- Posted on Mar 4th 2011 3:00PM by Arielle Castillo
Gino DePinto, AOL
You grew up about an hour away from Seattle. Did you have any contact with that city's music scene at all? Did you listen to any bands from the area?
When I was a teenager, being from the Northwest during Nirvana's popularity, that was obviously at the forefront. But even at that time, I was probably sneaking around those CDs or something, because we weren't supposed to listen to that music in the house. I was an hour from Seattle in a town called Port Orchard, but it might as well have been a huge distance away from where I was. It was a sleepy, little nice town on the water.
Was there an all-ages scene in your town or anything, or did you play in any bands?
No. I was into taking lessons, playing piano and also woodwind in the school band. After college, I moved to New York, and music was the reason all of us in the band came to New York. If you want to raise the bar for yourself as a musician, it seems like the obvious choice to put yourself where the most rigors are.
How did you meet Alex? The band legend is that you answered an ad for a roommate.
Yeah! I lived in the East Village on 7th Street, and Alex was on 2nd Street, and I was moving out of my place. I answered his Craigslist ad. I was one of dozens of people to respond, and he had an open-house night, and I just showed up first. We were both 25-year-old musicians living a few blocks away from each other, and it all kind of clicked. It was hilarious, because I was just hoping to stay in the neighborhood, and I ended up hitting the jackpot with someone who was interested in a lot of the same stuff.
Did you have any musical style ideas from the get-go? Your sound is very multi-layered, so how did you get there?
When we met, we were definitely coming from different sides of the coin. I had spent time in school doing more formal music stuff, and Alex knew how to play a bunch of different instruments -- self-taught -- and just did his thing. He would play harmonica and stuff, and there was definitely that spirit of his hometown, Baton Rouge, in there. He would also play acoustic guitar, but he was always getting new instruments and experimenting with whatever he could get a a hold of. Then he got some keyboards and stuff, and that's how we ended up going in a direction that was more electric.
Obviously, there are tons of bands in New York City and Brooklyn, especially, where your band is now based. In the years since you started, why do think you guys have been able to rise above the pack?
You're right -- it's kind of ridiculous and overwhelming. That's a slippery slope for a lot of Brooklyn bands, to kind of try fit the mold of some kind of "Brooklyn band." But I think we're pretty content just kind of doing our own thing and not really being associated with that.
Your song 'Come Home' was featured in an iPod commercial recently. How did you get hooked up with that?
That was really random. We released our EP in the spring of last year and booked our own West Coast tour. We got back in August, and we just got this random e-mail, and it went from there. We didn't have a manager at the time, or a lawyer, or anybody, so we had to contact some people to work through it with us. We were definitely sending out the EP to a lot of blogs and stuff when we released it ourselves in the spring, and it got kicked around through the summer, so it was probably through that.
Have you gotten more opportunities since the commercial first aired?
The exposure has been great, for sure. We started working with some more people. We're not on a label at this point, but we're talking with some. It's been really great to just take things at our own pace and figure it out and take the next step ourselves, without having anyone tell us what we're supposed to do. It gave us the ability to record again, and we've been working on a full-length album that we're in the middle of right now.
Catch Chappo's SXSW Set on Wednesday, March 16 at Dirty Dog Bar (505 E 6th St.) 10PM.
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