When Rust Belt Lights were coming through western Canada earlier this month, I was able to do an interview with their guitarist Tom Mayer:
Howís the tour with Kid Liberty and Take It Back! going so far?
Itís going pretty good, the shows have been pretty good especially since we got up to the Northwest. Really the day before we got into Canada things started to pick up a little bit. But all of the Canadian shows have been pretty good and all the bands have been getting really good reactions. Itís been a lot of driving, but the mountains were really nice coming out of BC and into Alberta. I really enjoyed those drives.
What are your favourite things about playing in Canada?
I like that we get to sell merch for a little more money, but it is more expensive though so it kind of evens out. Kids are a little nicer here and theyíre kind of more supportive it seems like. Even with the smaller turnouts, it seems like more kids get into it. Itís a little different, but the same at the same time.
Iím assuming your name comes from your hometown of Buffalo, New York?
Yeah, definitely. Itís about our hometown and that whole area. Itís just kind of like a positive spin on a somewhat dismal area.
Whatís your favourite thing about Buffalo?
Thatís tough. Either the food or the Sabres. But Iím probably going to go with the Sabres.
I understand you formed in 2008 from the ashes of some bands like Daggermouth and Dead Hearts.
Yeah, Cody was never an original member of Daggermouth, he met them touring with Dead Hearts and he was out with them for the last year they were together. We also had their drummer Dan Don play drums for us on our first tour. So there was a little bit of that back then, but weíre trying to shake it a little bit. Be our own band you know, shake the whole ex-thing.
You also started out on State of Mind, who worked with those bands too?
Yeah, State of Mind did work with some of our old bands. We liked working with State of Mind, theyíre friends of ours, but they actually told us straight up that if we had a better opportunity, we should go for it. And basically Paper + Plastick has a little more power to push the record out so we went for it.
How did you get involved with Paper + Plastick?
Vinnie actually hit us up one time saying he liked what he heard on our demo and was interested in hearing more stuff. We actually recorded this whole full-length before we ever even had a label so I just sent it to him and he was into it. It took awhile, we talked for a few months, but eventually he was down to put out the new record.
So this record has been nearly two years in the making then?
Yeah. We recorded the record starting at the end of January 2009. We actually didnít finish until March because we got hung up in between. We recorded in a couple different studios and we actually did a few tour dates before we finished the record. It took until the beginning of April to get it done, and then we did some re-mastering later in the year and then eventually it came out in November. Weíre excited itís finally out.
The title of your record (These Are The Good Old Days) seems nostalgic. Would you say thatís a theme on the record?
Itís kind of a theme. The record's nostalgic, but anti-nostalgic at the same time because everyone always looks back into the past. They reminisce on it and I think more people should enjoy what they have now. Take advantage of it and if they donít like what theyíre doing now, then make what theyíre doing now a good thing. Itís supposed to be a positive spin-off on things. Basically there are songs on the record where there are glimpses into the past, but at the same time the point is to be positive. Try not to look into the past as much.
I know not everyoneís familiar with Rust Belt Lights yet, so whatís song really sums up what your band is all about?
I would have to say the first track ["It Ain't What It Used To Be".] I mean, itís our favourite track on the record. Itís melodic, itís catchy, itís fast and itís straight to the point. Thatís what weíre like as a band Iíd say.
What are some of your influences?
Personally Iíd have to say my biggest influence is Lifetime, I really like that band. I wouldnít say thatís exactly what we sound like, but thereís maybe some obvious influences throughout the record. But other than that, a lot of the late 90ís/early 2000ís punk rock stuff. Thatís when I got into the whole thing. I was in some hardcore bands for awhile, but I wanted to play some music that got me into it in the first place.
Can you give more of a background on how you got into the whole thing and started playing guitar?
Well, Iíd have to say that the first show I saw was, ironically enough, Less Than Jake at a college when I was 11 or 12 years old I think. And that was really cool, I think I checked out maybe the first or second Warped Tour that summer and that was when all the Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords bands were big on Warped Tour. Like NOFX, Rancid, Lagwagon and Bad Religion and all that kind of stuff. I actually had an uncle who was into punk and hardcore too and he took me to see Saves the Day, Kid Dynamite and Fireside, which was pretty incredible. I was pretty lucky with my first shows, they were pretty good.
Cool, Less Than Jake put on a great show too.
Yeah they really do. It really brings me back to being young and itís really weird that weíre on Vinnieís label now. The whole thing is kind of cool.
Whatís next for Rust Belt Lights in 2011?
Right now weíre on tour with Take It Back! and Kid Liberty. Weíre going to be out with them until February 14 I think and then us and Kid Liberty will do a few shows before we meet up with I Call Fives to do the Eastern US and Canada. Then weíll do a quick run with a band called Latin For Truth, which will take us to April. And after that, just work out more plans. We want to stay active, keep on the road and promote the record. Weíre still looking, weíll try to tour a lot and go to as many places as we can.