Before their set at this years Hit The Deck Festival, Saves The Day sat down with us to talk Groezrock, touring with Brand New and films!
© Tom Stone
How was yesterday?
Yesterday was awesome, it was really cool. These festivals are cool because we can see a lot of old friends and get to check out some new bands. We’ve been on tour with Brand New and watching Brand New last night as we haven’t watched them every night is awesome, they’re an amazing band.
How was the tour with Brand New?
It’s been awesome! I guess it’s still technically going because we’re on these festivals together but yeah it’s been super fun. It’s been a long time coming for the two bands to be on tour together and it’s kinda cool just where we are in our lives for us to do it now and just having similar views and interests and just loving hanging out with each other. The Front Bottoms are on the run as well and they’ve been great. Everyone on the tour is super cool and awesome, everyone hangs out and it’s just the most cool vibe.
Did you previously have a personal relationship with Brand New before the tour or did that form whilst you were on tour together?
We’ve known them for a long time but a tour has never worked out other than doing festivals and we played Riot Fest in Chicago together last September and we sort of said “Oh, maybe we could do something together, like a proper tour?” and then it just sorta snowballed from there and here we are! We hope to do more than with them, we’ve made some life-long friends for sure.
© Chris Phelps
As it’s been a UK tour, what do you like and dislike about the UK?
I’m gonna be honest, the one thing I dislike is the coin money, it’s weird, that’s the one thing. I would say the only thing I can think of that’s been an issue for me is the lack of hot sauce in restaurants but other than that, I love coming over here, I really think it’s so cool.
Let me say that the rest stops in the UK are next level compared to American rest stops. So far, each one that we’ve stopped at has at least two Starbucks and you can get a full breakfast and it isn’t sketchy and questionable. There’s like a little mini grocery mart where you can also pick up fruits, that doesn’t happen in the US… there’s a book store, with actual books in these rest stops! Not fake books, in America you get fake books. Also, when we walked up today, there were chargers for electric cars and I heard someone talking and saying that they’re free, you can just roll up and charge your electric car for half hour and you’re off! That does not exist anywhere in America and that’s amazing.
We just love having short drives all the time, this is a plus here but I mean just British, just the culture part, there’s so much great history and music that’s come from here. We were in Manchester and went to the Salford Lads Club, you know The Smiths, where The Queen Is Dead was shot. We’re total tourists! We went to get a photo there and then we just happened to be there at the right place at the right time, we got to get a tour of the inside and all the stuff about the history of the place and how significant it was for the area. I don’t know, I just thought it was really cool, very neat experience! It’s worth hanging out at the Salford Lads Club to feel the vibe. If you see a little pitbull coming up to you, that’s a way in. A little pitbull trotted over to us and the owner was friends with the guy that gives the tours. Go give it dog biscuits or something like that, it’ll be good.
Do you have a favourite song to play live?
It changes for me, I play newer stuff obviously because it’s new and fresh and it’s exciting to play these new songs that we’ve been working on. Xenophobic Blind Left Hook and Tide Of Our Times are a couple of jams that are really good to play live.
I’m really into In The In Between at the moment, will you be playing that?
Oh cool! I don’t remember but yeah we’ll play it for you! We’ll play a lot of stuff of the new record, we try to mix it up, I mean Shoulder To The Wheel is always fun to play, we still play that one all the time. We’re trying to make a set-list out of 100 songs so it’s a fun challenge every night and we try to mix it up and make it cool and fun for us and spontaneous and for kids that have been coming to multiple shows, which on this run with Brand New, you look out and you’re like ‘Wow, that person has been at like every show’. It’s pretty cool. It’s very humbling for someone to make that trip, it always is incredibly special when people travel large distances or any distance to come, it’s just so cool.
What bands are Saves The Day currently listening to?
We’ve been listening to a lot of Supergrass lately, I really like that new Queens Of The Stone Age record, I listen to that quite a bit. The new Warpaint record is really cool. The cool thing about touring over here, we’re doing it in one of those band sprinters here and whoevers iPod is available will start making playlists and it’s very random and it’s kinda cool. It usually just brings out full discussions because not everybody is familiar with everything that the other person is listening to so I might play something that’s kind of orchestral or almost full prog-rock or something that maybe everybody didn’t grow up on and Rodrigo might be playing a really cool reggae playlist. We’ll do a lot of different pop stuff, rock, so we’ll try to make different playlists.
Our tastes are very broad but also very specific and there tends to be more overlap than there is differences which is cool. Everyone’s always turning each other on to different and new things and generally everyone likes it you know. I don’t think anyone has been like ‘never play that again’.
Saves The Day are playing at Groezrock Festival this year, are you looking forward to that?
We’re so incredibly stoked! We were here in 2011 I believe and did it and it’s now one of my favourite festivals and this year, looking at the line-up, it’s incredible. So many great bands and a lot of bands that we’ve toured with in the past, that we’re friends with. I mean, it’s gonna be such a cool day and it’s gonna be great for the people going to the shows, you’re gonna see so many great bands. It’s a Christmas of friends because all our friends are gonna be there and they’re all in cool bands and we’re just so excited to see them.
The months leading up to the festival, it was sort of shocking how many conversations I had that ended up with ‘Well I‘ll see you in Belgium!’. It’s really cool. It’s kind of funny that you’re sitting somewhere in the States and you’re like ‘I’ll see you in Belgium in a month!’. Even getting to say that, that’s pretty special and Quicksand are playing our stage, they’re headlining our stage and they were one of our favourite bands growing up, it still resonates. We’re excited to see Alkaline Trio, I’ve known those guys for years. I Am The Avalanche, Bayside, we’ll get to meet up with Brand New again so it’s overwhelming to think about. I mean that’s just like our perspective, we’re excited about the show too, the last time we played there, I mean that’s still a memorable show for me, we headlined the Eastpak stage and it was awesome! Just the energy was incredible and I remember watching a YouTube video a month later and I felt instantly transported back to how I felt on stage, it was really fun so I’m very excited about that!
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
We all have one, we have ones by ourselves and then we get together before playing for a little pow-wow! Everyone’s got their own routine and everyone warms up differently and everyone gets into that show head-space, some of us will have some wine and do our own little warm-up to relax. Right before we go on, we’re all together and we fist-bump and go on and do our own thing!
What’s been a highlight of your musical career?
Well if Chris was here he would probably say opening up for Green Day at Madison Square Garden. I guess in the scale of things this isn’t that big off a deal but for me it was personally so awesome which was past December we did an acoustic tour with the whole band and we hopped in a van with Jon Simmons from Balance And Composure and Walter Schreifels from Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools and he is just like our hero and riding around the East Coast with them, listening to music and just hanging out with them and he’s just an incredibly cool guy, it was awesome!
There’s tonnes of stories, I mean he was my introduction to punk and hardcore, all the bands he’s been in. I saw Quicksand when I was 15, whatever year that was! It was a very surreal thing, you grow up listening to a guy and his lyrics inspiring in a certain way then you meet the person behind it and him as a person was every bit as inspiring. Getting to really know him, it was like everyone was in the same band and it was bizarre because I’m 35 now and I’ve met heroes of mine and I don’t know, there was something really cool that took me back to a place that was how I felt when he first inspired me to do certain things. He’s also one of the most hilarious people that I’ve ever met, he’s just hilarious, he’s really something and now we just get to casually see him at Groezrock and be like ‘Hey what’s up Walter?’.
Were you starstuck in the beginning?
Well it’s in the back of your mind but he’s so easy-going that it doesn’t even come up. You’re not like ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Walter from Quicksand!’, it’s not like that sort of thing but there are times when he was playing for instance when it’s like ‘Oh my god that is him!’ but that’s a cool thing. Off-stage when he’s chilling and comes up to us and is showing us pictures on his phone of some dumb photo that he took, it’s just like ‘Oh yeah, that is our friend now!’
What are your favourite films?
Oh, this could be a whole separate interview! You really wanna go there?
What if you had to choose one?
Just one? If I had to… that’s tough, I mean off my head I would say The Godfather because I think it’s a perfect movie. 1 and 2 kind of feel like one movie to me, we’ll leave 3 out of it, 3 never happened. Just off the top of my head but I mean, if you were to name genres I could probably give you a film in every one.
Are you quite a film fanatic then?
A little bit, yeah, I’m a bit of a film snob.
One of my favourite movies from the last several years has been this Brazillian movie called City Of God, it’s an incredible movie and in a way, it’s kind of like a Godfather-esque story, I think they borrowed a lot from the Godfather because it is kind of like a crime-saga but it’s still from the perspective from young slum kids from Rio in Brazil and it’s just an epic story, wonderfully done. I’d say that’s one of my favourite foreign films, foreign to where we live.
Favourite horror movie is probably Let The Right One In, the Swedish one, it’s really good. Vampire movies are so over-done clearly, but I went to the theatre to see that one not knowing anything about it. One of my friends from Alkaline Trio actually, we were in L.A. together and he saw it the day before I got there and he was like ‘I’m going to see this movie again that I saw yesterday, you gotta come see it’ and I was like okay cool because he’s got awesome taste in stuff and I back that and I’ll go anywhere where there’s popcorn – side note, if you wanna know what to get me! – so yeah I went not knowing, I didn’t even know it was a Swedish film, I didn’t know what it was about and I was just blown away, in fact, I was in L.A. at the time and I flew back home to Detroit and saw it again when it came out there! Star Wars is good obviously, the originals, it’s a classic.
I don’t like superhero movies a lot. I’m not a Marvel fan but I will say that I was very impressed as someone who it’s not my thing, I was very impressed with the new Superman, Man Of Steel. Henry Cavill is such a babe! He’s very hunky.
Anything Christopher Nolan, the Christopher Nolan trilogy Batman was probably my favourite trilogy. He did a great job with that and Christian Bale is kind of a babe, I’d love him to yell at me!
Interview by Jess Pearson
For further information on Saves The Day, check out…
Vans Warped Tour 2014 – USA