One of the best up and coming indie bands on the scene, Modern Baseball have created a name for themselves through their quirky and unique sound, both in the States and overseas. Their sophomore album, ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ recently dropped in Australia. As fans await for the band to venture over here, we caught up with frontman Brendan Lukens to talk about the record, songwriting and the concept of genre labels.
How did it feel to have ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ out in America for so long, yet have it only just come out over here?
It’s odd, because we’ve had people tweeting us from Australia for months saying stuff like, “This New record is so great, blah blah,” or “Loving the new Modern Baseball record.”New Modern Baseball record? Did I go and put that online? (Laughs)
See now, I have a hard time trying to describe you guys, in fact I can’t. At all. So how would you describe ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ in terms of genres and sounds?
Well on our Facebook it says, “WHAT DE KWANNN??” which is basically, “what the fuck?” We don’t really have any idea! A lot of people say pop-punk but I like to say indie ‘cause we’re poppy in a sense I guess. I would just say indie-pop. Or I don’t know. I REALLY don’t know.
Do you think that by having that hard to describe sound, it’s attributed to your band’s success?
Totally. We get put into a lot of genres and a lot of scenes. We get emo, indie, pop, rock and it’s really attributed to our success. It’s also really cool to see a lot of different people like us, seeing as we don’t put a name on us as we don’t really know what to call us! It’s nice to just let people decide for themselves and then see them come along to our shows.
So you write the lyrics in the band I take it…
Myself and the other song writer Jake, we do the lyrics and we split the songs. With ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’, it was definitely more planned musically. But with the lyrics I will just sit down when I’m “feeling it”. I’ll write a song and go back to it and make sure I’m doing nothing dramatically incorrect, give it a proof read pretty much! But the main thing for me is to hold nothing back. Say whatever I want and deal with the consequences later.
Like on ‘Your Graduation’ where you say “Bullshit, you fucking miss me.”
Yes! I definitely got a phone call for that! (Laughs)
What inspired you to write this really off-beat, odd sound that you can’t describe? What made you go, “okay, let’s play it like that.”
When Jake and I still lived in Maryland we began talking about the band, Jake was a senior in high school and I was going into my freshman year of college. We had met the year prior when I was dating his twin sister.
Far out! (Laughs)
(Laughs) Yeah, I know. Anyway, to get back to the main point of the story; our town had two genres. Metalcore and pop-punk. We appreciated pop-punk and we could enjoy a good breakdown, but it just wasn’t for us. We wanted to start our own thing that was separate and not a give a fuck about what anyone else thought and just write what we wanted to write.
I’m really proud of ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’, it’s definitely my best song writing to date. I can always feel myself improving just by the way it sounds, I think it sounds really good which helps your ego. (Laughs)
I really want to ask this question, because it’s been bugging me for a year or so: Why did you call it Modern Baseball because that makes no sense to me at all?
(Laughs) It has nothing to do with us really or who we are. Jake and I knew we wanted to write songs together and that we made sense [doing that]. We have the same influences and writing style, he’s just a better song-writer than I am. (Laughs) When we were naming the band, we knew it would be between I’m Dirty Dan, which is a Spongebob [Squarepants] reference or Modern Baseball. Jake used to live in his dad’s basement/office and his dad is a School Superintendent and was a P.E teacher. His dad had this book called ‘Modern Baseball Techniques’. I always tell people we just cut techniques as it’s too long and wordy.
That’s an interesting story ‘cause I always thought it was a play-on of American Football.
(Laughs) Oh yeah, we got that immediately as soon as we started but the funny secret is that I didn’t listen to ‘American Football’ until after [our debut album] ‘Sports’ came out!
Oh wow, the emos will kill you.
(Laughs) I know, that’s why I never told anyone but I like the record so hopefully they’ll let me off.
Well, Brendan, thanks so much for your time, it’s much appreciated.
Thanks, Matt. Was a good chat.
Read our review here.