Moments after New Brunswick, N.J.-based quartet, Let Me Run, finished what they described as the "biggest set" of their young, promising careers – opening for The Gaslight Anthem and The Bouncing Souls at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, N.J. – Travis Omilian (vocals, guitar), Trevor Reddell (drums), Louis Barbiere (bass) and Corey Perez (guitar) sat with Punknews.org interviewer Zack Zeigler to discuss their performance, their new record, Meet Me at the Bottom, the way New Brunswick shaped their music, and just how drunk Louis got the night before the most important performance of their lives.
I feel like I donât even have to ask anything. You guys all look like you have something to sayâ¦
Travis: Weâre stoked. Weâre in a good place. I feel like tonight we accomplished something. I feel like weâre on a good stream right now; weâre all pretty amped.
Louis: Yeah, itâs definitely a big deal. We never played anywhere, well, nothing like this capacity, this is a sold-out show. Itâs important to get our name out there, and this is a chance for people to come see us live. I mean, we have people on the Internet listening to us, but this was a lot different.
Travis: This was a big opportunity. We were stoked The Bouncing Souls asked us to be part of this. I mean - Trevor shit his pants.
Trevor: Literally. I framed those underwear. [Laughs]
Louis: Iâve been listening to The Bouncing Souls since I was 13 years old, Trevor as well, so to be on a bill with them was awesome. You know? Thatâs all I can ask for. I donât even care if anyone came [to the show]. To me, that was incredible.
How did you prepare tonight? Travis, I didnât want to mention it before the show, but you looked a little stressedâ¦
Travis: I was good once I got a sandwich.
Trevor: The catering was unbelievable.
Louis: Whatever company it was, it was so good.
Corey: Definitely not used to it, but I could [get used to it].
Travis: This show was awesome because we could bring so many friends with us. Our buddy Chris came up from Virginia yesterday.
Trevor: He slept on our couch and listened to Louis vomit.
Louis: I got really drunk last night. I never get that drunk, but last night thatâs how I quietly dealt with it.
Trevor: Louis coped with the drink. [Laughs]
Travis: I tried to get a little drunk before we played, but I had four beers or so and I said, "I donât want to get drunk." I was a little nervous during the first song but after that I was fine.
Louis: Itâs nerve-wracking because we know a lot of people havenât seen us before, and as soon as the first chord hits we knew those people were going to judge us. I know Iâve done it. Iâve seen a band play and heard them play a note and said, "No thanks." But then Iâve listened to them later and Iâve been like, "Fuck, theyâre awesome."
Trevor: Nerves can destroy you.
Louis: [To Trevor] You had some butterflies.
Trevor: Well, I have sleeping problems, I suppose, but last night was cool because it felt like Christmas Eve. I just wanted to go and rock out onstage. I wanted to be in that momentâ¦ and then I was like, well I have ten hours.
Corey: I was a little nervous, and it didnât sink in until we were about to play.
There were people lined up to watch The Bouncing Souls warm up more than three hours before doors even opened. Do you, or can you, picture that scene for Let Me Run down the line?
Trevor: I think thatâs in the back of everyoneâs head thatâs in a band. Youâre lying if you say youâre not trying to be a huge rock star or whatever, but this is the first time that weâve all been in a band with a record being put out nationally, so itâs grounded us on our goals. Weâre conscious on where we want to go, but now weâre a bit more careful for what goals we set for ourselves. We arenât looking to take over the world or anything; we just want as many people to hear our music as possible.
Louis: Thereâs really no time to think about that because weâre just thinking of making the best music we can. Itâs not like we have an agenda, like weâre saying, "Today weâre going to get X-number of fans." You know? Weâre just doing what we want to do, and if other people like it, thatâs cool.
Ultimately, what is it youâre looking to accomplish through your music?
Corey: Weâre all about having fun. Weâve all been in bands that havenât gotten done as much as weâd like to have done. We just donât want to be home, and we want to experience the world and play good music that we hope other people like. Thatâs what Let Me Run is all about. Travis and Trevor came up with the name, Let Me Run, which is, you know, about being free and just going with it.
Trevor: Side note on the name. [Laughs]
Corey: We just want to have a good time. If something else comes of it, thatâs great.
Travis: No regrets.
Corey: Yeah, no regrets.
Louis: Even if I wasnât in a band Iâd still be in my garage playing shit, so itâs just awesome that we have a venue that people can hear is. I donât know, it all worked out.
You mentioned breakdowns from other bands led you all to form Let Me Run. Would you credit those experiences with leading you guys to where youâre at today?
Travis: We pretty much met each other through other bands, so we got to see who were the go-getters or whatever, and it was cool because we met each other andâ¦ are we best friends? [Looks at Louis, Trevor and Corey and laughs]
Trevor: Weâre brothers. [Laughs]
Louis: Well, some of us are best friends. [Laughs]
Trevor: That question right there, I donât think any of the other bands that we were in ever failed. Thatâs not the case at allâ¦
I didnât use the word failed; I said breakdowns.
Louis: My old band failed. [Laughs]
Trevor: Well, maybe Travis feels different, and maybe Corey feels different, but you just reach a ceiling where youâre not mature enough musically and personally to break through that ceiling, and weâre trying to bear down and see where we can take it.
I understand, itâs about development. So has that development, whether itâs been with this band or any of your previous bands, been such a hard-fought process that you to want to walk away? To simplify it: Have you ever just wanted to quit out of frustration?
Travis: I havenât, no.
Louis: Iâd keep playing no matter what. I donât care if people think it sucks or whatever, but the fact that we have an audience right now is awesome. But Iâd still play regardless. I mean, everyday I know Corey plays no matter whatâ¦
Travis: Itâs one of those things where, if we didnât want to do it, we wouldnât do it. Iâm quitting my job in March. Itâs the biggest decision Iâve had to make, and Iâm like, fuck it, letâs do it. [For those wondering: Travis is a teacher. In his words: "I teach bad kids from Trenton; kids with emotional disturbances, so I donât feel bad about giving it up."]
So come March, Let Me Run will then be your sole focus?
Travis: It will be for all of us. Weâre going to try to do as much as we can for as long as we can. You only live once, you know?
Louis: As Trevor said, weâve been in bands where thereâs been a ceiling, and our ceiling now is much higher, so why not try to go as far as we can?
Trevor: Itâs like, everything happened with this band just as naturally as any of our other bands; you get together with some friends and then you write some songs, then maybe something didnât work out and then maybe I come in â¦ thatâs just what weâre doing. Weâre just trying to play. Nothing is forced. Nobody is telling us to do certain things. Weâre just doing what we like to do and not answering for it all. And if people dig it, they dig it. Itâs awesome to have people backing you. In some other bands, there were people who enjoyed it, but now we have people backing us.
Louis: Weâre not trying to conform to anything right now. I feel like, not to say that a lot of music is forced, but weâre very honest with our music, and we are making the music we make. I think that music is in a weird p lace. All of the genres are so worried about it, and we try to be honest and some people, it just hits home with them. They see us and theyâre like, "Oh, thatâs cool; theyâre doing what they want to do."
A lot of bands start out with the goal of maintaining that control, and then they start making records and the focus shifts, which tends to alienates a lot fans. Did you encounter this type of pressure, or are you worried you might at some point in time?
Travis: Yeah, like "Work with this writer." Or, "Scream here."
Exactly. Have you guys encountered that?
Travis: No. Jason Small from XOXO Records signed us because he wanted to sign us. He doesnât "direct" us. And heâs says heâs stoked with how the record [Meet me at the Bottom, out Jan. 20] came out and weâre also stoked about it.
Louis: He [Small] has faith in what weâre doing. He didnât say, "Make a fucking rap album or anything."
Trevor: Take a look at his band roster and you wonât see 12 punk bands in a row. You see the Beat Strings, The Gaslight Anthem, and then you see us, and itâs like, all those bands sound different. Although some people say that we sound like The Gaslight Anthemâ¦
Really? I didnât get that impression.
Trevor: Well, weâre from New Brunswick, and thereâs so many bands from New Brunswick, so of course weâre going to draw influence from some of those bands. But you learn how to make music by listening to someone else. Itâs not like weâre trying to be some other band though.
Travis: For the record, if we could sound like another band, weâd sound like Dead to Me. Well, Louis and I would anyway.
What does 2009 have in store for Let Me Run?
Corey: Well, after Travis quits his job in March, weâre going full-time. If it works out, it works out. If not, then not. I mean, we hope it works out.
Trevor: We like playing our songs, and we want to keep doing it. I donât want to do anything but [play in] this band.
Louis: Our record, Meet me at the Bottom, comes out Jan. 20, and weâre just going to go as hard as we can. We hopefully have a Europe tour set up for the future.
Travis: Jan. 20 the record comes out, and weâll be on tour March 4 through April 11 in the Midwest and the South and Eastern seaboard. Come out and have a good time.
Louis: We also have limited edition 7" vinyl from Devildance Records, too.
The interview is briefly halted when Bouncing Souls drummer Michael McDermott approaches Travis, Louis, Trevor and Corey to give them his thoughts on their set -- his words were positive and congratulatory.
Corey: Stuff like that is really cool. [Referring to McDermottâs encouragement] I feel like, for me, and Louis and I were talking about this before, weâve accomplished more than we ever thought we would as a band already. At this level weâre playing at, we just started and thereâs so much more out there. It really blows my mindâ¦ what weâre doing, what weâre going to be doing, what we could be doing. Iâm just so happy to be involved.
Louis: Thatâs the thing - we havenât done a shit load of stuff, but from other bands I was in - Iâve done everything I wanted to do [in Let Me Run]. We put out a record, we put out vinyl, weâve toured, and when I was younger, thatâs all I ever wanted to do. I donât want to stop. But if I did, I wouldnât be upset with anything I did in this band.
On your XOXO Records profile, Jawbreaker and Hot Water Music are listed as influences. Got any others?
Louis: Oh man, thereâs a shitload.
Travis: Bruce Springsteen. Iâd give my left testicle [to play with him]. Heâs fucking awesome. Heâs just so inspirational, his storytelling. Iâm speechless. The song for "The Wrestler" soundtrack - awesome.
Louis: I love the Descendents. Even from a bass player standpoint; their bass player, Karl Alvarez, heâs fucking awesome. I remember seeing them and thinking, "Damn, heâs fucking good."
Corey: I listened to a lot of harder stuff. I used to pay in hardcore bands that were just a fun time, but Iâm more heavily influenced by older, local bands, like Benny [Horowitz] from Gaslight Anthemâs old band, The Low End Theory. That was a huge influence on me, and itâs actually what got me playing guitar. So to play in a genre thatâs taking it to the next level with bands that were from New Brunswick - like, being from there, being based out of New Brunswick has meant a lot to me in terms of what Iâm always around and what I grew up next to.
Travis: It was pretty much the best place for this band to start. It was great. So many kids opened up their basements and let us jump in on shows. It was awesome. Good town.
Louis: Everyone there has been awesome to us. Iâve played shows, personally, where people have been like, "Get out!" But everyone in New Brunswick was always so nice.
Corey: I guess to say the least, weâve been heavily influenced by New Brunswick.
Louis: Exactly. Thatâs why I like when people draw comparisons. Theyâll say Gaslight, Bouncing Soulsâ¦
Corey: They say Thursday.
Louis: And I fucking love all those bands! And itâs not so much a style or a type of music, but I think itâs New Brunswick style of music. Itâs what we all grew up with, and itâs just the sound of the city.
Trevor: I donât really care when I hear people say we sound like this band, even if itâs in a negative connotation, I donâtâ care because you know what - having your band in the same sentence as your heroâs band is pretty fucking awesome. Thereâs no denying, itâs a pretty good feeling. Itâs like, OK Iâm at some caliber, maybe, that struck a chordâ¦
Travis: I think the fact that theyâre making a comment is awesome.