By Lauren-Olivia “Liv” Simister Many people dream of being traveling the country, especially when they’re fresh out of high school. For the guys of Solfege Radio, a band from Florham, New Jersey, that dream came true. Starting out in January 2008, the band was comprised of long-time friends Marco Torriani (vocals) and brothers Jon (guitar) and Matt (drums) Stolpe. In July of 2008, Joey Nester (guitar/vocals), another childhood-friend, joined the trio. A year later, in August 2009, Donny Saraceno (bass) became the bass player for the band. Though they hadn’t been together long, Solfege Radio won the preliminary rounds of the 9th Annual Jersey Shows Battle of the Bands, and began touring the east-coast non-stop for two years. Still early on in their career, Solfege Radio has played shows like the Get Heard Fest in 2009, and the Monmouth Park Racetrack date of Warped Tour 2010. “Headlining the past year’s Get Heard Fest was pretty incredible. Not being from Central Jersey but more towards the North, we had an incredibly welcoming and responsive crowd. It made us remember why we love what we do. Playing this year’s Warped Tour was also an amazing experience. It's one of those things you dream about from the first time you walk on to one of those parking lots.” When asked how they’re music has evolved since their formation, Jon Stolpe says, “Our music has definitely matured a lot since then, including our song writing and stage performance. With the help of John Collura and Paul Carabello (producers of our "Tell My Mom I'll Be Okay EP"), we've learned a lot about the art of "song writing" as well as the business.” It’s hard to imagine there was a lot to teach the guys of Solfege Radio, especially considering they can’t remember not playing an instrument! “It’s hard to remember exactly when we all started playing. We all got into music at a very young age and have been with it ever since,” Jon claims. High school, however, was a different story. “High school was lame,” Jon says. “The only thing I thought about was when our next show was. I gained absolutely nothing from high school except disgust for public education.” Solfege Radio has stolen the hearts of fans all over, though it was no easy task. They’re known for working non-stop on promotion, making sure their shows are nothing short of spectacular (either go see them live, or look up a live performance via Youtube), and making sure they get to know their fans. The songs on their recently released first EP, “Tell My Mom I’ll Be Okay,” are filled with the punk-pop energy the quintet are known for, as well as the catchy beats that will have concert-goers jumping like they’re at Warped all over again. The EP’s title took on significant meaning to Solfege Radio, used almost as a declaration of self-confidence. “Sometimes it's really hard for parents to see through the insanity of what we're trying to do here. The amount of money, time, and effort that it takes doesn't seem quite worth it to a lot of people. ‘Tell My Mom I'll Be Okay,’ is homage to that pretty much. Not that our parents are unsupportive but maybe this will help keep them off our backs,” they laugh. “The name goes along with the idea that this is what we want to do no matter how crazy it might seem, and we won’t stop, ever.” When listening to Tell My Mom I’ll Be Okay EP, Solfege Radio want you to come away with one thing: a smile. Tell My Mom I’ll Be Okay EP is available now. Head to myspace.com/SolfegeRadio to order your copy now!
Punk rock will never die. As a sub-genre of rock and roll, which obviously has the elixir of life, it’s offspring (not the band) punk rock has the same standing the test of time strength. Proof is in the pudding with the likes of Princeton, NJ based band Basicneed who is caring on the almighty punk rock torch.
DS: You guys are really solid for your young age, how old are you guys and what’s your schedule like as a band? BN: Mike and Pat just turned 15, our drummer Sam is still 13 and going into high school this year. This passed school year we played every weekend we could, which was rough on the parental units, but we managed to sell tickets and get a ride every time. It was tough focusing on school work when all we wanted to do was play bigger shows, sell more tickets and write better songs. This school year we played about 20 shows.
DS: How old were you when you first started playing your instruments and how did you learn them? BN: Mike had easy access to his dad's equipment since he played guitar. Once Sam and Mike decided to start a band, Sam threw some drums together and we got his cousin Pat to buy a bass. So there, all youngins, about 12 years old, taught each other everything, and here we are. We started basicneed before we knew how many strings were on a guitar.
DS: How did you get into punk rock and what is it about punk that drew you in? BN: The 80's hardcore movement is really what drew us in to playing punk rock. Bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains were all about DIY, do it yourself; find shows, record, put out albums and merch, and promote everything yourself. With the help from Jersey Shows and our friends, we've been able to do all of this and we are very grateful for it. Punk is the most true and real type of music out there. Plus there are so many places to go with punk rock, we never feel limited to playing one type of music.
DS: Where are some of the places you have played at? BN: The first thing we did as a band was the Jersey Showdown in 2009. Total scrubs...but we managed to advance to the semi finals at the Starland Ballroom, which was our 3rd show ever. Since then we've played all over Jersey; Trenton, Princeton, New Brunswick, Hanover, Waretown, Freehold, Hasbrouck Heights, South Brunswick, Sayerville, East Windsor (yes, we have a list). Two shows out of Jersey, in Yardley and Philly at the Trocadero.
DS: Who are some bands that you have played with that you enjoy? BN: We love all local bands (pretty much...) and we love the fact that people are doing it. We'd have to say our top five favorite bands we've played with are (not in any order) The Waffle Stompers, Madcats & Beehives, ASBPK, and Liberal Media Bias... and Statelman...and the O>Matics. Okay we love everybody.
DS: Do you have any favorite memories from the shows you have played at? BN: One of our best memories is definitely when we couldn't find the venue we were supposed to play at in Trenton. We ended up breaking into an apartment, almost getting slaughtered by a pissed off Trentonian, and not even getting a good show in return when we actually found the venue. We played the show and were then shuffled off to a corner in the venue that was surrounded by strip show posters and bullet proof glass. Another good time was in Philly, playing the Trocadero when we were walking around chinatown with our buddies from Statelman, going to the hello kitty store and looking at mystical antiques and whatnot.
DS: What are some of your goals as a band, do you see yourselves playing together still in 5 years or beyond? BN: Our main priority is world domination...but right now we're just focused on getting our name out to Jersey and surrounding states. We're planning on releasing an album before 2011. Right now we're preparing for the finals of the Jersey Shows battle of the bands, which is a very important event for us. Who knows where we'll be in 5 years, but we're going to try to take basicneed as far as it can go.
New Jersey Native Ted Leo of Ted Leo and The Pharmacists says he's having a hard time keeping music his full time job in this economy and with the fall of album sales. See that, all you music pirates are bringing down the middle of the road indie artists! Don't fear Ted Leo fans, as he says music will be more of a part time job for him. Read more here
Post-ska band The Waffle Stompers have a busy summer ahead of them. Just this month they’re playing with Catch 22, a ska fest at the Garwood VFW, The Trocadero Theatre mainstage, and at the Oceanport, NJ stop at Warped Tour. We sat down with guitarist Ted Moore to find out a little more.
DS: New tour dates were posted on your myspace recently, What are you looking forward to most about this new tour? Ted: We're really looking forward to getting back to places we've played before. It's cool to see the same friends again in other states each time we go out.
DS: I saw that you guys are playing with Catch 22, can you give us some information on that show? Ted: Sure! It's at the School of Rock East in Hackensack, NJ. Sexy Heroes are also on the bill so it's sure to be a killer show. We're excited to play with another childhood idol... it's actually hard to believe. Also, we're on at 7 sharp so don't be late!
DS: How does it feel to see your band on the Warped Tour line-up this year? Ted: It's absolutely incredible. Warped Tour has been a fantasy and a staple growing up-- the punk rock summer camp out. So many bands get launched from a stint on warped because there's so many listeners open to so much different music. This year our goal is to make a good enough impression to be invited to take our flying circus out of state on Warped in 2011.
DS: Who are you most excited to see on the Warped tour this year? Ted: For me, it's Bring Me the Horizon. Bet you didn't see that coming, haha. Those dudes seriously make the most brutal music I've ever heard and their live show is completely nuts. I'm going to take bets on how many kids get carried out on stretchers during their set.
DS: Recently, you stopped performing the “Serious dance” as seen your music video at live shows, is there any chance you guys will incorporate it back into your set? Ted: There's always a chance! We've even done it on request a few times. We love putting on a show and we love dancing but we're not looking to be a schtick band so we can't do it every time. If we do it, we do it, if not there's always next time ;-).
DS: Are there any new songs or recordings that fans can look forward to this summer or in the fall? Ted: Hopefully! We're working tirelessly behind the scenes right now talking and negotiating. We're going to do a release soon, but it's too early to know when just yet. It's coming though.
DS: What is your advice for other ska bands who are trying to make it out into the scene? Ted: Practice, practice, practice. Ska bands always have twice as many members as other bands, so it's SO important to be tight with one another. Then go on tour to get your recordings out to as many fans as you can in as many states as you can. Also, Pilots sell the best coffee anywhere on the highway.
DS: Is there anything you want to say to your fans? Ted: Keep coming out to shows and supporting touring bands! It means the world to all of us band dudes. We'll have new music for you soon, and THAT'S A PROMISE. Love you guys.