If you don’t know who Palisades is, then you are missing out on a force that has been powering their way through the music industry since their 2012 EP, I’m Not Dying Today. Cliché received the opportunity to hang out with frontman Lou Miceli in Wantagh, NY to pick his mind on the release of Mind Games, and as well as Palisades sparking a revolution against gentrification in this “5 Questions With…” segment.
Cliché: How has Palisades brought the party to Warped Tour so far?
Lou Miceli: It has been pretty crazy being here. We party, but we aren’t usually the party band, but lately on our bus it has been busy. There is a shit ton of people coming and going from our bus! We are probably going to have to cut that down, because people who sleep in the bus probably want to, you know, sleep. Last night in Philly, it kicked my ass. We went down to South street and it totally kicked my ass with a hangover today. [laughs] It’s cool that we are known for that and people in different genres have been coming over and going, “Yo, I fucking love watching your set,” and it’s so awesome. The dudes from Knuckle Puck and Citizen told us that they love watching our sets and it is so cool, because I love pop punk. It’s really awesome to have a mutual respect for each other.
Looking around at this festival, there seems to be a trend in bands clamoring for a genre to define themselves. How do Palisades stand out against this gentrification?
We don’t have a genre. Genres fucking suck. Music is not about dividing people by what this is called or that is called. It is about bringing people together and when you put a band in a genre, you are just dividing people. It is actually funny that you bring that up to me because I saw someone tweeted yesterday, “Come watch The Wonder Years!” and someone responded, “Fuck that band. That band sucks,” because that guy was only into hardcore music. It’s something I feel passionate about because we as a band don’t have a genre. Music is more than that and I want to read you my tweet back to that guy: “If you judge music based on bias genre opinions, you’re the most closed minded, fucking degenerate ever. Embrace music you fucking nerd.” It’s true though. I love country music, I love hip hop, and I love classical music. Anything that makes me feel good, then I love it, or even music that makes me feel sad. It’s all about feeling from the music.
You recently released your sophomore album, Mind Games, with the help of Erik Ron. How did Erik help you all take your frustration with the events that inspired the title/theme of Mind Games and pull it together as a whole?
Erik really brought a lot of me as a vocalist. He made me sit in a room with all of the lights off and a bunch of candles with very dim lighting. He would always stop me when I was singing something and be like, “No, dude. I didn’t feel anything from that at all,” or tell me, “This is LP 2 Lou, not LP 1 Lou. I want to feel it.”
I feel like with this album, you really feel the emotion that Erik was pulling out of me. Even on songs that are just fun songs, even with Brandon, too, you really feel it. He and I would sit together when we collaborated on the songs lyrically and some of the melodies and we would just bash out everything. We would just talk about stuff for a while and he would pick my mind on how I felt about things and we would go from there. It was really cool because I never had a producer do that with me before, you know, delve into my mind.
With Mind Games, there is a touch of the music scene that make up New York and New Jersey: rock, hip hop, rap, and the now popular EDM. What can you tell me about taking these elements and incorporating into the melting pot of sounds that is Mind Games?
We all grew up on different genres, especially from being within this area. I’m originally from New Jersey and I lived in Florida most of my life, but I am back in Jersey where the rest of the band is from. I love pop punk and punk rock music, and I always loved hip hop, hardcore — and some of the guys like metalcore. Brandon loves K Pop and J Pop music. Orlo loves Top 40 and EDM music and pop punk. We all just grew up listening to totally different music and that’s just the most unique thing about Palisades. When we write music, we are never like, “oh this needs to be heavier,” or “this needs to sound like this or that.”
In my opinion, and my band’s opinion – and we all have the same view on this – successful artists and successful musicians who have lasted never replicate. The only people who truly survive are the ones who are ready to go out there and to not be someone else. Think about it. All your favorite people in the world started genres because they decided to create something different. Replicating other musicians will only get you so far, but being truly original is when you will go far. That is how we feel about our music, our clothing, and our brand. I do all of the designs for Palisades, too. It’s crazy because you walk around Warped Tour and you will see a good amount of people wearing our shit. We take pride in that, too!
I’m glad you brought that up, because I wanted to talk to you about your designs. With the release of Mind Games, with not only the album art, but also with your merch designs, there is an enormous amount of Japanese influence. What inspired this theme, and what made it right for Palisades?
We are all inspired by fashion and most of us are HUGE anime nerds. If you look at Japanese, Korean, and Eastern Asian culture and fashion, they are light-years ahead of us and that is something that I’ve always been super into. Like now, I’m wearing the high socks with shorts. I think that we are one of the first bands, if not then of the few, who wore the long songs with shorts. In shorter terms: street wear. People were making fun of us and now EVERY motherfucker out here is wearing street wear in some shape or form. I really feel like kids recognize that we were the first – and I’m not talking shit here about any bands. Everyone can do what they want – but I’m happy people are acknowledging that we are the forefront and that we do it very well.
I eventually want to have my own clothing line. Right now, I am focused on making Palisades, not just as a band, but a brand. I don’t even think our stuff looks like band merch. How cool would it be if there was a Palisades pop up shop in New York, for like a day? I have a close friend in this group called Profound. They are in Urban Outfitters and Pac Sun, but how cool would it be, if he could help us get Palisades stuff in those outlets? It’s really about marketing yourself and that music will take you as far as you can, but it doesn’t hurt to have an image or a brand out there, because they go hand in hand with your music. Look at Kayne West! I mean you can hate on the man all you want, but the dude is a genius. He came with leather joggers before anyone did and they turned him down like a joke and now every motherfucker is wearing those things. Look at the Yeezys and look at his whole clothing line now.
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Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Palisades: Photos by Heather Glock