Watch Games We Play perform live from Denny’s, featuring Pete Wentz crowdsurfing
For Emmyn Calleiro, aka Games We Play, creating music has always been about authenticity, fun and expressing exactly where he’s at in his life. Games We Play has been Calleiro’s focus for nearly seven years since he dropped out of school at the age of 14 with nothing but a dream and a determined work ethic. Through relatable lyrics set to upbeat and danceable pop-punk music, he has certainly turned his dreams into reality. Now with the release of his major-label debut EP, Get A Job, Games We Play has become a hero within the scene. Calleiro is someone you can’t help but root for, due to his transparent lyricism and ability to find lightheartedness in everything. “It’s not a Games We Play song if it’s not meaningful and not a little funny and self-deprecating,” Calleiro says from the road while on his nearly sold-out headlining tour.
Today, Games We Play is sharing a new music video for the EP’s title track, “Get A Job,” which shows Calleiro performing his first-ever LA show inside an undisclosed Denny’s diner — and the result is truly glorious. The video, which references the now-viral “What The Fuck Is Up Denny’s” video, evokes the classic energy found in ‘90s and early 2000s punk videos with nonstop crowd surfing and mosh pits while encapsulating the infectious optimism of Games We Play’s artistic universe.
Out of the many successes he has experienced over the last few months, signing to the influential record labels Fueled By Ramen and DCD2, as well as scoring a co-sign from friend and collaborator Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), are some of the most exciting new developments in his career. Wentz, who’s also the head of DCD2, exceeds what it means to be a supporter by crowdsurfing in the video for “Get A Job,” in a bittersweet moment that was not only surreal to Calleiro but also for Wentz. “Everything about this is insane. I can’t even imagine telling myself at any point I would be crowdsurfing to a punk band inside a Denny’s in 2022. But here we are,” Wentz shares. “Everything about this performance reminds me of Fall Out Boy’s video for ‘Dead on Arrival’ — the chaos, the way it captures the ‘had to be there’ feeling.”
With a headlining tour under his belt, an upcoming support slot for pop-punk mainstays State Champs this November and a highly anticipated album on the way, it’s clear that Games We Play is headed for the stars.
How did you come up with the creative concept for the “Get A Job” music video?
The creative process was really funny because it’s really just a show at Denny's. I personally have always idolized videos that are DIY shows where everyone is going crazy in a place that shouldn't hold that many people. There are H2O, New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy videos — just old punk-rock videos [that were definitely an influence].
Does it feel surreal to know that this song is now autobiographical, where you don’t have to follow the status quo and get a job but can instead live your dream?
It’s amazing but also a little scary because people will come up to me at shows and say they quit their job because of that song. [Laughs.] This is literally what I’ve wanted my entire life. I am so blessed and have been doing this for seven years, and now it’s finally happening. I dropped out of school when I was 14 and have been grinding on Games We Play ever since. It was a lot of getting made fun of by my family and local bands who thought I was lame. It’s so crazy to think that the song is out now, the video is out and it’s all freaking true. I’m a little selfishly proud that it worked out like that.
How did you link up with Fueled By Ramen and DCD2 as well as working so closely with Pete Wentz? Not to mention, it must be pretty crazy to see Pete crowdsurfing to your song in the video.
With Pete, it’s interesting. In January, I posted a video of my song “I Hope You’re Happy,” and it started to do really well. My friend Anthony [Raneri] from Bayside told me he wanted me to talk to one of his friends in the industry for advice. When I showed up, Pete Wentz was just there — I was not told who it was going to be. As I was walking up to meet with him, I sent a voicemail to my wife that said, “Holy shit, Pete Wentz is here.” To be honest, I had no idea this would happen — he just showed up and has never left since. Pete is one of the best friends I’ve made in music, and I talk to him almost every single day now. Pete’s just down to get stupid with me on any idea I come up with. He’s there to hang and support me, and it’s really just the biggest blessing.
With the Get A Job EP, what did you want it to represent lyrically?
Lyrically, the record expresses exactly where I am in my life. I wrote it a year-and-a-half ago, and for that record, I just wanted it to be fun. At the time, I was living in an apartment with my friends, and it was really crazy and hard, but it was also really fun. We would play video games every night, stay up super late, tell stories and make fun of each other. If you listen to all of the words on the record, it sounds like a conversation [between] two friends going back and forth trying to make each other laugh.
You’re on your first-ever headlining tour and will soon be gearing up for a run with State Champs. What are you looking forward to the most about these shows, and what are you trying to pull off this time around?
Headlining shows are definitely just more penis jokes, for sure. [Laughs.] I have a new song that I have just begun playing live for the first time, and it’s also one of my first sad songs. People were crying, and it was honestly a little weird for me — but it was also a really special moment. For the headline shows, it’s just gonna be new music, a lot of penis jokes and fucking around with my friends. Being able to sing my music to people and have them sing it back to me and know the words — I acknowledge it and am so thankful for it. With the State Champs tour, I just really like those guys, and I am really excited to meet new people. State Champs fans like to crowdsurf and push each other around, and I love when that happens.
What’s next for Games We Play? Can we expect a debut album soon?
When I get off this tour, I am going to be recording my first full-length record, and the writing process has been hard because I want it to be perfect. I’ve written 20 songs already, and only one has made the cut so far. Right now, I just want to write the best possible songs that I can that express who I am.