Before the show in Manchester, our team of Craig & David caught up with The Front Bottoms frontman Brian Sella to discuss the band’s stage show, touring with The Smith Street Band and, as always, who would star in a Hollywood Movie about the band…
C] Hey Brian! It’s the first date of your biggest UK tour so far, and it starts in an incredible venue. Looking forward to it?
Yeah, very much so. It’s crazy, this venue is beautiful, so it’s a great way to start it off. I feel like we usually start in Manchester, or at least the last time we did. The people around here are a bit nutty. Whenever we play in Manchester it’s just fun, it always seems wild. Wilder than usual.
C] It’s good that you made it here on day one too, I was supposed to see The Ataris in Huddersfield last night at the start of their tour and they didn’t show up…
I heard about that! I saw someone post the setlist for the night and it just said The Ataris will be on whenever they arrive! I feel like they still tour pretty heavily around here. That’s crazy.
C] It’s a great tour package that you’re on at the minute with The Smith Street Band and Brick + Mortar. Do you guys choose all of the supports yourself?
Yeah, it’s all us. The booking agent will send over some suggestions and we’ll just send back who we want to tour with. Brick + Mortar are from the town that we’re living in now, and The Smith Street Band took us over to Australia so it seemed like a no brainer.
C] You did some huge shows over here last year with Blink 182 and Frank Turner, how do those shows compare to your own headline sets?
It was a totally insane, different experience. We were on first so when we would go on the venues would be half full, but that would still be around 10,000 people. The whole thing was just insane, it was a dream come true. I’ve been a big Blink 182 fan forever. I’m not even able to compare it to a show like tonight, because even here there’s a good amount of people here, more than I ever thought we would get to play to, but it’s a whole different vibe. With the Blink shows you get up and play the hits for half an hour. I felt it was very positive, I think we made a lot of new fans, but tonight we’ll get up there, have a couple of glasses of wine, play more songs. The whole thing is a little looser.
C] So on those support shows it’s a similar approach to playing a festival?
Yeah. Whenever we’ve played the UK, even when there was only about 15 people showing up, everyone was singing all the words, which feels incredible, but then you play infront of thousands of people and none of them are singing along it’s a reminder that you’ve gotta work for this. We’ve got to make sure these people like us, which I love. I think that’s the whole point, I love to perform.
D] The name of your latest album, Going Grey, suggests that it’s about getting old where previous releases have been about growing up. Where did that come from?
It’s sort of the next step. It’s a natural development. The names we had before Going Grey didn’t feel right. We had all of the artwork drawn up with the different names and it wasn’t until me & Matt were just chillin’, and I had a list of names that I’d come up with, with my girlfriend. We were just going through the list and none of them were really sticking, but when when I said Going Grey we both kinda looked at eachother. It was after the process of putting the album together, and that name seemed to represent what we’d done.
D] I saw you guys play in Leeds last year with Apologies I Have None and Gnarwolves. The set onstage – the sofas, the TV playing Mean Girls, it really looked like someone’s living room. What was the idea behind that, and can we expect to keep seeing something similar?
Yeah, the whole vibe on that tour was like being in someone’s living room. We thought let’s get all of these people into out living room, we’ll just jam and have friends sitting on the sofa, we’ll have the lights going on and off. That was the performance aspect of it, we always like to add a couple of layers. At that point we’d been on tour for a long time and I thought ‘I’d like to be in my living room right now.’ Having the couch onstage was great, when we played with Blink we had them, and on the second show Mark Hoppus just came out and sat on the couch. It gave us that opportunity to have people come out and sit on the couch. That was awesome. This tour we’ve got three more people playing with us onstage so it’s a lot louder and we’ve tried to step up production a bit. We’ve got some projection screens, we’ve got a banner drop, which is the first time we’ve done that. It’s silly because it’s just me and Matt sitting in our bedrooms thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a banner drop!’.
D] A lot of your lyrics and song titles are based on real experiences, are there any stories from Going Grey that you can expand on, particularly Far Drive, is that one based on a real experience?
Absolutely. It’s actually not based on a journey that I took. It’s a few now-friends, I didn’t know them at the time, had driven to a bunch of shows. Hours and hours of travelling. They had kinda said that chorus to me on the street. You know, it’s crazy far drives but it’s being in the car with the people that you love, it’s great. That was like a feeling, something that everyone can understand, so I tried to use that. Grand Finale too, that came around from a friend actually dropping his phone into a bonfire. That seemed like a crazy thing – you’ve lost your phone but in this day and age you’ve lost a lot more than that. It seems like a ridiculous idea, so it kinda stayed with me. I recently moved to a beach town, so a lot of the songs like Vacation Town and Ocean come directly from that.
D] Looking back, are there any more older songs that you’d like to revisit and rerecord like you did on the Rose EP?
Absolutely. We’re playing Today Is Not Real on this tour and we’ve just finished recording the next Rose EP, it’s going to be called Ann, after my Grandmother. We’ve got all of the artwork and everything done, it’s six songs long. It’s pretty exciting. The Grandma series was such a fun idea and then everyone always asks about them everytime I talk to anyone. We took a little time off and figured out the songs, and then me, Matt & Tom just got into the studio and recorded it. I don’t know if anyone knows that yet, so there’s an exclusive! I’m not sure when it’ll be released, sooner rather than later I think.
C] Great! So just before we finish off, here’s a nice silly question for you. Hollywood calls, they’re making The Front Bottoms: The Movie and you’re in charge of casting. Who plays the band?
Sometimes I look at Matt and think ‘this guy looks like Johnny Depp’, so I’m gonna give the role of Matt to Johnny Depp. I’ll probably end up playing myself. I like the idea of someone else playing me but I think that would be hard to watch!