't like everything, most people don't like it all, which I can admit because some stuff is heavier, some stuff is not their genre, but most age groups like most of it. That's a pretty good average, if I can appeal to most of the people I'm happy with that. I don't expect the whole world to like everything anybody writes, and that's just realistic, so I personally think it's great that we have a wide range of people that are interested, and if we're doing this is 20 years maybe people will still be coming to hear Peratus.
Oliver: Music is a pretty wide open thing so I'd rather see a wide array of people, ages and colors at a show, as compared to us just getting 28 year old white guys who like hard rock music. So it would be great to see all ages, all colors because that's what music is too, it's not just one way or one emotion, might as well have a group of people that are diverse at the show.
Andrew:Yeah I think the more people we reach with it increases our chances of world domination so...
Sev: What are we doing today Pinky?
Andrew: I'm Downtown Julie Brown type of thing, you know what I mean? It's good to be able to communicate that to every type of person out there. That wide array of people that are going to enjoy it, it's going to spread
Scott:Not to sound crazy but I love them all old, young, middle aged, male or female. Especially if they're young… I have a serious point. As you get older you kinda realize what kind of music you like and why you like it but when you are younger it's just more gut more instinctual. You like music but you don't know why. You see young fans and they like it, they just don't really know why, it's kinda cool I just means you're doing something right.
Stephanie: Well thanks guys, it was fun.
To learn more about Peratus visit their official website.
Orange Avenue is a rising band traveling up and down the state of Florida and gaining a massive following. With the release of their latest EP Reset, this band is already making waves in the Florida music scene. One thing is for sure, these Daytona based musicians won't be staying in their home state for long, because they're bound for bigger and better things.
Stephanie Schoppert: So the first thing I need to know is just the basics about the band. How you guys met, got started, and then we'll get into more fun stuff.
Jamie Pohl (Bass/Vocals): We're basically a circle of friends. Everybody knew each other in Daytona, Palm Coast and everybody was kinda in different types of bands and we worked with each other in the past and then eventually we just formed the band that we have now. It went through a lot of evolution and different variations. Orange Avenue was the final result.
Chris Yetter (Lead Guitar/Vocals): Yeah we've been together for about four years as Orange Avenue and we've been just playing, just trying to get the word out about who we are. You can find us at OrangeAvenuemusic.com. You can check out our tunes we're on Itunes, Amazon, Rhapsody…insert plug here.
Stephanie: Okay I want to get to know your guys' personalities a little bit. So what are some embarrassing or favorite moments from tour?
Sean Sedita (Drums): We went up to New Jersey, and we were doing a little pitstop at my cousin's house and all of us kinda scattered into apartment buildings and I call Chris and he gave me like 5F or something similar, and I went to that door and since it was my cousin's house I just walked right in. And as I walked right in, I walked into a family with a little boy sittin' there and the wife and the husband trying to kill me. So I immediately ran down and then located the rest of the guys. So that was a very scary moment in my life, probably the scariest to date.
Jamie: I have a lot of embarrassing moments but I was too drunk to remember them. Not really.
Chris: Oh remember when you had those burritos dude? That was fowl…no I just made that up that didn't really happen. I don't know. There hasn't been too many, we kinda set some ground rules for touring. We don't mess with anybody when they're asleep cause we wouldn't want that done to us. So we sorta, right from the gate we started with that.
Jamie: Oh I know, every time we're on TV or do some sort of major…like we do a show where we're all sort of psyched up or something that is going to have an impact somehow…somebody always falls. But other than that we're perfect, we're so effin' perfect. That you got nothin' on us. The Beatles have no- no no just kidding.
Chris: Strike that last comment. That never happened.
Stephanie: Alright, talk a little bit about the album for me.
Chris: The new album, Reset, we released it July 31st. We called it Reset because it's kinda…our first record is kind of like a variety of different styles and ideas, and on Reset we were trying to aim for something that was completely all us…yeah this is pointless. Derek go ahead talk about Reset.
Derek Anderson (Lead Vocals/Guitar): Reset is what we think an exciting album. We set out to write and record some good songs, exciting songs people could sink their teeth into and we think we've pretty much accomplished that. We're already starting to work on another EP coming out hopefully by the end of this year. Not sure what is going to be on it, or what it's going to be called but we're going to try to keep the same formula going. That's about it.
Jamie: We named the EP Reset because it took us awhile to write tons and tons of songs and finally figure out the style that everybody was happy with and comfortable with. So we named it Reset because it was kind of a reset of our previous work or how everybody knew us and knew our sound.
Chris: Sort of like a reinventing of ourselves.
Jamie: Yeah, we're proud of what we did before but this is what we're gonna go with now. This is what we're gonna ride home with.
Chris: It's the style that we do best. This is what I was trying to say earlier. Our first record was a combination of a bunch of different styles, like all the different things we can do. And this record si more what we do best, the style that we feel we do best. So that's also why we called it Reset.
Derek: We just thought, what kind of songs would we like to listen to, would we like to play you know. Just exciting things for us to perform. And what we think other people would like to hear and see from us. That's just another approach we took when we started writing and getting this album together.
Glenn Sedita (Percussion/Keyboards): True Statement.
Stephanie: I want to know a little bit about your songwriting process, it is always different for every band.
Derek: Yeah, the writing process is different for every band, and it really is kind of based on a song by song basis with us to. But more often than not it's we come up with some exciting music and I try to lay some exciting vocals on top of it. And certain songs speak to me in different ways and you know, even for me the writing process is different for every song. You know some songs come right to me, other songs take awhile. It all depends on how I'm feeling that day, you know the things that I've been going through and all that.
Jamie: Modern technology has been a blessing for us and probably for most bands because we can record ideas and we can email those ideas to each other and sometimes like Chris will lay a guitar part, or he'll cut the song up or people in the band will take the software they have on their computers and they'll say "hey I like this arrangement of this song blah blah blah" and we might come back to the table with a song idea from like months prior but because we all had it on our computers and we all had the songs kinda in our heads no one really forgot the song and the song still exists. And it might just show up months later and maybe months later Derek will have the right lyrics and say hey…that makes sense right?
Glenn: That's not at all how we write.
Jamie: No, it happens like that.
Chris: We get together in a garage. Hot, sweaty, we wear clothes that don't look like what we're wearing right now and we write some music that we think is cool that we enjoy playing. And yeah pretty much. We dress up in suits, and
Derek: we have briefcases…
Jamie: The point is that we record our ideas constantly.
Chris: We compliment each other for about 30 minutes before the writing process can commence.
Derek: We have floor to ceiling mirrors all around the garage so we can admire ourselves constantly.
Chris: There's a video camera at every practice so we can video tape our movements.
Jamie: we've got a large catalog of music that we get to choose four of them to fit the genre because we accidentally wrote a fusion jazz song.
Chris: We got a catalog…I pick 41H.
Derek: So uh, this is a nifty microphone is it recording everything, through there, like it's remote. That's cool.
Jamie: Once again, modern technology, that's kind of what I was referring to.
Derek: We definitely , I mean, the technology is available, you know we might as well use it. So we do, after practice we record like all the ideas and everything and we send them around so everybody thinks about their own parts. Everyone had pretty much free reign over their own particular part and freedom to suggest anything at all times. So it really is a collaborative effort.
Glenn: Very good summary.
Steph: (to Glenn) So you're just going to be quiet the whole interview is that what I'm getting out this? It's always the ones that think they're cute that don't talk.
Derek: So where does that leave me and Jamie?
Jamie: Well it leaves me under the bus.
Derek: Hopefully I'm driving the bus. ..
Sean: We just had a pretty intense sound check so uh…
Jamie: That was a pretty intense sound check, we're still a bit shaken up.
Steph: Well you've already got people waiting to hear you, so that's pretty good sound check I'd say.
Jamie: They'll go away.
Derek: After the first couple of songs we totally clear this place out.
Steph: So do you guys only play cover songs when you're here? (Universal City Walk Plaza Stage)
Derek: We start and end the set with our originals, just to kind of show everybody why we're here and what we're all about at the end. It gives me a chance to talk about that and say that if it wasn't for us actually writing our own music we'd never be like even a band. The covers are great and you know we like to think that a lot of the covers we do – some of the covers we do because we think they're other people's favorites and not so much ours – but some of the ones, like the newer stuff are the ones that we picked that we would like to do and that we enjoy doing. It's kind of like a little treat for ourselves, you know but all in all we're really just striving to just do maybe like one cover a show and something that may be more of an obscure thing. But here you can't really be as obscure because you want people to kind of to listen and kind of gather round and say "hey I know this song." We're really happy for this opportunity being out here at Universal, to let people know what we're about. I don't consider us a very good cover band, but we're just out here really to try to spread the word about our originals really. It's a great venue that people come from all over the nation, from all over the world, that's how our albums have gone all the way to Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, so it's a really good thing.
Steph; Now before I let you guys go I want to hear a little bit about your label and how you are creating that.
Derek: I will have Sean answer this question.
Sean: My name is Sean.
Jamie: And what's your title?
Sean: Executive Drummer. No we're excited about our label. What we did was a few years back the five of us came together and formed a company and through the years we've actually had a lot of help and contacts, and connections through a way of networking and stuff like that that have really helped us. We've been fortunate now to re-launch the label, it's going but we're going to re-launch it under some new staff and some new guys that are in there that are really pushing to help drill us to the top. Hopefully by, actually its just going into effect now, so hopefully by the end of this year, the label will be doing some things and we'll be doing some things, so next year should be a big year for both us and the label. We're excited about it though, lovelamprecords.com. Please go, check it out.
To learn more about Orange Avenue visit their official site www.orangeavenuemusic.com.
Stephanie Schoppert: Why don't you guys start off by introducing yourselves?
Isaac Pinedale: My name is Isaac Pinedale. I'm 21 and I'll tell you more about me later because a lot of me is tied in with music. (lead singer, guitar)
Pete Tremblay: My name is Pete Tremblay. I'm 28 years old, almost. I play guitar. I'm a libra... and there's a gigantic horse right there. Bye Bye gigantic horse. (He's not crazy, Orlando's mounted police were walking by)
Alex Perez: This is Alex from Wheels Above. I have spent the last 15 years trying to practice my announcer voice so I can work for Disney and every radio station in the country. I can be hired for a dollar a word, very cheap. And uh... (bass)
Pete: You're a balloon twister.
Alex: I am a balloon twister; I twist balloons, professional balloon twister. And here is Chris Denny! Chris Denny how do you feel?
Chris Denny: I think I am the one that is supposed to be saying my name over there. My name is Chris Denny I am 26 years old from West Palm Beach, Florida. I am the drummer and I have been playing drums for 15 years now. I am old, wow, that's a long time. I've been with the band for about four months now.
Steph: Okay the next question... What is the story of the band?
Isaac: I guess I'll start. I started this project like in March of 2008. What happened was I wrote a few songs, put them up online, Pete, our guitarist, expressed interest in playing for me, and so we started collaborating. Soon after me and Pete got together.
Pete: Yes, we got together.
Isaac: in a musical way.
Pete: When was that? That was August of 2008 right? The ground rules were made in May of 2008, we started talking at the Radiohead show in Tampa.
Isaac: And then Alex came along with our then drummer, Kyle Peeples. That was in August 2008, and then we played a couple of shows.
Pete: The first show as December 22, 2008 at The Haven.
Isaac: And then he left, Kyle Peeples, and Chris Denny joined in April, right before we played the Florida Music Festival in May. So he learned all the songs in two weeks, and then you know the rest is history.
Pete: Basically it's taken awhile for us to really find the sound that we've been trying to get. Through a cultivation of a lot of different drummers, different arrangements, different instruments, literally trying to find the tone for this band has been a journey.
Pete: What about you Alex? Fondest memory with the band.
Alex: I joined this band, I saw it on Craigslist?
Pete: Why did you join this band? What was your main motivation?
Alex: Ok, Ok, I was on craigslist and there were like 5 bands. I went to their MySpace pages and I listened their music. There were two bands that I liked, one was in Ocoee or something and the other was Wheels Above and Love which was the original name for Wheels Above. Isaac will extrapolate on the story but it came from a dream. So I said I have to join the band, I emailed Isaac and the rest is history.
Pete: What did you play before you played bass?
Alex: Oh, before I played bass I played guitar for a church band. It was definitely an awesome experience. My dad's a pastor so it was actually the same church that he played in. But yeah, Chris Denny is even the future, future story.
Chris: future, future story?
Pete: Chris Denny, please tell us succinctly why you joined the band, what you were thinking of doing and what you did before you were in this band.
Chris: The story of my beginning in this band... you know we're doing this interview for them. Just take the night off and then listen to what we have to say and just write it down. So the beginning of my story, Alex our base player, came out to a show of mine with my old band Oh Romeo, which actually still is a band around now. And he thought that I had you know decent skills on the drums I guess, and he suggested me to Isaac. It actually didn't happen till about four months later, when they needed a drummer because the old drummer just quit. The main reason I wanted to try out for them was I was looking for something a little different, I'd been playing like heavier music for a long time, and I kinda wanted to take a break from that and try something new. The rest I guess is recent history, since I've only been with the band for four months. So it's not too much history but yeah I love it and I love the style that we're going for.
Steph: Well something I always like to ask is- Any embarrassing moments with the band?
Isaac: Well most embarrassing moment for me was, I could have had a few moments in our earlier shows where I talked a great deal more than I was supposed to. I just kept rambling and I had to be shushed by the rest of my band.
Pete: First show. First show ever at the Haven. Isaac's arguing with the sound guy before we even go on. I had to go up to him and be like "Listen, shut the f**k up."
Isaac: No, I wasn't arguing with him, I was just doing mic check, and you were like "Shut up."
Pete: We were all new to whole thing working together.
Isaac: We were all pretty much on edge too.
Pete: It was a good show though, the Haven is a great show. But the funniest thing about that whole show was, there was this lady, she had about 30 beers no joke. She jumps on the stage and sings the National Anthem like Melissa Ethridge, straight up. And then later while we playing she's like "You guys are f**king like Coldplay! Yes! Coldplaaay!" Yeah, it was awesome. Alex has got a story.
Alex: This is my story. In a land far away... no wait, wait. F**king Coldplay! My most embarrassing moment, I have friends and they say "do the pose." Now the pose is a front stance in Karate. And so once when I did the pose, I knocked the chord out of my guitar, so for a good five seconds I was posing without any sound, and it was very embarrassing.
Chris: So one time, I was on tour with Oh Romeo and WoodAle. And the whole band, every single one of them had airsoft guns. And they were shooting at us like on the highway. Like they would get ahead of us so the wind would try and carry it back. And we were touring on a school bus that ran on biodiesel. So everybody got shot but me, and it was on the last day, they told me to go and get something from the bus. And it was on the floor and as I bent over to pick it up, I had like the worst stinging pain in my ass. Cause somebody was hiding in the seat and just jumped out and shot me point blank in the butt. It's not really embarrassing but funny I guess you could say.
Steph: Well, now I'd like to know a little bit about your music. What is your favorite song that you guys have written?
Alex: Most fun, I think would have to be Metronome, because it kills and its funky, and it's just a really good song, to play.
Pete: Well there's two of mine, I have two favorites, well three actually. As far as like crowd favorite, that I enjoy playing cause it's fun is obviously the Metronome. You know I get to play a really sick guitar solo, it's a lot of fun. But as far as like meaning, it would be probably be Diamonds in the Rain, only because the subject matter of the song, it was really important to me when it was written, it's still very important. But as far as songs go, it's great because it continually changes, it starts out as an acoustic song and then morphs into a very plain, clean with a little bit of lead, and now it's the whole band version. We've been trying different things to express the emotion in the song, because every time I think about it, it takes on different things. Because what Isaac and I wrote about is a very heavy subject matter, it's about people you love leaving you, anyway, it's fun.
Chris Denny: My favorite song is actually Mistgaze, I would say Metronome because that's when I get to show off a little bit more on the drums. But Mistgaze is my favorite just because of the groove, the feel of it, the spaceyness, the ambiance, you know everything, that's involved. It's just got such great ups and downs. It really allows me, as far as a drum perspective to get a really nice fluid, watery groove, I guess you could say.
Isaac: My favorite song to play live is probably Starting Over Again, which is usually our first song in the set. I really like that one because it can be very intense, and it's probably one of my favorite vocalist jobs in the band so far. Newer stuff is going to be more in that direction, I suppose. You know, we'll keep you updated.
Steph: Okay, now we need to talk about where your name came from. How did you come up with Wheels Above?
Isaac: I guess that's on me. Well originally I had a major project called Romatics, still is going on, but only when I have time. It was a hodgepodge of many different styles, and I decided one day that I needed to split away from that. The split was actually manifested when I had a dream, where the band that I was playing in, normally at that time, I was playing drums for them, called Blush Response, the band came up with a different name for the band. Blush Response changed their name to The Wheels Above and The Love, and they did it without my permission, and I was sort of the band manager at the time. So after waking up and checking to see that that really didn't happen, I decided that I had to use the name in some way. And so then the project started, I met Pete and I met Alex and Kyle and other people, and we decided to shorten it to just plain Wheels Above because it was easier to remember.
Pete: It just seemed catchier that way. The idea of Wheels Above and the Love and the whole concept behind it, is very interesting and necessary to our sound, but you know with any kind of idea.
Isaac: It can go many different ways.
Pete: Wheels Above can mean so many different things. People always get something different from it.
Isaac: It's sort of unexpected.
Pete: It's kind of like our sound, very ethereal.
Alex: It could also be biblical with a reference to Ezekiel.
Isaac: Yeah, it wasn't mean to be biblical, so we're not a Christian rock band.
Steph: Here's a fun question I like to ask. What for you is a sign that you've made it big? What do you want to see the band become?
Isaac: A sign that we have made it big would be if we played on a TV show, namely Saturday Night Live or with Later with Jools Holland.
Pete: I want to play with Later with Jools Holland. That would be amazing, that would be a very good indicator. Also if I could afford a custom Les Paul hollow body 1967, that was only played by Les Paul himself, that would go for about 15,000 at least. That wouldn't actually be the indicator that would just be the idea behind it. But the indicator would actually be that I would have my own guitar tech and someone to be like alright, this is how it needs to be set up. The real indicator would be being on Saturday Night Live, Later with Jools Holland or just something where we could express our music to a large audience. It's not all about like stadium tours, I think that's like ridiculous. But then I was actually reminded by a car that making it big would be to buy a Lamborghini and drive it downtown.
Alex: Somebody's got a small penis!
Chris: She's gonna find out!
Pete: That's what I'm going for, but my penis would remain intact.
Alex: My idea of making it big like truthfully, all I wanna do in life is make music and have awesome experiences. I mean my dad played bongos on my mother's belly. Rhythm is just the thing that is the most natural in life, in my opinion. And maybe one day I'll be able to just be on stage on the time just for living. Just to live to be on stage. Have those moments of, Mountaintop moments.
Chris: I guess my perception on what it is to be big, is a little bit different. Other than money and awards and stuff like that. My whole thing is just like connecting with people and having people be influenced by our art, in some sort of way, whatever that is. You know some people like to listen to us while they paint because it inspires them to paint, or anything like that, whatever. Anything that involves you life, if our music can enrich your life, or somehow creative a positive movement and help you move forward, to me, that's making it big.
Steph: You're so poetic, I love it. It's all about the music man.
Alex: Chris Denny wants to have girls, like all over him, all the time, day and night.
Chris: What I was going to add, is that I would like to have a very comfortable lifestyle, at one point in time. But there's also a cap that I would put on that before I would start contributing to other people besides myself.
Steph: Alright, here's another basic one because I like having you guys talk randomly. What is your influence in music?
Isaac: My biggest influence is usually stuff about dreams, I have a lot of dreams and I take them to heart. And they usually give me some pretty juicy stuff to write about. When I write music I like to explore deeper recesses of the human mind, and I think dreams is a good place to start.
Pete: My biggest influence is music is probably, there's two parts to it for me. There's songwriting and there's performance. With songwriting I really try my best to reach as deeply inside myself to really find an emotional connection to the music that I am trying to play. In my opinion, the only way I can truly get out what's inside of me, is through music. Usually I go to places within my head whenever I'm playing things, especially like Diamonds in the Rain. It's really emotionally difficult to play that song sometimes because of the subject matter, and who I wrote it about and everything. But at the same time inspirationally speaking, it's always other people, it's always emotions, it's always relationships, and I know it's cliché but they affect me a lot. I believe it's what the truth behind what I'm doing is.
Alex: I guess my biggest influences have to be my parents, they pretty much put themselves through graduate school. They wrote and sang, they did all these things, my earliest memories of them are of them singing these songs that they wrote. I wanted to be musical like them, and second Mark Anthony, Mark Anthony is something that you know, especially back in the day, he worked hard to get where he was. And every note he sang, he put everything of himself in that. I guess one day I'd like to be able to do that, all the time.
Chris: Alright, I'll make this one short this time. ‘Cause I keep getting looks every time I get the microphone, oh great , here goes this guy again. He's gonna talk a d*mn book. What influences me in music is life I guess. I'm sorry I just lost all train of thought because I just like looked at you (Pete) for some reason, and your gesture, my thought just went away. Seriously, with everything that is going on the world there is so much, greed and hate, and when we're playing we're not about that, we're not about anything other than just having a good time and creating something beautiful in this world, which I think that if more people made an effort to do something like that, our lives would be better.
Steph: Now, not because I don't love you guys, but because we have a limit here. But last question, I want to know what you guys want people to take away from your music.
Chris Denny: We're going right back to the guy who gave the short answer the last time. In all honesty it all goes back to this whole enriching life. I could go on forever but I don't need to talk about the travesties that go on in the world all the time. What I want people to take away from our band is they are going to come to our show and they're going to be able to like let go and not worry about what's going on in the world, not worry about the economy and not worry about their husband or wife if they're in the military... You know just anything, anything that could be going on negative in your life, I would like that to go away when you're at our show. And have something positive flow into you at our show and be happy.
Alex: I pretty much agree with Chris Denny. I just want people to go to our shows and they realize "hey I'm a badass dude and you know what I'm going to go up front and I'm going to move to the music and I'm going to be cool." People forget that they have their little talents. People forget that they have those abilities that they maybe enjoyed as a kid. Maybe they'll remember that they were inspired at one time
Pete: As far as the music and people taking away from what we're trying to do. I dunno, I think we put a lot of honesty and integrity into what we're trying to play. It's really important that we're doing something at least innovative within the style that we're accustomed to. We want to not really fill the world with pretense as to what we're trying to play and I realize that this answer's probably pretentious by the fact that I don't want to fill the world with pretense. But in all honesty we put a lot of ourselves into this music and we really care about it. Basically if anything, the most simple answer would be, I want people to understand that we're really trying to do something personal, important and something we really enjoy doing.
Isaac: That is a tough question, I want people to leave the show feeling confident about the human race. The stuff I address in the songs, or at least I'm trying to. When I'm singing I'm being kind of serious but yet I'm not, I'm being sarcastic about it. I'm sort of explaining to people that's the way it is and you can try and change things but in a way, people always do what they want. It's tough to address, but I think it is worth tackling, especially if maybe I can make the world a better place just by saying something. That way will give people at least some bit of hope, just somebody in this world.
To learn more about Wheels Above visit their MySpace Page and their upcoming official website.
Or check out their upcoming show at the Plaza Theatre on the 9th of October. Doors are at 8. Tickets are $5. We will be playing with Tam Tam the Sandwich Man and the Magical Sugar Cookies, Alias Punch, the Queues, Yogurt Smoothness, and others. (I'll be there!) (2009)
Comments or questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.