Despite performing as The Front Bottoms for 10 years, lead vocalist, Brian Sella, still feels as though people are just getting acquainted with the band, with new fans discovering them every day. A month following the release of their sixth record, Going Grey, and it’s easy to see why. Though well-known in their home state of New Jersey – and the surrounding area — with each tour, release, and features in larger media staples, like The Fader, The Front Bottoms procure a larger fanbase.
This fanbase grows as does their music; their candid, yet fervent lyrical prowess a mainstay that shines through Sella’s maturing vocals and melodic guitar riffs. As The Front Bottoms take their latest tracks on tour, Sella discusses the recording process, connecting with fans and hometown allure.
If you guys had to describe your upcoming album to somebody that had never heard you guys before, how would you try to describe it?
Ok, good question, let me think. Um, I would probably describe it…You see, the way I’ve been describing it to people is like, a development. But, if nobody had heard our music before, that wouldn’t mean anything.
That’s true. [Laughs]
I’ll say. I was trying think if I should call it, like, to describe the sound. I would say it’s like a modern pop album.
Now, in terms of lyrics you guys have always had these kind of raw, honest, almost stream of consciousness-type lyrics. Has that been something that just kind of comes organically as you guys start writing?
Yeah, definitely. You know, absolutely. The lyrics like all kind of just, most of the songs start with the lyrics or like, you know, an instrumental part like a riff or something. But usually it’s like the lyrics and some chords. And that is where the song comes from, so they are stream of consciousness, but they are also…I don’t know…they come from some place deep down inside.
I mean, all stuff, everything’s got to.
Exactly! That’s what I’m saying. Final answer. [Laughs]
Final answer! [Laughs] How do you feel that you guys relay that honest, lyrical sense when you guys are performing?
I don’t know! I just sing the songs with passion.
Fan interaction-wise, what are some things that you do when you interact with fans that they seem to connect with the most?
Um, let me think about that. Like, you know, you mean lyrically? Or just interactions?
Personally or musically.
Oh! They are like very intense, as in very intense and very excited. And like, I get it. I think that music is kind of intense when you listen to it and then for some reason people connect with it, that they get very excited. I just mean it in the sense that expressing a lot of tattoos, a lot of Front Bottoms tattoos.
It has to be surreal.
It’s crazy! Like, you know, tattoos of my face…
Yeah, like more than ten.
Yeah, I can’t even imagine seeing one person with a tattoo of my face.
All over the world, too! So, it’s just like crazy, you know?
And you guys have a really core, local base here in like New Jersey, New York, Philly – obviously where you guys are from – but as you’ve grown, like you said, you’ve gone worldwide now, you’re travelling to other countries. What is special to you about the local New Jersey/New York scene when you’re playing here?
You know, this is where it all started, so obviously that connection there that is always going to be there: the fact that we started the band in New Jersey.
Absolutely! What sticks out to you about a hometown show?
Well, you know, the kids are a little bit wackier.
You know, a little crazy. Honestly, I can’t even really remember the last time we played Jersey as a headliner. So this is going to be very exciting. Honestly, it’s been awhile since we played New Jersey, usually we play New York…
I guess it’s because we are from here, you know, so we are always like, “Let’s go on tour, let’s leave here.” But that is, like, a bullshit excuse, so I am excited to play.
As you guys have gotten picked up in some larger media outlets, like The Fader and things like that, do you feel like people are just noticing you? Even just like socially interacting online from people who are still just discovering you even though you have been around for awhile?
Yeah, definitely, definitely! It does feel, like without a doubt, that people are kind of just finding out about our band. I don’t know if that is just because I am in it, like in the band, so I feel like I get the sense, I get the vibration that people are like sort of just discovering us. That sounds crazy, though. I think so.
It is still really exciting, though, to like have your core fans that have always been around and then seeing other people always catch on to new music, especially now, when there is so much coming at you.
I like the idea of having a catalog of music when some people are like “Oh, I love this!” That is a reason why, it’s that I like to give people and keep the music free, you know? I feel like that is our ability to experiment and be an artist because people appreciate it, you know? A lot of people still can appreciate it.
For sure! And when you go into recording Going Grey, did you guys have a set idea in mind with what you wanted the album to sound like or be about? Or was it something that just kind developed as it went?
No. It is just totally natural development. I always say that I wish that I knew what the album was going to sound like when I started making the album. But, I don’t know. I have no idea. It just like happens the way it happens and like the sounds are going to be the sounds are going to be the sounds that just happen that day in the studio.
Ends up surprising you just as much as fans.
Absolutely! I always say, people are always like, “Oh, can’t wait to hear the new album!” when we are writing it, and I’m like, “Yeah me neither.”
[Laughs] I feel like sometimes like, some people might be like, “No, we’ve got this really set thing,” like, “I am going to go in and there and I want this to be dark.”
Totally, and I think that are bands that have have a sound, and they make albums that sound like that band that they are. I feel like we don’t have a sound. We haven’t discovered the way that The Front Bottoms should sound, so we kind of just keep experimenting with it. Like, that is why I don’t want, I don’t really want to do an introduction of my own art and be like “It’s going to sound like this!” or “It’s going to be like this!” It kind of just happens to sound the way that it happens, because it is like coming from the particular individuals that make it.
Awesome! Well, last thing would just be then, do you have anything you want to say to fans who are coming out to your Tri-State shows?
You know, they know what the deal is, so I don’t know if I can even say anything!
Catch The Front Bottoms at The Fillmore on Nov. 22 in Philadelphia, Terminal 5 on Nov. 25 in New York, and Convention Hall on Dec. 16 in Asbury Park.