Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Interview: Rebuilder on debut album, the importance of kickflips, and future plans

We recently made some new friends in Boston's Rebuilder, and we'd like for you to get to know the band and its new album, Rock & Roll In America, a little better. The record is a high-spirited, heartfelt, no-bullshit punk rock effort that will speak to a lot of people. Check it out and our conversation with guitarist/vocalist Craig Stanton below, and if you're interested, grab a copy here through Panic State Records. Click the Read More… link to read the interview.

Hey, thank you for taking part in this interview. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule, especially considering the recent release of Rock & Roll In America earlier this month. How has the reception to the new record been thus far?
Craig: Hi there! No problem! The reception to Rock & Roll In America (RnRiA) has been really great so far. We’re all super proud of the record and having people reach out to us, telling us to say they're psyched after giving it a listen, is a great feeling.

What are the origins of the title? And what significance does it play in regards to the narrative of the record?
Craig: The title of the record was made in an effort to encapsulate what the record was all about, while keeping it somewhat lighthearted and inviting. A lot of the content of this record revolves around what our lives are all like--trying to maintain balance while playing in an active touring band, and how general stress and pressures of life can cloud what’s really important. We are, after all, a band who plays rock and roll, in America.

Topically what are the main themes that the record touches on and why are they significant within the band?
Craig: A lot of what I just mentioned sneaks its way into the tunes. Sal and I are both songwriters who do a lot of observing--and a lot of analysis. There aren’t too many high-concept themes; it’s mostly about our lives, what we’re dealing with mentally and emotionally--you know, being stressed, being broke, being a musician, and trying to make it all work.

The new record was tracked at Getaway Recording Studios with fellow Bostonian Jay Maas (of Defeater fame). How did this collaboration come together, and how would you describe the experience?
Craig: A few of us have had prior experience recording with Jay: Daniel and I both had bands when we were younger that recorded with Jay, and I also had a solo project mastered at Getaway. Those experiences were all great, and the stuff that he is putting out is obviously awesome. Some friends of ours (Save Ends and Great Lakes USA) had also recorded there recently, and their stuff sounded rad, and they reiterated the awesome experience. Jay is great to work with and blends a stress-free recording environment, with a no-time-wasted, highly productive session perfectly. We were psyched about working with Jay before setting foot in the studio, and that continued while we were there, and we’re still psyched now long after completion.

Were there any anxieties stepping into a studio with someone of such a high calibre and significant credit to the scene within Massachusetts?
Craig: Not a ton, really. Jay is as mellow as they come, and the vibe of the studio is super laidback. Having past experience making records with him also helped. We’re all huge fans of not only Defeater, but of countless other artists that Jay has had a hand in producing, so it was more excitement for a great end-product than anxiety around recording with a high-profile engineer.

In what ways would you say the prestigious landscape of the Boston punk scene that Rebuilder herald from has influenced the new record? In what ways are these influences present on the new record?
Craig: I think we’ve got a great, and growing scene here in Boston. A lot of what we write about tends to circle around the bullshit involved with making a band work today, but there’s also a lot of positivity and hopefulness on our record. That positive outlook comes from being surrounded by a great network of different people and artists around Boston that are all dealing with the same stuff.

Rock & Roll In America is a broad departure from the material on your self-titled EP that brandishes high-spirited direct punk rock in the vein of Street Dogs, The Bouncing Souls, and later NOFX. However, the sound on the new record is held together by a strand of punk that is infused with a subtle Americana grassroots tone that enhances the broad musical scope of the record. What were the differences between the process of writing the first EP and this record?
Craig: I’ve always held true to the notion that a great song will be a great song no matter what the accompaniment. Stripping away superfluous instrumentation and production is a great way to get to the core of what your song is, and ultimately whether or not it's worthwhile. As for the Americana stuff, that’s a genre that lends itself to a similar level of no-frills type honesty, and that’s how almost every Rebuilder song starts, with vocals and an acoustic guitar, and we build it from there. A lot of times its easy to let production take over and all of a sudden your writing songs like its Sgt. Pepper’s, but we like to make sure that the tunes can hold up no matter what the format, and then build on that. I also think that just from being a band now for a few years, we have a better idea of our musical identity, and we can branch out a little more, and be comfortable with that.

What would you cite as prime influences record-wise while writing and recording Rock & Roll In America? In what ways can you hear these influences within the record?
Craig: Any record from artists like the Bouncing Souls, to the Loved Ones, to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Segar, all the way to Defeater and Have Heart, and Prince and Diarrhea Planet. We’re all over the map with that sort of stuff, but the spirit of a million different bands worms its way into all of our heads and comes out the other side in the form of Rebuilder songs.

Again, the subtle Americana tone is refreshing, providing an accessible poignancy and a running thread of cohesive musical aesthetic Rock & Roll In America. Would you consider the new record as a more cohesive effort in comparison to the self-titled EP? Was a conscious effort made within the band to achieve this?
Craig: The EP was basically the first thing we ever did as a band, and the songs had been written by Sal prior to Rebuilder even existing. Back then, we didn't really know what we were, or what our musical identity was, and the collaborative effort just wasn't developed yet; those things take time. Comparatively, RnRiA was definitely a more cohesive effort. We took a bit of a break from playing shows last summer to write this record, and it was interesting to see how much easier writing songs together became as time went on. We discovered the ability to collaborate and communicate ideas and not get bogged down with dumb crap and piss each other off. What’s interesting, though, is that the musical final product is not all that different, but the process of arriving to that stylistic end, has changed quite a bit.

Were there any particular anxieties present within the band in run up to releasing Rock & Roll In America? If so, why?
Craig: I don't know if there were any real serious anxieties or concerns. We take so much pride in this thing, from the songwriting, to the way it was recorded and mixed, even down to the artwork and the packaging. We also had awesome support from the guys at Panic State the whole way through; it kind of felt like, I don't know, like watching your kid graduate from high school or something. I mean I've never felt that feeling, but seems like it might be close. Just pride all around, and psyched to have it out in the universe. In fact, had we not found a home for the record, I don't think we would of released it on our own. That was probably the only anxiety of this record. We felt it was too important of a record to not get a fighting chance of being heard by more than our friends and family.

What do you hope listeners gain from listening to Rock & Roll In America?
Craig: I want young kids to do kickflips down steps and not give a fuck whether or not they break their wrist again. I want teenagers to find the courage to kiss the boy or girl they've been crushing on. I want people in their twenties to quit their dumb soul-sucking jobs and go do something worth their time. I want people in their thirties to know what’s most important in life, and make sure they're striving for it, and I want everyone else who's older than that to also do kickflips down steps and not care about whether or not they break their wrist again.

What do you hope Rock & Roll In America can do for the band at this current time? What are the plans for Rebuilder for ensuring that the record reaches as many ears as possible?
Craig: Our hope for RnRiA is that it gets into as many hands and as many ears as possible, and that it inspires people to do what they love doing regardless of what obstacles stand in there way. Our hope for the betterment of the band is that kids come out to shows, so we can play as much as possible and in as many different places as we can.

Is there anything else in store for Rebuilder for the foreseeable future?
Craig: We’re really excited about what we've got in the next few months, playing some great local shows in Boston with some awesome bands like Toys That Kill, Save Ends, and some others. We've got a few dates in Boston, NJ, and Philly with Catch 22 in July. We’ll be touring in August and September down south to some places we've never been, and we’ve got Fest in Gainesville in October to look forward to. As for 2016, who the fuck knows--let's go to Thailand or Antarctica.

Thank you again for taking the time out to speak to MTS Collective.
Craig: Let's do it again sometime!

More interviews by Aaron Akeredolu