Let’s start at the very beginning, how did you guys get together?
Ricky: There was a lot going on in the fall of 2012. The singer of our first band, the New Rochelles, had moved away. A major storm hit our town hard but we remained focused on continuing the music. At that time we began to record our version of the Ramones Animal Boy album, which the first guitarist of the Young Rochelles played on, engineered and produced. He, Rookie and I practiced those songs together. We were then asked to take advantage of a free recording session at Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn. I had some original songs written and the session became the Young Rochelles Cannibal Island EP.
Who does what in the band?
Ricky: I sing and play drums. Rookie plays bass and growls, and Randy plays guitar and sings backing vocals. I write most of the songs and Rookie writes a few as well. Rookie and I do our share of arguing while Randy gets stoned.
The band shares songwriting duties, how do you fit three distinctive personalities but have the songs seamlessly blend together?
Ricky: Our lineup has changed since our first two records and we’re down to two songwriters now. Being on the same musical wavelength has made it easy to blend the sound. We ditched a few songs along the way that weren’t so seamlessly connected, haha.
How would you describe the songwriting styles of each member?
Ricky: Rookie writes some tough sounding songs with simple but appealing chord progressions. I like to think that mine are quick and painless. For two years I’ve been holding on to my best songs for our full-length album.
Your sound is very evocative of traditional pop-punk, bands like the Ramones and Lookout Records bands, when did you get into the genre?
Ricky: I got into punk rock in 1999. Rookie and I used to take buses and trains to get to record stores to buy CDs… and then eat at White Castle. I miss those trips. As for our sound, we’re traditional but we don’t try to be stuck in time. Most fans detect our contributions to the genre.
Rookie: I grew up with the Ramones always being played in my house. Screeching Weasel, the Queers and other great bands of the genre was the next wave of bands I got into.
Do you find yourselves looking back more for inspiration vs. what is happening now with pop-punk?
Ricky: Inspiration comes from within, from real experiences as well as fantasies. What’s happening now with pop-punk is the same thing that used to happen with it; bands make record after record and go on tour. The best bands have captured the classic sound while remaining original.
Rookie: Those classic 90’s pop punk bands are very inspirational, it was just a great time for music… of all genres. However, there are a few current bands who continue to push the limits and stretch the formula of the sound we all grew up listening to and that is part of our goal as well.
Who were your gateway bands?
Ricky: Ramones, NOFX, the Queers, and Blink-182.
How did you get hooked up with Greenway Records?
Ricky: Harry is a local entrepreneur and we were his test subjects in starting a record label. It went well and now he has a lineup of more records to release. Check it out at greenwayrecords.com.
What other bands are you really digging right now?
Rookie: Of current bands; the Creeps, Bat Bites, DeeCracks and Radioactivity have all been in constant rotation lately. But I always find myself going back and listening to bands such as The McRackins, The Vindictives and MTX.
Ricky: I usually find myself seeking out songs rather than bands. I listen to everything. Music appreciation is important because allows me to understand and enjoy music, as well as create it. The two albums in my car right now are Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys and We Sold Our Soul for Rock’n’Roll by Black Sabbath.
Who does the artwork for the band? It has a very distinctive style to it.
Ricky: Steven Franks has done some great stuff for us including our original loris logo. Dan Curran did outstanding artwork for our latest record, Know the Code.
Rookie: We’ve had a lot of people contribute but I think the people we work with understand our music and come up with an aesthetic that works for us.
I also noticed you worked with Chris Shary, who works with the Descendents, how did you get hooked up with him?
Rookie: Chris is a great guy and it was really neat getting to work with him. He did the artwork for our debut 7 inch Cannibal Island. One of the labels who helped release it had this great idea to get Chris involved and he totally knocked it out of the park.
Ricky: Agreed. Chris drew the Cannibal Island cover modeled after a real photograph we took at the abandoned King’s Park Psychiatric Center on Long Island.
What is happening next with the band?
Rookie: Greenway just released the second press of Know the Code and we’ll have three or four other releases this year hopefully in various formats. We are also hitting the road for a bit this July for eleven shows. We’ll be playing on the east coast and in the Midwest. And on top of all of that we will continue writing for our first full length album. Big things coming!
Ricky: I’m looking forward to being on tour and meeting new people, trying local beer and foods, and soaking up the culture of each destination. Thanks for the interview!!