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Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Palisades

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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.
DSC_9477You 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

Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Escape The Fate

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Escape The Fate are back on Warped Tour and they are here for their fans. This is made known during their set, with each members running out eagerly and greeting their large crowd with smiles and waves. As soon as the first chord hits until the last note, the energy is both high from both the band and fans. Watching this performance, one knew that Escape The Fate, despite their ups and downs, are here because of their iron will to continue their legacy, as well as the unconditional support that they receive from their fanbase. We captured the busy Craig Mabbit and Thomas “TJ” Bell during their New York Warped Tour date and to interviewed them on this segment of ‘5 Questions With…’ Don’t forget to take a glimpse of some photographs from their set in Hartford, CT!
Cliché: You’ve asked your fans to help you create your set list for Warped Tour on your band’s Facebook. How important is it to you to keep your fans a part of the band?
Craig Mabbit: We as a band have been a group with the name Escape The Fate for 10 years now. When you have a 25-minute set on a festival circuit, you think: what songs do you have to play and what is the best set for the fans who take time out of their day to miss 70 other bands playing to come see us? What songs do THEY want to hear? That is what is important to us. Headlining shows are a little easier because of the lenient time limit; you can play whatever you want and play 10 encores if you want. It’s a tight run ship on a tour like this and I wanted to get the fans input.
Kevin Thraser is taking the time to do a workshop on guitar techniques and songwriting. Being able to actually teach fans on how to be active in something you all love and pursue must be quite the experience.
Craig: To be honest, he figured it out on his own. I could have done the same thing, but I didn’t know that it was an option. Before he was officially in the band, he was a session guy just writing songs and working on music with other people. This is something that he is passionate about and to stay on top of his game. It is pretty cool.
Being in the rock scene for so long, what has it been like to watch the golden and fallen years of rock music?
Craig: Depressing.
TJ Bell: It has been a bit of a bummer.
Craig: It’s kind of like, why was I born in the ’80s and not the ’60s? [laughs]
DSC_8318It must add some firepower to your writing though!
Craig:
It does! You want to keep chipping away and keep hoping that rock has this glorious comeback and that you went through those horrible years when it wasn’t there and you stuck it out and –
TJ: We are carrying the torch, man!
Craig: Yeah! That would be a cool day if that ever happens…
With members leaving and joining, along with switching labels over the years, how have Escape The Fate been able to remain balanced under pressure situations such as these?
Craig: By still having the same goal. We have still the same core members and the same people involved with the band that aren’t necessarily “official” but on the record at the time. We are finally saying, “Let’s get rid of the guys who don’t want to be here.”
TJ: It really didn’t make a dent, to be honest. It was like, ok, then leave. See ya.
Craig: Exactly. Nothing stopped, we kept going. Go, leave, bye. We will keep being a band without you and doing what we want to do. It creates a legacy. This is the finalized group. I cannot see it changing any time soon or at all for that matter. Eh, maybe Robert can go [laughs]…Just kidding, Robert!

You all are working on your fifth full length. What can you tell me about the demeanor and influences that we can expect from this record?
Craig:
We’ve been through the ringer. I came from Blessthefall and got shit on for being the new singer of the band and TJ came from Motionless In White. He’s been through the ringer in filling in for us and then we were like, “Actually we are gonna keep this guy, sorry!” We’ve been working so hard at it and when you put all of yourself into music and all of yourself touring and you are THAT passionate about it and to still get backlash from people to the highest point, you just have to say, “fuck it.” Why do we even care about anybody else? Why did we start doing all of this in the first place? We didn’t play in a garage and book our first local show to walk out on stage and like [in a small nasally voice] “Oh, gee I hope they like us!” We walked out on stage like, “FUCK YEAH! WE ARE HERE TO PLAY THIS SHOW! LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!!”
We are getting back to our roots and that is what this album is about. We have always been a diverse band and been stand offish in regards to is this too heavy to be on the album? Is this too poppy? We always try to make it cohesive. This time we are like, alright, let’s make it heavy! Let’s write this pop song and make it the poppiest thing we have ever done. Why not?
TJ: We are all in our mid-20s right now. We have been doing this since like 15-16 years old and we like to make everyone happy.  That’s how Escape The Fate has always been.
Craig: We kind of took off the boundaries. [To TJ] Is boundaries the right word?
TJ: Yes.
Craig: We used to be like, let’s not make it too heavy – that way it still fits on the album, but here we are just…
Throwing in a pipe bomb?
Craig:
Yes! We are tossing a pipe bomb with this record for sure and I cannot wait to put it out there!
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Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Escape The Fate: Photos by Heather Glock

Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Emarosa

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Emarosa has been through hell and then some in the past few years. With the departure of former vocalist [and now frontman for Slaves] Jonny Craig, Emarosa took the time to plant their roots and blossom into their full potential as songwriters. With the help of now vocalist Bradley Walden, Emarosa has exploded back into the music scene with their vivid and impressionable album, Versus. We were able to catch the Bradley Walden, keyboardist Jordan Stewart, and bassist Will Sowers a few hours before their set in Wantagh, NY to discuss the trials and balances of making Versus in this segment of, “5 Questions With…”
Cliché: Bradley, when you came on board as the new vocalist for Emarosa, were you initially nervous about bridging the gap between old and new fans?
Bradley Walden:
Yes. It was a lot of stress and a lot of pressure. I think anyone coming in would have felt that. It took me a year to actually go through committing to doing this, so eventually I realized what I was exactly trying out for with the fan base and prior members. I have a good support system in this band and I walk through it now knowing that they chose me for a reason. I trust  myself of my abilities… but initially it was a nightmare! [laughs]

Was there any struggle in the beginning to make your vocal range/style flow against the instrumentals, or was there fluidity in this transition?
Bradley:
I don’t think there were any difficulties.  There is no Emarosa material that I can’t perform, aside from “This Is Your Way Out.” [laughs]
Jordan Stewart: But Chris would be willing to help you out.  We have a good working relationship with Chris.
Bradley: Yeah, I can’t touch any of that screaming stuff, but other than that, Pete and I will sit and maybe write something acoustic and now, it’s been almost two years, and people don’t realize that.  The record hasn’t even been out a year, but I’ve been in the band for like two years now.  And now there’s a different kind of relationship, especially musically, where we can just be like, “OK, write something. Let’s go.” It’s very fluid and very organic. 
DSC_9712-2Is there any of that anxiety now or do you all feel that it is time for vitriolic fans to accept not that this is ‘the new Emarosa’ but rather that this IS Emarosa?
Bradley:
Yeah, I don’t care anymore. [laughs]  This is the band that we want to be. Old fans, they can appreciate those records, because there’s still that music for them to listen to.  At the end of the day, this is what this band is.
Jordan: At the end of the day, we’re so happy with where this band is at right now that nothing else matters. We’re having the time of our lives. We play music every day, and that’s all that matters.
Will Sowers: Yeah, you know we’re responsible for the choices that we made that have put the band where it’s at, but we’re happy where we are, with Brad especially.
With the effort of commandeering Emarosa into its broader sound, can we expect less of the latter in due time?
Bradley:
We don’t know.  We’re not going to pigeonhole ourselves into a “now they’re going to be a mature rock band.” Maybe one day we’ll write a Michael Jackson song, and one day we’ll write a song that you think is Radiohead.  We’re a band.  There’s not one type of music that we have to play or have to write.
Jordan: We’re hoping to get some other tours and stuff in the future to be able to show the other side of Emarosa and show the dynamics within the band. I think that will also come in writing to, for people to see in the material that we’ll be able to put out going further.
Will: At the end of the day, no matter what is put out, you’ll still be able to know, “That is Emarosa.”
Jordan: It will be consistent. There will be a string under there.
There was a lot of pressure with the creation of Versus. Do you believe that with your works post-Versus will have more room to grow, now that Emarosa has flourished to its new potential?
Jordan: Yeah, I definitely think so. Versus wasn’t safe, by any means, but it was definitely the right record at the right time.  We got to show our legs on there. We definitely had a little fun, and definitely showed that we had been off doing some other things for a while and Bradley was able to put that all under one consistent sound and feel successfully.
Bradley: I don’t say this in a negative light, but I do think Versus is a stepping stone record for the band.  And when I say that, in the back of my head I think it makes it sound less than what it is, but it was just the right record to make for this band that that time.  It was a musical decision and an emotional decision for the band, and it had to go through that – we had to go through that process to get to where we are now.  And you can hear from the kids that come to this tour and everything that’s getting posted around that we’re in the place that we wanted to be from day one.  It just took a while.
Jordan: They’re singing back now – they’re singing Versus.
Bradley: Yeah, more kids are singing that more than any other songs.
Jordan: The other stuff feels out of context now. It feels slopped together compared to other songs.
We saw you perform with Chiodos  in April and there was no hint of nervousness when you guys took the stage. You guys just put it all out there.
Bradley:
That’s surprising. [laughs]
Jordan: We’ve come a lot further since then.
Bradley: I’m excited for you guys to see us, and to see the difference.
Jordan: We only get twenty minutes though, so we’re going to play all twenty.
Bradley: We’re going to destroy all twenty!

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Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Emarosa: Photos by Heather Glock