What brought the band together?
Tobi D'Amore: I was playing around New York City in a couple of different bands as a bass player and guitar player and I decided that I wanted to - I'd been writing my own music since I was younger - I decided to start trying to put a project together and just, little by little, playing in different bands and everything, I met people and it just kind of started coming together pretty organically and we just keep going.
Is there a creative hierarchy you guys tend to adhere to?
I basically write all the music or write the songs and then I bring them to the band. What I do is I bring the initial song with a pretty good skeleton to the band and then everybody kind of creates their own parts, writes their own stuff, adds things, we rearrange the song; sometimes I tend to put too many verses in a song so maybe cut a verse or make a jump from one place to another or add an introduction or outro or something like that. Top to bottom we're pretty much a full functioning band when it comes to that kind of thing. Everyone really does pitch in a lot in the writing process.
In the end, someone's got to say 'that's enough', a lot of times it's me, but that's only just because we have so many ideas and we can spend forever on a song, reworking a song, and that's what we've kind of been doing with the newest EP that we've been working on, is just reworking stuff, but eventually, someone's got to say enough is enough and then we gotta move on with things. Little things keep changing and it grows just like anything else. Our songs pretty much work like anything else works. They change a little bit here and there, but generally they pretty much stay the same after we set them.
Which artists have influenced your sound?
We're all over the place. I'm a big Jeff Buckley fan; Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Stevie Wonder, that's kind of what I grew up listening to and everything. Then, the bass player, Tom, he's from the old punk world, he's a big punk fan, Pixies and things like that. The drummer's a big fan of Dave Matthews Band, specifically Carter who's their drummer, and Ben grew up in the jazz world and studied jazz so he's a sax player and very well studied so he's in the jazz world as well as Top 100.
What words would you use to describe your collective sound?
Us. We really do our best to not try to sound like something else. We get compared to a lot of bands, my singing style's been compared to a lot of singers as well as the band's style at first because we had a violin player for a long time, Sarah - and she's still a Bone Chime, everyone who plays with us is still a Bone Chime - so it's kind of a young growing entity, the band. Yeah, we've heard Dave Matthews Band a lot because of that sound and the kind of rhythm style that I play. In the end, it's just kind of everyone putting in their piece and it just ended up sounding like us, whether we're playing a hard rock song or we're playing something that's more of a ballad.
Are the released singles indicative of the sound we can expect to hear on the forthcoming EP?
Yeah, I think so. They are very picked over and worked on, including the production side of them so, yeah. In The Muck, the first album, we were just trying to pick out each other's dance moves, we were trying to figure out how each other reacts in the studio, whether it's creating something new or following through with the vision we all had for a song. Now, with the new EP and songs, what we've done is we really, you know, we make sure everything is taken into account and the ideas have a chance to grow and mature and we take everything and we throw it against the wall and we work things over and over again. This album really does show our ability as well as our creativity and how well we work together now as a band.
How would you describe the EP?
As in genre, I would probably say it's indie rock and like "High Line" is definitely a three and a half minute kind of indie pop song and "Walk Away" is definitely more dramatic and art rock, I guess art indie rock or whatever you want to call it. It kind of goes back and forth with all that, we like a wide variety. I think we all like - and I know that I do, I can speak for myself - I think we all like to see a show where we don't really see a first song and a last song, they all sound the same. Now, some bands have their sound and everything, but I think what we do really well is we play in a lot of different styles but it still ends up sounding like us. So, it's kind of all over the map; we like to do what we do, we like big grandiose songs, sort of dramatic and orchestral and everything like that, but we also like really simple melodies and you'll hear some of that on some of the other singles that are coming out on the EP in May.
What's the best part, for you, about performing live?
My favorite thing is to have that connection with the audience. We play so much together and we practice so much and we focus so much on what we're doing in our rehearsal studio that we get on stage and I just like the communication between the audience and us. We work so hard, you know, hundreds of hours are spent rehearsing the songs and all that stuff and, finally, when we play live, we just let it fly and do what we do and you're still thinking about the songs and everything but, at the same time, just performing and having a good time with the audience and your band mates and your friends around you. So that's what I like most, the connection between the audience and us.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
"New York Street Lights" I think is my favorite song to perform live. It was the first song I ever wrote and it just seems that people connect to it for whatever reason and that's just why I like it so much.
Any current music you're hooked on?
The music that I listen to is New York based, a lot of Queens and a lot of my friends and that's kind of what I listen to at a regular basis. I pretty much always listen to Jeff Buckley at some point during the day or week, Pearl Jam like I was saying earlier, but then I also have my friends around here. A buddy of mine, Jeff Taylor, and Mark Guiliana who's in a band called Beat Music that's incredible, and a buddy of mine Ben Hope who plays with a band called The Uptown Outfit which is a country band. I'm really all over the place but, generally, it's New York City based bands that I'm used to listening to. Of course, you turn Abbey Road on and I'll listen to that, but it's generally local stuff or shows that I've gone to.
What do you want people to know about your music?
That it's pretty honest and that it's thought out; the things that we do are not accidental. We really work on it and that's what I'm proud about, is that it's not just happening, I can be working on something and making it better. So, each time you come and see a show, it's better than the previous show; we just keep getting better and that's what I like about my band.