Interview: Have Nots

Faye recently sat down with Boston ska-punks Have Nots in Newcastle for a little chat about their first-time visit to the UK, signing to Paper + Plastick, their upcoming record and a lot more!

Faye: Can you introduce yourselves?
Matt: My name is Matt, I play guitar and I sing.
Jameson: My name’s Jameson and I play bass.

Faye: How are you today?
Matt: We’re doing great, the UK’s lovely. Everybody has treated us very kindly. We get free booze and food everywhere we go, it’s a nice change of pace from America.
Jameson: The van is just full of tons of beer from different clubs, so much that I don’t know what to do with myself.

Faye: Can you tell me a bit about the band?
Matt: Sure, we’ve been around for about four years, we’re from Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, we have one record and another one coming out in January on Paper + Plastick Records. We’ve been touring for a while, play punk rock and play lots of shows. We’re going to be in Europe and the UK for around 3-weeks and then we get home, have some time off, then we’re going on tour with Street Dogs.

Faye: Is it ‘The Have Nots’ or ‘Have Nots’?
Matt: Just Have Nots.
Jameson: We don’t care as much as we used to, but it’s just Have Nots.
Matt: I always said it was a bad idea, but nobody listened to me. [laughs] Jameson might have listened.

Faye: So, it’s your first time over in the UK, did you have any expectations before coming over?
Matt: I expected to drink a lot and I expected to eat at bars, because they give you food, and it’s really nice, and play punk rock shows. We’ve been having a really great time. I’ve got nothing to complain about. The shows have been good, the kids have been stoked.

Faye: The first time I heard of you was in January when I interviewed Dave McWane from Big D and the Kids Table, and he recommended you.
Matt: Nice, go Dave! Dave’s a good guy.
Jameson: Yeah, they’re all really sweet people. We did a short tour with them in the States and they’re good dudes.

Faye: You guys and Big D are from the same area, and Dave said ska-punk isn’t really that big Boston.
Matt: Yeah, it’s not very big. It’s plenty big for us and working out all right, though.
Jameson: Yeah, our shows do pretty well in Boston. We don’t fit into the strict ska-punk mould as well, so we’re not exactly totally punk rock and we’re not exactly totally ska, I think that works to our advantage a lot of time. Sometimes the word ‘ska-punk’ immediately turns someone off.
Matt: Yeah, I’m not going to be rocking a trombone any time soon.
Jameson: There’s a little touch of organ on the new record, just a tiny bit.

Faye: You signed to Paper + Plastick Records earlier this year, how’s that been?
Matt: It’s a great label. It’s not like a traditional label in terms of the nuts and bolts of everything, but it’s a good thing, because the music scene and business has changed so much, it’s just changing with it. Vinnie, the owner, he’s a really smart and reasonable guy, and really nice, it’s cool and we didn’t get fucked.

Faye: Since signing to Paper + Plasick, you made your debut album, Serf City, available for free download, why’s that?
Matt: Because you can download it for free anyway, so you might as well do that to direct them to it. It’s funny because you sell more CDs and people pay for it more now that we’ve released it for free.
Steve [drums]: It’s been a great promo for us, a lot of new people have found out about us and hopefully those people have downloaded it will turn up at the shows.

Faye: I’ve heard some people say that for a new label, Paper + Plastick, have been signing way too many bands and not focusing its attention on some bands, what do you think about that?
Matt: Yeah, we hear that, we don’t feel it, though. It all depends on how hard you work, if you’re working your ass off and you’re touring, and doing it, and you’re not expecting a hand out from a label. I mean, you can expect a bit of help from a label, but you shouldn’t expect them to do everything for you, you’ve got to get your ass out there and do it, so as long as you do that, labels are going to back you and help you. I think that’s how it works, well, that’s how it’s been working for us at least, it seems.

Faye: You said you have another album out in January, is it completely finished?
Matt: It’s all done, it’s being mixed and mastered right now, and it should be out sometime in January. The themes of some of the writing, the lyrics have changed a little bit, not a whole lot, but it’s still straight-up punk rock with ska overtones. I’d say it covers more bases, it’s more complete to me, it’s not so much of the same thing throughout.
Jameson: It covers more issues, like personal issues and life experience, since we did the last record, and musically too. It runs the gamut of stuff that we all love, which wasn’t worked on so much on the last record. There’s some heavier stuff, there’s some straight fast stuff, some kind of old-timey rock and roll stuff, and I think it all mixes together really well. We know who we are as a band a lot more, so we can throw these things in and still has the stuff that keeps us up.

Faye: What are your plans for after this tour?
Matt: We get home in the first week of November, then we chill out for a while. We’ve been on tour since June. We’ve just got to relax and detox, then in December we go on tour with Street Dogs, they’re a Boston band. The hometown show is going to be awesome. Then we’ll just be working out the release of our next record and upcoming tours, and we’ll probably be talking to you again in six months.

Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Matt: Burning Streets, Far From Finished, Big D and the Kids Table, Razors In The Night.
Jameson: I’ve got a soft spot for The Void Union, traditional ska band.
Matt: Oh, and look out for Kevin ‘Big Top’ Verni, he’s taking over.

- Faye Turnbull.

Many thanks to Have Nots for the interview, and for more information on the band, visit:
www.myspace.com/havenotsboston
www.facebook.com/havenotsboston
www.twitter.com/HaveNots

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