Interviews

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

INTERVIEW: No Trigger at Riot Fest 2022

No Trigger at Riot Fest 2022 in Chicago’s Douglas Park. Photo by, Rachel Zyzda.

 

On Saturday at Riot Fest, I got to sit down and talk with Tom Rheault (vocals) and Jon Strader (rhythm guitar) of No Trigger! We talked about the making of Dr. Album, punk anthems, getting to work with Dan from 88 Fingers Louie, and more!

 

Noelle Matonis: How did you feel about your show today? How was playing at Riot Fest different than venues you’ve played at before?

Tom Rheault: Today’s show…10 out of 10. Easy. One of the best No Trigger shows I can remember because of everything. Sounded awesome, we were funny, I think. [both laugh] And the crowd was insane. 

Jon Strader: We’ve been looking forward to this show for a while now and what a treat.

TR: And it’s different, because it’s not some sweaty, you know, piss-filled fuckin’ small venue. It’s big. It’s like the coolest outdoor fest i’ve ever been to. So that’s neat. 

NM: I’ve heard you guys write your lyrics collaboratively, it’s not just one of you writing the lyrics. And I was wondering what are some of the challenges that come along with that?

TR: Well, it’s actually not that true. We write the songs collaboratively, but the lyrics, I’m kinda the guy. 

JS: We have two songs out there that we recently recorded, one which is on [Dr. Album], one which is on Acid Lord EP, which our guitarist fully wrote top to bottom, which was a world that we just dipped into for this new record.

TR: I don’t know, usually for songs, it’s me. But for a couple of them it’s Mike. It’s weird because I feel like lyrics are a tough thing to collaborate on; music isn’t. Music is phenomenal to collaborate on. But vocals–it’s weird, you know? To me. So I kind of do it all. 

JS: [laughs]

NM: I was watching an interview with [Tom] and you mentioned that the first thing you ever recorded was in 2003 with Dan from 88 Fingers Louie

TR: Oh yeah!

NM: And you’ve also collaborated with Bill Stevenson from Black Flag and Descendents. So how was it working with those guys and how did that sort of come about?

TR: Well, honestly, if you book them and you can afford it, you can do it. But you know, someone like Bill, we were on a label way back when we paid for all of that. But before that, with Dan from 88 Fingers Louie, it was just us driving to Chicago, as like 20 year olds, and we were like, fuck it. I think this guy can do it, and we called him up and he did. He wanted to, so we just did it. And we did it in his mom’s basement. Like, 2003. It was crazy. His mom answered the door. And I was like, “Hey, we’re here to record!” She’s like, (in high pitched voice) “Oh, Danny’s downstairs, hold on!”

JS: [laughs]

TR: It was funny; it was great.

NM: What first got you into music or playing music? Was music always something you wanted to do or growing up, did you have other things in mind that you wanted to do as a career?

TR: I don’t know, music’s such a weird thing, ‘cause A, it’s not our career, not at all. Like there’s not a chance it’s our career, ‘cause we just do it for fun. And it kinda chooses you. Music’s different. We couldn’t escape it. 

JS: Personally, when I was younger, just watching local bands that were kind of coming up and playing like, behind my house, you’d hear the music real loud. You go over there as such a young kid and get mesmerized while listening to what’s happening. And my dad was a musician too. He taught me how to play guitar. 

NM: What bands inspire you?

TR: Inspire at this point? I don’t know man. [laughs] I don’t even know!

JS: There was a long wave of bands that we kind of grew up listening to that’s kinda wild that we’re playing with now. I think heavily influenced–Descendents, No FX, Fat Records, Epitaph, we grew up on that stuff, we used to be doing the Warped Tour scene…

TR: And now, we listen to Grateful Dead. You know what I mean? So I’m over there now–me. I don’t know about [Jon].

NM: So it’s a lot of different influences.

JS: Of course!

TR: So it’s everything. Yeah. As long as it’s…to me, music is…you can tell if it’s pure. You can just tell if someone’s trying too hard, you can tell if it’s not sincere. But when it’s pure and… I don’t know…that’s what I like. Is that shit. So whatever it is, whatever genre it is, you can kinda cut through the bullshit and be like yeah! This is the shit.

NM: Right. And are there any bands that you like to listen to when you’re on the road touring?

JS: It’s always varying, it depends on who’s the DJ.

TR: Literally it depends on who’s got shuffle on Spotify.

JS: I mean, currently, we have a rental van and I won’t let the jazz channel be changed; I think it’s a vibe.[laughs]

NM:[laughs] I wouldn’t expect that.

JS: [laughs] Yeah, see?

NM: And speaking of things you wouldn’t expect, I feel like you guys transitioned from more hardcore to punk and some pop punk in your new record, Dr. Album. Can you talk about how you decided to change your sound a little bit?

JS: Yeah.  It wasn’t really deciding to change our sound, we didn’t really sit down and be like, “We need to write these kinds of songs. What’s beautiful about [Dr. Abum] is that everyone in the band is very like honed in on putting the songs together. And Tom was more or less on a page of creating full songs from start to finish as well. So everyone’s creativity really shined on this record. And what you hear is like what you get; like that was everyone’s input on certain styles and 

TR: Yeah. It was just like some of it’s poppy. And I wrote more like the weird ones. Like on the record, there’s a bunch of ones that are like…

NM: Like the Mountain Song? Was that you?

JS: Oh, the Foggy Mountain song? No, that just kinda developed from us just hanging out during the recording session in a corn field around a campfire. [laughs] and Nick, who produced the record, plays banjo. So that was real fun stuff during the recording.

TR: We’re just like, push the limit. Let’s break down every barrier, and let’s just write however we feel. And some of the songs are like Smashing Pumpkins-sounding. Other ones are like the fastest songs we’ve written. So it’s everything. It really is everything. And I think we somehow pulled it off where it’s cohesive. It’s not like just a jumbled mess. It works. 

Yeah I can definitely hear a bunch of different influences on there, and it does all work together really well I think.

TR: Thank you!

NM: I don’t know if you guys are able to see other bands at Riot fest, like do you ever get some downtime or a chance to see other bands?

TR: Yeah! Yesterday, we saw Sincere Engineer, and Cliffdiver. They were both phenomenal. It was awesome.

JS: Wargasm was a treat too.: We’re the kind of band that kind of takes some time to peep some bands and stuff like that.

TR: Yeah! Who wouldn’t? And today is like the Menzingers and Bad Religion and shit…like get out of here! Of course we’re gonna watch them!

NM: Yeah definitely! I’m excited to see them too! And since Riot Fest as a lot of punk bands and  a lot o emo stuff, I was wondering wha is your favorite punk or emo anthem? 

JS: Broham! [laughs] I think that’s the punkest anthem of anthems. 

TR: What even is a punk anthem? I mean, I’m not a huge My Chemical Romance guy, I used to be a big Blink-182 guy though. Like I really liked them when they came out with Dude Ranch and shit. 

JS: We went a bunch of times…

TR: We went to two Dude Ranch shows with the old drummer too. Not Travis. Like, we’re old. 

JS: I saw Blink-182 with Scott. I have. 

TR: Yeah me too. That’s more of my like emo…like after that, we were like too hardcore to care about like My Chemical Romance or something, but before that, I had a definite phase. I don’t know, that’s a really weird question. I can’t pick a song right now, I can’t think of one.

JS: That’s why I said Broham. Because we played Europe a lot and people like soundcheck with that song and the whole crowd just goes insane.

TR: I think anthemically, like I keep thinking of Bouncing Souls songs, like True Believers, or like Lean on Sheena. These are the songs that are like anthemic, like the ones that pop into my head.

Yeah. And I think anthem is subjective like what whatever gets you pumped

JS: Of course.

NM: What has been your favorite venue to play so far or what is one you’d really like to play in the future? It can be big or small.

TR: I don’t know man.

NM: Do you prefer playing bigger venues?

JS: Yes! I personally prefer playing bigger festivals.

TR: Yes, this is amazing!

JS: I like being outside, I like being able to wear my sunglasses when play.

TR: Yeah! I wore my sunglasses for the first time ever!

JS: Yeah, festival stuff like this is great.

TR: Yeah, if you could just do this everyday, it would be fine, but we can’t. 

JS: Yeah, this is our first time playing Riot Fest and this was the most comfortable I’ve ever been. The whole stage was carpeted, so I’m gonna go with Douglass Park Chicago.

TR: Yeah. It was comfy.

JS: Thank you, Riot Fest.

TR: Yeah, today. That was my favorite venue [laughs]. 

 

Listen to No Trigger’s Dr. Album out now: https://open.spotify.com/album/0kAFMQR8EUPi1RWxmM8yCs?si=faXW7wcPSuaSl5O7uxD2wA

 

Noelle Matonis

Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast Intern

INTERVIEW: Massachusetts’ homegrown punk band, No Trigger

The creative guys in Massachusetts’ homegrown punk band, No Trigger have knocked it out of the park again with their first full length album in ten years called, Dr. Album that came out August 26.  Acid Lord, their EP released this past May has three of its five songs featured on Dr. Album.  No Trigger had an amazing tour set up with Bigwig that they had to cancel because COVID attacked the world so in true form, they came out of quarantine swinging.  

 

The pandemic brought us fans some of the greatest No Trigger music to date.  Front man Tom Rheault told us about this first LP release in a decade, “Art takes time!” He laughed and went on, “honestly, whenever inspiration hits, it’s simply that.  We’re the band that just does it whenever we feel like we need to do it.  We’ve put up different things in the last 10 years that weren’t full-lengths.  The pandemic was the reason, I mean everything shut down so we were like, ‘well, what are we doing?’.”  

 

Rhythm guitarist Jon Strader continued about the COVID downtime, “We all started learning different recording programs, getting interfaces and sending tracks to each other all throughout the pandemic and then later had a chance to get to our drummers brothers’ studio and it all came together nicely.”  

 

Having recorded 15 songs throughout social distancing, Jon wasn’t kidding.  He knew they would need to spread the songs out between the Acid Lord EP and Dr. Album LP.  The new album has some great tracks on it that include oddball sounds including but not limited to a very underrated mouth instrument, the kazoo.  You can also hear violins, pedal steel guitar, keyboards and even some horns recorded from Reade Wolcott of We Are the Union in California.

 

No Trigger puts a very humorous spin on serious topics like mental illness, Nazi’s, heartbreak, etc. that makes it easier to listen to.  Usually, these topics are saved for really depressing ballads or an angry sound but No Trigger plays with this dark humor from common, everyday issues that makes it palatable for the entire family to sing along to hating Nazi’s in a poppy-punk way with a smile on your face!

 

No Trigger advertises Dr. Album as “the Sgt. Pepper of punk records” explaining, “We took a bunch of drugs and made this record while the world stopped.  It sort of just poured out of us.  A ‘had to get it all out’ sort of scenario”.  This perfectly encapsulates the humor of the band and what you are in for with, Dr. Album.

 

You can catch No Trigger at Riot Fest in Chicago, IL on Sep. 17, 2022, Punk in Drublic on Sep. 24, 2022 in Worcester, MA, supporting The Lawrence Arms on Sep. 30, 2022 in New York, NY, and at The Fest on Oct. 30, 2022 in Gainesville, FL.

 

For More Info on No Trigger:

 

Rachael Contreras

Pop-Punk & Pizza Contributor

INTERVIEW: Rishi Bahl, Founder of Four Chord Music Festival

 

Summer music festivals are something every music lover looks forward to. They typically bring different music styles, food, entertainment and fun to one place for you to enjoy a little bit of everything. Punk music is no different and Rishi Bahl caught on early.  

 

Bahl was tired of seeing politics within the music industry when it came to booking bands. The struggle of booking shows and tours for bands is real and Bahl, being in his own band, felt that frustration front and center.   

 

Bahl created the first Four Chord Music Festival in 2014 in a smaller 1300 capacity venue with bands like The Wonder Years, Real Friends, We Are the Union and more. The following year it grew to have Yellowcard and Anti-Flag. The promoter that wouldn’t call himself a promoter says that every year is a learning experience for the good and the bad.  

 

He told us that in 2019, he decided to move the festival from the old 1300 capacity venue to a semi-professional soccer stadium with a 10,000-person capacity. Headliner on the bill that year was The Offspring. “Like 5 minutes before doors opened The Offspring canceled”, he tells us, “It was supposed to rain that day, it was also the same day as a huge Steelers home game and then we got word that Dexter (Holland) herniated a disk in his back”.  

 

But the fun learning experiences don’t end there. Bahl told us, “In 2020 we got Blink-182 to headline. That’s a big deal, I could just retire after that because they are just ‘it’ for me. Tickets for that show went on sale March 4 and the show sold unbelievably well for the first week and a half”.  We all see where this is going right? A learning experience, indeed!

 

It’s impressive to see where this festival has been and where it is going. Four Chord Music Festival is celebrating its inaugural 2-day event.  All previous festivals have been one day. A very exciting aspect to these 2 days is the separation of music style.  It is highly likely that if you like any of the bands on either day, you will like the entire lineup on that day. Rishi Bahl thought through the lineups in meticulous form.  

 

He says day 1 is more old school punk with Bad Religion, Descendents, Pennywise, Silverstein, The Amity Affliction, Story of the Year, Lagwagon, H2O, Destroy Boys and so much more. Day 2 is 2000-ish punk with All Time Low, Jimmy Eat World, The Story So Far, The Starting Line, The Maine and more.

 

The most important thing to keep in mind behind this massive 2-day event is that Rishi Bahl started this on his own. He stressed to us that the Four Chord Music Festival is a “DIY festival”. He doesn’t have a team behind him making decisions and creating contracts.  He is the guy on the phone booking bands and filling out forms.  He says these events are so much work but so worth it and we couldn’t agree more.  

 

Tickets for Day 1 and general parking are still available on their website but not for long. The show isn’t for months and most tickets are sold out so if you’re thinking about going, do not hesitate.

Four Chord Music Festival is Friday, September 9 and 10 at Wild Things Park in Pittsburg, PA

https://www.fourchordmusicfestival.com

 

Rachael Contreras

Pop-Punk & Pizza Contributor