Angie Lalonde recently had a nice chat with Mark Rose, frontman of Chicago's new hope Spitalfield.
Okay, check, check can you hear me in the monitors?
Your debut album 'Remember Right Now' is out and like you said it was released around the same time as Silverstein, lots of cross-promotion, great to be touring with them now too?
Yeah again, like I said there was a ton of cross-promotion for it. Their record came out about three weeks before ours, so yeah especially in their hometown areas there was a ton of samplers passed out that had us on the other side. So a lot of those kids in their local towns are responding positively to us. Especially to the songs off the sampler they were really into them. And the same thing goes for them for us in the Chicago mid-west area kids would pick up their songs on their side of the sampler. So yeah it's good and their really good guys too. Musically I mean yeah we're different but I mean there's a lot of crossover like maybe our crowd is not the exact same but it's good. We kind of scratch each other's backs a little bit.
Happy, impressed with producer Sean O'Keefe's input on production?
You worked with him before on a first EP, had you guy always wanted to go with him again?
Yeah it's funny because we had in 1999 recorded a five-song demo with him and it was seriously like, I saw his add in the back of a music newspaper. Called him, did it, whatever and we never really thought we'd be seeing him again, vice-versa. At the time we were pretty under-developed cause it was a while ago and he was just getting his feet wet as far as a producer goes and we really liked him and we really got along with him fine, that when it came time to do the new album and his name came up, it was like I wonder if he's going to remember us? So then we planned to do with him, we sat down for some pre-production and then all of a sudden we started to mention a few things to see if we could jog his memory. Then all of a sudden he was like 'oh my god! It's you guys!' and I mean he didn't even really remember until we really started hanging out and preparing to record together. So yeah he's great though, he's come so far I mean he's like the name that we'll always say we did it with him, even years from now I'll always be like 'oh yeah Sean!'. He's really gaining momentum fast, I'm very happy for him, he's really good.
Remembering right now, these moments are also pretty significant, do you guys always take that into question?
Always remember working with Sean! (laughs)
Now, your life as a band in a van….
Of course yes, definitely we've been a band since 1998 when we were in High School together and the fact that we've progressed on this much to be where we are now, it's just the tip of the iceberg. It's kind of scary to think that five, ten years from now we might still be doing this whether it will be this band or another, whatever I will always remember it. It's always had quite an impact on my life just in general to think putting your life on hold to do something like this, to be in a van with five or six different guys, to see places you'd never see and meet people you'd never meet. Music is the driving force for pretty much everything I do now and I love it.
Even willing to live together you must…
Oh yeah the good ol' Spital apartment, we called it the Spital pad, don't write that (laughs)
Spitalfield does sing of course songs about love but you guys also have tracks about friends, your families and other influences sometimes never noted on a record…
Sure, it's like yeah obviously bands that are in the dreaded 'emo genre' you know you get cornered into being just all really sappy lyrics about girlfriends. And yes while we do have some of that, I can't deny it but there's other aspects, within the band our relationships with our parents, our relationships with everything. Your best friend who is not your best friend anymore to your friends now that are going to be your friends still five years from now and you don't even realize it. It's a lot of past, present, future type stuff. I think we called it 'Remember Right Now' looking at what we're doing and where we are currently within the music sense and where friendships stand and everything, we're always excited for what's going to happen and what's coming down the road for us. What tours we might get or people we might get to record with that's great but it's not all about that. It's about what we're doing right now and who we are right now and how we grow together, for a lack of better terms. Like when Dan came up with the album title and said it to me I just kind of froze, thought about it and I really liked it right off the bat. It wasn't even one of those group discussions like 'let's call it this, let's call it that…' it was seriously like 'that's it!'
Any ideas you guys had drilled in your heads that you'd wanted to accomplish with this record before going in the studio?
Well it was our first experience with an actual recording budget, really like you know 'this is your time, this is the money we are giving you and this is your producer…' And also of course we got to pick and choose where we go and with who but this was also our first time really sitting down to make an album not just we wrote eight songs let's record them now. I mean we've done demo's, we've even done our first full-length and EP and I'd say this record is the most cohesive record we've done, we really wanted to make it that. We really wanted to make it our first stamp of what we're all about. It takes bands I mean a few times in the studio together to really understand each other and understand how recording is. And even on this album you know we're happy about it and we're excited. But we know at the same time, the next time we're in the studio we'll know what not to do wrong we did with this one. You know I heard all different types of reviews everyone's a critic from 'flawless, smooth production' to people even said 'slightly over-produced, too radio, too mainstream' and it's like well you know… What we were shooting for and what came out were two different things on one level but then on another level who knows what we were shooting for. Whatever we're happy about it we're touring it hard and we're excited to keep touring hard. And it's definitely the way to get our name out there and with a label like Victory, their name being tagged on the back of the record alone gets it to new audiences and the ability to now package tour and stay out on the road nine or ten months out of the year. It's though but we love it and we won't complain about it that's for sure. I mean there's obviously a big difference between sitting down with a friends who's good at what he does and someone who does it for a living and obviously the amount of money that went into this comparatively is a huge difference and the amount of money we have to pay back (laughs) is a big difference but I really enjoy all our recording experiences and I'm glad we did them because it made 'Remember Right Now' what it is and hopefully it will make our next album what it is.
Is it really convenient to be from the same town as your label, their backyard band?
Oh yeah, that's actually the number one reason we went with Victory! Not that we had a ton of labels and stuff interested but we had interests from across the board kind of and one thing about Victory that we loved is that they really are like a backyard label. They grew up where we grew up, they went through a lot of the same phases as we did, they experienced Chicago the way we did. And growing up we listened to so many Victory bands we never thought that I'd be an option, I mean like really we never thought! Just bands like Snapcase and Strife, Refused you name it there is, so many bands on there and we definitely had a hardcore upbringing that's just how it was, the Victory Bulldog is just something we always saw. We never thought we'd be getting a voicemail saying this is 'Tony from Victory' that was beyond us so when it did happen obviously there was some cartwheels you know.
On tour would you guys say you're a tourist-be-productive band or the must-sleep-regain-my-sanity types?
It's of course a little bit of both all depending where we are or with. Sometime we've been to places, especially on the East-Cost of the U.S enough that we have so many friends out there now that we stay with someone it's almost a second home to us. We know where all the local eateries are, we know where all the local hangouts are, just hanging out with them and their families it's so cool and really awesome. But there's of course times when you're staying with someone who you don't really know and it can be a little awkward so you don't really want to ask them to take you around. You're just like 'I'll sleep on your floor and then I'll get up and I'll go'. But then there's that middle-ground where you stay with someone you've never stayed with who's a relative and they will have plans made up for your entire day. You just don't know we'll even be all for sleep and they'll just be all about taking us around the town. But of course depending on how we feel, yeah we'll go out we're definitely down for having fun and seeing new places. So yeah, we're productive occasionally you can put that.
Must have a good embarrassing stage moment?
Oh, there's always embarrassing moments, every moment of my life is embarrassing (laughs). But let's see some good ones that happened lately? Oh yeah, TJ our bass player, likes to dance a lot, he's got a these bizarre moves and we'll love 'em so it's okay but yeah at the end of the set he wanted to really throw himself into JD's drum set setting it all up with this jump of his bass drum. But instead of a full on action jump shot, his bass drum just collapsed… He fell and the drum set caved in on him, it was pathetic. It was not like 'oh awesome' it was like 'oooooo, ewww' you know what I mean. It looked like a bad accident on TV you don't want to watch but you want to watch because you're drawn to it, it was so bad. Regardless people applauded so I guess it was okay. Oh yeah and twice in the past few months I played entire sets with my fly down. The thing is I don't even think anyone ever noticed till I announced it, cause my guitars in the way. But you know it's the little pre-show go to the bathroom but I left it out twice and both times I announced it too. And I had to say it to stop and fix it. But the one time in particular, the song ended and the lights went off and everyone was cheering so I went to fix it quick and the spotlight came right on, with this freezing moment of my hand behind my guitar and people seemed to be wondering what I was doing…
Spitalfield started as a side project cause you guys were in hardcore bands before; do you ever miss playing that kind of show?
Yes and no, a lot of people who do interviews or do reviews linger on the fact that… even our Victory bio says 'from the ashes of mid-west hardcore bands'. And it's like yeah we all were in hardcore bands and we all did that but honestly I was also in a ska band, in a punk band we've all been in all sorts of bands. And obviously like I said earlier hardcore was a huge, huge deal to us growing up and it still is some of my favorite bands are hardcore bands. But do I miss it? Only from the perspective that I miss occasionally having a basement show and I miss having just your intimate close friends from the neighborhood rocking out completely like idiots in a ten foot by ten foot basement that's really, really hot with parents upstairs telling us to turn it down. I miss that sort of thing. But at the same time, we still try to bring a lot of that energy with us when we play. What we're doing now is what I love to do and this is the style of music that I really, really feel. So it's cool and we still tour with a lot of hardcore bands, even being out with Silverstein and also Underoath, The Bled, Alexisonfire. So we've had a lot of hardcore bands with us on the road, we do get our fair dosage of it.
How do you guys kill the drama on tour?
Oh well! We do have a new van, which is bigger than our last van so now we all have our own personal space! So the drama hasn't really popped up, the next day it never happened. On this particular tour we have Dave with us, which is hilarious because he is not afraid to kind of smack us in line a little bit and that's what we need, we need someone who's just not always like a friend with you but also an authority figure to you know really be able to lay down the law sort of (laughs). Dave is doing a great job and there's been no drama to kill lately.
Who snores the loudest?
Definitely JD! Definitely JD, on my god! Oh man! There's even certain positions he'll get into and we'll know, it's coming like 'no, no, no don't go that way'. We try to roll him over all the time, he's so unresponsive. His snore is so out of control he sometimes snores so badly that he wakes himself up and then he looks around and we're all looking at him… He's a snoring machine, man, JD…
Would you sell your body before your guitar?
Wow! Well then, I guess to answer this but only, only! If there is no follow-up question, it all depends on which guitar!
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Victory Records (57 comments)
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