"Every minute you're not doing something, some other band is."
The Years Gone By have gone from a one in a million East Cast pop-punk outfit to over 13 self-booked tours, a strong online presence and a label deal with Rise Records. Any band trying for the glory road should take a page from The Years Gone By book. In this interview singer/guitarist Nick Madore and drummer Louis Dobrolsky give up some of their secrets, talk about the new deal and album with Rise Records, and growing up in New Jersey. Thanks to the band and to Craig Monahan for setting this up.
First of all, can you state your name and what you play in the band.
Nick & Louis: My name is Nick Madore and I sing and play guitar. I'm Louis Dobrolsky and I play drums.
Let's start off with the generic questions, since many people on AP.net might not have heard of TYGB. How did you guys get started?
Louis: We were just a bunch of teenagers about to go into high school who loved music and playing our instruments. Mike and Nick both grew up together from school and were actually each others first friends. I guess that always stuck because when i met them at a party, from that day on we spent almost every day together. I went to another school in another district so I would make my mom drive me to where they lived every day to play covers of bands we loved like Blink 182, Green Day, Sugarcult, and even some local bands. After a few years of playing in different named bands we were finally freshman in high school. Nick, Mike, and myself finalized the name The Years Gone By. At that point we started taking the band a lot more serious. We wrote our own songs and set our goal. That goal was to spread the name and our music as much as possible. We finalized our lineup more recently with Will Johnston on bass.
Tell me about TYBG, growing up in New Jersey.
Louis: Growing up in NJ was one of the best things for this band. We grew up in a scene that loved and supported each other. Most of our shows were held at intimate venues like fire halls, VFW's, and Legions. We played our first show together at a place called M&M hall where bands like Thursday, The Starting Line, and The Stryder were around all the time. Most of us loved the early Drive Thru Records bands like New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Finch, and Something Corporate that seemed to be around us so much. We had venues all across the state that bands seemed to love to play at all the time. Watching bands hit the stage and the fans respond was something so inspiring and magical to us. We thought that if there was anyway we could get there some day that is all we would ever want to do with out lives. Today we are pushing to make that dream come true. New Jersey's music scene has changed a lot growing up with so many places being shut down due to violence.
Describe your sound. I know it's a hard question to ask a band, but for someone who is coming to your music for the first time, what should they expect?
Louis: We were always huge fans of pop punk music, but our sound can be described as our own. We all try to put in our own creative aspect to our instruments. Most people love to compare us to bands like The Starting line and New Found Glory.
You guys were a powerhouse unsigned band for a very long time before you recently signed to Rise Records. That said, why Rise? As a label with little to no "pop" acts, how is TYGB going to work with the Rise name?
Nick: What's in a name, really? Since this band started we always knew when we do sign, we wanted a record label who believes in our band, music and direction. We really weren't worried about a name or following the trend. Rise has put a ton of faith behind our band already, and we have an awesome game plan for the future. Also Rise Records is a great home for us because it leads us away from the new trend that music has taken the past year as well as being a different style from the majority of bands within the label. Our new record is pop-punk with a heavier emphasis on punk rather than the bubblegum 'pop' phase this scene is turing into.
What plans do you and Rise have for the next year, next two years and so on?
Nick: We plan on releasing our new CD Forever Comes Too Soon on September 2nd. After that, we're going to stay on the road all year. I think being DIY for so long, really helped us. We want to combine our strong work ethic with the labels work horse approach and really spread the name of The Years Gone By. We have some other things in the works, so keep your eyes out and be ready for some new tours to be announced as well as a crap load of new merchandise.
What goals do you have for TYGB? What would you undoubtedly like to accomplish, above anything else?
Nick: We love touring and a goal would be to do over 300 shows in a year. Also doing Warped Tour would be sick. The main goal of this band is to reach as many people with our music as we possibly can.
And we know that come early fall, you will release a new full-length off Rise. Tell me about it. Can you tell us how many tracks, a title ... anything? It seems like you guys are always touring .... when did you record? Who produced? Wow, I really don't know anything about this project, please forgive me.
Nick: After being on the road for 2 months prior, we headed into the studio April 17. We recorded for about a month in Goshen, NY, a little town in Orange County NY. The CD was recorded by friend and producer Mike Kalajian. The CD is called Forever Comes Too Soon. It has 12 brand new songs. It drops Sept. 2nd and will be in stores everywhere. We're so proud of this release and hopefully we will have a new song up as well as the artwork in the month as well as a few pre-order packages most likely coming up in August.
I'd like to go back to your unsigned days, because I think the thousands of unsigned bands out there should look to you guys as an example of what to do, of how to approach an industry that's difficult to tough out. You guys were going on full tours, gaining support from management, booking agencies, websites like AP.net, and Glamour Kills, just to name a few, without the support of label. What were some of your tricks? What do you think is most important about "making it?"
Nick: The most important thing we have learned was to never take no for an answer. This industry, from what we have seen thus far, will keep saying no until you give them a reason they can't refuse. The only other advice I can give any band is to keep working. Make fliers and pass them out at the mall until they kick you out. Book a tour and meet as many people as you can. We did over 13 self booked east coast tours. I recommend Onlinegigs.com or even Pollstar.com. Check out where bands play and contact them. Every minute you're not doing something, some other band is.
How do the parents deal with their rockstar sons? Are they supportive of your decisions? Have they always been supportive, or did it take some convincing?
Louis: They have absolutely not always been supportive. Most of our parents really wanted us to get a good education and go through with college. How can you blame them? That is a great route. We had to prove to our parents what we believed in and what were our goals. When we would play together we always loved it more than anything else in our lives. From the day that this band has started we never have given up on anything and will continue to not give up. Now all of our parents support our goals and aspirations for the band because they know how passionate we are about it. We try to get our families together while we are home and just stay as close as possible.
Besides being signed, what's been the most flattering moment in the band?
Louis: When people come up to me and ask me to sign things for them. I really have not come to terms with this yet or understand. I always think that I am just some kid playing music with my friends. It really makes me flattered and honored that someone cares enough about what I'm doing that they want me to sign something for them. Most times i tell them that they should sign something for me.
Moreover, how about these gas prices?! I'm looking at your tour schedule this summer, and it's stocked to the brim. How is your band dealing?
Louis: Gas prices really do suck! From the beginning of this band we have always tried to make sure that the band would support itself. As we all know sometimes that is really impossible. At every show we try to walk around and ask kids if they would buy our EP. We take the little money that we get at shows and put it in our tank. A lot of the time we end up paying for gas and other expenses out of our own pockets but we get an opportunity to do what we love so it's all good.
What cities have surprised you with turn-outs? Maybe some random city in Kansas brought out 200 kids?
Nick: A little over a year ago, we ventured out to a small town in Ohio called Springfield. The show sold out the first night and we're back about every few months with the same results. You'd never expect it out of this place but we love it there. Also Provo Utah was/is awesome.
Best part of touring?
Nick: Jack In the Box & their .99 cent Tacos, Overnight drives. Watching a kid who has never seen or heard of us before understand our music. Being in a new place everyday with my best friends. Also, making awesome new friends along the way.
Worst part of touring?
Nick: Sketchy promoters, 'Bros' in college towns. (Jager bombs)
Three tips to stay healthy on the road? Ready, go.
Nick: Emergen-C, Sleeping, Tons of water (I drink about 10 bottles a day, so if you come see me and bring me more water...I'll love you forever.)
To pay a tribute to your unsigned days, please recommend us some unsigned bands.
Nick & Louis: Holiday Parade - They should be the biggest band ever. Love those guys and there new demos are incredible. Brighten - We listen to there full length a lot. Theses dudes are catchy. 2* Sweet - We have toured with them twice now and they are some great musicians and dudes. Pictures in Pieces - You gotta see them live, they rip! The new CD is out soon. (they actually are signed now but check them out anyway!)
What else have you been listening to?
Nike & Louis: The Get Up Kids (Four Minute Mile), The Juliana Theory (Emotion is Dead), Thrice (The Illusion of Safety), Down To Earth Approach (Come Back To You), The Movielife (40 Hour Train back to Penn), Mest (Wasting Time). Fall Out Boy (Take This to Your Grave).
Any last words for AbsolutePunk.net?
Nick & Louis: Thanks to all the kids who support our band. We'll see you on the road! Forever Comes Too Soon - Sept. 2nd, 2008! In stores everywhere.