Interview with Brandon Pagano of Handguns
STAGE DIVE: I know you guys have gone through a lot of line up changes, but how did you guys all end up together?
Brandon Pagano: The band, by all intensive purposes, kind of broke up almost around September of 2012, where a lot of members quit. No one really knew what they were going to do. Handguns still had two tour left, so Taylor, our singer, just recruited people that he knew from other bands or from being in other bands with them. So, our bass player used to play with Taylor in another band. Our guitar player knows our label guy. I used to know Taylor through playing in my old band. So we just got together and practiced all of the songs and went on tour playing the old songs. We wanted to write a record together, so that’s how this line up came about.
SD: What bands have you been most inspired by?
BP: When I was younger, it was like Blink-182 and Sum 41. I used to love that stuff. But recently, I’ve been getting into bands like The Menzingers. Their new record is really cool. A band called 68, which is Josh from The Chariot’s new band. My musical tastes have changed since I was younger, but there’s like pop-punk and then the heavier stuff that I like to listen to.
SD: You guys have played in Japan, Europe and spent a summer on Warped Tour. Is there one show that stands out as being the most memorable or craziest?
BP: It would probably be our show with All Time Low at The Starland Ballroom. It was the biggest show of the tour, like 25,000 people, and that’s like a small room for them. I stood on stage and looked out and it was literally just people everywhere. I felt like I was in Rise Against or something. It’s insane that people can do that every night. That was definitely the craziest show.
SD: What is the best and worst part about being on tour?
BP: The best part, traveling is cool, obviously. I love food and I like eating, so we get to go and eat a lot of cool places. Traveling in general is just good for you. I think a lot of people would benefit from getting out of wherever they are and going to see other things. The worst part is definitely just being away from stability. Whatever it may be, girlfriend, parents, friends. Just not having that all the time and having to deal with other people. You just have to balance it out.
SD: When was the last time that your fangirled?
BP: I guess it would be that All Time Low tour, because I used to love All Time Low. I saw them when I was like 15 and stood outside waiting to get their autographs. We got the call that Alex wanted to work with us on our record and that they were going to take us on tour. We’ve grown to really like those guys and have become friends with them now. That was weird for me, for sure. It was cool though. I tried to keep it composed.
SD: What is your favorite song to play live and why?
BP: My answer always used to be “A Year In Review,” before the new record. But with the new record out, it might be “Sleep Deprived,” which is the first single that we put out off of it. It’s cool to be playing new stuff in general. Anything new is kind of charting the top of my favorite songs to play.
SD: Life Lessons came out just over a month ago. How have fan reactions been?
BP: It’s been the most happy, joyous thing for us to put out this record. It’s basically the first record with this band. No body who recorded on this record recorded on the last record. It’s basically a brand new band. So we were just like, “It’s either going to be received well or people are going to hate it because it’s not Handguns.” People thought that it fit the vibe of what Handguns used to be and keep saying that they like it the best and that’s all I wanted really.
- Amanda Ramirez
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Listen Up! - O’Kingdom
Location: Louisville, KY
For Fans of: A Day to Remember, Crown the Empire, and Like Moths to Flames
In 2010, Louisville, KY based O’Kingdom made their way into the local music scene. From the very beginning, O’Kingdom have shown an immense amount of drive and passion behind their music. Pairing that with their unique sound, they have had the chance to grow immensely over the past four years. They’ve toured the US a few times, continuing to leave new and old fans wanting more. Their new album ‘Empires’ will be out next month, but their first single is out now titled “Sisyphean”, along with a new music video. They plan to stop at nothing this year by releasing more singles, music videos, and have plans to do a few tours — All in an attempt to push themselves out of the ‘local’ level, but remaining true to their roots.
Check them out and stay updated here:
YouTube: OKingdomTV (https://www.youtube.com/user/OKINGDOMTV)
Twitter: @OKingdom (https://twitter.com/OKINGDOM)
Interview with Catch The Break
Catch The Break is a pop-punk five piece from Sussex County New jersey. We formed in the late summer of 2012 as a band that just wanted to play some shows for some friends and have a good time doing it. Catch The Break consists of Kevin Guillorn (vocals), Ryan Cotter (Guitar, Vocals), Matt Feds (Guitar, Vocals), Sean Henry (Bass, Vocals), and Steve Glesias (Drums, Vocals).
STAGE DIVE: What’s your favorite show that you’ve ever played?
Catch The Break: Hands down we all agree that our most favorite show had to have been The Canvas Clash in Booton, NJ with Freshman15. For those that didn’t have the opportunity to experience it before it closed, The Canvas Clash was a venue that was about the size of an 18-wheeler trailer you would see on the highway. So imagine cramming 75+ of your friends and fans into that room in the summer when everyone was home from school and available to come rage with us. It was the most fun we had playing a show yet.
SD: What’s the best part about being in a band?
CTB: Just being able to do what we do with our music is the best part about being in a band. We get to travel the country, play music for people we don’t even know, and have the time of our lives doing it! We sort of have an unwritten guideline that if you’re not having fun doing what your doing, then why the fuck are you doing it?
SD: Who is the
B: Craziest on stage?
C: The most embarrassing?
CTB: A: Ryan is probably one of the funniest people we’ve met, just the things he says and the crazy antics he gets into. Its never a dull moment with that guy. Most of our song titles are named after something ridiculous that he’s said, or stemmed from something he’s done.
B: Sean, our bassist.. we all have to agree he is the craziest on stage. Catch the Break isn’t about a super crazy stage performance (we like to let our crowd go crazy to our music), so you won’t see him doing backflips but he does an awesome running man and a pretty decent worm. Just kidding.. But he really brings a lot of energy to our set on-stage. Sean also plays drums in another band called Victim Divine, so it’s nice to see that reserved energy come up front and explode.
C: This one was tough, and after many considerations we have to go with a tie between Matt and Steve. Both embarrassing moments happened at the same show so we looked real good that night. Let’s start with Steve. Weeks prior to this show, Steve had broken his collar bone so we had to switch our lineup around, throwing Sean on drums, Matt on Bass, and Kevin back on rhythm guitar. We still let Steve do his vocal parts, and during his part in “Before and After” he fell off the speakerbox at the front of the stage (and sang through it all like a trooper). We now know why Steve sits behind a drum set. Moments later, during the same set, Matt thought it would be a cool idea to spit some water into the crowd while playing. Sure, this may have went over a little better if he was Triple H and this was the WWE, but sadly it was not. The best part was his face when he realized what he did, and who he actually spit the water on.
SD: What are you guys influenced by when it comes to writing music?
CTB: We all have such wide variety in musical influences, so it’s really hard to pinpoint an exact inspiration. As far as songwriting goes, we just try to be as real to ourselves, and original as possible. We’ll write about random things we like, people we know, sometimes troubles and hardships we’ve had to overcome in our lives. We’re not saying all of our songs are sad; their deeper meanings are just real, and life is not always happy and delicious.. So our songs are based on tangible feelings, that our fans can connect to, relate to, and feel the energy with us through the music. And sometimes our friends, family, and fans are just like ,”Wait, those are really the words?”
SD: When was the last time you fangirled?
CTB: Max Bemis of Say Anything called Kev and Ryan beautiful duo one day after his show. It was heralded as a great time that they will never forget, after an awesome acoustic set with Max and only 40 or so people at Rutgers. Ryan also recently got to take a selfie with Jamie Rhoden of Title Fight, he was stoked.
SD: How did you come up with the name Catch The Break?
CTB: Honestly one day we were brain storming through a bunch of names, some good, some bad, and the name came up and had a click to it and it stuck. Wish there was a more interesting story about that but it’s boring.
SD: Where would you place CTB, genre wise?
CTB: We like to call ourselves a pop-punk band, although some of our older songs do have a bit more of an alternative vibe. But lately we’ve been writing material straying away from that. Catch The Break is also a band that doesn’t limit ourselves to one thing, so hey, we might come out with that hot new polka album next year.. Whenever Matt can perfect the accordion.
SD: What are your biggest influences?
CTB: We definitely have a lot of musical influences. Some of our top favorites are The Story So Far, Blink-182, Title Fight, Green Day, Brand New..
SD: Guilty pleasures?
STB: Kevin: Dutty Rock by Sean Paul. Who still doesn’t love Sean Paul ;)
Ryan: Chesire Cat by Blink-182. Of course.. he still loves Blink.
Sean: The Wall by Pink Floyd. Still one of his all time favorite albums.
Matt: Enema of The State by Blink-182. A fucking classic.. need he say more?
Steve: The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem. He still bumps this CD whenever he can.
SD: What’s to come for Catch The Break?
CTB: We have a studio EP coming out very soon that we’ll be promoting, and we’re writing some new stuff as well. We plan to be hit the road playing shows wherever our songs want to be heard and can take us. We would just love if the simple fact that people love music could help propel us around and get it out to be heard! For some of us, this band could be our final “push” to make music a career, so we’ll do anything and to get our music out there and heard.
- Carlie Kiggans