The bands (save for the Menzingers, who were on tour and unreachable) on RUN FOR COVER RECORDS’ new compilation, Mixed Signals, discuss the inspiration between their contributions to the album. Don’t forget to read AP’s four-star review of the album here!
POLAR BEAR CLUB: “Killin' It”
Jimmy Stadt (vocals): We chose "Killin It" for the RFC comp because we felt like that song stands alone especially well out of all the tracks off our new record. We needed a song that could contend with all the other amazing artists on the comp and this one felt right to us. It's sort of an unrelenting track that doesn't stray far from the path. It's driving and energetic and that was how we wanted to be represented on the comp. The main reason we even wanted to be a part of this was because of the other bands on it. We just wanted our name in the same sentence with these awesome RFC bands that a huge chunk of kids will look back on and get nostalgic about.
BALANCE AND COMPOSURE: “Seahorses”
Jonathan Simmons (vocals/guitar): We wrote the song specifically for the compilation because we wanted to support Run For Cover. [The label] has been so great to us and they are one of the only labels doing it right nowadays, so we were so pleased to be a part of it. The song is about the effect religion and God have on you, even after you stop believing. Being raised in a Christian household your whole life makes it very difficult to adapt to new beliefs and ideals because it is constantly in the back of your head. So this song is me talking to a "god" that I now believe isn't there and expressing my anger toward him if he was to hear me.
TIGERS JAW: “Distress Signal”
Adam McIlwee (guitar/vocals): Ben [Walsh, guitarist/vocalist] wrote "Distress Signal," and it's one of my favorite songs that he's written. Brianna [Collins, keyboards/vocals] sings a lot more now, and will definitely be singing more on newer recordings, so this song is a cool one to have on the compilation for people listening to us for the first time. Run For Cover is the best label and helps us do whatever we want, so I hope this song keeps people interested in hearing more from the label.
HOSTAGE CALM: “The ‘M’ Word”
Tom Chiari (guitar)/Chris Martin(vocalist): We had [this song] already written and jumped at the opportunity to record it when Jeff [Casazza, label founder] asked us to be a part of the comp. We're really happy and proud to be on a record with so many of our peers. I think this record will be remembered as an important release far into the future. Run For Cover has been a great home for us, and being a part of that family has given us the opportunity and support to make music and tour the world showing it to people.
The song itself is about marriage and the social pressures that surround it. "The 'M' Word" confronts young people like ourselves as we watch friends pair off, get married and start families. The main character in the song, Meredith, is starved for a marriage proposal; she's been conditioned to need it. She faces the harsh realities of the broken American family as the man she expects to marry struggles with his parents' divorce and his own doubts. We all face this pressure to live up to our image of the family, [with] many of us asking, "Is he or she the one? Should I even get married at all? Will I make the right choice? Do I have time?" For people like us--raised in the age of the broken economy, the broken schools, the broken family--a happy, lifelong marriage seems a distant possibility, if even desirable. We think this song captures that anxiousness and hopelessness.
CSTVT: “Bassett St.”
Nick Wakim (guitar/vocals): “Bassett St.” is for and about Mitchell Dubey. Mitch and his roommates Emily, Andy, and Kaylee welcomed us into their home last December, gave us a place to sleep and shower, cooked for us, and hung out with us the whole time we were in Connecticut. Over those two days, Mitch made a lasting impression on all of us and we parted knowing that a true and sincere friendship had been formed. He was funny and outgoing, passionate about music, the DIY scene, bicycles, veganism, and straight edge; and a warm and inspiring presence, a perfect example of the incredible friends you can make on tour. Mitch was an amazing person that had much to give and much left to do. He will be remembered and missed by everyone that had the pleasure of meeting him. Godspeed, Mitch.
Taylor Madison (guitar/vocals): I think the song is just about having bad luck and feeling like you can't ever catch a break. Like there's always some bullshit keeping you from doing what you want to do. We were more than happy to be a part of the comp when Jeff asked us a few months back. RFC is the perfect label for us and we couldn't be happier to be a part of it. Jeff works super-hard and seems to be okay with the fact that we do whatever we want, even when it seems to piss everyone else off.
END OF A YEAR SELF DEFENSE FAMILY: “I’ve Got An Idea…”
Patrick Kindlon (vocals): We chose "I've Got An Idea..." for inclusion on the comp because it's entirely misleading. We don't often sound like we do on this track. Caroline Corrigan is the very pleasant voice on this one and she doesn't get an opportunity to play with us live very often. Thus, seeing us live will almost certainly disappoint fans of this song. That's cool, because we're sadists and Schadenfreude is what we're putting out to the world. Run For Cover shares our love of human misery and was happy to work in collusion to ruin some moods.
DAYTRADER: “Texts And Tomes”
Tym (vocals): "Texts And Tomes" is actually the first Daytrader song I ever wrote lyrics for. We left this one off the demo and then recorded it as a b-side for the Last Days Of Rome EP because it didn't quite fit with the other tracks. It's definitely a bit more depressing than our other songs, and the guitar work is more intricate than most of our stuff. It ended up being the perfect song for the comp, as many of the other bands also went a bit outside of their usual sound. We're glad to be working with Jeff and Run for Cover again. He's a good friend of ours and has been supporting Long Island music since the beginning of the label.
MAKE DO AND MEND: “Coats”
James Carroll (vocals/guitar): This song is one we wrote sort of spontaneously once we were asked to be a part of the Mixed Signals comp. Lyrically, it’s sort of contemplation on feeling burnt-out and uninspired as a result of spending a lot of time on tour and not necessarily in a creative headspace. So in a way feeling as though the thing that we strive for the most (touring) is what has worn us down to feeling like somewhat one-dimensional people who know nothing outside of a van and a club.
Run For Cover is a label that perfectly highlights everything I feel is right with modern music: originality, honesty, community, and most importantly a commitment to the DIY aesthetic. The dudes at the label are longtime friends and when we were asked to be a part of the comp, needless to say, we were thrilled. It feels nice to be on the same team as the good guys.
THE TOWER AND THE FOOL: “Die Alone”
Alex Correia (vocals/ guitar): Chris Rosenquest [guitar] and I had found a vacant five-bedroom apartment that resembled the house in the movie Fight Club out on the west side of Providence sometime in August of 2010. Beforehand, I had been living at [producer] Mike Poorman’s house somewhere on the north side of town, sleeping on an air mattress in his walk in closet. Chris had yet to move into the "new" apartment we had found because he was held up at another place, but I decided to jump ship at Mike's house and inhabit the spacious, nearly condemned apartment by myself until Chris arrived a few weeks later.
I was reading Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac when I had moved in. I would bring it down the street to this bar to read and have a beer every once and while when I'd get stir crazy at the new pad. I ended up talking to this older guy, John, a few times at the bar. He was your average daytime drunk who happened to drive trucks for the state of Rhode Island. Anyway, the song sort of came together one night when I had got home from the bar and started playing around on my guitar out of pure boredom. I kept singing this line and melody with the words "Man, I don't want to die alone." After that, I ended up writing a lot of the song based of my experiences and passions at the time. I had a friend who was living out in San Francisco, and I sort of dreamed of just jumping on a bike, leaving everything I had here in New England behind and heading west; just like Dean Moriarty in On The Road. I was so envious of that lifestyle I decided to reference it in the song. My newfound friend at the bar down the street was also the inspiration behind the second verse of the song; based on all of the mumbled and beer flooded conversations I had him. All in all, after one too many beers and way too many things wracking around in my brain, I ended up scribbling all the lyrics down on a brown paper bag I found under the kitchen sink one night around 1 or 2 a.m. And that my friends, is how this song was born.
THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE: “To The Janitor, To The King”
Greg Horbal (vocals/guitar): We were honestly pressed for time. Jeff had asked us to be a part of Mixed Signals earlier in the year, and had scheduled to record for both this record and our upcoming split with our friends Deer Leap about two nights before the deadline. We had been writing a song called "Getting Sodas" at the time for the comp, but a few days before we were set to enter the studio, it still hadn't come together. I was pacing in the kitchen at our home and practice space in Willimantic, Connecticut, one morning panicking over our predicament.
In a wonderful display of alcoholism the night before, we had worked through a very rough version of "To The Janitor, To The King," recording it with a single mic. The song was different then what we had been doing musically, but felt really good as we played through it. We continued listening to the demo into the wee hours of the morning excited over what we had created. After listening to the "Getting Sodas" demo for the tenth time, I moved to the “Janitor” demo and it just clicked in my head that we were going to record this song. It didn't matter we had played it once—once was enough. When everyone else woke up, we agreed.
It's really an honor to be a part of something so great with so many of your friends. We're grateful for everything Jeff and Run For Cover did to make this comp happen, and glad to finally share our song. alt