Scene Point Blank: First, how many Fests have you played, and what sticks out to you most about coming back each year?
Todd Congelliere: I'm pretty sure this will be our sixth Fest. Playing the Fest is always one of the best shows on tour so that's a pretty big reason. Plus getting sick from too much fun has to be a good thing, right?
Scene Point Blank: Who are you most excited to see?
Todd Congelliere: The bands I get most excited about are usually the surprises. Besides them I always look forward to Dillinger 4 and The Arrivals. I play movies and records over and over and over again?so what!
Scene Point Blank: Will you be touring on your way to Gainesville? I know last year you ran into some difficulties in getting there.
Todd Congelliere: Yes, Underground Railroad to Candyland will tour around the country to get to Fest. We would tour otherwise but it makes most sense to do a full USA tour in October due to Fest. Rest assured, we will go hours out of our way to avoid driving through Georgia!
Scene Point Blank: Is it hard to tour the Southeast in October, with 150 other bands trying to book shows?
Todd Congelliere: Not really. It is actually fun ?cause you know there will at least be people there ?cause so many bands are playing those particular shows. No one really gets paid too much, but hey.
Scene Point Blank: What separates The Fest from other festivals?
Todd Congelliere: Well, the people that do it is one of the main reasons why this one is so good. They are music fans first and foremost and they love a good time, pay bands very generously, and are badass family. I got all my sisters with me, dude!
Scene Point Blank: The Toys That Kill tour schedule the past couple years has largely been festivals and California. Is this a long-term plan, or is it just what works until Chachi and Sean finish other projects?
Todd Congelliere: Yeah, with Toys That Kill we can't really tour with their schedules and there are a ton of fests nowadays. People invite us to them and usually they are very fun. It's not a plan at all, but for some reason it works. Toys That Kill usually get flown out for ?em, so we can't complain on that. URTC will do a non-fest tour sometime next year - if that's even possible.
Scene Point Blank: Are you working on new material? Last year's Fest compilation mentioned a Toys that Kill split with Dear Landlord. What happened to that release?
Todd Congelliere: Dear Landlord used their songs for their album and I had trouble even finding extra songs that we had. Okay, I was lazy. No Idea is going to use ?em for a Grabass split 12". Toys That Kill aren't working on anything new. URTC is done with a new album.
Scene Point Blank: Since you're active in so many bands, how does your writing process vary for Toys That Kill? Is there anything different besides the band members?
Todd Congelliere: I haven't been writing anything new for Toys That Kill due to us not being in full action mode. Sean uses his songs for his new band: That's Incredible. We feel there is no rush to do anything new. Whenever I come up with a new song I usually think, "This is a Candyland song or this is that or that is this". I ask Jimmy when I don't know what home it belongs to since he drums in all these bands.
Scene Point Blank: How do you replicate the sloppy live feel in the studio instead of getting a clean and poppy feel on your records?
Todd Congelliere: It's not that hard. Trust me.
Scene Point Blank: Do you have a day job?
Todd Congelliere: No. Well I just do Recess Records during the day?and night?and morning.
Scene Point Blank: FYP was a pretty prolific band, whereas Toys That Kill has only released a few full-lengths in nearly a decade. Was it a conscious decision to slow things down?
Todd Congelliere: Nah, it just slowed down naturally. Life happened, I guess. Dudes need to make a living and sometimes that's more important. That's why I became a band-starting slut. My job allows me to always want to play some form of music. I'm very lucky and I'm riding it while I can. And I don't expect my friends to always be able to do it. When they can it's awesome! Not that Toys That Kill is breaking up or a new album is 100% out of the question, but I've always been fond of three-album bands. So if we don't do another album I will still feel like we did something really great?for us at least.
Scene Point Blank: Are there limitations to what Toys That Kill will do that cause you to bring a song to Underground Railroad, Bible Children, or solo?
Todd Congelliere: Well there are Candyland songs that could've been Toys That Kill songs but it's really impossible to know that for a fact or not. If me, Jimmy, Chachi and Sean grabbed a beer (just one- - to share) and said, "Let's do a new album." Then I would have it in the back of my head that whatever song comes out next could be a Toys That Kill song. A lot of solo songs become Bible Children songs, so that kind of goes hand and hand. Plus, I'd rather do more of Isaac's songs in Bible Children, so there is no songwriting pressure. Actually, I have never felt any sort of songwriting pressure. There are either songs or there's not. If there's not, then there is no reason to do anything. It's always been a yearning to want to record songs that are written and want a few people to hear ?em as opposed to "a year's been up and we need a new record! AHH!!" I'd wanna quit if it came down to that. That's one of the great reasons to put out your own shit. There's never deadlines or pressure.
Scene Point Blank: How did you decide to do the solo 7" and tape?
Todd Congelliere: I was really just fucking around with my home recording shit with no plans of releasing anything. I was kind of embarrassed by some of the songs but a couple friends liked them. Brad (Half Pint from Dear Landlord, Gateway District, Rivethead) wanted to start a label doing solo stuff from bands he liked and asked me to be his first release. That's the 7". Same thing with the tape. Jacob Hamilton from St Augustine (PR CUBED) wrote me an email asking if I wanted to do this and I said sure. I like the way both things came out.
Scene Point Blank: Is it relaxing to work for a different label after putting out so many of your own records?
Todd Congelliere: Yes. Especially the ones I mentioned above ?cause I didn't really have to do anything. Those songs were recorded over the years, so all I had to do was send them a CD of the songs and they ended up doing the artwork, which I loved.
Scene Point Blank: What about Bible Children? Is it hard to work with people in different cities?
Todd Congelliere: We (URTC) were on tour with The Arrivals and Isaac kept saying how he wanted to start a band with me doing our solo songs. I already had this thing with the band Dios called Todd C & The Bible Children, doing my solo songs. I felt weird about my name being in there and thought about bringing Isaac in to change things up a bit. You know, to consolidate projects a bit. Ha! His songs ended up being more Bible Children-ish then ever. So he has flown out here a couple of times and we played a few shows. We might record in January or February.
Scene Point Blank: Will there be a release?
Todd Congelliere: Someday. No concrete plans as of when though.
Scene Point Blank: What's next for Recess? Will there be a Recess Records Guitar Hero edition?
Todd Congelliere: Only if they give me one!
- Underground Railroad to Candyland: http://www.myspace.com/theundergroundrailroadtocandyland
- Recess Records: http://www.recessrecords.com/