Interview with Better Strangers
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We all got into music a bit differently but we think the biggest commonality between all of us is that family members got into music in different ways. Whether it was siblings or parents, that exposure at a young age is what drew us towards music. We probably wouldn’t be good at much else if we weren't doing it.
How long has your band been around?
Better Strangers has been around since mid 2020. However, the band’s roots can be traced back to 2014 when Yang and Nic made their first band together. In 2015, Joey joined and since then, we’ve spent time in a few different bands. It wasn’t until Ricky joined in 2020 that Better Strangers as a band and project was born.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is based out of Miami, FL, but individually we come from all over the globe. Joey is the only Miami native, Nic is from Switzerland, Yang is from Argentina, and Ricky is from Puerto Rico. Miami as a city doesn’t influence much in the band’s sound, but there’s definitely inspiration from latin roots scattered across our material. Especially in the vocal deliveries and rhythms.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We were stuck for a few months on what to call the band. Better Strangers didn’t have much meaning other than the fact that we liked the band name. We also liked that it wasn’t trying too hard to be ambiguous. But after sitting with the name for a while, the concept of us as individuals being “better strangers” to each other began to make total sense.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We recently played the Isle of Wight Festival in England which was really special to us. To be able to travel across the world to play our music and make new fans was a great experience for the band. Our first show was also incredibly special. After being inactive without a singer for a while and then dealing with covid and not being able to play, finally being able to perform our songs and get back in front of a crowd was amazing.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale was a really cool venue to play it. Especially because some of us have grown up seeing bands play there. Gramps in Miami have always been good to us as well. It was the first venue in Miami that would let us play headline shows there when we were 13-14 and we’re still playing shows there now. Also, we played our first show in Texas in Laredo at the Cultura Beer Garden. It was one of the wildest shows we’d ever played and we can’t wait to go down there again.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket? TOOL, Queens of the Stone Age, Deftones, and Turnstile.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The most important thing when you’re starting out is to always stay true to what you want to do and accomplish, but while also making an effort to keep growing and evolving as an artist. The music we make now is nowhere near the music we were making when we were 15, but the evolution and growth are what keep it interesting and fun. In a band context, being able to listen and rely on your band mates is extremely important.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
We just put out our new single, “Nicotine Dreams,” which has definitely tapped into a different area of our band sonically and visually. The song and music video together really explore the psychedelic side of our music and it’s been cool to finally put it out.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We’ve been really excited to play and share our newest material. It’s unlike anything we’ve done so seeing it go down so well at our shows has been awesome. At this point, playing new songs live is part of the criteria when writing. We want an unfiltered reaction to the music and so far, they’ve gone down better than we could’ve expected.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We’re always listening to different kinds of music, so various elements of those genres inspire us while writing. Typically, Joey, Yang, and Nic, will write the music and send it to Ricky for review. Once the final structure and parts have been established, Ricky writes the lyrics. The process is very democratic and we all play different roles in each other’s parts.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Ultimately, we like to write about real topics. Stuff people can relate to and resonate with, whether that’s through the lyrics or the music.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We definitely do but that’s just part of being in a band. As we said earlier, we’re very democratic so everybody always has an opinion and no one’s opinion matters more than someone else’s. We usually just try to look at things from the other’s perspective and work through the disagreement. That being said, we’re lucky that we’re very similar so we usually come to a solution that pleases all parties.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
As we mentioned earlier, we just put out a new single, “Nicotine Dreams”, so that’s definitely the focus at the moment. But we’re working on new material and hope to keep coming out with new tracks more frequently along with more shows on the road.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Instagram is where we’re the most active (@betterstrangers.wav), but we’re always posting updates on our website (www.betterstrangers.net).