UTG @ MIXTAPE FEST: Microwave Discuss Writing Process Behind ‘Stovall,’ Hint At New Material

microwave

Alternative rock outfit Microwave recently wrapped up a quick run with You Blew It! and Sorority Noise. The band played three consecutive shows in New York, one of which was a stop at Long Island’s Mixtape Festival, where they played alongside bands like Incendiary, Crime In Stereo, The Movielife, and more.

Under The Gun had the pleasure of catching up with the Georgia, Atlanta four-piece after they played a killer set during Mixtape Fest. The band discussed the recording process behind their well-recieved debut full-length album, Stovall. They also talked about their recent signing to SideOneDummy and their plans for the near future. Check out the full interview below.

Nathan Hardy (vocals/guitar): This is a cool little room. They went all out with the comfy couches.

Tyler Hill (bass/band Mom/packs lunch for everyone): Apparently this is where they do hip-hop shows.

NH: …this room?

Wesley Swanson (guitar/backup vocals): [laughs] No, the venue.

NH: Oh. [laughs] Yeah, there’s not a huge hip-hop scene in this room.

Under The Gun: DMX was actually supposed to play here a couple weeks ago but he got sent to prison.

TH: He would. That silly knucklehead.

Tito Pittard (percussion): There’s this really hilarious video of him screaming during a slingshot amusement park ride. He was cussing and yelling the whole time. It’s great.

UTG (to Tito): You’re the guy who’s always popping up and being quoted on Twitter.

TP: Yeah, apparently!

NH: Titto’s a high-profile guy. The face of the band, for sure.

WS: He’s actually on one of our shirts.

TH: When one of our Audiotree sessions got posted, the comments were like, “Walter White on the drums!” So we made a Breaking Bad shirt with his face on it.

UTG: How was your first NYC show?

TH: It was awesome! That was our first ever New York show. Pretty insane.

NH: It sold out. It was really hot and sweaty, but it was great.

WS: That was probably the rowdiest crowd of the tour, too.

UTG: I want to go into a little bit of the band’s history. How were you guys formed and when did you decide that this band was something you wanted to do?

NH: We formed in late 2012, around the mutual love for Tito.

UTG: You guys are fairly new. I’m not sure how often you’ve already gotten this, but where did “Microwave” come from?

TH: Out of the blue, really. We used to practice at this storage area and our name at that time was “Blue Shake” but they didn’t really like that. So we started throwing around names and someone at a party threw out the “Microwave.” We were like, “fuck it.”

UTG: I was telling one of my friends that I was listening to a band called Microwave and she goes, “That’s so Brooklyn.”

NH: Is it? How come?

UTG: I guess people find that it’s a really hipster name.

TP: Is it?! Is it cool? [laughs] We always get shit for it!

WS: We get so much shit for it. But that’s cool that it’s cool.

UTG: Also searching it up on Google is a bit hard.

TH: Exactly. It’s hard because you type it up and all this scientific shit pops up. It was always a placeholder until I could find something better, but it kind of clicked.

UTG: You guys mentioned Blue Shake earlier, but did you have other musical endeavors prior to this band?

TP: Me and Wesley were in a band called Iron Wolves. It was sort of death metal… That didn’t go well. [laughs]

WS: Tyler used to be in this band called We Are Only Fiction.

TP: What was your band called, Nathan?

NH: I don’t wanna talk about it.

Everyone: [laughs]

NH: Tito was also in Have You Seen My Ghost. They were huge on MySpace.

UTG: You’re all from Georgia, correct?

NH: Yup. All of us are from North Georgia, I’d say.

UTG: What is the music scene like down there?

TH: Atlanta has so many awesome bands. Some are really active and some are just nonchalantly doing their thing. There is definitely no shortage of sick bands. We’re fortunate enough to be friends with a lot of them.

WS: Everybody thinks it’s mostly hip-hop over there, but there are a bunch in our scene. It’s really diverse and there’s always a lot going on.

UTG: [Nathan] actually talked about this at the Brooklyn show last night, and I was going to bring it up today: In terms of Stovall, which is a great record, by the way, you mentioned that the a lot of the lyrical context was about your childhood.

NH: Yup, it was.

UTG: Specifically, “Mansions In The Sky” was really interesting. Was that the younger version of you speaking their mind?

NH: Yeah. It was actually supposed to be very sarcastic. When I was younger, I was very involved in a bunch of stuff. Had to go to church every morning before school, stuff like that.

UTG: Do you do majority of the songwriting?

NH: As far as the lyrical and vocal stuff goes, I write as a guy with an acoustic guitar, but we sort of tailor it together for the full band.

TP: He creates the skeleton and we flesh it out together.

UTG: When you guys were starting out, did you know that [Stovall] was what you wanted Microwave to sound like?

WS: Nope. We all have really different influences. The fact that everyone has a say in what’s going on affects the sound.

NH: It’s definitely evolved so much since we started writing.

TP: Everyone is kind of feeding off of each other’s creativity, which is nice.

UTG: When you guys were writing, was there a particular song you wrote one way that turned out a lot differently than you intended?

WS: I would say “Trash Stains” turned out infinitely better than I thought. We had that particular riff for a while. We had the basic structure, but the final version came together unexpectedly.

NH: It was really last-minute.

WS: Yeah, we had everything set, but we needed one more song. It ended up being one of our favorites on the album.

TP: Yeah, Nathan works really well under pressure.

UTG: Did you have a sense that the first track, “Stovall,” was gonna be the “crowd favorite”?

NH: Not really. We have a wide range of what people tell us they like most. A lot of it is upbeat and pop-punk. We didn’t know who was going to latch on to which.

TH: We didn’t think anybody was gonna like “Something Right.” So many people liked it and we didn’t even think we were ever gonna play it live.

UTG: Is there a particular song you thought was gonna set you apart from everyone? One that you could point to and consider really special?

TH: I think we can all agree on “Work It Out.” People like that song. Also, I do have a memory of when we were putting everything together. My brother mixed the record and I used to live with him. I came home one night and he was working on mixes really late. He was working on “Trash Stains” and I walk in, he was fucking jamming out, like “this song rules!” It was really exciting.

UTG: You guys recently signed to SideOneDummy. Congratulations! What can we expect from that? Is there any new material soon?

TP: Yes. But that’s about all we can say. Nothing’s really been announced yet.

NH: We’re also recording two songs for a split that hasn’t been announced yet, but it’ll be out this fall. We’re working on a full-length that we’re recording in the winter, so it’ll probably be out next summer. It’ll be our first major release with S1D.

WS: Also, just a little plug, we’re going out with Have Mercy and Somos in October. It’s gonna be awesome.

UTG: Are you looking to change anything when you put out the new record? Either in terms of your sound, or the writing process, or other stuff?

TP: A lot of breakdowns. [laughs]

NH: I’ve always wanted to do each record slightly differently. One of my favorite bands is As Cities Burn, and I always loved how they have a really heavy screamo record, and then they have one that’s a blend of indie and then alternative. Like Radiohead and Mew, too. Ours is more jazzy almost. A lot of lo-fi, jazzy elements.

WS: It’s obviously going to change a bunch overtime. As of now, though, it’s not gonna be as fast and as upbeat, but there are songs that are. We’re not straying too far away, but it’ll be a variety.

UTG: Lastly, individually, if you guys could have anyone listen to Stovall, who would it be?

TH: When I was a kid, I was really into Elvis Presley. I used to dance around my dresser with a fake microphone. I think I’d like to show him.

WS: I’d wanna show it to Obama. I imagine him being like, [imitating Obama’s voice] “Yup, that’s pretty good.”

UTG: It’ll be like that meme, except Obama would actually be holding your record.

Obama Microwave meme2

TP: For me, I think I’d say Kevin Bacon.

NH: It’d be pretty cool to bring Kurt Cobain back from the dead and ask him if he thought we were posers.

You can catch Microwave on tour this fall. Dates for those can be found here.

Dana Reandelar

If not hunched over her desk writing about music, Dana can be found binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or condensing long rants to 140 characters. She also writes for Idobi Radio, and is an Off The Record podcast contributor.
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