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Monday, March 3, 2014

Interview With County Drop

Garnering a name in the New Brunswick, NJ underground circuit is not an easy mission to accomplish. There are a number of superb bands all fighting for a chance to get their music heard by the tons of kids dedicated to the scene. I was lucky enough to have a word with County Drop, an up and coming band that takes a unique approach to the whole emo/punk blend. With the recent release of their third record, The Origin of Skeletons, we talk about life in the New Brunswick scene, the awesomeness of couscous, and the band's plan for the future. 

Can you introduce yourselves?

B: I'm Brian, I play guitar and sing.

K: I'm Kawan, I play guitar.

J: I'm Jason, I play bass and sing.

Ja: I'm Jack, I play drums.

When did you start playing together and where did the band originate from?

B: We started writing our first songs in the Summer of 2009 when Kawan, our former bassist Pat and myself moved into an apartment in New Brunswick together. I don't think we had any intentions of ever starting a serious band until our friends began responding positively when we'd randomly play them acoustically around the apartment. Jack and I used to play together in a band called DCMS (https://myspace.com/dcms/music/songs) and was/is by far the most talented drummer I have played with to date so having him join seemed only natural. By mid summer, we had about 5 full songs written and began playing a lot of basement and VFW shows. In the Summer of 2011, we released an LP called Building Elephants. I enjoyed recording that LP because we played all the music live and it really captured how raw and fast our shows were. Fast-forward a year later: we parted ways with our former bassist, released an EP called The Ink of the Octopus (we are hopefully re-recording most of these songs for an LP this summer), and went on a hiatus due to lack of direction. When Jay joined on bass in Fall 2012, we totally reformatted our sound and have become tighter than ever. We wrote The Origin of Skeletons last year, released it Summer 2013 and are now continuing to write and play as much as we can. We will be releasing a split with our buddies in Paste this Spring and hopefully a full length this Summer.

Tell me about the name. What does it mean/refer to? How does it relate to your music?

Ja: We lacked originality in coming up with a clever name. Since our bass player dropped out of county college and because of a song title of Brian's and my old band (DCMS), gave the band the name County Drop. 

I understand that the "The Origin of Skeletons" is your third release. How have you evolved as a band from your first two releases?

B: The Origin of Skeletons is great because I feel like it stems from a natural song writing process. When we first started playing, we set out to write "melodic post hardcore songs with tappy guitars," as I remember describing our sound a few years ago. I am still completely proud of the work we've done since we started, but I'd be lying if I said we never wrote crazy songs just for the sake of writing crazy songs. On this record, we wrote what we felt at the time. A lot of the themes on this EP deal with graduating college, falling out of love and burning bridges with old friends. The songs still maintain the same raw intensity found on our last releases but they now have more of a foundation behind them. Not to mention, we have all progressed as musicians and writers since our previous releases. We also really paced ourselves in the studio despite finishing the album in 3 days. I have to give a shout out to Adam Cichocki from Timber Studios because he had a lot of great ideas in the studio and his engineering standards are unbelievable.

What did you like best about the record? 

K: I love how the sounds are straightforward enough to jam out to while also being intricate enough to listen to. Also the quality of the record is amazing and I agree with Jack, Jay's bass tone is killer. 

Anything you would change about it? 

K: Jack's chest hair should have been the cover art. 

J: It would’ve been cool to get some friends to do a guest spot or two but other than that im 100% please with it. 

What has it been like playing and building a rapport in the New Brunswick music scene?

B: We've seen a lot of bands come and go in New Brunswick. Either they blew up and are now on crazy tours or just stopped playing and moved away. We all still live relatively close to the Rutgers campus so any time we can play or even attend a basement show, it's fun as hell. It was definitely easier to get people to come out to the shows a few years ago when we were young college studs and our friends/fans/whatever were too young to go out clubbing with babes. But The Court Tavern (famous venue in New Brunswick) has made a serious come-back this past year and has always been good to us so big ups to them!

Describe the best show you've played to date.

B: Any show where Jack keeps his shirt on is our best show. 

K: In my opinion, the best show we've played so far was a couple years back in a New Brunswick basement known as "Jackie One". People were going nuts. During the set I remember a light fixture being broken, beer flying everywhere, and the crowd literally knocking me on my ass about three or four times. Great show.

Ja: The best show was in Brian's attic back on Hamilton Street. I think it was a cool hidden spot that was only found towards their last few months living there. I remember we rocked the place so hard a column started crashing down. My kit was saved by a fan.

J: Considering I’ve played none of those, I think our best show is yet to come.

Plan on going on tour soon?

J: We definitely want to branch out and play outside the NJ area. We’ve played NY a couple times but were looking to expand our horizons even more. 

Any last words?

B: Couscous  the food's so nice, they named it twice....Also shout outs to: Marloneisha, The Best of the Worst, Paste, Arrows in Her, Gatherer, Gates, Vasudeva, Dolly's, Ex Wife, Use Big Words, Pentimento, Let Me Run (R.I.P), The Scandals, Ola Madrid, Holy City Zoo, NGTHCRWLRS, Drowning Swans & anyone else we've played with this past year or so...I know I'm forgetting a lot.

You can always catch County Drop playing a basement somewhere in New Jersey. Be on the look out, these guys are going places. 

County Drop on Facebook
County Drop on Bandcamp

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