With two EPs and a split with Rust Belt Lights under their collective belt, New Jersey pop punkers I Call Fives have their debut full-length on the way and are set to embark on their debut Australian tour with Sydney buzz band Heroes For Hire in late October and November. We caught up with bassist Drew Conte to talk fast food, tour life and pop punk.
Hey dude, please start out by telling us your name, what you play in I Call Fives and the best fast food meal America has to offer?
I’m Drew and I play bass in I Call Fives. My favorite fast food meal is definitely the club from Zaxbys. They’re a chicken place that has awesome food but only have restaurants in the South.
Where does the name I Call Fives come from?
It’s a phrase… like saying "seat check" — If you get up from your chair and call fives then for five minutes no one can steal your seat.
I Call Fives have had a busy summer of tour at home in the US with a bunch of your friends including We Are The Union, Handguns and The Story So Far, and then The Dangerous Summer. What have the highlights of these tours been?
We were out pretty consistently this summer, it was definitely fun playing with all of those bands plus a ton others. We had a few days off in Reno, Nevada on the 4th of July with the We Are the Union guys so we all got cheap rooms and spent two days at the casinos. We played Toronto, Canada with The Dangerous Summer and that ruled too.
You guys have your first appearance down under coming up in October and November with Heroes For Hire and I Am Villain. It’s a huge run of dates right across Australia. What are you hoping from the tour?
We’re just hoping to get to play to some new people and get a good reaction. We never really thought we’d get the chance to come to Australia so for it to happen is really awesome. I hope people have a good time watching us.
What can Australian fans expect from your live show?
We’re going to play a pretty good mix of songs from our first EP, "First Things First" plus stuff from "Bad Advice" and the new split we put out. We’ve been playing some of these songs for a long time and don’t play them so much anymore, but we were stoked to get a chance to really pick whatever songs we wanted since we’re playing to a brand new crowd. Definitely going to be the last tour a couple of these songs are played on though.
The band’s last release was your split with Rust Belt Lights. How have you found the response to the new material so far?
It’s been pretty good. I think the songs are a little bit quicker and more upbeat than "Bad Advice" before it. It’s the exact sound we wanted to go for on them and I like playing the songs.
You guys of course were on tour with them and Kid Liberty towards the beginning of the year. Is that when you decided to join forces for an EP?
The split was actually thought of a few months prior through our friend Kyle at Broken Rim. It just so happened that the tour was a little bit before the release.
I’ve heard I Call Fives are thinking of putting out your debut full-length sometime in the next six months. Can you tell us a bit more about how that’s coming along?
We’ve been writing for the record for a while now and we’re just continuing to work on some new ideas and polish up some songs. It’s been good to have time to work on it and not really have a rushed feel. We expect to be back in the studio around December and to track then.
What five albums get the most airtime in the van when you dudes are on the road?
We constantly listen to 80’s and 90’s hits and stupid pop music or alternative rock songs because we like to make fun of Jeff. Otherwise a constant three for us are: Michael Jackson – "Thriller", Hall & Oates – "Greatest Hits", and Blink-182 – "The Mark, Tom, & Travis Show".
Your home state of New Jersey is a massive hotbed for pop punk and other great bands at the moment. Why do you think that is?
I’d take a guess that because there are a ton of bands in the area and constant shows it’s been easier to get into music if you’re from NJ. If you go to an area where music is less common, less local shows, etc. then it’s hard to find good bands. It’s been cool to be from here and I was lucky enough to see some cool shows at a young age.
Have you heard any young bands lately that are worth checking out?
I really like Bright & Early, they’ve been a band for maybe 2 and a half years now or so but they’re great. They’re from South Jersey as well.
Cheers for your time man! Any last thoughts or shout outs?
Check us out when we come down under! Thanks for checking this out and thanks for having me.