Upon discovering Microwave earlier in the year through numerous mutual friends, I couldn’t help but feel as if there was something magical about this group from the start. This Atlanta-based act presents a sensible, Southern delivery that champions elements of post-hardcore and emo that will tear at your heartstrings, and also reminds listeners of nostalgic albums like Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends, Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American and Manchester Orchestra’s Like A Virgin Losing A Child.
In the beginning of September, Microwave premiered “But Not Often” as their first single for an upcoming split with Buffalo-based rising pop punkers, Head North. With this excellent collaboration lined up as Microwave’s first release on the SideOneDummy roster, there’s no doubt that that this is the start of a beautiful relationship that will bring nothing but great success for the band.
Before Microwave hit the road on their latest tour with Have Mercy, Transit and Somos, I had the chance to speak with bassist Tyler Hill and reflect back on playing Wrecking Ball Festival in their hometown in Atlanta, signing to SideOneDummy Records, and also hinted at their upcoming plans after the fall.
There is no question that you guys finished out the summer with a bang. From signing to SideOneDummy, touring as opening support for You Blew It! and Sorority Noise, along with playing a lot of cool fests in between. On a personal note, what would you say was your biggest highlight of the summer?
I would definitely say Wrecking Ball Fest. That was without a doubt the biggest, most insane local show we played ever, being that Atlanta is our hometown. It was amazing! We played early in the day, so I remember we were heading to the show, and I asked everyone, “Do you think anyone is going to come watch us? Like, there’s all these tons of awesome bands, and we’re kind of early. People are probably hungover from yesterday.” But then by the time our set started, the entire space packed out, so that was definitely a highlight for sure.
What was is like being a part of this year’s Wrecking Ball Festival considering you had the opportunity to play a very huge fest on your home turf? Was the Masquerade a venue you had the opportunity to play in prior?
Oh yeah, all of the above. I’ve played there with other bands as well as Microwave, and the staff there is always awesome, and they treat bands very well. I think I saw one of the first “real” shows that wasn’t a house show or something like that there. When I was 15 or something, I saw Blink-182, The Ataris and Sum 41, and it blew the mind of my teenage self, so it was cool.
What were some personal favorite sets of yours that you had the chance to see throughout that weekend?
On the day we played on Sunday, I got to see Superheaven, and Big Jesus, who was another local band that we have played with, and they were amazing. That was actually the first time I got to see You Blew It! so that was awesome. I saw this awesome band from Florida called Northbound, and I saw Somos close out the outdoor stage.
Speaking of your signing with SideOneDummy, how has your transition into the label been so far? How did the opportunity come about?
It’s been amazing thus far! It kind of came about, I guess, through Jamie Coletta, who works there. She heard about us not too long after we put out our LP, Stovall. And she just really enjoyed and started telling everyone about it, and got the rest of the staff hooked on it, so it kind of grew from there.
Not too long ago, you announced that you’ll be releasing a split with Buffalo-based group, Head North. How did this collaboration come about? Did you guys have a previous relationship prior to this split?
We were familiar with Head North. We’ve seen them a couple of times before when they came around here on tour, when they came through with You, Me And Everyone We Know, Weatherbox and Have Mercy. Jamie suggested that we should do a split as our first release [on SideOneDummy], and suggested Head North. They had just put out Bloodlines, and we all dug it, so we were like, “Yeah! Let’s do the damn thing!”
That’s very cool. I have a few friends from college who were really close with the guys in Head North for a long time. It’s pretty cool to see how far they’ve come and how big they’re starting to get right now.
Yeah man, it’s awesome. One of their guitar players lives in Ohio, and we were just there on tour, and he was filling in on drums for one of the other bands, so we got to kick it there. Rad dude! I’m stoked to be releasing all of that.
Is it too early to say that the songs that you are contributing for this split could be featured on a possible full-length down the road? Or are these two songs that you’ve been simply working on recently?
We’re definitely going to do a full-length sometime soon. We’re hoping to get into the studio sometime this winter or next spring, and release something after that. It just kind of all depends on touring, and that kind of stuff, but we definitely started writing for it, and I am really excited with how all of the songs are turning out. It feels very nice to get back into the studio.
Awesome! How’s the writing process been like so far? Is there anything that you’ve approached differently with this new material compared to when you worked on Stovall?
I guess the main thing is that we’ve been writing so long together that we’ve—how do I put this—learned how each other plays, you know? I think we vibe off of each other a lot better than when were just kind of refreshed in a room. I guess anything that has changed is the environment.
We’re in [guitarist and vocalist] Wesley Swanson’s basement in a little, tiny 10×10 room because our old practice space got bought out by an apartment complex and turned to rubble (laughs). We’re dealing with craved quarters, but other that, it’s been awesome so far. I’m really excited about it.
Sounds awesome. I’ll definitely look forward to that when this new material comes out! So, you’re going to be heading out on tour this fall with Transit, Somos and Have Mercy. What are you looking forward to the most?
Well, all of it, I guess! (laughs) I just love being on tour, and playing shows. It’s definitely our first full U.S. tour, so I am excited to see all the different parts of the country that we haven’t played before, and that kind of stuff. I’m really excited to see all those bands play every night. I was stoked after seeing Somos at Wrecking Ball—they were pretty killer. Obviously Transit has been around forever, and Have Mercy is dope, so I am stoked to be a part of it.
On that note, what are some things you have planned in the works once you finish this fall tour?
After that, the Have Mercy tour, we will probably spend most of our time writing, and maybe do some holiday shows around Atlanta, depending on the scheduling around that time. I think we’re really going to try and polish up all the new songs and get them ready to record.
When I first heard about you guys, I heard nothing but great things. With all of the awesome things you’ve done this year so far, where do you think you see yourselves this time next year?
Hopefully a year from now we’ll have put out LP two, and have done a few U.S. tours. Hopefully, we’ll begin to branch out internationally into the UK and Australia and all of the above. We’d love to do that type of thing.
Microwave will be on the road this fall as opening support for Have Mercy, Transit and Somos. The Atlanta-based quartet will be playing at The Foundry in Philadelphia on Oct. 14, Webster Hall in Manhattan on Oct.16, and at the Amityville Music Hall in Amityville on Oct. 17. Microwave’s upcoming split EP with Head North will be available Oct. 9 on SideOneDummy Records. For more information, go to mcrwv.com.