Interview with The Atom Age!

I got the chance to sit down with Ryan and Peter (and John near the end!) of The Atom Age before their show at the Bovine this past week... check it out!

So this is for my website musicsheblogged dot com, you've probably never heard of it..
Ryan:yeah someone was like 'you guys are featured on it'

yeah you're band of the week this week! nice i'm glad someone saw that, i have 1 reader now! awesome! so you're still in the queers?
r: yeah on and off, yea it's been like since 2006.

how does it affect the atom age's schedule?
r: It really doesn't, i put this band first. this is obviously a way newer band, the queers are older than i am so, yeah i was just here a year ago and we played the kathedral across the street and i was like, oh we played that place and it's like gone now..

yeah i think i was at that show?
r:oh yeah? like a tuesday night right... i remember that because we drew a lot more people than we usually do

you don't draw that many in the states anymore?
r: a good night is like 150 people, 200 maybe.. but the atom age, we're pretty new i mean we started in 2008 and that album came out in march and just since then we've been on the road for like 6 months this year ending in december, so it hasn't been an issue because the queers have been off this whole year so it's starting up again, i might go out with them in january/february, i might be right back here in a couple months haha, but i don't know if i'm going to go out i'm going out with the atom age because it's much more, i mean there's no future in it but much more of a future than with the queers on and off... because i'm not like IN the band right, it's joe queer.

so this is the atom age's first time in canada... and you've been here before, but have the rest of the band?
peter: i've never been here before, first time!

nice, how are you liking it?
p: uhhhhhh it's pretty cold!
r: it's not that cold!
p: it's pretty cold, compared to california!
r: it is NOT that cold, I was here in march or something and it was like so bad. i went to quebec in february once and it was sooo bad.
p: oh man. no no i like canada, it's a cool spot.

do you guys have any big plans while you're here, any war museums or anything you want to see!?
p: we're always interested in war museums!!
r: hahaha, what!? ooh is that in an interview? oh yeah no we love war, i love war. seriously.
p: i don't think canada likes wars.
r: no what are you talking about, quebec has so much war history!
p: really? i don't know anything about the east coast (lol)
r: i grew up in connecticut and we went to quebec on a field trip, we went to a fort and they had an mg42, they had a german machine gun i have no idea why... and nazi stuff... oh wait, canadians fought the nazi's i forgot about that! hahaha but yeah no if there's any war museums that are like... free... we always want to go to cool places like we wanted to go to see where john kennedy was shot
p: but we didn't get to go there because it was too expensive.
r: it was too expensive... what was that other place...
p: we were going to go to the studio where elvis presley recorded all his hits in tennessee but it was $30...
r: we don't have any money. we're making it to like $20 extra to a show..

at least you're not losing money!
p: we've been living off of comp'd drinks for the last month
r: see in canada we have a booking agent, somehow, and we're going to get free food
p: we have free food?
r: yeah we have buy outs every day!
p: noo, tonight? no way!
r: yeah today, we'll probably eat here (shanghai cowgirl) for free
p: whoa, okay, that's cool. we're living like kings up here, i like canada a lot more now!
r: haha, no honestly we emailed all these cool people and they were like 'yeah we'll work with you guys' and we're like whaaaat... in the US they wouldn't be like that... 'you don't sound like against me?' then no...
p: america doesn't like music these days...

do you think that you get a lot of help because you're in the queers?
r: honestly no, this is really the first tour i've been pushing that because we have like melanie as our pr person up here and we have one other guy in the us, the queers guy, and he's just getting album reviews for us, like we do all the booking ourselves and every other press thing so yeah i don't really think so. there's been so many people in the queers... i don't know. i mean joe is a really good friend and he's helped a lot, like the first release was a split with the queers last year, and we did our first tour with them so it's definitely cool but like the atom age is so different, it's not pop punk at all, but the crowd they like it... some of them... very few of them
p: they're very selective about their music, that's the thing about punk rock it's a lot like that these days. if you don't have that very specific sound you know people won't like you. and where we're at people just don't know what to call us, people say we sound like everything from less than jake to like i don't even know...

because you have ONE horn?
p: yeah because we have a horn we're a ska band...
r: the best one ever was we got called an angry ska band...
p: yeah we got called an angry ska band! haha, my favourite though was berkley future punk... i thought that was really cool
r: no the best thing we ever got called was mutant ape rock... that was awesome!
p: that's really what we try to go for so i mean, that was great to hear.

and you guys call back to the 50's, 60's rock and roll vibe..
p: yeah that's what we love. i think that's what is missing from music today where it's like you need to know your roots to be able to play real rock and roll, and it's not like we're trying to do a retro thing or anything it's just you need to know what you're shooting for and know your roots..
r: you just think that like punk or rock and roll or whatever the fuck it is is in really big trouble if you don't know your roots and nobody knows them, i mean against me's roots are.. i don't know... like the coolest bands in punk are like 'yeah we like hot water music and alkaline trio' from like 1997

yeah if i was alive when it came out i don't consider that to be 'roots'
r: exactly, that's what was so cool with bands from the 90's like rocket from the crypt and new bomb turks and all those retro old bands who really knew their roots and made awesome music, like the dwarves .... high energy awesome music with an original sound which is so wack... so that's what we're trying to do again, we're just copying all of them haha because NO one is doing it.. there's like the bronx and a few other bands who know of those things
p: people get confused when we try to do it because they don't even know about those bands you know of like 15 years ago

so what artists do you listen to from the 50's/60's then?
p: anything from like rockabilly from the 50's, gene vincent stuff like that, and you know 60's garage rock like the sonics
r: 60's pop
p: yeah 60's pop too as well, any beach boys or phil spektor, mc5, stooges... all the good stuff.
r: i would say yeah, the few big influences are rocket from the crypt, the clash, mc5 and the sonics. that would be the big ones

and do you all still listen to those bands on a regular basis now?
p: every day.

what punk bands more of our time would you say you draw influence from, if any?
r: i would say there's one, the bronx, and that's about it.
p: yeah the bronx is pretty much it... i listen to a lot of murder city devils but it doesn't really come through in the band...
r: yeah bands that i like now are just old bands that keep playing like voodoo glow skulls, but those guys are like 45 years old, and the queers are older than that, i can't say actually what they are haha, but it's pretty bleak, we don't really like a lot of stuff..

music snobs over here! ;)
r: yeah people think we're assholes about it but it's not that, we're honest. like when punk is auto-tuned and like fucking everything is homoginized in this greasy shit..
p: yeah you don't see a lot of honesty in punk rock these days, everybody is like trying to be friendly with one another and help each other out and do whatever they want... nobody is trying to stand out and be an individual which i think is the essence of punk
r: like what happened to bands like the dwarves.. even like the queers are just devoted to pissing people off because people take themselves so seriously like 'i'm a vegan and into fucking, whatever'
p: and if you say anything about that people are going to get all bothered or whatever, i mean when you think about it original punk rock was like all about being yourself and you listen to the ramones and richard hell & the voidoids and they are 2 completely different bands but you have the same energy between them..
r: except richard hell was a poser... hahaha
p: yeah.... but his guitar player wasn't a poser! but yeah it's just all sounding different but working to the same goal of being honest rock and roll which you just don't see anymore.

so you said you guys have been around since 2008 and your album just came out this year, what the hell have you guys been doing this whole time!?
p: hahaha hanging out in the van, naked!
r: terrible things!
p: terrible, unspeakable things! nah, we've been touring...
r: our 2 year anniversary was in october so it hasn't been that long, i've been a drummer for about 10 years and i had to learn how to play the guitar and getting a line up together was hard and just finally being able to do that.... and in 2009 we did the split with the queers, that summer we did a 5 week tour with them and in the fall we did a little tour. and this year since the record's been out we've been on tour.

so why did you form this band?
r: well like we were saying there was just nothing that we liked! i could have just sat there and played drums but nobody was even combining what i wanted to combine so we just did it... and people are definitely getting into it... some people just fucking don't get it at all so it's like okay whatever, fuck them!

and you produced and recorded the album yourself?
r: yeah that's my day job

are you a perfectionist in the studio?
r: yeah, i'm so bad! haha

so how long did it take to do it then?
r: like 2 months... it was so bad.
p: this album!? from start to finish this album took about 9 - 10 months i think!
r: no but 2 months of real work! we toured in between... we did the drums and guitars, toured...
p: it was more than 2 months i swear...
r: and then the vocals... and then the mix...
p: the vocals took like 8 years...
john: it took like a year dude!
r: no it didn't!
p: okay here are the facts! we recorded drums for the album in march of 2009, the record didn't come out until march of 2010... there you go!

sounds like a year to me....!
p: with breaks in between! we had a band member quit in that time so we had to get a new one

why did he quit?
p: he was our old guitar player, i used to play bass, and he wanted to go to school and didn't really want to do the band thing so i just started to play guitar ..
j: it was really hard for him because he lived in texas...
r: he had a beard though so we were going to kick him out anyway
p: yeah he did have a beard, that was a no-go, we can't do that.

too much hipster in him! you're trying to be all nice and stuff saying he left the band but really...
p: haha exactly! that and he didn't want to cuddle in the van, it hurt my ego too much.
r: jesus...

so you've done how many tours so far?
p: 4 tours?
j: 5, 5 tours!?
r: no this is like our 7th... well real tours this is our 4th, we've done little runs we've done like 2 or 3 more..
p: those were like week long tours though, the real like month long tours this is our 4th

how did you manage to tour so much before you even had your album out?
p: i think we gave out like demo's or something... yeah we had ep's and that was like the album not completely mixed, 4 songs..
r: touring is like the only way to go now and finally now they're starting to be pretty good... it's just like we don't have a booking agent or any of that stuff because that album just came out so...
p: we don't really have lives back home so we like to be on tour as much as possible..

did anybody know who you were when you first started touring?
p: no, not at all really. it took a long time. a lot of the cities we still go to don't really know who we are yet but there's a couple places where we did really well the first time so people keep coming back.
r: i feel like this time, this tour people are finally being like 'okay this band is a touring band, i've seen them around they've bugged me a few times' and we're getting better shows because of that.

so you just built your fan base around touring and not recording, that's cool.
r: yeah and that album is about to go to second press, we've already sold a thousand of it so we're going to do some more

impressive! and you said you have no lives at home so it's easy to just pick up and leave for a tour whenever?
p: yeah well some of us have jobs and some of us don't so it's pretty easy...
r: who doesn't have a job!? okay i don't have a job..
p: matt doesn't have a job! you don't have a job!
r: yeah, well my job is kind of like my hobby but i get paid for it!
p: yeah well... you're lazy... and i'm much better looking..
r: oh god, if you like twilight guys...

lose the shirt!
r: i'm the wolverine guy!
p: ... if you like gingers...

have you guys toured with any cool new bands so far?
r: we've tried!
p: we've played shows with bands we've liked but.. but as far as touring, we don't need to... no..
r: we toured with this band Treefort who've been around, they were really big in the early 2000's, they're like a joke band who light their balls on fire and like vomit and shit on stage...

wait wait, they light their balls on fire?
p: it's with hair spray...

that could go horribly wrong...
p: it did once i think...
j: at the last show it went pretty bad, it started really burning...
p: i am friends with the guy who does that and i ask him a lot how he pulls it off... he went into detail about it once but it's difficult... and it's all timing, just being able... you know. that's all i'll say for now.

are you guys going to get into any of these crazy gimmicks now?
p: i mean, you know it's something we want to look into...
r: we wanted to go out with them because punk is so serious we just wanted to go out with a totally ridiculous band ... and it hurt us, they had an even worse draw than we did and they've been around forever..
p: they have a negative 25 draw to be exact
r: it was really fun though, really fun, and we just went out with a band who i won't mention the name of and they're like our friends and we tried to help them get out to the fest but they wouldn't let us play the fest because we have horns and we're not friends with less than jake... i'm dead serious... i'm not even fucking around
p: and we aren't we are the union.
j: we had the best connections to play that fest too
r: yeah everybody was vouching for us, amp magazine, the no ideas guys vouched for us and they still wouldn't let us play so that's why we're not a part of any of that shit and uh yeah they kind of just fucked us over so we're not going to help anybody anymore, bands are going to take us out now!