In a couple of weeks thousands of people will be heading to Austin, TX for the annual SXSW festivities. One band you won’t find their though are the guys of The Happy Alright, even though they’re close in Dallas. While their own Sterling would love to play one day and thinks it sounds fun, his bandmate Mason is weary of the parking nightmares that are to be found there during that time. I feel him on that. I don’t even drive, but having been the passenger a million and one times in LA – I know the woes of parking in a congested area.
While you won’t get to see them there – they have some shows in the works now that they have a new album out and about to share with the world. So we talked about their latest album, pop punk and more!
Kendra: Was there any personal growth that helped the sound move forward from Esperando to Vacancies?
Sterling: The way I see it, there was both a personal growth and growth as a band. This was our first fully collaborative record in terms of writing and that in itself required us to get in each other’s heads creatively and deeper into our own as a result. Personally, writing this record was super cathartic. It felt like something that needed to happen for a long time, and now I already feel an urge to write and release even more new music.
Mason: This record really means a lot to me personally because, and I’m sure the rest of the band feels this way as well, we all spent so much time crafting every single sound collaboratively. The lyrics are much more personal to me as well because me and Sterling have been going through a lot of the same mind-sets recently with not liking our current position in life so it’s much more meaningful for me to play and listen to these songs. I also haven’t stopped writing and I want to do more every day.
Brad: I think we all have developed individually but in June we really started growing closer together as a band. We really opened up in our songwriting and didn’t really think about how it would come across; Just focused exactly on what we wanted it to sound like and what would reflect our message.
Kendra: The idea of Vacancies makes the mind wander to hotels and room service. If your latest album was a meal on the best hotels menu, which would it be and why?
Sterling: Definitely, some sort of Bed and Breakfast dish.
Mason: Except your bacon got under cooked so you’re kinda sad about it
Kendra: Sticking with that theme, what song off Vacancies would a hotel owner make room for on a fully booked night?
Sterling: I think “Throwing Darts.” It’s a pretty demanding track in a sense.
Mason: “Parking Garage” because he’d be really loud in the lobby and the hotel owner would just be like, “Oh my god okay, go in this room, just shut up”
Brad: These songs would just bring everybody down and would be pushed outside.
Kendra: I always like to get pop punk band’s opinion on the genre. It’s progressed from when I was in high school and I’m sure it will be a different scene in 10 years time, but what aspects of it do you hope never go out of style?
Sterling: There are aspects I both like AND really hate about pop punk. There’s this weird counter culture vs. popular culture battle within the genre (e.g. Green Day) that is just totally ridiculous, but in my opinion, it’s one of the things that makes it so interesting and gives it a weird longevity (despite being a relatively new genre). I hope that bands like Green Day keep trying to broaden the genre’s cultural and musical horizons. That’s what keeps a genre fresh, and pop punk is in NEED of refreshment.
Mason: I think people get really worked up about genres and what they mean, and how people need to be different, etcetera. Honestly if you genuinely try to craft a song and pay special attention to every detail, I think you’ve made a good song. It may not sound nice to some people, it may not groove in a way that others like, but if you can say with a clear conscious, “I made this, and I spent days, if not weeks, working on it so that it is exactly how I wanted it to sound,” you’ve made yourself a good song.
Kendra: Switching gears, do you guys have any upcoming tour plans?
Sterling: We do! It’s in the works at the moment. We’re gonna play a lot of places we’ve never played. Should be a really fun time.
Kendra: If you were throwing a hotel party, like on a P. Diddy level, what five songs would have to be on it?
“Smooth” – Santana feat. Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20
“For Free?” – Kendrick Lamar
“All Star” – Smash Mouth
“Crossing Field” – LiSA (yes that’s the opening theme for the first half of Sword Art Online what u gonna do about it)
“Dopesmoker” – Sleep