February 2016 – “Band of the Month” – MICROWAVE
Started in January of 2012, the “Band of the Month” feature has allowed The Blue Indian a unique opportunity to share some of our favorite bands with our readers. As we move into our fifth year of the feature, we’re eager to continue showcasing some of the best and brightest artists around. Thanks for the continued support!
L to R: Tyler Hill, Nathan Hardy, Wesley Swanson, Tito Pittard
Happy new year, guys! How did you all celebrate a year that proved to be incredibly productive for the band? Are you all the type to make resolutions and if so, are you sticking to them?
Nathan Hardy (all answers): We started recording a new album on New Year’s Day which will be released later this year. It’s definitely been a cool way to start the year out. I think our only resolution is to have even more fun in 2016 than we did in 2015.
You all just announced a huge tour with The Wonder Years, letlive, and Tiny Moving Parts (tour dates listed below). Congrats! That has to be immensely exciting to share that news with your fans and get your music in front of audiences unlike anything you’ve played to at this point? How did the tour come together for you all?
As is true of most cool things we get to do, our manager/favorite person, Jamie Coletta, helped introduce us to the right people and played a big hand in arranging the opportunity for us. Soupy and the rest of The Wonder Years are also really cool and have supported us in various ways over the last few months. We appreciate them for letting us come out with them and we’re excited to hang out with them, letlive, and Tiny Moving Parts.
For the most part, a lot of the shows on the upcoming tour are entirely new markets for the band, correct? Any cities in particular that you’re looking forward to playing — or even spending time in?
Yeah, it will be our first time playing mostly every place we’re headed on this tour. I’m personally excited to go out to Boise because my brother lives near there and his wife recently had a new baby who I haven’t met yet. Hopefully things work out where I can see them and meet baby Lance. We’re also excited to go to Memphis and visit the Bass Pro Shops in that giant glass pyramid.
Stylistically, a few things changed between your debut EP, Nowhere Feels Like Home, and Stovall, the release the spurred the signing to SideOneDummy. The progression feels natural to a listener, but was it inspired by anything specific?
I think that each of our releases will be pretty different from prior releases. We have short attention spans and a wide variety of influences. There wasn’t anything in particular that sparked the change in sound between Nowhere Feels Like Home and Stovall, but I think that the old adage “you are what you eat” applies to writing music in that what you write is typically some sort of mixture of what you’re currently listening to and whatever is going on in your life at the time.
Stovall is being re-released through SideOneDummy later this year, correct? Obviously, it’s a big deal for you all to get these songs to new audiences but do you feel they’re still thoroughly representative of where you all are at as a band?
SideOneDummy is in the process of doing a re-pressing of 500 copies of Stovall which will hopefully be available starting in February. I wish I could say that our lives are more dynamic and that the album is no longer a thorough representation of where we’re at as a band, but honestly if I didn’t have a credit card, I’d still be sleeping in my car. Depending on how many people buy T-shirts on the upcoming tour, I very well may be sleeping in my car again when I get home. Dysfunctional relationships, angsty religious sentiments, and being broke are still facets of everyday life. As far as instrumentation and songwriting goes though, we’re definitely excited to venture away from the feel of Stovall as we write new music.
What was growing up in Atlanta like for you all? Certainly, your experiences are largely impacted by your environment, so is there anything explicitly “Atlanta” in the lyrical or musical themes throughout the album, or even how you all operate as a band?
Atlanta is awesome. We have the best people and venues and a wide variety of some of the best artists of every genre of music within a relatively small area. I think there’s an element of southern hospitality that people tend to be friendly and supportive of each other regardless of what genre of music you’re playing if they can tell that it means a lot to you. There’s not quite enough people to be cliquey and stick to a small sub-genre scene so you see the same people at different kinds of shows and it’s a little bit easier to keep up with what’s going on in a variety of different scenes. There’s also an overwhelming religious presence in the Bible Belt that I’m sure influences a lot of the music here in some way, shape, or form.
You all were a last-minute addition to Manchester Orchestra’s annual party, The Stuffing — have any of you attended in the past and what was it like to be a part of an event that’s really become a giant reunion for this community of bands connected to Atlanta?
Tito and I went to the Stuffing the year before last and had an awesome time. Playing it was a really cool way to come home from being on tour with Have Mercy, Transit, and Somos for a month and a half. It was an awesome lineup too. Seeing Big Jesus and O’Brother live always blows me away and we got to meet our new Australian label brothers in The Smith Street Band.
We always want to make sure a few local spots get attention during this feature; Where do you all eat/drink/shop/play around Atlanta and what makes those spots so great?
Jack’s Pizza has $4 pitchers of High Life and Soul Food Pizza that has collard greens, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy on it. Corner Tavern on Edgewood has $1 PBRs on Monday. Flatiron in East Atlanta has $3.75 Pitchers on Tuesday. Sidebar Downtown has 90’s night every Thursday where they play all 90’s music and have 90 cent beers and shots. The Highland Tavern has 2$ Sessions lager always. I think a lot of what makes these spots so great is that they have cheap alcohol, but there’s also bound to be really cool people there that you can go to Waffle House with later.
I haven’t heard of any of those three, but I will check them out. We all listen to different music, but I’ve personally been into a lot of heavy, chaotic stuff lately; Converge, The Locust, Black Tusk, Doomriders etc. I’ve also been obsessed with Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, and Portugal the Man for a while. I obsessively listen to things until I get sick of it and move on and then circle back and rediscover it later. I recently heard this R&B singer Jarryd James on some inspirational commercial for a university in Australia and I’ve been really into his stuff too. Lee Fields and Charles Bradley are also really great.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given or received in the last year?
Purchase beverages with wide-mouth containers for long drives in the van.
Microwave – “but not often”