It feels as if sometimes we are a bit overly praising the guys of the present age, but they deserve all of it. We wouldn’t say something we don’t believe in and they are truly a talented duo. It’s easy to get their sound in the studio where you have time to layer tracks and record things separately, not so easy is pulling that off live and watching them perform is where the real magic happens. It’s high energy music and you can tell they are having an incredible amount of fun while they do it. Pinning down their music to one single genre isn’t an easy task though and I think that’s something they strive for. To make something truly unique the them. A lot of local bands are fantastic and have amazing potential to make it big, but the present age is a band I know is going to make it. If they keep up at the pace their going, it’s inevitable. Below you can read the full interview with Logan and Issac Lamers that goes everywhere from Soren Kierkegaard to Kim Kierkegaardashian.
Everyone’s favorite starting question, tell us a bit about yourselves and the band.
LL: I guess for anyone who doesn’t know us, we’re brothers and we’ve been playing music together since I was like 10 or 11.
IL: Since like middle school we’d listen to our favorite records and be like ‘yeah we have to play music.’ So we’d pull out our guitars and pretend like we were playing. Like we didn’t know anything, but be like ‘yeah we’re pretending to play!”
LL: Yeah, it’s been like 10 years since we started playing, give or take. I think my senior year of high school I started to get my stuff together because before we’d always find another person to play with us because you can’t be a two person band. So then we were trying to find people and jammed around, which…that was fun. But it was this weird thing where we kind of put ourselves in this hole because we had been playing together for so long that we think the same way and have the same vibe and stuff. So then anybody that was thrown into the mix wouldn’t have that history with us and it’d be off.
IL: It’s not that anyone else is bad, we’re not amazing musicians, but we’re on such a similar wavelength so everyone else kind of doesn’t fit in as well because we’ve been together so long.
LL: If we were to play with another person and they don’t fit that wavelength, it’s just like ‘Oh, they don’t really fit.’ So, eventually we were just like ‘screw it let’s be a two-piece.’
IL: It started out with me singing and playing guitar, Logan was singing and playing bass. So we had to find a drummer and that never really happened. The only way to play shows around here then was coffee shops and acoustic, so we grabbed our guitars and would do covers and some original stuff. We were just a two-piece acoustic act. And we decided we need to play electric music it’s so much more fun, so out of necessity I started playing drums, Logan played guitar and it turned into what we have now. It turns out I’m better at playing drums than anything else so it was perfect.
LL: Yeah, I mean just to preface that it’s not like we just picked up instruments and were good, we’ve been playing all these different things since we got into music.
With all these different instruments you guys play, how did piano make it into the band?
IL: Logan actually plays cello and got a scholarship to play here at UW-Oshkosh and I don’t know much about music, but I know he’s really, really good. I mean good enough to get a scholarship. He’s got a musical brain, he’s kind of an alien in that way, so he’s just good at any instrument and that’s how we ended up with the piano in our music.
LL: When Isaac was in like 7th grade, he took piano lessons and hated it, but we got a piano out of it. So, after Isaac stopped playing it because he hated it, I started plinking around with it. Then I started hearing it in all the music we liked so then I gravitated towards it. So it’s just something fun and an extra medium while writing stuff.
There’s a lot of musical talent between you two, how much of the music theory and all of that actually make it into writing your music?
LL: It is kind of subconsciously a thing, it’s like math. Once you see something you can use math for you always use it that way which is a weird analogy. Most of it we try to do organically and we just really gravitate towards things that we like. Most of the song writing process for our next record was just I would make a loop on my guitar pedal and Isaac would play the drums to it, then I would mess around on bass and we’d just try to figure out song structures from it. So it ends up being this weird mix of ‘yeah I know theory’ but also just playing stuff.
IL: We just play around until we like what we hear.
LL: It’s not like a sit down process like this song is in a major key and then I have to switch to this, it’s just kind of whatever. That’s kind of how These Kinds of Things came out. I’ve always said I wanted to make a song you could dance to and cry to at the same time. We wanted to experiment with a dancey song because, 1) it’s fun and we’ve found ourselves like that stuff more and 2) since half of it goes to charity we wanted it to be as accessible as possible while still having integrity as artists. We want it to be accessible and poppy, but at the same time there’s no chorus in that song. We can still mess around and have fun.
IL: I actually saw in the YouTube comments for that video someone said ‘I really like this song. Not having a hook, I don’t know if I like that but keep up the good work.” So I was like ‘Ok he noticed we don’t have a chorus.’
LL: I figured if I could write a verse and a bridge that sound as good as a chorus then, it’s a good song.
All of the playing around and trying new things makes it hard to give you guys a genre, where would you say your sound lies?
IL: We’re actually trying to create a new genre called post-wave.
LL: You know ultimately genres help when you’re trying to pitch to labels or give people a general idea of what you are, but Isaac and I…I don’t know. Our music ends up being more indie, alternative, rock stuff, but there’s a lot of post-rock and post-punk stuff on the new record. We’ve also been using a lot more electronic stuff, new-wave sounds and we’ve been getting into like chillwave type stuff. So post-wave is like shoegaze, but less boring.
IL: It’s got more energy. So we’re trying to pen that, post-wave. It’s our thing. We should start pitching that to labels.
So, little known fact is that you guys actually started out as New American Classic, why the change?
LL: I’ll let Isaac take this, I might get too heated.
IL: When we started the band we wanted a cool band name, so since like middle school we’ve called ourselves that name which is also the name of a Taking Back Sunday song and I really like them. It’s a good song and a cool sounding name so we’ll call ourselves that and it just kind of went on from there. We had been a band for about a year and called ourselves New American Classic and even put out a little demo album called This is a Test and played a couple bar shows. So, one day I put our name into Facebook just for fun and it linked to like two other bands. One was from Oregon with a few likes, so a small band like us, not a big deal. But then there was this other band of two dudes who were older than us, they had no tracks, no music, but they had a high quality press photo, three times as many likes as us. So, I went to send them a message like ‘Hey, I noticed we have the same name and we were wondering if you could change it because we’ve had it for like a year and put out some music.’ We then got an e-mail back from a producer who was like ‘My clients won’t be changing their name, but if you don’t change yours we will be seeking legal action against you.’ I was like ‘Shit, these guys are real?’ I spent all day going through the trademark stuff to see if it was legal or were they just bluffing, but we decided not to really bother with it. It turns out they were in other bands and started this little side project, they’re still around.
LL: It’s not like we have any bad blood or anything. It was just really weird.
So, where did the new name come from then?
LL: I like doing it all in lower case, it’s how I do all of my social media and I just think the present age looks better in all lower case. It’s also like a pride thing, capitalization is for something that gets pride over something else and I’m just like another voice. Anyways, when were still New American Classic, we had toyed around with this garage-y sort of side project. I had just learned how to scream and we’d toy with that whenever we jammed. So, if we were to ever do that project it’d be called the present age.
LL: My favorite philosopher is Soren Kierkegaard and one of his concepts talks about the present age which is the current generation, and it applies to any generation, that they are obsessed with reflection which is overthinking. There’s a complete lack of passion and that lack of passion causes people to lead poor lives, commit suicide, view themselves in a poor light, it’s basically responsible for nothing being done and no one being happy. So our band is all about inciting passion, I think if you find a passion it can like evolve into a purpose because you have to find something you think of that’s greater than yourself. So for Isaac and I, we love music and that’s paramount, so that’s kind of a representation of that. We also want to help people find their passion because that incites them.
IL: I’d say if we had a spirit animal to convey our band’s message it’d be Shia LeBeouf in that video where he screams ‘Just do it!’
LL: Yeah, that’s the non-pretentious way to explain our band. But I mean like lyrically, I’m incapable of writing a happy song. It sounds corny, I can’t do it. Most of our songs, ultimately we try to convey a positive message, but it connects through bad things and stuff like that.
So, you recently one UWO’s Battle of the Bands after not placing the first year. What was the feeling of getting that win?
IL: It was awesome and super exciting. Going up to it I felt we had really improved, the first year we played two covers which you’re not supposed to do. We didn’t know that, so that’s part of what cut us down. We also didn’t have backing tracks or better songs that first year.
LL: It didn’t matter how good we played, we just didn’t have that full band sound.
IL: Yeah, so this year we were way more prepared. Our songs were way stronger and I called it. I was like “there’s no way we’re losing.’ But I didn’t want to say that because it seems cocky and if we didn’t I would hate myself. So, Logan was the one like ‘you know, we may only get second or third, but we just gotta go out there and have fun’ and I was like ‘no, we’re gonna win.’ I was over-confident about it.
LL: I still can’t believe we won. When we played it last year, that was like the last show we played without backing tracks. Which was a bummer because we thought that was one of the main reasons we didn’t win, but like in our heads we’ve always been playing the same show because we have the equipment to make a good live show and have all the sounds. That’s the thing without having a full band, we need the backing tracks and all that to sound good.
Has there been talk of adding in a strictly live show guy?
LL: That’s something we’ve talked about and I’m just not sure how I feel about have a live-only guy. Part of it is the clicking thing, plus it’s another schedule to figure it out. I mean plus it’s also part of our image. We’re a two-piece band.
IL: I mean as of now I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question, but we can’t afford to add another person and pay them. Plus we live together and spend way more time around each other so adding in another person, they’d just be missing out on so much and not have a lot of time to click. It’s easier for us now to just stick with two people.
For now, the pair are content with where they are at, working to perfect their sound and keep making the music they want to make. the present age is working on a new album for a possible January release and pitching their post-wave sound to labels or anyone who will listen. You can check out their Facebook and YouTube, don’t forget their single These Kinds of Things can be bought on iTunes and Amazon with half of the proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.