New Jersey based pop punk band I Call Fives are one of the fastest rising up and coming bands in the pop punk scene at the moment, and have just released their new EP, "Bad Advice", through No Sleep Records. The band’s bassist Drew and singer Jeff answered a few questions for us while they are on the road.
Start off by stating your name, what you play in I Call Fives and your current celebrity crush?
Drew: I play bass and by far it’s Hayden Panettiere
Jeff: I sing. Definitely Shannon Elizabeth
Can you give us a brief rundown of the history of the band for those who might be unfamiliar with the band?
Drew: We started the band back in the summer of 2006, so 4 years ago. Most of us had just finished high school and just wanted to have some fun and play music and see what we could do with it. We wrote a bunch of songs that became our first EP called First Things First, which we released in December 2008. Then we had some changes and Jeff joined the band that winter and became our singer. We started touring as much as possible and in May put out our latest EP called Bad Advice.
Do you have any main influences when you are writing material for the band?
Drew: I’d say it’s just the stuff I’ve been listening to ever since I was younger. Stuff like blink182, NFG, Saves the Day, that kinda stuff. I mean I’ve grown to like a ton of other music since I was 13 but this is the stuff I guess that’s stuck with me and kinda got me to really listen to music.
The band’s new EP “Bad Advice” is out now, what was the writing and recording process like for the EP?
Drew: It was a lot more different than when we did our first EP. Before we had no time frame and really had forever to write the songs and work them out, but when we did Bad Advice we were going through a new singer change and constant touring. So we had to put a timeline on writing a record..which for us was definitely a change of pace and something new. We’re starting to work on our next record now because that feeling of HAVING to pump the songs out and complete stuff in time was definitely not fun. One of the songs, "2 Days Or A Lifetime Of Failure" is actually about the process for us.
Did you do anything differently compared to when you wrote and recorded the band’s first EP?
Drew: As far as writing, nothing really changed. Myself, Ant, and Mike (our guitarists) have always written our music entirely and then helped with vocals too. So that was pretty easy for us to just continue writing songs like we knew how.
No Sleep Records released the EP, how did that deal fall into place?
Drew: I met Chris at No Sleep nearly three years ago actually through The Wonder Years. Ever since then we were able to stay in contact and definitely through the help of TWY, we were able to find a home for the EP. We’re very excited to have them put out the EP, Chris and the guys at No Sleep are absolutely great people that actually care about the bands that work with, and that’s a big deal now a days.
The EP was released as a digital release with a limited amount of CD’s, what was the reasoning behind making it mainly a digital release?
We had initially planned to self release the EP — and to keep costs low we wanted it to be a digital release. Our old EP had done well digitally but the physical copies we found not to do as well. When No Sleep came into play they were down to stick with that but to also do a limited run of physical copies as well, so we were stoked.
A lot of bands are choosing to release their material on vinyl with a digital download code, was this an idea the band had considered?
Drew: I think vinyl releases are something that should be sensitive to each band. I think when done right vinyl is an awesome thing and a great release, but for our band we would never want to solely push a vinyl release, as we still want people to check it out on CD format or if they prefer digitally. We’re actually going to be releasing the EP on vinyl in August though, through Broken Rim Records. We wanted to give it some time to push the digital and physical copies, and to release the vinyl as a limited edition sort of thing.
What has the reaction been like to the EP so far?
Drew: It’s going well. The first EP we released was weird for us, it was our first time getting our songs out of New Jersey and then beginning to tour, stuff like that. So people really didn’t know about it at first. This time around we were able to do some more as pushing the EP and we’ve been on tour alot the past couple of years — which made it a lot easier. Overall, the reaction has gone over really well and it’s an awesome feeling.
The EP’s artwork was done by Australia’s own James Devlin, what made the band decide to select James to do the artwork?
Drew: James had actually been in touch with Chris at No Sleep about working with some of the bands. He showed us his portfolio and we loved his style of work. We had just begun brainstorming for the artwork, so when we saw his previous work it just seemed like an awesome fit. I’m really happy with the job he did, James is a great guy.
The band also held a competition where you asked fans to ask you questions and you answered the questions in the form of a song, quite possibly giving them bad advice. Who came up with the idea for this competition?
Jeff: Soupy from The Wonder Years did actually. We were in New York and just played a show with them. We were talking about trying to do something different on our next release to set us apart, and Soupy just started brainstorming like crazy and we loved his ideas.
Was it hard to decide what four questions you would write the songs about?
Drew: It was a bit hard but a good portion of the questions had either been answered already or were a little too out there. We were able to break down a good 20 or 25 questions and really decide from there, it was definitely a different approach.
The four songs you chose have been released as the “Gives Bad Advice Acoustic EP)”, are you happy with the way this EP turned out?
Drew: I definitely am. We didn’t realize what we were getting into until we sat down to record the songs with our friend Greg in Maryland at Amped Recording. We had written the songs and lined them up with the questions pretty well, but it was all done so quick.
Jeff: I’m very happy, I think all four of the songs came out differently. It was good having an inspirtation from someone elses perspective and really gave us the chance to do something different.
Do you think the band will do something like this again in the future?
Drew: It’s not out of the question, we all like acoustic stuff and it was fun doing it.
Has the band been working on any new material as of late?
Jeff: We began late in the Spring just starting to write and work on a next release. We actually did a couple of demos with Kory Gable (who did both previous EPs)
When do you think we could expect to see the band release a full-length?
Drew: We’re working on it now and would like to have something out before the Fall of next year. Hopefully everything works out that way.
The band is currently on tour with Thieves & Villains, how has this tour been going so far for the band?
Drew: The tour has been going pretty well, we never really knew the guys in Thieves and Villains so it’s been cool to meet such an awesome group of people. They have been playing songs only off of their upcoming release called "South America" — it’s absolutely great and comes out on August 3rd.
Who are some bands you have been enjoying lately that we should be checking out?
Drew: Thieves & Villains, Catch Me If You Can, A Phoenix Forever, Veara, Eyes On The Prize.
Jeff: The Sheds and The Swellers have been getting alot of play in our van..plus Boyz II Men
Are any of you playing in any other bands at the moment other than I Call Fives?
Drew: None of us are.
Do you have any goals that you would like to achieve with this band?
Drew: For us, it started out to just have fun and do something different. We started the band the summer we graduated high school four years ago, so to even be in a position to put out CD’s and tour and that kind of stuff in pretty crazy. I think our main goal though is to just continue to have some fun and love what we’re doing.
If you weren’t playing in I Call Fives, what do you think you would be doing with your life at the moment?
Drew: I would have finished college this year and probably gotten a 9-5 job using my degree..uuuuuuuuugh
Jeff: I wouldn’t have dropped out of Rutgers University and would have probably finished college.
When do you think we could expect to see I Call Fives come to Australia?
Drew: To be honest I don’t really know for sure..but we’re definitely working on it and hopefully as soon as possible.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2010?
Jeff: We’re just going to continue to tour the rest of the year and work on our next release for next year.
Have you got any bad advice you could offer to anyone who reads this?
Drew: Don’t compromise who you are or what you love for anyone or anything. Live for yourself.