Having watched this band for the past year, as well as shopped them to several labels (including their new home at Equal Vision), I was damn excited when I heard the band had been signed and was finally releasing their next EP. Nightmares may not be a full length, but it’s an explosive label debut that will surely turn new heads their way. With an ever growing tour schedule and new album in stores, Mozart Season have a lot to be looking forward to with the remaining months of 2010.
>> Interview w/ Mozart Season by Nathaniel Lay
>> Taken from our seventh issue (August/September)
How has the No Bummer tour been going? Who are you out with? How long does it go till?
The No Bummer Summer Tour consists of Gwen Stacy, Lower Definition, and A City Serene, and will be going on until August 2nd. All of the bands on the tour are all super nice guys and each band has something unique to offer to every show, creating awesome shows that have something to offer for everyone. The tour itself started off on a really sour note for us, due to an insane amount of van drama. Our old van broke down twice getting out to Utah, then the replacement van that we were supposed to pick-up in Utah ended up being completely worthless and had more issues than our broken down van. We had to camp out at Benton’s grandparents’ house for about four days while we looked for a new van and had to miss three shows that we really didn’t want to miss. We were able to get a new and reliable van though. We caught up with the tour in Tulsa, Oklahoma and it’s been a blast since.
What touring do you have planned after the No Bummer tour? With who and where?
After this tour, we’re going to have a few weeks at home to rest and collect a few paychecks, then we’ll be back out on the road! We have plenty of tours coming up, including one that will take us all across the U.S. – we literally can’t wait!
The new EP is officially out. How are fans and critics responding?
So far the EP has received an amazing response. We understand that this is our first release on our label and that we are prepared for an onslaught of criticism, but regardless most people have been saying that the EP is worth listening to and that it is a record worth speaking positively about. For this, we are nothing but grateful and we are so excited that people are digging the tunes we put so much work into and we hope that we can get our EP into as many hands as possible.
What are the plans for your release shows?
The No Bummer Summer Tour is acting as our ‘CD release tour’, allowing us to push the new CD to many people across the country. Once we get home, we will be playing a show in Sacramento, our hometown, for a proper CD release show with the fans who have been with us since the start. The show should be a really big show, not only because it’s our CD release, but also because the show will be the last show being held at the venue we’re playing. It should be a really special night.
What is the history of the band? Demos and releases along the way?
The history of the band is a long and somewhat dramatic story, full of member changes, style changes, and even a hiatus. The band officially began in 2004 and went strong until 2007 when we decided to take a hiatus after a devastating tour and some issues internally in the band. The first part of our history involved a couple of self released EP’s and the building of a very strong and loyal fan base that still never fails to support us and motivate us through the hard times. We then started the band back up again in 2008 with the release of our EP Apotheosis, followed by a west coast tour and a national tour shortly after. The line-up we have now is easily the strongest and most talented line-up this band has ever had and we believe our newest EP, Nightmares, shows that.
How did you guys come to signing with Equal Vision?
Equal Vision is a label that all of us in the band dreamed of being on since we all started playing music. We had had some contact with EVR back in 2007 before the hiatus, but the hiatus obviously prevented that from moving forward at all. To get on the label we just worked hard to prove ourselves and did all we could to get in contact with the label again, and once we did, we just stayed in contact with them and worked even harder to prove that we were worth the label’s time. Thank goodness they agreed with us and decided to bring us into the family.
Where did the album cover come from?
Funny enough, the inspiration for the artwork came from a Dawn of the Dead trailer where a bunch of zombies start piling up on a frosty white window. It was just something we thought looked really cool. Plus, we feel it represents a true nightmare in which you’re constantly trying to escape, or even worse, watching something try to break in.
Which of the three new tracks are your favorite and why?
Our three favorite tracks off of the EP are definitely “Famous Last Words (You’re Nothing Without Me)”, “Rage Factor 11”, and the title track “Nightmares”. They are our favorites because they are our three newest songs and we feel they display the diversity of our band the best, while also being the catchiest, most technical, and best songs we’ve written to date. We love the other songs just as much, but these three are the freshest to us and to our fans, and we really feel they display the progression this band’s sound is starting to make.
What songs seem to be fan favorites?
Everyone has their favorite track and opinions on what’s best, but so far we’ve been hearing that “Rage Factor 11” is the most liked track out of the newest three. Aside from that, “Look Mom I’m on TV” (featuring Jon Mess of Dance Gavin Dance) has always been a crowd favorite ever since we released it on Apotheosis. That song is still one of our favorites to play live.
What song do you like to open your set with? End with?
We open up our set with “Ankle Deep Ocean” since it’s a familiar song and a song that we all go completely buck wild on when we play it live. It’s definitely the perfect song to set the tone of the show and get the crowd involved and moving around. Then we’ve been ending our set with “Famous Last Words (You’re Nothing Without Me)” since it’s the first song we released from Nightmares and it’s a song that also brings a lot of energy to the stage to end the show on a strong, solid note.
When can we expect a full length since this EP was made up of three older songs?
As soon as possible! We are all itching to get back into the studio and start writing. We’ve been discussing what we want to do for our full length for what feels like forever, in eager anticipation. We definitely have some touring to do to promote our newest EP but hopefully next year we’ll get the necessary time off to deliver the full length our fans have been waiting for.
What plans do you have this year aside from touring?
We’re going to get a head start on writing for our full length when we have the time off, but other than that we’re all just normal dudes with bills to pay, so we’ll be stuck in our day jobs workin’ the 9 to 5 to make the paychecks that keep our bellies full on the road.
How are the lyrics written? How are the songs created?
Nate writes all the lyrics with a little help from the rest of us when he needs it, but 98% of them are straight out of Nate’s brain. The music is created by all of us collectively though, with each member influencing the song in his own unique way. We usually start off with a guitar riff from Benton or Sam and just build around it until we develop the structure of the song. From there, we go back and fine-tune every little detail until we are completely satisfied with the final product.
How was recording this album?
Recording this album is like any experience in the studio – stressful and amazing, all at the same time. Luckily, this time we went into the studio with a better idea of what was going to happen before we got there, allowing us to already know exactly how we wanted everything done and how we wanted it to sound. With a more experienced mindset, we were able to leave the studio with a product we were 100% satisfied with and a product we were more excited about than anything else we had created.
What are your hopes/expectations from being with Equal Vision?
We’re all absolutely 100% grateful just to have been given the opportunity to be on the label, so for us to list off an array of expectations we have of the label would be kind of silly in our eyes. We just want to develop a close relationship with the label personally so that we can work with the label, not for it. All in all, we just hope that we are able to keep the label happy while the label returns the favor and keeps us happy and growing as a band.
“Famous Last Words (You’re Nothing Without Me)”
This song is a song that means a lot to all of us in the band, because it was written about someone whose last words to us were literally, “You’re nothing without me.” After a disagreement about how the future of this band was to go, this person went out of their way to do what they could to sabotage our band and bring us down, not to mention banter us personally and individually. So we just got our frustration out the old fashion way with some good ol’ rock-n-roll.
“Look Mom I’m On T.V. (Feat. Jon Mess)”
Musically, it’s one of our favorite songs from our older EP, Apotheosis, which features our good friend Jon Mess from Dance Gavin Dance, someone we were super stoked to have come out and contribute to the song. The song itself is about the stereotypical middle-upper class yuppies that look at people like us and stick their noses up in judgment, thinking they’re better because of the size of their bank account and what car they drive. All in all, it’s just a song about being yourself and not worrying about what everyone else has to say about it, because our individuality is what makes us who we are and is something that should never be compromised for anyone.
“Rage Factor 11”
This song was one of Sam’s brainchild songs that slowly grew and grew into what we consider the most diverse song we’ve written yet. The song has a heavy hitting chorus that feeds into verses that span from fast and hard hitting, to slow and ambient, to groovy and climactic. When we wrote this song, we made sure to keep a completely open mind with it and allow the song to take its natural form, not allowing anyone to turn down any single idea for the sake of creativity.
This song is actually the only “old” song we decided to keep from the pre-hiatus times of Mozart Season. We wrote the original version of this song back in 2006, but went on hiatus before we got a chance to record it. When we got back together, we all talked about it and agreed that it was a song that deserved to be resurrected. This song is probably our most straightforward song with a very solid and “normal” song structure, but also allows us to show the poppy side of our music, and even gives us a chance to do some gang vocals, which is always awesome in our books.
“Ankle Deep Ocean”
This is the first song that all of us wrote together as a band, and to this day it is still one of our favorites. It was a song that started off with one riff from Benton and just got filled to the brim with riffs and input from every member as it was written. It’s a song that we wrote with the live show taken into account as we wrote it, so naturally, when we play the song live, we go bonkers to say the least. It’s by far our favorite song to play live and brings out the best reaction from the crowd when we do.
“Nightmares” is one of Benton’s songs. It started out with just a handful of riffs that he had been working on for quite some time. After piecing everything together and figuring out how each part was going to go, we had to push our own abilities just to make it to the end of the song without a mistake. It’s by far the most technical song we’ve written thus far, allowing us to display our skills as musicians to our fans. The song lyrically is about all of the frustrations we’ve had to deal with when trying to find members that are willing to have the dedication it takes to be a successful band, the biggest nightmare this band has had to face yet.