An interview of Eleventyseven, check out their new album Rad Science
· From what I’ve read Eleventyseven has been around since 2002 and had a short break between 2014-2016. What brought the band together in the beginning and then again last year?
In the beginning we were just three guys who were discovering punk rock together in high school. We were from a really small town in SC and just hated thinking we’d end up there, and that would be how our lives turned out. Music was our way out. It was an excuse to get out of town, play shows, and do something different. We were just kids when we started out, so by 2012 we had a decade of history, 10 years of mistakes, burn out, and disillusionment. I think we didn’t want to end up hating each other so we just sort of walked away but left the door open. Davey and I weathered a lot of the break together and just stayed involved musically. I went full time into producing and teaching at a college, and he went into software development. I remember our families both hangin at the beach a few summers ago when we both just sort of felt it. We were like, “This is stupid. We love making records, seeing fans and friends and connecting with people. Let’s figure out a way to make it work for us.” Looking back now, we needed time to see each other in a different light. We started work on Rad Science and everything just kept clicking.
· Which instruments does each member play? And what made you decide to go with it?
I play a ton of stuff on the record, but live I mostly play guitar, a few synths and sing. Davey plays bass and synths live. We have a mega sweet family of musicians that come alongside and fill the gaps where they need to. Being a producer for so long put me in a really cool position to have a rad network of musos to call on. We quit thinking of the band in terms of members, and more in terms of family. There is no pressure. It’s like, if you feel a connection to what we’re doing, that's’ awesome. Come lay down some tracks with us.
· What is the creative process for the band, who or what inspires you to make your music?
I knew at a young age I was drawn to writing. I loved immersing myself in the emotional connections I had with bands and songs. I think it is how most people chronicle their lives. Songs become our history books, our life index. I want to be a part of that at all times. Sometimes the songs start out as dumb little idea I’ll have in the car. I’ll just keep working with it until it becomes something memorable for me. I’ll head into the studio and just start trying to find a way to represent those words musically. I’ll try 10-15 different progressions over a melody till I find one that moves me. Other times we’ll get more science-y with it, start out with a pop formula, and plug in sounds till we get something fun. I’m inspired by people’s stories, relationships and struggles. I have a lot of fun trying to express dark sentiments or feelings in a really fun way. It is like self-medication. My songs are sort of my way of talking me out of being depressed. Davey is a really great sounding board for ideas. Most of the time coming up with ideas is the easy part. It is hanging on to the good ones that is hard in the moment. Over the years we’ve learned how to not take offense to not being into an idea at first. You have to learn to trust the room. Trust the moment. Having safe spaces to explore ideas without ego is really important. Once everyone in the room is lighting up, you know you have something fun. That’s certainly not the only way to do it, and may not work for everyone, but that’s the process we’re into right now.
· Who writes your songs, what kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? What’s changed in your music from what you started?
I do most of the writing for the band. Our message has always hovered around cynical optimism. Sometimes we’re just writing the most fun thing we can make that day. It is the songs that form the basis for your relationship with listeners, so we think a lot in relational terms. We want our songs to be like conversations with friends. I get inspired by just living life. There is more pain and joy in just walking out your front door than you could ever write about in one lifetime. Our songs have changed just like we have. I’m not the same person that wrote our first record. I look back at our older stuff and laugh at how stupid it sounds, but it is still a part of me and a part of my story. We were growing up right alongside our fans since the beginning, so I think to think of our whole catalog as a shared experience. Sonically, we have become more and more synth heavy. It’s an addiction and it’s getting worse.
· Outside of the band what do each of you like to do, and how does that help you with your creativity?
We have a podcast called Eleventylife where we chronicle our adventures and experiences in the band. I think we love doing that because it gives us a fun way to process what’s happening from a distance, and talk to a lot of our friends in other bands about how their dealing with all of it too. We also run a small label out of our homes, which is a cool way to test ideas out and channel our energies into other artists and friends. We recharge creatively by meeting new people, making new friends, doing new things. Mario Kart has also been a nice respite from the studio recently.
· As a band out of Greenville, SC how do you feel that influenced your music?
Greenville is just now starting to get a really sweet and hefty music scene developing in it. There are some mega talented acts there. That's not to say there weren’t when we started, but we sure as hell didn’t know about them. We’re really excited by the artists we see coming up there now, and a little bit jealous that they all weren’t around when we started. Unfortunately, when we were coming up, there wasn’t really a big music scene there, so I’m not sure it influenced us too much. Maybe the isolation from a particular scene was more formative for us than our involvement in one.
· If you were to go on a dream tour, what bands would you like to have on the ticket?
Weezer, ELO, The Faint.
· What songs are your favorite to play (including covers), and what are the most requested?
We haven’t had a change to do any of the new tunes live yet, but I think those will be some of our faves. After that, I really love playing a song called Rock Like You Rock from an older album we put out. We have a cover of Gouge Away by The Pixies that always puts me in a good place. People seem to request a song called Appalachian Wine a lot from a folk ep we put out as a joke a few years back.
· So if you had a way to give your younger selves advice what would it be?
Have more fun. Make more mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over small shit that won’t matter in a week. When you make a mistake, pivot and keep moving. Nobody is looking out for you but you, so don’t be afraid to believe in what you can do, and outsource what you can’t. Do right by people, even when you hate it and think they’re wrong.
· What was the best show that you ever played, what made it stand out to you?
Punkspring Festival in Japan. It was one of the most surreal shows we’d ever played. The whole lineup was us and all our hero’s growing up - Rancid, Pennywise, Flogginy Molly, Bowling for Soup. The fans were there to have a good time and nothing was going to stop them. That show, that night, everything felt right. We didn’t serve it, but it happened anyway.
· How was it using Kickstarter to do your fan funding? What was the process like, did anything surprise you?
Kickstarter was great. They gave us some awesome tools with their platform. We completely underestimated the response of our fans, and how much work it was going to be to fulfill all the orders. We’re still shipping out items weekly from that campaign. Actually we just got in new Rad Science vinyl, so we’ll be shipping those out soon too. The process was cool, but we reached our goal pretty quickly and had to figure out where to funnel all the hype. We made some stretch goals and blew through a lot of those quickly too. The campaign ended just before it became too much for us to handle ourselves. Lesson learned - we have the best fans ever.
· What are your plans for the future, do you have anything that you want to spotlight that will be coming up?
We have a new music video coming up soon for a new single called “Inside Out” from Rad Science. It was a blast to make and we’re stoked to share it It’s full of lasers, fog, and demon unicorn cameos. We’re doing pre-production now for season 4 of our podcast Eleventylife, so that’s gonna be super sweet when it kicks back up early next year. Lyric vids, acoustic vids, behind the scenes sessions - they're all in the works :-)
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Don't forgot to check out the album on spotify.