Here, we talk to the band about their new perspective on life and music.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Bailey Van Ellis: A mix of Weezer, Cher, Outkast, and whatever my parents were listening to, like: Dan Fogelberg, B.B King, The Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry, George Thorogood, and Melissa Etheridge.
As a band, what are some of your musical influences?
Van Ellis: I think a lot pulls from different sorts of vibes/feelings from real life experiences and trying to recreate them with music.
Your song “Fame” off the upcoming album is said to be about the band progressing, gaining notoriety, and the things people have begun to expect from you as a result of that. As a band, how has fame impacted you?
Jon Simmons: It’s somewhat about all of that, but it's also just an observation on how phony it can all be. It's about questioning what my motive really is sometimes. Am I doing this for self-therapy and creative expression, or am I doing this for the recognition of peers? Of course I started this band for self-expression and as an outlet. As this has gone on for so many years now, it becomes more of a job. You start to realize you're losing some of the magic from the beginning. This song is my struggle with that. I'm not feeling what I'm singing on stage every night. That would be impossible and tragic. I'm not always honest. I do not mean to be this brave man on stage with a microphone. There is a lot of pressure and sometimes bad habits are picked up in order to cope. Sometimes you feel like you have given so much of yourself that you become some sort of hollow shell. And for what?
The music video for “Postcard” is pretty trippy. Where did the idea for using those psychedelic effects come from?
Van Ellis: We wanted to create a visual aesthetic and landscape for the song. We aimed at creating a mood rather than a story, or other form of dialogue for it. It was something for the listener to live in while listening to the song. All the credit in world to Jason Michael Roberts and his team.
You were in a serious car crash a few years back that really shook you up as a band. How did that experience influence your second album?
Van Ellis: I think it put a lot of things into perspective for everyone. It was the first time I went “Well this is it. This is how I go.” It was very surreal. It is a strange thing when you really think about it. I don’t like thinking about it.
Did the album title Light We Made come from that experience?
Van Ellis: It did not. It comes from a line in “Spinning.” That lyric, which later became the album title, relates to color and light, and how I think they relate to mood and relationships, almost like when you go back through your memory and remember certain details.
How is it being a rock band from Doylestown, Pennsylvania? What's the music scene like?
Van Ellis: It’s definitely different. It’s a small, suburban town 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. We all met while going to high school in Doylestown. There was a music scene while the band was just starting out, but it has since gone away. Siren Records still does shows though, which is great, but it is definitely not how it used to be. I’m hoping that it changes soon. I thought everything that went on in Doylestown while we were all still in high school brought a lot of people together.
Since your last album, you relocated to Tullytown, Pennsylvania from your house and rehearsal space in Doylestown. How did the new environment influence your writing process for this album?
Van Ellis: I think the environment you create in has a profound effect on what you create. Tullytown is a place where nothing really happens. The highlight of that town is the Super Walmart or the Home Depot depending what suits your lifestyle best. It was a place none of us would hang out in, aside from getting together for practice or to write, so that’s what we knew it as. Once you get into the actual room and start playing together the outside world kind of disappears.
How would you say your sound has developed over the past 3 years since The Things We Think We’re Missing?
Van Ellis: Again, it’s all about vibe and feeling. Our music has always been a direct reflection of that, only now, 3 years later.
Can you elaborate on how your writing process was different this time around as far as experimenting with new sounds and methods of writing music?
Van Ellis: I think we hear things differently than we did 3 years ago. We wanted to explore other outlets. We tried new things. I think it’s only natural. Every band/artist says that but it’s true, you can’t mess with mother-nature. It makes you grow.
What should we expect from your new album that we haven’t heard from you before?
Van Ellis: New sounds, new vibes, and new feelings. The next chapter of this band will be a lot of exploring.
Light We Made is available for pre-order now.