An∑he∑do∑nia: a psychological condition characterized by inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable acts (Source).
Corey from blazing up and comers The Graduate tells me about recording in Baltimore, signing with Icon Music Entertainment Services, and how this reality is finally settling in.
First of all, for the record, what is your name and what is your role in the band?
Corey: My name is Corey Warning and I sing in the Graduate.
Your last name is Warning. Thatís pretty neat. Ha, Iím sure you get that all the time.
Corey: Ha, yes I do. Itís my Myspace name, yo. Haha. I do get asked that all the time
Let's talk about where The Graduateís been and where you are now. It seems as though you guys sort of popped up out of nowhere with this great force.
Corey: Weíve started out a little over a year ago before this. We were in two other local bands before this, and weíve been friends for a while now, playing shows together. We have two guitarists, a bass player, and a drummer, and everything has worked out perfect. We just started writing songs. When we get the EP done and everybody just started giving us this attention. Things just happened really fast.
When did record labels and Icon starting coming into the picture?
Corey: We were talking to Icon around July. We were talking to a bunch of other record labels and they seemed a little bit more passionate about the music. The vibe we got from them was just better than everyone else. As far as to what we are up to now, we are really happy with where we are and we have no complaints.
Icon isnít like a Victory, Doghouse or other indies. Can you explain to us what Icon is about?
Corey: Itís definitely different from your traditional record label. They distribute and everything. Weíre on Icon Records. Actually, as of right now, we are the only band on Icon Records. They distribute other records labels and marketing plans. Itís a big record label, marketing, distribution all rolled up into one. Itís cool because everyone who works there is industry veterans and young hot shots. Itís really cool to be working with them. They have different marketing plans than other people, so we get to try stuff that most bands arenít trying yet.
Is Icon linked to any bigger labels?
Corey: Nope, there is no upstreaming at Icon. Itís completely independent.
Being freshly signed to a record label, what is the decision making process like before you sign the dotted line? In other words, what do you think is important for a band to look for when they sign with a label?
Corey: Thatís hard question because we are new to being signed. We donít know too much yet. What we looked for in a label was someone who was going to give us a lot of attention. We didnít want to get lost oin the shuffle. We are the first band on the label right now and the only ban, technically. Itís really nice to get full attention all the time and be on top of the priority list. Itís a good position. Icon is more like a family than a record label. They check in on us and try to come to shows as much as possible. Theyíre really taking care of us so far.
The Graduate recorded with Brian McTernan. What of his previous work attracted you to Salad Days, and why do you think it was a good match?
Corey: When we first started talking to Brian, I was really excited because the new Moneen record, Circa Survive, and Thrice, you know. I love all those records. We got into Baltimore and right off the bat it was a really good set up with Brian. We got in the studio and he was a coach at times. He would tell us to always work our hardest and never let us quit anything. It was kind of like a Real World house. Itís hard to explain, haha. Baltimore was the perfect atmosphere for us too. We were in Fells Point, and there are tons of bars around. Everyone we met was just awesome. It was fun and the perfect environment to record a new record.
Iím so happy you like the Baltimore area; I live about 20 minutes from Fells Point. Letís talk about that, because when I heard that in the song for the first time, it made me excited. Tell me about the writing process for ďThe City That Reads.Ē How much of the song did you write when you were there?
Corey: We had the music written for that song for a really long time, and when we were writing it, I had about four different versions of the song lyrically. Nothing was working out. I mean, there were things in it that were good but we wanted something that was the same as the music. I ending up having to stay over in Baltimore and miss Christmas with my family. When I was there, I left to go find something to eat on Christmas day and everything was closed. I realized there were no cars driving around and no people around. I was glad to be in Baltimore, but I still felt really lonely because it was Christmas, and I was all by myself.
Your family must be very supportive to let you miss Christmas.
Corey: Iíve got a really really supportive family. All the guys have supportive families. Nothing but supportive. They come to most of our shows when we play around our hometown.
Have your parents ever expressed a concern with you going into a ďrock and rollĒ sort of lifestyle?
Corey: Not really. None of us are really crazy guys. I think the only thing my parents ever worried about was not having a back-up plan. I dropped out of college way before we had a record deal or we were going on national tours. I dropped out to pursue this. I was working merchandise for the The Forecast for a little while before The Graduate. They werenít worried about drinking or drugs. They were more worried that I could make a living for myself. I think thatís what every parent worries about.
Why the name Anhedonia. Itís a neat-sounding word. Is there a special significance to the band?
Corey: We wrote this song while we were in the studio, the title track. That song excited us more than any other song we had written. We just kind of fell into it. A lot of times for this album, I felt really uninspired when I was writing lyrics. It was the first real record that weíve done. We were in Baltimore with a great producer and a recording contract. It was stressful. A lot of times I was having trouble finding inspiration. I felt like I wasnít feeling anything.
Now that you look back on your recording experience, and you see what youíve done, how happy are you with the result?
Corey: 100 percent. All of us couldnít be happier with how the album came out. We worked really hard. Thatís why I wanted to stay in Baltimore too. We wanted to leave the studio knowing that we did our best. We didnít want to look back and say maybe we shouldnít of done something this way. Itís a good feeling to know that whether or not people get into this or we sell this many records, get this many fans, or get on tour, we are happy with how the record came out.
Do you feel like McTernan helped you achieve more of a straight rock sound while other producers might have made The Graduate sound more pop punk?
Corey: Yeah, we were just talking about that earlier. We definitely, definitely think he did that. He really helped us in the studio develop our sound, and what we wanted to do with our music.
Some of our readers are curious as to why you guys didnít put The Formula on the new record?
Corey: We were talking about recording Formula. It was sort of on the end of our priorities for the album. We liked with what we did on the EP with it and how it related to ďSit and SinkĒ as the opener and how it closed the album. We didnít want to do it again because we thought that part had already been done. We just wanted to make it different. We didnít want to use the same idea.
Are there any other songs off Anhedonia that didnít make it on the album?
Corey: Oh yeah, about half the record, haha. ďThe City That ReadsĒ was actually really close to being cut. The last song on the album almost didnít make it. And a song called ďBet It AllĒ was really close to getting cut too. Those were the three songs we had to work with the most to get them worked out. But we are really, really glad that we did.
If ďThe City That ReadsĒ was not on the album, I might have been really upset.
Corey: That was why I stayed over. Everyone thought that song had potential but it just needed more work. But it definitely worked out ion the end.
What bands or albums have influenced your music style, and do you think you can hear them in your music?
Corey: Some of my favorite albums are Third Eye Blindís self-titled album, Coldplayís Parachute, The Joshua Tree by U2. I think most of the music we listen to comes out a little bit in our songs. Weíre influenced by a lot of different things. When that Gnarls Barkley album came out, I listened to that for probably two months straight. Even though we donít sound anything like that, Iím sure aspects of that come in. We listen to everything and everything influences us. We donít like to sit in one genre, like weíre a pop-punk band or we are a rock band or hardcore, you know. We write songs and whatever comes out comes out.
What bands still give you chills when you see them live?
Corey: Mute Math. I can speak for all of us in the band. Thatís one of our favorites bands to go see live. Their live show is incredible. I personally saw them the first time they were at Lollapalooza. We saw them twice in one day; they played an after party and we saw them again. I think we are going to go to a show pretty soon. We have time off and we are going to try to make it out. Anytime those guys come around here we try to make it out.
Now that The Graduate is picking up momentum, which personal goals have you reached?
Corey: Well, we just played our first House of Blues tour, so that was a goal for me. It was a big deal to me. We just played a few dates with Jackís Mannequin. They gave us the laminates, and I am still wearing mine, haha. Itís got my first all access House of Blues pass on it. That was really exciting for me. We kind of talked about our recording contract and our deal. This is something that is actually happening for us. We signed the contract, weíve done a couple videos, some photo shoots, interviews and all this stuff. But, I donít think it really felt real to me until we were on stage at a sold out House of Blues show and played in front of 1800 people or something like that. That was the first time that it actually felt real with that many people watching us. It was really overwhelming at first because weíve never played shows that big before, and we kind of got thrown into it. In the end, it was a great great feeling.
On that note, what new goals have you set for The Graduate?
Corey: The biggest goal we have for our band is that we want to be in a band that everyone follows. We donít want to be the band that gets high off of a trend. We want to have a lasting career where people can get into our band and stick with us.
Can you recommend us some bands to check out? Any band that you enjoy, locally or whatever, that you think we should know about.
Corey: Hmm. I donít know! You guys are pretty on top of stuff, haha. I learn about bands from you guys actually. Thereís a band weíre friends with called Asteria. They are doing some really cool things. I think you guys have mentioned them a couple times too. Those guys are friends of ours Indiana. Their record just came out.
Now that youíve been on tour and youíve been all across the country, how do you think the Midwest music scene matches up to other area in the country?
Corey: I think itís just really different. For example, we started out in L.A. and it was an experience. Especially for me. Before we signed our contract, I had never been to New York or L.A. Itís cool to go into those cities and have that experience. Weíve been to New York a lot because our label is out of there, so thatís been really fun for us. Itís different than the Midwest. I donít know if itís better or worse because I get excited almost everywhere we go. There are places where I get really excited when we go. Baltimore, obviously. Iíll be excited when we go back to California. I love it there. Itís different. At the same time, itís always nice to come home. Itís kind of a back and forth thing because when we are home for too long, we get antsy and we want to go out again. We get bored if we are home for too long when we are not doing anything. We havenít been out for that long yet, but I can only imagine when you are out, six weeks or two months of something like that, how much you want to be home. But Iím sure weíll be experiencing that sometime soon.
Whatís has been one of the scariest tour experiences for you?
Corey: As far as The Graduate, Iíd say in Texas in the panhandle. It was our first show in California, and we hit a really bad snowstorm. There was ice all over the road and we could only go 15 miles per hour. Turned almost completely sideways at one point. That was pretty scary. We waited it out for about two days. They closed down the interstate and stayed in this little small town. Everybody was staying at our hotel, from truck drivers to everybody. I think that was the scariest experience weíve had so far.
Letís go back in time. What was the first show The Graduate ever played together, and how did it go?
Corey: The first show we played at The Graduate was David and I bandís last show. We were called Best of Winter and the rest of the guys we in this band called J.A.C.K. We played three songs just to kind of hear ourselves. I was in front of all of our friends. It wasnít to get our music out for the first time because most of our friends had already heard demos and what we had. I think a better example we would be our first show we played in L.A. at the Troubadour. It was our first time playing California to an L.A. crowd and a lot of people were coming to check us out. That was really really nerveracking for us. We like to stay at home and just practice practice practice practice. But, I think there is only so much of that you can do before you can just get out and dive in head first.
What was your favorite album of 2006?
Corey: Iím going to go ahead and say for me, it was the Gnarls Barkley album.
What about of your favorite album so far in 2007?
Corey: Ooo. I have to think of what came out so far, haha. Whatís come out so far? Iím going to have to look through my iPod. What about you? Oh, the new Brand New album!
That came out last year, haha.
Corey: Oh! Well, Iíll just put that for 2007 since I didnít start listening to it till then. Itís still early in the year, so I have high expectations.
What is the coolest or strangest experience youíve had staying with random people on the road?
Corey: Actually, not to long ago we stayed with these kids in Toledo, Ohio. It was only a few blocks away from the venue. It was just a bunch of kids that like to party. The showed as a really good time. Everyone just hung out and partied all night and just had a good time. So hopefully we will get to hang out with all those guys when we come back.
Will Anhedonia be available overseas anytime soon?
Corey: Yes, I believe so. We are working on it. Yeah, Iím pretty confident
Plans for Bamboozle? What about Warped Tour?
Corey: Bamboozle really wasnít in our itinerary right now. On Warped Tour, we are gonna do about two and half weeks right now.
Any last words?
Corey: I guess I hope to se people at shows. If anyone likes the record, come out to the show and hang out with us.