It's a rainy Sunday night in Boston and I have the pleasure of interviewing Allentown, Pennsylvania's alternative rock band - The Front End. All three members of the band are present including Gabe, Kory, and Louis. Before diving into the interview, I listened to their new EP 'Growing Pains.' Four songs including Mandago, Uncle Tony, Toes in Sand and Missed Connections present a combination of complex and smooth guitar riffs; percussion that shows advanced skillfulness; a singer who has a very wide emotional range; lyrics that have depth; and songwriting that is edgy and unpredictable.
So, to get started can you introduce each member of the band:
Gabe: I play guitar in The Front End. I write some of the songs.
Kory: I play guitar and sing. I’m a taurus who loves long walks on the beach, romantic nights spent in front of a fire and food.
Louis: I play drums and handle a lot of the external communications and connections. Booking, PR, Social Media, Industry contacts etc. It’s not just me, nor am I the only say or the final, we make decisions once we all agree.
Great answer Kory- maybe I should turn Indie Spoonful into a Music Review and Online dating site. LOL. Let's start with your genre. How would you describe your genre for our readers?
Gabe: It’s taken a long time to define our genre, we usually just say rock n roll or for them to form their own opinion about it . I've also coined the term noodle rock, cuz we noodle on our guitars. Its somewhere between emo and math rock. Major influences of mine include Snowing, Led Zeppelin, Algernon Cadwallader, William Bonney, and Tiny Moving Parts.
Kory: I’d say we fall somewhere on the pop punk/emo spectrum. I’m influenced by a lot of math rock bands including Tiny Moving Parts, TTNG and emo bands like La Dispute and Old Gray.
Louis: Our sound is still defining itself as we solidify a few moving parts (permanent bassist) that upon finding that will help mold and solidify our writing style and process rather than adding in the bass last once we basically have a song down. I always say we’re progressive rock/alternative punk. Whatever that means, leaves it pretty broad for people to fill in the blanks. I’m influenced by Chiodos, classic rock legends like Pink Floyd and Zep, punk legends Blink 182 (mainly because Travis Barker is a beast)
For our readers who are new to the term "math rock," it is a rhythmically complex, guitar-based style of experimental rock with some irregular stopping and starting, less melodic melodies. I definitely hear the complex guitar and percussion in your songs; it's very effective.
Let's take a short break for our readers to check out your sound/genre with the video "Uncle Tony."
So how did you guys get to this level of musicianship - how did you get started?
Gabe: I believe some people are just attracted to music and ever since my dad introduced me to Led Zeppelin I was hooked. I started playing piano when I was about 8 and quickly wanted to play guitar when I was about 10. Over time as my experiences and talent increased I’ve been able to write more complex developed songs.
Kory:: I started playing the guitar when I was like, 13. Now, I just want to play the type of music that I want to hear as a listener.
Louis: I started my musical journey with the piano in my younger elementary years, moving to the clarinet for a year, then to drums in 5th grade and never looked back. As far as the melodies, I don’t care or have too much say in what they (Gabe and Kory) bring to the table; I’m generally pleased. I just have a passion for making people move to the beats underlying the “noodliness.”
Clearly you have a great foundation that you've been able to build on. Could you pick one song out of the four and tell our readers what the song is about or what drove you to write it ?
Gabe: "Missed Connections" - This is the most recent song I wrote. I guess, I stole the chord progression from kor and wrote some real cliche lyrics to it. I guess it’s a little jab at how superficial, artificial, and contradictory people act and interact with each other in this day and age, and the shortcomings and frustrations that come along with trying to navigate the internet and interact with others; most importantly girls. It’s a more music centric song.
I think "Missed Connections" is a great song. The song composition is excellent and I love the lyrics: "My insecurities lie next to the word "seen" right next to your profile picture in my messenger app but it's been like 3 days like that so I guess that's that imagine that." I also thought the guitar riffs were really interesting. And I have to give kudos to Kory for his dark growling vocals which definitely paint an emotion.
I'm going to change the subject for a minute. We are all aware of the political environment around us. At times it's been pretty contentious. Has this had any influence on your music?
Gabe: No we all have diverse political views. It never affects our music, for me music is a release and a great hobby and I couldn’t bring something as intense as politics into that situation
I love that answer, thanks Gabe. So back to songwriting - can you walk us through your process. I'm always interested in how a song comes together.
Gabe: The music usually gets pieced together then lyrics on top. Kory: I think that typically Gabe or I will come to practice with a riff or a jam and we just go from there.
Louis: I just bang on shit til it sounds good with the riffs. I'm a guitar player and singer myself. I have to say that sometimes I envy drummers. Sometimes I just want to bang on shit too. Anyway, can you guys share what your best experience to date has been with The Front End:
Gabe: Theres been a lot of great experiences but the process of recording music in a professional studio has been the most fun for me.
Kory: Although it hasn’t happened yet, I am looking forward to being able to play a show with TMP in December.
Louis: To date, my favorite experiences have been some of our live shows and sporadic things that happened at them. The recording process at different professional studios and the relationships we’ve built, and the bubbly feeling of unknowing what is going to come while feeling we’re heading the right direction.
Awesome. What's on the radar for The Front End and where can we check out your EP?
Louis: I believe I can speak for all of us when I say the most notable thing coming up for our musical career is opening up for Tiny Moving Parts here in the Lehigh Valley in December. They are a band we’ve all looked up to and idolized, being on the same stage and meeting them as musicians rather than just fans will be tough to not “fan girl.”