POZ Showcase: Rockets On Wire
Long Island, New York has long, illustrative history in alternative rock music. The bands who call, or once called, the Island their “home” reads like a who’s who of modern alt aficionados. So as another generation of Long Island bands gracefully bow out, the newest crop of Islanders is preparing to take off. Consider Rockets on Wire in the latter category. Their brand of melodic punch rock is self-described as “really loud music for really sad people.” So grab your ear plugs and go and give Rockets on Wire a listen before they explode.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Ryan Kendall Barnes - Guitar
Matt Costabile - Guitar
Marie Mayes - Vocals/Keytar
Phil Mazzola - Bass
Billy Schultz - Drums
What’s your hometown (or what are your hometowns)?
We’re all from Long Island, New York originally, but right now we’re scattered around Long Island and New York City. We mostly practice and play on Long Island.
How did the band come together? How long has it been?
We’ve been together since the Fall of 2010. Ryan has known Billy since they were young, and when Ryan moved to the island after his previous band dissolved they decided to start playing together. Everybody else came on naturally over a few months. Phil eventually replaced our buddy Tom Kelly on bass. Tom recorded our first EP, and he currently plays in a few fantastic bands.
Why should people listen to your band?
The one compliment we seem to receive a lot that sticks with me is that we’re “really different.” We might not be doing anything revolutionary, but we really enjoy taking the pretty melodies that Marie writes and adding really disgusting noises and feedback around it. We’re also constantly referring to ourselves as “really loud music for really sad people.” If that appeals to you, we’re your band.
How have you grown since you started?
Our songwriting has gotten better as a result of just playing together over the past couple of years. We feel like we’re really starting to hit our stride as far as figuring out what our process is. We bought a pretty decent recorder that we can use to track live demos, so once we have a vague song idea sketched out we just play it 100 different ways until we have something we settle on.
What sets you apart from other bands?
We’re obsessed with the idea of having everything sounding like it’s in this big, empty space. Lyrically we think we’re tapping into what a lot of kids our age are going through. Being in your mid-twenties is strange; you’re not really an adult, but you’re supposed to act like one, and all you want to do is drink and stay up until 4 AM.
What’s the best part about being in your band?
We’re really tightly knit. Every band says that, but we’re basically in constant contact with one another. Most of our days are spent in a group text during our day jobs, sending each other stupid shit from the internet. Mostly things related to Doctor Who and Rick Ross. At least one of our songs has pretty direct Doctor Who references. You can probably figure out which one.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
I Am Not Your Home definitely owes a lot to Brand New and Radiohead. We really wanted it to have this cohesive feel and really be a full work as opposed to just a collection of songs. We drew some inspiration from the way Deja Entendu is structured when we were putting it together. A lot of the noisier stuff comes from Matt and Ryan obsessing over Jawbreaker and Fugazi records.
Other than that, Matt finally just checked out Floral Green. He likes it. Which he should. It rules.
Most of us have been listening to a lot of hip-hop: Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson. This influences some of the groove we get into in our songs. The production on those records is pretty spacey, which probably seeps in more than we think it does.
What would you say the band has already accomplished and what do you have your eyes set on next?
We’re incredibly proud of our record. We worked so hard on that thing and spent a lot of money on it and it came out better than we could have hoped. A lot of that is on Jesse Cannon, he produced it. Him and his engineer Mike did so much for us in terms of agreeing to work with an unsigned band and putting tons of time into getting it to sound perfect.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
Our practice space is absolutely disgusting, so most of our time spent together there involves trying to find ways to pee without touching the bathroom. This is especially difficult for Marie. And Matt.
At this point we just quote our lyrics replacing nouns with butts so no one gets too serious about it.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
Get sad, dudes. Honestly, it sounds kind of lame, but there is a lot of honest emotion in what we write. It all comes from very real and sincere places. Hopefully people get that.
If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Ugh. We have a bunch of friends who made some really awful choices when choosing a label when they were very young, and are basically unable to exist as musicians anymore because of it. Hopefully with the ease of digital distribution we’ll see more DIY labels come to prominence that are a bit more altruistic.
How did your band’s name come about?
It’s a weird pyrotechnic industry term. You see these big fireworks displays, and a rocket on wire is a slow burning and moving sparkler running down a fixed wire. We always thought it speaks well to how things can be simultaneously frenetic and controlled.
Marie didn’t know what it was until 2 years into the band.
What’s the biggest mistake someone’s made while playing?
There was a key change during one of our songs the other night. None of us know who did it or how it happened. Everyone thought we were trying to be Cursive.
Any pre-performance rituals?
Beer. And whiskey.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Our record is free. You have no excuse not to listen to it. So listen to it.
Also Phil is bald as the day is long. It’s wonderful.
*If you would like your band to be featured on a POZ Showcase, email us.
*This Showcase was compiled, written, and edited by Michael Meeze
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