State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Eric Poluhovich

State In The Real Interviews Silverstein Guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau

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State In The Real got the chance to talk to Paul Marc Rousseau, lead guitarist of the band Silverstein. The band is currently on their Discovering The Waterfront 10 Year Anniversary Tour, which is celebrating the band’s successful album Discovering The Waterfront. The Paul Marc is younger than the rest of the band, and joined the band a number of years after the album was released, he still have a very interesting perspective on it. He came from the band’s hometown, and being a fan since the band started, he attended the CD release show for Discovering The Waterfront. A few years later, he joined the band’s road crew as a guitar tech, and eventually joined the band as their guitar player. We talked with Paul about making his place in the band, his opinion on the album, the band’s legacy, and much more.

 

I’m here with Paul from Silverstein. How’s it going man?

Good man, how are you doing?

 

Pretty good. To start, you guys have a new album coming out called I Am Alive In Everything I Touch. Do you want to explain the title for the new album?

Yeah sure. We’ve got our new album I Am Alive In Everything I Touch coming out May 19th on Rise Records. The title is something we’ve toyed with for a long time because you want to name the record something good. It’s actually a quote from a Timothy Findley book, who’s a Canadian author, and I’m pretty sure a native of Toronto, which is pretty important to us because we’re all Toronto guys. It helps out with the concept, which I don’t want to get too much into, because we want people to explore that and connect with it in their own way. But it’s the idea of having a legacy through everything you’ve influenced and everything that you’ve been a part of, living on past your own human mortality. It’s something that’s a cool version of the afterlife that we think is lesser talked about and more important, even.

 

That’s definitely an interesting concept. So you personally have a very unique perspective on the band because you joined the band, which was already an established, veteran band in the scene. They already had a number of successful albums under their belt. So how have you tried to make your place in Silverstein on the last few albums, coming into a band that was so established?

Yeah it was interesting for me. I had been around Silverstein for a while. As soon as I got out of high school, I didn’t necessarily want to go to college right away, and they gave me a job touring with them. That was in 2008. I’ve been around ever since, so I’ve been a part of the family, I guess you could say. So when they needed a guitar player and they asked me I was like, “Yeah, of course.” They were re already my best friends, and I had already toured with them. It was cool because right away, they gave me the keys to the place and said “If you have any ideas you want to write, go for it. If you don’t feel comfortable, that’s totally cool too.”  I did feel comfortable, and I thought that, because I had seen them for so long and been a fan of the band, because we’re from the same hometown and they’re hometown heroes, moving forward and working for them and hearing all these songs, that by the time it was my turn to step up and write a song, I felt that I had a sort of unique perspective from outside to inside of what I thought was never tried that would do well with their sound, or things that had maybe been hitting too hard. It was really cool that they let me bring things to do the table. This Is How The Wind Shifts was received critically really positively, which was a huge relief because I was terrified for the month before that record came out. I was like, “Fuck, did I just ruin the best band from Burlington? What did I just do?”

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So now you guys are on the Discovering The Waterfront 10 Year Anniversary Tour. I read that you were a fan of the band back in the day and that you saw them perform the album right after it came out when you were 15 or 16. What did that album mean to you back in the day, since that was such a huge album in that scene, and a number of kids that age enjoyed it or were impacted by it?

So I’m 25 now, and that record came out when I was 15. I remember that they did a CD release show, back when a CD release show was a thing that every band did, at the local YCMA in the big gym, 1000 people in our small hometown. I was at that show, I remember. I don’t tell everybody this, but I wasn’t really a fan of that record when it first came out. I just sort of felt like they had just gotten too big, since they started as a local scene band, and this record was enormous and I couldn’t believe how big it was. I was young and I was like, “They sold out. Forget this.” But I quickly came around on it and it’s obviously such an influential record. It carried our local scene, which is a really important thing to me. I think it inspired a lot of people moving forward in different parts of the world. So to be a part of this tour now, as a fan of the record, to play these songs for people who are also fans of the record, I feel like I’ve got an even deeper connection for the fans at this point, because I went through what they’re going through- I get it.

 

First of all, your original feelings about the album are really funny. Second, that’s something I was going to touch on- how is it performing these songs? You were a fan, and now you’re performing the songs to fans that this may have meant a lot to. Or maybe they didn’t like it at first, and then became fans of it. But that’s certainly an interesting role to have.

Yeah, I mean we’ve got meet and greet packages on this tour, which we’re really happy to do. We love talking to and meeting fans, especially in this context, to see just what made them love this record so much. And nobody has ever told me that they hated this record and then loved it, so maybe I’m the only person in the world. It’s possible.

 

The tour is about looking back at the past 10 years and how the album and the band have had an impact on fans and the scene. What is your personal opinion on the band’s impact on the scene, since first you were a fan, then a crew member, and now a band member. It may be a little biased since you’re in the band, but you also have the perspective of watching the band from the outside for years. So what is the impact that you think the band has had, and will continue to have on this music scene?

That’s a good question. To me, the impact, without making too grand of a statement, the impact is almost immeasurable. I know that Silverstein wasn’t necessarily the first band to do this type of music, but they certainly were the “crest of the wave” with a couple other bands. Victory had a lot to do with that style coming up over a decade ago. But, we’ve definitely toured with so many bands, even in my short time touring with them since 2008. I mean that’s not that long, but I remember we had tours where A Day to Remember opened the tour, and then one where The Devil Wears Prada opened the tour, and Pierce the Veil opened a tour. These bands are enormous bands now, and I feel like we helped give them one of their first tours. Even that right there is kind of a crazy thing. I don’t know, it’s neat.

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And especially since you were saying that you guys may have not been the first to do this, but the band itself has been one of the longest lasting bands in the scene. A number of bands that were doing this back in the day have broken up, or took some time off and are now back together. But Silverstein has been pretty consistent over the years, which is pretty crazy.

Yeah, like clockwork Silverstein puts out a new record every two years. We basically do 6 months off to record, then tour for 18 months. I’ve only been doing that for 3 years now with being a part of the whole process. It’s exhausting. I’m just really proud of my friends. It’s an incredible thing to be doing this for so long because it’s not an easy life and you’ve got to work so hard at every turn just to keep yourself relevant in the scene, and just to keep yourself on tour. It’s an expensive and exhausting life.

 

Something else that you mentioned I wanted to touch on. A number of the bands that you’re bringing on this tour are younger, or at least not as well known. Is that something that the band likes to do? Do you like to bring younger bands on the tour and either help get them more well known, see what they’ve got, or try and teach them anything, or does it just happen that way?

We definitely hand pick all of our support on every headlining tour. That’s something we care a lot about. So it’s a lot of things- you hear good things about the people. You’re going to spend 40 days or 45 days with them. You want to spend those 45 days with people that you get along with, and you want to believe in the band. Especially on this tour, as it’s so heavily rooted in nostalgia, but we’re also looking ahead to the future because we’ve got this new record coming out. So we don’t want to just pick a bunch of bands for the tour that were popular 10 years ago and that’s it. We’re moving forward so we’ll give you a taste of the old stuff through the whole record, but let’s not forget about the future, you know?

 

Is there anything else you want to say?

Nope. It’s been a pleasure, thanks.

 

Catch Silverstein on their Discovering The Waterfront 10 Year Anniversary Tour, pick up their album I Am Alive in Everything I Touch, out May 19th on Rise Records, and check out their new single below! 

St. Lucia Is Playing in Philadelphia Tonight

Synthpop’ers St. Lucia are coming to Philly’s Theater of the Living Arts tonight on their “The Night Comes Again Tour.” We did an interview with St. Lucia last year, and you can read the interview here. We’re fans of the band, so if you’re looking for something to do tonight, or you’re in the Philadelphia area, make sure you go out to the show!

You can buy tickets here, or check out their album “When The Night” here.

Lights: Musician, or Superhero? (Show Review)

Appropriately dressed as Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, Lights played a show at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Halloween. As many of her fans know- through songs, interviews, video blogs, and artwork-Lights has always looked up to and aspired to be a superhero. While I went to the show simply expecting a quality concert, I was left feeling as if I had just travelled through a story with Lights as the superhero protagonist.

The adventure begins as the stage lights dim. The audience cheers in excitement for the heroine, knowing she is on the way to save the day. The heroine of our story is Lights, a 27-year-old electropop songstress from Canada, whose arsenal includes synths, guitars, effects pedals, a powerful voice, and the ability to capture emotions and turn them into songs.

Lights takes the stage joined by her group of trusty sidekicks Adam Weaver, Maurie Kaufmann, and Brodie Tavares. The story is off to a fast, upbeat start. Layers of exotic sounds and descriptive storytelling guide us through foreign places (“Siberia”, “Where The Fence Is Low”). Though we may be familiar with most of the songs, experiencing them live and with new elements can often be enough to throw even the most seasoned fans off guard; the freshness is exhilarating and makes us eager to explore, see, and hear more. On our adventure, we encounter moments of strength (“Speeding”), tales of love (“Toes”), and messages of positivity (“The Last Thing On Your Mind”). But this journey is not without times of loss (“Oil and Water”) and periods of doubt (“Drive My Soul”).

These story elements remind us of something we often forget: all heroes have human traits. Lights endures personal struggles, longs for time that has passed, and tries to remember her purpose here on earth. “I’m not kidding when I say I had the worst day ever, so thank you,” she smiles. “I needed this.” She’s not invincible, but neither is any superhero. Lights captures emotions so well because she feels them so strongly. What some may consider a weakness becomes her strength. And in a way, she reminds us of ourselves too. We’ve all had ups and downs, victories and failures…We’re always looking to make our place in the world. We can see ourselves in heroes, which is part of what makes them so important. Before playing “Running With The Boys,” she spoke of a concept that is all-too-familiar to many: the desire to be a kid again. “When you’re 8 [years old], you don’t understand how great it is to be 8. This song is about that.” Maybe we’re not so different after all.

As always, our heroine has words of wisdom for all to hear: “Life is about having fun. If you’re not enjoying the moment, then you’re not doing it right.” And there she goes. Off to another town, a different city, helping others in need. In the end, we’ve only gotten a short period of time with Lights. But really, that’s all we need, and we will wait until we see our heroine again.

Check out our interview with Lights.

LIGHTS talks about her new album, Little Machines, and rediscovering her passion for life

Earlier this week, we got the chance to talk with Canadian musician Lights. The electro-pop artist just released her third album, Little Machines, on September 23rd in the US on Warner Bros. Records. A lot has changed in the last three years since she released her synthpop meets dubstep sophomore effort Siberia, which includes struggling with writer’s block, getting married, and having a daughter. We talked with Lights about some of these changes, the themes and inspiration behind the new album, her new life as a mother, and rediscovering her passion for music and life.

The new album is called Little Machines, and this album title is obviously a reference to the line in your song “Running With The Boys,” where you refer to you and your friends in your childhood as “wicked little machines.” Some of the songs on your album are about your youth, so was the title of the album meant to be nostalgic and looking back at your childhood?
Yeah, it totally was, and it’s cool that you picked up on that. I think one of the things that really inspired the creation of the album was looking back to that era of life when things were easy and things were fun and you had so much imagination and energy and we were like endless sources of fun, endless sources of energy. “Running With The Boys” is kind of a perfect example of that. It’s one of the songs that I wrote specifically about that kind of inspiration for the record. A couple of other songs were “Child,” which is one of the bonus tracks on the record, and “Slow Down.” There’s a few that are just kind of about that feeling. I think I was very frustrated with how much I knew about the industry, and you know you get bogged down by numbers and expectations and pressures that you kind of apply to yourself, and I just had to go back to the days when I was just starting to do music and I really enjoyed it and I was wasting nights with friends. Sometimes you just forget about that as time goes on, and it just happened to be a really nice place to be when I was writing, and “Running With The Boys” is about that. And Little Machines is my reference to being a little kid again, and also a reference to all the little synths we used on the record. We used so many cool little synths and it created this really cool vibe. So yeah, there’s a couple of layers to the name.

So talking about inspiration, and looking back to your childhood and before where you’re at now, with Little Machines I think you had a little bit of trouble writing the album. I read there was some writer’s block and some frustration. What was going on, and what did you do to combat it?
Well I knew that I needed to free myself up creatively because I was just at the point where I didn’t know what to write about and I didn’t know how to “one up” myself. You want to “one up” yourself on every record, but the question is how? Where do you start? And I think that as I thought about that more and more, and as the fans were asking more and more for new music, this and that started to pile and it just “WOAH”- I couldn’t do it anymore. I had no idea where to start and everything sounded bad. I listened to the radio and everything sounded bad. I listened to songs I had on my iPod and I just wasn’t inspired by anything, so I just took a step back from listening to music, and just focused on creativity in different ways. Creativity is such a human outlet. It’s so important for everybody. Everybody’s got something creative that they do, and it’s healthy because if you don’t creatively vent and you just build up and that is how I believe writer’s block happens.

So I was doing poetry and I was painting, and listening to music in interesting ways- going for a walk and listening to an entire Neil Young record front to back. Then I started really zeroing in on not just the discography, but the lives of some of the revered songwriters that I really respect- especially women. Patti Smith’s life and Kate Bush and Bjork and how their trajectories went with their lives and where they ended up, what made them tick and what moved them through the tough spots. I started reading Just Kids and Woolgathering, the Patti Smith poetry, and then diving into their bodies of work and seeing it from a new angle. I think that’s just what it really took- understanding music in a new way, because what I had known about it up until that point was old. It just got old. It proved to be really fun and exciting and it was a bit of an adventure. I ended up discovering a new passion for music and now that the record is said and done, I feel like I’m a new artist again, but with the experience of having three records out. It’s pretty nice.

And it comes back full circle. It goes back to the idea of being a child and rediscovering things and everything’s new.
Totally! It’s all new. I remember when I was a kid I had this little studio set up in our attic. I lived in the attic of our house, and I had a Van Gogh painting hanging up over it. It was called Starry Night Studios, obviously named after the painting, and I would just spend countless hours in there. I had this little 8-track, a little piano, and a guitar, and a drum machine, and I had so much fun. From age 13, every night was an experience and I was like a wizard and I was making magical music and I had to go back to that feeling, because that’s when you know you’re making something good.

Again going back to inspiration, when you were writing for Siberia, I saw that you travelled to an isolated, frozen location in Ontario for a few days. Then, when you were writing for Little Machines, you travelled to an Earthship, which was also isolated, except for the small community that was there. What is it about being in these isolated, extreme locations that helps you with your writing?
I think it’s the fact that you are somewhere and time is ticking and you have to focus. It’s the same reason you go to the gym. You can do your work out at home, but you’re more focused if you’re in a place, doing it specifically for that reason. So that’s one of the reasons I like to take a getaway like that. In the same breadth, it’s so important to get a change of scenery. Creatively, to be inspired by what’s around you is so important. With this record I went out to the Earthship community in New Mexico, and it was awesome. I was experiencing things I had never experienced before. You kind of sit in a new place and you’re inspired by new things. It was such a nice contrast from sitting in my little dark studio room in the back of my apartment, trying to be creative and write something you think is going to change the world, but you’re sitting in your room at home. Whereas if you’re taking a big adventure, everything seems so much more grandiose. So that’s a part of it for sure- just getting the change of vibe.

It sounds like it’s all about the adventures with you.
For sure! It’s all about adventure. Even when I’m gaming, I’m into the questing games and role playing games. That’s what it’s all about.

The vibe I get from Siberia is that it’s a colder album. Not unfriendly, but it feels colder. The album title is Siberia, the album cover is gray and black, a lot of the songs are really gritty. Then, with Little Machines, the songs are a little bit poppier, some of the songs are about happier childhood memories, the album cover is bright colors. Do you think writing in these remote locations- a frozen place for Siberia and the desert for Little Machines- had an impact on that? Was this intentional?
That’s a good question. I hadn’t really looked back on it as a whole like that but I think you’re right. I think what you’re feeling emotionally when you’re writing something, and your intentions creatively when you’re putting energy into an album, maybe is the reason that you choose the locations that you choose. I think for me with Siberia it was…the important aspect of that record for me was pushing the boundaries sonicly and making something that was gritty and dangerous, that felt risky. That’s what it’s all about. So of course you’re going to put that in a little bit when you find that special location to record. I remember driving five hours out of Toronto in a blizzard. Maybe that’s sort of just an echo of what you’re putting into the record.

With this one, the three years leading up to the creation of this record were basically just me rediscovering my passion for life and my purpose and rediscovering a mantra for life, which ultimately ended up being that you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve gotta love the moment you’re in. You have to take time every few hours and just level because life is going by so fast and it was scaring me. A song like “Slow Down” is about that. It was like “Woah, where is this all going? How can I just sit down and just enjoy this?”

So I wanted to create this really “feel good” record, and in the same breadth I was discovering how to preserve the environment and really cool green solutions, and one of them was the Earthship. My dad is an architect and my mom is sort-of a hippie. You put both of those together and you get an Earthship, which is an off the grid, carbon zero home, but apparently with all the comforts of any other home, so I wanted to go experience that. And it was very comfortable. It was super comfortable! But you know at the same time that you’re not leaving any kind of carbon footprint, and it’s this really cool feeling, and it’s all about that. So I feel like as a whole, where you are in your life, if you’re doing the right things it’s all going to line up and make sense. It’s less intentional and it’s more like the stars are aligning, and you’re doing the right thing. So it’s pretty cool that when you look back it all makes sense.

When I listen to this album, I hear elements of The Listening a little bit, and of Siberia a little bit. But, you’re also building on that and pushing the boundaries, and it’s not boring- it’s still exciting, and you keep going further with it. Do you think that you’ve kind of found your sound and you want to keep building off of that, or do you have no idea what the future is going to hold?
I think I have no idea what the future’s going to hold, but it’s really cool that you did notice that there’s bits and pieces of both albums in this, because that’s ultimately what each record is. I think it’s a culmination of what you know from the past experiences that you know. I took what I knew from The Listening and what I think was best about The Listening and took the best of Siberia and made it Little Machines, and the next record will probably be the best of all these three. I think that’s how you know you’re garnering the best things out of your work- it’s that you made an even better project based on the last two. [I took] the focus on songwriting and the lyrics, and the energy and live dynamic, and the synth heavy bass and drums, and applied both of those things to Little Machines and then some. I don’t think it was super intentional, but it just happened naturally. You know what you know and you try to make it better and build on it.

What’s your favorite lyric from the album and why?
Hmmmmmm…I think my favorite lyric is from the song “How We Do It” at the end of the record, second to last song. “I want to be happy, I want to die in love,” and it’s the truth. That kind of culminates what I was saying- it’s all about who you’re with and enjoying the moment and being happy and dying knowing that you lived the way that you wanted to, y’know? That’s what that lines about. It’s a little sad.

No it’s positive! It’s very positive.
*laughs*

You did a collaboration with Hard Rock for Pinktober, their breast cancer awareness campaign. How did that come about?
They pretty much approached me to be the 2014 ambassador for breast cancer awareness for Pinktober, and of course it was a no brainer. Hard Rock is a super recognizable brand. It’s very well known. And when I think that a brand like that has a powerful platform and uses it for good, I think it’s like a superhero that’s using their powers for good, and I’m a strong believer in that. When you have any kind of platform, use it for good. So it was kind of a no brainer. They’re such fans of music, and such fans of working for good causes, so I really wanted to do this with them. So we got together and there’s a couple shirts that you can buy and the proceeds go to breast cancer.

We shot this campaign and I couldn’t believe the reach of the campaign. They started putting it up around the end of September all over the world and I’m getting tweets from people in Japan and Turkey and Dubai seeing this campaign and it’s so powerful and it makes me happy because I’ve seen so many, so many fans come to my shows that I’ve met with backstage before my shows or after the shows that are dealing with breast cancer in their family or in their personal lives. It’s devastating. And to see them go through that is the worst. It’s the worst thing ever. Anything any of us can do to end anyone ever having to go through that is important. It’s very important.

So being able to be on this campaign and spreading awareness to women who should really educate themselves, I mean…625 women a day are diagnosed in the US. 28,000 per year, just in the US alone, are under 25, and I think that’s something that’s overlooked a little when you’re young. You’re 20. You feel a bit immortal. I feel that sometimes. It’s very much a real danger and I think that it’s important that people know. It’s a great cause and a great thing to be a part of and I’m very fortunate.

You and your husband Beau had your daughter Rocket earlier this year. How has being a mother changed your outlook on life and do you think it has had or will have an impact on your music?
Well definitely it’s made me more chill. I think looking at what I have infront of me and every few hours just having to level and feed her or watch her- even if my day’s crazy I HAVE to level every few hours, and it reminds you that that’s so important in terms of living and enjoying life. You have to slow down. You have to chill out a little bit. I don’t know what I worried about before. There’s so many little things that I worried about that I don’t need to worry about. Now I’m realizing that because I’m only concentrating on the things that really matter. You kind of cut the crap. You don’t have time for that and the stupid stuff you used to get worried about. It’s a great feeling and it’s really chilled me out a lot. I feel less stressed, which is kind of ironic. You know, bringing a baby on tour, and it feels like it’s going to be crazy, but it’s actually been the opposite. It’s a little bit extra work but emotionally it’s the best. I’m just in a really good place, and I think that that outlook itself has influenced the music. I mean even with this new mantra I have and what this record’s about, and how I’m preaching about living in the moment and just enjoying life- I think that in part stems from that new understanding and that new passion for the people around you and dying in love, that whole idea. That’s the point of life. That has leaked its way into the music too.

I’m glad it’s all worked out for you. It sounds like an adventure and it sounds like that’s what you’re looking for.
Totally. Adventure is the best.

Thank you very much to Lights and Warner Bros. for the interview. Check out Lights on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Buy her new album Little Machines here!
Lights is currently on tour, and will be playing the following dates in our area:
10/29/2014: Irving Plaza- New York, NY
10/31/2014: The Stone Pony- Asbury Park, NJ
11/02/2014: Theatre of the Living Arts- Philadelphia, PA
For more tour dates click here.

Alternative Press Hosts First Annual AP Music Awards

What do you do when someone has a huge party every year and doesn’t invite you or any of your friends? You throw your own. And that’s exactly what Alternative Press did in creating the first annual Alternative Press Music Awards. AP has always been on the forefront of covering underground and alternative music that often go unrecognized in the mainstream. Since many of the artists that they love would never be recognized by awards ceremonies like the Grammys, they created a show of their own to give them recognition. The event was hosted by the always funny Mark Hoppus, who explained why AP decided to have such an event: “Because no one was going to do it for them.”

The APMAS were held in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The event was outside, which was a gamble that worked out well for everyone. Nice weather and good music all around made for a great show for the 6000+ attendees. With appearances and performances from artists like Joan Jett, Slash, Billy Corgan, The Misfits, A Day to Remember, Pierce the Veil, Yellowcard, twenty|one|pilots, All Time Low, Every Time I Die, letlive., Sleeping with Sirens, and many, many more, the event was just that much better.

The focus of the show was the award portion. The award came in the form of a small statue called a “Skully.” Fans voted online in the weeks leading up to the show about who they thought should win each award. A number of talented bands and musicians won the 15 awards given out this year, and they were:

Best Vocalist – Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco
Best Live Band – Pierce The Veil
Breakthrough Band – Crown The Empire
Best Bassist – Jaime Preciado, Pierce The Veil
Best International Band – Bring Me The Horizon
Artist Philanthropic Award – All Time Low
Best Guitarist – Phil Manansala, Of Mice &Men
Vanguard Award – Billy Corgan
Best Drummer – Mike Fuentes, Pierce The Veil
Icon Award – Joan Jett
Most Dedicated Fans – Black Veil Brides
Guitar Legend Award – Slash
Song Of The Year – All Time Low w/Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil
Album Of The Year – Bring Me The Horizon, Sempiternal
Artist Of The Year – Fall Out Boy

While the awards were meant to be the focus of the show, there were incredible performances keeping the show going the entire night. Joan Jett performed on stage with Slash playing lead guitar. Twenty|one|pilots rocked the entire park when lead singer Tyler scaled the scaffolding and sung from above the lighting rig, while drummer Josh played on top of a board held up solely by audience members. All Time Low played multiple songs, joined by pop-punk veterans Yellowcard and New Found Glory. Sleeping with Sirens played their song “Alone,” joined by Cleveland-native Machine Gun Kelly. Body Count played a set with some angry words from Ice-T. A Day to Remember put on a performance that even Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry said he enjoyed greatly (my parents think it just sounds like noise). The Misfits got scary with their brand of horrorpunk once it was dark outside. All of their performances were brought together by the supportive playing of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra.

The existence of this event is significant for the alternative music scene. For a long time, bands in underground and alternative scenes have gone unrecognized- not only by award shows, but by other big players, like record labels. There has always been a DIY ethic for many bands in underground music scenes, and AP has shown that it can stretch farther than just releasing music on your own. Instead of hoping you get invited to an award show (which you probably never will), throw your own. The fact that this show ran the way it did, and received as much support as it did, shows that this music scene is strong and tight-knit (it now gives us another thing to rally around). And the message, as many speakers repeated all night, was that this show was for us. For the fans. For the kids who love this music.

Not only was the award show in itself a victory for the scene- there were a number of other things that were well done about it as a standalone production. The inclusion of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra was extremely well orchestrated. They weren’t just introducing presenters and speakers with intro music. They were playing along with every performance, and it was done well. It added a great live element to performances that was unexpected.

AP also made an excellent choice of a host in Mark Hoppus. He’s experienced and funny, and didn’t take himself too seriously, which worked perfectly. One of the best parts of the entire show was Mark Hoppus bringing it all together.

The outdoor venue worked really well. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are usually held inside, so it was surprising to see that this event was completely outside. But with beautiful weather and the lake right next to us, the environment and show were that much better.

The history lesson was a nice touch as well. Many new readers of AP/fans of the bands nominated for awards are younger. A good portion of them are clueless about alternative bands and musicians that originally paved the way for bands that exist today. Having older musicians like Joan Jett, Slash, Billy Corgan and The Misfits speak and perform was nice, because it really reminded everyone where many of these bands came from (and gave something for parents accompanying their kids to enjoy during the night. One dad next to me was rocking out hard to The Misfits).

While I would say the APMAS were a big success, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t problems along the way. Early on in the show there were a number of mic problems. Backing audio tracks played before they were supposed to. The first award of the show was delayed in being announced because the presenters were sent on stage without the Skully or an envelope telling them who the winner was. The video screens went black a few times during the show. And while the screens worked most of the time, the videos prepared for the show were often incorrect or poorly prepared, showing the wrong band member for an award (ex: showing the band’s singer when the award was for Best Drummer), or in some cases, even showing the wrong band on screen (ex: I believe the video screen said All Time Low and showed a Pierce the Veil video, or visa-versa). The live audience also sometimes felt forgotten, when the show went to a commercial break and the audio cut out, leaving us in silence for a minute or two at times before the orchestra members started playing music after looking at each other confused during that time. Additionally, I thought it was odd that Fall Out Boy only played one song to close out the show, after they had just won the Artist of the Year award, and when almost every other band had been allowed to play two songs (some bands played four or five songs). (Also, since Joan Jett played all of her songs with a guest joining her on stage, I thought it was a missed opportunity that she didn’t play “I Love Rock n Roll” with a number of people on stage with her, but I digress.)

Even with the mishaps included, the show was a victory for our scene. The fact that one of the biggest magazines and tour production companies from the scene threw this event (Alternative Press and the company that produces Warped Tour) may seem a big incestuous, but they know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. It was a quality production (that needs to work out a few kinks for next year) that recognizes and gives exposure to hard working bands in this alternative music scene, and it further enforces the DIY mentality. This scene has made a place for itself, and it’s here to stay.

The First Alternative Press Magazine Music Awards on July 21st!

The first ever AP Music Awards are this Monday, July 21st, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, and State In The Real will be there covering it! The night is meant to honor the artists from music scenes that AP Magazine usually covers. Many of these artists are often missed by music award events such as the Grammy Awards. The show will be hosted by Mark Hoppus, and feature live performances by Fall Out Boy, A Day to Remember, The Misfits, Panic! At The Disco, All Time Low, twenty one pilots, Sleeping with Sirens, and more. There will also be guest appearances by Billy Corgan, Slash, Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Ice-T, Chiodos, letlive., Issues, Paramore, Yellowcard, The Devil Wears Prada, and many more. Artists will receive such awards as Best Live Band, Breakthrough Band, Best Vocalist/Guitarist/Bassist/Drummer, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Artist of the Year.

If you want to attend the first ever AP Music Awards, you can still buy tickets here. But if you can’t attend the event in person, you can still tune in to the show live on AXSTV on July 21st at 8pm. We will also be sending out some tweets during the event too, so follow us on Twitter. After the event, check back to our site for our summary and review of the event.