16 April 2013 (released)
16 April 2013
Dead City Lights is a Band from Phoenix, Arizona. They where founded back in 2012 and have been going strong. They have their new EP out called “Come Alive” And you can tell they put their hart and soul into ever song on that EP. So they may be a newer band but they are here to stay and make there dreams come true. So if you’re ever in Phoenix you should check them out and see what they are truly about or you can check once they get are tour. They’re amazing and so talented. We need a band like them and I think the world is ready for them.
Can you all start by introducing yourselves?
My name is Nick, and I play drums.
I'm Zach; I'm lead vocals and guitar.
I'm Justin, I play guitar and I'm the resident sexy man.
How did you guys all end up coming together as a band?
We grew up together, playing in bands and basically this one just finally formed when we all three us weren't in
bands, so like I said, we grew up playing in bands together, so once all three of us had nothing going on, we all kind of hit each other up, and then formed Dead City Lights.Yeah, we just kind of took all the good parts out of every other band, and just put it into one band.
What would you consider yourselves and what kind of fans would you say you draw towards your music?
I would say age-wise it's a lot of people in late high school, probably around 16, 17, 18 and we've also seen a good amount of college kids starting to get into it too. So like 19, 20, and 21. Which is really interesting and cool that kind of spread, you know? As far as genre goes, I'd probably consider us being an alternative pop punk is what I'd put us under if we had to put ourselves under a genre. Yeah, it's cool we've been actually asking a lot of people on Skype calls online, whey would compare us to and what genre they would you put us in, and even our fans are just like, " You don't fit into any genre, it's awesome". It's one of those things where - no matter what is going on in the music business though - we still have to have a label you know. We'd like to think one day that we could create a genre but, you know, that just comes with time and growth as we go on, but yeah, that's awesome.
Bands would you say we sound like?
You fit in well with a lot of the bands that you played with on the 15th of February at the Nile Theater. You guys seemed to do pretty well with similar genres. It's not like going to a concert and you are like, "oh my God they are so different why are they playing with these kinds of people." So, you fit well with them. That's rad, because Late Night Reading is really poppy and then Farewell, My Love are super theatrical, and I think that we fall right in between those bands somewhere. We're pop punkish, but we still bring a sort of theatrical element to our music, because we have the main core message of the band and everything too. I think that - and you can probably vouch for this, being here in Phoenix, located here and going to shows - that there's two genres that really rule this whole thing, and that's if you are not in heavy metal, breakdown, screaming band then you are in a pop-punk band, that's a Blink-182 rip-off. Our whole thing going through with this is we've always been huge pop-punk fans, all of us, and we've always loved those bands, and we still do. But something that I think we try to bring to the table with this pop-punk genre is something with more substance. We want to bring that theatrical element to it, not as heavy as Farewell. My Love because we want to keep that fun aspect to it, and to the show and we want to keep that pop-punk kind of attitude, I guess you could say, and environment to it, but we want to let people know that we have a message, and this is more like a gang, than it is just a band, and we're here to share that with the world. So we always wanted to kind of bring some new life to that whole pop-punk thing.
Do you ever think you try to bring more of a family aspect being that you guys have been in this band for a while, that you've gotten along so well, that it's just easier for you than most bands?
Oh absolutely and we have been for years before this— Not only that, we are even close with our real families. They are close with my real family; we are all close with each other's real families. We've just known each other for so long that our families kind of grew up to know each other as well, so it's definitely a family, you're right in that and we definitely bring up family aspect to how we treat our fans too because we do conversate a lot with them. It's definitely true are castaways our family as well. But in the band in the band itself... We bicker like brothers, but you mess with one of my brothers and I'll freakin' kill you. Yeah, it's true when they say being in a band is like being in a marriage because, I mean, we know each other so well. We know when we're lying; we know when we're thinking something. I mean, there's just this chemistry that's like in a marriage. We know each other so well that you start to really work on each other. That's what's really neat about being in a band is that -- you know to me the number one thing is recipes to having a good band is chemistry, and, you know, we definitely have that here, which is nice. Yeah, we're married brothers. Gay incest. That's the stance. Incest is best. That's what I always say.
Do you think your family is okay with your kind of music, being that a lot of bands have older parents?
and that they look at their band's music and go, "oh my God, what are they doing?"
But do your parents seem to gel with it pretty cool or are they still like, "oh my God what are my kids doing?"
Zach- well, you know, I've been pretty fortunate with my parents where they're always supportive what I do. I mean, granted, it's not always going to be what they like. I mean, to me, I've always been told - and this is true to me - is if
you're doing something your parents like, you're doing something wrong. Because, you know, you've got to do things for yourself, you can't live dreams through parents. I mean, as much as you love your parents they're always going to be there, but you've got to understand, you've got to branch out and be yourself, and being what they want you to be isn't really being yourself, and we take ourselves in pride with that. You know, our parents are always going to be supportive regardless, but, you know, I wouldn't say they're the number one fans of our music. You know, they love us but, you know, they understand that we are in a different time age and we're being ourselves just like they were when they were teens. Justin- my parents dig it. My parents freakin dig it they listen to my music all the time. I've always come from-- I've never really had that support at home or from my family. So it was always really tough for me, just because you just constantly have that feeling that you don't fit in and that. Nick- even at home. It has always been easier for me to be other places. My parents are starting to be okay with it, but I would say they're skeptical of everything that I do. They just, they were never happy with it to begin with, and now that they are seeing it's being taken seriously by people other than us... I would say that they are more fair weather fans, you know? They're accepting it now because it's starting to go okay, but when this was nothing and all it was a dream for us, they were absolutely not happy with me doing this. And it was very difficult at home. So it's a little bit different for all of us. Zack's parents have always been a little more supportive because his dad played music. As far as our style of music, probably not necessarily as much, but the fact that we're doing music I think is cool to him. Justin's parents are more just... They're just cool and happy that he's doing this. I think they're happy that he's happy. Yeah. They're just like, if-- something that like... I'm not a complete loser; I'm not out doing drugs or anything, and music is really like are drug, because all throughout high school, everyone else was doing drugs at our school and we were the only ones that weren't because we would just come and go to band practice. Yeah, our drug is this band and this stage. I mean, I'm telling you right now, you know, we've had the opportunity to be in front of 20,000 people, and I'm telling' you, no drug can get you that high and make you want it any more than being on stage. It's, to me, the best feeling in the world, and whether it's 20,000 people or ten, seeing the fans faces and seeing them get into it, it's just, it means everything to us. That's our drug, you know, and that's the only track we'll recommend. Well, and I feel like, especially with my parents, and I think a lot of other people's parents are like this... They go with the stigma that you're in band, you drink, you smoke, you do drugs, you do this bad stuff, and that's actually not the case at all, because this band is what has kept us out of - or just bands and music in general – is what kept us away from that stuff, because we weren't bored and we actually had something to do with our time. So I think it's funny, because I think a lot of parents of fans are the same way. When their kids are going to shows and staying out late. they think it's going to be the same type of thing, and it's not, it's what kept us out from that stuff.
Being that you're from Phoenix, do you find it harder to find that actual music scene here? Because starting a couple of years ago, I didn't even know we had a music scene existing here like this, so do you think it's harder for people to find out about?
We've been in the music since we were like 16 and I have to say I kind of dig what's going on now. I see a lot more talent coming Out of here. There's a lot of cool stuff happening in Arizona, and it just never was that way when we were young, but more recently there's been people wanting to branch out in an effort to make their music scene better as a whole a bunch of different bands have come from Arizona. Yeah, I agree, because every time someone thinks of a band, I mean, I think, naturally you think Nashville or Los Angeles, but honestly, if you look at some of the biggest Grammy winners right now, they're from here, Fun, Linkin Park, Jimmy Eat World. I mean there's so much talent out here, and I just feel like no one gives it a chance. I feel like we're finally starting to make some noise, as Arizona as a whole, as the music scene. You start seeing a lot of bands start getting picked up, because there is a lot of noise out here and I wish we could make this the next L. A. or, you know a place where someone wants come. I just think once we start making more noise out here as bands, growing and whatnot, it's going to really help this scene a lot. Another thing is, I mean, look at even Blood on the Dance Floor coming out of here. That's a huge one coming out. Not being signed and having your CD in Target, and having your shirts in Hot Topic, that's incredible. I feel like the scene out here is actually on the up and getting much better than it was a few years ago. There's just a lot of great bands coming out of here right now and I don't think it makes a differences wherefrom, this is something we've learned - I don't think being anywhere makes it harder for you to get noticed right now. The Internet has really stopped all of that. I mean I think it was hard to get noticed before the Internet, because you would have to be somewhere like L. A. or New York or Nashville or, you know, Texas or something . like one of these big music towns - to get noticed, or you'd have to travel there. With the Internet it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you're making a slash and people are buying your music. We have some badass fans in Europe, England, France, Scotland and stuff. I think one thing that I've always saw Dead City Lights... Is if we do this right, there's so much talent in Arizona, I think Dead City Lights can ultimately just be the spark that ignites the powder keg. You know as soon as our message gets out to even more and more people, I would love to be considered exactly that: the spark that ignites the powder keg of talent. You know, all we need is one band from here to really make a lot of noise, and all the labels and stuff are going to be, "Hey, have you heard what's happening in Arizona?". So, as far as the whole entire music scene goes, I really think it's on the up and up. I dig a lot of bands that, you know, that I would actually listen to, and I go to their shows to support them, not just to make networking connection, but because I'm actually a fan of them. I go to a lot of local shows as a fan of those bands.
Being that you were talking about of your overseas fans, do you ever plan to get on tour over there? do you ever get to connect with your fans overseas - being that you're still here in the States - just to be able to tell them that yes, you are still around?
Oh yeah, definitely, we would do anything to go on those tours. You know what's funny is looking at iTunes sales, most of our iTunes sales are actually out of the States. I mean, we have so much support out there, and it would mean the world to us to get out there and reach these people, I mean it's absolutely and honor to be know that we're known somewhere else other than Arizona in general, but, you know, to get on a tour like that would be absolutely amazing. I mean, no matter where we go, you know it is, we're lucky to have a lot good fans and a lot of good support, and we want to keep it growing. You know, this band, it's a family. We don't have fans we have family. You know, everyone that's in our crowd, that's our brothers and sisters, so it's an absolute honor to have them. I think that getting on a tour soon is that something big that we're working on, because we want to go connect with everybody. Getting overseas is obviously something that's going to take a little bit longer, but that's something that we're really pushing, because we want to come out and see everybody. It's so hard reading tweets and posts on Facebook about, "I'm from here and I'm from here and come see us," because we would love to just jump in a van and go play for everybody. We want to do that so bad, it's just there's so many things that go into it, and it's devastating to read those and it just makes us want it even more, which is cool. But, as far as a lot of fans being overseas, that's huge and it's like Zack said, we're so thankful for that, it's an honor to have people that far away and again going back to the Internet thing, we wouldn't have that without, yeah, this tool that we have. But, you know, it's all about getting on those tours, and those are some people that we definitely want to go see, as soon as we can, but it's going to take a little bit.
So how'd you actually come up with the name Dead City Lights?
Our good friend Chad, from the band Farewell, My Love has helped us out a lot, and we were all sitting around trying to think of it and we wanted to really create something like a name that meant something to us, and when this band was formed, we were all just in some different places in our lives, and it was kind of like we all knew that we loved music and we hadn't really been playing music together for a long time when this band was formed. So, that reflected in our lives, and we felt like there was a big empty hole, we felt like something was missing and we wanted to put something back there. We knew exactly what it was. We new it was music. We new we had to make music and we new we wanted to do that together. So, you know, out of that we wanted to make music that was going to make people feel like they were connected to something and give them some hope. Also just giving that sense of family like what we were looking for, so that is really kind of how the band name came about. It was just thinking of an analogy that would really Create imagery. Create imagery, that you could kind of picture it.
Being that you're still here in Arizona, have you have chances to play big venues, and what do you prefer big venues or smaller venues over one or the other?
Well we always appreciate a big stage, of course, but it's one of those things where no matter what size it is we'll play any stage. We're going to bring 110% to our show no matter what stage we're on, whether it's at Chuck-E-Cheese or the Nile. So I mean it's just one of those things where we bring it, so no matter what size. To answer your question, medium. Well, I think that it's obvious that we want to always be in front of as many people as we possibly can, especially in this stage of the band where we are trying to grow it and let people know more about us. But I mean, let's be honest, there is nothing like packing the underground And I don't care how hot and disgusting and humid it is down in that room, if it's just packed wall to wall and you're on stage, and everyone is into what you're doing, and singing and clapping and jumping, there's nothing like that feeling, and Passing out from heat exhaustion. I don't care if you're upstairs in the Nile or downstairs in the Underground, it's that feeling that we chase, and it's that crowd interaction that we chase. It really doesn't matter what size stage you are on. I mean, of course you always want to be in front of the most people that you can, because you just want your message to reach as many people as you can. But nothing beats that crowd interaction; I don't care what size the stage is.
Now that you've been around and you've got your new EP out, do you think people start to recognize you and go, "oh that's the band Dead City Lights" or more recognizing who you are and wanting to talk to you?
A little bit, I'd say. It's definitely building. When we go to shows, we see a lot more people coming up and saying hi, and asking for pictures and stuff, but it's kind of hard because we wear our vests and we were actually asked the other day if we have any other clothes besides our vests and it's, no, we don't. This is all we wear is our vests. Because we do it for a reason too, we want people to see that mask, and say, "Oh, that's Dead City Lights, we know that mask.” So I mean, we do start to see it. Justin and I went to see Hands Like Houses on Saturday and we saw a few fans there, which was really cool. You know, it's always cool when you go out and you see people that recognize you and saw your last show or something, because that's what it was. You know, they said they had seen us down in Tucson and at the Nile and it was just great to talk with them and talk about how the show was. So yes, I'd say it's happening a little bit more. The number one thing we get with that is, "oh my god, you're so nice". Yeah we are regular people, we're not anything special or anything. We're just three dudes that make music that some people like, so they come to our shows. We talk to every single one of our fans. I don't care if we end up playing, Madison Square Garden, if people want to meet us, I'll stay there for the next two days, standing outside the stadium, we'll sit there and talk to every single one of them. But I think that's a misconception a lot of fans do get is that a lot of artists are distant and stuff, so I think it is different when your fans do get to talk to you and they're like, "oh my god," because you've just blown them away. Because a lot of used to think that about bands, so I know where they are coming from. But I mean my thing is, though, you know, as much as we would like to stand outside the stadium for two days, it just can't happen, just because when you are on tour and moving, you have to keep going, and once you get to that level, where you're playing stadiums like that. You know, I've talked to a few fans about that where they've asked me to talk to the singer of Blackville Bryce, to see if they can meet him and stuff. For one I don't have that connection. We don't know them personally. Which I'm honored to think they'd even go to me. A lot of people think that. For some reason people think we're just really tight with Black Veil Brides and Andy Biersack, and we're like, "No, we don't know them at all." We love them, we'd love to meet them. The thing, it's just like, you know, they love their fans, we love our fans, they're always going to remember, they love their fans, but when see so many fans, they can't get to each one, and I had to tell them, you know, it's hard at that position, you know? It's a completely different level, where we're not at yet, where we get talk to you guys after the show and stuff. It's one of the things, even our heroes and stuff, you've got to be waiting in line and you may meet them, you may not. It's like you have to accept that. It's hard, because, you love them and stuff, but at the same time, it's such a different level, it really is. It's one of those things; they're always going to love their fans though. Definitely.
So do you guys think that music comes more naturally to you or did a lot of you have actual formal training to play musical instruments or vocal classes or...?
Never had a class. I was going to say, honestly for me, you know, everything comes by ear and feeling. You know, music is emotions, it's not just something on a sheet of paper. It's something that someone felt. I know that people write music, but at the same time they also felt every single note, every single lyric. It's just one of those things where it-- that is what comes natural. Any artist that you listen to, it's not like they're just a robot and just push it out, these people feel things. That is why it is such a connection with fans. It's funny to me because the only formal training I've ever had - and I wouldn't call it formal - but the only training I've ever had was on guitar, [chuckle] and I play drums. If you're talking about our guitar class, that was not training whatsoever. Well, I think it was. I was learning out of a book, and I learned a lot of chords, and I learned a little bit of theory that I still use today. And to me, somebody can tell me "play ACGs" and because of those classes I can say "alright" and I can play chords like that on guitar. But it's funny to me that I had - I took drum lessons one time, for a little bit - and I took three lessons and just quit, because it just wasn't doing it for me, and there's nothing that beats just sitting down and learning your favorite songs. I actually had a fan message me the other day and told me that she was going to get a bass guitar, because summer was coming up and she never does anything all summer. And she was asking for advice on, you know, is it hard to learn, and what should I do? And I gave her the advice that taught me everything I know about music. Get an instrument and then lock yourself in your room with your favorite CDs and learn all the songs. And that's it. And just learn all your favorite songs and sing along, no matter how bad you sound and just look up the tabs if you need to, but learn it by ear. Just sit down with your favorite CDs and learn your songs, because you've got that personal connection to them and - number one - there's no cooler feeling than when you can play one of your favorite songs ever, and just play along with the CD and pretend like you're sitting in the room with your favorite band. And two, that's just-- that's just how I know that all of us learned our instruments is we just sat down and learned our favorite bands' stuff with our instruments. As far as coming easy, I think does. I don't know. We just picked up and practice all the. I've got to say, some people are more gifted than others. We all practice our instruments. Zack practices his voice like crazy, all the time. I know I practice my drums all the time— In the shower, in the car. It's like, we are always practicing and thinking about stuff. So it definitely doesn't come with it’s work. that's for sure, I mean—Definitely. I practiced once. It was a really fun experience.
So do any of you go to-- are any of you in school right now? Considering if you are in school, does it make it harder for you to get together as a band, or if you have actual jobs outside of the band, that makes it hard to get together?
School's for nerds! Yeah, definitely no school. Yeah I sat in class for an hour at college, and I was like "nope". I shook their hands and thank them for their time. I was like, "thank you but this is not for me." It was an honor. It was an honor sitting in your class. Where's my degree? But honestly, we do work jobs, I mean, you know, we're normal people. We have to work jobs to keep this band funded. I mean, you've got to spend money to make money and it's just one of those things that's what makes or breaks bands. having money a lot of the times, and same thing with a marriage, you got to have money, and it's one of those things where we'll work part time jobs, but, I mean, there's a lot on our hands. What's really neat about this band is this is a job, this is our business. You know, we all have separate individual jobs within the band which really makes it up to what it is.
But does it ever make it hard for you like guys to get together or are they really flexible people you work with that are... really flexible jobs or are they...?
We make any sort of job that we have, anything that we are doing outside of the band, we make that work around the band. The band's our number one priority no matter what we are doing. The band takes precedence. Yeah, the band is first and foremost, and whatever we're doing outside of the band, whoever we're around, they know that Dead City Lights comes first. That's as far as jobs go, I know we all go in there, when we're getting jobs and let them know we're in a band and this comes first. And, you know if this is going to be an issue, then I'm going to save us both some time and leave now. Because we've all been really fortunate to have jobs that-- people in our jobs that support the band and they are willing to work around us, but it's because we set it up that way. We told them this is what takes precedence. Here are the plans. We do not plan on being here forever, because we are going to plan on leaving for tour, so as long as they are cool with that and they hire us, that's fine. So that's kind of where we're at right now. I mean it definitely makes it little harder. We’ve got to find time, but what we do is just set days. You know, every Monday and Wednesday are the days that we get to be together, and nothing happens on Monday or Wednesday. Our jobs know it. Our families know it. Our friends know it. Everyone knows that we are completely unavailable Monday and Wednesday, because this is what we do. The good news is even though we get together Monday and Wednesday, nothing stops. Nothing ever stops. It's 24/7. That's just when we get together. The rest of the time we're all just separate working on the band. Monday and Wednesday we're in the same room working on the band. Yep. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we are working something for Dead City Lights at any given time.
So are there any songs that you prefer playing on your EP more than others or do you just love them all equally and just play all of them as often as you can or...?
Definitely say the second one. I love them all equally— Yeah I was going to say, I mean, it's hard because each one has a special spot for all of us, For sure. I don't even think they're comparable in the live show. Because we usually open up with Kiss and Tell and that song just has so much energy and it just gets you so jazzed. Then Ghost Without Name and Get Me Home have these really deep meanings that you can feel it in the crowd when they're connecting. Castaway, everyone just goes freaking bananas because that was the first song that we released and everyone really knows that, and Come Alive is just another hard-hitting song. They are all fun in separate ways and as part of the live show, it is-- I love them all. I just like being on stage period. I don't care if I am just standing there and everyone's just staring at me. What were cool were our first two shows, you know, to hear people sing Castaway was probably one of the absolute coolest things. I have to admit, you know, for us to see these fans connecting with us, and actually signing the lyrics. I mean there's nothing more overwhelming than that. So we try and pride ourselves with every song that we do. They're all special to us and it would be like having kids, you can't pick one that's better than the other— That's not true, yes you can. I'm just saying. I know for a fact my parents like me more than my brothers. Well I know for a fact Nick's parents liked his sister more than him. Let's put it that way.
Have you ever found yourself getting so lost in music that when you come back to reality you're like, "oh I’m actually performing Live?
It's called high school. That is very true because everyday I do. Like I say, listening to a song, playing a song, like I said that's where the emotion comes in. I'm a very emotional person. When I hear song that makes me want to cry, I freaking cry. I don't give a crap what anyone says, because it is something that touched me at a time or place— I do that when I'm driving a lot, and then I’ll just blow past exits. Seriously, and then you wake up and you're like, "whoa! Hold on. What's going on?" When we're playing it's the same thing – definitely on stage. It's funny, because I remember talking with Zack and Justin and a few other people after the show at the Nile on February 15th, and Justin's talking about his guitar flip, and Zack's talking about this point where somebody grabbed his hand and I saw nothing. I was literally up there, and my eyes were open but I did not see anything. I honestly do not even remember playing. I just remember that it was really cool and the only thing I really remember is sitting down and then the lights going out right before they start the show, and at the very end I came out from behind my drum kit and went out to the front of the stage. Those are the only two parts of that set that I remember because I was just so lost in what we were doing. The only thing that sucks about performing is you can blink, and you could be up there for two hours. You have freaken wardrobe changes and bells and whistles, it's like, you blink and its over. The only part that sucks about performing is the end. I'd say we get lost in our music every single day, be it when we're playing, when we're listening, and like Justin said, that was pretty much high school. In class I was the master at hiding my headphones and just zoning out during classes listening to songs. String it through your sleeve, into your palm and just put your head down. That was high school for me. Somehow I got decent grades too, I do not really know how. Tell your high school friends. But no totally. That's what I live for
though, that's what make me want to play music, is I would just get lost in these songs and these CDs and I wanted to make music that kids could get lost in.
Was there any bands in particular that you looked up to growing up that really started you more on this path or...?
For me, anybody that knows me... freakin' Blink-182, Angels and Airwaves, any of the old punk bands like NOFX and all the old nineties Warped Tour bands pretty much, pretty much got me started and all of that. My first band that I was just obsessed with Was actually Hanson - when MmmBop came out - and, that was pretty rad. Then I just learned all the lyrics to that whole entire album and then the rest is history. As for me, what made me want to pick up a guitar to this day will always be Slash. I thought he was probably one of the most interesting people. Especially in Guns N Roses he was very mysterious. he'd always hide his face and he was just an amazing guitar player. So he really inspired me to do that, as I started to enter singing, which was about two years ago - Puberty. When I started, singing, a lot of the people I looked up to for vocals, Tyson Ritter from All-American Rejects, Angels and Airwaves is probably my biggest idol for lyrics, I think Tom DeLonge is probably one of the best in our generation, as far as using a lot of metaphors and things like that. He knows how to twist his songs and instead of word for word he knows how to make you think, and I'm that kind of person that likes that and likes to write that way. Then All Time Low is another one that's just been one of my biggest idols for what I do as far as singing goes. For me, I'll just never forget it, being on the playground in sixth grade, somebody showed me Wild Side from Motley Crue, and that just turned me onto rock and roll. I was raised on country music, and that was just such a far cry from that, and I just thought it was so cool. Then I was given a DVD of some music videos of theirs and I fell in love with Nikki Sixx and just then I started playing bass. That's where I started and what really inspired me, and so I got really into live stuff because they're such a visual band and I thought that stuff was so cool. That's what really got me into playing music and then it was in high school - actually, Zack and I were playing in a band together, and I was playing bass, and then we kicked the drummer out, and I just basically said, I'm going to play drums - the way everybody was saying, "alright, let's go look for a drummer," and I was like, "no, I'm going to do it." So, what got me into playing drums is... I just would sit back and when we were rehearsing I'd watch our drummer, and then I would go to a friend of mine's house and I would memorize all of our drummer's music then go over to a friend of mine's house and play them, and I would play the songs in my head and then play drums to them. And so that's how I kind of started learning to play drums and, at that point, obviously Travis Barker was a huge influence for me, and that was back in 2004, 2005. But I was really into a lot of that. I went through this big metal phase back then, I was huge into Pantera and all the big metal bands that were coming out back then. Was huge for me. But then I really started to get into a little bit of everything.There's a lot of different bands that have influenced us and got us started. It's kind of cool to me to see like all of these different areas that we started from, and what we still bring to the table.
Is there any record labels your looking into And anything you're looking for in these label down the road?
Any ones that you like over the other ones, that give you more freedom to do what you want and be yourselves?
Oh that's a must but it all comes down to the contract. I mean any label can give you any contract. So it
dependents, you as a band need to demand that sort of thing, and when you demand-- just waiting for the right people to come by who are-- waiting for the right people to come by who see the vision the way you do for
the band and believing in it as much as you do, that's when you know it's time, I mean there's nothing we can really share about it right now, it's definitely something that we're looking into and interested in, but it comes down to the relationship you have with them and finding people that believe in your vision as much as you do. That's what's most important and that doesn't always happen right away. I believe that takes a lot of patience. The thing that I learned through this whole journey is being honest with yourself. Don't be afraid to talk about things. Do not be afraid to be yourself. You know, it's one of those things where you kind of get caught up in your heroes sometimes and you kind of forget who you are for a second and realize that some of those stories are about you, but at the same time you have your own story to tell, and honesty is definitely something that is very important, that makes a band very successful. I think that one of the hardest things when it comes to labels and touring is stuff like that, especially with younger bands like ourselves that have been out very long is patience, and it's so hard. I'm one of the most impatient people ever - I know all three of us are - it's so difficult to be patient but it's so vital, because if you rush into certain things, it can really create a mess. So as far as, are we looking into that sort of stuff? Absolutely. But, this band—is not even six months old really. So Dead City Lights itself being so new is-- We're still trying to figure out what it is? We know exactly what we're going for. We know who we want to reach, and we're finding how to do that a little bit better everyday. We figure out how to reach those points, and now it's just a matter of finding those people that believe in this as much as we do, and we want our message to reach people as bad as we want to reach people, so once we find those people, it is important to stick with them. Do you think you guys ever recover well from messing up something on stage or from just.
If you're ever talking to people in public, fans or saying stuff into mice... Do you recover from making mistake or are you the kind of people that are like, "oh that just happened, hold on, it's going to take me a minute to recover from that?
"I mean it doesn't even matter to us. If we mess up we mess up really. We're human too. You just keep playing, you
don't ever stop. It happens, it does. Especially with the type of energy we bring to stage. I mean, we have guitars flying around our bodies, jumping up on boxes and stuff; it's go to happen. Once in a blue moon-- I mean, it doesn't happen often for us, because we practice our butts off, but yeah... it's about muscle memory at that point, but it's going to happen, once in a blue moon. If it happens, then it happens. There's nothing you can do about it. You can't reverse and go back and redo it. You just keep playing, acting like nothing happened, hopefully no one noticed. Just keep going. Even when we're talking with people-- I started stuttering— We stutter every once in a while, but more importantly is always keep a smile on your face. Don't break character. Always smile and that's the thing. Once someone sees your body language as if something's wrong, that's when they know, you don't need to say anything. Personally, that's messing up worse than when you mess when speaking. Right, if you let it get to you and you let it affect the way the rest of your performance is going to go, that's when you really mess up. You have a slip up, fine, just keep going.
Is there any band’s you would preferring to try to perform with now, or are you just happy with whoever you get to perform with or do shows with?
No, we keep a very close watch on who we perform with. I think-- we all think it's really important to not just take shows with anybody, which is why you don't often see us perform. You can't just go out any weekend and see Dead City Lights. So we definitely keep a really close eye on who we perform with, because I think that we want to make sure we get in front of the right people.
Have you played outside of the state, outside of Arizona? Is there any place you've been performing outside of here? Is it mostly just here considering where you are in your career?
As far as Dead City Lights goes we have only stayed in Arizona as of now. We played LA in previous bands but as far as Dead City Lights goes we've remained in Arizona.
Being that Facebook and Twitter and all of that's going on, do you think it's helped you better connect and expand your band faster or is it, sort of, been a little more tricky, considering now you have to keep up with that too?
Absolutely it's helped us. Twitter's a blessing and Facebook's a blessing, it's just all a matter of how much effort you put into it and how much you study these things, because they're great tools to use to really get your name out there, you've just got to study it. That's the only way we've been able to stay connected with our fans and do it the way we do, is because of those things. They're excellent, we love them.
Do you ever try to get on Ustream or that kind of stuff to promote yourself that way, actually talking face to face with your fans or seeing them in person and knowing the kind of person you're connecting with?
I mean we try to do one or two Ustreams a month. This month we haven't, but we've been Skyping with all the winners of our contests and stuff. Whether it's the full band, or sometimes I'll just go up on there and hang out with the fans for a while. Our Ustream's getting pretty wild. But, I mean, that's one of my favorite things to do. So that's why you'll see me on there alone and stuff, because I have ADHD so I just go on there and hangout with fans for a while and then-- I know last time I ended up calling a bunch of fans because I was bored.
Being that social media has gotten so big do you alternate ever running that stuff. So that it takes the pressure off somebody else toTry and keep up with it all the time?
No, well I mean we all do it out of our personal accounts. So, everybody does it. I do it off my-- everybody does it off their personal accounts. So it's a full time job though. We're all on Facebook and Twitter and everything, all the time, all day everyday— We're worse than high school girls. I mean we love it, because that's how we connect with our fans, but we're constantly on there. So it keeps us busy and it's fun. I like it.
Is there any tours going on that you hope to be getting on soon or is that still pretty hush until down the road or...?
Get us on the Warped Tour. Definitely we're working on some stuff, but there's nothing we can announce or say anything about. Mums the word. But we're definitely working on stuff or like Justin said, if you can get us on Warped Tour--That would be beautiful. That would be awesome. But we're definitely working on stuff. We're always trying to work on it especially now. So hopefully soon.
So do you guys all sit down and write, or do you write on your own free time and then bring it to the table and everyone will add their own bits to it?
Basically how that one works, is, everyone has a part, obviously with their instruments and stuff. I'm usually the main song writer, I develop the lyrics, the melodies and stuff. These guys help me find the kinks that I missed. Usually what we'll do is I'll take about two weeks to write a song - to go through it, structure it, see how it sounds - then bring it to these guys and, pray to God that they like it. Then they start helping me, because these guys are great writers too. So it really helps when you've got people who have great visions and stuff. It's just lyrically wise I always try get my melodies and stuff perfected and what not. The whole process starts with Zack. Zack will come to us with a full freaking song and ideas on and "oh I was thinking the drums can do something like this, right?" But definitely, it's never been like this, okay, here's the song, and then that's the one that goes on the records. Just because when you get all three of us, it's like there's so many times where I'll be saying something like, "Dude, what, wouldn't it be so cool, and then Nick is just like how about this." And no one can hear each other, but there's a lot of stuff that goes into our writing process because, I mean, getting all three of us, we all have so many ideas. And, like we explained before we all came from really different backgrounds. When we first started playing music. So we all have different styles but all those different styles molded into... What Dead City Lights is now. But yeah definitely it all starts coming together and then we all put our little piece in and produce the song together.
During a performance do you ever pick a certain spot to look at, or is there anything in particular that you look for in a crowd when you're performing?
This is Justin's field. I mean, we all have special things that we do, but Justin is pretty much our director when it comes to stage performance. I just grew up in it and when I was growing up I never really bought studio albums, I always bought their live albums, and their live DVDs, and then in my old house I had this big long full wall mirror and I would put my guitar on and just go and watch myself do something. Like, "hey that was cool, hey that looks cool," and that's really how I started developing the live shows so, I mean there's parts where it's just like, "hey, you can do what you want," but there's definitely parts where I'm like, "all right you guys, this is what I was thinking: you would be here at this part, I'll be here at this part. " We definitely have a stage production show and there are certain key parts in certain songs where everyone knows where they need to be, definitely.
Does it ever make it harder performing live when you have fans who are trying to reach you or touch you, does it
ever make it just that much more challenging?
Honestly, I don't know, it makes me personally feel like we're doing something right, so it makes me feel less goofy. You know, when we do something that you think could either be great or flunk, but when you see your fans reaching out - to me and you have them in your hand now and all you want to do is keep them there. That would not affect Nick at all because you never see them, because his head is always going so fast. But basically, I mean, my biggest fear - and I know it’s going to happen one day. Is I kind of let my legs go wild sometimes, and I'm really scared I'm going to kick a fan in the head. When I am really close to the front of the stage and I break away and just run to the other side, I'm really scared I'm going to kick somebody so-- As far as making things challenging, I think it does. Zack experienced that when we were at The Nile. He was supposed to play a guitar part and there was a fan that would not let go of his hand and he was trying to get his upper hands, so that he can play his guitar parts. So I would say that sometimes? But I mean that's awesome. I'm really not complaining, that's cool, just don't untie my shoe. I don't know who did it but someone freaking untied my shoe at the Mason show. And I'm like, "dude I've got to walk around and stuff and not falling. We love what you do during our shows - this is a message to the fans – but just don't untie our shows. Actually, I would say definitely untie Justin’s shoes, because that would be awesome and so punk rock.
Do you ever have to buy a lifetime supply of drumsticks for certain shows because you get fans who are like, "can we walk off with your drumsticks," or, "can we walk off with your guitar?"
We need a lifetime of drumsticks just because he beats the crap out of his drums so hard. He at least breaks six in a month. I love to throw sticks out to people, because I never got a drumstick when I was a kid. I went to shows and I always wanted to, but I always throw sticks out to kids and then I break a lot of sticks like Zack said. If I can get a sponsorship from Vader or something, I would be so happy and I don't know, do you guys go through picks? I do. I always-- like at give guitar picks out at show, I have this thing on my mic-stand because I end up dropping picks because my hands get sweaty and it clinches the pick, so you can take off. I just ripped all of those off and threw them into the crowd, and for some reason I thought I had another box of picks, and I went backstage and was like, "Oh fuck, I need to go buy new picks now, and we have show in a couple of weeks," because I always throw all my stuff out, but just in the moment...I throw everything in my pockets out. We throw bananas out to our crowds. We threw a banana out. If we can get a lifetime supply bananas from Dole, that'd be cool. I don't know why, but right before we went on Chad from Farewell, My Love handed me a banana, and so I set it on Justin's amp and I don't know it lasted like two songs or something. I was just like, "look at this, this is just regular fruit, but look what it does when I throw it to a crowd." And everyone's like, "oh my God a banana." We started packing up that night and just seeing a peel on stage and I was like, "oh God, I wonder what happened to that banana." It was so Mario Kart, it was awesome. Yeah, well the Nile was a very cool show. Awesome a couple of people dove for it at the same time, it was like, you're fighting over a banana, but really if You think about it outside for a second, it was like who the hell would die for a banana? No one eats those things. No but then you can also see the impact you have on somebody by throwing a banana. They're like, "Oh my god," so it shows the impact you have. For sure.
Do you ever think of starting your own clothing line because you always wear the same kind of clothes all the time?
Oh all the time. I seriously want to-- that's always been a thing for me. I've always wanted to have a clothing line and I think it's so cool when people in bands start their own clothing lines like Pierce the Veil didn't start this, but they endorse the crap out of it because it's one of their friends and they have Quay Street. Austin Carlile has Aspire and Create. I love that stuff, I think it's really cool. I would like to have my own tattoo shop, personally. I'm big into tattoos, so... It's one of my favorite things. I would like to start my own clothing line of adult footsie pajamas and adult sneakers that when you stepped it would light up. Light-up sneakers for adults and they squeak when you walk, I so want to do that... I want them to squeak when I walk, that would be so awesome. That would definitely make an entrance. Dude, could you imagine that ?—I'd buy your sneakers Dude, all the lights go down, right? And you just hear the start for Kiss and Tell and you do not see anything besides my light up sneakers when I'm walking out. That would be pretty sick. Little stars on the soles and it's just awesome. We've just come up with our own clothing line. Me and Nick are making a vending machine company. Yeah, we already got that in the works, so... Not just clothing lines! Vending machines.
So, is there anything else you would like your fans or people in general just to know about you?
That we love them, and seriously, as much as we like to have fun, on a serious note real quick, we love everybody who supports us, it means everything to us. When people go buy the EP, buy a poster, come to a show, that is what keeps music alive and allows people to keep making music. So, the response that we've got from people buying our EP so far - it being the first one and us being unsigned and having no press around it - has been absolutely incredible. From the bottom of our hearts we're so grateful for those people every single day, and the people that continue to come out and buy it and become fans, it's an incredible feeling. So if there's one thing that I want people to know is that we are grateful for their support.
Here is just some of the way you can stay up to date on everything Dead City Lights.
Debut EP "Come Alive" available now on iTunes!
Merch Store: http://www.deadcitylights.storenvy.com/