I Call Fives

I Call Fives. Know them, love them and tell your friends about them. For all the bands in the pop-punk scene gaining attention, I Call Fives are perhaps the most deserving of the hype. Make no mistake. These guys are the real deal. Their new EP, Bad Advice, is a six song pop-punk juggernaut that adeptly captures the spirit and charm of the genre’s forefathers. We recently caught with the band’s bassist Drew Conte to discuss Bad Advice, the band’s current status and future endeavors. Read this or live a lifetime of failure.

 

[email protected]: Thank you so much for doing this interview. For the record, please state your name and position in I Call Fives.

Drew Conte: I’m Drew & I play bass in I Call Fives.

[email protected]Earlier this year, you released Bad Advice. Could you quickly describe the writing and recording process for the EP?

Drew Conte: It was different for us. We had only released one EP prior to Bad Advice..and we’d already been a band over 2 years. I say this every time someone asks but we had all of the time in the world to write First Things First, we really had worked on those songs for years. After changing singers, we sort of realized one day it was time to start writing a new EP and it was a different feeling for sure. The feeling of having a “time limit” was a learning experience. We took about 4 months off from touring to work and pay off the debt we had found ourselves in from our van that summer. We ended up back at our shitty jobs delivering pizzas, working at Best Buy, and doing whatever else while writing the EP last winter, then recorded it in mid February.

[email protected]What was the inspiration behind lyrics of Bad Advice?

Drew Conte: All of our songs are based off our lives. We’re pissed off about something or we’re tired of a stupid girl..so we write about just that. It’s a really simple writing process for us; we just write what we feel.

[email protected]Why did you decide to entitle the EP “Bad Advice”?

Drew Conte: We were forced to play a tour acoustically last November when our fill-in drummer left the tour we were on with With The Punches. One of the shows was in Buffalo, NY with The Wonder Years. We ended up going to Niagra Falls with the guys in TWY and got to talking with Soupy who sort of pitched the entire idea to us. He said something along the lines of “Yo..you guys are the least likely candidates to be giving out advice. You do the dumbest shit. What if you called the album Bad Advice, and wrote some acoustic songs in response to kids asking for advice from you.” We were all sold and loved the idea and ran with it. To this day we owe Soupy so much credit for helping us with the idea.

[email protected]What was the inspiration behind the artwork?

Drew Conte: I really liked the Mark, Tom & Travis Show artwork and wanted to do something fun and goofy for the EP. So the thought process is that some kid did something really stupid because he took our bad advice, and the entire town is coming to get him. We had James Devlin, an awesome artist from Australia, do some sketches and were really stoked on his interpretation.

[email protected]Bad Advice also marked your debut on the up-and-coming indie label No Sleep Records. How did the signing come about and why No Sleep?

Drew Conte: I met Chris at No Sleep a few years back when The Wonder Years were doing an online radio performance in North Jersey. The guy was selling copies of their CD out of his trunk, which spoke absolute volumes to me. We stayed in touch and ended up running into Chris a couple of times and finally got to talking – we had planned to self release the EP but he was down to put it out, so we were stoked to have him do it. His work ethic is fantastic and he cares so much about his label and his work. It was an easy decision to go with No Sleep for the release because of all that stuff.

[email protected]Before Bad Advice, you had released First Things First, which featured James Corbi on lead vocals. For those unfamiliar with the band, can you elaborate on James’ decision to leave the band?

Drew Conte: James simply ran into a bunch of personal troubles. We were at a point where we wanted to start touring full time and trying to take the band more seriously, which was something he just wasn’t able to do at the time. We had a blast doing the EP with him but things just didn’t really work out like we all hoped. He was actually out of the band another time before that..and in reality only played maybe 40 shows with us since we started the band 4 years ago.

[email protected]How did you come to enlist Jeff Todd as your primary vocalist?

Drew Conte: He was originally in a band from around our area that we knew, and they had just broken up. We knew he was an awesome singer but we wanted to make sure it was a comfortable fit. We practiced for a couple of weeks and wrote “Everyone Knows” and “Easy To Say States Away” and were happy to begin taking the band seriously again.

[email protected]I Call Fives has been a band for quite some time now. Obviously, you’ve gone through your ups and downs. This summer, your van broke down, causing you to drop off a tour. How have you been since then?

Drew Conte: We’ve been a band for just over four years now. It’s definitely been a long four years. Two years ago we toured for over a month in my Nissan Altima, last summer we had to replace the engine in our van and drive 50 hours to catch up with our tour, this summer our van broke down at a really really awful time and took a week to repair. It’s like an anchor and it really pulls you down. Money is an awful thing when you don’t have much of it, though we’ve been lucky to have some awesome people donate money and really supportive families and friends. We’ve always had the mentality that we just had to deal with it. “James quit the band and our van is broken? Alright. Let’s get a fill in singer and tour in my car.” That’s really how I look at it and the other guys in the band have been like-minded and supportive. We’ll just deal with the bullshit and hopefully it’ll work out in the end. We might end up never “making it” and never making a nickel, but at least we can enter normalcy and some shitty boring life knowing that we gave it everything we could. Since having to cancel those dates in August, we sold our old van to pay off the money we owed our Firestone credit cards from the repairs we charged this summer. We’re using that extra money we made from selling the van and just took out a $10,000 loan through Capital One to get a new van. Today is Wednesday the 15th and tour starts in 7 days. It’s been pretty stressful and we’re rushing around now to get a new van in time for tour. We always seem to figure it out though and I’m hoping we have the new van in time for next week. If not, we’re going to be catching a ride from some awesome friends of ours…or taking a car. Yikes.

[email protected]Early in August, you posted on Facebook that you had begun writing a full-length album. How much of it have you completed so far?

Drew Conte: We did. Honestly, since we finished writing Bad Advice we started working on new songs. We want to put more time into this record and the songs. We don’t ever want to feel like we have a time limit again to do a record, we want to be as prepared as possible. We’ve written about 7 new songs and plan to write another 10 or so. We’d love to be back in the studio at the end of spring but we’re really not sure how it’s going to play out yet. All I know is we’re going to keep writing songs and have a ton of options when it’s time to record the next one.

[email protected]I know on Tumblr you have stated that you don’t really know much about the new album yet, but what direction has the new material been taking? Are there any aspects of your music you would like to improve upon or pursue with these new songs?

Drew Conte: We just want to have fun and like what we’re writing. That’s been the idea since we started to write really: let’s just continue to have fun and write songs. We definitely have some faster songs, probably more than we expected. I feel like we sort of fucked up before, .like “does this sound like such and such?”  We’d get hung up worrying if it sounded too much like someone, or if it’s not “pop punk enough” I guess. We’re just writing what comes to us and being as open as possible about the whole process. We’ve got a lot more work to do and we’re stoked to keep writing this fall while we’re on tour, then we’re going to take a couple of months off to work on the album. I think we all came to the realization that what’s the point in financially giving it all we can, going on tour, and putting so much into this if we’re not doing the same thing when we write songs. It absolutely has to be the best we’ve ever done or we’re wasting our time.

[email protected]Additionally, within the abovementioned Facebook post, you mentioned that you would be demo full band versions of the songs on the acoustic EP Gives Bad Advice. Why have you decided to redo these tracks?

Drew Conte: We’re just interested to see how they sound. I don’t think we’ll try and make “Down” an actual full band song though. It’s probably one of my favorite ICF songs in general but it definitely has an acoustic only sort of feel. We want to demo these just to see how they come out, maybe one of them will be on the record or maybe we’ll just listen to them and hate them. 

[email protected]How would you compare the full-band versions of these songs to the original ones? Any favorites in particular?

Drew Conte: We need to work on these still, we’ve been slacking!

[email protected]When can we expect I Call Fives to go into the studio and record this full length? Would a 2011 release be within reason?

Drew Conte: I hope the new record comes out this summer, but we have to still figure a ton of stuff out to really make that call. It’s definitely within reason and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a late summer release.

[email protected]Recently, you announced some new tour dates. Will this tour be a headlining one with Second to Last, Heart to Heart and Seahaven providing support?

Drew Conte: I think it’s a co-headlining tour with us and Second to Last, though we’re playing mostly where all of the other guys are from. We’re just stoked to do a Western tour and happy the other guys wanted to let us hop on the tour with them.

[email protected]Will it be a national tour or are you playing only these select dates?

Drew Conte: The tour actually starts a few days before we hop on but doesn’t really leave the West. After those dates we’re going to be touring with our friends in Handguns, an awesome band from PA. We’ll be hitting the East Coast with them. Then we’re heading to the UK in November, followed by another full U.S. in December and then taking some time off to work on the full length in 2011.

[email protected]That’s all I’ve got for you! Thanks again for doing this interview. Any closing thoughts? 

Drew Conte: This was a blast, thanks for having me. Make sure to check our Myspace for constant updates as well as our blog at www.icallfives.com -- Hope to see you guys this Fall!

 

Bad Advice is now available courtesy of No Sleep Records. You won’t be disappointed! Don't believe me? Allow me to persuade you. Also, check I Call Fives out on their respective tours with Second To Last and Handguns!


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