Calling On The Indie Rock Hotline of Answering Machine
Calling On The Indie Rock Hotline of Answering Machine
Answering Machine from Brooklyn, NY is ready to rock the nation and beyond with their super infectious tapestries. Bad Luck is the name of Answering Machine’s latest endeavor, now available through Wiretap Records. Featuring rip roaring songs that will remain in your head long after the disc spins to an end, Bad Luck by Answering Machine is certainly your hotline to some very exciting indie rock. Highwire Daze recently made a connection with Answering Machine to find out more about this supersonic band on the rise. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Answering Machine, and how long the band has been together.
Hey! This is J.D. (guitar/vocals) and Samantha (vocals). Answering Machine has been together since 2016.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
We’re based out of Brooklyn, NY. We’ve become close friends with a lot of other musicians and bands in the area. It’s cool to be able to play shows in Brooklyn with pals. Craig (bassist) also plays in the band Cold Wrecks and Louis (drums) also plays in the band Pest! No two bands really sound the same here, which is great. We’re all doing our own things.
How did you wind up signing with Wiretap Records?
Our bassist, Craig, met up with Rob from Wiretap at Fest last year down in Florida. We had our album written and we started talking about a possible release soon after that.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Bad Luck title?
The title was named after one of the songs on our album. I wrote Bad Luck when I was going through a tough time. In the beginning, I blamed it on having bad luck, but later realized that it was something I needed to go through in order to come out stronger. It commiserates those who are struggling, and reminds us that people are way more resilient than they think they are. – Sam
Select two songs from Bad Luck and what inspired the lyrics.
‘Marie’ was written in memory of my grandmother. I’ve always called her Grandma Anne, and only recently found out that her full name was Marie Antoinette. I’m one of her seven granddaughters in a big family. When she passed away, it was really tough on us, but we’ve all been finding solace in telling stories about her life. It only made sense to write a song about her. – Sam
The first track, Riverdale, is a song I wrote about finally facing all these different aspects about becoming an adult. I started to pay off some debts, I moved in with my now wife, and started to find ways to feel a little more happy. That song’s about confrontation. We thought it sounded like a song from The River (the Bruce album) and that gradually turned into the title, Riverdale. – J.D.
Who produced Bad Luck and what was it like working with them?
We produced the album ourselves. Bad Luck was engineered and mixed by John Mollusk and mastered by Jesse Cannon. We recorded our last EP with John as well. He’s the best. He’ll pick up on an influence from a certain guitar lick or a melody in the vocals and get the perfect sound for the song. He’s extremely fast and hard working. We tracked and mixed the whole album in only three days…
With two members of Answering Machines being teachers in Brooklyn, have your students ever heard or commented on your music?
My students beg to know my band’s name and I just refuse to tell them. I do run a guitar club though so they’ve heard me play. I teach high schoolers so I’m trying to pass down a love of guitar in music and maybe get a new generation of punks going. They’ve googled me several times but haven’t found us yet… – J.D.
I have played my students a clip of our song Wallow before, but I tell them that I will only tell them our band name once they have graduated and gone on to middle school (I teach elementary). Last year, a few of my students somehow managed to find a random, old YouTube video of me playing an acoustic set and left comments on it! It was a little awkward haha. So from now on my students will just have to wait to find out about our band 🙂 – Sam
What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic? Have you had any shows or tours cancelled because of it?
We have had some shows cancelled this month but we have some live stream unplugged sets planned soon. The call for social-distancing has reminded us all how much we love playing music together. We miss band practice and can’t wait to get back to it. It’s important to take things day by day and stay connected as a band however we possibly can.
What could one expect from a live Answering Machine show?
Once it’s safe to play out again, you can expect to see some people just having a great time with each other on stage. This band is such therapy for all of us. On a good night we’ll play nice and loud, keep the harmonies tight, and fly through the set with little hesitation. Maybe we’ll throw in a nice cover here or there.
If Answering Machine could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We might all have different answers for that one…I think I’ll have to say The Replacements. They’re our namesake and a big influence on us. They would always play whatever kind of music they felt like and had a lot of fun doing it. We don’t have any guidelines when it comes to songwriting. Whatever sounds the best wins. Bands like The Clash and The Replacements weren’t afraid to mix things up. Or nevermind, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. That’s my answer. – J.D.
I would have to agree on opening for the Replacements or Bruce! That would be so cool. Also, opening up for Jenny Lewis would be an absolute dream. I’m pretty sure that watching the music video for “Portions for Foxes” by Rilo Kiley as an angsty teen was the very moment I decided I wanted to sing in a band. – Sam
Your press release mentions Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks as influences? Would Samantha and JD ever want to do a cover of Stop Draggin My Heart Around or has that already happened?
We love that song! We’ve actually covered “Insider” in the past and would totally consider playing a cover of ‘Stop Draggin My Heart Around’. We joke about how our favorite musicians sang on each others albums.
If the music of Answering Machine was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
A classic glazed donut because it’s delicious and it never goes out of style.
What’s up next for Answering Machine?
Our new album ‘Bad Luck’ will be released on Friday, April 17th. We’re planning to post a live stream set for FEST on the 16th and we’re playing FEST In Gainesville in November of this year. We’ve also started writing some more songs 😉
Any final words of wisdom?
“We learned more from a 3 minute record baby, than we ever learned in school.” – Bruce Springsteen
Samantha – Vocals,
JD – Guitar & Vocals,
Jackson – Guitar,
Craig – Bass,
Louis – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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