The New Varsity is a dynamic pop punk band from Claremont, CA who have been gaining a good deal of fans with their wildly infectious tunes. Running Out Of Time is their second album to date, a self-released collection of rocking gems that possess a good deal of enthusiasm and mass appeal. The New Varsity recently made their way out to the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park for a wondrously exhilarating class in the vibrant sounds of pop punk. Right after their set, we caught up with two of The New Varsity members to find out more about this band on the rise. Open enrollment commences now…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The New Varsity, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD.
Kyle: My name is Kyle – I sing and play rhythm guitar in The New Varsity. And dude, I’ve got Miley Cyrus on my IPOD. And old Miley Cyrus – Hannah Montana Miley Cyrus – not Wrecking Ball at all. I was going through it one day and I was like, “What is this doing on here?” And then I listened to it and I was like, “Oh yeah, I like this one.”
Eric: Hi, my name is Eric. I play lead and sing backup for The New Varsity, I would say that the most embarrassing song – it’s a classic – Informer by Snow. (Sings) “Lickky boom boom down!”
Kyle: I don’t know that song…
Eric: Classic 90’s! Come on!
Where is the band based out and what is the music scene like there?
Kyle: We’re based out of Claremont, California. For our genre of music, I would say it’s not too popular. Our hometown is more about indie rock – maybe hardcore – but it’s more like folk stuff. I hear bluegrass bands and there’s that Irish rock band. But pop punk…
Eric: It’s a pretty diverse town. It’s a college town – a lot of different people from all over the world. Mainstream pop punk really doesn’t have a home there. We play everywhere and we find people that are down for us. But we seem to get the most love out towards L.A. – people like us a lot more and are more down for pop punk.
What is the concept or story behind the album title Running Out Of Time?
Kyle: As far as Running Out Of Time – hitting the nail on the head – we’re all old fucks. Considering what our genre we’re playing is…
Eric: We’re older to the point where we’re not as marketable. So it’s kind of like our last shot at stardom and we’re running out of time at making it big and living out our dreams. And that’s a lot of what we wrote this album about.
Kyle: I have the number in my head where if I don’t get to where I want to be by the time I hit 30, like I kind of have to give it up. I’m 28 now, so I’ve got a couple of years. So like I said, nail on the head, we’re running out of time.
Have you guys played Warped Tour yet?
Eric: We haven’t.
Kyle: We did a Battle for the Bands last year. We had a lot of response from a lot of people. It was that online one.
Eric: It was Ernie Ball. We had a good score. I think we were right there on the first page. We thought we had it. But when the results came in, we didn’t get chosen to play, so we were a little bummed. We still went and we still promoted and supported our buddies we knew who were playing and made it on. We still did our thing – we got our name out there one way or another. We would love to play and do it that way.
Kyle: We’re going to push a lot harder this year. We’re gonna do the online thing again, but there’s other physical battle of the bands we’re going to try for.
I Puked At The Fonda. Is that a true story?
Eric: Yeah. I went and saw Feed Me, who is a DJ. He’s actually signed to Deadmau5’s label. He’s like Deadmau5’s little prodigy right now. It was about two years back. I went to go see him. At this bar next store to the Music Box in Hollywood, they have these 12 percent black beers. So I got a little into it and had a little too much – and I ended up puking at The Music Box – or at The Fonda – the same thing. I told Kyle the story, and he thought it was so funny, he wanted to name a song after it.
Who or what are Claremont’s Finest?
Kyle: It’s funny when I came up with the title. Ultimately the song is about a girl who loses her way and falls into a bad life. I know some girls around Claremont who I consider have lost their way and are lost in life. I kind of named that about them – it’s supposed to be ironic – about them being the finest Claremont has to offer. Claremont is a great town and I love living there. At the same time, it sounds like police or cops or whatever. I just like that it had a couple of meaning to it and people could guess what it’s supposed to mean. Ultimately it’s about the Claremont girls who have lost their way in life.
Eric: It’s almost sarcastic in a way – like this is Claremont’s Finest. There’s a lot of them that we know. We’re still pretty social in the town and still hang out with a lot of close knit high school friends and groups – and we still see a lot of it still continuing on. And we’re getting older – and we wrote this song about the people that haven’t grown up –like when are you going to learn and start growing responsible – pick up the pieces and get your life together. It’s a very positive, uplifting message behind the song…
Kyle: At the end…
Eric: …at the end of it.
What could one expect from your live show?
Kyle: We’re all about energy. I grew up listening to bands like Fall Out Boy. Fall Out Boy was always my favorite live band to see, it was always because they were so freakin’ energetic because they were jumping around everywhere.
Eric: The Early November was another one – they always brought it live – a lot of energy – and Story of The Year. We were growing up during that time where bands were going crazy – and nowadays you don’t see it that much. I’ve seen – I’m not going to name them – but I’ve seen a couple of modern pop punk bands that are just awesome – they’ve got the crowd right now and they’re selling mad albums and are at the top of the charts – and you go see them live – and they have 100’s of thousands of dying fans in front of them screaming, and they’re just standing there like trees. We’re trying to bring back and make sure that our shows we’re giving 110 percent. We want to bring back that early millennia energy that a lot of bands had that seemed to have disappeared.
Kyle: It’s supposed to be fun! I like being musically proficient as much as the next guy. Being in a band is fun and playing music in front of people is fun. I’d rather have fun, and if I miss a note of two on the guitar – that’s alright – God will forgive me!
Eric: It’s a live show and we’re all about that. Just bringing it and getting the fans and the crowd involved.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Kyle: I think the best show I would ever want to play on for me personally – it would be Taking Back Sunday and Brand New headlining a show. To play with those two bands – I would go crazy onstage and I would go crazy in the crowd after our set.
Eric: I would have to agree with Kyle on Taking Back Sunday. I feel they’re a big influence of this band and a big reason why we started it in the first place. And I would say The Starting Line – I feel like we share a lot of the same sound and melody as The Starting Line. I feel like we could share fans with them really well. A show with The Starting Line would really benefit us as far as our fans base, I feel.
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check your band out?
Kyle: Just thanks. We appreciate anybody who’s willing to spend even five minutes of their time checking us out. Clicking the “Like” button on Facebook. Every one fan means the world.
Eric: We know that in this day and age, everybody’s got a band now – everybody is on social media – everybody is spamming everyone to like their product. A lot of it gets tuned out by people nowadays. If people actually take that one minute to genuinely check us out – get back to us – let us know what you think. That’s what we’re all about and that means the world to us. Words can’t describe how much that means to us – even if you don’t like it. Just check it out and tell us what you think.
The New Varsity is:
Kyle Feyk-Miney – Guitar/Lead Vox
Eric Putnam – Lead Guitar/Back up Vox
Diante’ Thomas – Bass/Back up Vox
Taz Reeves – Drums
(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)
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