The Front Bottoms are back in the UK yet again and ready to tackle a tour that’s already selling out months in advance. We caught up with frontman, Brian Sella, before their sold out show at Glasgow’s King Tuts to chat about their recent festival sets, The Grandma Series, Fuck, Jobs and their general domination of the UK crowds.
Indulge Sound: So this is your fourth trip to the UK in the last twelve months, how do you feel the UK is responding to The Front Bottoms?
Brian Sella: I think very positively, it’s pretty incredible for us as a band to come back so many times. I never really thought I’d come at all, like even on vacation, and it’s crazy to think that “Oh yeah we’ll go back for the fourth time”. We’ve been lucky enough to play this venue I think three times? The first time was great, the second time was even better, the third time is sold out, so it’s nice to see there’s growth there, you know? People are reacting positively to it, so it’s very exciting.
IS: You also just played Reading and Leeds festivals this past weekend. How did those shows go?
BS: I think it went very well, they were pretty exciting for us. We had heard of the reputation of that festival being so enormously massive, that it’s like… Well, I don’t really go to festivals in the States so I’d never seen that amount of people in one place before, it was pretty crazy. And our sets went great, they felt good, they were a lot of fun – they were earlier in the day too so we got time to just kind of hang out.
IS: What’s the most memorable part of those shows for you?
BS: Probably just being really nervous that there wasn’t gonna be anybody in the tent when we played, and it turned out that when we played it filled out. There was a lot of people there, a lot of people singing the words. That was definitely the most memorable part for me anyway, the fact that being really nervous, like “Oh god, will people stay and watch us?”, but it worked out positively so it was good.
IS: How do shows in the UK differ from those in the US?
BS: People always ask that question and I don’t know how to answer it. I don’t think they differ very much at all. The atmosphere is still the same, it’s pretty positive, there’s a lot of energy in the room. It seems like when people come see us play it’s because they really want to, it’s not like “Oh let’s just go and hang out” you know? They really want to be there, and that definitely passes on to us on stage, and we really want to be there as well.
IS: You’ve been playing a new song on tour recently, Fuck, Jobs, is that a working title or what’s going on there?
BS: Yeah, I don’t think that’s gonna end up being the name of the song! (laughs) We were at a show and we played it and we were like “Oh we need a name!” and somebody yelled that out, so of course everyone’s like “Oh that’s the name of the song!”. I don’t think it’s gonna stay that name, we’re still kinda messing around with the song a little bit, we’ve been playing it live to get a feel for it. We’ll see what happens, it’s not cool to rush those things.
IS: You’ve also release the Rose EP where you’ve re-recorded and released some old songs. What was the inspiration for this project?
BS: Basically it was an opportunity to go back and re-record old songs that we had liked and that never really had a proper release, and people would ask us to play them, we didn’t know how to play them so it was an opportunity to go back and re-learn them, polish ‘em up and give them a proper release.
IS: I heard that it’s actually the first in a series of EPs, do you have any titles for them?
BS: We don’t really have any titles for them, but they will be named after grandparents. It’ll be the next grandmother, we’ll call it The Grandma Series. There’s no plans to release the next one as of right now but eventually it’ll happen.
IS: Speaking of recording, is there any word on album three? Or have you been kept busy by your other projects?
BS: We’ve been on the road for a year and a half straight pretty much at this point, so we’ve been jamming and messing around with some new stuff. It’s always like in process, when I get home I’ll have some time to concentrate on some stuff.
IS: Do you still consider yourself a two piece or has it expanded to accommodate your touring members?
BS: It’s definitely expanded, Ciaran (keys/trumpet/guitar) and Tom (bass) are definitely as much a part of The Front Bottoms as me and Mat – well, not as much obviously but they are in the band. They write the songs with us, they’re road dogs with us, they do everything and they’re very important to the band and they’re part of the history of the band.
IS: I know that Mat has a Front Bottoms tattoo. Do you plan on getting any Front Bottoms tattoos yourself?
BS: Not at the moment, no, but maybe one day. Never say never I guess!
IS: At your last show here at King Tuts you brought up a fan on stage who had both of your faces from the self titled album tattooed on her thighs and there are numerous people who have the Talon Of The Hawk knife tattooed too. How does that feel seeing people so dedicated to your band?
BS: It’s crazy. It’s an honour and also like “Wow”. Pretty intense! It’s pretty exciting at this point that there are people who seem to care about the music just as much as we do. Which is crazy to think that that would ever happen, and I hope people feel like it’s something they really wanna do when they get it done.
IS: How important is music to you personally? What was the spark that made you realise you wanted to be in a band and go on tour?
BS: I don’t know if there was ever a point where I was like (snaps fingers) “This is it”, cause I had other things to do like try to make money, go to school, get a job, stuff like that, so there was other things going on that had to be taken care of. It just worked out fortunately for me and Mat, it’s basically our livelihood now, like I’ve dedicated my entire life to music for the past five years, it’s basically defined me as a human being. The relationship I have with music and the band, it’s pretty intense.
IS: As a band you seem like you’ve always had a DIY ethic. How important do you feel it is to keep those roots?
BS: I think for us as a band, we got into the DIY thing because no one was gonna do it for us. Nobody offered to make it happen for us, so for me and Mat if we wanted to release an album it was like “Alright well we just have to put these songs on the internet”. If we really want to do this – which we do – and we want people to hear the music, we have to put it on the internet. We can’t wait for a label, that’s insane. If we wanna play shows, nobody’s gonna book our band so we had to book our own shows.
Even now like 95% of the decisions that are made about the band – from the artwork to playing Reading and Leeds – are made by me and Mat in our apartment. The email comes in, it’s like let’s do that, let’s not do that, booking the plane tickets, everything is done – mostly by Mat to be honest – so the whole DIY thing is just the only way we could have been a band. Fortunately it’s got to the point where we don’t depend so much on a label, where it’s like “Oh the labels not gonna give us tour support, we can’t go on tour” because we’ve been here three times and on the third time it sells out, the people that want to hear the music are the reason the music is happening.
We’re able to come play this show because people are coming to see us play. It’s a very grassroots sort of vibe for us, I think it always will be. For me and Mat to give away control it’s like… Not gonna happen. We have to make some sacrifices though, like maybe there’s something we really want to do, but from a business standpoint it would make more sense to do this other thing, or just to do right by the fans.
I mean like we didn’t really want to make to make fifteen music videos but we had the friends and we enjoyed doing it so let’s do it. Yeah, I don’t really remember the question but I hope that was a good answer. (laughs)
IS: What message would you give to the people who have supported you and continue to support you?
BS: I’d say thank you. Just thank you, for keeping an open mind and really embracing us as what we are: just four guys trying to make things happen. Like I said before we wouldn’t be able to do it if no one came to the shows.