California is no strange place to talented bands, but Stickup Kid is on another level. The band recently wowed their fans with the release of the Nothing About Me EP on Adeline Records, which was co-founded by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. Stickup Kid is not your typical Pop Punk band, offering much more depth and diversity in their music. The band has already begun demoing for their next full-length, as I discussed with the band's bassist, Jonathan McMaster. If you haven't already, make sure to stream the EP in full below or grab the vinyl here.
For the record, could you state your name and role in Stickup Kid?
Jonathan: My name is Jonathan and I play bass and yell on occasion.
The new EP, Nothing About Me, has been out for a few months now, but I remember before the release was announced you guys seemed anxious to get the news out. Do you feel like your expectations or predictions have been met?
Jonathan: Yeah we were really excited! I think that the EP is such a step up from the first record that we were anxious for people to hear it and go "oh wow, this band is actually pretty decent" haha. The process of making a recording and having it pressed also takes a while so we spent too much time just waiting for things out of our control to come together. We were ready for it to be out way before it was actually out haha. I try to keep all expectations for the band very reasonable, and I definitely think my expectations for the EP have been met.
From a lyrical standpoint, are there any common themes across the new songs? Tell us a little about the meaning behind the EP.
Jonathan: Interesting that you say that. The EP is kind of divided up. Tony (singer) wrote the lyrics to the first two tracks, and I wrote the lyrics to the last 3 tracks. They are about different events at different times with different people, but a lot of the feelings are consistent. I would say one of the largest themes running through a lot the songs is the idea of needing someone more than they need you and all the awful feelings that go along with that haha. It wasn't written with any theme in mind, but it has a lot of similar ideas running through it.
Since Nothing About Me was only printed on vinyl, I'm wondering how that decision was made? It's become apparent that older formats, such as vinyl and cassette tapes, have made a comeback, but did it feel like a risk to not offer the CD option?
Jonathan: We are all vinyl enthusiasts, so we were way stoked to have it on vinyl. Having a five song CD feels a little thin. If we had it on a CD we would want it to look good/feel good/not be crappy, but we would also not want to have to charge people too much for it. I just don't think that it would have been really worth it for people or for us. I don't think not having CDs has hurt us all that much. I think the only person I know that uses CDs exclusively (no vinyl and no iPod) is my best friend Keith haha. The next record will be on vinyl and CD for sure.
I was really proud and happy for you guys when I first heard of the signing with Adeline, but how did it all come about? Did you approach the label or had you known each other previously?
Jonathan: First of all thank you! We got hooked up with the label through a friend of a friend. I met Jeff (check out Flex and Life Support) at a mutual friend's baking party. I was staying in long beach for a week and Jeff happened to live a few blocks from where I was staying and we ended up getting lunch a few times that week. Later on he met the rest of the band, and he passed our CD on to his friend Eddie who works at Adeline. Eddie loved the record and convinced the higher ups to sign our band. So I guess it was just destiny haha, we couldn't be happier with the label.
I read that Nothing About Me is a "transitional EP" between your previous and next record - what can we expect from the band's next next full-length? How much have you guys written for it so far?
Jonathan: The next full-length is going to be a little different for sure. As cliche as it sounds, I would say the record is going to be a lot more mature than anything we have done before. The songs we are writing just feel like stronger songs and they feel more focused. We have about 6 demos recorded and many many more ideas being cooked up all the time. My favorite thing that has been said about the demos is "wow, its like an actual song" hahaha.
The band seems like a group of honest guys who are really in this for the right reasons, so I'm curious, what's your motivation to keep making music? For how long do you see yourself doing this?
Jonathan: I appreciate that, I'm glad that aspect of the band shines through in what we do! That makes me very happy :). We make music because we love to do it, and we really enjoy everything that comes along with being in a band. If we didn't we would have given up awhile ago cause there really are no real world benefits to doing this haha. On paper it sounds crazy to be doing this, but music has taken us places we thought we would never go and given us memories that will last a lifetime. On a personal level, music is the only thing that has ever really felt super right for me. It's the best way I know how to express myself and connect with people, and its where I feel I belong. I will be doing this forever in some shape or form. If the band crashes and burns you'll find me jamming in a garage somewhere with somebody.
What have you been listening to lately? Is there anything you'd like to recommend?
Jonathan: I've been re-listening to a lot of records I haven't listened to in a while. Pinkerton by Weezer is an absolute classic and captures being an awkward weirdo with a lot of heart better than any other record I have ever heard. The record is 16 years old, but it feels like Rivers is writing about things that happened to me last year haha. It's really a record that gets you instead of the other way around. Everything In Transit by Jack's Mannequin is an amazing record, and Misadventures by Such Gold is one of my favorites of the year.
Given the chance, what country would you like to visit the most on tour? May I suggest coming down to Australia?
Jonathan: You may suggest that haha, and I would love to accept your offer! I think Australia or the UK would be a good starting point for us. Somewhere that's not too different from home. I need more time to pick up on some other European languages first before we dive in haha.
Thanks for taking taking the time to do this. Would you like to add anything else?
Jonathan: Thank you for supporting this band, and going out of your way to support music in general, that in and of itself is awesome/amazing. Our brothers in Heart To Heart and Troubled Coast are going to releasing awesome record this fall so keep an ear to the ground and support those bands.
Interview by Mario Parra
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