Interview by: Abbey Williams
Stage Dive: Before we get in too deep about the music, I must know: How did you get your name?
Our name comes from a Pink Floyd lyric from their song Pigs. For them, it meant speaking out against music censorship. For us, it means laughing at the bullshit, even ourselves.
SD: Tell me about how you all met & how the band began.
All of our parents were in a weird sex cult together. They sang a lot of Kumbaya around campfires. After a while we all got sick of it and started writing our own songs.
SD: I read on your site you all come from eclectic musical backgrounds. What made you choose this genre of music in the end?
We play what we think sounds cool or new. We’re a nuanced take on a merging of genres. We can all attribute our sounds to different bands. When bands from every decade since the 50’s influence you, it’s hard to stick to one style. It’s more fun for us to create what we feel is original. That should be the bare minimum, in my opinion. We draw from classic rock, Motown, funk, new wave, indie, alternative, rap, punk, garage rock, reggae, psychedelic rock, surf, and folk (in no particular order). There’s no way we could say we’re only going to play one of those. That would be doing ourselves a disservice.
SD: I noticed you’re a newer band and your first EP release was in 2019. What have you learned from this first release/year or two of making music?
We’ve learned that people like our music! That’s what we do it for, so that’s always nice. We learned how to record ourselves in the most efficient way. We studied performance and crafting a set list so there aren’t breaks between songs. The hardest thing to learn was marketing and trying to operate like a business. Every week presents something new to learn, but most importantly, we learned to craft our own unique sound.
SD: You now have a new album out, the self-titled HAHA CHARADE. Tell me about it, the inspiration, the sound, etc.
This is our first go-at-it. It's an eclectic mix that is hard to place into a genre. It's something I'm proud of. We don't attempt to box in our music to play to one audience. Instead, we want everyone to be able to enjoy pieces of our music and hopefully leave an impression. It is an original sound. When you hear it, it's hard to say you sound like ... because it's organized chaos that draws inspiration from all the music we love, and we love more than one genre. I attribute this to our three-songwriter dynamic. We each have a different style, and we blend them into whatever we think sounds good. I'll write a song and bring it to the group, or another will, and we'll add/subtract things, dissect it, yadda yadda yah. A lot of times we write collaboratively. We'll lock ourselves up in a room for 5 to 12 hours until we have a finished song. Every time we get together to write, we leave with something. If we love it, awesome, if we don't, we'll strip it down and use the best parts later. Each song is different. We're getting better at listening to the song to hear what it wants from us; where it wants to go. I love this album because of its misdirection. The songs verge on dancey but are still gritty. We aim to get your hips moving, but we also want you to smirk when you hear a line you can relate to.
SD: What was the process like for writing/recording/releasing this album? When did it start, what was that like for you guys?
Our brother Nick “Clay McNail” Holmes recorded every song, mixed, and mastered at Occupy Studio in Newark, DE. He uses ProTools. We have two styles of recording, direct-in, and amped up. The songs tell us which way they want to be recorded, we just listen. They have some really nice gear, but we'd have to get him on the line to give you the juicy details like serial numbers and stuff. I think I answered a lot of the question in the previous answer.
SD: I read that you have 3 songwriters. Do you write collaboratively, or do you write separately and then bring your ideas together after?
Depends on the song. Each one is different. There are three songwriters that each has their own style and approach, so the song depends on who is taking the lead role. Alex likes to write collaboratively. Matt and Justin also like to write compositions at home and present it to the group. Most of our first albums material comes from us writing together. Some songs have a clear vision even before it was written, i.e. a melody floating around in your head that you already know where it’s going to go. Others get made up along the way. Keeping it loose is key. Matt has a lyric book that’s thicker than Ashanti. He’s good about writing down his fucked-up thoughts. It’s nice when songs come so naturally and take ten minutes to write, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the songs take days to develop after listening over and over and trial and error, constantly asking yourself “Does this sound right? Could it be better? What is the song calling for and why?” The “why” is always the most important part. If you can answer why the melody follows this pattern while the chord progression does that pattern, then it’s a meticulously deliberate sound.
SD: I know the album JUST came out, but what has the response been like so far?
Good! Really fucking good! We’ve been extremely happy with the way it’s been received. A lot of new listeners, fans, and press have reached out to us. That’s always a good sign!
SD: Do you have plans to tour now that the album is out? If so- can you tell me a little bit about your plans?
We want to tour but don’t really know where to get started. If there’s a touring manager out there reading this, hit us up!
SD: Your album release party was January 24th. Tell me the details, where, what was it like?
We had it on Friday. It was one for the books!!! We sold out a venue in our hometown called Oddity Bar. Ke$ha shot a music video there. They said it was the most people they’ve ever seen there. Someone else said there were more hot girls they’ve ever seen at the bar at one time. Gotta love that. Good times all around.
SD: What do you enjoy about live shows?
Letting myself go wild. The dancing. The performance piece of the pie is vital to getting noticed. We don’t just stand around. We go nuts. The BEST part of it is when people sing the songs along with us. There’s nothing like that feeling. It’s –almost- better than sex.
SD: Do you prefer playing shows or writing and recording? Why?
Justin and Matt prefer the writing and recording part. Alex and Brendan prefer the rush of the live show. It’s a good mix. We balance each other out.
SD: I saw on your website that you are planning to release another album in December of this year. Have you started working on that? What can you tell me about it so far?
Yes! We are currently recording it at Occupy Studio. Nick is our engineer again. We are releasing a two-song single in March 2020, and our sophomore album due out December 2020. We can’t say much yet, but I’ll share with you that it is going to 12 or 13 songs, it is more mature lyrically, and the overall feel is much darker.
SD: What else is in store for 2020?
We’ve booked out until May playing a mix of the local scene while doing small tours in bigger cities. A few small festivals are on the calendar. We’re coming back to NYC in February at Arlene’s Grocery. It’s nice being from Delaware because where we are centered in the mid-Atlantic is two hours from NYC, AC, and DC, and an hour from Philly and Baltimore. It’s so easy to go up for a weekend and play.
SD: Anything else you’d like to share that you didn’t feel like I covered in the questions?
Brendan and Alex can read music. They think Justin can, too.