Tag: interview

Ariel View Interview

Photo: Ariel View. Left to right: AJ, Nadine, Harmonie, Caesar

Ariel View is a pop-punk female-fronted band based in Southern California. Their music draws inspiration from acts like Paramore, Green Day, and the Strokes, while also infusing their own unique indie-rock sound. I had a chance to interview them about how they met, what got them into music, their favorite gear, getting to play on stage with Green Day, and more!

Interviewer: Noelle Matonis

First off, tell us where you’re from and what your roles are in the band, like what instruments do you each play? 

Hello! We’re Ariel View, a pop-punk band from Ontario, California. There’s 4 of us in the band: Harmonie is our lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player, Nadine plays drums, Caesar plays bass and AJ plays lead guitar!

How did you guys meet and decide to start making music together?

Harmonie: Long story short Caesar, Nadine and I met through our local music store. At the time we were looking for a lead guitar player and my dad actually happened to discover AJ at a local show and suggested we link up and the rest is history!

You started releasing music in 2019, but when did the band actually start?

The band first started in 2014 with Harmonie and her sister Heaven and a few other members. Two years later Nadine joined as a permanent member, followed with the addition of Caesar and AJ in 2021.

How did you come up with your band name?

Harmonie: When the band first became a thing we had signed up to perform at an open mic night on a whim, but I realized we didn’t have an official name yet. So I was scrambling around searching for a word in a book or lyric in a song. I happened to be really into The Front Bottoms at the time (still am) and the song “The Beers” came on and the lyrics “there’s an aerial view from your house to my room” stood out so much that I decided, “hey, why not call this thing Ariel View.”

You released your new single “Constant Battle”, in October; can you talk about what that song is about and what the lyrics of that song mean to you?

Harmonie: This song was a cool one to write because it was one of the first songs where I felt like I could “word vomit” and say whatever I wanted to say. There’s a lot of “complaining” in the song – I talk about how I don’t feel listened to and how things are constantly an uphill battle, but maybe that was just me being in a dark phase in my life haha.

Photo: Ariel View

What do you think makes your band unique from other pop-punk bands?

We feel like what makes us different is that we aren’t necessarily trying to be a pop-punk band, each of us have our own separate influences that then creates this pop-punk sound as a result.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s funny because our sound has changed a bit over the years, and it might have to do with changes in band members. It started off very much indie surf rock, that’s the sound we were influenced by from going to backyard shows in our hometown. But I’d say we’ve always had an edge to us. Now, I think our sound is going in a more punk-rock direction, while still being reminiscent of that “indie” sound we once had.

What artists or bands inspire or influence you when you’re writing songs?

Musically we are heavily inspired by bands like Paramore, Green Day, My Chemical Romance and newer bands like Neck Deep and The Story So Far!   

You covered “Reptilia” by the Strokes. I really like that song and I think you did a good job of covering it. What made you decide to cover that song in particular? Are there any other songs you’d like to cover?

Thank you! We had a lot of fun recording that cover. I think the reason we picked that song in particular is because we knew it like the back of our hands from playing it at the end of every backyard show we played. We were talking about how cool it would be to cover an old blink song like “Josie” or “Carousel” – something that could make the crowd just go insane. 

What first got you into music or playing music?

Caesar: Listening to Sum 41, looking back at their music videos and seeing how fun it looked made me want to be in a band with my friends. 

Nadine: I was really into My Chemical Romance as a kid and I wanted to play instruments, so I tried every single one of them and drums just kinda stuck.

AJ: I grew up listening to all the classic stuff from the 70s and 80s because of my parents, until I discovered Green Day when I was like 11. I gravitated towards that style of rock from the 2000s, and watching live performance videos by those bands really influenced my music taste and showmanship.

Harmonie: When I was growing up, my dad was in a ton of cover bands so I was constantly around music. It made it really easy to fall in love with it because it’s always been such a huge part of my life.

Do you have any jobs or hobbies outside of making music?

Harmonie: Yes, I work at a coffee shop and love going rock climbing and bowling with my friends. 

Caesar: I’m a photographer for the Inland Empire hardcore scene, an amateur bowler and love whiskey.

AJ: I work for an after-school music program teaching students how to play guitar, be in a band, and music technology. I also work at a local recording studio and spend most of my time with my dogs.

Nadine: I like to play video games and go hiking with my buddy. I’m a really big fan of those activities.

 Photo credit: @psychi.media on Instagram

Have there been any challenges or weird things that have happened at shows or when you’re on the road or anything like that?

During our last tour, we had to drive through the absolute worst and scariest snowstorm for like, 4 hours in the middle of the night. Oregon has some mean weather, to say the least. 

You got to play on stage with Green Day at one of their concerts, which is awesome, what was that like?

Harmonie: It was one of the wildest experiences of my life! I really couldn’t believe it was real, like only 200 kids have ever got that experience and I was one of them! As soon as Billie asked the crowd if anyone played guitar I asked someone beside me to just throw me up so I could get his attention and he noticed me right away! When he called me up my heart was beating so fast and it felt like a dream. The entire band was so nice, and Billie encouraged me to have much fun –  it felt a little less scary knowing that he was right behind me lol. My adrenaline was so high that my entire mouth got dry and I almost couldn’t talk! Hands down will forever be a highlight of my life. 

What is your songwriting process, like do you usually write the lyrics first and then the music or the opposite?

Harmonie: I usually write the music first. It starts out with a simple chord progression and then I start humming melodies that I feel fit with what I’m playing. Lyrics happen as soon as I have a solid melody I want. If there’s words that I don’t think work, I’ll keep trying until I find a better fit!

If you could collaborate with any artist or band, who would it be?

Caesar: I would love to work with Neck Deep and The Story So Far and have either a vocalist feature on an AV song, or have either band work with AV and collaborate on a song together.

AJ: I think it would be so sick to get in the studio with Miley Cyrus because I think she’s so incredibly talented! Or Brendon Urie. He’s fantastic.

Nadine: Ah fuck it, My Chem.

Harmonie: If Billie Joe Armstrong has some time in his schedule to write a whole album with AV that would be a dream! Hopefully Rob Cavallo would be down to produce it!

Are there any specific guitars or gear you use for live shows or recording that you really like?

AJ: You will always see me with my white Gibson Les Paul Studio. That’s like my baby and I’ll probably be playing it as long as I’m alive. For recording, I just got my hands on the Lewitt LCT 1040 tube microphone, and its versatility is like nothing I’ve ever used before. Definitely my #1 piece of studio gear.

Caesar: My prized possession, my Music Man bass. I also love my Tech 21 SansAmp, and my darkglass amp.

Harmonie: My go-to guitar is a Fender Mustang through a Blues Jr. amp. It’s a really good combination for live shows. In the studio, I use a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp.

Nadine: All the guitars. Just kidding, I like my SJC Titan aluminum snare. My favorite cymbals are Zildjian K Series (shout out to Zildjian). 

What has been your favorite venue to play at so far, or which venue do you really want to play at sometime in the future? It can be big or small.

Nadine: We played the Green Room in Tyler, TX. That was probably my favorite because it seemed like all the kids in town came out to be rowdy and have a good time. I really want to play the Independent in San Fran with my buddies.

AJ: My favorite so far was the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, CO. For the future, I’d love to play the big stage at SOMA, San Diego, or the Shrine Expo Hall in LA.

Harmonie: So far, my favorite venue to play has probably been the Roxy. I would love to play Gilman Street in Berkeley someday. I totally agree with Alex too, the Shrine Expo Hall would be awesome.

Caesar: Favorite venue so far is for sure the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, CO. Best sound, best staff, all around good vibe from that venue. A future venue I would love to play would be The Glasshouse in Pomona, CA. One of my personal favorites.

Photo credit: @psychi.media on Instagram

You wrote, recorded, and mastered your last album entirely at Harmonie’s home studio and released it under your own label, Velvet Sun Records. I imagine that’s very difficult to do all by yourself, so were there any challenges you encountered with that? 

I’d say the biggest challenge was finding the time to create the best record possible in a space where other people live as well. Nadine tracked drums in the practice space/living room and sometimes we had to stop and wait if someone was in the kitchen or making noise in the house. So scheduling was the most difficult, aside from actually laying down all the tracks. 

Were there any lessons you learned from that that you think you’ll take with you when creating your next album or EP or song?

It would be really cool to rent a space in the woods for like a month and set up to record there. 

Are there any specific record labels you would like to be signed to in the future? 

Hopeless Records! But we love what Pure Noise, Fueled by Ramen, Interscope, and Fearless Records are doing, as well as the bands on their rosters.

What is your favorite song that you’ve released so far?

Harmonie: Dirty Mouth

Nadine: Escapes Me

AJ: Misunderstood, but it will change Jan 27th 😉

Caesar: Irrelevant Opinion

Photo credit: @psychi.media on Instagram

What is your favorite song to play live?

Irrelevant Opinion is for sure our favorite song to play live! It has everything our little pop-punk hearts are looking for. 

What overall message do you hope people get from listening to your music? Or what do you hope they get out of it?

I hope that when people listen to our music they feel a sense of belonging and comfort, and the message we try to convey in our music, as a whole, is to always be yourself and don’t let whatever is going on in the outside world get you down.

Are you planning on releasing another album anytime soon? What musical direction do you think you want to take for it?

Yes! Absolutely. We’re hoping that when we get back from tour we can start zoning in on writing. We’re itching to get more music out there for everyone to hear. I think we might go just a tad heavier than we’ve ever gone but we will see!

Since this is the Pop-Punk & Pizza podcast, I wanted to ask what’s your favorite kind of pizza?

We all can appreciate a good pepperoni if we’re all sharing! We usually go to Blaze Pizza when we want to splurge! We’re all huge advocates for putting pineapple on our pizza… except for Harmonie. 

You’re currently on your West Coast tour, do you usually have to prepare yourself mentally for tour or are you able to just go out there and do it?

Honestly, we all just kinda throw our stuff in the van and hope for the best.

Where can our listeners find your music? 

Any streaming services! Spotify, Apple Music, etc. and if you want to listen to our music for free we’re on YouTube, as well!

Anything else you’d like to plug or mention? Like shows or social media?

We’re going to be doing a residency at the Silverlake Lounge in LA during the month of March, so be on the lookout for that announcement really soon!

Listen to Ariel View on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube!

Follow Ariel View on Instagram!

Ariel View Official Website

Pre-Save Ariel View’s newest single “Joan”, out Jan 27! And in the meantime, check out my review of it here!


Morning In May talk Dead Set Slander, tour with Makeout, and more

Morning In May


Jake, Andrew, John, and Joe from Morning In May, a pop-punk-fused-with-metalcore band based in Cleveland, Ohio, talked with me about their upcoming tour with Makeout, the story behind the song “Jake From State Farm Ruined My Life”, from their upcoming album Dead Set Slander, and more!

Morning In May started out as a solo project of Jake Bartolic, with the EPs Somewhere In Slumber (2020) and I Still Can’t Even (re-released 2021). The band has been signed to ManicKat Records and Needful Things Records in the past, but for this album, they decided to go independent.

When I asked about the challenges of recording this album, Jake exclaimed with a laugh, “Oh my God, all of them! There’s so many!” He went on to explain the challenges they’d had with one of their previous record labels whom he refused to name. “They don’t [deserve] any notoriety at all.” When I asked if there’s a different label they would like to be signed to in the future or if they’d rather stay independent, Jake told me, “I would probably rather stay independent.”

Joe added, “You have all the tools to be able to do everything a record label can do for you.”

Jake continued, “We can go get credit cards if we want. Thats pretty much all you need, pretty much what a label is now. It’s just, ‘Hey we can rack up this amount of money, and hope for the best, and then whether or not it succeeds, whether or not you guys break up, you still owe us money.’ But we’re more pay-as-you-go kind of people.”

From metalcore influences like Kingdom of Giants and The Amity Affliction to pop punk and The Used to Britney Spears, Dead Set Slander is an album you can headbang to as well as dance to.

“We pretty much wrote pop songs in drop tuning. We were like, what tuning does Slipknot play in? So we dropped it all the way down; [and] we were like, let’s write pop songs.”

On top of that, the song titles are great too. The band told me about the story behind “Jake From State Farm Ruined My Life.” 

“It’s stupid, first off,” Jake laughs, “Andrew and I were at a party in LA, and a lot of really cool people were there, so Ice-T from Body Count, or SVU, whatever you want to watch, New Year’s Day, I think Zakk Wylde was there, all these people were there. So we don’t like being just the people in the ‘crowd’, so Andrew and I were like, ‘Let’s take a picture!’ So our manager was there at the time, with a couple of his clients, and we were kind of all together, so we thought it would be cool to take a picture, but more vertical, so we climbed a watchtower, in the venue, that was like a support beam or whatever–it was easy to climb.”

Andrew added, “It was one of those ‘X’ things…like a truss.”

“A truss!” Jake continued, “So we were each other’s support team…in the air. So we got up there, we took a picture, and Andrew went so high that he wasn’t in the picture exactly, it’s just his shoe. So we got escorted out, I don’t like to say kicked out, cause that makes it sound weird, but we got removed, and we thought it was fun. It was cool! And I wrote it, because that’s the reality of stuff, like everybody thinks they’re cool drinkin’ and partyin’ and stuff, but the reality is, you just look like an idiot, kinda dumb, and you’re probably gonna go to the gas station afterwards and get some food. So I was like, why don’t we write a song that’s about the reality of that?”

Andrew added, “But is it not true that literally as a Jake–Jake from State Farm, that commercial– ruined your life? Like, my mom still says that. She’ll be like Jake? From State Farm?”

“Oh!” he nods, “And I wanted to have a fun little title, so whenever I say, ‘Hi, i’m Jake,’ everybody’s like,” he continues in a mocking voice, “‘From State Farm?’ So I hate that…It’s the worst.”

You can watch the full interview on YouTube or listen on Spotify!

Pre-save Dead Set Slander by Morning In May here!

Catch Morning In May on tour with Makeout here!

Noelle Matonis

Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast Intern

INTERVIEW: Reece Young at Riot Fest 2022

Reece Young performing at Riot Fest

Reece Young at Riot Fest 2022 in Chicago’s Douglass Park. Photo: Jason Pendleton


On Sunday at Riot Fest, I had the pleasure of talking with artist and fellow Twenty One Pilots fan, Reece Young! We talked about his upcoming EPs, collabs, beginnings in hockey, and more!


Noelle Matonis: How was your performance today? How did you feel about it?

Reece Young: It was fun. I’m sweaty still. I haven’t cooled down. 

NM: Yeah, it seems like it’s hotter today than the last two days.

RY: Than the other two days! I was so upset. ‘Cause I’ve been here the other two days, also.

NM: Yeah, me too.

RY: Just as a fan. And then I performed and I was like, “I’m dying.”

NM: So how does Riot Fest feel different than other venues you’ve played in the past?

RY: This is the first major festival I’ve done. So this is a whole lot different. It was really cool; it was like a checklist/bucket list item. 

NM: Yeah definitely! Well that’s awesome! So what first got you into music or playing music? Is it always something that you wanted to do?

RY: No, actually, I thought I was gonna be a hockey player for a very long time.

NM: Oh, really?

RY: I grew up playing hockey, and then it was like my senior year of high school and I was like, I think I wanna do music. And I went to college for it and learned how to write songs and now we’re here.

NM: That’s so cool! Yeah, you don’t always end up doing what you think you’re gonna do, so that’s interesting! So what bands do you like to listen to when you’re on the road touring?

RY: Twenty One Pilots. They’re my favorite band.

NM: I love them! They’re my favorite band. 

RY: Bring Me The Horizon’s also my favorite.

NM: Oh yes!

RY: My two favorites.

NM: Another one of my favorites.

RY: Yeah those are my two favorite bands. 

NM: Yeah. I feel like I can hear their influence in your songs. 

RY: Yeah! Yeah, I try to do a combo.

NM: Yeah. I love that! And I was wondering do you write all the lyrics for your songs or is there anyone else helping you out like band members?

RY: Yep! I write most of it, and then sometimes…I like to collab a lot with other artists.

NM: Yeah, I noticed that. You have a lot of collabs.

RY: Yeah! So that’s the goal–to keep meeting cool people, keep writing cool songs. But yeah I do pretty much write it all. 

NM: That’s awesome! And you mentioned you have a lot of collabs, so I know you collaborated with Jayden Panesso from Sylar, and the Korn drummer, Ray. So how was that? Like how did that come about?

RY: So, I had a mutual friend who knew Jayden, and he just connected us, and I was like I have this song I think you would sound really cool on, and he was like, “Okay!” And I gave him a couple hundred bucks, and I’ll do it for sure. 

NM: Oh wow!

RY: And I was like, sick! 

NM: That’s awesome how that worked out. Are there any particular bands or artists that you would like to collaborate with in the future? 

RY: Bring Me The Horizon…

NM: Oh yeah.

RY: …And then Twenty One Pilots. [both laugh] They’re so cool!

NM: Definitely! That’s what I expected.

RY: Yeah! Those two would be crazy!

NM: Yeah, it would! So a lot of your songs are about dealing with anxiety and mental health issues, so what message do you hope to get across with your songs?

RY: I want people to listen to them and feel like there’s somebody out there that is going through what I’m going through. ‘Cause when I was at that lowest point, I wanted somebody that knew what was going on.

NM: Yeah.

RY: I didn’t have a lot of that–a lot of support at the time–and I put music on once, It was Vessel stuff–and I was like, I understand those lyrics now. And I want people to hear my stuff and be like, that kid gets it. He understands. I want people to be able to feel safe, and like, understand what’s up.

NM: Right. And I think that’s a really good message, and it really can help people out when they know that they’re not alone. 

RY: Yeah. 

NM: Do you plan on releasing a full length album any time soon?

RY: That’s definitely a dream of mine. My EP is out next month, and then another one. 

NM: Oh nice!

RY: So after that, hopefully. 

NM: Yeah. Well I’m excited for those!

RY: Oh thank you! Yeah.

NM: Well this is Riot Fest, and there’s a lot of punk bands and a lot of emo bands here, and I was wondering if you have a favorite punk or emo anthem? Or what’s your favorite punk or emo song or band?

RY: Elevated by State Champs. They’re one of my favorite bands too. 

NM: Awesome!

Mark your calendars for Reece Young’s next single, “Pressure” ft. PALISADES out this Friday Sept. 23! And in the meantime, check out his music on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Youtube, and Amazon Music!

You can also follow him on Instagram: @reeceyoungmusic


Noelle Matonis

Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast Intern