1. How did you get your band name?
It was the title of one of our earliest songs. That phrase has actually been around for a while with us, even before the band. It’s an attempt to describe that feeling of the last embrace with a former love…how fragile and how easily broken it is. It’s an oddly specific mental image but a poetic one, I think.
2. How did this band get started?
Matt: I was playing and recording as a solo artist, with a random cast of friends on backup. We played a show once in a town I’d never been to, and I really hit it off with Kenny, the guitarist of the headlining band. Then a few months later, I had a show booked and all of the drummers that I knew fell through on me the week before. I came home one day to find my brother Zack crashing around on my drum set, trying to learn my songs before the show. I called Kenny to fill in on bass, and we showed up at the club hoping for the best… and it just exploded. It was the best show I had ever played, and afterwards, before we could even break down our gear, I asked them to join permanently. The chemistry was just there.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
We’re completely in love with Manchester Orchestra and Brand New…that sort of creepy, dimly lit indie-rock sound. Taking Back Sunday has been a big influence on us. Lydia is one of my favorites (Kenny's too); every album we write, we wind up with at least one song that sounds like them. As Cities Burn and Bright Eyes for sure. Say Anything, Motion City Soundtrack, The Weakerthans, and other bands with really literate, well crafted lyrics. Our drummer Zack is more into metal; Killswitch Engage and that sort of thing. I think it shows in his playing.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I would kill a man in front of his dog to play with Manchester Orchestra.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
We aren’t picky. Dennys or IHOP or any other place that is still open when a show lets out is okay by me. We are also all about Panda Express. I could live in a bathtub full of Panda Express and never leave.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
I think there is something there for everyone. At least two of us grew up on metal, so even though we’re a more indie thing now, we put a lot of emphasis on the musicianship -- good riffs, interesting drums -- even in a song that might be mellower. We are also really into lyrics and so I make sure that everything we write is good enough to be a poem or a story by itself, even without the music. And I think we hit a good balance between styles; we have songs on our new record with breakdowns and screaming, right there next to songs with glockenspiels and a homemade box drum.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Jamaal Magloire. The guy has been in the NBA for 11 years and has done virtually nothing. He played in just 18 games last season and averaged 1.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 8.8 minutes a game. I wish I could get paid millions to do absolutely nothing.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Our parents have been just outstandingly supportive. And we all three have wonderful wives/fiancees/girlfriends. One each. Not all at once.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I would like for the music industry to be more of an artistic community and less of a competition. That said, I really like the direction things are heading; towards a sort of technological democracy. Pro Tools, Sonar, and firewire stuff is making it so that anybody can record their music; and then on the other end, CD Baby and Bandcamp are making it incredibly easy to get it out there. Even the bigger bands, Jimmy Eat World and Saves the Day and the like, are starting their own studios so they can bypass the label thing and make exactly the record they want. I think in a lot of ways we’re heading away from labels, or at least away from having one sound or style thrust on us. Anyone can be heard now.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Kenny: Mine was meeting Matt for the first time when my old band played with This Glass Embrace. Before it was called This Glass Embrace. Or I was in it.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Kenny: I've been going there for a number of years. I find out all of the best and most current information on my favorite bands through AP.net. It is a great place for news, conversation, and debate on not only music, but on almost everything else that I care about through the forums. I've also found some of my newest favorite bands through AP.net. It is an excellent discovery tool.
Matt: There are a lot of music communities out there, but AP always strikes me as the most supportive. It’s not a site about ragging on stuff and tearing bands down; you get the vibe that everybody here just loves music.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
There’s a song on our new record called “The Apple of Discord” that is just a beast. Every time we play it, it gets so out of control that I am afraid for my life. I also love playing “The Room With The Wax Floor.” We extend the ending of it live, and it turns into a mess of guitar noise and shrieking.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Matt: For me, it’s Mancos, Colorado. It’s this one-stoplight town near the New Mexico border, but it is literally the most beautiful place on Earth.
Kenny: California. I love going to the San Diego Comic-Con and Universal Studios during summer.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
We grew up on random stuff; Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, the Offspring. Of course, that terrible "nu-metal" we all listened to in elementary/middle school before we got into good bands. But high school will always be about Taking Back Sunday and Jimmy Eat World to me. Those bands are in my blood and bones.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Zack would definitely have the ability to shoot fire from his hands, for some reason. Kenny opts for Wolverine’s healing factor. I feel like I would have something more prosaic, like the ability to part a crowd of people seamlessly around me when I am in a hurry. Or to sense when food is expired, with my mind.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
I don’t suppose throwing up from nervousness counts? I did that at a show once.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
At one point, Kenny worked in a video game store and a comic book store at the same time. He was the happiest nerd on the planet! Matt has been inserting references to Stephen Crane poems and bible verses into his songs for a few years now. Zack cut off the end of his thumb changing a car light bulb last month. You could see down inside of it.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Kenny: Radio is what it is. I don't know if there is a place for our band. I mean, we have a few catchy songs that could probably do decent on radio. They weren't written specifically to be that way, that's just how they came out.
Matt: I think radio by and large is on the way out, though. There are so few stations left that they have to appeal to the broadest base they can. I miss the days of having a very genre-specific radio station instead of just a more watered-down pop/rock one.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
We are obsessed with TV shows on DVD. We’ll pick a show like Bones or Buffy and watch all six or seven seasons back to back in about a week. We also all read a lot of books and comics and waste hours on the internet.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Kenny can do a bird call and also name off all 50 U.S. States in alphabetical order. Zack can do a horrifyingly good Gollum voice. Matt once built a cajon drum out of plywood and brawn.