When it comes to New Jersey musicians, there are a bunch that are making a name for themselves these days. However, one group that stands out in particular, in sound and style, goes by the name of The Front Bottoms. I have always been a fan of this band for their originality, as there is no one else doing what they are doing right now.
2014 has been a huge year for the band, sharing the stage with acts such as Manchester Orchestra and Brand New. They recently embarked on a tour with Say Anything that will be stopping at the Electric Factory in Philly on June 26, the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on June 27, and the Best Buy Theater in NYC on June 28. I had the chance to catch up with vocalist/guitarist Brian Sella to find out a little more about their new EP, Rose, new tour, and what else they have up their sleeves.
You guys have had quite the year, and it’s been a pleasure to watch. What would you say has been the highlight of 2014 thus far?
This year has been the best time in our lives. It has been more than we could ever imagine. We’ve been touring a whole bunch, playing with a ton of awesome bands and people. We spent some time in the studio recording some songs and we’ve been working on some new stuff.
You are about to embark on a tour with Say Anything. This is always a band I imagined pairing you with. How excited are you for this tour?
We have been looking forward to this tour for some time now. It must have been two or three years since we last toured with Say Anything. We were the first band to go on, and we had a 20-minute set. It’s cool to come back now and be the main support with some more time to play.
Now, let’s talk the new EP, Rose. Can you tell us a little bit about the recording and writing process for this one?
Rose is an idea that we had for some time. We just never felt it was the appropriate time to do it until now. The EP is six songs that we wrote years ago and recorded very lo-fi with no intensions of anyone but our friends to listen to. But now we would have people request these songs at shows and ask us to properly release them. So this is the way we thought we could breathe a little bit of new life into these songs, add them onto our setlist, and the passing of both our grandmothers this year made it seem like the right time to start the “grandma” series.
I saw you just started streaming “Twelve Feet Deep.” How has the reaction been thus far?
I hope the reaction has been good and if it hasn’t, that’s fine, too.
And of course, the beautiful Rose on the cover. Is she someone that you know, or a fixation of the imagination?
That would be Mat’s [Uychich, drummer] grandmother.
Would you say this record will be familiar to diehard Front Bottoms fans, or should they be prepared to have their minds blown?
It is a very familiar Front Bottoms [record]. If anything, it is the most familiar, because these were some of the first songs we wrote.
Any plans for another full-length in the near future?
Of course! Very exciting.
Many say that your lyrics are extremely “different,” to say the least, and I love everything about your discography. Where does the inspiration come from?
Thank you. The inspiration is from what we do with our lives. People we meet, things that happen to us, our families, friends… The songs are a way to vent about things.
For people on the business side, it may seem as if you guys really blew up out of nowhere, but knowing you and being a fan of your music, I know this isn’t the case. You’ve been at it for a while. Does it ever feel like the success started over night?
I think the way we have been going about things has been nothing but positive. It’s always just a steady hustle. We have put everything into our band and it feels great to be doing what we are.
I’d like to put you on a throne as the Kings of Jersey right now. What is it about your home state that you love the most?
New Jersey has been a big influence to the band. It’s where we’ve lived all our lives and it’s the place we call home.
Any bands that you guys are really into right now?
A bunch. Weatherbox just last month released his new record.
I know you guys have shared the stage with so many artists as of late, including Manchester Orchestra and Brand New, just to name a few. Is there a band that you are really hoping to get on tour with one day, whether it’s opening or having them open for you?
We would really like to play with Modest Mouse. That would be a trip.
Are you planning on touring the record solo once this Say Anything tour rounds up?
Yeah, we will be touring till the end of this year. Right after Say Anything tour ends we head over to the UK for a couple weeks.
For all of those New Jersey musicians that use The Front Bottoms for motivation that they can do it, what advice would you have for them?
Nothing happens quickly. Stay positive, work hard, and be yourself.
The Front Bottoms will be playing at the Electric Factory in Philly on June 26, the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on June 27, and the Best Buy Theater in NYC on June 28. Rose is available now through Bar/None Records. For more information, go to thefrontbottoms.com.