Q&A with The Front Bottoms + Video
I recently received an email from Mark with Bar-None Records, a New Jersey based record label that’s been home to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Juliana Hatfield, The Glands, The Feelies and many more. It’s rather seldom that I’m emailed about bands I’ve never heard of that impress me as much as Westwood, New Jersey duo The Front Bottoms did. After watching their video for “Maps”, I immediately began sending the link to friends and browsing Youtube and different blogs to hear other songs they had written and within a matter of minutes was hooked.
I spent some time on the phone with drummer/vocalist Matt Uychich right after the band had finished their set at an annual festival called Cupcakefest and we chatted about their history, the peculiar name, and much more.
Sean Pritchard (TBI) : Matt, thanks for take the time to talk with us. I won’t go into detail the extent of how hooked I’ve been on your music the past weeks, but after hearing “Maps” I was determined to get an interview and figure out why you guys aren’t doing bigger things.
Matt (TFB) : Thank you man, I’m as eager as you are I guess. Of course we’re glad you like the music, so thank you again for making this happen.
TBI : Though this is the most typically boring interview question ever, can you just tell me about the band? I couldn’t find too much info and I’m curious about a lot of things.
TFB : Hey, that’s fine. It’s better that we just get it all out so we’re on the same page. The Front Bottoms is comprised of myself and Brian (Sella – guitar/vocals) and occasionally which ever one of our friends decides to play the piano or bass. Right now we actually have a friend (Drew) doing both of those. We were born and raised one town away from each other. Brian and I met in 2nd grade and shortly thereafter his mom bought him an acoustic guitar. I followed up with a drum set and we just jammed around for years. In high school, we just started learning all these Blink-182 and Modest Mouse covers. We’re currently living in Westwood, New Jersey with a good friend who actually prints all of our shirts. It’s really nice actually.
TBI : This sounds like the ideal indie rock story. Friends since second grade who are now writing and recording in a band together. Have you all always just played music together or were your first few years spent in different bands?
TFB : I can say this confidently, but I am almost positive that I am the only drummer Brian has ever played in a band with and he’s the only guitarist I’ve played in a band with. We just started together at a young age and didn’t slow down or feel the need to change things.
TBI : I’m sure you guys get this all of the time, but what’s the story behind the name?
TFB : Haha, yes. Honestly, we used to think it wards people away from really checking us out but things have seemed to change since we’ve been on a few tours and have a couple of EP’s out. Brian has always been into this movie called “Sexy Beast” and theres one quote where Ben Kingsley is talking with airport officials and mentions that the flight attendants had touched his front bottom. We always loved that and so it just sort of wound up being who we are.
TBI : I’ll have to check that out, I’m a fan of his acting. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of it. So, from what I could gather online, you guys have two official releases with dozens more songs scattered about on blogs and on Youtube. Is that correct?
TFB : Right you are! We’ve been writing and playing together as The Front Bottoms for about four years. We started off doing demos and then recorded “Slow Dance To Soft Rock” as well as a sampler. We’ve actually got a full length coming out this Summer though.
TBI : Yeah, Mark said you guys had just signed with Bar-None. Congratulations.
TFB : Yep, that was a huge surprise for us. We’re stoked to be a part of a New Jersey based label that’s had some amazing bands in the past and still do.
TBI : What can you tell me about the new album?
TFB : It’s actually two EP’s combined. “Slow Dance” has been remastered and we added the songs from an EP called “Grip & Tie”. We’re pretty excited about it of course because it’s our first label release, but we’ve got some really cool mediums that we’re putting the music on. We’ve got a double vinyl, CD’s with some awesome packing, and of course digital releases. It comes out September 6th while we’ll be on tour with Emperor X.
TBI : Awesome! We’re actually having you guys in Macon on the 9th, I wasn’t sure if you knew yet.
TFB : Yes, very cool. Chad (Emperor X) is an awesome guy. We’ve done a few shows together in the past so it’s great to actually get on the road with him. You’re going to be very impressed with how his live show goes.
TBI : We’ll good. I’m really looking forward to it. Have you guys toured around the states before?
TFB : Yeah, actually we’ve done 3 or 4 D.I.Y. East Coast tours all the way down to Florida and back up and I think as far West as Ohio. This will be the first run that we’ve done with another band though. The fact that it comes at the same time as our CD release seals the deal though.
TBI : I actually watched the video for “Maps” right before we chatted to see if I’d missed anything. Considering that it’s a low budget video, the content is fairly unique and fits the song appropriately I think.
TFB : Thanks. The way the video came to be is rather strange though. We got an email from a guy in Spain named Pablo who was a fan of our music and he said that he would be in the States for two months and wanted to film us. So, everything just came together. We shot it at a farm near our house and then also around the Brooklyn Bridge. He did everything for free and we shot it in two days. It was definitely one of the coolest things that has happened to us as a band.
TBI : Wow. I’d have to agree with you, that’s awesome that someone wanted to do that for you. Would you say you guys have a fairly active community up there?
TFB : Yes, definitely. We’ve got a ton of friends that play awesome music. The area around Rutgers is densely populated with people that hold house shows nearly every night, play music, make art. There’s always something going on, we’re very lucky to have so many supportive and creative people around us..
TBI : Do you guys mainly play house shows and parties?
TFB : We do, but we usually play at venues around the area every few week. Maxwells is an awesome venue in Hoboken, but I think our favorite place to play is a really small venue underneath a restaurant in Montclair. It’s called the Meatlocker. Just a small room with a few lights, it gets packed out very quickly and everyone just dances all night. It’s an awesome environment.
TBI : Sounds like a great time. We have a few places like that around here. I’ve got to head out soon, but thank you so much for talking with us. I can’t wait to see you guys in September and to hear the new album. Best of luck with everything the next few months.
TFB : Likewise, it was great to talk. Thanks for your interest in us and we’ll see you in September.
Check out the official video for The Front Bottoms song “Maps” below :[youtube id=KbT6qUpROnI]
photo credits : Brian Reilly & Alexandra Henry