The guys in Late Bloomer are pretty rad. The 3-piece outfit hails from Charlotte, NC and most recently released their sophomore album Things Change in mid-2014. ReadJunk recently had a chance to catch up with bassist Josh and guitarist Neil to ask about life on the road, having everyone in the band sing, and the band even tolerated some stupid questions at the beginning from this writer. Enjoy!
So let’s start with this one…how often do you get asked about being Late Bloomers?
Josh: A few interviews I think. It’s cool, I’m always behind the curve with things, so it’s pretty fitting of a band name. Always late to the game.
Neil: Honestly, not very often, although I do consider myself a bit of a Late Bloomer.
The band gets pegged with the 90s throwback tag a lot even though you have an original sound. How do you deal with that critique? Is it as lazy as asking you about being Late Bloomers?
Josh: I don’t mind the 90s thing, but it does get annoying when it is used as a way to just throwaway everything you are doing. It’s like when someone says, “oh that grunge band?” It’s silly because we rip off a lot of 80s punk too.
Neil: I don’t really mind it. A lot of music from the 90s had a big effect on me, so I think it just sort of naturally comes out in the songs.
You guys are on the road a fair amount, name some must haves in terms of food on the road, be it in the van or a place to stop?
Josh: Are we on the road a lot? We always go to Wawa if we are going up North. We don’t have those in North Carolina. Shit, the closest Sheetz is like 2 hours north. We have QT now tho, so that counts right?
How do you pass time in the van?
Josh: I always drive, because if not I’m a nervous wreck. I just listen to podcasts and talk to everyone while they sleep.
Neil: I do a lot of reading and sleeping. When I’m not doing that I just let myself be amused by Josh’s frustrations with driving and parking in bigger cities.
When listening to music in the van, what are the top 3 bands you all agree on that can be played?
Josh: I think we listen to Blink 182 more than Scott would like. Scott always picks some instrumental math rock band. Superchunk is something we can all agree on.
Neil: This past tour we spent a lot of time listening to Blink-182, although I’m not sure if Scott really approves of that choice. We all like a pretty large variety of stuff, so it’s hard to just pick 3.
On the flipside, what do you play that drives the other guys nuts?
Josh: When Neil and Scott go to sleep, which is like right when they get in the van, I play stuff like Aqua, Snow and Smashmouth, just to wake them up. It also keeps me awake and saves us all from sure death. I’ve also snagged gospel/evangelical tapes and blasted them in the van. All hail Bill’s truckstop!
Neil: I like the second Silverchair album quite a bit and I don’t think anyone really digs it except for me, although I’m not sure if it necessarily drives them crazy. I do know that our friend Karl, who played drums with us on this most recent tour because Scott couldn’t go, made us listen to quite a bit of Drake. That was pretty traumatizing.
You have a very full and lush sound as a 3 piece, how does your dynamic work with each member of the band to create that?
Josh: We all bring ideas to the table. Generally pretty normal, someone brings most of a song, or someone brings some riffs and we all make the person feel really horrible about their idea and then change it a bunch. Seriously though, we just try to go where the song leads us. I know that sounds like a “hippy” response but it seems like we don’t normally push an idea as needing to sound like us. We just let the song write itself and it’s the same 3 dudes writing so it sounds like a Late Bloomer song. Basically, no one really tells each other what to play, unless it sucks. So I get told to play something else a lot.
Each member of the band also sings, how do you decide on singing parts?
Josh: If you write it, you sing it. If you can’t sing it, then give it to Scott.
Neil: It sort of varies I guess. Sometimes Josh or I will come into practice with a song that’s mostly written and we write over top of that to find what we dig best. Other times one of us will have a riff or a bass line and we just jam on that until it slowly forms itself into a song. We work together well most of the time, so I’d say it’s a pretty good dynamic between us.
Usually the person who wrote the song will sing, but sometimes it’ll be something instrumental we’ve been jamming on and we just sort of see who works best on what song and go from there.
Let’s talk about band roles – who is the dad, mom, and kid brother?
Josh: 3 very angry dads mourning over their lost youth.
Neil: Josh is the single Dad. I’m the kid brother and Scott’s the creepy uncle.
Josh – you also run Self Aware Records and play in the band Alright? How do you manage both of those with doing Late Bloomer?
Josh: I don’t manage it too well. I stress my wife out a ton.
What is next for you guys? Are you currently writing? Are you on the road forever?
Josh: We have been writing this new album before the other album was out. I believe we might be half way through writing, but I dunno. We kinda plan to be more critical of this album and write like 15 songs, and then pick like the best 8 or 9 of those. We also have ideas to release a couple smaller releases, but mainly we like to focus on albums. Might not really go on the road too much before the new album comes out. Just weekends here and there, one offs and festival dates. Whatever convinces people to still give a shit and not forget we exist.
Neil: We are currently writing. I’m personally working myself in a bit of a rut in terms of writing. It seems to be picking up and I think the new stuff is going to be much more solid than our previous releases.