New Jersey adventurous punk rock act THE SCANDALS have just started their European tour and are about to join THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM on their upcoming run in June (see the dates below). I took some time to interview them, ask about touring, digital music era and the evolution of the band. Read the full interview below.
Photo by Greg Pallante Photography.
Hi guys! Very cool to have you here! How are you, what’s up in Jersey? You’ve just arrived in Europe – how do you like it here? Is it your first time touring our lands?
Hey! We’re stoked to be here! We’re all just resting up from the plane ride before the first show tomorrow. We absolutely love it over here. We toured Europe for the first time last year and we’ve been counting the days until we came back.
Photo by Punkrock Secretary’s Pictures.
Having the opportunity to travel with your music – it feels just amazing, huh? When did you know you wanted to become a punk rock artist? Tell us more about your background and the original story of THE SCANDALS.
Touring has taken me to places I never would have been otherwise. I’ve wanted to play music since I was shown RANCID and OPERATION IVY in elementary school. I started THE SCANDALS in 2004 during my freshman year of high school when I was 14. Since then we’ve been touring, putting out records, and just constantly trying to push ourselves in the right direction.
What sparked your desire to tour? What was your first bigger trek as the band?
The desire to see new places really made tour attractive to me. Tour put me on a plane for the first time and has given me some of the best friends that I’ve ever had. The first large tour I did was across the US to play Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas, and then we headed to California. That tour unfortunately had an abrupt ending and there were definitely some things I learned the hard way.
Do you feel drained by the end of a longer time spent on the road?
I think everyone does. You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t tired at the end of a run. You just have to find your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th winds and get as much sleep in the van as possible.
Photo by Mike Petzinger Photography.
What’s changed since then? How do you see THE SCANDALS evolved?
Some things have drastically changed but the work ethic hasn’t. We have some new members since the band’s inception but we work harder than ever. I see us as a band that is comfortable in our own skin at this point and we’re able to go back and forth between playing bars and basements to clubs and large venues.
Ok guys, so what’s up next later this Summer and beyond? Do you already want to tour again sometime soon?
We have some long weekends being worked on for July at the moment. We’ll also be heading down to Fest in Florida this October. Other than that we’re working on releasing our new EP as well as a split we did with PLOW UNITED.
Photo by Greg Pallante Photography.
Ok guys, so how about your future recordings. I’ve heard some rumors about your new EP, to be recorded with Brian Fallon from THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM. Is that right? What was your introduction to Brian’s work? Can you expound a bit more on your relation with him?
We actually recorded the EP with him in December so it’s all finished and ready to go. We’re just looking for it’s proper home. We’ve been listening to Brian and the gaslight guys forever. I can tell you the exact moment I was told to listen to them. They were the guys that came from where we did and played the places we played. We were rooting for them the whole way and we couldn’t be more stoked for the things they’ve accomplished. They’ve helped us out a ton over the last year and we’re extremely grateful.
Alright buddies. What would you say to the original veterans of punk about the state of music and its meaning in 2015?
I’d say I know it’s hard to see, but there are still some great punk bands out there keeping the faith alive. The punk rock that I grew up on hasn’t been the most popular thing over the last few years but the bands that channel those vibes can still be found. There are bands that are working their asses off and spread the same ideas that we all grew up on. It’s just buried a little deeper than other things at the moment.
How do you feel about the current digital music era, the decline in the sales of physical records and so on? Do you feel somehow “different” comparing to your rookie days? Is this evolution a blessing or rather a dark omen for the spirit of independent music?
It’s an interesting discussion to have with musicians. It bums me out that the majority of people don’t buy physical albums, or even purchase the music at all. I love to have a tangible copy of records. I enjoy looking at the artwork, the lyrics, the whole package. But, the great part about the digital age is that you can find literally anything you want. There is no shortage of music at your finger tips. The fact that someone across the world can download a song that I wrote with one click is amazing to me and I’m happy for the ability to do that. There’s nothing we can do about it, we all just need to figure out new ways to market and push our music.
Photo by APhotoGirl.com.
Can you expound a bit more on the grounds of your local music scene? Music-wise, how would you characterize the NJ area and what artists, labels and venues would you recommend checking out?
I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in the New Jersey scene. I’ve been able to see and play with some of my favorite bands and for the most part we all take care of each other. I’ve been able to play and even work at the clubs that I’ve fallen in love with over the years and I’ve made friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It’s a great place to play in a band.
Make sure you check out LOST IN SOCIETY, THE WAIT, ROCKY CATANESE AND THE CHAPTER, JAGUAR SHARK, T.GUNN, BRIAN MCGEE, CITY LIMITS, REESE VAN RIPER, FRNKIERO AND THE CELLEBRATION, HONAH LEE, THROUGH THORN AND BRIER, PANIC STATE RECORDS, HUMAN BLOOD RECORDS, DEVILDANCE RECORDS, The Court Tavern, The Asbury Lanes, and The Mill Hill Basement.
Ok lads. I guess that’s it. Thanks a lot for your time and feel free to add anything you like before we sign off!
Thank you for having me and be sure to say hi to us at the merch table!