Interview: Runaway Brother Talks About Cleveland And Working With Tiny Engines

Interview with vocalist and guitarist Jacob Lee | By John B. Moore

Local “Battle of the Bands” shows are ideal marketplaces for poaching talented musicians. So was the case for Cleveland-based Indie band Runaway Brother. The five-piece, which does include a pair of actual brothers, has been on quite a roll since solidifying their lineup. They have signed to Tiny Engines, have a 7” out, hit the road with label mates Somos, and then are getting to work writing their full-length. Singer and guitarist Jacob Lee is kind enough to get us up to date on Runaway Brother.

How did the band first come together? Was it really rival Battle of the Bands groups congregating for the good of humanity?

It really was as silly as it sounds. In high school, [bassist and keyboardist] Charlie [Gunn] played in a ska band and I played in a pop-punk band. We had boy/man-crushes on each other and I wanted to start a new band, so it worked out. We went through some very awkward auditions for a drummer and guitarist. [I’m] happy we won’t have to go through that again.

You guys have previously been in other bands. Which is tougher – breaking up a relationship or a band?  

That’s a really tough question. I haven’t really had that many girlfriends and I’ve only been in about two other bands besides this one. I would say that breaking up a band is a bit harder for me, only because instead of having to break up with one person, you’re breaking up with three to four guys who are usually close friends. I don’t know if it’s just because we’re young, but I haven’t really been able to stay close friends with any of the people I’ve been in previous bands with (aside from my brother Ian and another close friend).

What is the music scene like in Cleveland right now?

I’m honestly not really sure [laughs]. At one point, it seems like it’s all about the metal bands, and at another point, it’s all about hip hop. As much as “Cleveland ROCKS” (please kill me), there doesn’t really seem to be a lot of “rock” going on in Cleveland… But I live in a hole, so what do I know? I would say that a lot of the more notable acts I enjoy are playing in some of the smaller cities south of Cleveland, like Lakewood, Akron, Kent. Those places seem to be more like home to us.

You have a new 7″ out. Have you started a new full-length?

We’re always thinking about new stuff.  Hoping to release our first full-length in the fall.

You recently toured with Somos. How did you meet them?

Yup! They stayed at my house after we played with them and Save Ends at Now That’s Class (a dive bar in Lakewood). Very nice people.

Is it difficult to find the time to tour?

It’s a little difficult considering we all have jobs and usually aren’t making very much money from the tour, but every band has to grind a little bit.

How did you connect with Tiny Engines?

We’re friends with a few people in bands that are in the Tiny Engines family. To namedrop: Max from Signals Midwest and Chris from The Hotelier both told me I should try shooting TE an email. We’ve been BBs ever since.

Runaway Brother band

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