POZ Playlist: Riot Fest Chicago

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 11, 2014

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Riot Fest is just a day away, which means everything is gong to be okay. The PropertyOfZack team is very excited to be heading out to the festival, so we put together a Playlist of songs by bands we are stoked to see over the weekend. Check it all out below!

Related Stories:
Riot Fest Chicago Set Times Revealed 
Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day One) 
Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day Two) 
Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day Three)

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The Get Up Kids - Ten Minutes 
The lineup for Riot Fest didn’t matter too much this year. After last year’s festival, nothing could have kept me away. That being said, the lineup is killer. What I’m most excited for is to see The Get Up Kids play Something To Write Home About in full. It will rule. - Zack Zarrillo
Say Anything - Belt (ZZ)
Here’s to hoping Say Anything break out “Belt” in preparation of their Is A Real Boy tour later in 2014. Between The Get Up Kids, Say Anything, and Dashboard - we’re getting taken to a better era in Chicago.
Somos - Dead Wrong (ZZ)
I love Somos, guys. Temple Of Plenty is one-liner after one-liner after one-liner in really the best way possible. Check this out.

Offspring - Nitro (Youth Energy)
It’s easy to forget now, but before the success of “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” turned them into
increasingly-noxious novelty purveyors, the Offspring were a damned good punk band. “Nitro,” the buzzsaw blast that kicks off the band’s breakthrough album Smash (which they’ll be playing in full at Riot Fest) owes as much to Gorilla Biscuits as the band’s current material owes Weird Al and the Bloodhound Gang. I guess “liv[ing] like there’s no tomorrow” cuts both ways. - JR

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POZ Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day Three)

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 10, 2014

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Riot Fest Chicago kicks off this weekend, and PropertyOfZack is gearing up for a weekend of fun, and we hope many of you are too. Just in case you haven’t put together your schedule, we thought it’d be a great idea to put together a list of POZ’s Must See Bands And Artists that will be gracing the stage this weekend in Chicago. Reblog and let us know who we need to see while we’re at the final day of Riot this weekend as well!

Related Stories:
Riot Fest Chicago Set Times Revealed 
POZ Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day One) 
POZ Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day Two)

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La Dispute
La Dispute’s been long known for whipping their crowds into tornado-like frenzies with their live shows, and given the way the band’s perfected the art of an escalating song, who can blame them? But with their new record stretching across the broad landscape of contemplative post-hardcore, the quieter, subtle moments tower just as expansively as the more furious ones do - and being that I haven’t seen La Dispute in a few years, I’m unbelievably excited to see how the softer songs are coming out live. Try to listen to “Woman (reading)” and not feel overwhelmingly devastated - and then look at the photos of Jordan Dreyer’s bloody face from FYF last month and realize what you’re in for. - Adrienne Fisher

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The Menzingers
On The Impossible Past was the Album Of The Year for both 2012 and 2013, and now Rented World has claimed its place as another beloved record in the band’s catalog. The arsenal of songs The Menzingers likely have prepped for a festival appearance may be too much for your weak heart to handle after corn dogs and hard cider at Riot Fest this year. You’re gonna need a crutch.

Sorry about that one. - Zack Zarrillo

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PUP
The name PUP might derive from “pathetic use of potential” (though the band is adamant that it is NOT an acronym), but rendered in lowercase, it’s also a perfect descriptor for the Canadian four-piece — like a litter of puppies, the men of PUP are young, scrappy, blessed with a seemingly limitless supply of bounce-off-the-walls energy and really, really hard not to love. Their self-titled SideOneDummy debut is one of the year’s better under-the-radar releases, but it would take stretching the boundaries of what’s possible with recorded media itself to adequately capture the hyperactive, adrenalized rush of their stage show. There might be other bands that get equally bonkers on stage, but I defy you to find me one that does it while remaining this effortlessly melodic. - Jesse Richman

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POZ Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day Two)

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 9, 2014

Riot Fest Chicago kicks off this weekend, and PropertyOfZack is gearing up for a weekend of fun, and we hope many of you are too. Just in case you haven’t put together your schedule, we thought it’d be a great idea to put together a list of POZ’s Must See Bands And Artists that will be gracing the stage this weekend in Chicago. Reblog and let us know who we need to see while we’re at the second day of Riot this weekend as well!

Related Stories:
Riot Fest Chicago Set Times Revealed 
POZ Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day One)

The Get Up Kids
I often hate the idea of relegating my reasoning for seeing an artist to “it’s ________, you gotta.” But in this case, IT’S THE GET UP KIDS. YOU GOTTA. Not only is it the Get Up Kids, who haven’t toured as a full outfit since 2011 (minus a few spare appearances in random cities), it’s the Get Up Kids performing their beloved and absolutely perfect album Something to Write Home About in its entirety. Let your cynicism about anniversary/album sets melt away, think about fact that this is one of the most celebrated “90s emo” records of all time, and try to remember the last time you listened to “Close to Home” and didn’t lose your mind wailing along with joy (or is that just me?). Regardless, make sure you catch this set but please do your homework and reserve all your audience calls for “Campfire Kansas” for another time - perhaps even for their official Riot Fest after-show, taking place the night before. - Adrienne Fisher

Descendents
I can’t remember the last time that I’ve been this excited to see a band and can’t adequately describe what I’m feeling. I’ve been listening to the Descendents for years and had buried my hopes of seeing them live because I miss every opportunity, but the time is nigh. Arguably the founders of our beloved pop-punk, this band has influenced us individually as much as they have our favorite bands. Milo Goes to College and I Don’t Want to Grow Up have played a pivotal part of my life for the last few years, and this could not be a cooler time for this to be happening. This band has something (lyrically and musically) for everyone, and is just going to flat-out be cooler than anything ever. - Brittany Oblak

Dashboard Confessional
The last time I saw Dashboard Confessional was at the very end of 2011. It was great. Since then, Dashboard has been the last thing on Chris Carrabba’s mind. Further Seems Forever took a solid chunk of Carrabba’s time, but Twin Forks has been even more all-encompassing.

Further Seems Forever was a very enjoyable tangent for me, as a fan. In fact, I think I am actually the largest fan in the world of Penny Black. But damn, I miss Dashboard.

Seeing Dashboard in a festival environment seems like a great way to come back with sing-alongs with a hope for more. - Zack Zarrillo

The World Is A Beautiful Place
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am Afraid To Die are probably the most festival-worthy festival band in our entire genre-based-system. That’s a compliment, really.

Go watch them. - Zack Zarrillo

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POZ Riot Fest Chicago: Our Must-See Bands And Artists (Day One)

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 8, 2014

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Riot Fest Chicago kicks off this weekend, and PropertyOfZack is gearing up for a weekend of fun, and we hope many of you are too. Just in case you haven’t put together your schedule, we thought it’d be a great idea to put together a list of POZ’s Must See Bands And Artists that will be gracing the stage this weekend in Chicago. Reblog and let us know who we need to see while we’re at the first day of Riot this weekend as well!

Related Stories:
Riot Fest Chicago Set Times Revealed

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The Hotelier
I’ve been lucky enough to see The Hotelier three times so far this year. All three dates have been in support of Home, Like No Place Is There. Each time has been simply incredible. We’ve talked, nearly to death, about how needed this album was to so many of us. Thus, seeing them live has also been dearly needed.

Why I’m so looking forward to seeing the band play Riot Fest is for a little bit of a different reason than a normal pick. I’ve only seen The Hotelier play in shitty/dirty/dark punk rooms in Philadelphia. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I am so curious to see how they perform outside, in the light, and to many people.

Don’t you just wonder how “Dendron” will feel with a cross-breeze? - Zack Zarrillo

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Pianos Become The Teeth
This band is just so damn good live. I went from appreciating the extreme emotional nature attached to The Lack Long After from my bedroom to appreciating the utter talent of the band in a live setting. You just feel the drums in a different way live than you do when you see most other bands.

Pianos Become The Teeth are one of those bands I’d watch every time at any chance. Riot Fest with them is a huge attraction to me. - Zack Zarrillo

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Failure
Even though Failure might fall into your personal category of “Bands that Reunited Recently About Whom I Have No Interest in Caring,” there are plenty of us out there who are craving the live experience of their techy, drugged-out outer-space rock. As a very new acolyte for the recently exhumed 90s grunge act, I had the pleasure of catching Failure on their Tree of Stars Tour this past spring and was bowled over by their beautifully humble re-creation of the material from their ridiculously innovative Fantastic Planet (as well as a couple of choice songs from Magnified and Comfort). I certainly can’t speak to how the band’s live performance holds up compared to how they used to play in the 90s, being that the year they broke up was the same year I got braces, but if their Riot Fest appearance is as tightly performed with thoughtful attention to all the sonic details, it’ll be one of the most deeply entrancing sets of the entire weekend. - Adrienne Fisher

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As Scene In Pitchfork

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 4, 2014

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by Erik van Rheenen, edited by Jesse Richman

…It’s apparent that when one engages with pop-punk, it’s less of a “phase” than a vaccination—a crucial inoculation that makes you immune to it for the rest of your life, presumably for society’s benefit. So it’s not surprising that pop-punk isn’t afforded the same cachet amongst critics as similarly youth-oriented genres: after all, there’s nothing subversive or cool about your 13-year-old self, and there haven’t been many examples of its practitioners aging gracefully.” - Ian Cohen, Oh, Common Life.

When Say Anything rounded off the band’s artillery blast opus …Is a Real Boy with the acerbic “Admit It!!!,” Max Bemis verbally crucified 2004’s burgeoning hipster culture by attacking an anonymous “you.” It’s transparently obvious that the tongue-lashed antagonist of “Admit It!!!” represents a faithful acolyte of indie rock trends — a faux-bohemian “vacuous soldier of the thrift store Gestapo” — but he only draws Bemis’s ire as a hipster everyman.

Instead, Bemis saved the specifics for the song’s sequel, which pockmarks 2012’s less well-received Anarchy, My Dear. When he Admits It again with a second (though by no means last) indictment of indie rock culture, Bemis wags an unwavering finger in Pitchfork’s direction, calling out the influential indie rock gatekeeper as “a stupid website with Satan as its figurehead.” For all of the positives to be found in the music created by “the scene” * — the early-2000s commercial viability, the subculture of positivity in which young punks saw more of themselves than in more mainstream music offerings, the community-building that unified fans — the majority of it was never going to be hailed as a critical darling or Pitchfork-approved.

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Why The Way We Listen to Music Matters (An Elegy For Ruby Red)

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 14, 2014

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by Erik van Rheenen, edited by Jesse Richman

This is a story about a boy and his headphones, and it opens in the grey days of autumn, two years ago.

When I stepped out of the bleak, wind-whipped Upstate New York fall and into the fluorescent lights of the Syracuse University bookstore, I had only two things on my mind: the long train ride home to Erie, and the new headphones that would keep me sane on the trip. The over-ears around my collar — a cheap pair of sleek blue Skullcandy ones — were terminally afflicted with intermittent crackling and less-than-admirable sound quality. My knowledge of headphones was casual at best. I didn’t care if the low end bottomed out. I didn’t pay enough attention to notice if the headphones lost the bass and highs in the shuffle. As long as they sounded all right and felt good, I was sold.

Twenty minutes later, I plunked a thirty-dollar pair of bulky red headphones on the counter for the cute blonde co-ed, earning her work-study cash the hard way, to ring up. I figured they’d make a suitable replacement for the nearly-busted pair hanging loosely around my neck. I trekked back up to my dorm, adjusted the new pair (the brand, Ear Pollution, proved nearly unresearchable for this writer) comfortably over my ears, and listened to Keasbey Nights in proper, my feet dangling off my bed as I laid on my chest with the liner notes. I didn’t think I’d one day be writing parting remarks for headphones that were less a music delivery vehicle and more a wiry extension of myself. I didn’t think they’d have a story worth telling.

A snapshot of two whirlwind years, in the frame of a still life: those headphones rattling against the window of the Erie-bound Amtrak as I listened to Streetlight Manifesto and fought sleep. Those headphones sinking into the cheap pillow of an early morning flight heading for a weekend jaunt in Philadelphia. Those headphones rekindling my love for The Mountain Goats’ Tallahassee on a day-breaking, rollicking Greyhound bus to Cleveland, and for The Sunset Tree during a red-eye flight to Spain. Those headphones helping me survive sickness in a cramped train to Seville, and again on a bus back from Ronda, where I learned that the aching American sadness that bleeds from On the Impossible Past was just as longing and nostalgia-inducing against the backdrop of the Spanish countryside.

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POZ Interview: PVRIS + Matty Arsenault

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 25, 2014

PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman headed out to Warped Tour a few weeks ago to sweat while watching bands, but to also do some great interviews for the site. 

Jesse spoke with Lynn Gunn from PVRIS about their Warped Tour experiences, singing to Rise after almost being on another label, new music, and the current scene before transitioning into a conversation with Matty from A Loss For Words. Read the interview below!

by Jesse Richman

Can I get your name and what you do in the band?
LG: Lyndsey [Gunn], I sing and play guitar in Pvris.

First of all, how’s Warped Tour going for you?
Amazing!

Tell me a little bit about what the experience has been like for you.
Lots of sun and burning and walking and pushing heavy objects and having fun!

Are you guys on the full run of the tour?
No, we only get two weeks. We hop off tomorrow.

So you’re right at the end of your run. Are you feeling run ragged yet?
No! We’re finally in the groove of it, and we want it to continue, to keep going to the end, but we only got two weeks. We finally got in the groove and started making friends, and it’s like “bye, you can’t be here anymore!”

You’re one of those bands that, for the last year or so, I would hear little things about, here and there. We did a POZ Showcase on you a while ago. And then suddenly, in the last couple months, it feels like you’re everywhere. Tell me a little bit about what’s been going down. I know you just signed to Rise / Velocity — tell me how that came together.
We did sign with them. We were originally supposed to sign to a different label. This actually happened a year ago, one year from two days ago. We were supposed to sign our contracts to a different label — I’m not going to say who — but literally the morning that we were supposed to sign, Matty [Arsenault, band manager / A Loss For Words vocalist] came running up to us, “don’t sign anything, we got an offer from Rise.”

Is that a label you’d had your eye on since the beginning?
Yeah. We had kind of settled for another label, we were kind of like “whatever, we can make this work.” Rise was the top dog that we were aiming for, and we ended up getting it!

One of the reasons I ask is because, I know you’re on the Velocity side which is a little different, but whatever Rise’s core sound is — and they’ve kind of got a couple of them now — none of it is quite what you guys are doing.
Yeah, it’s very, very different. They’re all really excited about it, which is cool.

What was it about Rise that you clicked with?
The freedom. They don’t have their hands in anything, we just get to do whatever the hell we want. To the point where, like, we sent over pre-production and rough mixes while we were in the studio, and they heard them and they didn’t know what to do, it was so different. That’s how much freedom you have, you can completely wow them.

That leads right into something else I was going to ask. I’ve heard the little bit that you’ve put out from the upcoming album, and it is a very different sound from where Pvris started out. Tell me a little bit about how your sound evolved, and where that came from.
I’ve actually been really into using programs like Reason for electronic music. Even when we were recording our EP I was into that stuff, and just wasn’t brave enough to incorporate it. It’s funny, because Blake [Harnage, producer of Pvris’ upcoming full length and member of Versa] actually was the one who got me into that years ago. I went to see them at a show and was like “yo, I know you do all this stuff, can you teach me? Or just help me out a little?” He and I have been in touch ever since, and he’s kind of been a mentor to me with electronic programming. It was cool to finally get in the studio with him — we put our sounds together, and went off. It was fun.

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POZ Interview: Mayday Parade

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 23, 2014

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PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman headed out to Warped Tour a few weeks ago to sweat while watching bands, but to also do some great interviews for the site. 

Jesse spoke with Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade about Warped Tour, Monsters In The Closet a year later, future plans, and writing for a next release. Read the interview below!

POZ: Derek, I know we caught up with you fairly recently, but we’re now in the middle of Warped Tour, and Mayday Parade are one of the headlining acts, so I just want to know how it’s going to far.
DS: It’s been incredible. It’s always tough to say while it’s happening, but it’s certainly, if not my favorite, then one of my favorite tours I’ve ever done. It’s my favorite Warped Tour I’ve done. I feel like each time you do Warped Tour, you kind of get more used to it and comfortable with it. It’s such a great experience. We know so many people on the tour. And like you said, we’re playing the main stage for the first time, which is really incredible, it’s a milestone for us. It’s all good things, it’s great!

Having done it so many times, does it feel different being a mainstage act?
It’s a bigger look. Warped Tour is intimidating at first. We followed it and sold CDs outside at first — we weren’t even part of it — and then we played it several times on smaller stages and kind of worked our way up. At first it can be very intimidating; you don’t want to do the wrong thing, or piss off the wrong person. It’s almost overwhelming. But each time, as you do it more and more… And part of it, being on the main stage as well, it’s comfortable. But it’s very cool.

Is it a different approach from a production standpoint?
I suppose so. The stage itself isn’t that much bigger than the blow-up stage, the Monster Energy stage or whatever, but we tried to do our best with a cool backdrop scrim, a 3D-kind of thing. We just go out and have fun.

One thing I thought was kind of cool about the lineup this year is, some years there’s one or two super-huge headliner acts, but this year there’s more parity at that mainstage level. How do you think that’s affected the crowds that have come out?
It’s tough to say. It seems like it’s been doing really well, there’s a lot of people. I feel like a lot of times, there’s the one band that always plays towards the end, because they’re kind of the headliner, and this year it seems to be a little more spread out. I think that maybe that’s a good thing, so long as people are still showing up. And it’s probably always like this, but I feel like it happens more and more, where there are bigger bands on other stages, so you have fewer kids that just stand in front of the main stage and watch all day. People float around and check out other bands on different stages. It’s been great vibes so far.

You guys have been doing Warped Tour for a long time; this is, what, your sixth run?
It’s our fifth time playing it, and then we followed it, so that doesn’t really count, but we essentially did all of Warped Tour that year.

I imagine there were kids who were, like, the youngest kids in the crowd coming to see you those early years, who are now the old folks here. Maybe they’ve got their little brother or sister in tow who are getting exposed to you for the first time. Do you feel like you’re bringing in kids who still don’t know about you at this point? Or is it more of your loyal fanbase showing up to support you?
I’d say it’s a little bit of both, and that’s what’s great about it. It’s almost been nine years of being in this band, so anyone who was a fan in the beginning is a lot older now. I feel like we’ve had a whole lot of people who have stuck around, and there also seems to be a lot of newer, younger fans who are getting into it as well. It’s a blend of both, which is amazing. We’re very grateful to still be able to tour at this level.

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POZ Interview: The Ready Set

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 22, 2014

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PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman recently spoke with Jordan from The Ready Set about Warped Tour, getting off of a major label, the new album, future music, touring, and much more. Read the interview below!

by Jesse Richman

Let me start this off by saying “welcome back”! Not that you went away, but it’s been quite a while since we had a full-length from you.
TRS: Yeah, it’s been a few years!

Before we jump into everything, let’s talk a little bit about what went on over those couple years. Your last album and EP and single came out on Sire, which is part of Warner Brothers. You’re no longer with them — you’re with Razor & Tie now. Can you talk a little bit about what went down with Sire?
I signed back in 2010, and put out my first album there, and a couple of singles and stuff. And after that, I assumed we were going to put out a new album, but it kind of was like a “let’s just put out singles” type thing, and try and have a big song at radio. So I was like “alright, well I guess I can be into that for a little bit.”

And then eventually, after that whole thing, I wanted to do an album, so they were like “alright, do an album.” So I did an album, got it all done, and then there were just so many changes — like none of the people that signed me were there anymore, it was all not the same thing that I signed to. There was just so much dead space, and I was sitting, waiting pretty, for the higher-up people to tell me that I could release something, and it was just like… ridiculous.

So I was able to get off, and there was not a ton of legal stuff — my lawyer was incredible with it. Within, like, a week, I was signed to Razor & Tie, with all of the album rights and everything; everything switched over to them. And it’s been amazing so far. So it feels like I’m back on track. I’m definitely not going to have any more of those delays. I feel bad; I don’t want people to think that that was my call. If I had it my way I would have put out three more albums by now. There’s just so much behind-the-scenes stuff that can hold you up. So now I’m just jumping back in.

"Best Song Ever" was the last thing you released as part of the major label deal. I was just wondering how that one track managed to squeak out. Were you happy with what they put behind it? Were they happy with what you put behind it? I’m curious how it all transpired.
It was a different team pushing that song. I don’t think it got the push that it could have, and I don’t think everything behind it was quite as cool as it could have been, as far as the content and everything. It was just all of these things that, I would have an idea, and I would have people saying “no, I think it would be better this way.” I was making these decisions out of fear that if I don’t let things go that way, everything is going to stop. So it’s a weight off my shoulders to be with a way more, I guess, creative label. It was great for a while; I got incredible opportunities out of it. I love tons of the people who were there, they all did a good job. But it came down to people who are way above everybody on the corporate level, who would just say yes or no to things, but who had no real creative input at all.

Was that single the thing that convinced you “ok, I need to get out of here?”
Yeah, kind of. It was always this thing where it was like “we’ll put out the single, and then we’ll do the album, it’ll come out in three months.” And then three months would come, and they’re like “alright, maybe four more months.” It became this thing where I knew every time that date came around… [Eventually I was like] “alright, this probably isn’t going to happen.”

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POZ Interview: Real Friends

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 21, 2014

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PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman headed out to Warped Tour a few weeks ago to sweat while watching bands, but to also do some great interviews for the site. 

Jesse spoke with Kyle Fasel from Real Friends about Warped Tour, Maybe This Place Is The Same…, Pop-Punk’s Credibility Problem, and so much more. Pick up the album here and read the interview below!

by Jesse Richman

POZ: Can I get your name and what you do in the band?
KF: My name’s Kyle [Fasel], I play bass guitar in Real Friends.

We’re about halfway through Warped Tour now. How are you guys holding up? It’s a long haul.
It’s been really good. We did three weeks of it last year, so going into it we knew it was going to be tough. But this is the first tour we’ve done where we’re in a Bandwagon, which is like a small bus.

Did you do it in a van last year?
Yeah, we did three weeks in a van, which really wasn’t that bad honestly. A lot of people are like “how did you do that?” But it’s not that bad. You can’t do the whole thing in a van though, I don’t think. I would kill my bandmates. It’s nice having a shower and a bed to sleep in and to not worry about driving, because this tour is so intense. This tour is made for a bus. So that’s really saved us. And then on the other side of things, all the shows have been awesome. A lot more people than expected, really.

I was going to say, from last year to this year, I imagine a lot more people know who you guys are. What’s the crowd reaction been like compared to last time?
There were a lot of markets we played last year where, when we played this year, there were two or three times as many people, which is cool. That’s a good gauge for growth. It feels good to see that growth, knowing that exactly a year ago — almost to the day on Warped Tour — we played the same exact city and there were half as many people, or a fourth the amount of people. We played in Las Vegas, and last year we played at 7:30 and there were like fifty people there. This year we played last again, and we played in front of probably 300 people, which is really good for Las Vegas.

Let me take it back a little bit, to the Greatest Generation Tour that you guys did a couple months back . You were second on the bill for that tour, but I would say, at least when I was at the New York show, that other than The Wonder Years, the crowd was there primarily for you. Has it felt like a rocket ride? Has it caught you off guard? Or does it feel like more of a slow build?
I definitely don’t think it’s an overnight thing with us. A lot of people say “oh, you’re blowing up” lately. I don’t really look at it that way. I look at it more as growth. Things are different than they were a year ago, but I don’t really realize it until I actually stop to think about it. With me and all my bandmates and everyone involved with the band, we see every step. So I think it feels like more of a growth to us, but to the public eye it maybe seems overnight. But we’ve been a band for almost four years, we’ve been touring full time for a year and a half. So it’s definitely a growth thing for me.

It seems like every year there’s one band on Warped Tour that has the “next big thing” check mark on them, and it seems like this year you’re that act. What’s the tenor been like backstage?
Backstage it’s been cool, because we’ve had a lot of the metalcore bands, they’re like “oh, I love you guys!” Which is kind of cool! We’re on Fearless Records, and so is The Word Alive, and their singer mentioned to some of my guys that we’re his favorite band on Fearless. Which is cool to see, because I’m sure people who play that type of music — it’s not my thing, but I respect it — I’m sure it’s refreshing for them to listen to a band like us. I guess. I dunno.

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POZ Decade: blink-182 - Enema Of The State

by Zack Zarrillo - May 27, 2014

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From radical fanboy rantings to bitter cynicism spurned from what Enema did to punk rock, we here at POZ really run the gamut of opinions when it comes to feelings on blink-182. So, for our next installment of Decade, we’re doing a special Decade-point-five for fifteen years of Enema of the State – and we even threw in some extra topics to let staffers wax poetic on just how much they love or hate the record that gave rise to the popularization of early 2000s pop-punk and lots of dudes wearing tube socks with Dickies shorts. So check out our commentary on Enema of the State from Brittany, Erik, Zac, Connor, Zack, Steve, and Jesse, and make sure to reblog with your thoughts on the album – or just with your favorite blink-182 dick joke.

How Enema holds up in 2014
Enema of the State, to put it frankly, is an iconic album not only in the world of alternative music, but in popular music as well. It’s honestly challenging even trying to appropriately and adequately describe what this album means not only to me, but also to blink-182 and music fans everywhere. There is not a doubt in my mind that this album is single-handedly responsible for mine and many others’ love of not just this band, but of punk rock in general. This was the first album I ever had to buy in secret (something I would eventually get really good at) being as I was in second or third grade when it hit shelves with its scandalous, cleavage-clad cover. Even if fans don’t remember exactly when it actually came out, for most of us, it would be the first release we ever heard from blink, and life would never be the same for a generation of loser kids. These Southern California natives took over both the Billboard Modern Rock and Top 100 charts, as well as the TRL countdown with their naked bodies, catchy riffs, quips at girls and jabs at guys, as well as the more somber subject of suicide. This was also the first album to feature our beloved Travis Barker, who, despite being the new addition, co-wrote the entire album. 

To me, this album can be described simply as legendary. The themes (in a nutshell: life sucks, parents suck, girls suck, guys suck) still ring true well after your friends (and you) turn 21. After having a “fuck everyone” kind of day, there is still no better song to drown out whatever bullshit has occurred than “Dumpweed.” Or, if you’re feeling a bit romantic, I’m sure no potential suitor would ever reject a note reading: “This world’s an ugly place, but you’re so beautiful to me.” 

This album doesn’t simply “hold up” more than a decade after its release - it continues to dominate. Most of the other similar albums released around the same time as Enema of the State have since faltered in the longevity and relevance that Enema manages to uphold.  This album, quite literally, changed everything. It arguably gave birth to everyone’s favorite sub-genre fondly known as “pop-punk”, and really catapulted punk into the popular music scope, making it accessible to the generation that wasn’t quite old enough for Dookie. And hey, if nobody liked you when you were 23, chances are they won’t like you when you’re 24 or 25 either, so you might as well keep Enema of the State on repeat for…well, ever.  – Brittany Oblak

Most important song on the album
What makes Enema of the State such a revered album in pop-punk circles, and pretty much worshiped by blink-182 fanboys and girls (here’s looking at you, Zack) is the album’s sheer irreverence. Scan the tracklisting — most of the songs that struck gold (“All The Small Things,” “What’s My Age Again?”) don’t take themselves very seriously at all, even with the desperate underpinnings of Mark Hoppus’ struggles with being 23 and immature. Then there are the songs that take themselves even less seriously (“The Party Song” and “Dysentery Gary” in particular bring the idea of highbrow pop-punk out to the backyard and piss on it) which, unlike the album’s biggest hits, which aren’t timely as much as they are timeless, feel transiently stuck in the late 1990s. Worth a laugh in 1999 and an eye-roll 15 years later.  

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POZ Interview: Foxy Shazam

by Zack Zarrillo - May 5, 2014

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Foxy Shazam caught fans off-guard last month with the out-of-nowhere release of their fourth full-length, Gonzo. In a deeply revealing and surprise-filled interview, PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman spoke with vocalist Eric Nally about the band’s newfound freedom, the process of making Gonzo, and the painful family secret behind the band’s most personal album to date.

POZ: So first of all, congrats on the release of the new album!
EN: Thank you, thank you very much. 
POZ: It seemed to drop from the sky out of nowhere and into our laps.
EN: Yeah, it’s been really awesome. We were a little nervous about how it would all go down because it was the first time we’d ever done anything like that. But it’s gone over very well, and I’m very, very happy.
POZ: Sure, I imagine this past week’s been pretty crazy for you guys.
EN: Yeah, definitely. As you know, we released the record for free. It was definitely a huge step forward for us, in every way. We’re very excited.

POZ: I want to get into the new record, but before I do, I want to take a step backwards first, and talk a little bit about Church Of Rock And Roll. Is that cool?
EN: Yes, absolutely!
POZ: Personally, I loved the [2010] self-titled album you did. It’s one of my all time favorite albums, I’m a huge fan of it. And I know it was one that really grew your fanbase, it was when a lot of people took notice of you guys. And so when you followed it up  [in 2012] with Church, which kind of pushed that bombastic, operatic sound to the next level… I guess I’m wondering a) how you felt about the reception to that album, and b) looking back now, if you’re happy with how it came out.
EN: The way I’ve always thought of Foxy — and this kind of pertains to the way we sound from album to album — is we’re just kind of this creative entity that floats along, and we make records with certain producers, and those producers contribute to the records. So I feel very, very, very, very proud of every record we’ve made so far in our career. I feel like every record we make defines the records before it. As opposed to the records we made before defining the records we make next, it’s more like the ones we make kind of explain the previous ones better. You know what I mean? I feel like the self-titled record was… It was the first time we worked with the big producer, big label, all of that, and it’s one of my favorite records that we’ve done. I remember a lot about that record being… I really do like that record, and I’m very proud of it. All of our records, I am. I definitely feel like all of them are a major piece of the puzzle leading up to whatever we do next. 
POZ: With Church, did you set out trying to see just how far you could take that sound?
EN: Church was interesting because it was me, Alex [Nauth, horns] and Sky [White, keyboards]. We went to England, we were working on the record in England, and then Loren [Turner, guitar], Daisy [Caplan, bass] and Aaron [McVeigh, drums] were in New York, so we did the record kind of separated from each other. It was something that made for a unique sound. Obviously, Justin [Hawkins, vocalist for The Darkness and producer of Church] was contributing too. I felt like it was natural. We didn’t really think about it, we just kind of went for it, and that was the natural progression out of the self-titled. 
POZ: That album came out on IRS Records, which was a legendary label that had gone away for a while. This was supposed to be their big relaunch. And to be honest, I haven’t heard much from IRS since your album came out with them.
EN: Yeah, we shut ‘em down man! [Laughs] We really did. We put out that record, and it went awesome, everything went great, but we worked ourselves to the bone, and I think by the time… The whole record industry is all just thin ice, and you never know where to step. With the self-titled we were on Warner, and then they fell apart, and we just kind of jumped over to EMI, which IRS was a subsidiary of, and then EMI kind of fell apart. We were able to make these records and escape just before the whole ship sank, and now, this one, we just did it ourselves.

POZ: The other thing I wanted to talk a little about with Church was some of the tours you ended up on. The Darkness, I guess, was an obvious pairing after having Justin produce the album, but then you actually opened for Slash [of Guns ‘n Roses and Velvet Revolver fame] for a while. I caught your show in New York when you were opening for him and that was definitely one of the weirder audiences I’ve been in when seeing one of your shows. How did you feel about those tours you ended up on? Do you feel like it worked? Was it a fun challenge to be out of your element?
EN: I’ve always felt like, no matter who you put us in front of, it just doesn’t matter. We will do our thing no matter what, no matter who’s out there in the crowd. It just doesn’t matter. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that we can do what we do, that’s it, we do what we do, and whoever you want to put us in front of, it will work, because we just do that. It was definitely a group of people we had never been in front of before, but at the same time I love challenging the band. I felt like it was a great thing for the band, and I feel like being in the presence of the guys who have been in the game a lot longer, like Slash, it’s fun to be around them, you know? Just be in the same room and see someone who’s been through it all before.
POZ: It was definitely a weird crowd for a Foxy show, but one of the coolest things about it was seeing people slowly get won over as your set went on. A lot of old metalheads started kind of getting into it — you could tell, the headbanging started a little bit, the devil horns went up.
EN: It’s kind of the story of my life, winning people over. They’re not really sure at first with us.
POZ: Did you get to hang out with Slash at all backstage, or does he keep to himself?
EN: We definitely interacted a little bit, you know, we appreciated each other. He chose us to come out on tour, so we were very honored to have him do that. We would exchange a little bit, but, you know, only on a quick, passing-by type thing. But he had lost his voice on some of the tour, so it was kind of hard to communicate.
POZ: He was on vocal rest backstage? 
EN: [Laughs] Yeah.

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POZ Interview: Sleepy Kitty

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 30, 2014

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PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman sat down with Sleepy Kitty at SXSW a month ago for our final piece. We chatted with the band about SXSW, old and new music, thoughts on the overarching music industry, and more. Check out the full interview below!

POZ: First off, can I get your names and what you do in the band?
PB: I’m Paige Brubeck, and I play guitar and sing.
ES: And I’m Evan Sult, I play drums.
 
POZ: So tonight is the very end of SXSW. You guys are playing one more showcase tonight, but you’ve been here pretty much all week, right?
PB: We got here Thursday afternoon, that was our first show.
POZ: And how many shows have you played?
PB: This will be our sixth in three days!
POZ: How are you feeling right now?
PB: Right now I’m… I was exhausted earlier, but now I’m excited. You know, it’s the last one, it’s a good room. I’m ready for this show.
POZ: Have you had a chance to see other bands while you’ve been out here?
PB: Yeah, we saw a great show the first night we were in town.
ES: We saw Broncho and Tinariwen at the IMT Showcase. We’ve been fans of Broncho for a while, but Tinariwen was a band we’d been told to listen to for a long time. Our friends were totally right. And then we just saw the band Graveyard Lovers, who are friends of ours, and also Schwervon, we caught a little of their set. They’re friends from Kansas City.
 
POZ: So you guys are down here at SXSW doing the whole promo tour, presumably because you put an album out [Projection Room] a few months ago, so let’s talk a little about the album. This is the second album, correct? Tell me a little about what went into the process of writing and recording this one, and what you were looking to do from the first one [2011’s Infinity City] to this one — what you were looking to expand on, what you were trying to capture this time out.
PB: I would say we didn’t necessarily know we were writing a second album when we started. It kind of started with four songs that we recorded, and then our label Euclid was like “oh man, why don’t you guys just write four or five more and let’s make an album out of this.” So we did that, and it took us a little while longer then, because we weren’t in album-writing mode, to switch modes. But yeah, it was cool. There were a lot of things we were thinking about and talking about — a lot of film, and, kind of, I guess it felt like our own art school class for ourselves that we were exploring.
POZ: Did you purposefully take any particular direction when you chose to take those songs and turn them into an album?
PB: Yeah, I think once we had the title it started making more sense.
ES: Our first album, Infinity City, we did in Chicago and St. Louis, in a bunch of different studios. And we thought with this one, we’ll do it in one city at one studio with one guy, and it’ll be great, it’ll have this unified sound. And I think we discovered that, fundamentally, we don’t have a unified sound. We are coming at music from a lot of different directions. If you go to a big, clean, expensive studio, that nails a certain thing that we’re into doing, but it leaves off a lot of the basement scuzz and schmutz that is also a part of what we’re wanting to do, and doing. So we ended up discovering through the album that we actually did need to use, at least for now, multiple sources to catch all the stuff we’re doing.
POZ: Was there some trial and error involved there? Did you try some stuff and find that it wasn’t working?
PB: I think we just realized that blending those two things is the sound of Sleepy Kitty. There’s certain things where we want to get a totally good, clean vocal sound or use a grand piano that’s been recently tuned, and then there’s certain things where it’s like we need somebody who knows what a rock amp, what a Twin Reverb needs to sound like, the grittiness you get from rocking out in a basement. And so I think that for us it was about figuring out which songs made sense to do in which location, and which sequence made them all feel cohesive.
POZ: Who did you work with on that?
ES: We worked with a guy named Jason McEntire at a studio called Sawhorse, which is a beautiful studio in St. Louis, and then kind of realized midway through that Jason Hutto, who had helped us with our first album, provided the grime and the reality-checking style. It’s a reality check, but it’s also greater than reality, the majestic side of grime. So we went to him. And through those things, by the time it was sequenced, they were, you know. But it did feel sometimes like we were doing everything twice. You gotta do what you gotta do.
 
POZ: So now that the album is done and out, do you have tour plans coming up?
ES: Yeah.
POZ: Has SXSW been part of a bigger tour for you?
PB: South By was basically, we had just come off a tour and were heading down from St. Louis for SXSW, but we had just done an east coast tour, and then we’re going to be doing another east coast tour in the early summer and then a west coast tour in the late summer.
ES: And some festival shows throughout the summer as well.
PB: In the midwest.
ES: It’s going to be a busy summer.
POZ: Can you talk a little about those tours, who’s going to be on them or anything?
PB: They’re still in the works. We have a few confirmed dates, but not all the details yet.
POZ: Headliner or support?
ES: We’ll probably be doing a mix. There are some bands that we have been talking about touring with for a long time, so it’s kind of about figuring out which stretches we would do with whom, and which ones we’ll be doing heading out on our own.
PB: We are playing Middle Of The Map Festival and Mission Creek, and…
ES: Middle Of The Map is in Kansas City, it’s a great lineup, and Mission Creek has great lineups every year in Iowa City, so we’re very excited about those. And we’ve got some Chicago stuff going on that we’re excited about.

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POZ Discussion: Essential Spring Listening

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 29, 2014

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Spring is well upon us, and it seems like we’re close to feeling more warmth than cold. To celebrate PropertyOfZack’s favorite season before Warped Tour  we’re launching a new Essential Spring Listening Discussion filled with TeamPOZ’s favorite albums for this season. Check out our guide, listen along, and feel free to reblog with your favorite spring records!

The Format - Interventions
Look, I like Dog Problems a whole bunch, but Interventions + Lullabies is so many levels above it in my mind and the allergy-filled season of spring just brings the love for it out of me. Thinking about it right now, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing right now than playing “The First Single” on a walk across 85th street into Central Park and through the Great Lawn in New York City. Maybe I could grab an ice cream cone with raspberry sorbet inside by the time I turn around and “Sore Thumb” kicks in. Fuck, what a great record. - Zack Zarrillo

blink-182 - Enema Of the State
Spring time in Texas is kind of weird. We go from 28 degrees to 80 in the blink of an eye. And yes, 80 is our spring temperature, though next week it will be 90. Basically, this leaves very little time for driving with the windows down and sitting outside without sweating. I have a lot of albums I listen to in the summer, but since spring is so short-lived here, I only have a handful that feel truly 
springy.

While it is not most people’s favorite, blink-182’s Enema of the State always signals the arrival of spring for me. It is the album I want to blast while driving around town, windows down, AC off. Listening to this album without the windows down seems almost blasphemous to me. I don’t know why I’ve attached so much nostalgia to this album, but I know every word to every song. I love summer in Texas so I think the energy and excitement I feel when listened to Enema perfectly mirrors my excitement for spring and the coming of summer. - Caitlin DeWeese

New Found Glory - Coming Home
Coming Home is my favorite New Found Glory record. “Oxygen” also may be my favorite New Found Glory song, but I think it’s the worst track on the record itself. That’s a different discussion for a different time, however.

There’s just something about Coming Home in the springtime that makes me feel like the flowers are blooming and everything is coming to life again. The struggles of winter (the band being on tour, always) are coming to an end and the joy in the warmth of spring (coming home, duh) is finally here. Those Eisley ladies really, really add so much to the final tracks as well. - Zack Zarrillo

The Promise Ring - Very Emergency
The Promise Ring are mostly revered for their beautiful bummer-fest Nothing Feels Good, but for my money they were never more exciting than on that album’s bouncy, bright follow-up, Very Emergency. It’s no longer 30 degrees everywhere — Spring is here, and right from the opener, “Happiness Is All The Rage,” the clothes are off and the frolicking’s begun. A celebration of love, sex and new beginnings full of giant choruses (“Emergency! Emergency!”) and racing backbeats (“Skips A Beat”), Very Emergency proves that if wearing your heart on your sleeve in the sad times feels freeing, doing so during the happy times can just as liberating — and twice as fun. - Jesse Richman

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POZ Interview: Derek Sanders and Lauren Wilhelm (Part II)

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 23, 2014

It’s easy to forget when we’re singing along with our stereos, but there’s a lot more to our favorite musicians than what they show us on stage. PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman spoke with Mayday Parade’s Derek Sanders and his long-time girlfriend Lauren Wilhelm, who performs as Dazy (The Girl), for an in-depth look at the real lives behind rock stardom. In Part II below, we talk about Lauren’s writing and recording plans, goals for Dazy (That Girl), Mayday Parade turning into the “elder statesmen,” and a lot more. Enjoy the piece below!

Related Stories:
Interview: Derek Sanders and Lauren Wilhelm (Part I)

by Jesse Richman

POZ: So Lauren, you did some recording with Zack and Kenneth at the end of last year. One of those songs [“I Told You So”], you just put out. Derek sings on it as well. How did you connect with them? Was it because Derek’s worked with them in the past?
LW: I can’t remember. I feel like I went up there… I was friends with some of the people in Every Avenue, so I went up there when they were recording to, like, cut their hair or something. I don’t remember what I was doing with music then; I feel like that was right before Maradona. Even before Maradona I was writing music, so you know, I was really excited. I feel like maybe Derek had been up there to record? So I met Zack & Kenneth then, we exchanged a few ideas — I feel like this was probably 2008, 2007. I sent them some ideas. I could never afford them, you know? It was never realistic. And so I definitely wanted to work with Zack & Kenneth. I did two songs with them. I’ve never had any of my songs professionally done that were just songs I had a vision for; it was always other people involved, and I don’t like that. I eventually want to produce. I have a very specific view and vision for my song, and they totally get it.

POZ: That’s actually what I was going to ask about, because obviously Zack & Kenneth are both incredibly talented guys, but your music isn’t really in the wheelhouse of what they’re usually putting out.
LW: I feel like that’s another reason I wanted to go to them, is it’s not exactly what they do all the time. I heard some other stuff that they’ve done, a little similar — that “Shake That Bubble” song Young & Divine did — but I’ve just always been a fan of their work, and they’re really nice and very fun to work with. And they just keep going; there’s no bullshit in the studio, as far as getting the work done, and that’s how I’m like. I just want to keep going. When I’m in the studio, I’m in the zone. I think that’s what I like most about them, they stay very focused, and really into anything they’re working on. You could write a song they don’t even like and they’ll still get into it, make it as good as they can, even if they don’t have complete control over the song.
POZ: So you did two songs with them.
LW: I did. The other one, the plan was for it to come out in April… I think that’s still the plan. I would say the last week of April.
 
POZ: In the meantime, you just did a video for “I Told You So,” right?
LW: Yes, it was awesome, it was so much fun!
POZ: Tell me a little about that video. I know you had Derek and the Stages guys and some other friends in on it.
LW: Well, basically, I’ve never shot a music video before so it’s a little bit weird at first. I had all these ideas for it, but being in front of the camera is not something I’d ever really done before. It was a whole day of shooting, so as the day progressed I know I definitely got better. It will be interesting. I’m kind of silly anyway, as you can probably tell, so I’m sure it showed through even when I wasn’t as confident. Towards the end of the night, I had all my friends and family dress up as their altar-ego. It’s really cool. We did some shots of… I don’t want to give away too much. But my parents came! My parents used to dress up to pick me up from school, it was really embarrassing, but really funny. So they also came to my video shoot. Like, my dad came and picked me up one time as a gorilla. Why, I have no idea. So my dad dressed as the Easter Bunny, and my mom, very drunk, showed up as the carrot to the Easter Bunny. Everybody pretty much looked like that. It was really fun, I had a great day.
POZ: Did you do the whole treatment for it yourself?
LW: Yeah. You know, I sat down and I tried to put some stuff down, I did the gist of everything — I wanted it to be silly, with lots of dancing. A lot of stuff we didn’t end up using. We just kind of had to go with the flow of things, I think that worked a lot better. It was a collaboration between me and Mike Wilson, who shot the video.
 
POZ: So you’ve got those two songs recorded that you did with Zack and Kenneth, and you’ve been putting out some covers on Soundcloud. What’s your plan going forward? Are you going to keep pounding out covers? Do you want to get back in the studio and write some more?
LW: I think I’m just seeing what kind of momentum I can get off of these two songs. As far as recording more, if it works out and the songs sell then I can do some more songs in the studio. Like I said, we have a studio at home, so I may end up just having Zack & Kenneth mix a few songs that I end up recording myself. As far as an EP goes, that’s definitely the plan. I’m going to try and at least put out an EP, that way it’s something for people to have. I like the covers; they keep people interested. I’m going to have more things on YouTube. I’m putting up my first cover on YouTube, it’s a piano version of “Chocolate” [by The 1975].
POZ: I actually just gave it a listen; you played it on The Gunz Show, right?
LW: Yeah. It’s a little bit different since it’s with the piano, it’s a little bit of a different feel, a little bluesier, I really like it.
POZ: How did you decide to do that song?
LW: So we went up to do the Gunz show when I was in New York a couple weeks ago. I had my friend, he goes by The Heavy Empty, he played with me, and I was like “we’ve got to do another song.” So I sent him two songs to do. But when I got to his apartment the day before, he was like “yo, you know what you would sound so good singing?” And he starts playing it. I’m like “dude, nobody knows the words to that song! I can’t learn all the words! It might as well be in Spanish! Nobody knows the words to that song, you think I’m way better at this!” But we pulled it off. I liked how it turned out. I learned it, so I might as well use it.
POZ: Are you a big 1975 fan?
LW: Yeah, more after I did the cover. I know my friends have been jamming it for the last few months, so I get to listen to it because of them, but I finally downloaded the CD. I’m very late when it comes to music. I do listen to lots of music — not nearly as much as I did when I was in high school or anything — but sometimes I end up getting out of the loop, and people are really surprised. They’re like, “ aren’t you in music?” Well yeah, but when I’m in music, that’s my only time to do music, so that’s when I’m creating music.

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