From the moment the neanderthalic opening of chanting and panting on “I Still Make” blows out your speakers -- to the elegiac chorus and Johnny Marr inflected guitar lead later in the song – it’s clear that Brooklyn by way of Atlanta’s the Press are a force to be reckoned with. With occasionally sarcastic vocal deliveries that smack of Mark E. Smith, and some intricate, totally weird song arrangements, the audience should be hooked. While it’s pretty clear that The Press is influenced by modern indie-rock and maybe some punk, there’s so much going on in their songs that no similar bands immediately come to mind, which is a good thing. This means originality, and who couldn’t use a healthy dose of fresh lately?
I spoke to David a bit the other day and he explained to me that a few of you guys met at Boston University. How exactly did the band all get together?
The three of us who were going to school in Boston all happen to sign up for the same psychology experiment, which was basically a repeat of Milgrim experiment; Dave and I were inmates, John was a guard. Long and short of it was that Dave ended up stabbing me with a shiv in the cafeteria on day three (he maintains that I "looked at him weird") and as punishment for causing a stir, John had us both waterboarded. After the experiment was over, I emailed both Dave and John cos I respected how they did business and thought that it would be fun to write silly pop songs with them.
What was the scene like in Boston for college bands?
I was really heavy into the Rap-Rock thing, so I didn't go see local shows. I mostly scoured Napster for P.O.D. B-sides. Then the Bizkit and Creed broke up and I decided to jump on the "indie" bandwagon. John went to alot of basement shows. Officer May and Cave-In were pretty big at the time.
And then you guys moved down to Atlanta, right? What brought you down South?
Our inability to afford to live in Boston was the main factor in relocating. Too we are all from the South in some respects. Most importantly, we met Alex there.
What kind of reception did you receive there?
Until we met Alex, we were never really a band; more like a Tenacious D-at-open-mic-night two piece with a revolving cast of friends who played jazz. But t he folks there are very nice in general, and there are alot of good bands, some of which are now getting some much deserved attention.
What ended up bringing you back up north to New York City?
The three of us were in Atlanta, John was in Boston; we had to all get together to form the Voltron, and the best place to do that seemed to be nyc. I've always wanted to live here too, and everything just worked out. It's too easy to live in the South anyway, at least for me. I need my ass kicked on a constant basis. Affordable living and big ol' stripmalls bring out the booze-crippled sloth in some people; me being one of those. New York keeps you moving.
In such an over saturated scene/market up here in the city did you find breaking in to be hard? How has the adjustment been?
No one likes the idea of a band moving to New York to "make it". It's annoying, and I've heard bands we met in the past make such statements with full sincerity. We moved here cos it was the only way the four of us would get to make music together. The fact that there are so many excellent and successful people should be intimidating, but I find it comforting. There's no squabbling over scraps from the one radio station or one hip venue in town, that you find in small music scenes, and the creative output from people/bands here is so consistently inspiring it keeps you from getting lazy or complacent.
Your new EP is titled 'Milk and the Times That Never Were'. Can you explain where that came from?
That was the result of a psychedelic experience I had working at my old job in Atlanta, which involved a McDonald's Fish Filet, a small Milk, and a hangover.
The band's sound on the EP ranges from high-octane, in your face parts to more melodic, straight-forward pop. How would you describe the sound to someone who has never heard it before?
There's a line in Arrested Development where Michael says to his mom that "There's been alot of lies in this family"; to which she responds "And alot of love"; to which Michael responds "More lies." That's what I hear at least; hugs and trickery.
How does the song-writing process work for the band and what sort of influences are you all synthesizing to result in what we're hearing?
Everyone writes and everyone sings, so it really depends on the song and how complete the arrangement is by the time it is brought to the woodshed and we all get to hack away at it. As for influences, I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you that if Bryan Adams and Tom Waits had a daughter, I would marry that girl. When she got older. And when the scientists had finished studying her.
As an up and coming band, what made you guys decide to release an EP rather than a full-length at this point in your career?
I had a vision as I fell to sleep, and in it the prophet Elijah told me that no one respects a full-length and that the best thing you can do for your career is release a small run of a 5-song EP. In retrospect, I may have gotten it backwards. We recorded it mostly by ourselves, so it was a fun project from the production end.
How did you guys get hooked up with Goodnight Records? How has that relationship been so far?
Goodnight Records started as an Atlanta label. We love them; they say they love us; it serves as a good circle of positive reinforcement.
What are the band's future plans -- both short term and more long term?
We are set to start recording our full-length in the Winter. So that, and play shows around the area. Long-term, I'd like to be a better person and stop eating till I feel sick.