by Song River
Song River: What brought the idea together to do “Free Shows” in combination with ticket shows for this tour?
Pat Kirch: It probably all began about 5 or 6 years ago when we were trying to find a way to repay our fans, it's so expensive to be a fan of band. With the fees, and all, and our fans who have come from all over the world to see us, and we just thought wouldn’t it be great to give back. Then there are those new fans we are trying to reach out too as well, we attempted to get it going and couldn’t find out how to make it work, but now...now it all makes sense. We have relationships with various band venues, and a large group of people who can support it, and we are in a position now too to take the risk.
Then with our new album coming out, we thought it would be a perfect time to do something like this. I mean why not play a big show somewhere, like in California, and then the next day play in some tiny venue and just play the whole album for fans. That’s kind of how the whole thing happened.
SR: Will the tour setting allow for impromptu moments of just showing up somewhere at a club and playing?
PK: Um, I dunno. We are pretty booked up, we only have a couple of off days, so no probably not much of that. Like one idea we even thought of (and I am not saying its going to happen, but it's just a thought) is lets say we show up to play somewhere and it sells out, but there’s still lots of people who want to hear us... well maybe we could set up outside and just play a few acoustic songs? I dunno, but I do think this set up is going to leave lots of room for interesting things to happen, just because of the nature of what were are about to do. We are excited about it.
SR: I see according to your tour schedule you'll be carrying 2015 over to 2016 into the U.K.
PK: Yes, the whole plan is to tour extensively, as much as possible. We are already working on 2016 and we are going to be on the road as much as we can.
SR: How important is social media, YouTube, and merch to you?
PK: All those things are the reason we have been able to do what we've done. When the band started Garrett and I were still in high school and we couldn’t go on tour, so Id sit at home and talk with fans from all over the world. Now, we can go out on tour and connect and keep it interesting to them.
We began ourselves as being a huge fan of bands. So we try to look at it all as a fan and see it all from their point.
SR: Take us back eight years ago. What was happening in the music scene?
PK: Eight years ago I was a junior in highs school at Corona Del Sol. My perspective on the music industry then I guess I didn’t realize how much was possible. My bands that I like were my world. Here we just got back from the Singapore, Philippines and Brazil and not would have thought that back then as something possible and here it is.
You know back then my thoughts were we loved music and to actually do it we had to have enough fans. The ultimate goal is to have the band be our only job, and we win! That was our whole perspective on things. I think we did a pretty good job building our own thing. We never really got to sucked into the music industry and we didn’t get caught up in it. We were in it for a bit, but fought to make sure we could do our own thing. My perspective I suppose is different from a lot of people, because we are a part of it, we are just doing our own thing.
SR: There are a several bands out there now saying the same thing, 'our own thing.' Is “independence” the buzz word for the 21st Century music scene?
PK: Yes. I think absolutely, the power is back to the artist. The thing now the only excuse one has is because they are afraid, there aren’t any excuses anymore.
SR: Risk is involved in everything we do. Many young, fresh bands seem to have their expectations crushed early on, because they feel they haven’t arrived. How have you all kept that momentum and drive going forward?
PK: I think the first thing is understanding you aren’t ever going to 'arrive.' In some bands perspective we might have arrived, in others we haven't yet. Maybe, we are somewhere between. We need to take care of our expectations. What is it you're looking to gain from it? You want to be famous? Make lots of money? Be on the radio? Your dreams are probably going to be crushed. Our goal is to be able to play music for a long period. We always said we would rather sell 50,000 records 10 times; than a half a million records once. It's not about making money, it's about playing music, and we want to do that the rest of our lives. We are excited about the music, we are happy and are the luckiest guys in the world. I am just as motivated now as when I was in the back of a suburban eating pizza and playing a show for two people. I know I have the same passion even now.
Sure, it's a fight to keep up a band, you have to work your ass off. The second it feels your just going through the motions, and there is no work ethic, then there is no point anymore.
SR: I think work ethic is a great point. In whatever you are doing, you have to want it.
PK: Exactly, and I think over the years I’ve seen so many bands who have so much potential. And we see a band we played with six months ago. During that time we've recorded more songs, toured more, connected and they are just getting ready to do something after their six month break. I don’t think the way things are now in the industry you can't take these 'break's you have to keep it going.
SR: If you were to give one piece of advice to a band starting out, what would it be?
PK: I would say, make sure you actually love what you’re doing, your band, your music and your fans. Because if you don't, it's just not going to work.
SR: Let's talk a little about your new album, “American Candy.”
PK: John our singer is always working on songs. I would say about three months before we started recording we sat down and began talking about what kind of album we wanted to make. We had a pretty great idea of what, how and where we wanted to go from the beginning. We wanted to be fun, have a bounce, kind of make you wanna dance to it. Then we just got in a room, and we listen to an idea that John had, then if we had an idea to it we'd work on it, then we began picking which ones we wanted. This is actually the first album we have recorded all on our own.
PK: Yes, actually I have been collecting equipment over the past few years and we rented this place out in the middle of the desert in California. We brought a truck filled with all our gear and built a recording studio in the house, it has an indoor pool and I just played my drums there by the pool. We just had so much fun, and we would record until five in the morning if we wanted. We had a blast for a month just recording.
SR: I noticed when I listened to the album, it felt like I was sitting there in the room with you all listening to you have a great time, hanging out and just playing. I really liked that feeling.
PK: Yeah! That's something I think we really worked very hard on, was that feeling. We made sure everything on the album was with a microphone through a speaker and recorded like it sounds. We don’t like to do too much with computerized tracks. Keep it real.
SR: Go back with me a bit Pat to those high school years, the music that was influencing you and Garrett. Also, touch on how the rest of the band mates came together.
PK: Garrett and I had been in bands all in high school and stuff. Our singer, quit, our guitar player quit. So it was pretty much Garrett and I, and another buddy. Then John our singer now, was at a party with us one night and John picks up a guitar and starts singing a cover song, as a joke. He then gives me a call at about 2 am in the morning and said he wanted to be in a band with me. I was like what they hell? I had known John for a long time, he is best friends with my older brother, but John didn’t sing. He was on the baseball team, you know he was a jock and stuff. I had no idea he could sing. I told him to come to the house tomorrow, and I would record him and we will see what happens. I was blown away. I burned it to a CD and headed over to Garrett’s house, and I was practically crying, it was so amazing. It was like this is so cool. We listened to it all night and talked about everything, then the next day we all got together for our first band practice.
As for music during that time, oh man, I mean locally obviously- "The Format," were really big during that time. We would go to every concert we could. One of the biggest influences was our friends that had a band called, The Countdown. To me they were like the biggest deal in the world, even though after high school they didn’t do anything, but they had a huge impact on me, I would go to their concerts and be in the front row, jumping up down, singing along, and made me want to be in a band. I don’t know if they even understood what impact that had on me.
SR: Do you still stay in contact with the members of that band?
PK: Oh, yes. Actually the lead singer of that band was our Tour Manager for about five years.
SR: Thank you Pat for taking some time to talk with me and sharing some the bands background. I find the fans want to know about their bands, where they come from, how they came together, what makes them tick... it's our way of connecting with the bands we love.
PK: Definitely, I like talking about some of the things that have happened along the way. I think the fact is I am just a dude, who is a hard-working guy that loves playing songs. If you have a passion in life, whether it's music, being a chef, working in an office... I just want to get across that everybody can do what they want to do in this life. Don’t feel like you have to do what you’re told, be what you want. Why not do something you are completely happy with? I talked to my dad when I was 16, about my life decisions and direction. I wanted to do music, and I knew I wasn’t going to need to take all these classes, I wasn't going on to college. I wanted to put everything I had into my music, even if it meant working at Burger King or construction. I wanted to put it all on the line and make it happen and he saw my passion. My parents were so great about it, they just wanted me to be happy about whatever I chose to do.
American Candy New Album
American Candy New Album
The Maine "English Girls"