Messenger Down is always at the top of my list when it comes to exciting new bands, and what's better than an exciting new band making exciting new music? The guys recently took the time out of recording to answer some questions about their new album, their new members, and their plans for the summer.
Please introduce yourselves to everyone on the Internet!
G: I'm Garrett, I play the microphone and lots of other things in the studio!
A: Hey! My name's Arun and I play drums
C: Hey! I'm Connor, I play guitar and sometimes do some computery stuff for the band
You guys are working on a new EP, how is that going?
G: Really well! We just got vocals wrapped up, so just a few bits and pieces here and there and it's all finished!
A: It sounds adorable.
C: We got to use a bunch of BEAUTIFUL guitars for the recordings. All of the instruments are higher quality, all of the gear is higher quality, and we're using real guitar amps on the record instead of simulators. We added up a rough total of the cost of gear used on this record and it was something like $13,000 for just drums, bass, and guitar gear. Everything is just a million times better than [first EP] The Gentleman's Guide and I've loved every second of it. Haha.
You’re very open about what bands influence you, but manage to avoid what a lot of bands fall into these days, which is sounding too much like your influences and blending in with the rest of the scene, what do you think sets Messenger Down apart from other pop punk bands?
A: The drummer ;)
G: Not being "pop punk," haha. People these days are so quick to categorize music, and it leaves no room for experimentation with other sounds and styles. Messenger Down has always and will always just be a rock band.
C: Yeah, like Garrett said, we're not really pop punk. I'd say one thing that's really noticeable on this record is that you can't really pin any one song down to sounding like a particular band. All of the songs have TONS of influences. I honestly don't think there are many bands you can say "Messenger Down sounds like..." to.
That being said, what have been your influences on the new album? In a Q&A you did a few months ago you mentioned Taking Back Sunday and early Panic at The Disco.
G: Yeah, those are 2 big ones. Bands like those two, Marianas Trench, Mayday Parade, and Fall Out Boy are always big influences on me, but this time around there's a bit of influence from bands like The Used, Chiodos, The Story So Far, Sleeping With Sirens, and My Chemical Romance just to name a few.
C: WAY too many to count. If I had to narrow it down to the parts I helped write, I could say a lot of the lead guitar work is pretty strongly influenced by Alex Garcia of Mayday Parade. He is one of my favorite guitarists in modern rock.
In the same Q&A you mentioned having more cohesiveness between songs. Are you seeing any themes emerging on the new album?
G: It's really more of a cohesiveness in the sounds on the record. From front to finish just sounds like a Messenger Down record, where as the whole goal on The Gentleman's Guide... was to put out a wide variety of songs. There's still plenty of experimentation, no 2 songs sound the same, but you can definitely tell it's the same band from song to song. As far as lyrical themes, this has a bit more variety. You'll just have to listen to really figure out what these songs are about!
The band underwent a lot of lineup changes between writing The Gentleman’s Guide and recording the new EP— where are we going to see these changes reflected in the music?
C: A lot of the lineup changes happened during the recording of the EP so there wasn't really time for the new members to throw in much input. BUT we finally got to track real live drums on this record, as opposed to being constrained to programmed drums on TGG. Arun got to play on this record and throw in a lot of his own style of drumming on the songs. The drum sound on this record is SO much better than TGG. Everything is more human, and because of Arun everything is hit WAY harder
A: Yeah, I was brought into the band as an official member literally a few weeks before recording so I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to mess with the drums parts but I did throw in my own knick knacks and patty whacks where I could.
G: I wrote everything on The Gentleman's Guide myself, and everything was played on it by either Connor or myself because we started it before Nick or Bryan joined the band. This time around there's 2 songs Connor helped write and one song that our old bassist Nick contributed to. If anything, the most noticeable differences between TGG and [the new EP] WSHBS are going to be that the guitar parts are more interesting thanks to me no longer having to play and sing live, and the drum parts are actually real, haha.
What has the recording process been like with the new lineup?
C: Everything has been a ton of fun. We've had a great time working with Jeff Long of Trap Door Recordings. Jeff let Garrett and me stay there for like a week straight getting all of the guitar parts done, and when it came to Arun recording the drums, it went great. He is the only new member that really got a chance to play on the record, but it was a blast while he was doing it. He went through a ridiculous amount of sticks though haha
Are you seeing an increased interest in the band outside of North Carolina?
G: Definitely! The internet has helped us reach people from all over! I can't wait to finally tour and get out to some of them!
A: Well, pretty quickly after I joined the band I started getting messages from people from all over telling me that they liked Messenger Down which is incredible to me.
C: We've had a pretty good amount of interest out of state from the internet for a while, but with Garrett and our manager Amanda working as hard as they are, I can definitely see a rise. All the help from her and the Street Team has definitely bumped up our interest out of state.
And of course, what are you most excited about for the new album cycle? What are you hoping to accomplish this year?
G: I'm just stoked to get these songs out there so we can tour and get started on the next release!
C: I really really can't wait to get this record out and show everybody all the things we have in store for them. There is so much planned for this release and the next year or so that I could never point out something I'm most excited about. I'm hoping to meet a ton of new friends out on tour and see a bunch of cool places and people. Tour is high on that list of for the most exciting thing haha.
A: I can't tell if I'm more excited for the actual release of the new material or touring but definitely one of the two. It's going to be a cool year.
Messenger Down's new EP What Should Have Been Said will be released this summer, and you can keep up with all the band news on their facebook page and twitter.