First off, introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in Houston Calls?
I'm Tom and I sing and play guitar.
So, the name Houston Calls, is there any significance or meaning behind it?
Actually, not at all, if you want I could say that the love of my life lived in Houston and it was the moment when "Houston" would call that I would reach my pinnacle as a human being, you know like nirvana I guess, ha-ha but honestly it came from putting random words together off of the backs of DVD chapter titles, this one in particular came from Apollo 13. Other options were Zoltar Madness (from big), Giant Green Insanity (from a random toxic avenger movie), and Deeds in NY (uhhh Mr.Deeds). Ha-ha
The Album "A Collection Of Short Stories" was just released. How does it feel to finally see all hard work finally pay off?
I feel a lot of emotions actually. One is like that feeling you get when you study really hard before your midterm or final, you take it feeling really good about it, then you step outside and drive around in your car with the windows down blasting "Clarity" (for the fall/winter) or Motion City Soundtrack (for the summer/spring). It also provides for a huge sense of accomplishment. A full length starts out as some crazy smorgasbord of ideas and to hear the final product in a tight knit package is astonishing. It really makes me happy to finally have something that we really put out heart and soul into available to the public.
I really love the artwork that was used on the cd and the website. Who came up with the concept?
The J. Giles Band actually came up with the idea; we got hooked up with them after they did that video for freeze frame I think? But seriously, the amazing people at Asterik Studio in Seattle came up with the idea, presented it to us and we were all about it.
I personally am in love with the song "Sunrise Goodbyes", is there any story behind that song?
Hey thanks! But yeah I kind of started constructing that song lyrically to be about a dream sequence of mine, and it involved me kind of watching/studying the perfect mate. I really liked the idea of making it seem like a play almost hence why I threw the word "soliloquy," plus I thought it sounded really cool.
Do you guys have any personal favorite songs on the album?
I love the way every song came out, of with a few little stipulations, but my favorite would have to be A pen and a piece of mind.
When you guys were writing this, did you have anything that was really inspiring the album?
Well at the time I was living in a few different places, moving in and out of college and into my friends' houses and into an apartment and back into another house and all over the place so it was a pretty hectic time since I couldn't really settle down. A bunch of the songs discuss my problems with actually settling down and how I struggle with it.
I see you guys are heading out for tour really soon, what are all the tours that you guys are going to be apart of in the next few months?
Well in September, The Early November were so awesome and hooked us up with three dates with them around our area. Then we're going out with Socratic and Amber Pacific for a few weeks, which should be awesome. And from October to the beginning of December we're going out on the Fenix TX reunion tour thingy with the amazing Allister and Day at the Fair. Should be pretttttty awesome.
The new album was just released on Rushmore. How did you guys get hooked up with the record deal?
We had a long time previous relationship with Richard and Stefanie through our former band and when we started Houston Calls we sent them our early sampler and demos and stuff. Jarrett and I flew out to Cali to meet them and personally play it for them. We continued to play them new stuff we did since we were getting happier and happier with our song writing direction and eventually they caught a set of ours on the absolutepunk tour last year with hellogoodbye, hipv and madison. A few days later on our drive home from the last date of the tour, depressed as hell going to back to real life since we had nothing to show for the summer really (in the minds of college leavers and job quitters), they called us and said they wanted to sign us. Oh happy day.
Were any of the band members in any bands previous to Houston Calls?
Actually yeah, me Jarrett and okie were in a band called face first, kenny used to play in hidden in plain view and josh was in the band riding bikes.
What was your musical influences growing up and what molded you to pick the career in music?
Honestly, I grew up, throughout middle school and high school, listening to the entire Lookout Records catalog. I was in love with the pop sensibility of bands like Squirtgun, MTX, Green Day, The Hi-Fives, Operation Ivy. I was also in love with the attitudes of all of those bands, they just didn't care at all and did it for the fun and love of music and their music exuded that idea. It pretty much shaped my whole attitude toward the scene and business and everything. A lot of NJ music also got me started; going to see local shows when I was younger of bands like Humble Beginnings, Bouncing Souls, Nowhere Fast, Boxcar etc. Later on I got into bands like Jimmy Eat World and Refused and all different stuff.
If you guys had the chance to tour with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
I would definitely want to be on tour with Green Day. I'd also really love to tour with Motion City Soundtrack since they are so incredible. There are probably a lot of other bands I would die to tour with but I don't think our band would really go with them at all, ha, like the Beatles, radiohead, refused, or jimmy eat world.
How do you feel about the music scene these days? Is there anything that youíre really grateful for about it and also is there anything about it that really annoys you?
Iím really grateful that I grew up in the NJ scene at pretty much its prime. Back then it was so different - I would go to a show and hear of all these new bands and everyone would be into every band. I knew a lot of the people going to shows and it was like a party every weekend. Nothing really annoys me about it now because I know it has to evolve and kids are different and people are less forgiving in the scene nowadays but it's all good.
Do you think that sites like purevolume and myspace have anything to do with the success of bands?
Those sites are DEFINITELY amazing outlets for bands trying to be heard. They work wonders for publicity and promotion because of the traffic they receive each day. I mean come on I check myspace like seven times a day, HOPING AND PRAYING FOR NEW COMMENTS ha-ha, but seriously, yeah they are a great help.
A lot of really great albums came out this year. Are there any personal favorites?
Of course. Iím in love with anberlin's cd, motion city's cd, hidden in plain view's cd, alkaline trio's, paramore which rules so much and the amazing armor for sleep cd.
As all the readers here, we are always looking for new good music. Are there any bands that you think we should all know about?
I think everyone should know about self against city because when they record a full length, it will shock the hell out of everyone. I think Valencia is doing some really awesome things. A band from south jersey - a hero from a thousand paces are writing some really awesome songs. And Iím really all about paramore but everyone knows them I think.
Well, thatís about all the questions I have for you guys. I really appreciate you taking the time to do the interview. Is there anything you would like to say to all the readers out there in Absolutepunk.net land?
well i appreciate you taking the time to ask. And to all the readers, i am one too ha, but i just want people to know this about houston calls - we are all music lovers and we love it just as much as you do, which is why i am constantly reading this site and constantly searching for new music and constantly buying new cds and going to shows. "U2 supports the common man and so do I" -Johnny drama. I also want to thank you guys for taking the time to read this since it means the world to me, and to all of you keeping it positive and writing nice things about us, thank you so much for the support it honestly makes each day of my life awesome. You guys rule.
i find it funny that his favorite song is a pen and a piece of mind, seeing as how i think that's my least favorite on the album.
this album is such a great album, overall. every single song has caught my eye at one point or another, and it's just great. completely unexpected, i hadn't really heard of this band when i picked this cd up, but i was EXTREMELY happy with my choice.