Come mid-October Orange County’s Dreams of Vertigo is going to be dropping Reject University, Pt. 2: From Six 2 Midnight. With it comes their “no limit” mentality, their fine tuned approach to pop punk and their personal touch to every word laid out on every track. Their own Doug Ferguson sat down to talk about all of the above plus their distaste for “pay to play” venues, working with a pop punk legend and more.
Kendra: You say you have one rule in this band and it’s “no limits,” but are you sure there isn’t just one more rule floating around when it comes to you guys be it at practice or when you’re on the road?
Doug Ferguson: As far as no rules…that really applies to creating music. We don’t limit ourselves or our music. When we sit down and practice though, things get serious (at least occasionally). We try to create music that makes us all happy. If we don’t like it, it gets tossed.
Kendra: You guys are big advocates against the “pay to play” deal that some venues have in place. What are you doing to try and stop that not only in the OC scene, but elsewhere as well?
Doug: It’s about education. Telling new bands that they don’t have to sell $500 worth of tickets to play a shitty venue on a Tuesday when the promoter doesn’t promote. It’s about showing bands that there are lots of places you can have shows for free if you are just starting up. It’s about educating them about the truth behind pay to play. Pay to play is never good, we have never done it, so why do other bands have to? It makes no sense to fork out $500 to play a show in front of nobody, when you can use that money to pay for recording, or a music video, or anything that will benefit your band and your sound.
Kendra: Working with Mike of MxPx had to have been a dream come true. Did he instill any life lessons you’ll take with you forever?
Doug: Absolutely. I’ve had the chance to hang out with Mike after and he’s taught me a lot about how to be in a band. How to promote your band, how to carry yourself. The thing about Mike Herrera is he is one of the biggest pop punk stars in the world, yet you would never know it by how he carries himself. He has no ego, he doesn’t think he’s better than you. It’s like he is this big mega star but nobody told him yet.
Kendra: Examiner said this band is destined for “stardom.” When you hear things like that, do you think…pressure much?
Doug: Not really. Honestly, nothing anyone outside of the four of us say could possibly pressure us more than we pressure ourselves. We try to push ourselves and make music we are happy about. If people like it, cool. If not, at least we are making music that inspires us. We don’t worry about being big music stars. We worry about making good music.
Kendra: I read a real life experience was behind the inspiration for “An (Un)easy Goodbye.” Are all or most of your songs taken from reality?
Doug: Yes. When I sit down to write lyrics it’s all from either personal experience or speaking through the eyes of someone I know. That’s the only way to do it for me. I can’t sit down and write a song about making money and getting bitches, and having a new car because…well I’m a musician, and I’m poor, and I’m funny looking.
Kendra: You guys really wanted to shed a light on depression and suicide in the video for that song. In the future, would you be interested in teaming up with a organization that focuses on that as well?
Doug: Absolutely. The sad part of “Uneasy” is that it’s spoken from experience. Thoughts of suicide and depression is something that way too many people I know have experienced. To be able to team up with someone that understands that, and is willing to help create a sense of hope for people is something we would definitely be interested in.
Kendra: Maybe it’ll be in time for the release of your new album this October. We have a little taste of what to expect but what else is on the table with Reject University, Pt 2: From Six 2 Midnight?
Doug: Don’t expect the same record as Part One. Part Two is poppy, it’s aggressive, it’s angry, it’s sad. It’s something we have never done. I’d say it has a dark overtone but people will be surprised I think when this record comes out.
Kendra: Will you be playing shows leading up to the release or after?
Doug: Yes, we are going to always be playing shows because that’s why we are in this band. We love getting on stage and playing for people. We have a couple small tours set up, then of course we will announce our EP release show very soon too.
Kendra: Looking you over and seeing all you’ve done – you guys have this activist spirit. With that, if you had to make a mixtape for a rally, what five songs would have to be on it?
Doug: Oh wow, that’s a hard question…Probably a lot of Mest. Some Blink, throw in some A7X, and end it with some MxPx. Or maybe throw a curve and put on some Beach Boys.