Stories and Alibis of Matchbook Romance
Anyone that doesn't know Matchbook Romance might hear them and chalk them up to being another one of those emo/punk/hardcore sounding bands that are on the trend rage right now. Fans of the four New York State band members know better though and so does KriSeLen. Any doubters or people newly interested in the guys could pick up their album Stories and Alibis, in stores now, and have all your proof how great they are within the music. Not one song will disappoint, there's so much we can all relate to in every lyric. Still looking for more? KriSeLen was given the chance to sit and talk with Judas (vocals/guitar) and Ryan (bass) in Philadelphia, PA recently and really got to know the guys. Now we're bringing the experience to you, so you can know them that much more.
What already separates Matchbook Romance from most bands out there is their unique history in how they were signed to their record label, Epitaph. Brett Gurewitz (founder of Epitaph and member of the band Bad Religion) discovered the talent of these guys through non other than the internet. All the self promoting and hard work that they had done as a band had paid off in what Judas describes as "a fairy tale story". As the four friends climb the ladder of fame, their name is even known in other countries and that doesn't change the humble personality that Judas has as he says, "I'd never been there and people knew about our band and it was weird." Ryan keeps upbeat through the whole interview with a sarcastic sense of humor and great stories. Keeping the atmosphere more like being with friends than with guys who are about to play a sold out show in front of thousands of supporting and adoring fans. Undoubtedly, both are passionate about their music and playing in the band and it shows on stage.
Philadelphia is the last show for Matchbook of the year and of the tour. It doesn't seem to lesson their energy as they leave the stage before an encore leaving fans screaming and cheering. Each song is played with so much fervor the whole crowd is singing along and bodies are swaying; it's a vibe that you don't see in many large crowd shows anymore. Yet this band, one that many might disregard, manage to leave a huge impression on every one of their fans. We at KriSeLen can only hope their next show brings more new faces and the old back again, because these are four guys who truly know their music and how to share it with their listeners.
KSL: We like to start off all our interviews with an introduction. So can you start off by introducing yourself to the readers?
Judas: Sure, I'm Judas and I play guitar and sing in Matchbook Romance.
KSL: Anyone that reads your bio will learn that you guys were signed to Epitaph after founder Brett Gurewitz discovered you via the internet, so instead of repeating the same story for our readers, can you give any new bands starting out who would want to use the internet to promote themselves some advice?
Judas: Uh, yeah, the Internet is a really great tool to get your music out. So what we did, we put our MP3s up on MP3.com back when that existed, but now I guess Pure Volume is like the equivalent of MP3.com. Get your music out, make a good website that's going to attract people's attention, post all over message boards and go to other bands websites and try to promote your band that way, put up fliers for shows. The Internet it's just a great way really get your name out.
KSL: So, how much do you contribute your success thus far to the online exposure?
Judas: Well, we wouldn't be signed if it wasn't for the Internet, at least not to Epitaph, so I definitely contribute a lot of it to that. It was kind of like a fairy tale story how it all worked out. I've never heard of anybody else's story like ours. I don't know if that was just a good luck deal or anything like that, but definitely the Internet played a big roll in our continued success.
KSL: How did Stories and Alibies become the title for your album? Was it a track first or did you write the song afterwards?
Judas: No the song title came afterwards. It was an idea Andy had because the record really is about our stories and alibis as a band, you know. About a lot of experiences that we've had, that Andy's had, that he's related from other experiences that other people have had. And it's really just sections of those things in our lives and other peoples lives. Plus we decided maybe we should make a title track for the album, and we didn't really have a name for that song at that time so we were like hey!
KSL: What is your favorite song on the album, why?
Judas: My Eyes Burn, I just like it, I think it's good.
KSL: Your video for the single 'Promise' is playing on FUSE and MTV2, who came up with the concept of the video?
Judas: It was a treatment that Andy wrote and worked with Dan ... who's the director. Dan took Andy's idea and molded it into what the video became. [buuuuuuuuuuuuuurp] Excuse me. Sorry.
KSL: Can I put that in the interview?
Judas: Yeah, sure, write buuuuuuuuuuuuuurp with lots of u's.
KSL: Do you have a favorite part in the video?
Judas: I actually don't like the video a whole lot to be honest with you. I'm not too stoked with the way it came out. I'm looking forward to making the next video that we're going to make. I really didn't get a chance to know exactly what the video was going to be like until we shot it and I didn't really see what it was going to be until after it was done and then we were like ehhh, it's ok for a first video. It wasn't what we really had in mind for the video so we just kind of put it out there and said you know it's good exposure for the band, so we just got over it. We're about to make another video for My Eyes Burn very soon so we're hoping to get out what we want to get out and be happy with it at the end.
KSL: Great, and you just answered one of the next questions about your next single.
Judas: How 'bout that? Killed two birds with one stone.
KSL: With the holidays right around the corner how do you plan on celebrating?
Judas: Go home.
KSL: Yeah, you've been touring a lot lately.
Judas: I'm also from Jacksonville, Florida and the rest of the band is from New York so I don't get to go home as often as everyone else does and it means a lot more to me when I do get the chance to go home.
KSL: What is one thing you have on your Christmas / Chanukah wish this year?
Judas: I want an iPod.
KSL: You don't have an iPod?
Judas: I don't have anything.
KSL: It's cool, me neither.
Judas: Or maybe a Sidekick, those are cool.
[ryan comes into the room]
Ryan: Fuck yeah! The interviews on!
KSL: No, it's almost over, bye! [ryan leaves the room] No, you can come back!
KSL: Do you have any traditions for the season with family and/or friends?
Judas: We always have a lot of crab legs for Christmas dinner.
[ryan comes back in]
Ryan: I was just kidding, I had to put my book bag away.
Judas: And than we all open one present on Christmas Eve.
KSL: Do you have any holiday traditions with your family or friends?
Ryan: It used to start with opening one present on Christmas Eve and than opening the rest of Christmas Day, but now that me and my brothers are all older, the big tradition is between me and my brothers. We go to this place called Hobnogging. Have you ever seen Full Metal Jacket where they sing Happy Birthday to Jesus?
KSL: I never have.
Ryan: Oh my God, it will change your life. You need to see that movie. That movie is intense. At midnight at the bar and we bring cake out and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and we get hammered until the summer rises and take cabs home. And we usually to stop at a diner. Usually we've talked our parents into opening all our presents Christmas Eve night so that we can just sleep in hung over. We convinced my mom, she was a little sick on Christmas Eve and I was like we got family coming for dinner we can all sleep in. Yeah, it worked! So, we might open all our presents on Christmas Eve, but we always go to Hobnogging and at twelve midnight on Christmas Day we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus Christ.
KSL: Do you want to introduce yourself real quick so the readers know who you are?
Ryan: I'm The Savior Jesus Christ.
Judas: [laughing hysterically] You don't have to tell them you're the savior.
Ryan: No, I'm Ryan and I play bass in Matchbook Romance.
KSL: Movie you know all the words to?
Judas:Half Baked. Billy Madison.
Ryan: Billy Madison. Black Sheep.
Ryan: Tommy Boy. Star Wars Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. Not 2, no not 2. I've probably forgot most of the Phantom Menace 2, it's kind of new, but I definitely got 4, 5 and 6 down. Every Indiana Jones, almost down. I don't really understand some of the foreign people in it. It takes place in India. Sorry, I don't get what the Wise Men say about the rocks, if I had the...
KSL: If you're Jesus you should know what the Wise Men are saying.
Judas: Oooooh, she called you out.
Ryan: No, 'cause in India they don't BELIEVE in Jesus, they don't pay homage to Jesus. No, I'm just kidding. Ok, enough with the Jesus talk.
KSL: If you could be a fly on the wall- where would you be and why?
Ryan: In the most annoying spot. Where ever that is.
Judas: In Jenna Jamison's bedroom.
KSL: Pre-Show and/or After-Show rituals?
Judas: We definitely have after show rituals, but I don't think we should talk about that on recording.
Ryan: Four sweaty dudes doing that isn't the most attractive thing to talk about, um, yeah.
Judas: Preshow rituals we all throw our hand in and say something stupid, like a huddle break thing. We always smoke a cigarette before we go on too.
KSL: Is it strange for you, after doing tours like Vans Warped and traveling all over the U.S. to know that you have quite a strong following overseas as well?
Judas: The first time we went over to Europe it was kind of weird [buuuuuuuuuuuuuurp] excuse me, that people over there knew about our band, 'cause I'd never been there and people knew about our band and it was weird.
KSL: Are they different over there fan wise? Are they crazier?
Ryan: Different because if you think about American cities, like, are you actually from Philly?
Ryan: Well, than you know, like every good concert comes to Philly. Every kid has 1,001 shows to pick from throughout the year. They're like I can go see Thrice. I can go see The Get Up Kids. I can go see Dynamite Kid. I can go see any band I want to see and they'll probably come to most cities, especially if you live near a major city. It's not like that overseas. Not a lot of American bands go over, but when they do, they go and they'll play in a certain city once a year, twice a year if they're lucky over there.
Judas: Depends on where you're talking about overseas too.
Ryan: Yeah, but American bands don't play over there more than once or twice a year usually, that's the way it is. So they'll like freak out. Kids that are real music fans they freak out when your band finally does come. But it's not like the American people, they're real fans, they just want to talk to you.
KSL: What message would you like to give to the KriSeLen readers out there?
Judas: Stay in school. Don't do drugs.
Ryan: In the words of Rick James "I can't stand love, makes you do stupid things!" No, um, thanks for all the support on the record Stories and Alibis and we're about to finish up the year and go write another record for you guys.
Judas: Buy that shit.