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 âRemember Right Nowâ 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 itâs good and their really good guys too. Musically I mean yeah weâre different but I mean thereâs a lot of crossover like maybe our crowd is not the exact same but itâs good. We kind of scratch each otherâs backs a little bit.
Happy, impressed with producer Sean OâKeefeâs input on production?
You worked with him before on a first EP, had you guy always wanted to go with him again?
Yeah itâs 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 weâd 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 heâs 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 âoh my god! Itâs you guys!â and I mean he didnât even really remember until we really started hanging out and preparing to record together. So yeah heâs great though, heâs come so far I mean heâs like the name that weâll always say we did it with him, even years from now Iâll always be like âoh yeah Sean!â. Heâs really gaining momentum fast, Iâm very happy for him, heâs 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 vanâ¦.
Of course yes, definitely weâve been a band since 1998 when we were in High School together and the fact that weâve progressed on this much to be where we are now, itâs just the tip of the iceberg. Itâs 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. Itâs 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 youâd never see and meet people youâd never meet. Music is the driving force for pretty much everything I do now and I love it.
Even willing to live together you mustâ¦
Oh yeah the good olâ Spital apartment, we called it the Spital pad, donât 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 recordâ¦
Sure, itâs like yeah obviously bands that are in the dreaded âemo genreâ you know you get cornered into being just all really sappy lyrics about girlfriends. And yes while we do have some of that, I canât deny it but thereâs 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 donât even realize it. Itâs a lot of past, present, future type stuff. I think we called it âRemember Right Nowâ looking at what weâre doing and where we are currently within the music sense and where friendships stand and everything, weâre always excited for whatâs going to happen and whatâs coming down the road for us. What tours we might get or people we might get to record with thatâs great but itâs not all about that. Itâs about what weâre 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 wasnât even one of those group discussions like âletâs call it this, letâs call it thatâ¦â it was seriously like âthatâs it!â
Any ideas you guys had drilled in your heads that youâd 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 âthis is your time, this is the money we are giving you and this is your producerâ¦â 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 letâs record them now. I mean weâve done demoâs, weâve even done our first full-length and EP and Iâd say this record is the most cohesive record weâve done, we really wanted to make it that. We really wanted to make it our first stamp of what weâre 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 weâre happy about it and weâre excited. But we know at the same time, the next time weâre in the studio weâll know what not to do wrong we did with this one. You know I heard all different types of reviews everyoneâs a critic from âflawless, smooth productionâ to people even said âslightly over-produced, too radio, too mainstreamâ and itâs like well you knowâ¦ 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 weâre happy about it weâre touring it hard and weâre excited to keep touring hard. And itâs 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. Itâs though but we love it and we wonât complain about it thatâs for sure. I mean thereâs obviously a big difference between sitting down with a friends whoâs 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 Iâm glad we did them because it made âRemember Right Nowâ 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, thatâs 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 Iâd 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 thatâs just how it was, the Victory Bulldog is just something we always saw. We never thought weâd be getting a voicemail saying this is âTony from Victoryâ that was beyond us so when it did happen obviously there was some cartwheels you know.
On tour would you guys say youâre a tourist-be-productive band or the must-sleep-regain-my-sanity types?
Itâs of course a little bit of both all depending where we are or with. Sometime weâve 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 itâs 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 itâs so cool and really awesome. But thereâs of course times when youâre staying with someone who you donât really know and it can be a little awkward so you donât really want to ask them to take you around. Youâre just like âIâll sleep on your floor and then Iâll get up and Iâll goâ. But then thereâs that middle-ground where you stay with someone youâve never stayed with whoâs a relative and they will have plans made up for your entire day. You just donât know weâll even be all for sleep and theyâll just be all about taking us around the town. But of course depending on how we feel, yeah weâll go out weâre definitely down for having fun and seeing new places. So yeah, weâre productive occasionally you can put that.
Must have a good embarrassing stage moment?
Oh, thereâs always embarrassing moments, every moment of my life is embarrassing (laughs). But letâs see some good ones that happened lately? Oh yeah, TJ our bass player, likes to dance a lot, heâs got a these bizarre moves and weâll love 'em so itâs okay but yeah at the end of the set he wanted to really throw himself into JDâs 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 collapsedâ¦ He fell and the drum set caved in on him, it was pathetic. It was not like âoh awesomeâ it was like âoooooo, ewwwâ you know what I mean. It looked like a bad accident on TV you donât want to watch but you want to watch because youâre 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 donât even think anyone ever noticed till I announced it, cause my guitars in the way. But you know itâs 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 doingâ¦
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 thatâ¦ even our Victory bio says âfrom the ashes of mid-west hardcore bandsâ. And itâs 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 weâve 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 thatâs 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 weâre doing now is what I love to do and this is the style of music that I really, really feel. So itâs cool and we still tour with a lot of hardcore bands, even being out with Silverstein and also Underoath, The Bled, Alexisonfire. So weâve 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 hasnât 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 thatâs what we need, we need someone whoâs 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 thereâs been no drama to kill lately.
Who snores the loudest?
Definitely JD! Definitely JD, on my god! Oh man! Thereâs even certain positions heâll get into and weâll know, itâs coming like âno, no, no donât go that wayâ. We try to roll him over all the time, heâs 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 weâre all looking at himâ¦ Heâs a snoring machine, man, JDâ¦
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!