I got a chance to talk to Stefan Beham, head of the punk rock label SBÄM, based in Linz, Austria. He’s also created artwork for bands like NOFX, Sum 41, and Lagwagon. SBÄM also has a festival; the latest edition featuring the last official NOFX show in Austria, along with many other bands like Rancid, Anti-Flag, Less Than Jake, Mod Sun, and lots more. He tells me he has big plans for the festival, including expanding it to the U.S., with a documentary of it in the works. We also talk about his beginnings, advice he has for aspiring artists, and more!
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 othermembers. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
In this episode, I talked with British artist Luvlee about starting out in a boy band, how the Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh inspired him musically, his transition from pop to pop-punk, and more! Listen to Luvlee’s song “Obsessed” out now!
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1ni1HXhCsqDdfPLnemc4Zr Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/luvlee/1575342025 Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.com/artists/B07SV5GKRJ/luvlee
In this episode, I talked with punk-garage rock-indie band The Figbeats about their cover of “Apeman” on Starstruck: A Tribute to The Kinks, the funny story of how they got their band name, other bands getting blood on their drums, and more!
Part 1: I talked with Mark Johnston of Knelt Before about the straight-edge hardcore scene then and now, being a PMA (positive mental attitude) hardcore band, how he balances being a firefighter and IT guy with being in the band, and more! Be sure to also listen to Part 2!