What was your reaction when you found out you guys would be on Geffen?
Kenny: At the time I really didn’t know how to react to that. It was really a strange period of time because we found out we were getting brought up to MCA because they saw some promise in us and we had to deal with them through Drive Thru. We were cool with that because we saw what they did for New Found Glory and Blink 182 and all that stuff, and we felt maybe they could do that for us. Then everyone kind of got fired over at MCA and it turned into Geffen, so we were kind of a left over band. There was a long time where we were uncertain of what our future was over there. At first it was confusing, but as time went on it became uncomfortable.
Do you guys feel Geffen shaped the direction in which Based On A True Story went?
Matt: I can kind of see it. Some of the songs on there are definitely about the struggles we had on the label. I think that the fact they wouldn’t allow us in the studio for so long allowed us to write Inspired by the $ Sign and Ready, which are probably my personal two favorite songs on the record. So I would say yes and no.
Were they trying to push you to be the "next" Blink-182 or New Found Glory?
Kenny: Yeah, we would play the demos for the new CD, and they would be like “I don’t know man.” Then they would pop on the new NFG single and they would be like “this is the song” and rocking out to it. We were kind of just like fuck it man we’re a different band.
Matt: We showed them the demo for Bedroom Talk and the dude was instantly not having it. He had it in his mind before we even showed him the song, no matter how good it was, he was on his Blackberry. He’s like “the new NFG you’ve got to do your CD with Neal Avron this single is the hot shit” and he puts it in and tells us to listen to it. Then he says, “Do you know these guys? Maybe we can get you on tour with them.” I’m like, yeah, we know these guys, and we’ve known them for like 6 years. He responds with “oh they say such great things about you” and we’re just like all right, eat shit.
Was the transition from Geffen to Virgin an easy one?
Kenny: Yeah, that was like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day for us. We kind of had our pick of a lot of labels after we got dropped from Geffen. We were real confident with the staff they had over there and their knowledge of our band was exceeding that of any other labels.
Matt: They’re music fans over there, which is the most important thing. Our A&R guy used to manage Texas Is The Reason. He signed Gorillaz, and Gorillaz isn’t a mainstream band. When you believe in a band like that and you’re willing to take a risk, it just shows that you’re passionate about what you do.
Kenny: If you can be successful with a band like that, you can pretty much do anything.
How far along are you in the recording process?
Kenny: We’re still yet to get into the studio. We're scheduled to go in around early January. It’s going to happen, we're still writing.
How many songs did you track for the new CD?
Kenny: I'm not sure how many we’re going to be allowed to. It depends on how much budget we have to actually spend time in there. Hopefully we'll be going into the recording process with 17 and scale it down from anywhere from like 17-20 songs.
When can we expect the new CD?
Kenny: Sometime next year. Probably the middle of next year.
Matt: I'd say probably like spring or summer, which is kind of pushing it, but I know they’re pretty excited to get it out and so are we.
Were you surprised with how universally acclaimed Based On A True Story was?
Kenny: Is it? I'll be surprised if it is. I didn’t see to much acclaim from that CD.
Matt: I feel like reviews I read for it and the kids that really like it, love it, which is awesome. But the kids at shows just want us to play The Best Of Me.
Kenny: I know Blender gave it a 0 out of 5 or something like that. It got trashed a little bit.
Hit or miss?
Kenny: I’ll always be proud of that record.
Matt: I'm really proud of it.
Has the writing process been any different from when you wrote Say It Like You Mean It and Based On A True Story?
Kenny: The first album nothing is going to be right because you have your entire first 3 years to write it. Then after that you only have like a year at the most. We write a lot on the road now. I guess that's the biggest difference. That we just write a lot more on the road and try to fit in jams whenever we can.
You guys recently recorded a live album at Starland Ballroom. Is it ever going to get released?
Kenny: I don’t know; it’s still being debated.
Matt: I heard it and I think it sounds awesome. It was supposed to be released at the show and there were some sort of technical difficulties with the sound truck.
Kenny: That and I don’t think Geffen signed a release for it yet so I don’t know. Hopefully we'll put out a live record sometime and it'll sound better than that, and it'll probably be recorded in New Jersey at Starland. I would like to just do it over again and have a more professional set up.
If you had to play one song for someone who's never heard your band, what song would it be?
Kenny: Man that's a good question. Like what’s the defining Starting Line Song? Nothing’s Going To Stop Us Now, Break Up Day, J.Lo (laughs). I would probably play them Surprise, Surprise.
Matt: I'd say Surprise, Surprise because it’s the best of both records.
Kenny: That's the song I see that defines us across the board, but it’s not my favorite.
What bands influenced you guys?
Kenny: When we were starting out I was way into bands like Face To Face, Lagwagon, and Strung Out. Once I started hanging out with these guys they started showing me The Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World and I started really getting into that stuff. From then on it spun into a lot of other stuff. Nowadays Radiohead is one of my favorite bands.
Are you surprised by how bands such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and Yellowcard have blown up? Do you guys see yourselves reaching that success with a major label behind you?
Matt: I feel like timing is everything. Those bands write really catchy songs and their records came out at the right time. It’s one of those things where everything hit perfectly. You can write an amazing record and it doesn’t mean it's going to be huge, but you have to have the songs to back it up either way. That’s all we're really concerned about.
Kenny: You can’t predict if something is going to be huge or not. Something has to align where everybody somehow wants to hear it. At least everybody who matters for that kind of success has to want something at the same exact time. Whether or not they’re going to want us when the record comes out is up for debate. We’re going to do our best and put out and the best music we can and hope our fans stick by us.
What's your favorite tour that you have been a part of?
Matt: My favorite personally was when we went on tour with Brand New and Finch.
Matt: That was so long ago.
Kenny: That was Classic.
Matt: It was before any of our bands got big. We were all in vans and we would stay in the same hotel every night.
Kenny: It was just like no ego, and like pulling pranks on each other every day.
Matt: I would kill to do that tour again.
Favorite bands to tour/you've toured with?
Kenny: When we were on Warped Tour with Glassjaw.
Matt: Yeah that was sick.
Kenny: That was the coolest thing. There wasn’t a day I'd miss Glassjaw unless I had to be somewhere else.
What’s a normal day like for you guys while out on tour?
Kenny: We typically wake up around noon.
Matt: And try to find a clean place to poop and shower.
Kenny: I just try to map out the place and get my wits together and explore where everything is. Cause these places we’re playing on this tour are fucking huge, and I get lost and try to find out where things are first.
Matt: Internet takes up most of the day. I manage two bands so I usually set up my mock office and just kind of do work and answer the phone and get mad that I get so many phone calls.
What unsigned bands are you listening to? Are you going to manage anymore anytime soon?
Matt: Right now I'm so swamped with both bands. They’re both in the process of getting signed; so everyday I’m doing work nonstop for that. I'm not going to be picking up any bands for a while. There’s this band called Lydia, I'm not sure if they’re signed but they’re fucking amazing.
Future Tour plans?
Kenny: We don't really have any for the rest of the year. We're going to take December and just finish writing, and get into the studio in January. After that we'll hopefully go out with some of our friends or get on some tour, do whatever, but we’re going to be touring.
Could you possibly see another tour happening with Brand New?
Kenny: I would love to.
Kenny: I would do it in a second. The ball is in their court.
Matt: I would follow that tour in a car if they gave me a laptop! (Laughs)
Kenny: I would play the first of 7 on tour!
Matt: Their new song that’s up on PureVolume, Sowing Season (Yeah), we listened to it yesterday. Man, fuck those guys, they’re so good.
Kenny: Yeah, we're jealous.
Matt: Yeah, Bastards. They write such good songs!
Anything you guys want to say before we finish up?
Kenny: I want to say thanks to Absolutepunk.net for paying attention to us and giving us the exposure that they have. They've always been super cool to us.
Matt: I want to say thanks to Rohan for returning my cell phone when I lost it. I was at Penn Station and I left it somewhere and he went back and got it for me and delivered it to me.
Based on a true story rocked...the songs are beautifully and masterfully put together into a work of art
TSL should stick with doing their own thing and not being 'the next NFG' their shit is much better...less of a trend and more real
agreed. good interview. starting line are one of the first bands i really got into as far as really being a huge fan and trying to see them every chance i got, and they will always be one of my favorites. both their albums are amazing, and i'm glad they are sticking to doing their own thing.