After writing a piece about the talented The Everymen earlier this week, I was thrilled to find out Mike V was available for an interview with me. Hailing from New Jersey, The Everymen consists of Mike V, Catherine Herrick, Scott Zillitto, Stephen Chopek, Jamie Zillitto, Jake Fiedler, Geoff Morrissey and Tom Barrett. The seven piece are unpretentious, rock’n’roll and surprisingly unique.
Currently performing at SXSW, Mike V speaks candidly about their album, their inspirations and, erm, the time they stayed overnight in a brothel.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Mostly I admire the ones who’ve worked hard and earned what they’ve gotten. Too many to list but they’re the restless ones. They’re the wanderers who put the music before all else. They’re the ones who put the crowd above themselves. The ones who realize that they have a job to do and they fucking do it best they can night after night. That’s someone to look up to.
What are your fondest musical memories?
Just being at shows with my friends. Ya know? It’s like… I may forget what songs Cursive played when me and my buddy Jay saw them at Irving Plaza so many years ago, but I’ll never forget the night me and Jay had. Getting snuck into Maxwell’s by Plugspark Sanjay when I was way too young. Seeing GBV for the first time and having that shit change my fucking life. Driving seven hours to Providence to see Weezer when they came off of their hiatus. Ya know, it’s not about the show per se. Those were all great shows. It’s about the day or the night and the people you spend em with. There will always be rock shows but I’ll cherish the people I watch those shows with. And if that makes me a sappy prick, then so be it.
Did you enjoy your previous performance at SXSW?
It was ok. I see SXSW as more a necessary evil. It’s fun and it’s exciting and if you’re lucky and put in the hard work, it can be a life changing week. But these days it’s become more about the hobnob than about discovering exciting new bands. For me SXSW jumped the shark when Metallica played a few years back. Once that shook out, it all became more of a marketing yank fest than a place to discover new bands. It became about big bands launching records and fucking marketing stunts like the goddamned giant Dorito machine. I mean, last year one of our sets was at the same time as Prince. Fucking Prince. How are we – and legions of other small bands – supposed to compete with that kind of shit? But when you get a good slot on a good show and you play with good bands and the crowd is really invested, yea man it’s great. There still is a little bit of magic but it’s often overshadowed by all the branding and the “industry” of it all.
Are you looking forward to performing again at SXSW/touring?
Totally. Actually much more this year than last year. We’re playing some really, really good shows down in Austin so I’m really psyched for it. Plus we’re taking it kind of easy this year. We only have four shows. We decided to play fewer quality shows rather than whatever we could book, ya know? Normally we’re the type of band who will play twelve shows in a day if you ask us to. But this year it’s really light but hopefully we’ll play for our biggest crowds yet. As for the tour down there… well. We don’t really call it a tour if it’s less than two weeks. It’s just a run. Or a trip, ya know? Semantics, I know. But it makes it feel that much better when you load up the van for a real tour, ya know. But yea we’re playing two shows in the Triangle in North Carolina which, outside of New Jersey, is by far our best market. So we’re crazy psyched for those. Nashville too. Always so much fun to play there. And this will be our first show in Memphis. REALLY psyched for that one.
Tell me about writing New Jersey Hardcore.
I mean, it was really a pretty solitary experience back then. The Everymen was still very much just about me and kind of having other people coming in and writing and recording their parts and that was it. We’ve grown so much since then and we’ve really become so much more of a collaborative group. Even though I still handle the lion’s share of songwriting, everyone else’s input and creative license has grown ten fold since then. But the writing of NJHC… I have a pretty weird writing process in that I’ll go through these long and arduous droughts and I won’t write a single thing for months. I wouldn’t call it a writer’s block because I’m not really trying, ya know? I just kind of ignore it. And then for no apparent reason and all of a sudden the tap with fly open and I’ll knock out like thirty songs in a week. So that’s where that record came from. I was living in Brooklyn with some pals at the time and for a while I was just constantly in the bathroom with my four-track churning out tunes.
Which is your personal favourite song from the album?
I loathe them all equally. Boss Johnny is the most fun to play live though.
How did you all meet?
Same way that all bands meet. We just kind of all knew each other from playing around in the same scenes and circles for a while. The band started out as a solo project and then a two piece for a while. From there we grew and grew to where we are now just by filling these voids that I thought needed filling. We need a bass. Find a bass player. We could use a guitar. Get a guitarman. Ya know. One funny story is that apparently years and years ago when I was playing in this weirdo art band, I met Scott (our Saxman) at a bachelor party for a mutual friend and we got to talking and I very drunkenly told him I was gonna start a rock band someday and he would play sax. He laughed it off. And now here we are.
What was it like the first time you all played together?
Hard to say since we came together in such a piecemeal way, ya know? But I will say we all did have a shared WTF moment that I’ll never forget. Last September we were playing at Hopscotch Festival and we were opening for Pissed Jeans. It was a pretty big club and it was packed and we were playing and these kids were going wild. I mean absolutely fucking bonkers. I don’t know, man. Something about it was just really next level. We just all looked at each other like, “Something very fucking awesome is happening right now.” And now every time we get on stage I try and make that happen again. But that was one of those things that just happens. You can’t recreate that magic.
Weirdest thing to ever happen to the band?
We stayed overnight in a whorehouse once.
If you’d like to see (and hear) more of the Everymen, check out their Facebook here.