Can you talk about your lyric writing process a bit ? Are you constantly jotting down ideas as they hit you, or do you do it mostly in the studio ?
We do a little bit of both. I’ll come up with something on my own time and write it down then try to build on it or if we’re just noodling during practice I’ll improvise something and then roll with it. Other times while I’m composing a track or beat in Logic it’ll build up from that.
What song off the upcoming CD means the most to you and why ?
I think the ones that mean the most to us are 301 and Believe. We couldn’t pick just one, but these two definitely mean the most to us. Believe is a new track that basically stands as a reminder that no matter what happens or how bad things might get, you can’t stop believing in your dreams and yourself. There are gonna be days where you find it hard to bear the harsh realities of life, whether that be working 7 days a week at a dead end job or finding that you can barely pay the month’s rent. As much as you wanna pack up and leave everything behind, you can’t because you know it’s not the right time. Believe keeps us grounded and allows us to express how we feel and realize we’re not alone in this.
301 sort of has the same message but this track is actually from our old album “Shadowy Types to Truth”, which we released back in 2013. There are gonna be good days and there are gonna be bad days, and as much as we may want to skip town and forget everything that ever happened to us, 301 is also a reminder of where we’ve been and where we are now. It’s also a tribute to the town we all grew up in called Frederick, and even though it feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere, that doesn’t mean everything we’ve been through means nothing.
I honestly love the cover art for “Vain Wisdom.” Who came up with the concept for it, and who is the artist?
MiltonJ and one of our good friends Paul aka 11:11 Photography both came up with the idea for the cover. They thought it’d be awesome to have lyrics from the album ‘tattooed’ to the back of a girl’s body. That’s where Vain Wisdom sort of comes into play, in that human beings are flawed and can be vain, even the most humble. The lyrics represent our ‘wisdom’ or our perspectives on life and to have them on a girl’s back with no clothing also helps represent vainness through her beauty. Our friend Teena offered to do the cover and we’re really proud of how it turned out. We also have sort of a fascination with abandoned houses so the window with the peeling wallpaper and broken bits of wood also help bring across that idea. Kristina our guitarist then took the photo into photoshop and put the finishing touches on the artwork.
I love how your name came to be and that you use the tag #leftoverstandup! Has that grown to mean more than it did in the beginning ? Please explain if so.
The meaning definitely has grown from where it started. Like we said, ‘leftovers’ started out as an inside joke and eventually evolved into the name. We never thought that it would become a ‘thing’ or hashtag. But it has, and with it the meaning has definitely changed too. I think it expands further than just who we are but rather who our fans are. Everyone loves leftovers because they’re just as good to eat the day after. Are they as up to par with fresh food? Maybe not, but it’s still the same food and you’re gonna enjoy it just as much. In a weird way it also represents our fans and people in general. Everyone is just as good as they were before, if not, even better after they’ve changed. We’re not at all perfect, but we change and we become more of who we’re meant to be everyday. Despite what happened to you yesterday or who’s left your life or what you left behind, you’re still good and the people that matter are gonna stick around and love you for that.
What keeps you going and driving you to make it in this business?
Faith. Faith definitely keeps us going because with a band of 5 people, there’s definitely going to be ups and downs. It takes a lot of patience to deal with a lot of different personalities both within and outside the group as well as divvying up the boring/serious work that no one wants to do No one ever tells you how much work being in a band is, but it takes a lot of work, drive, sweat, tears, money, and most importantly, time. I think the biggest misconception about being in a band is that it’s always going to be fun and you’re always going to draw a huge crowd when you play a show. That’s not the case at all. And that’s probably why a lot of people that try to start bands and play music aren’t as serious or don’t make it, because they go into it with that idea. But, the fact that we’ve stuck with it even after bad experiences with playing gigs or business endeavours means that we’ve paid our dues and we know what to expect in this scene. Despite this, nothing feels better than getting on stage and playing a show or going hard during a practice. And that’s the whole reason we’re doing this. We love music and it’s something we can’t live without, so why not make it mean something more?
When on the road touring, where is the craziest place that you have had to sleep ?
I don’t think there’s been a craziest place we’ve stayed but we have some pretty crazy stories from when we stayed in motels/hotels… We entered a battle of the bands contest a couple years back before we had Kristina and we won a short summer tour that took us down to South Carolina. One night we got a little rowdy and it was late and we’d been drinking. After awhile we realized that MiltonJ was gone. So we left the room and looked around for him and eventually we found him down in the lobby in his pajamas drunk in the middle of a heated political debate with some random dude. There was also one time where we managed to stay up all night until 8 am and we were supposed to check out the next day at 11am but slept all the way until 1pm. So we had to walk out of the hotel room with all of our stuff and Garrett had the blanket from his bed draped over him as we left.
When you guys are out on tour what does your guys’ playlist sound like in the Van/Bus?
Our playlist is definitely a mix of rock and hiphop. We always blast music when we’re on the road to a show but very rarely is the aux cord shared. Kidding, but the drive might start out with some hiphop like 50 Cent, Eminem, Madchild, Kendrick, ScHoolboy Q and then it might switch over to P.O.D., Deftones, Chevelle, Taking Back Sunday, Weezer, etc… I mean, there’s no real like strict playlist it’s just whatever we’re feeling but it’s usually within rock and hiphop.
On that playlist, what would your fans be most surprised to find out you guys are listening to?
Sometimes we let the radio play if our phones are dead or we have no service and right now we’re really liking Lydia by Highly Suspect. That and maybe a few other songs that they play that’s constantly on rotation we don’t mind listening to, but we don’t really feel most of what’s popular right now. MiltonJ also keeps a lot of older CD’s in his van, like The Temptations. We all draw a lot of inspiration from older artists like that as well.
Who is one of your all time favorite artists and your favorite song of theirs ?
DEFTONES. Deftones is probably our most favorite artist and we love a lot of their songs. If we had to pick one though, it would have to be Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away). Fun fact: a couple years ago we shot a video for 301 and we actually tried to mimic what Chino did in the acoustic music video for that song. We tied MiltonJ down with bungee cords in the back of Silverio’s pickup and drove down a backroad in the middle of the woods during fall. It was actually a lot harder than Chino made it look, but it was really cool to do and some of the shots turned out really beautifully with the sunlight coming through the trees as we drove.
What was the last concert you went to that you weren’t performing at?
We haven’t really gone to any shows yet this year but last year Silverio and Kristina had the chance to go see Deftones at the Fillmore in Silver Spring with Highly Suspect. It was a surprise show that popped up and them two went together and it was sick!
What can fans expect to see from you guys in 2016 ?
A lot of new stuff. We’ve already launched our new merch line which includes a new logo T-shirt, stickers,’leftovers’ lunch cases and posters. Since the album is dropped April 15th, there’s gonna be a lot of hype and promotion behind that with lots of interviews and posts to spread the word. There’s gonna be a lot more shows as well during Spring, Summer, and into the Fall. Definitely a lot to watch out for and a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes so keep an eye out!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you for following us, supporting us, coming out to shows, and most of all, for being you!
Milton J and the Leftovers are here to stay and we’re not going anywhere. Keep an eye out for the new CD and come out to a show if you wanna have a good time!