Drew of I Call Fives’ Hot Topics

Imagine having to sell an elderly man a Christmas gift for his grandson while a vulgar Rap song infests the atmosphere. That’s just one incident in I Call Fives’ bassist, Drew life in the past two weeks he’s been working at Hot Topic. And while having a job in this economy is a highlight, it can’t compare to I Call Fives being the newest member of the Pure Noise family.

After letting Drew vent about his job, we dove into the classroom. Drew assured college of the community variety, was a part of all the I Call Fives lives…but when it came time to choose between touring and transferring to a university, well you can tell which route was travelled.

They’ve done the initiation process of band life; three weeks on the road at a time playing any and everywhere, selling CDs to local mallrats, basically doing what needed to be done. In the end, they put out a pair of EPs, went through numerous line-ups and are contributing to a Movielife tribute CD in 2012 (I’m too stoked on this). What else can we expect from I Call Fives though? How about a full length?

Kendra: When you shift from one label to the next, do you treat it like a relationship break up?

Drew:  No, I think maybe because of our background, like when we met up with No Sleep, The Wonder Years had been with them for a while, and The Wonder Years were always close with Chris at No Sleep. And we needed to put the EP out and we didn’t have a label, so I wouldn’t say that he signed us with a favor but because of Soupy’s relationship, and The Wonder Years relationship with No Sleep, they kind of eased us into a relationship with No Sleep. So in a way he put it out and definitely did us a huge favor because otherwise we would’ve been self-releasing it. So it was awesome to have a home for the EP, but we didn’t have a real lengthy contract with them, so the EP kind of came and went and that was it. So it was a smooth transition, no hard feelings because it was just a one off just for them to do the EP. So it was time for both of us to either to the record together or go different ways and it just didn’t work out.

Kendra: So you’re kind of like high school sweethearts that had to go separate ways when it came time for college?

Drew: It was like we got drunk and had fun on a Friday night.

Kendra: Is Paul Leavitt bringing something different to your guys sound? He’s got The Dangerous Summer and Senses Fail under his belt, which is kind of far from what I know as I Call Fives.

Drew: The reason I heard of Paul Levitt a few years ago was because of All Time Low’s EP Put Up Or Shut Up. It was their first release on Hopeless that kind of put them on the map and they’re from Baltimore and we’re from the Philly area so we’d heard about them pretty early on. The reason I head of those guys was because Paul Levitt was on the record and the cool story that everyone was saying was that he did it out of his parents’ house. So this was in 2006, so this was a while ago. And the way that EP sounded was fantastic and he’s come a long way, he’s got his own studio. The Dangerous Summer have a more mature sound and Senses Fail is obviously a heavier band. In that abstract I don’t think that anything’s going to change for us, but it’s great because Paul has experience with not just pop punk or not just Senses Fail screamo, whatever they are. So ultimately he’s done our style and I mean that EP by All Time Low is probably one of the better pop punk EPs, so I don’t know. I’m interested to work with him and curious as to what it’s going to sound like because I really don’t know because we really haven’t ever done anything with him. He mastered both of our last releases but as far as being one on one with him, that hasn’t happened yet.

Kendra: So out of the 11 or so songs you have written for the LP, are there any gems so far that you’re itching to play live?

Drew: Honestly I’m excited to play most of them just because our first EP came out almost three years ago, and some of those songs are really old. When we first came out of high school, so this wil be almost six and half years later, so some of these songs we’ve literally been playing for years. So it’s going to be awesome to play new ones especially since we’ve had member changes. So to play new songs, it’s more of a reflection of who the band is in 2011/2012; it’ll just be a lot more fun. It’s great to play the songs that we have and it’s fun of course but there’s kind of a point where you’re like, shit, I’m ready to play some new songs.

Kendra: Do you guys ever do any covers since you’ve been a band so long with a set amount of songs?

Drew: When we were younger we used to do covers just because. Early on we didn’t have a release out so we would always have these songs that weren’t on a record, so people generally didn’t even know our songs. If you knew our songs it was only because you’d seen us enough times live. It wasn’t on iTunes, it wasn’t really out there. so early on we used to cover Saves The Day “Shoulder to the Wheel,” and we covered a covered a Movielife song.

Kendra: Which Movielife one?

Drew: “Hand Grenade,” but we’re going to be doing a song for a Movielife tribute that’s coming out in the summer. We’re covering “It’s Something” off 40 Hour Train Ride to Penn.  And one time for Halloween, this is like four or five years ago we did an entire New Found Glory set and for a while we covered “My Friends Over You.” But the point we’re at with that now is that it was always really, really fun to play but six years in, it’s not really as fun to cover New Found Glory as much as it was the first year. I mean we love New Found Glory and if it wasn’t for them we probably wouldn’t even be a band, but covering songs now, it kind of lost the appeal from when you were 18 or 19. It was fun because people actually reacted to the song. Now you want people to react to your songs.

Kendra: Does I Call Fives dream of being one of those bands who could sell out Madison Square Garden, or will you guys be happy playing HOB sized venues forever like NFG?

Drew: I don’t think you can really set out to um, Blink-182 I’m sure when they set out they really had no idea that it would become that way for them. And if that ever happened for us, I’d love for that and I don’t think anybody would really truly mean that they don’t want to play stadiums. I’m sure it’s way less intimate and way less cool compared to House of Blues. At the end of the day if you’re playing a stadium to thousands of people and on a money factor and a career factor that’s just a whole other level.

If we ever even reached the status to play a House of Blues thing on a regular basis, even that would be phenomenal. I’m sure New Found Glory isn’t exactly bummed because they didn’t get to play Lincoln Financial Field. My only thing is if you can have fun and make progress on a musical level and on a fan level then it helps to play. If you can grow your crowd and you can as a band I wouldn’t see why you wouldn’t want the experience to continue to grow. Sure I’d love to be in Blink’s shoes one day but the likelihood of that, I don’t really see that happening. But that would be great, but if it ended up being just House of Blues stuff that would be great too.

Kendra: Okay now you’re the first person I’m going to give a choice to for the last one. Everyone we talk to has to make a mixtape, but you get to choose what kind you want to make. Would you like to make me one of your top 5 songs from 2006 or a New Year’s Eve Party Mix?

Drew’s Senior Year Mixtape: 2006
The Postal Service “Recycled Air
Fall Out Boy “Saturday
Yellowcard “Way Away
Less Than Jake “She’s Gonna Break Soon
MXPX “Chick Magnet

Originally published on Dec 19, 2011

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