Artist of the Week Interview: Teenagers

If you wanted to get a small look into what being a musician and in a band is all about then Teenagers is a great place to start. Impassioned lyrics, aggressive playing style, and constant work doesn’t begin to cover what they are as a band. It’s not easy to be in a band, not only are there personal lives to be led, but it’s also expensive and time consuming. You’re either on tour, playing shows, or you’re at home writing new music, and still probably playing some shows to help pay the bills which isn’t easy when your time is divided between working on music and just working a mundane job to cover. We at Midwest Music Collective truly believe every band deserves to be big and we hope we can help bands get there in whatever small way we can, but if any band were to deserve, Teenagers is certainly one of them. They have one of the most unique sounds I’ve ever heard, they aren’t quite punk, maybe not fully hardcore either. If you had to box them into a genre, imagine that kid you used to see in high school who wasn’t exactly cool, but he wasn’t unpopular either. The kid who seemed all right, but you could just tell there was something bugging him under the surface, some sort of frustration and pent up energy. That’s Teenagers, that angsty teenager feeling is encapsulated by their sound. We sat down to talk with frontman Mark Porath about the band and their music.

As always check out their Facebook and Bandcamp while you’re at it.

How did you guys come together to form Teenagers? Were you all friends before hand?

MP: Well if you’ve been following since like ’13, we’ve been through loads of member changes including former members going on to bigger things. We originally formed just me(Mark), Al and Riggs until getting Julian Russell (ex whisperer hallows, guardians) then Julian & Riggs quit and then we swapped out guitarists for 2 years until we got to what I think is our perfect line up.  I had known Morgan & Al since we were all teenagers (haha) because of local shows and Nic & I met right around our formation. I wanted Nic from the start but didn’t know him well enough to ask, so I was nervous then he says “You’re gonna let me write lead guitar for your album?” And I said ” so you’re gonna play lead guitar for my band then? ” and here we are.

Coming from other bands that had broken up, was it easy to come together into a new band?

MP: It was something else honestly.  I had never been in a band where I had real writing duties before and honestly when we started I just picked up a guitar and started playing simple melodies until I found something that stuck. Starting this band came from a dark place for me. My band had broken up,  and a bunch of my friends had left or moved away and I just had to sit down and go “alright, what’s next?” And what came out is the songs on our first demo that was only available on our first tour back in April, and with already knowing all the guys before hand from local shows it was an easier to find people that understood what we were going for

Your bio mentions you wanted to take your sound in a different direction then the rest of the area, why is that?  

MP: Central Wisconsin is an off kilter place when it comes to music,  it’s kind of like a metal/hard rock echo chamber, with not as much punk bands going around and killing it. Most of us started our musical journey listening to bands like NoFX, Bouncing Souls, Against All Authority, Paint It Black, or in Nics case J-Rock and ska music so we just wanted to do something that more reflected our interests instead of everything else that was happening around us.

Who are some of your guys’ influences?

MP: That’s hard to say, I know for me I try to take a lot from bands like Counterparts & Hundredth but for the rest of the band it’s a lot more odd ball. Morgan loves old school punk and just any punk in general, then Nics influences are all over the place ranging from Single Mothers, Dads to Streetlight Manifesto and Al loves Bayside & I Am The Avalanche more than anything.

How would you guys describe your sound? Because from what I hear, it’s not quite hardcore, it’s not full punk, it’s kind of a mix.

MP: We try to keep it weird I guess. It says on our page that we’re unconventional melody driven hardcore punk, which Al gives me shit for every time we’re at practice but I felt like it was the easiest way to describe us.  We’re not hardcore like Backtrack or Hatebreed are hardcore, and we’re not straight punkers like NoFX or Such Gold. We’re tweeners pretty much, which only makes sense with the name haha.

You guys seem to always be on a tour or playing shows, when do you find time to work on new stuff?

MP: We’ve been looking for that time to work on new stuff ourselves! We actually just began writing our new material this last month, and we just booked studio time at Howl Street Recordings to get the ball rolling. We’ll be recording 5 brand new songs and 2 really old ones, and right before that were finishing up booking a tour for September.

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