Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Front Bottoms Interview with Brian Sella (vocals/guitar) and Matt Uychich (drums)

Recently signed to Bar None Records, The Front Bottoms have been creating a great deal of buzz with their unique mixture of indie, pop and punk. The group, made up of vocalist/guitarist Brian Selle and drummer Matt Uychich manages to mix the sing/talk style of Mewithoutyou, with the upbeat energy of Matt and Kim, to create a one of a kind sound. Check out their self-titled debut on Bar None Records, which is out now! I promise you will want to blast it in your car, with all four windows down. Even when it is cold, it’s THAT good.  http://www.facebook.com/#!/thefrontbottoms?sk=info
I had the chance to catch up with the duo, before their show in Atlanta several weeks ago….
How did you guys get hooked up with Bar None Records, and what attracted you to signing with them?
Sella: I knew a girl named Emmy, who started working with Bar None and I went to school with her. We would always play in dorm rooms and all over the place when I was in College. She would come to a lot of those shows and when she started working for the label, she got in touch with me. We were down in Florida, on tour and she sent me a text saying “you know, I’m working for this label and they seems to be a little interested in you. Would you be interested signing to Bar None?” We were like “I guess, sure. We would have to see what happens.” So then Glen (Morrow) who is the part owner of the label, started coming to a lot of shows and stuff. We started talking and it was pretty obvious that the vibes there were pretty good. It’s only three people working there, with a bunch of interns, so it’s a real close-knit community. They obviously care about the music, which is really important. It just fit, you know? We should do this totally!
There have been some great artists that have come out of Bar None, too…
Sella: Absolutely. Our style, I would say. They Might Be Giants, Yo La Tengo and stuff like that. They have been in the game so long.
How did the record come together? Did you pull any songs from previous works/releases?
Sella: Yeah, we had released a six song EP called Slow Dance to Soft Rock, probably six months before we started talking to Bar None. We did it, kind of unprofessionally. We just let it out on the internet…
Uychich: This time, last year. Then we started recording a new EP in December, which was the same time that we started talking with Bar None. Then we decided with Bar None let’s master the old songs, let’s get the new songs mastered and finished, and let’s combine them and make a double EP or LP. So that’s how that came together.
What about the recording for the songs that made it on the album? I heard that you recorded pretty much everywhere.
Sella: Yeah, we did. Since it was spaced out for a pretty good amount of time, we ended up recording some of the songs in this basement. We did a couple of drum tracks in his attic (laughs), we finished up recording in two basements and then a warehouse. It came together nicely. We took our time with it and were professional about it.
I’ve read that you have a ton of songs in the vault right now. Do you think they will ever surface?
Sella: I hope so. We are proud of the material, so maybe one day.
Uychich: We still play some of the old stuff.
Sells: We do, so it would be appropriate if we released them. There is a lot of old material.
How does the writing of a song normally pan out for you guys?
Sella: Normally I write about half of it and then I take it to Matt and ask, what can we do? (Laughs) Yeah, two parts of a whole. Then we come together and make the best of it that we can.
With all of those tracks recorded, do you normally lay down a song pretty quick?
Uychich: Yeah, we always used to record live. Hit record; put the mic in the middle and that was it. We did that for like the first twenty-five songs (laughs). Then I was like take a better approach. Let’s go track by track, and I will try and learn how to play to a click track. Now we play to a click live.
Is that pretty tough?
Uychich: No, it’s pretty much a natural thing now.
Sella: I put his earphones in one time, because he listens to the click. That stuff is so loud, because he doesn’t want to hear anything else (laughs). It’s like “bing, bing,bing!” It’s crazy man. He’s destroying his ears over here (laughs). But he’s gotta do it.
What is the make-up of the live show now?
Sella: It was just us for a while, now we have our buddy Drew and he plays keys and bass. He is our live/studio musician. He’s not in the Front Bottoms, but he is a big part of the Front Bottoms because he makes the live sound, sound as good as it could be. That’s how we have been doing it live for a while now.
As far as stage presence and live performance goes, who are some bands that you guys look up to?
Sella: I would have to saw Blink 182 of course, because they have great stage presence. Also, just the basement scene shows. You go and you see these crazy kids and you think “oh that’s cool!” No one knows who this person is, but it’s cool because they obviously don’t care, because they playing in a basement to 15 people. That’s what we normally play. You are able to see these young kids that are really putting their emotion on the line.
You guys have been doing the DIY thing for a while now. What kind of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Uychich: Definitely just be yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else, because that’s not going to help you at all. Have fun with it.
Sella: With the DIY scene, you can totally see that it is a certain type of people. So when Matt and I went into it, we were like “we are just going to be ourselves and do our own thing.” It worked. People took to it because it was a little bit different. So that is our style. Also, don’t expect too much at first. You have to put in your time for it, and then maybe it will pay off. Just love what you are doing. Do it because you want to do it, not because of any other reason.
Are you guys working on anything right now?
Uychich: Not actively, but we do have some stuff.
Sella: Yeah, we have some stuff in the bank that we are going to piece together when we get some time. We play some of it live sometimes, just to get a feel from it and then we take it from there.
What are you doing after the tour?
Sella: After the tour, we go home and make some money for a solid month, and then we go back out. On October 22nd we are playing with Kevin Devine in New York City, at the Highline Ballroom. Then we go out on the 25th of October and we are out until November 20th. We got all of the bases covered with this tour.
Uychich: And the last two shows are with Hot Rod Circuit.
Sella: Yeah, we have the Brooklyn and Philly show of their reunion tour. They are doing a eight show reunion.
Perfect day, driving in your Van with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Sella: Dr.P, he’s like a dance DJ. I was introduced to him recently, but the tracks that I have heard are awesome driving around music.
Uychich: Right now if I was driving I would put on that Wolf Parade song.
Sella: Maybe I’ll change to that (laughs).

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