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Wednesday, February 28th
The Hot Sweat
Envy on the Coast
Envy on the Coast

An exclusive interview with Musiqtone
dWhen the Pacific Sunwear tour kicked off at its first stop in Raleigh, North Carolina, it was easy to see that Envy on the Coast was one of the most anticipated acts of the night. As soon as they took the stage, it was clear as to why. Their performance, which included songs off their first full length record, “Lucy Gray,” fell nothing short of impressive and the crowd took notice. As fans sang along to songs like “Sugar Skulls” and “Vultures”, the Long Island natives embraced the energy from the crowd and gave, arguably, the strongest performance of the night.

Before hitting the stage, the guys of Envy on the Coast took some time to sit down and answer a few questions for me, discussing everything from unicorns to fireworks.

Michelle: Can you tell me your name, instrument and one interesting fact about yourself?
Brian: I’m Brian, I play guitar –
Sal: Can we do it about each other?

Michelle: Yeah, if you want to do it that way

Brian: I’m Brian, I sing and play guitar, and an interesting fact about Sal is that he’s allergic to peanut butter.
Ryan: Deathly allergic to peanut butter.

Michelle: And peanuts and everything?
Brian: Yeah, he will die. So, he’s going to die of peanut butter.
Ryan: Um, my name is Ryan and I sing and play guitar and an interesting fact about Brian is he has a tattoo of a unicorn on his left thigh

Michelle: Interesting. Why did you get that?
Brian: Because I’m unique and like unicorn- unique, uni-corn.
(Ryan starts cracking up)
Ryan: Yes! Haha man I wish I could have held it together.  (It was a joke.)
Sal: I’m Sal, I play guitar and Brian has an unbelievably hairy chest, and can I say two things? Ryan is a white dude with cornrows.
Ryan: Cornrows?
Sal: Dreadlocks.

Michelle: How did all of you meet? And how did you decide to start a band?
Ryan: We met, uh, Sal and Jeremy had been playing together for a really long time. And then I kind of came into the picture because we were playing in bands in the whole Long Island scene and uh we became friends and uh Sal and I kind of had the idea to play with one another and do something together that was an incorporation of a bunch of things that hadn’t been done before really in the scene. And talked about it and the band kind of just happened I guess. Brian came in and then Dan came in.

Michelle: Where did you get the name from?
Brian: it was actually an incarnation of this band before we were envy on the coast had a song ‘envy on the coastline’ and we were just trying to come up with names and stuff and uh, it just kind of like we didn’t really come up with any cool names on our own and someone just brought that up and we kind of just sat there and were like ‘okay I guess’ and that’s how it happened.

Michelle: For someone who has never heard you guys play before or heard any of your music, how would you describe it to them?
Ryan: I would say that um, you often incriminate yourself if you try to like – I don’t know, I’ve never really read a review or anything that used the proper adjectives to describe any band. Like it’s really hard to put into words what a band does musically. I feel like you just listen, so I would just say to keep an open mind and come give us a listen and come see us live as well because it’s a totally different thing then what you’re getting on the record. So yeah, I would just say that.

Michelle: Where do you guys get most of your inspiration for your songs?
Brian: Well, we’re not really like fiction writers, like life experiences I guess its pretty much the only thing you can write about. I mean some people are really good at writing fantastical stories about shit that doesn’t make any sense.
Sal: like Coheed
Brian: yeah – so life experiences mostly
Sal: I like Coheed
Ryan: Anytime we even try to write anything fictional it comes in, like life experience usually plays a part in it. But I would say in regard pin pointing where inspiration comes from, so many different places and so many of them being outside the realm of music. In general, like for me personally as a writer, I’ve pulled a lot of different places that were outside the realm of like lyricists I guess you could say. I know the same goes for everyone else in regard to art in general as a whole, movies, everything.

Michelle: Well once you’ve found that inspiration how do you go about turning it into a song? What is the writing process like?
Brian: Well I mean we don’t have a set way that we do it because I think that once it becomes formulaic the way you write a song, then the songs start to become formulaic and that’s not really what we want our band to be like. We were trying to figure out for this last record, we were trying to figure out like how we all wrote together, but like a song can come from anywhere. If someone has a guitar part or a bass part they’ve been working on a song could develop out of that and just jamming and stuff like that. And then, you know I mean arranging songs is different, we all have a bunch of parts and then say like this sounds better here or that sounds better there, but yeah that’s pretty much it.

Michelle: Who is Lucy Gray or what is Lucy Gray?
Brian: You are.
Michelle: I am?
Brian: mmhm.
Michelle: Awesome.
Ryan: Lucy Gray is a character from a William Wordsworth poem, actually a series of poems but, uh, the one that particularly caught our eye was one called Lucy Gray (Or Solitude). It was based on a true story but it was about a girl who wandered into the woods and never came back home, and the poem itself is basically Wordsworth talking about how everything is cyclical. And yeah, she dies and she becomes incorporated into nature and if you go out to that spot today you can hear her in the wind. The record Lucy Gray, our record, was when we were looking back on it after it had been completed and we needed a title for it. We had considered a bunch of different names and due to the fact that a lot of it was about faith and a lot of it was about death and looking at death in a different light then looking at it in the typical mourning someone’s death fashion, Lucy Gray just seemed to make sense and just clicked with everyone for whatever reason, and we read the poem and it just made sense.

Michelle: This is your very first stop of the Pac Sun tour – how did you guys get involved in joining?
Brian: There’s no real special story, I wish there was a cool story like we all went into Pac Sun and – actually, I’ll make a story up.
Michelle: Haha okay.
Brian: I was in Pac sun trying on board shorts and this dude with fuckin blonde hair came in and was like “Dude those look sick on you, are you in a band?” and I was like “yeah” and he was like “You guys tour?”  and I was like “Yeah” and he’s like “you guys want to be on this tour?” and I’m like “Yeah.” So that’s it.

(Jeremy just walked in)

Michelle: So we still need your introduction -
Jer: How long has this interview been going on for?
Michelle: 8 minutes and 30 seconds exactly. We need your name, your instrument and an interesting fact about someone else in the band, or yourself.
Jer: So I could give a fact about Sal?
Michelle: Yeah
Ryan: Like Sal gave one about me, I gave one about Brian, Brian gave one about Sal.
Jer: So you still need an interesting fact about me. Well my name is Jeremy, I play the bass.
Brian: I mean I have facts about Jer but none of them are interesting
Apple iTunes

Michelle: Everyone can just give one if you want to.
Jer: Make me proud gentleman
Sal: let’s see Jeremy thinks its okay to wear shoes without socks and it’s not. That’s interesting.
Jer: I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s true because I don’t do that.
Sal: yeah you do
Jer: okay, except for I’m wearing moccasins and I believe you shouldn’t wear socks with those.
Brian: okay, make your feet smell. Everyone knows that.
Sal: Larry (manager) knows that.
Ryan: Jeremy, interesting fact about Jeremy. Um. I’m trying to think of something funny to make up but I can’t think of anything. I made up the best one about Brian. (He goes into explain the unicorn/unique story)

Michelle: Jeremy, do you want to give an interesting fact about someone?
Jer: Brian doesn’t shower.
Brian: I can’t really refute that right now.

Michelle: You guys have toured with a lot of really great bands – for example; Boys Like Girls, My Chemical Romance, Saves the Day – Who has been your favorite, and why?
Brian: My favorite tour we’ve done to date has been um, uh I would say this past Holiday tour. We do it pretty much every year. Its five days between December 26th and the 30th, 31st, I don’t know, but um it’s just like all of our friends bands.

Michelle: Like who?

Brian: Like Anthony Green, this last one was Anthony Green, and The Deer Hunter
Ryan: Anthony Green from Circa Survive.
Brian: Yeah and uh, Days Away, who aren’t really Days Away, now they’re something else
Sal: And it’s not really Deer Hunter, its Casey
Brian: Yeah, whatever. It was fun I liked it.
Ryan: My favorite was the AP tour with As Tall as Lions, Circa Survive, it was pretty awesome.
Sal: I also really liked Forgive Durden, The Outline, Saosin tour.
Jer: That was one of our first tours and that was amazing. That and the AP and the one we just did.
Sal: as long as the bands are good bros it’s like so much fun
Ryan: We’ve toured with a lot of bands, like you said; My Chem -
Sal: Well, we didn’t actually -
Ryan: Yeah we didn’t actually tour with them but she said it so
Michelle: You didn’t? I’m sorry I was reading about your past tours and I read that.
Ryan:  It’s not your fault. What happens is, -
Sal: We did play with them
Ryan: It’s called marketing tool. In this whole, world, the minute you do something that’s associated with something that’s bigger than you, they put this fucking stamp on it and
they’re like “oh yeah, best friends forever”
Michelle: Well I apologize for my poor research
Brian: Oh, no, it’s not your fault at all.
Ryan: No, not at all, I mean we did play a show with My Chem and honestly, whether anybody likes their record or not, they are like the nicest and most genuine people I’ve come across being in that stature. I mean we’ve toured with a lot of other big bands and met a lot of other big bands and no one comes close, in regard to being true dudes, good solid people for sure.

Michelle: Well are there any bands that you haven’t toured with yet that you’d like to?
Ryan: I would love to tour with any, I mean, it’ll never happen because it doesn’t make any sense, but I’d love to tour with an musician from the musical collective the Soulquarians which includes like, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Erika Badu, DiAngelo, Q-Tip. I’d tour with any one of those bands. I actually wouldn’t even mind not playing every night; I’d just go on the tour and watch.
Sal: re string their guitars
Ryan: I’d just do whatever they want me to. But yeah I’d love to be out with any one of those bands.
Jer: As long as we’re not really being realistic I’d like to go ahead and say Radiohead. That would be fucking awesome.
Ryan: Johnny Cash
Brian: Bruce Springsteen. That would be sick. But like only during the 80’s when he was like, you know, when he was Bruce with the headband.

Michelle: What is your favorite thing about being on tour?
Brian: Um, favorite thing about being on tour is hanging out with my friends, who include my band and the other bands we’re friends with. We’re friends with all The Audition guys and the Danger Radio guys, our label mates. And just doing fun shit like on the last tour, with Norma Jean, like we lit fireworks out of one of their guys’ asses and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. He was just screaming in agony because he didn’t realize that like we lit them with a torch –
Michelle: How do you even do that?
Ryan: Well, we took a whole bunch of bottle rockets and stuck them in the crack of his ass.
Sal: Not IN the crack of his ass
Ryan: Yeah he just kind of held them together like (makes a picture with his hands)
Jer: And then we took a Lysol bottle and a lighter and just torched his entire ass
Ryan: Yeah
Brian: And he probably shot like 12 fireworks out of his ass, it was awesome. We have a video of it somewhere, I don’t know where.
Jer: Another thing that’s awesome too is just fuckin’, the bands that you do go on tour with, um, when you go to a new tour you get to see them in their different states and you get to see friends that you’ve made in the past. It’s so cool to like look at your itinerary before you go on tour and you can be like ‘oh I’m going to California and I’m going to hang out with blahblahblah.’ It’s cool to see friends that you’ve spent time with in different areas.

Michelle: What is the craziest thing you have experienced on tour?
Brian: We’ve met our fair share of crazy people
Ryan: Almost getting arrested in Philadelphia was pretty exciting.
Michelle: How did you do that?
Brian: It was almost like CSI
Ryan: I just have this thing where I enjoy, like if there is someone I really don’t like, I enjoy seeing how much I can rip them to shreds. I’ll admit it was fun, even though I was genuinely aggravated a part of me gets like this weird high off of just tearing a cop into two different pieces…verbally.
Jer: If they’re pricks.
Ryan: Yeah. Like I’ve met tons of cops who were really really genuinely awesome people and most of them have let me off of a ridiculous amount of tickets in my life, but uh, these cops were just jerks. Like dudes who’s wives were cheating on them and got their asses kicked in high school and just didn’t fucking recover from it and they were just treating us like shit. We were being really really, you know, respectful to them and everything and then it got to the point where they were being assholes and I couldn’t take it anymore so, I made some comments about them being bicycle cops…

Michelle: What is one thing that you make sure to bring with you every time you go on tour?
Brian: Larry (tour manager).
Jer: We bring these backpacks with like our laptops, IPods, phones…
Sal: A small suitcase
Ryan: My guitar
Brian: Yeah, we’ve got to bring amps and stuff, cables.
Ryan: Like clothes

Michelle: Aside from music, what else are you passionate about?
Brian: My family. We’re all like family oriented people.
Ryan: Yeah you can pretty much say that about everyone

Michelle: Where do you hope to see yourselves a year from now?
Ryan: Still making music hopefully. That’s really my only hope. Because if I’m still making music, I’m still making music...haha.
Brian: A year from now hopefully we’ll be on a great tour with good friends and if it had to be a year from right now?
Michelle: You’d be doing an interview with me? In a bus?
Brian: Yes. In a bus, somewhere warm, that flies.

Awesome. Thank you guys so much!

Michelle MitchellMichelle Mitchell is a staff writer at Musiqtone. You can reach her at michellemitchell@musiqtone.com

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