March 8, 2011
A chat with The Get Out Of The Garage Contest winners!
Beast Make Bomb recently won The Get Out Of The Garage Music Contest and will kick off the six city tour with Tokyo Police Club and The Whigs in Austin for where they will play multiple showcases. From Texas they will hit Seattle, L.A., Chicago, D.C., and finish it off in their hometown of NYC at The Highline Ballroom with The Cold War Kids on May 5th. We caught up with the band as they prepped for their trip to Austin.
So guys – I know you met and formed in college – what brought you all individually to NYC?
The funny thing is that none of us expected to actually go to NYU, it seemed too good to be true. When looking at schools, the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music seemed the most fun and appealing to a bunch of kids who were looking to get a real degree doing what we did in highschool instead of studying for Biology. Sam is the only one who takes traditional college classes and has to study for economics exams. Not to say that the rest of us don’t take school seriously, The Clive Davis Department is challenging and interactive, and we get the opportunity to produce and engineer our music as well as others in our studio based courses. New York is always this enigmatic city as a kid. There are countless bands from here that we all grew up listening to that caused us to catch that New York bug and we never grew out of it.
What do you guys do when you aren’t playing or writing music?
We all hang out together and we each have hobbies and assorted friends. Ceci likes eating cookie dough and building up her instant cue. Hartley is constantly interning around Manhattan (right now at Jimmy Fallon) when he’s not chasing after girls. Sam enjoys going to shows, tying his shoe laces into interesting patterns, and taking really hard poli-sci classes. Glenn spends her time working, skateboarding, playing pool, and not cleaning her room.
Why Bushwick and not Williamsburg as a place to live and base the band?
Ceci and Glenn moved to Bushwick mainly because of the prices of the apartments. We live in an old warehouse where people don’t care if we play music. It’s a plus that we don’t have to rent a practice space and can save our money for cooler things like Newman O’s! We don’t have any heat, but the space is big and its nice to be able to practice in the comfort of our home with lots of electric blankets.
Is the NYC music scene competitive in terms of getting gigs and getting noticed, or is it more of a communal experience?
It’s a little bit of both. Bands here are always eager to help each other out, but you definitely have to prove yourself, so in that sense its competitive. You have to be really proactive in terms of playing shows and releasing material that catches peoples attention. We feel like everyone here is so overly stimulated with the amount of music and venues that are available in the city, so we feel that our shows and musical content need to constantly be exciting and fresh. It’s always nice to see fellow musician friends doing well in the music scene and all our friends are really supportive of each other, so in that way its communal.
How did your most recent EP, Skinny Legs, come about? What was your inspiration for it?
Skinny Legs is actually our first EP and we wanted to release something that was a compilation of the first songs we wrote together. We only had so much studio time, although we managed to record the entire EP to analog tape on a vintage Studer in few takes. The EP wasn’t all the songs we had, but it is filled with the tunes that we thought would flow well and translate best on a recording. “Itchy skinny legs you gotta run around” is from the title track, “Rewind”, and those lyrics embody some of the themes present on the EP such as being in college in New York and the various anxieties that accompany it. It’s about getting your life together and still keeping your cool.
How important has your digital presence been so far in your success? You guys seem to be well represented on bandcamp, vimeo, and myspace in particular?
It’s been crucial! We live in a digital age where people have started to expect an online presence from any form of artist. As a musician, “Find us on myspace” has been embedded into our vernacular. You can find any band on myspace and that seems to be the first step in getting yourself out there. It’s so easy to set up accounts on these websites and the more material you add over time, the better chance that a wide variety of people will stumble across it. It’s helped us a lot. For example, just by winning the “Get Out Of The Garage Contest,” our MySpace plays and views have gone up by about a hundred a day. The entire contest has been solely an online presence, and considering how many bands entered, how many people voted, and the fact we won and now get to do these really cool things, speaks for itself about how influential the internet can be, and has been for us. Playing good live shows and putting up as much content online as possible is probably the best way to get noticed these days.
Are you guys getting excited for Austin?
Beyond belief. This cold front is moving through New York right now so we are all anxious to get out of here so we can wear tank tops and maybe sweat a little bit. Ceci is from Houston so she’s hyping up Texas really hard. We are all so excited to play, go to Barton Springs, and hang out with Ceci’s really cool Texan friends. We also get to share the stage with some incredible musicians. We all died a little bit when we saw the lineup for our shows at La Zona Rosa on the 16th and 19th.
What does the future hold for Beast Make Bomb after the Get out of the Garage tour?
That’s a good question. Right now we are planning on recording our first full length album which will be out sometime in the fall. We want to tour the world really badly but will probably start off with the east coast this summer! We are buying a van and stocking up on gummy bears and peanut butter pretzels before we hit the road.