Love Equals Death and The Static Age released their split EP in late 2020, and both bands have new music coming out on SBÄM/ Say-10 Records later this year, so we thought why not ask both of the bands to give each other a good old grilling! Check it out!
Chon Travis of Love Equals Death interviews Adam Meilleur of The Static Age
What’s up Adam?! Where did the name The Static Age come from? Most would assume it’s a reference to the Misfits, is that true or did it come from some other place?
It is indeed a reference to the Misfits. It was a name/concept that our singer/guitarist, Andrew Paley, kept coming back to while we were tossing names out into the ether. We definitely have our own definition for what the name means to us, and I think even now, and speaking only for myself, the meaning behind the name has become that much stronger and relevant.
We did a split 7” record with you guys and I gotta say that you guys have some really appealing songs. What is your inspiration for writing new material?
Thanks a lot for the kind words. I think our drive to continue writing new music is the simple fact that we enjoy and love playing music. I probably couldn’t stop if I tried. I know that might be a pretty mundane answer, but all of the members of the band take great joy in working on new material. We all still get really excited about new songs. All the members of the band listen to such a wide range of music that really lends itself to having fresh song ideas. We don’t force ourselves into a song writing box, and I think that allows us to keep things fresh.
How long have you guys been together as a band and can you tell everyone where you’re from?
Well, to answer the second part first, I’m originally from Burlington, VT., as is the band, but now we reside in Chicago, IL. The original line-up of the band, Andrew Paley, Bobby Hackney, and myself, began practicing in July of 2001, and we played our first official show on December 30th of that same year. By that point we had added keys, and actually had a 2nd guitar player, Nick Paley, for a few shows.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to face as a band or as an individual?
Personally, deciding to say “fuck it, I’m moving to Chicago” was pretty significant for me. I wasn’t in the greatest place mentally in VT., even though I love it and miss it, it’s home, but at the same time I needed a significant change. It took a lot of badgering from Andrew, I’m very very stubborn, but one day I literally put my belongings in my car, and if it didn’t fit, it went in the trash or my Fathers garage. I always got the impression that the rest of the band wouldn’t believe I was gonna make the move until I actually showed up in Chicago. That was 9 years ago. For context, the band was located in Chicago, I was the only one not there, but we were still productive, touring and recording. That’s just one example that covers the personnel and the band, but as you know I’m sure, bands are like families, and you experience a lotta great things together and a lot of challenging things together.
Is there anything that music has taught you about life that you would’t have learned unless you were in a band or playing music?
I think I’ve learned the importance of thinking outside of your own bubble and physically getting outside of your own bubble. Basically the importance of seeing the world, literally, outside of your own and seeing different cultures and experiencing them the best that you can while also being respectful of that culture that is outside of your own. The Anthony Bourdain approach if you will. My parents took me traveling a lot when I was younger, but I didn’t get to experience the places we visited quite like I have while touring in a band. Some of my closest friends are people who live in Europe that I met on tour. It’s great to talk with them about politics, life experiences, etc.
Do you have an ultimate standout moment or story that you would like to share?
I’ll give you a couple, and they’re both high on my list. One is absolutely the occasion where we played an Anti-Bush Rally at UVM in Burlington, Vermont with Bernie Sanders. And this was in October of 2004, and the election was only a few weeks away. Very memorable moment. Hard to put into words. The second would have to be our run of shows in Russia back in 2016. I never imagined I’d ever get that opportunity, and at times it felt like everything was against us even making those shows. We got stuck at the Ukranian/Russian border for 3 days, and it took a great deal of effort and patience to finally get approved to enter Russia and to then get back on track given that we had to cancel 2 or 3 shows. So there were some very long drives to make the rest of the shows happen. It was all worth it. Just great shows.
What made you fall in love with music?
I’ve always loved music. Ever since I was a little kid. I always got so much joy out of it. But when I got older and began to become more curious and questioning of the world around me, I started to also discover music that not only combined a sonic quality that was just out of this world appealing to me, but was also chock full of bands that were singing, or screaming in some cases, about the things that I was starting to wonder and care about. Simply put, when I discovered that music could also be a vehicle for a message, that was the watershed moment for me. That would probably be around the age of 11 or 12, which is the age when I first heard Metallica. And from there I quickly veered right into Punk not many years after.
We both have records coming out on SBÄM. What can we expect from The Static Age on this new album. Or is it a secret?
I think people can expect to hear songs that really cover the history of the band. A lot of the songs have been long gestating ideas that we never finished, or just stepped back from then came back to. We also tried some different recording techniques. For my part, I recorded multiple Bass tracks for a handful of songs, which was a blast to do. Sonically it just sounds great. But yeah, we’re all very excited about therecord. The split 7″ we did with your band, Love Equals Death, I think really energized us to finally finish the songs that will make up the new record.
I wanna end this by saying that you have an amazing band and that I’m very excited to see what you guys come up with next. What advice would you give to new and up and coming bands that might help them get through the hard times? Thanks for your time and we’ll see you in the trenches.
And we are very excited to share what comes next. With all that has happened in the past year, the crafting and making of the new record has been a great outlet. My advice would be to simply communicate with one another. Simple to say, hard to do. View your band as a collective. You’re all important to the machine running on time. And don’t take it too hard if you’re on the receiving end of a “hey, you need to work a little more on your instrument.” You’ll be better for it.
Adam Meilleur (of The Static Age) interviews Chon Travis (of Love Equals Death
So Love Equals Death has a new LP on the way via SBÄM and Say-10. Has there been a particular factor that drove the creative process for you while writing this record?
We do have a new release in the works, well actually two. The first one is will be some early years EP’s that were never released digitally or together in the physical form in the US or Europe, but were released as a whole in Japan under the title “The Prelude”. The tracks are pre Fat Wreck Chords and feature different versions of songs that some people may have heard before. The Brand new Songs LP is due to be released in 2022 and the motivation for me particularly comes from the recent passing of my mother. That will be the strength and passion behind this album for me as well as the time the pandemic has given me to get inside my head and to deal with some personal truths.
Are there any particular themes that you wanted to touch on with this new release, or do you more or less let that process play out organically?
As Much as I have always wanted to predict the direction of an album, I have always found it best to let the album write itself. The energy around the people involved as well as the energy that the band puts into an album shapes the outcome. I have to always remember to trust myself and my intentions and be true to my passion for writing and it will all work out.
Back in October both of our bands released a split together, but prior to that, there was a gap in between releases for Love Equals Death. Did you feel any pressure to write a full albums worth of material given the time away? What was the process like for you getting back into song writing mode for LED?
I didn’t feel much pressure to release a full length as much as I felt the release of pressure that had been built up of not writing and playing for so long. I was so relieved that the first couple songs were out of the way and that I didn’t have to worry about the first songs and what they would sound like or how people would react to them.
You asked me a question where I mentioned a “watershed moment” for myself when it came to falling in love with music. So I’m curious, was there a record or a live show experience that gave you those chills and maybe made you wanna play music, or become involved more deeply in art, or active in your local music scene, etc?
I fell in love with punk music early on in the prime of my skateboarding days and I remember hitch hiking with some friends to go see our first punk show at a place called The River Theater in Guerneville, Ca. At that show I saw Vertical Urge, Death Angel, Cro-Mags, and GBH. I lost my fucking mind! I was 15 and that energy gave me everything I was looking for. Complete fucking chaos. I was hooked. It wasn’t just punk though, I went to see lots of bands that I liked before I even knew about punk and my respect for performing grew. I got a similar awe moment when I saw The Cure at the Amphitheater in Berkeley, Ca. I had heard the songs all my youth and loved the band since I could remember and it’s was everything I dreamed it would be. I knew at that point that I wanted to express myself through music and performing.
Other than Love Equals Death, do you have any other creative endeavors you’ve been working on, or ideas for future projects that you’ve got floating around that you’d care to share?
I do work closely with my community and have even run for public office. My latest effort to give back to my community has been with our local schools to create equal opportunities and help kids in need get the right tools, so that every child has an honest chance at academic success. I’m not sure what the future holds as far as that goes, but I also do solo, acoustic music that I will try to sneak in for sure. As I mentioned before, I have a respect for all music and I like to express myself through this platform and not all that I express is hard, fast, and loud. My solo stuff gives me a chance to dive a little deeper into myself.
At the end of 2019 LED had begun playing shows again, then the pandemic hit in early 2020. How did that affect the plans you had moving forward? In the absence of not being able to play shows, did you find yourself turning more towards song writing? Did you even know at the time that you would have the opportunity with SBÄM even? Maybe take us through that process.
Oh man, we were fresh out of the gates again and so ready for whatever was in store and had some great shows that we played to start us back off just to be hit with this pandemic. To be honest, I don’t think we were too bummed at all. We saw it as another opportunity to get more acquainted with new songs, write, and take a look around at this new scene. Upon our return, I was contacted by Felix Wilikonsky of Flix Agency and he had first talked to me about getting LED to tour Europe and of course we were all in. With the pandemic, we had to cancel two European tours, but he kept with us to try to find other avenues until touring was a thing again. One day he came to me with the idea of doing a split on SBAM and again, we were all in. The rest is pretty much history. Felix is an amazing dude and I wouldn’t be doing this interview if he wasn’t involved.
Do you have a particular live show memory or memories, that have carried some particular significance with you throughout the years that you’d like to share?
Any show at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, Ca, Low Gap shows in Ukiah, CA, and Amsterdam the last time we were there. I live in Ukiah, Ca and Petaluma has always made me feel at home and the last time we played Amsterdam, I felt like people treated us like we were local. They went off!
Thanks a lot for the time Chon. Hopefully next time we speak, it’ll be at a live show. But I wish you all the best with the new record, can’t wait to hear it, but before you go do you care to share some thoughts on the crazy year that we’ve all experienced and maybe what your hopes are for moving forward? Thanks again Chon!
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me. It’s been a crazy year indeed. We hope to be touring very soon and would love to tour with you guys. I also hope that we can find unity worldwide, especially here in the US. Cheers!
Listen to the Love Equals Death / The Static Age split below.
Images courtesy of Love Equals Death/The Static Age.