Features Interviews Modern Life Is War

Interviews: Modern Life Is War

ScenePointBlank: You're writing about your own hometown, and even though people aren't from that town, they can still connect being from small towns.

Jeffrey: Exactly. Like I said before, I think it's the same feeling everywhere, whether you're in a rich suburb or you're in a trailer court or you're in NYC or Brooklyn. I think the sentiment is kinda the same. That's what I want to try to get out, the pressures in life here, the pressures of life everywhere for kids in our generation are kinda the same and that's why we feel the way we feel.

ScenePointBlank: What were the major music influences for this album?

Jeffrey: I don't really have an answer to that. We've had certain common influences in the past, but I feel like on this record we've gotten to a point where we're really just writing from the gut and we all have a common idea of what sounds good and what doesn't sound good. I think just because of that this record is going to be so much more awesome, so much more unique that it's going to be harder to compare it to things that are going on right now, things out there. Our obvious influences that have been our band I think have kind of dwindled on this record, that maybe be a good thing or maybe a bad thing. I'm really proud of the fact that I feel like this record is entirely original and that you're not going to find anything else or hear anything else that sounds like it or the lyrics read like that or anything. The influences are kinda few and far between with us. Right now we're going by our gut and seeing what comes out of us.

ScenePointBlank: What were some of the obvious influences before?

Jeffrey: Well, I think we just got compared a lot to contempory bands that were playing at the time, like The Hope Conspiracy, The Suicide File, Give Up The Ghost, there was always a Tragedy influence definitely, I guess maybe some older bands like Husker Du, Descendents, or Black Flag, the melodic elements of it or the real punky raw elements of it as far Black Flag and bands like that go. I think those were the ones that really stuck out before. I don't feel like we've abandoned those kinds of sounds, but we've just made shit our own more than in the past.

ScenePointBlank: When will you guys be recording for the upcoming album?

Jeffrey: We actually go in two days after Christmas, December 27. We're going to a studio called The Volume in Chicago to track the bass and drums. After that we're going off to God City and spend eleven or twelve days there to do guitars, vocals and all the mix down out there. So it'll be done by January 12. After that we'll get in the process of all the layout and all that kind of stuff. I don't have a projected date for when it's going to be out right now, but that's when we're going to record it.

ScenePointBlank: In a recent interview I read with Jake Bannon, he mentioned working with Modern Life Is War among many other bands on Deathwish Records. Is this an indication that Modern Life Is War is on Deathwish?

Jeffrey: Yeah, we are signed to Deathwish right now. They expressed interest in our band since we started, which I think is the coolest thing about it. Jake and Trey were both at our first Boston show at the Berwick, we played with The Hope Conspiracy our very first summer as a band. They were both there and both talked to us that night. I think we've come to a point where that's the label we want to work with. I think it feels really good because it's a label that we've always felt was cool and always respected for their aesthetics, their work effort, their morals and their variety of bands on their roster. I just think it's cool that we've reached a point where we can be a band that contributes as much to a label like that as they can contribute to us, which I don't think would've been the case if we put our first record out on Deathwish. I guess what I'm saying is that I really feel it's something that's been a long time coming and I think it's something we all really earned, which we're all proud of.

ScenePointBlank: After recording, do you guys have any plans for upcoming tours, or are you not thinking about that yet?

Jeffrey: We have been talking about it, but I'm not sure what we're going to do at this point. There's been talk of a US tour in the spring and there's been talk of going over to the UK to play a few weeks over there. So I'm just not sure right now. I think we'll be touring throughout the spring, but not really extensively. And then once summertime hits, we're gonna definitely do a full US, a full Europe again, and then pretty much go anywhere else in the world where it'll take us. We want to tour really extensively off this record. Once summertime comes and our record is out, we're gonna go everywhere we can. If you want to see us then, you won't miss us.

ScenePointBlank: Definitely a Gilman show?

Jeffrey: Yeah, for sure, Gilman's always great.

ScenePointBlank: I've heard a lot about the 'barn' shows in your hometown, do you have any crazy stories about from there?

Jeffrey: I don't know if I have any crazy stories. Yeah, there's a garage called the F.U.K. garage, which stands for For Us Kids. It's a house that I originally lived in with a friend of mine, Josh. We basically rented the house so we could use the garage to do shows. We soundproofed the garage with mattresses and other things like carpets. We had a little PA set up in there. So over the last couple of years we brought a lot of touring bands through and we played there on a fairly regular basis. It's kind of our home base more or less. My friend Nick Yacht cracked his skull there one time, that's a pretty good story. We had this little mini trampoline that we bounced off of, slide over a few people, and slammed into some mattresses on the wall. This fucking kid flies straight up into the air and comes down on his head. He was unconscious and didn't know where he was at in the living room. We took him into the emergency room and they said he cracked his skull. We're all pretty proud of having a venue where a kid cracked their skull. Not that we're violent people, but it was very punk rock and cool.

ScenePointBlank: What do you when you're on tour for thirty nights in a row and you're screaming every night, what do you do to keep your voice going?

Jeffrey: I don't do anything, but I've never had that much of a problem with my voice going out, knock on wood. But I don't really have any method about it. I've tried different things, but nothing has proved itself to me that it makes any kind of a difference. I've tried hot tea and all of those different kinds of home remedies. As you know my voice isn't pretty anyways, so for me it's more of a matter of just getting so psyched every night that I can scream. I don't have any kind of a method. I wish there was something that I could be like, "If you do this and this, your voice will hold up for a whole tour." But I don't think there's anything out there like that. There's something you can buy called slippery elm bark lozenges, you can buy them at health food stores. That's the probably the best thing I found to do right before a show to get your pipes working. That's about all I know.

ScenePointBlank: What have been your favorite places to play?

Jeffrey: I'll just be random about it. Gilman St. definitely is one of the best places I've ever played. Just because the vibe at the shows is always really cool, everyone is down to have a good time and check out bands. I don't really think there are attitudes at Gilman. I love the way the stuff at Gilman runs shit, I love how it's volunteer run. When you play a show at Gilman St. at the end of the night they do a breakdown of how much money came in and how much money the bands are getting. If a band isn't getting paid as much as the headlining band, they can give fifty bucks to the opening band, they can do that out of their cut right in front of everyone. I just love the way that place is run. That's one of the main reasons why that is one of my favorite venues around. Playing CBGBs in New York City was definitely a cool experience just because you're sharing a stage that Warzone, Bad Brains, The Ramones, Talking Heads, and The Clash have all played on. That's just a fucking cool experience to be a dorky punk rock kid and be able to play CBGBs. It's just something you don't think could really happen. That was definitely a cool thing. We get to play there with Kill Your Idols, a great New York City band, it doesn't get much better than that. But some of the more random places we've played have been some of my favorites too. There's a place called The Hammerhouse in Las Vegas that is a junkyard where there's these three sided huts basically. We played there. It's right across the street from the Nevada State Women's Penitentiary and the light from the penitentiary light up where you're playing. There's old rusted out cars sitting around and shit like that. I enjoy playing shows like that too, where there's a really cool weird scene. And you're just like, "I can't believe we're playing in a junkyard across from a prison right now." Shows like that definitely get me off too.

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Words by Zed on Oct. 16, 2010, 11:05 a.m.

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Posted by Zed on Oct. 16, 2010, 11:05 a.m.

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