Phil Robinson drops benefit video for #SaveOurStages

We live in a strange time when the music industry both larger, and smaller have been in an uncomfortable standstill this past year thanks to COVID. Venues are closed, with some gone for good, and so many tours have been cancelled, or postponed, some going til 2022.

And NYC is not immune to these challenges as well. We have lost a few venues already, and have had a few basically be in danger of closing for good if actions weren’t swiftly taken.

Well, NYC multi-instrumentalist and song-writer Phil Robinson was among many musicians involved with, and doing live-streams for beloved NYC staple The Bitter End.

Robinson just dropped his acoustic, benefit music video for “Transcendental Cowboy” raising more awareness NIVA’s #SaveOurStages, so venues have a fighting chance to re-open once its safer to to do so.

You can watch the music video, actually filmed at The Bitter End below:

Robinson actually helped plan, conceptualize, and perform at “The Save The Bitter End” benefit that raised 24k of their 100k goal. The music video is a great reminder that we are gonna be in rooms with our friends soon enough, and strangers who become friends too. The Bitter End just turned 60, and reopened a few days ago.

To follow keep up with Phil Robinson, make sure you follow his IG here!


Crowd the Airwaves bless us with new 2 song EP “Nihilist”

Everyone who is a music lover has those releases they have been waiting on…either from their favorite bands they have been fans of for a decade or more, or their favorite DIY bands in their scene.

Music is healing, and having something to look forward to after a tumultuous year especially, is like a gift that keeps on giving.

Well, I have been waiting on new Crowd The Airwaves music, and it’s finally here!

Their new 2 song EP “Nihilist” releases Friday, March 26th, and is a brilliant, alternative/garage rock brand of perfection that fans have come to love, and expect from the band. Never ever holding anything back sonically, or lyrically, each song brings something special to the table.

“Nihilist” sung by bassist/and vocalist Heather Lee Marvin, and is a great track that tackles the extremely skewed idea of “normalcy” in a society that would rather you be “comfortable” than happy. It’s a heart-check from start to finish, and makes you question your values in the best way possible. And, after going through a global pandemic, and still being in the throes of it now, we all have to ask ourselves “Was anything normal about overworking and being undervalued in a capitalist society?” And the answer for most of us is a resounding “NO!”

And since most of us have come to that realization, we have to rebuild with new values, and burn the old ones down.

“Under” sung by guitarist/viola player/vocalist and in-house art maven Christina Elliott, is this perfect track for explaining one’s mental health to friends or family who may, or may not understand what one is really dealing with, especially when dark thoughts creep in. And if one understands, there is this painful relatability of doing the best you can to keep on, despite everything feeling extremely heavy.

Listen in advance to the new EP here!

Password: NihilistEP2021

And while we can’t gather for epic EP/album release shows in person, the band is on Twitch, and you should follow them there to keep up with livestreams, and follow them on IG here to keep up to date with all things band related!


Gardenia drop new single “Therapy Sessions”

I am always impressed with the musicianship of bands to take on a difficult topic, and make it relatable to the masses. And let’s be real, music that is relatable in its simple rawness, to me is good music.

NYC alternative rock duo Gardenia, have dropped their new single “Therapy Sessions,” and honestly it’s a great take on how a breakup…whether romantically or even a friend breakup can take a toll on a person. And sometimes you need to just vent to a professional, or a close friend. However, make sure in that venting, you are doing that to heal, and not to drag the other person through the mud.

You can listen to the song on Spotify here

Vocalist and bassist Ryan Zakin, along with drummer Tamir Malik have written a track that is catchy, bass heavy, and melodic. One of my favorite lines in the song is…

“I hear it in my heart/I see it with my friends/Talk about me in the dark/Even in your therapy sessions.”

We all need to process and get things out when something we thought was good comes to end.

But we need to do that in a way that is healthy.

To keep up with Gardenia on IG, make sure you follow them here!


Alliteration frontman drops 1st solo single “Low Opinion”

If you needed a new song to add to your social justice playlist as we ALL continue to do the hard work in dismantling oppressive racial systems, fighting for Black lives, and making sure there are enough resources for everyone during a global pandemic, and beyond, well then I have got a song for you!

Alliteration frontman, Xavier A., has dropped his rocking, soulful, 1st solo single “Low Opinion,” and it’s worth many listens if you want to know what being black in America feels like when you have to not only play into a white supremacist system, but diving in deeper into how everything is woven together, and how we aren’t staying silent any longer when our lives are literally being hunted.

Listen to the song on Bandcamp below:

With so many powerful lyrics to chose from, a few favorites come at the start of the song when he is addressing the notion of “sacrificing our lives for white comfort.” And being honest, so many of us have done this mainly out of fear for several reasons. And truth be told, we hurt ourselves when we don’t live authentically in our Blackness.

Later on in the song, the lyric “a peaceful demonstration, ineffective escalation” pops up addressing that often peaceful protests are met with danger thanks to police in riot gear. And as we saw last summer, clear as day, our issues go way deeper than expected.

With that being said, the song ends with “we have always been loud,” which is a nod to Black folks and our resiliency in the face of always having to face adversity.

To keep up with Xavier A., make sure you follow his personal IG here, and to keep up with his band Alliteration, follow them here!


Rory D’Lasnow brings us 1st single off upcoming EP

You ever hear a song that is reflective, but also gorgeously gut-wrenching at the same time?

Well if you haven’t recently, prepare yourself for the first single off Rory D’Lasnow’s upcoming EP, “Songs From an Empty Room.” The first single “Forgotten” is about to break your heart, but make you appreciate what you have in this life. And HUGE SPOILER ALERT, it’s not about money and fame either.

Inspired by his time working in mental health, D’ Lasnow says “It’s written from the perspective of a man on his death bed whose family has sort of cast him aside.”

You can pre-save the song on Spotify here

You can also listen to the song on Soundcloud here as well.

Some of the most important lyrics to pay attention to in the song come in the middle where he sings:

I know that you’re scared,

You know you can’t prepare

But you know its good-bye

And you know you won’t cry

All is forgotten

I’ll love you just the same

We have to realize that when we all pass on, the goal should be to pass gracefully, and with our loved ones. And to also pass with no regrets about things in our lives. The last thing any of us should aim for, is to feel forgotten, or unloved as we transition away from this earth.

The single officially drops on Friday, February 26th, and the EP comes later this Spring. To keep up with Rory, make sure you follow him on IG here!


Florida’s own Royal Hearts drop new single, and video for “These Words Have Weight”

I am pretty sure its safe to say quarantine, and not seeing shows for almost a year has us all missing the days of mosh pits, two-steps, and screaming lyrics at the tops of our lungs, whether you’re at a punk show, pop-punk gig, or even a pop concert.

And if you are a fan of hardcore music, everything I mentioned above rings true x5.

If you are looking for a new hardcore band to check out, and have a need for a bedroom mosh session, fear not, South Florida’ s own Royal Hearts has you covered.

Their new single and music video for “These Words Have Weight” dropped a few weeks ago, and if you are a fan of bands like Counterparts, and Silverstein, you’ll dig their sound, and appreciate the fact that screamo and hardcore aren’t going anywhere.

You can watch the new music video here…

You can stream the single on Soundcloud here

The song in a nutshell is about realizing the power of words, and how they can be painful when used in the wrong way. And of course the fallout with said painful words.

Some favorite standout lyrics from vocalist Ryan Camuto come a little later in the song where he’s talking about being held accountable for things you have done or said.

My tongue’s tied up trying to find the words, carefully crafted between nouns and verbs, my aching voice, mutes to a hush when it comes to apologies.

I’ve spent my life guilty

Accountable for the first time, these words have weight (these words have weight). Is it too late to change? Or am I destined to be like this forever?

And let’s be totally honest, we have all said something to someone that stung, and we later dislike ourselves for it. However, the challenge is growing in those uncomfortable times, and learning to hold our tongues.

To keep up with Royal Hearts, make sure you follow them on IG here!


Calendar Year drop new jam “Jump the Rat!”

If you wanted to find you some new punk duos to fall in love with, I highly suggest checking out Staten Island’s own Calendar Year.

And yes, before you say anything, Staten Island has a music scene. It’s small yes, but it’s there, and all the bands coming out of there are good musicians and people.

Anywho, Rob and Todd have blessed us with “Jump The Rat!,” a garage-punk jam that is scrappy, yet polished, upbeat and slightly poppy.

You can peep the new single here:

The song is for a web series called “The Private Ineptigators,”which is basically “It’s Aways Sunny,” meeting a detective show. You can check out that link below, and Rob and Todd make an appearance in episode 2.

And let’s be real, and we all know this, but local artists need support more than ever. So why not buy a new song, and watch a new web series?

To keep up with Calendar Year, follow them on IG here!


Premiere: Cruel Children drop new music video “So Sick”

Winter is cold and snowy, but oh boy do we have some new music to keep you preoccupied and happy.

And if you love badass animated music videos, even better, as the NYC homies of Cruel Children are blessing your screens AND ears with their extremely socially aware and relevant music video for “So Sick,” off their latest release “Beautiful, Terrible.”

The song itself is their punk version of “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” dealing with topics like the Flint water crisis, sexual abusers in politics, police brutality against black people, anti-Semitism, sexism, corporate greed and coming to the realizations that we as a nation are a shit show, and we are tired of it.

You can watch the visually intense and brillant music video animated by Preston Spurlock here:

The music video is nod to the 90’s animation style we saw on stations like Nickelodeon, and even early MTV…bright, colorful, and loud. Couple that with vocalist and guitarist Ella Frida Sanandaji’s powerful, fast and clear vocals, this is a song that is obviously is sending a strong message that you need to hear because you probably agree too.

And honestly, given all that we as a nation have gone through the past few years, and especially this past year, we are sick…figuratively and literally of the stuff that has been ALLOWED to go on. One of the surprises at the end comes in the final lyrics,

Ya, take me back to the mothership, ya take me back to the mothership, ya take me back to the mothership!

Honestly, if aliens and extraterrestrial life out there wanted to rescue us, I think many of us would welcome that as an escape from the tragedies of the current realities.

With that being said, make sure to keep up with Cruel Children on their IG here!


Madam West drops new single “February Goat” to combat winter blues.

We are about a third of the way done with Winter and it’s hard to believe. It’s a great reminder of the sunny and warm days ahead, but also letting you know we have to get past these cold days first.

A great reminder of life as well.

To get us through these remaining cold days, NYC’s psychedelic, indie-alternative darlings Madam West are blessing us with a track that is perfect for when you need to get out of the pandemic slump, and WFH stupor.

“February Goat” is this warm, almost jazzy, rock tune that is nostalgic, yet extremely modern and relevant for now. The song is a look back on things lost, and honestly for all of us, we need that introspection, as we have all collectively lost SOMETHING. However with loss, new things can come from that can make you better.

You can pre-save the song on Spotify here!

NYC’s own Madam West is a beautifully alternative and psychedelic indie-rock band. Photo courtesy of Sophie Chemin.

The single releases February 1st, so make sure to add that to your playlists!

In the meantime, you can follow Madam West on IG here!


Op-Ed: Live music will return, but we have work to do beforehand

Dear Diary,

It has been almost a year since my last show…

Ok, so I am not gonna write a diaryesque entry here about how long I have gone without seeing a live concert or show. Or, better yet since I have seen ANY of my friends face-to face since COVID-19 shut everything down back in March of last year.

I think it’s safe to say we all know, and are equally depressed.

However, I would like to talk about the fact that live music WILL return…

But we have some work to do first on OUR end.

I’ll start with the obvious…in order for folks to even feel safe touring, and going to shows inside venues, WE HAVE TO GET THE PANDEMIC UNDER CONTROL. If this last year has taught us anything, and by God did we learn A LOT, it’s the importance of competent leadership at all levels, and taking care of each other when leadership fails miserably.

Now, NYC has been lucky with the governor we have in Andrew Cuomo, and a few other states as well. But, to see GOP governors, mayors, and the soon-to-be-former white supremacist-in-chief downplay this virus, offer little to no help to states hit hardest, and to not push for mandatory mask mandates, and stay-at-home orders has been disturbing, as well as unacceptable, deplorable, and beyond shameful.

Luckily, we do have a new president and vice president taking office in a few days who are politically sound and experienced, believe in science and who are empathetic individuals. Something this country has missed for 4 years.

Common sense, and folks not doing anymore fuckshit, like non-essential travel, not wearing a mask in public settings, having large parties and the like, will get us shows back.

Then, we have to ALL take a deeper look at what needs to change in the music scene and industry to be better for black and brown folks, women, LGBTQIA+ and every other oppressed group.

Shows coming back won’t mean jack shit if behaviors of the past don’t change. So that means more diversity overall, venues holding folks accountable and removing abusers, and more people no longer turning a blind eye to racist, sexist, and homophobic behaviors and the like.

And this needs to happen locally, and in the larger scene too. Not having shows for this long, should hopefully want US to be better when folks can get back on stage again, and touring again.

So I am looking forward to shows coming back and I am excited for that like the next person. But we have to do our part first.


FLTV is bringing us Shilpa Ray on January 4th

If you wanted to start your New Year off with music, Ridgewood’s own Footlight has you covered!

They started their Footlight TV (FLTV) back in December, bringing you some of the best bands in NYC in an interview and performance format hosted by resident Footlight VJ Kendra Saunders. It’s not only a great way to see some new bands virtually, but also to support a local venue here in NYC. And with 2020 seeing local and independent venues in danger of closing for good thanks to the pandemic, venues are doing what they can to stay open.

The episodes can be bought and rented via Vimeo here.

Kicking things off for the new year, is Shilpa Ray, a wonderfully brilliant and loud bluesy-punk artist writing songs that are fierce and ferocious on topics like toxic heteronormative masculinity and toxic people.

Their episode is quirky, entertaining and humbling. Prepare to fall in love EASILY with one of your new favorites.

You can watch the teaser here

Make sure you follow the Footlight on IG here to keep up to date of the next bands coming up, and follow Shilpa Ray on IG here.


Rory D’ Lasnow drops new single “Happy” featuring Phil Robinson

I am so thankful for artists who create music with a lightness during a time with so much darkness. It’s literally a breath of fresh air after being under murky water for so long.

NJ based songwriter Rory D’ Lasnow is back with a beautiful new song called “Happy” featuring NYC based songwriter and harmonica player Phil Robinson.

You can listen to the new tune below:

The song is a fantastic love song about being head over heels with the person you are supposed to be with, and loving them through all times, which is what love is SUPPOSED to be. You can hear that so clearly when D’Lasnow’s clear vocals sing:

Even if we never get it right/we’ll be alright/Cause darling you will always be the love of my life

And I’ll be totally honest, I am not fully sold on love songs for the simple fact that some can be super cheesy, cliche, and can actually make you want to puke with their often saccharine vibes.

However “Happy” is different in the sense that the lyrics are heartfelt and actually say something with substance. Add in the harmonica solo from Robinson, and you have a song that is set to be pretty timeless for our day and age.

You can stream the song on every streaming platform, and you can keep up with Rory here, and Phil here.


Sword Collector drops debut self titled EP

I always find the backstory of how a band came to be JUST as crucial to the music they write and create.

Were they all raised in the same small town, and just needed to get out to see something bigger than themselves? Were they college dropouts who needed to make music their own way? Or were they folks who wanted to form a band, and the internet bought them together.

Texas’ own Sword Collector is a band who formed one month before a global pandemic, wrote and recorded an EP, and released that about a month before a crucial and important presidential election.

Their debut, self-titled EP, Sword Collector has the lyrical sensibilities, and melancholic-ethereal punk vibes of a band that’s more experienced, making their debut an impressive one from start to finish.

You can listen to the debut EP here:

“Inherit the Scepter” is a song that could serve as a song for a modern Shakesphere play about taking over what could be yours or not. Meanwhile “Drenched In Honey” is a beautifully dark and almost hidden take on abuse. This song you have to listen carefully to the lyrics, or the meaning will be missed.

The EP is a genius collection of tracks that will get your gears going, especially the way words are played with and presented. With that being said, you’ll keep going back for multiple listens.

To keep up with Sword Collector, make sure you follow them on IG here!


Alliteration drop new song “Pete” in memory of slain friend

Black. Lives. Matter.

And if you consider yourself an ally, or accomplice in the music scene, or in society as a whole, this statement should live on your lips like Vans and Converse live on your feet.

There is NO excuse, and even if you don’t know someone personally who was murdered by killer cops or racists, chances are, your black and brown friends might. Or someone in THEIR inner circles might.

Poughkeepsie darlings Alliteration faced this cold and harsh reality back in May, when their friend Maurice Gordon was killed by cops in New Jersey during a traffic stop. His murder happened just two days before the death of George Floyd at the hands of MN police.

A few days ago, the band released “Pete,” a powerful track that tackles head on what its like being black in America, while also calling out performative allyship.

Listen to and buy the song here!

The chorus is one of the most powerful I have heard in a while…

You said the water will absolve my sins/I have no reason to apologize/To just exist 
And yell out that’s what I like/Never gonna be what they wanna see/Til my eyes roll back and I’m buried/Open casket for me/Look what they did to my baby 

Hearing this chorus lets you know the pain of black families in burying a family member, and how even “well meaning” folks can lead to one’s demise if not careful in keeping their privilege in check.

And adding to that, is the verse that hits with the lines Fake claims/You said it’s okay,/That you’re with me/”Brothers” is what you said/Well fuck you. 

In this day and time, its simply not enough to post black squares on social media, and post BLM content for a week, and then go back to life like things are “normal.”

Racist behavior in ANY and ALL forms is not normal, and there is a lot of work to do in order to work towards becoming an anti-racist society.

With that being said, the song is something everyone should be listening to intently and buying on bandcamp…proceeds from this song, as well as specialty merchandise will go to benefit Maurice’s family.

And while you are at it, make sure you follow Alliteration on IG here!


Dylan Pacheco drops new single “Negative Space” ahead of new EP

I love songs that are not only tongue-in-cheek, but that are catchy, and have lyrics that are relatable and honest.

Austin based musician and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Pacheco dropped his new single “Negative Space” a few weeks ago and honestly it’s the perfect mix of lo-fi-indie rock, with a light hearted, and quirky twist, while singing about the difficult topic of mental health.

Listen to “Negative Space (Manic Panic)” here:

Perhaps a favorite lyric from the song is “Oh hey didn’t see you there/I get so down it’s like I’m not even there/Sometimes dissociate from reality.” With the current state of affairs, and everyone’s anxiety being on edge more than usual, this is a relevant take on what it feels like to go through the days, and honestly, when things DON’T feel real because we can’t believe we are facing what we are ACTUALLY facing.

And for me personally, it’s refreshing for someone to say that because we are all dealing the best way we can.

His new EP “Youthful Exuberance” drops on October 30th and honestly make sure you all mark your calendars.

Follow Dylan on IG here!


Artists lend music to Shut It Down Compilation

IF you have been around here the last few months, you know that I have been pretty vocal about the current issues happening in our world..from surviving in a global pandemic, to watching the world join in the fight for Black Lives, and how the artistry of the DIY community has been trying to #SaveOurStages, it feels like things are never ending.

And they aren’t.

With that, comes amazing art, and music to not only keep us on our toes, but to bring some joy to our souls. Which let’s be totally honest, WE ALL NEED these days.

And it is not shocking that the Punk scene is leading the way (as they almost always do) in socially aware and conscious music. In fact, 46, YES 46 bands and artists from the worlds of punk, metal and hardcore put together a special bandcamp compilation called “Shut It Down” with all the proceeds going to Movement for Black Lives.

The comp features NYC’s own The 1865, Rebelmatic, MAAFA, and All Torn Up, as well as music from Minor Threat and War on Women to name even more.

You can stream/buy the EP here…

With that much music on one comp, this COULD EASILY be your soundtrack as we continue to fight for Black lives, become an anti-racist society, and try to fix a broken police system that for many of us leaves us feeling more unsafe.

After all, you may as well go into fights pumped up for a good cause.


LaPeche to play benefit for Our Wicked Lady

With so much talk about the future of music venues thanks to COVID-19, everyone is doing the best they can to stay above the water, and the Brooklyn DIY music scene is no different.

Some venues have turned to Go-Fund-me, while some have Venmo, and PayPal accounts set up to pay staff that has been laid-off, and others are offering take away drinks and food, and if permitted, limited outdoor dining.

And of course with music venues doing all this, there is still a danger of many not being able to re-open and come back. Which would be a devastating blow to not only these spaces themselves, but to the staff, touring bands, and fans.

Brooklyn indie-rock band LaPeche is one of the bands doing their part in the scene to keep fan favorite Our Wicked Lady going.

The band will be playing a special live-streamed show Friday, August, 28th at 9pm with proceeds going directly to the venue via their PayPal.

Peep the flyer below:

The band has also been working on new music virtually, with the demos currently up on bandcamp here!

Make sure you tune in Friday to their livestream, #SaveOurStages by supporting Our Wicked Lady, and keep up with the band on Instagram here!


Rory D’Lasnow drops new single “An American Lie”

If you haven’t been aware of what’s been happening in the world these past few months, which let’s be real, HOW can you not be? The world is on fire. And its not a small blaze either, but rather a fire that requires the constant assistance of multiple firehouses to put out the blaze.

Not only are we still dealing with, and living through a global pandemic, but we are facing high unemployment, a high death toll in America caused by COVID-19, but also an even more powerful fight for equality caused by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and countless others at the hands of police and white supremacists.

With so much going on, the art that has been created recently has not only been powerful and relevant, but insightful, moving, inspiring, and raw.

Musician and songwriter Rory D’Lasnow put out his new single “An American Lie,” which is NOT only the perfect call to action to break down the systems that have kept people of color down for so long, but also calling for justice in this country that has never been just in the first place.

One of my favorite Iines of the song is “Tell me how you sleep/When he says “I can’t breathe?” addressing the murders of George Floyd and Eric Garner at the hands of police caught on camera.

Another powerful line to pay attention to is “How many have to die/You can’t deny evils’s alive and well,” addressing the fact that America has always had a sordid and racist past.

The song is a self-explanatory masterpiece from start to finish. We know things have to change ASAP in America, and should have changed a long time ago.

However, progress is a messy thing and honestly takes a lot of time. Things don’t change overnight and while in a fight, especially one as important as the one we are in now, it’s gonna be a long one.

To keep up with Rory, make sure you follow him on Instagram here!


Nick Sumner and the Assistance drop lyric video for “Look Out Below”

Yonkers based alternative-rock act Nick Sumner and the Assistance have dropped a lyric video for their new single “Look Out Below.”

The song is a fantastic take on seeing life as fragile as it is, and something to be cherished. It is THAT song that is both cautious and inspiring for different reasons.

And with the state of the world we are currently in, not only is every breath a blessing, but just existing is radical in a world where EVERYTHING is thrown at you to shake you.

You can watch the lyric video here:

Make sure to keep up to date with the band on Instagram here


A chat with…Garrett of The Maine

I’ve always been a huge believer in supporting bands who are good people and good musicians. In fact, the older I get, I hold this sentiment to be even more true. That’s why when Arizona pop-rock/emo act The Maine announced their new album and a special NYC album release show, I jumped at the chance to see them again.

If you don’t know this band, or haven’t listened, you are missing out. “You Are Ok” is their seventh studio album, and for me is THE  album that I needed at this very moment in my life. I don’t use these words lightly, but this album is a work of art lyrically.

The Maine

The Maine at the YouTube Space in Chelsea Market NYC on the “You Are Ok” release day. From L-R: The Gunz Show, John O’ Callaghan, Garrett Nickelsen, Pat Kirch, Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Garrett Nickelsen, who serves as the bassist for The Maine about the new album, the upcoming Sad Summer Fest, and the possibility of taking their festival 8123 on the road.

First off, congratulations on “You Are Ok.” It’s your 7th studio album, and it feels like one of the more personal albums. Let’s talk about the writing process and how the concepts and ideas came about or started coming about. Did you find the writing process to get easier over time? Why or why not?
Don’t Be Subtle. Those were the first words we wrote down when we started writing the album. We wanted everything in your face and you know it. Sometimes we can get so caught up in these little things on songs and no one will ever notice them. Hell, after the record is done, WE probably don’t even notice them. We didn’t want any of that, everything that is on the song you know is on the song. It was by far the MOST difficult record to make. It took months to figure out even what we wanted it to sound like. So much of banging our heads on the wall until we finished “Slip the Noose” and that kinda was the marker of where we wanted to take things. Everything had to beat, or at least be as good as that song to us.


What’s your favorite track off the new record and why?
I think I’m gonna have to go with “Slip the Noose.” We had this song sitting around for a few years but couldn’t get the chorus just right. When we first started talking about writing, we knew this was going to be one we were gonna tackle again. Once we went for it, and that took a while, it came together pretty quick and became the first song we finished for the album. We just wanted to make the craziest first track we could and also showcase what the whole album has.


The Maine has essentially been an independent band since 2013. Do you think in today’s constantly changing musical landscape that artists should stay independent in order to fully interact with their fans on a deeper level and to maintain full creative control?
I think it really just depends on what kind of band you want to become. For some people, labels are great and can really help a lot. I mean when we started it helped a lot to be on a label just for funding and what not, but we’ve always been so hands-on with everything I think we always knew as soon as we’d have the opportunity to be independent, we would try that out. It’s so easy now to interact with people and it always been such a huge part of our band, even if we were on a label I don’t think that would be any different label or not.


What advice would you give to up and coming artists on remaining an independent artist and not signing to an indie, or major label?
It’s all about the people who care about what you’re doing. Think about what they (the fans) would love to see and be a part of and give them those things. It is so easy to get caught up in the “too cool for school crowd” – not meeting people and not interacting with them – but if you want them to love your band for a long time, then you need to make it only about them. We’ve always gone by the “we’d rather have 1,000 die-hard fans over 100,000 passive fans” rule. Just take the time to show you care about those people who really give a shit, it’s all you can really do.
Let’s talk about the announcement of Sad Summer Fest. Tickets went on sale recently, and you are co-headlining with State Champs, Mayday Parade and The Wonder Years. How did you all decide to get together to do this festival? Are there any sneak peaks or bread crumbs you can give us?
Actually, this is something we’ve talked about for years! With Warped Tour being gone, it finally seemed like something we could make happen. People love summer festivals, this just seemed like a perfect show for the people who really love this scene. We toured with Mayday more times than I can count, and we’ve been friends with the State Champs guys for a few years now. Once those two bands agreed, everything else kinda just fell into place. Its been very difficult to figure out all the details, but I think it will end up being an amazing day for everyone who comes out.


And lastly, 8123 is a festival that you all started in your hometown. Are there any plans in the future to take 8123 on the road? And if so, how soon can we expect it to hit the road?
As of now, we think it’s awesome to keep it in Phoenix. We’ve talked of having it in our cities but I think part of the fun is having people come to our hometown and getting to check out where we grew, and see the city the made us who we are. Also, Phoenix might be one of the few cities on earth that can have an outdoor festival in January and not freeze your butt off.


The Maine just finished their tour with Taking Back Sunday, and will be touring with Grayscale this month! Come July, the Sad Summer festival kicks off July 5th in Dallas, TX, and comes to NYC on July 16th!  Make sure you follow The Maine on Instagram here to keep up to date!