The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:
Eyes on the Prize
1. How did you get your band name?
Our old name, The Atlantic, was being dominated by New Atlantic while we were recording an EP in 2006. We wound up playing a show with them and the confusion was absurd. We decided on Eyes on the Prize, which originally started out as a joke, but it actually grew on us, because we are a pretty determined band. Now looking back I feel itís cheesy, but in reality a band name should not really be characteristic of the band at all. For example Vampire Weekend sounds like a trash mall emo band, but they are one of the biggest sensations in the scene right now.
2. How did this band get started?
Well this band is composed of a multitude of best friends who were all in separate band in Middle School (Jr. High for you Midwesterners). Yes, I said Middle School, playing talent shows etc. The core of this band invited myself and our current lead singer. We played all throughout high school as this group, until recently when Jeff Salkowski left for college we replaced him with a new guitarist.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Each member has their own influential group, but it ranges from, Saves the Day, Lifetime, Taking Back Sunday (YFW era), Brand New, Thursday, Forgive Durden, The Receiving End of Sirens. Weíve gotten all of that from people saying we emulate them, but we listen to bands and artists like Converge, Frou Frou, Boys 2 Men, NíSync, Bad Brains, Sunny Day Real Estate, Midtown, New Found Glory, etc.
People who have influenced us most would have to be our fans, friends and family, obviously, respectively. However, we just recently recorded with Ace Enders and he really opened all of our perspectives on the music industry and life alike.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
The Get Up Kids. In 8th grade every member of this band, despite us being in separate bands at the time, would sit around our lunch table and sing "Out of Reach" by The Get Up Kids. I have no idea to this day what the song is about, or why it was written, but I think it made all of us imagine what it would be like to be out of sight, out of mind and out of reach, on tour in a band, writing music.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
A human being, because theyíre the smartest, as far as I know at least.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
I donít think itís a matter of should, but if you enjoy our material and relate to what we express I encourage it. It is important that we listen to music in general. It has really helped me cope with exciting, depressing, happy and all sorts of times. Music is the sound track to your life and the best part is: You get to pick it! If we could be a part of that soundtrack it would be amazing. We work very hard to write art and give back to what has been given to us so much.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
Well, we actually used Rock Bandís freestyle drum to record an acoustic song on our lead singerís Macbook and it sounds pretty sweet. We were bored and we sent it into Rock Band, but hell, if Guitar Hero wants to throw us on there, weíre down. The song is called "Slow Down" and can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb5O0...channel _page
The leads arenít that impressive and do not require too much finesse, but the rhythm guitar parts chord-wise are a bitch, I know that. We use some crazy inverted minor chords in it.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
These lists are generally very long and boring. Weíd of course have to be serious in some sense mentioning our parents, girlfriends etc., but Iíd really just try to thank all the people who have honestly supported us. That seems to be an impossibility, especially since we have around 7,000 myspace friends and this week I attempted to thank everyone individually, I am about 500 messages deep and itís been 6 days I think.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
The attitude towards local music has decreased and it seems like bands are no longer in it to be artists or to contribute. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and not enough people are baking. I honestly have no idea where I just came up with that, but I like it. By that terrible, terrible analogy I think I mean this: Fan support has fallen, people still attend shows, but really pay no attention to the music. I remember one battle of the bands we played all of our fans watched us, but then literally around 100 kids just sat down for the rest of the night. I felt bad charging them 10 dollars to come watch us and not enjoy the rest of the show. Then it struck me that the loyalties kids have are insane. People need to attend shows to listen again, it is a great social atmosphere, but the scene is just really losing its flavor from when I was the tiny teeny bopper (even though Iím still in my teens).
10. Memorable tour experience?
Well we have a few.
We were going into Maryland. We had driven about 4 hours from a show that was canceled on us without any prior notification and we show up to this venue and apparently they had no knowledge of a booking agent booking a show here either. We were all a little bit perturbed. This was supposed to be one of our better shows with an attendance promised with 300+, not that weíre picky weíll play to dogs if they like it. We call the booking agent, he shows up, apologizes and offers to take us back to his place. While he was cordial and kind I couldnít help but get the feeling of The Hills Have Eyes 3 in the making. We arrive at his house which actually was a sanctuary from the rest of the town - modern gaming systems, a hot tub and pretty much we were pampered. However, there was still the issue of his lost show. Show he calls up a few local bands and sees if they want to play a show the next day (that was our off day). He then asks if we want to go for a ride in his really nice sports car (no clue what it was) to figure out what venue to play at. Now I think Iím going to become the unfortunate college girl with a rufie in her drink, only a male version. We drive around for about 2 hours and finally land a place. Baltimore? Nope, we wound up in a place with low income housing and a bar smacked dab in the middle of this development. Iím talking about kids riding around on bikes with one wheel and teeth literally rotting out of their head already. Most people were nice, some were odd, but I just couldnít believe the way these people lived. I know most of them probably had no choice, but it really irritated me with some of the things they said. The next night at the show we play with a band which was a cross between Nickelback, Rage Against the Machine and Seether who drank more beer than actually performed, and a band called White Shadow (I couldnít explain this if I tried). Our set went well, bikers yelled random things at us and people clapped at the end of our set. I recall someone asking us to cover Stairway to Heaven, or something. After the set, I was pretty irritated by what some people were saying to me, but tried to remain optimistic. Someone was talking about lynching an entire culture to me when I finally lost it. I told him to leave me alone while I packed my gear up, because he was continuously getting in my way. He hick-up-ed, laughed, slapped me on the back, asked me if wanted to buy crack with him, or knew were to ďlandĒ some crack and spilled beer on my shirt and cab. I didnít answer and just walked away. The other band we were with brought us over and told us they wanted to go home, one member actually started crying. While this wasnít the best couple of days, I thought this to be absolutely ridiculous. Iíve never seen a 20 year old boy cry about missing his bed. Tour is generally the best time of my life and I couldnít believe the transgression of things. Then another member started crying and started saying how he didnít want to dip into his own pocket for finances, which at this point we had been doing for a while now. Sometimes you have to take a hit. We suggested pushing their merch more and one of them actually said to us, ďIf we sell all of our shirts, then we wonít have any left.Ē This statement to this day baffles me, I really donít know what the hell he meant, maybe he was saving one for his mother. Absolutely astonished that this night could exponentially get so bad I walked away again to smoke a cigarette (I quit, donít worry). While doing this, my band decided regardless of what happens we are friends and we are having a blast with what we are doing. There is a cornfield across the street and we decide to run in it. Worst mistake ever. Kyle comes out and we are shining the light on him. Even now, we are not sure what this thing was but a bug that resembled an evil moth, with pincers and a wingspan easily the size of both of my palms was on his back. Running around this bar screaming like little city girls the bikers began to laugh at us, we decided it was time to leave. The next day we all were so appreciative of where we came from 3 of our members had New Jersey tattooed on us. I think all of us wouldíve if we had the money.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
To be a smartass: absolutepunk.net. Iím sure every interviewee has said that. I actually post frequently on the forums here. There is a great multitude of opinions and ideals about music. Itís especially funny in the personal life forum and the music forum where people constantly flame each other. Absolutepunk has been my source for news on a majority of bands in the scene since I was about 12. I was a lurker at age 14 and I started posting at 15.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
My personal favorite song we have is called, "Iím No Amateur, Iím a Pro; A Veteran if You Will". "Is There No One Else" is fun live.
My favorite cover had to be Thursdayís "Jet Black New Year", on a new years eve show (duh).
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
I am currently in Florida visiting my father. I only see him about twice a year now. I love to spend time with him and the weather here is phenomenal. I am in a t-shirt and jeans right now.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
The most nostalgic song I know has to be Brand New, seventy times seven. I think it was 6th grade when I first saw them live. I was so amazed at the passion in bride/outro of the song. I had no idea it was written about John Nolan and misinterpreted it as Jesse being mad at an alcoholic he knew. I could relate to that and it really eased my time with that situation.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
I consistently dream about flying, but I always crash in it. So thatís out. I think having the power to have all the powers ever is a pretty safe way to do things. It may be cheating and a cop out, but this is what I want, ok?
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
It depends in what sense. I am so content with the way things have gone this past year. From earning a spot on Vans Warped Tour 08, to playing with acts like, Bayside, Valencia, Thieves and Villains, The Wonder Years, Fireworks, The Swellers, to booking shows with Just Surrender, Years Gone By, Punchline, and possibly Shwayze (crazy!) this whole year has just been amazing. And of course recording with Ace Enders, who was one of my childhood heroes (I sang his songs to my girlfriend). I could look back now and say, ďI am truly a lucky man with what I have been doing and given.Ē
However, I would love to see my band move on to bigger things. Like possibly booking a national tour with a bigger act instead of constantly having them here, maybe signing later if people become interested enough and really just working hard and making things I love. There is always more to be done, I am thankful, but still restless.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Well, there are a lot of things my fans do not know about me. We all have had rough times, so just like any other, I had a different experience growing up. I have two tattoos and girlfriend. I have three other wonderful siblings who I love very much, two dogs and the fattest cat in the world, Bo. I speak a lot differently than how I write, so you couldnít tell by this, but I think I often surprise people. I talk like Iím a beach bum with no educational background whatsoever, thatís all I knew. When most people hear me discussing philosophy, or biology, they are taken aback.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
I like to deny it and say Thanksgiving, but since things have been getting better for me lately, Christmas. When I was like four, I remember loving every moment of it. That really disappeared for a while, but this year I had such a great time with my family that I was just so happy that it really put Christmas back in the top spot for me. Thanksgiving took its place for a while. I love food.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Well, I was always around my friends and siblings growing up sincemy mother had to work and I saw her maybe an hour a day. I became really used to that, so all I do is spend time at my friend Patís. We play video games, music and just have a good time all around. There were jokes in high school that our whole group of friends had a crush on each other, but we have just always been a very tight-knit sociable persons.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Refer to number 15.