Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview With Aficionado

Amongst the sadness that is Thursday's last tour as a band, the tour also features a couple of rising gems. Aficionado is one of those bands, as they recently released their first record on No Sleep Records, which got a pretty solid review from MuzikDizcovery, as well as landing on Kyle Spalding's favorite albums of the year list. The band agreed to sit down with us and answer some questions, involving the No Sleep Records subscription, having a flautist in the band, having seven members in the band, the band's upcoming writing process in February, and much much more, which you can read below.

Firstly, can you introduce yourself?

I am Nick, from Aficionado.

The self titled was released over the summer. Has the record brought the kind of pull and appeal that you planned on it having?

Yeah. To a lot of people we were a very new band. When we released it, we’d only released one EP on No Sleep and only been signed for about a year, and we hadn’t done a ton of touring. So when we released the album we just wanted to create a little bit of buzz so people became familiar with what we were doing. We didn’t expect a huge crazy reaction at first when we put it out, but since then we’ve gotten some pretty awesome tours, and we’ve gotten to go on tour with some people that we’ve grown up being influenced by and people that we really respect musically, and that’s been awesome. We’ve been out with Tim Kasher from Cursive, and Travis from Piebald, and as time goes on we get more and more cool tours. In releasing the album, it afforded us the opportunity to really get out there. Touring is our favorite part of being in the band so I think the album definitely was what enabled us to do that.

You opened for one of your Facebook influences (Tim Kasher of Cursive). That isn’t the only time you’ve worked with artists that may be influences of you. Travis from Piebald was featured on “Honesty”, and now you’re opening for Thursday on what may be their last tour. How did all these collaborations come together?

The day that we got the email to go on tour with Tim Kasher, I was floored. Cursive has been a band that since I was young, has been huge for me. Some of the songs that Tim writes have been the songs that mean the most to me. We’ve also had really really good luck with all these people that we’ve looked up to and getting to go on tour with them and having them be awesome. Tim was great, and his band was great, and they were super nice to us. It’s cool to realize that the people that we look up to are good people and are exactly how we want them to be. It sucks when you like someone your whole life and you grow up to realize that they’re shitty, and you were too young at one point to realize that. With the Tim tour, he was great, and was awesome to us. With Travis, he came into our van, and it was great. He was super down to earth and now we’re really good friends with both of those people.

The band has seven members, which is much more than the majority of bands out there. Especially for a smaller touring band, having seven members must make the living situation very difficult. The tour profits have to be split through all of you guys, not to mention the van must get pretty crowded. Do you think that the fact that you have seven members makes things tougher?

I understand why people would assume that, but actually not at all. Even at home, we live like we’re a family. We’re all best friends, and we’ve been best friends for a really long time.  It’s just what our band is. We don’t know anything else, and it’s not an inconvenience. We have seven people in the band, and two people on tour with us. We have had the mentality for at least the past five years that “the more, the merrier”. We want to be like a travelling party on the road. Those are my friends. Those are the people I consider my closest friends and family. When we play a show without a member, I feel like we’re missing a key element to the dynamic of the group in addition to the dynamic of the sound. But more importantly, it’s the dynamic of the group. On past tours, we had Jay filling in on drums, and now he doesn’t even do shit. He just smokes cigarettes, sleeps, and drinks our beer. But because he’s now part of the family, we bring him. He doesn’t even have to do anything. He’s just a permanent fixture in our lives, and I don’t want to go on tour without him, even if he’s not playing drums. As far as profits go, it’s not what we’re concerned with. It’s more of the vibe and having a good time. We make music that we love, and if people like it and we make money that’s cool, but if we don’t, we’re still doing what we love, and that’s the most important thing. Many bands these days start with a business plan and think about how they’re going to profit off this thing, and how they’re going to rip this person off, and how they’re going to scam this person, but that’s never been our mentality and never will be our mentality. We want to make music that we like, and that comes first. If people don’t like it, whatever.

How did you decide to have a flautist as part of the band?

A while ago, we had a different flautist, and she left the band. When she left the band, we asked Laura to be in our band. We had her primarily singing, but she’s awesome at flute, and we thought it’d be a cool texture and something different. The concept of punk rock is to be free, and to do whatever the fuck you want however the fuck you want to. That’s punk rock to me. I think that so many people that play punk rock set boundaries on themselves and limit themselves to what is traditionally what is a punk rock lineup is, which is two guitars, bass, drums. I feel that the purpose is to progress in art, and that enables you to do whatever you want. There are no rules. Especially in the kind of thing we’re doing. You can play anything. You can have someone playing a flute, someone playing a bagpipe, someone playing a fucking djembe, that’s what’s cool. It’s limitless. That’s what so liberating about art and music, that it’s limitless. Laura is a great flautist and a great singer, so why not utilize her to the fullest?

No Sleep Records almost seems like a farm system to the bigger labels. Bands have released a few records and get “promoted to the big leagues” to bigger labels. Do you see this happening any time soon?

I love No Sleep, so I don’t know. I want to keep progressing as a band as much as we can, and I want to reach the largest audience possible, because as artists the most important thing is to impact culture in the biggest way possible.  So any way I can reach the biggest audience as possible, that’s what I want to do. Chris Hanson (the owner of the label) is the best dude, and we love him and he’s one of my best friends, and we’re really happy with it. They’ve done everything that we ask of them and they treat their bands really really well, and they really give a shit. That’s what matters. If I have a problem with a girlfriend or another band, I can call Chris, and that’s fucking cool. It’s cool to know that we have a dude there that really gives a shit.

No Sleep Records does this subscription based deal, where everything they put out is sent to the subscriber, including exclusive 7”s and other things. Should we expect any of your material to be on the 2012 No Sleep Records subscription?

Our last record was on the 2011 subscription thing, and some people that hadn’t heard our band were posting about it after that subscription was sent out. So I actually think that’s a good idea and I think that it’s cool to have fans of the label who maybe didn’t check out our band. If they’re fans of La Dispute or Balance and Composure or one of the other bigger bands on the label, they might subscribe and find out about some of the smaller bands on the label. When I was young that was a thing, you were a fan of a label. When I was young, I was a fan of Fat Wreck Chords. I liked everything that Fat Wreck Chords put out. It wasn’t just Nofx or just Good Riddance or just Propagandhi, I went through and got the comp and I listened to every single band, and then I went to buy the record of every single band, because that was the label that I liked. I think that sort of thing has gone away a little bit, but I think labels like Run For Cover and No Sleep are bringing that back. They just have solid rosters of bands. If you like one, you have at least the musical scope to get in to the rest. I don’t really know if we’re going to have material on the upcoming subscription. We’re planning on touring a lot, so right now our plan is just to tour as much as we can. We just finished touring with a band called Fair To Midland, which is a band that’s not very similar to us, but it’s cool because we did the Tim tour, then the Fair To Midland tour, then the Thursday tour, then we’re going out with a band called Electric Six, then a band called End Of A Year in Europe. Each of the bands are different and do their own thing, which I love because it keeps everything diverse and it’s very different every time. But it’s also different audiences, and I would like to think that our band has something that appeals to everyone, regardless of the music that you like and being able to do some diverse tours allows us to reach a broader group of people outside of the No Sleep/Run For Cover world.

How’s the tour with Thursday been? This could be their last tour, so have the emotions from that fact caused a change in everyone’s play?

I feel honored to be on these shows, so when we play, we’re stoked to be here. Thursday is a band that since I was very young I’ve respected and liked, as well as mewithoutYou. Those two bands are bands I’ve liked for a really long time, and just to go on tour with those two bands as a package, as well as our friends in Make Do and Mend, and Screaming Females fucking rip, so sometimes you step out for a band, but on this tour I want to watch every single band. It’s a good vibe, because I’m so stoked to see everybody, and I’m in a good mood all day.

Do you have any other plans for the beginning of 2012?

2012 so far we have a tour with End Of A Year, Self Defense Family they prefer to be called in Europe in January. We’re taking February off to write a little bit, and we’re going to do a music video for "Everything Is Right". The beginning of March we leave for a tour with Electric Six and we also are going to South By Southwest. On that tour we should be playing one or two new songs, but we’re going to start material in February for just new stuff. We’ve been just itching to write, because we’ve been on tour for so long. We’ve been vibing about what kind of direction we’re planning on going in and what the new material is going to sound like, so it makes us kind of like antsy to hash these new ideas out, but we’re going to do that in February. Then we’re going on tour for a couple of months, then coming home to focus on writing some more in the beginning of the summer. Hopefully we’ll record again in the fall of next year, and then try to put something else out before the next South By Southwest, so if we put something out in 2012, it’d probably be an EP or a 7”, but the next full length won’t be out until the following year, just because we’re focusing on touring so much that it’s been hard to sit down and actually write. And because this was our first record, I kind of want to tour on this one as much as possible to make people familiar with the band, so when we put out another record people know it at least a little bit.

I'd like to thank the band again for taking time out of their busy tour schedule (which involved four hours of traffic getting to the show!) to spend some time talking with me. The band is one of the more underrated bands on the Run For Cover/No Sleep agenda, and they definitely deserve the respect they are getting from all these fantastic tours. Their latest self titled record has been out since June, and you should definitely buy it, as well as liking them on Facebook!


  1. Do you happen to know when they'll tour again?

  2. These artists need time to relax especially when they have a busy schedule for recordings, shows and tours. It is nice to have lots of companies when you're on the road. Though it could be difficult to deal with everyone sometimes, Nick is right, "the more, the merrier." party bus nyc