Youíre missing a band member tonight; can you explain whatís happened?
We have two lead singers, Nick and Zac, and Zac is not allowed in Canada, so when we got our connecting flight, which was in Canada, they told him he has to go back to America. I donít know why because you would think that if they wanted to get rid of him, they would just send him on to London to where we were heading, but that wasnít the case, so he had to go back to Philly and is flying here tomorrow morning. I donít know what weíre doing tonight; weíre just going to wing it.
Youíve been over here three times within the space of seven months, why is that?
We were going to come last summer, but we ended up touring with Fireworks in America, so we came in December with Transit and the day we were leaving, our friend from Senses Fail, Buddy, he called me and said, ďWeíre going to the UK in February, you guys should come support us.Ē So we were like, ďAlright, yeah!Ē Touring with them was kind of cool, because it was to a lot of different people, lots of their fans and not-so many of our fans. Coming back again with Polar Bear Club, we couldnít tour America this summer because of the fall tour we have, so it was kind of the perfect thing.
This past year, it seems that youíve really started to make a name for yourself, have you found that?
Yeah, definitely. I think itís weird when people know who we are, like we were supposed to play a show in New Jersey the other night and we got to the venue and it was double booked with some Creed-ish rock band playing. I guess they had booked them first, I donít know, but we pretty much got kicked out of the venue and we ended up having a show at this girlís driveway. The cops came before we started, like the girl rang the cops to make sure it would be ok and they were cool with it, as long as no one got out of hand, but the one cop was like, ďWhat band is it?Ē and my dad was like, ďOh, itís Man Overboard.Ē And the cop was like, ďOh, really?! I know them.Ē So, that was weird. I mean, it was our home state, but it wasnít near where we lived or anything. Then when Zac was detained in Toronto, they have a jail cell in the airport and he was BBMing me, and he was like, ďDude, youíre going to shit your pants right now... I just told the guard what band Iím in and he was like,"ĎOh, for real?!íĒ The guard at the Toronto airport prison had heard of Man Overboard! I donít know, just shit like that. I mean, coming here and having kids know us is cool, but shit like that is just so entertaining and funny.
So, your slogan, "defend pop-punk", is there a meaning behind it? Or is it just cool for t-shirts?
It started as a Most Precious Blood rip-off, just for a t-shirt, but kids got really into it and associate that with us now, so we kind of just rolled with it, you know? Itís not like Iím actively out with my AK-47 defending pop-punk, but I guess thereís a lot of shitty bands out there that play music, so I guess itís a call for bands to make honest music, but at the end of the day, I donít really care what other bands are doing. Itís kind of whatever you want to take from it. I donít want to be the person to tell other people what to do; itís up to you. Iím not the person to tell you want to like and what you canít like. Itís cool that thereís a group on Facebook and the website, and it kind of brings kids together online and show each other new music, so thatís the coolest part, how itís made itís own little community.
I know you do these pop-punk compilations of bands within your circle of friends, but what about these Ramones-core bands that people claim are Ďproperí pop-punk?
Thatís the thing, thereís always people online that are like, "You guys are lame as fuck, listen to Screeching Weasel." Itís like, "Yeah, dude, Iíve never heard of Screeching Weasel before, I live under a fucking rock," you know? Kids are always going to bitch about whatever you do. At the end of the day, none of us give a fuck about what people have to say about it.
Iíve heard a few people say your lyrics are a little bit cheesy, how do you feel about that?
I mean, they are, we sing about looking hot and smoking pot. If you donít like it, then you donít have to listen to it, you know?
Iíve noticed that theyíre mainly based on girls, have you had a lot of relationship turmoil?
Zac and Nick write the lyrics, but mainly Zac, and Iíve known Zac since we were like 10-years-old and he definitely has, so heís got a lot of fodder for songs.
Werenít you in The Effort for a while? Thatís quite a contrast, going from a hardcore band to a super poppy band.
Yeah. I was their drummer for a bit, I toured with them over here and then we went back, and I was just going to do merch, but then their drummer quit and I was already going and I played drums, so I did it and played drums for them just for a summer. We all listen to hardcore and all kinds of shit. I think people get pigeonholed all the time, like,"ĎOh, you play in a hardcore band, you must just listen to hardcore all the time." but I listen to all kinds of shit. Itís not like everyone listens to the same thing, I think everyone has a pretty broad spectrum.
You seem to be apart of this emerging group of bands all from the same friendship circle, like Run For Cover and No Sleep, how do you feel to be apart of that?
I think itís actually cool. Thereís definitely bands before that whole thing came out that I think are really good, like thereís this band from Philly called Arms of Orion and had they came out last year and were on Run For Cover when our shit came out and Transit, I think they would have been huge. But they came out in 2006 and there wasnít really a good scene. They did well, they wrote an awesome record that was supposed to come out on Abacus - I donít know what happened with that, but it just never came out - but that record is ten times better than some records that are out now, but not many people have heard it. So, itís cool to be in a scene where bands support each other with good labels, and kids support the labels.
I saw another interview with you, I donít know which member it was, but he took offense to Man Overboard being compared with Fireworks.
[laughs] That was like one of the first interviews we ever did and theyíre real good friends of theirs. I donít know what the girl asked, but I think he thought that she asked like, "Do guys write songs to sound like Fireworks?í And he was pissed like, "I donít listen to that band, what the fuck?í But Tymm, their drummer, is actually here, heís playing drums for Polar Bear Club.
Do you think thereís kind of an oversaturation of all these pop-punk bands?
There definitely is a lot of bands, but I think itís one of the things that leads to as many kids being into it now as there is, because any kid that is into this kind of music and has a guitar or a drum set or can sing or whatever can start a band, and thereís a lot of shitty bands out there, but you have to have shitty bands to have good bands. There might be a lot of bands, but I still think itís cool.
It seems that Man Overboard releases a new record every other week, whatís up with that?
[laughs] Yeah, I donít know. We did like Before We Met: A Collection of Old Songs which was like an EP with new songs and that came out in February last year, which started it off, and then we wanted to do an acoustic EP, so we did that a couple months later, and we had done the Dahlia EP right before that, and then we had done Real Talk and then we did a Transit split and then The Absolute Worst 7Ē, and then we did Human Highlight Reel and we have a new record coming out, so I donít know. We just have a lot of shit, I guess. Another thing is, we always record a lot of songs, like when we went to do Real Talk, we had 12 songs on the record, but had 18/19 in total. So, like, Adrian of City of Gold, who put it out over here, he got a different bonus track than what Run For Cover did and then there was a digital download version that got a different song and then there was a pre-order song, so we have all these songs that are floating around, so after theyíre out for a bit, we put them on Human Highlight Reel and thereís a new bonus track on the new Rise record, so Iím sure thatíll come out somewhere on a 7Ē or something, who knows? We always just do shit, itís cool to give kids something to collect and buy if they want to buy it.
When I emailed you the other day about this interview, you said you manage Basement, how did that come about?
I put out their 7Ē on my label, Lost Tape Collective. I just heard of them from somebody, I donít even know who, but I liked the band and I put out their 7Ē, started talking to them and played shows with them in December. Alex came over last summer and toured with us doing merch, he stayed in my house for a couple of weeks and became buds with him, so Iíd try to tell them what to do with their band and give them ideas. It seemed that they needed someone to help them out and I was interested in helping them out, so we just went with it and itís been going good so far.
Being transatlantic, how does that work?
I bring my BlackBerry everywhere I go, like we have two bags of merch missing, because of Zac being deported from Canada, so theyíre either in Philly, Toronto or London, so Iíve been on my phone all day trying to figure out. Iíll probably have some outrageous phone bill by now.
Speaking of your label, Lost Tape Collective, why did you decide to set that up?
I always wanted to do a label. I started a label a long time ago to do mine and Zacís old bandís first record, but nobody liked that record, because we werenít very good and nobody liked the label because we werenít very good. It was cool to start a label where kids who were into us could get into it and we could give back to them by giving them other bands and shit to collect, like tapes or whatever. Itís just kind of another thing that Iím interested in that I think people who might like us will be interested in, I hope.
What is it with the revival of tapes? Is it a novelty thing? Because the sound quality is generally poor.
Thatís the thing, people think itís really weird and I agree, itís not like the most normal thing, but I think itís just another thing to collect and itís relatively cheap to do and sell. You can sell a tape for 4-6 bucks, which is probably around £3-£5. Iíve started to do them on different colors, like different colors for each press and shit like that. I just like doing stuff that people can collect, I like to do things that I would buy, because I feel like when I make t-shirts designs - anything that I would wear, nobody else would wear - we always have weird colors and shit. So, I like doing tapes, because I can pick bands and tape colors and layouts and whatever that I like. Itís just fun to put together and fun to release; I get a kick out of it.
You signed to Rise Records late last year and I was looking at your Last.fm page, and all the comments from your fans were really negative about it.
Yeah, I didnít read a whole lot what people wrote, we were kind of worried about how our fans were going to take it and I feel like, generally, they were like, "Whatever, Iím sure they have it figured out"í But I thought the funniest thing was the metal kids that like Attack Attack! were like, "What the fuck?! Rise has signed this really gay band!í I thought that was funny. They have Transit, A Loss For Words, Hot Water Music and a bunch of other bands now, so itís cool.
So, whatís next for Man Overboard?
Weíre here until the beginning of August and then weíre doing an Australian tour at the end of August/beginning of September and then weíre doing a fall tour in America. Weíll not be back here until 2012, I donít want to play here too much and make everyone sick of us.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Thanks for reading and thanks for listening to us if you like us, I guess thatís it.