Interview: Broadway Calls

Broadway CallsA lot has happened since we last spoke to Oregon pop-punkers Broadway Calls, back in February, having just released their second album, the critically acclaimed, Good Views, Bad News, so we caught up with the rising stars as they visited Kingston, for the third time, during their recent European stint. We talked about the new record, their non-stop touring schedule, and a lot more with a band who is not afraid to hold back.

Faye: What have you been up to since I last spoke to you in February?
Ty Vaughn (vocals/guitar): As soon as we got back from that tour with Alkaline Trio, we went into the Blasting Room for three weeks and made a record, and it came out a couple of weeks ago, called Good Views, Bad News. Between then and now we did a tour with on the west coast with our friends The Menzingers, then a week of Warped Tour and just kind of waited for the record to come out, and now it’s finally out we’ll be touring forever.

Faye: You recently played a few shows with The Offspring as well, didn’t you?
Ty: Yeah, The Offspring was really cool, that’s a band that you’d never expect to open for and we got to open for them four times, so it was really cool. They were really nice, their audience was really nice, crazy audience and we all had fun.
Matt Koenig (guitar/vocals): Noodles would always pop down to our dressing room and stick his head in saying, “What’s up, guys?!” everyday.

Faye: You also played Leeds and Reading Festival, how was that?
Ty: It was cool, we showed up a day early in Leeds, so we could watch some of our friends play, we watched Polar Bear Club, Set Your Goals, A Wilhelm Scream, and just kind of hung out, and we kind of went that early so we could know what to expect, because we played first on the Saturday and we didn’t want to show up and be completely overwhelmed, so we hung out, kind of got used to the grounds and where everything was. The Saturday was really fun, we showed up, played first, it looked empty, but there was still a few thousand kids there for us, and that’s crazy, that’s a huge audience for us, then we were done by 12.45pm and we kind of just hung out and watched bands for the rest of the day, it was really fun.
Josh Baird (drums): Those tents are the size of a city, it’s crazy, there was Gallows, Frank Turner, The Gaslight Anthem, we were on a good stage.

Faye: As mentioned, you recently released your new album Good Views, Bad News, are you pleased with the positive response it’s received?
Josh: I’ve read a lot of negative ones, mainly in the UK, I think it’s because there’s so many Green Day fans, they pretty much say we’re not original, but I hope people see that we’re not trying to be original. If we were, we wouldn’t be playing pop-punk. The whole point of this band is that it’s a nod to the nineties, we don’t want to change it, we want it to stay the same.
Ty: It’s kind of like a double-edged sword where you don’t want to pay attention to the critics and stuff, because who cares what critics say, right? But when there’s an overwhelming amount of positive reviews, it’s pretty cool. It feels good. It’s way better than what we expected, for sure.

Faye: With this release, you’ve been getting a lot of press coverage, how does it feel to be finally in the spotlight?
Ty: It doesn’t feel like we’re in the spotlight, we’ve been doing a lot of interviews and stuff, because the record’s coming out and I just figured that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Josh: I think we don’t feel like that because we don’t see it, like you guys will probably notice it, but show-after-show we do interviews, but we don’t actually see them until a couple of months later.
Ty: If we see them at all.
Matt: You have to go look for them.
Ty: Even though Kerrang! is huge over here, it’s really hard to find in the States, so if we want to find a feature or something that we’re apart of, we have to do it while we’re here or drive to all kinds of different book stores to find it.

Faye: You’re on the front cover of Amp Magazine this month, in the States, how did that come about?
Ty: I actually asked, I called up the guy that owns it and I was like, “How did this happen?!” I don’t know, I guess they just wanted us to be on the cover. [laughs] The people who run that magazine, we’ve known for years, we’re friends with one of them and we’re acquaintances with the other one, but, still, that’s crazy that they wanted us on the cover of their magazine, because we never had any coverage beforehand. Actually, I did an interview with them for the last record and they never used it. [laughs] So, it’s weird that we’re instantly on the cover. It’s really cool, it’s our first cover and that magazine is pretty legit, so we’re excited to be part of it.

Faye: In our last interview, you said that you’re not a hyped band, do you not feel this has changed, with the coverage and positive reviews you’ve received?
Josh: I still don’t think we are.
Ty: I don’t know, I mean, that’s for somebody that’s not in the band to decide, and being hyped is not necessarily a good thing. I think the album’s been advertised well and we have a strong promotional team at SideOneDummy, they’ve done a really good job. SideOne allowed us to make the record we wanted to make and they’re still doing a great job. It’s weird, because the record has just came out, but they’ve been going strong since March, as soon as we handed them the record, they started the ball rolling, so it’s been pretty cool to see it happening now, months later. But I think “hype” is when there’s a lot of talk about a band and they don’t necessarily live up to it, so I don’t want to be “hyped”, I just want to have a good following and have good advertisement, which is rad, but we want to live up to it as well.

Faye: On your new album, I feel there’s a more old-school pop-punk vibe than on your self-titled, was that what you were purposely going for?
Josh: We purposely took from our more mid-tempo, harder songs from the last record and just wrote like that, we didn’t do any soft songs, except for the end song. We just wanted it short and fast, and to the point, just very basic.
Ty: Yeah, it was like, we definitely wrote like that and then once we got into the studio and met our producer Bill Stevenson, we were like, “We love Green Day, we love Alkaline Trio, we love all that stuff.” And he was like, “Well, you guys sound like Generation X, you sound like The Buzzcocks, let’s try to bring that out a little bit.” so, he helped with that and paid attention to the little tiny details, making it sound even more like a real punk band. [laughs] So, it was cool.

Faye: I’ve also noticed that Matt does a lot more singing on this one…
Matt: Yeah, Ty wrote a lot of good parts, some of it out of his range, some of which he just wanted me to sing on.
Josh: We wanted to break it up more, I just thought that he should be on it more to break it, to give Ty and the listener a break.
Matt: To make a variation on voices.
Josh: Yeah, definitely, since we knew it was going to be a simple record, I thought it would be good to break it up.
Matt: It gives it another element, for sure.
Ty: And all the best bands have two singers, like The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio. It’s easier to make through an entire record when there’s more things going on, even when the songs are simple.

Faye: With your self-titled, people said it was too long, but with this one, a lot of people have been saying it’s too short, do you feel you can never win?
Ty: I wanted them to think this one is too short, you want them to want more. We just heard the new Polar Bear Club for the first time today and I was so surprised when we were on the last song, I was like, “Woah, is this it?”, it went by so fast and that’s what we want to do.
Josh: ‘Cause our last one was too long, we were just like, “Let’s put every song on.”
Matt: It really was too long, we were like, “Lets put everything we got, a cover? Why not!”
All: [laughs]
Ty: Yeah, 14-songs is too much.
Josh: Especially for a first record, but we didn’t have anyone telling us not to.

Faye: Speaking of Polar Bear Club, what exactly does the line “Dying alone is the new 20” mean, from the song Give Up The Ghost? You credit Polar Bear Club’s tour manager, Trevor Backer, for it in the album booklet.
Ty: That’s just something Trevor wrote, he has a blog, polarblogclub.com, and I think it’s hilarious, he’s such a jaded asshole on it, but really loveable at the same time. He’s one of our best friends and I read that one day and I thought it was genius, I texted him asking if I can use it and he said ‘yeah’. It’s just a really bleak way to look at the future and look at the way your life’s going, because you hear that saying, “30’s the new 20”, to make people feel good about getting older, but this means like, “Fuck that, dying alone is the new 20”, when you’re so at the bottom, there’s a really honest but ‘fuck you’ attitude about it, if you’re not very happy about the way your life is.

Faye: Did you order the songs in a specific way? I’ve heard that To The Sheets would have been a good closer from a lot of people.
Ty: Yeah, I’ve heard that, too.
Josh: We had like three orders, and I think we all decided that the order we ended up with was the best.
Ty: We had friends of ours make orders.
Josh: Yeah, we had the label try to help and management, and that was the one that everyone decided on.

Faye: How did you feel about the album being leaked?
Josh: I think it helped, people were stoked and I don’t think they were saying anything bad about it, but if it had leaked and everyone hated it, and they were saying “Don’t buy this record…” [laughs]
Matt: Something we’ve always said is that it’s flattering if someone’s trying to get your music at all, whether it’s free or early or whatever. If they’re getting their hands on it, then we’re honoured.
Josh: It was a dude from the Czech Republic, and that’s awesome, he wrote that we’re one of his favourite bands, so at least it was a kid that actually liked us and wasn’t putting up every record he found.
Ty: The day it leaked was kind of bitter-sweet, because you’re like, “Oh, man, it leaked .” Like not even in the same month it was supposed to come out, but at the same time, we had been finished with it for so long and we wanted kids to hear it really bad, and we didn’t want to leak it. [laughs] We would have felt bad if it was our fault that it leaked, so it was kind of cool that someone else did. [laughs]

Faye: Can you tell us about the themes covered on this record? It seems to be a lot more political than the self-titled.
Ty: I think the themes are just a little more varied on this record, compared to the last one. The last one was very self-centred and about touring a lot, and this one is branched out a little bit. I wrote about things that don’t affect me personally sometimes, but they still interest me or anger me or something like that, so I did that a couple of times on this record. I also tried to write from somebody else’s point of view completely on a couple of songs, it was cool, it helped with the writing process, because we wrote a lot of songs for this record and I didn’t want to re-write the last record.
Josh: We made 18-songs for this record.

Faye: What’s happening with the rest of the songs you didn’t use for the record? I know you’ve already released a couple for free download already, will you be releasing any of the others?
Josh: We released everything we recorded and then, I don’t know, we have pre-production versions, but we might record real versions.
Ty: I like every song we had, so I would definitely like to use those songs in future, I don’t want to just throw them away.

Faye: What about the artwork for the album? Does the image of the girl flying a kite on fire reflect anything about the album or is it just a random pretty image?
Ty: I wanted something that went along with the title of the record, I thought that a kid flying a kite and she’s running having a great time, then she doesn’t realise the kite landed in some power lines or something like that would be a good visual to go along with the title of the record. Then the artist came up with that for the Be All That You Can’t Be 7” and we loved it, so we had him do something similar for the actual full-length.

Faye: Even though you’re a pop-punk band, you still seem to have a lot of cred in the hardcore scene and still play a lot of hardcore shows, and somehow fit in, why do you think this is? Do you think it’s because of your roots in hardcore, as you used to play in hardcore bands?
Ty: When we started this band, the only people we knew and toured with were hardcore bands, the first band we toured with was a hardcore band, so that’s kind of how it originated. A lot of our good friends who were in hardcore bands are still in hardcore bands, so I think that’s why, we just play a lot of hardcore shows. We’re not a cheesy pop-punk band. I asked a kid, like an old-school hardcore dude in Portland, I asked why hardcore kids like us and he said that we just seem honest when we’re on stage, so that’s cool, that’s fine with me.
Josh: I would rather play with hardcore bands than some of these shitty pop-punk bands, we don’t really fit with a lot of the bands and the bands we do fit with, we never have the opportunity.
Matt: Right, they’re kind of few and far between.
Josh: Yeah, like we weren’t big enough to tour with The Loved Ones, bands like that, they’re too big for us, so we tour with our friends and have fun.
Matt: Whether they’re in hardcore bands or not, it’s just that we fit a little better with that, even though we play something a little different without cheesy-hybrid-forced-poppy-breakdowns. We’ve never really played hardcore shows over here, in fact, our first tour over here, we were the most out-of-place we could be, touring with Cobra Starship and All Time Low.
Josh: This is the only place where it happens.
Matt: Yeah, at home we get on the tours that make more sense.
Josh: But some people think we sound like All Time Low, I don’t hear that, I’ve seen reviews and I’m just like, “Did you listen to the record? Did you do any research about the band?” I don’t know.
Ty: I don’t know, neither. I don’t get that comparison.

Faye: When you made the transition from hardcore to pop-punk, did you get any backlash from people in your scene at the time?
Ty: Only a couple of kids in our hometown were bummed that our old band Countdown To Life wasn’t a band any more.
Josh: Yeah, they were just bummed that we weren’t doing the other band, they liked Broadway Calls, it’s just that they wanted both. If anything, they liked us more than Countdown To Life.
Ty: It was time for a change, we knew it, it was good timing.

Faye: Your good friends, The Swellers, recently signed to Fueled By Ramen, were you at all surprised?
Ty: That’s been talked about for so long, before it actually happened, they’ve been talking about signing with Fueled By Ramen for like a year or something like that, so it wasn’t a surprise to us. We know what they want to do as a band, they want to blow-up and I think that’s the way they’re going to do it. [laughs] Touring with Paramore and signing with one of the biggest alternative labels in the world, so they’re doing exactly what they want to do

Faye: You come across quite outspoken about your thoughts on other bands and music in interviews, so who are you beefing with at the moment?
Matt: Depends on what’s going to sell the most records. [laughs]
Josh: We don’t really have any beef with anyone, we just have opinions.
Ty: I mean, we talk shit about a lot of bands, that’s how we make each other laugh, we just make fun of things all the time.
Josh: It’s usually not to people, it’s usually kept in the van.
Matt: But sometimes you’re in the van with us… [laughs] Who could we start a false beef with?
Josh: Polar Bear Club.
Ty: We’re cowards, we just talk shit to each other, we don’t go up to anyone and say mean things.
Matt: It happened one time, but they’re not a band any more.
Josh: Ty got slapped and I got punched, do you know that band Dead Hearts? It was them and us vs. this other band, pretty much. One of the dudes had two guys by the neck on the wall, someone punched me, then he got slapped, and I had some other dude.
Matt: And me and somebody, the guy who slapped you initially, we pushed him right into the wall, and held him against the wall like, “You’re dead!” but he wasn’t dead. [laughs] But almost!
Ty: We hate so many bands just based on their music, but they could be cool, but they make such horrible music, so we’re like, “Fuck those dudes.” [laughs] But there’s also bands where we don’t necessarily like their music, but they’re the raddest dudes like 3OH!3. I don’t mind their music, though, I have it on my iPod, but they’re so nice, we really like those guys.
Josh: They know they’re a total joke band and they do it to be funny, yeah, they don’t take themselves seriously.

Faye: What about BrokeNCYDE, do you have them on your iPod?
Matt: No fucking way.
Ty: That band is so god-damn awful that I’m sure they’re embarrassed walking around day-to-day.
Josh: Millionaires, though. [wolf whistles]
Ty: All that stuff is garbage that was on Warped Tour, that stuff sucks, that’s not on our iPods. [laughs] Not even ironically.
Matt: You can start a beef with that, that’d be fine, it’s us and the whole world, so it doesn’t matter.

Faye: What do you think about Warped Tour becoming a scene fest now, as opposed to the punk rock fest it once was?
Josh: It’s true, they have to sell tickets, like we’re not going to sell tickets, so they’ve got to get BrokeNCYDE and Millionaires, one of them’s so cute, is it Dani? Ah, she’s cute. Tell her I said that.
Ty: Just write her a note from Josh from Broadway Calls. We did Warped Tour for five days this year and I didn’t know two thirds of the bands, and I didn’t want to know. [laughs] I’m just lazy and old, I’m jaded.

Faye: Didn’t you share a bus with The Aggrolites on Warped Tour? How was your bus experience, do you prefer them to vans?
Josh: Yeah, it was awesome with The Aggrolites. It’s kinda scary though, sleeping in your little coffin, you can’t see what’s going on.
Ty: I prefer sleeping on a bus than sitting up in a van. [laughs]

Faye: So, after this little European stint, you’re touring with Streetlight Manifesto in the States, it’s a bit of an odd line-up, how did that come about?
Josh: I think one of the guys from SideOneDummy is really good friends with their tour manager.
Matt: We told our management that we wanted to tour with bands with ‘light’ in their name, so Streetlight, then Gaslight after.
Ty: We need to concentrate on the east coast, because we haven’t really, at all, besides a very few tours, so we’re going to spend a month on the east coast playing big shows.
Josh: The Streetlight tour will be good, it’ll be to a totally different audience
Ty: Then the Gaslight tour, we’re friends with them, so that’ll be cool to hang out with them. They did a week of Warped Tour in ’08 and that’s where we met them, and they’re great dudes, so it’s going to be fun.

Faye: Then after that, you’re touring with The Bouncing Souls, are you most excited about that tour?
Matt: Yes!
Josh: I think that’ll be the best tour we’ll have done to date.
Matt: Yeah, and The Bouncing Souls and Bayside are the nicest guys, they’ve been really cool to us during the few times we’ve met.

Faye: How do you feel about people saying that Bayside doesn’t really fit on the line-up?
Ty: I think a lot of people think that, but I think it’s going to be great.
Matt: I bet it’ll work out.
Josh: They’re going to bring a shit load of kids.
Ty: Yeah, I think it’s going to be really fun.
Josh: It is kind of weird, but if you think about it, it kind of works.
Ty: Yeah, because basically they sound like The Smoking Popes with just crazy metal guitar parts, so people who like Bouncing Souls can get into it, for sure, and the kids who like Bayside will be able to appreciate the fun Bouncing Souls songs.

Faye: Then you’re back in the UK in December with Set Your Goals and Fireworks.
Ty: It’s going to be rad, both of those bands are going to be fun to watch every night and that’s really all we give a shit about, when we go on tour with bands is if they’re fun to watch, it makes it easier.
Matt: And if they like to go out to eat with us, because we like to do that a lot.
Josh: And the clubs will be smaller, the venues we played with Alkaline Trio were way too big for us. It’s easier for us to talk to kids and not have a barrier.

Faye: The Leeds show has been upgraded from The Cockpit to the Leeds Met, do you know if we can expect any more venue upgrades?
Ty: I hope not.
Josh: I’m sure some will, I mean it wouldn’t be up to us, it’d be up to Set Your Goals, if they want to do it.
Ty: It’ll be fine, we’ll play the shows regardless. [laughs]
Matt: What?! No, fuck this! [laughs]

Faye: Is it true that Hit The Lights were originally supposed to be on this tour?
Josh: Yeah, we were going to tour with Strike Anywhere.
Ty: Strike Anywhere and Ruiner.
Josh: But they cancelled like last week, and then Ruiner asked us like the day after we said yes to Set Your Goals, but with Strike Anywhere, I don’t know what happened, they asked for us, so maybe they’ll ask for us again.
Ty: It was weird, we never got a real explanation, it just didn’t work out.

Faye: So, from now until December, you’re pretty much touring non-stop, are you not worried about getting burned out?
Ty: Not on these tours, if it was something crazy like Warped Tour for the rest of the year, then yeah, we’d be burned out, but these should be fun and we’re going to tour the east coast with rad bands, tour the west coast with rad bands and then come back here for a short tour with Set Your Goals, which is going to be so much fun, it’s going to be the perfect way to end the year.
Josh: Yeah, it’ll be like a little vacation.
Ty: We’ll get home right before Christmas and just get to hang out for a while, so it’s going to be great, and we do have like two weeks off in November, so it’ll be sweet.

Faye: You’re supporting all these bands, but do you have any plans to do your own headline tour eventually?
Ty: We don’t want to yet, we did a headline tour in May with The Menzingers on the west coast, and that was really fun, but I think that’s the only part of the world where we could pull that off in right now. [laughs] We just want to go out with bigger bands for a while, at least, for the rest of the year, obviously.
Matt: Gaslight was intent on becoming a headlining band immediately and they made it happen, but we’re fine with not forcing something like that.
Ty: There’s so many bands that are big, who we grew up listening to that we still want to tour with, so we want to make that happen before we try to do our own thing.
Josh: We’ve still got NOFX to hit, The Lawrence Arms, Face To Face, The Get Up Kids, we’ve got a few.
Matt: Limp Bizkit. [laughs]

Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Josh: The Menzingers, Cheap Girls, Polar Bear Club, obviously, everyone already does anyway, we don’t even have to shout them out any more.
Ty: And Dead To Me.

Faye: Is there anything else you want to say?
Matt: Sorry about Oasis, that hurts.

- Faye Turnbull.

Many thanks to Broadway Calls who will be returning to the UK in December with Set Your Goals and Fireworks, for tour dates and more information, visit: www.myspace.com/broadwaycalls

Broadway Calls’ new album Good Views, Bad News is out now on SideOneDummy Records.

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One Response to Interview: Broadway Calls

  1. Katie says:

    So thats what you were doing in the van for 50 mins!

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