Interview With:: The Karma Killers [Warped Tour Edition]

Interview conducted by Kara Kokinos.

We sat down with Micky James and Mango of Island Record
signees, The Karma Killers, in the historic Jones Beach Amphitheatre to discuss
how their first run on Warped has been going, how their sound has come together
and what the band has planned next! The new boys on the block have been getting
lots of love from the community and are creating quite a buzz with their
imaginative spin on good old fashioned rock’n’roll!

LOL: This is the first run of Warped Tour you guys have
done. Have you attended the festival before as audience members or was this a
crash course in all things Warped?
Mango: Nah.
Micky James: I’ve been before, a couple of times. About nine, ten
years ago.
LOL: What’s it been like, having the perspective shift as a
fan to an artist playing the tour?
MJ: Well my taste in music has definitely changed.
(all laugh)
LOL: Oh, I’m sure ten years will do that.
MJ: It’s still really cool though. This tour is really
legendary. It’s been meeting expectations, but I don’t think I really had any
(concrete ones) going into it. We needed something to do this summer and it
just so happens that this fell into our laps., and it’s been a great
opportunity for the band.

LOL: So how has Warped been treating you so far?
MJ: Warped Tour, is that what we’re on right now? I
thought we were playing here tonight. Nah, Warped Tour has been really rad.
Mango: Nah, it’s been treating us unbelievably, really. We
feel a growth in fanbase every show.

LOL: It seems like that’s a big thing, kind of the purpose
of Warped for newer artists. How have you guys been hustling out there?
MJ: Hustling… (laughs) well we’ve been hanging up
posters every morning.
guys do not kid with their postering abilities. Posters with the cover of their
EP, Strange Therapy, could be found all over the festival grounds.
Mango: I feel like all bands kind of have the same kind of
ethic, getting down and out there really early. Hanging things up, getting on
the lines and interacting with kids, telling that what time they play and the
stage, just being out there all day.
MJ: Showing your face and making yourself present, just
talking to any and everyone.

LOL: You guys just released your debut “Strange Therapy”,
which is a sample of really unique and cohesive tunes –
MJ: Aww thank you. 
LOL: You guys have some punk , rock, and fuzz elements to
Mango: Fuzz? Really?
LOL: Yeah, there’s definitely some fuzzy, beach vibes going
on in a few of those tracks!
MJ: Oh yeah, with the distortion on my voice? For sure.
LOL: Did you guys hit the studio or begin the writing
process with any clear intentions or did things evolve more organically with
MJ: I guess there was no intention in the style that we were
writing in or anything like that. We wrote so much that we kind of fell into
this (sound) and found ourselves as a band and as writers. Once we landed on a
handful of songs that really sculpted our identity that took us where we wanted
to go. Very organic and natural.
Mango: Yeah, it’s very non-contrived for us when we’re
writing. It’s all accidental really. I don’t think we tried doing anything,
it’s just who we are. 

LOL: How’s the crowd’s reaction been to the tunes so far?
MJ: Good, surprisingly! It’s funny, mostly every show
there’s definitely a handful of kids looking at us like they’re trying to
figure out what we are. Compared to the other bands on Warped Tour we’re
definitely a little different. 
LOL: Yeah! I think one of the coolest things about Warped is
that there are genres coming into the spotlight as the tour evolves.
MJ: Yeah, it’s really cool. The diversity of genres is
really cool. There’s DJ artists, punk, metal, and now they’re bringing on some
alternative artists, rock bands like us. It’s definitely cool. We just put on a
fun show everyday, or we try to, and give a lot of energy. (The crowd) feeds
off of that and I feed off that. 

LOL: What was the
video creation process like for ‘Domino’?
MJ: I didn’t really
come up with the concept, we didn’t want to make that much of a concept video.
We weren’t really feeling that. Kind of just let the director take this one and
see where it goes and he did a fantastic job. The outcome was great.
Mango: Conceptually I
don’t think we even know what it’s about but it’s definitely a film aesthetic.
There was a lot of eye candy with the artchade scene. It was fun, definitely
the best video we’ve done so far. 

LOL: So what does the future look like for you guys? Any big
plans on the horizon?
Mango: Hopefully right behind you.
(all laugh)
MJ: I know we’re signed to set up a fall tour, still coming
together. Take a few weeks off right after Warped Tour and then go right back out.
We did just put out a new video! So that’s been the newest thing (check out said video here).

For more info on The Karma Killers: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Interview With:: Have Mercy [Warped Tour Edition]


Interview conducted by
Kara Kokinos.

Sitting down wih the Have Mercy boys is always a blast and
this Warped Tour was no exception! Andrew Johnson and Nick Woolford sat down
with us to discuss tour grind, recording their last album A Place Of Our Own and their recent split with Somos!

LOL: Hiya! So how’s Warped tour shaping up for you guys?
Andrew Johnson: It’s good!
Nick Woolford: It’s hot.
AJ: Some days are really hot, today and yesterday weren’t
that bad temperature wise but it’s good. I’ve been noticing that the crowds are
getting bigger and bigger for us and the sets are getting better and better.

LOL: It definitely seems like Warped Tour is a time to
expand a fanbase. Have you guys been hitting that hard, meeting new people and

AJ: We try. Todd, our drummer, and I try to walk the line
every morning but I’ve noticed that there are certain areas where we’ll start
walking the line and we’ll see Attila shirts and we’re just like, “okay, let’s
just turn around”.

LOL: Has your first run on Warped Tour met your expectations
in terms of the grind?
NW: I mean, it’s hard. It’s definitely the most grueling
thing. I used to play professional baseball and this is worse.
AJ: I was talking to my friends yesterday, they came and
visited and they asked, “what do you do all day?” and I was like, “Well I wake
up at seven, I push snooze on my alarm like fifteen times then I wake up again
and we set up the merch tent, get everything ready. Go to production, find out
our set times, sometimes I get breakfast and sometimes I can’t. Then we walk
the line, come back, we play or we don’t play and just walk. It’s a lot of
walking and not knowing what to do.”
NW: It’s a lot of doing nothing!

LOL: What’s the biggest difference between a giant festival
like this and a smaller, club tour?
NW: There’s a million different things. It’s completely the
opposite of any other club tour that you’re going to do.
AJ: For example, we wake up and we’re here, we’re at the
venue. While on a club tour we’ll stay in that city that we played in or a
little outside of that, wake up at a friend’s house and then start driving and
load’s normally at three or four. Load in here is at 8AM and then load out is
at 8PM. It’s literally polar opposites.

LOL: Warped kind of puts everyone on the same playing field
in terms of artist and fan, have you guys had any jarring experiences with that
or is it kind of the same as you typically operate?
NW: Well no one knows I’m in the band, ever, so people
always ask me to take pictures with me and their mom with Andrew but it’s
LOL: Awww!
NW: Nah, it’s fine.
AJ: I mean, it’s cool. I got really star struck when I met
Jona from I Killed The Prom Queen because I grew up listening to them. I got
hammered at this bar and when we were all coming home I ended up sitting next
to their tour manager and I mentioned the only band I wanted to see was I
Killed The Prom Queen and he was like, “oh, you wanna come meet them?” and I
was on the bus, shaking and I went back to our band and for like forty minutes
I was just telling the story over and over.
NW: Yeah, I did tell him to shut up.
AJ: Yeah, he did.
NW: Everyone was trying to sleep.

LOL: Have you guys made any new or unexpected friends on
this tour or has it been people you already know?
AJ: Well we’re usually pretty easy to get along with.
NW: We also already know a lot of people on the tour.
AJ: I think one of the most unexpected things was that the
bass player from Jule Vera, we were just drinking with him the other day and
found out that he was the only one who was 21.
NW: I think they’re all like fifteen!
AJ: And then we were just talking about gear and stuff, it
was pretty cool.

LOL: You guys have been touring since you put out your album, A Place Of Our Own last year on
Hopeless, how’s that record label switch been?
NW: It’s been great!
AJ: They’re awesome. Toby was there today. We had to ask
them if it was okay if we could sign to Fueled By Ramen… It’s just a joke! But
yeah, they’re awesome.

LOL: The record definitely had a very organic, Hopeless
Records/pop punk feel to it. What was it like having a veteran like Paul
(Leavitt, producer) on your team for that?
AJ: It was awesome!
NW: I mean, I recorded with Paul when I was about twelve but
he is…well he’s weird. He’s a really cool guy, he becomes your best friend.
He’s got a really good ear for what he’s doing and he’s smart and knows how to
write a song. He can be intimidating but he means it in the best way.
AJ: Yeah, the one example I can use for “intimidating in the
best way” is that we were doing pre-production for the last album and there was
this one part that we couldn’t get down and he came storming in and was like “I
THOUGHT I TURNED THE FUCKING STOP BUTTON OFF!”, goes back in and slams the door
and we were just “uhhhhh…”

LOL: I love that you guys are still producing splits with
other artists! What was the process behind your recent one with Somos?
AJ: Uh, they asked us and we said yes haha

LOL: You guys did an acoustic version of one of your tracks
and then a cover? What was the selection process like for that?
AJ: Yeah, ‘Somebody’s Baby’.
NW: Well we all thought of a bunch of different songs and
that was the only one that we all agreed on.
AJ: Yeah, and No Sleep was like, we’re doing an acoustic
version and a cover so maybe if you guys want to do that, that’d be cool. And
then when we heard their tracks, it was two new ones and we were like oh…okay,
here ya go!

LOL: What are your plans after the summer, anything on deck
in terms of touring or new material?
NW: We have two tours for the fall.
AJ: I don’t think we can talk about them yet.*
NW: That just comes out later.
AJ: I can tell you one thing, we are going international
NW: That’ll be our first international tour.
AJ: And then we are doing a fun tour after that in the fall.

Have Mercy recently announced their fall tour with Transit,
Somos, and Microwave before heading to Europe! Check out the full list of tour
dates here and be sure to grab your tickets ASAP!

For more info on Have Mercy: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

LOL Gallery: Juliet Simms


Who: Juliet Simms
What: Vans Warped Tour ‘15
When & Where: 7/14/15, Xfinity Center; Mansfield, MA
By: Eric Riley

For full gallery, click here!

LOL Gallery: Neck Deep

Who: Neck Deep
What: Vans Warped Tour ‘15
When & Where: 6/26/15, NRG Park Main St Yellow Lot; Houston, TX
By: Mercedes Guzman

For full gallery, click here!

New Music: “Big Talk” | Redlands

The band is currently in the running to play the Van’s Warped Tour Battle of the Bands’ Denver, Colorado date. To show the guys some love, click here!

New Pit Blog:
 Warped Tour Charity Bowling Tournament | 2015 Monster Energy Pit Blog