The Days and Nights of American Teeth
The Days and Nights of American Teeth
American Teeth is the sonic alter ego of Elijah Noll, who collaborates alongside producer Colin Brittain (All Time Low, A Day To Remember, ONE OK ROCK, Papa Roach) and this meeting of the minds has resulted in quite a journey into the realm of pop punk and beyond. Hailing from Portland, Maine but currently based in Los Angeles, American Teeth recently signed to Fearless Records and plan to release his debut album later this year. With singles such as Barred Out and One Of These Days already making a lasting impression on all types of music fans, American Teeth is slated to open the Aftershock Music Festival in Sacramento and has other live shows in the works as well. Highwire Daze recently interviewed Elijah Noll find out a whole lot more about the up and coming American Teeth and their absolutely exhilarating, imaginative songs! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in American Teeth and how long you’ve been doing this project.
I am the singer, writer, co-producer of American Teeth. I started the project – we’re coming up on two years in June actually. So, it’s a fairly new project that came out of a session that I had with my now frequent collaborator Colin Brittain – who’s a great producer. We had a session with Munky from KORN actually – that was kind of put together and we really ended up hitting it off the two of us and started writing songs for fun – and that’s kind of how it all started.
How did you wind up signing with Fearless Records?
That was after a couple of different meetings – Colin and I together ended up going around meeting a couple of different record labels – Fearless was one of them. Colin actually knew Andy Serrao the President of the label – so we ended up popping in there after one of our meetings in the area out here in LA.
You’re originally from Portland, Maine. What was the music scene like in Portland, Maine and were you involved with any bands up there?
The music scene was definitely small. I was more involved as a fan of the emo scene up in the area. I don’t know if you know the band Sparks The Rescue – I went to some of their shows. We had a few venues like The State Theater. The Cumberland County Civic Center was kind of like our arena-type venue. I specifically remember seeing My Chemical Romance and Green Day there, which were pretty pivotal moments for me at the time. I used to play mostly house parties in kid’s basements and stuff like that. I definitely didn’t explode on the Portland, Maine scene. I was more kind of a fan within the scene.
And now you’re all the way across the country in Los Angeles which has a legendary music scene. What did you think of the music scene out here prior to the pandemic?
I think that it’s actually growing because of the ability to connect virtually and all of that. I feel like people are just more driven to connect whether it’s through Zoom or Facetime. You could just do a quick meetup to see if it’s worth working together. It’s different than when shows are happening, but I do a lot of stuff on the writing side of the music scene out here, so I’ve been able to really connect with a lot of people – not only in Los Angeles but all over via Zoom. I’ve personally found that my network has expanded pretty quickly throughout this strange time.
What has it been like to write and release new music for American Teeth in the middle of a pandemic and all this social unrest in the world?
It’s definitely helped fuel my creativity and the creation process around that. As far as releasing, it’s been interesting because it’s really kind of this thing where you’re putting it out and you don’t get to go play it live like you usually would. Like you’re just putting it out there. I’m focusing more on getting the song out and really making sure that I’m creating visuals that match the story I’m trying to tell or the vibe that I want people to feel. And I’ve been getting into TikTok too which has been an interesting journey.
Let’s talk about your new song One Of These Days and what inspired the lyrics for you.
That song is essentially about acceptance honestly. It’s about waking up and just feeling terrible right off the bat. A lot of times when I’m feeling down or I’m going through a bad day, I’ll try to deny that that’s happening, or try to convince myself “It’s fine. I’ll be fine…” and just push through. But I found recently with some trial and error that sometimes often when you just accept that you’re having a shitty day, and allow yourself to feel that, you can move past it quicker. It’s really kind of the meaning behind the whole thing – let go and accept that you’re having a shitty day – and by doing that, most of the time you’ll be able to move forward that way.
You have another song called Barred Out that you did with Twin XL – Cameron Walker who used to be in Weatherstar and The Ready Set. How did that collaboration come about, and tell me a little about that song?
Yeah, that was a fun one! That one came out of a co-writing session that we had with Cameron. I brought him in with the intention of doing some stuff for American Teeth. And while we were writing, he was singing the pre-chorus part that he’s featured on. Colin and I heard him singing on it and he just killed that performance of it! I got up on the mic and sang the same thing, and it just didn’t feel the same. There was something about his take that felt really natural and perfect for it. And we told him if you want to be on this track, it would be a great way to cross our worlds. And he was down and that’s how it all kind of came together. It was pretty natural.
You also did something with the band Dreamers called Still Not Dead. Tell me how that came about.
That was actually another situation where there was another co-writing situation with Nick from Dreamers and I and Colin. That day the intent was to do a Dreamers song, so I wasn’t intending on being on the song. But it was the day a little over a year ago that Kobe Bryant passed away – and Nick had just gotten back from a trip from his hometown in Seattle – unfortunately one of his childhood friends had committed suicide, so he was coming back from that funeral. It was really a dark day for everybody in general. I’ve had plenty of loss and death in my life, including my dad when I was like 12 – and a lot of family members over the years. So, we just kind of decided that we were going to write a song about how we were feeling in that moment. It was kind of like glaringly obvious that that’s what we needed to get out. So, we kind of each told our story about our experiences with death and loss – and wanted to put a bit of a spin on it that was hopeful in a way – like a celebration of life amongst all of the loss.
Your producer Colin Brittain – he’s worked with bands such as All Time Low, Papa Roach, 5 Seconds Of Summer – the list is crazy! What is it like working with him?
It’s really fun – we have a good thing. He’s so incredible. His track record shows how talented he is. I think that when you bring both of our talents together, we have something that I feel is really unique – and we just have so much fun creating together.
Providing live shows actually start to happen, what are you looking forward to the most about your appearance at Aftershock later in the year? It looks like you’re playing the same day as My Chemical Romance…
Yeah, it’s crazy man! It’s a dream honestly. I think about Aftershock frequently, and I can’t wait. Performing is my all-time favorite piece of music, and being an artist I just can’t wait to jump around on a festival stage. It’s going to be so amazing!
If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I would say that number one would be The 1975. I’m a really big fan of that band, and I think the band has really developed this awesome fan base that I would really love to perform for. My Chemical Romance is one of them, but I happen to be technically opening the stage for them, so that’s going to be Step 1. Step 2 would definitely be being a direct opener on a My Chemical Romance tour. That would be just completely insane. I’m a big fan of Gerard Way and his artistry and his creativity – and I just think that would be so cool!
If the music of American Teeth was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a good question because I love donuts. This isn’t my favorite donut, but I think this represents us the best – a rainbow sprinkle chocolate donut. The sprinkles for me represent the many colors – the many dimensions of the sound that American Teeth has. And maybe it has a soft cream filling because the music a lot of times has a hard outer shell, but there’s a softness and warmth in the middle.
What do you hope the rest of 2021 brings for American Teeth?
A lot more live shows – I want to manifest that now. More live opportunities and the ability to connect with real people in person – and to meet new people that way. An album is happening this year, and that’s exciting. And I’m also experimenting with some visual stuff with creating little, short films and things around the music – so definitely more of that as well.
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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