The Rock City archives: 2016


  • Sunday 20th November 2016
  • Supported by: TBC

“It was all very punk rock,” explains Brian Sella, singer and guitarist for the Front Bottoms. He’s referring to their self-booked, bedroom-recorded, basement-playing days, but the same could be said of their approach to the “million-dollar studio experiences” that led to their 2015 full-length, Back on Top. Such do-it-yourself tendencies translate to their live ethos, as well: In 2014, the New Jersey band presented and headlined a sold-out, 15-band, three-floor show at New York’s Webster Hall. And now, on the cusp of their second U.S. headlining tour in support of Back on Top, they continue to design their own merch, pitch music video ideas, and take every opportunity they get to tour.

“I joke about it, but it is sort of true,” Sella tells SPIN, adding that the Front Bottoms have been on tour for the past seven years. “I haven’t really had more than two months off the road.” This year will be no different. Along with their spring tour — Sella admits he’s especially excited to open in Buffalo, being a big Rick James fan — the band will make their debut appearances on the major-festival junket.

The band’s earliest self-released albums from 2008 to 2011 were put together by the then-folk-punk duo — Sella and drummer Mat Uychich — along with “whoever was in the room.” “That’s always been the attitude,” the 27-year-old frontman says. “Get everybody involved. ‘You can play the bongos real good? Okay, come up and play.’” After the addition of Ciaran O’Donnell (trumpet, guitar, keyboard) and Tom Warren (bass), the band showcased their growth on 2013’s Talon of the Hawk, and 2014’s Rose EP, a reworking of six beloved, pre-Bar/None deep cuts. Signing to major label Fueled By Ramen in 2015 gave them the opportunity to further polish their winning melodies and conversational lyrics, resulting in more the fuller sound of Back on Top. As Sella points out, “When you step into a more professional style, you can’t be like ‘Oh okay, here’s the song. It hasn’t been mixed and there’s no bass guitar.’”


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