Alt-Rock is BACK; Meet SixTwoSeven
SixTwoSeven are a promising Seattle band that have been treading new ground with their debut release, Some Other’s Day. The group who will also be playing a show in their hometown of Seattle this weekend, are creating a stir wherever they go. Their incredible brand of Alt-Rock makes the group a favorite among many, as they have quickly been gaining momentum in the music scene. I had the chance to chat with frontman as well as brainchild of SixTwoSeven Greg Bilderback, to speak about all of their upcoming plans for this year, and what went into creating their epic, debut masterpiece.
Recently the group released the album, “Some Other’s Day.” Did the group write the record as a collaborative effort, or did a specific songwriter in the band take the reigns?
Funny you should ask. I actually recorded a 7 song demo all by myself over a period of about 5 or 6 years. I literally played all of the instruments, drums first, then laid down the bass, guitar and sang, even back-ups and extra guitars. I never really intended to do anything with it commercially, really after a lifetime behind the drums I just kind of just wanted to find out if these riffs I had been kicking around had any merit as songs. So after hacking away at it in my spare time I finally had something finished enough to show to Mike, and he liked it well enough to get Dave on board, we more or less evolved from there. We went into the studio with the intent of just getting an EP done to introduce ourselves to the world. We picked 3 songs from the demo, and then we wrote one all-together (One Single Night). Our goal now is to survive financially long enough to hopefully do it again, only this time a full length record, and of course not starting from zero, perhaps won’t be quite as much of an uphill battle.
When it came to writing the songs, how long did it take to put the pieces together and find the right sound? How did you decide to choose the pieces that made it on to the album?
Well, the whole process for the 3 songs from the demo went kind of like I said, and they took ages to come around. One Single Night on the other hand, Mike just showed me the riff he was playing with, and we started jamming it. I think about 5 minutes later we had a song. It clicked. We have written a few new songs together as well since then, you might be lucky enough to hear one if you can catch us live. We even have a rap song in our live set. I can throw down some rhymes, I’m not going to lie. The reason behind what we went with on the EP was based on input from our producer Jack (Endino) and our attorney, some other folks in our corner. We added One Single Night without consulting anyone because I just felt like it was the right thing to do, for there to be at least one song on the record that everyone had a hand in writing from square one. It isn’t a solo project, at least not anymore. We’re like a family now.
What was the driving inspiration behind the concept of the album?
To pick the 4 songs that best categorized what kind of music we wish more bands made, what we want to hear when we listen to the radio. Blue Collar Rock and Roll, guitars, you know, with strings, plugged into amps, preferably ones with tubes. I like digital sounds, don’t get me wrong, peep my pedal board for example, but I like doing it using analog tools, if that even makes sense. Anyhow, basically we wanted to make songs that are just plain ROCK. Who is doing that anymore, besides the Foo Fighters, or Muse? Even great really rocking bands like Royal Blood don’t seem to get much coverage. We aren’t on a label that dictates our financial decisions, our resources aren’t tied up in other bands or projects right now, we want to make good old fashioned rock music, NEW rock music, not some 80’s or 90’s reunion band, but something you haven’t heard already, and to make it available to as many listeners as possible. We think the world needs that really badly at the moment.
Is there any information you can share with us about the new release?
The EP is called “Some Other’s Day” and is out now. We named it that, because we literally went into the studio on some Mother’s Day, and recorded a record together. We did that out of necessity, not out of any novelty, but we went with the name and dedicated the record to Momma Bilderback, as she is the mother of 3/5 of the band, and she saw none of them on Mother’s Day 2016 poor lady. The artwork on the cover was a collaboration between myself and DC (Dave Cook) and it took about 4 or 5 days maybe altogether to finish just that picture. I like it a lot though, it fits the Mother’s Day theme, it fell into place very nicely I think. It has that Dinosaur Jr. cover art feel to it, I like that. Cartoony, but serious, like Shell Silverstein on LSD.
You are embarking on a West Coast tour starting in August. What dates are you most excited about playing?
We are super excited to play the Mint in LA. Not only are we aware of it’s sort of legendary mystique, but we have heard a lot of really great things from other bands we know who have played there recently. They all say it’s really fun, and it’s in Los Angeles, it’s a Saturday, the line-up is insane, it’s sort of the turn-around for point for the whole trip, it’s one I have had my eye on for sure. Also really looking forward to playing the Analog in Portland on the way back up. We play with the Welkin Dim and Amelia who we have played with before, as well as Drive on Mak our touring partners, that show should be outstanding. I like Portland a lot, it’s a great city, I can’t wait for that show, it will be a blast no doubt.
Being a West Coast band, is there any thought of heading East for dates in the next year?
Maybe in our fantasies, but not in our current budget at least for the next few months. In all seriousness we would love to, we have a ton of connections out that way through business we have done, but we all still have day jobs, there isn’t any money in this that I’m aware of, so we have to make decisions very carefully to ensure our long-term survivability. Jason lives in Austin, TX and that is how we are connected with Drive on Mak, going to Austin and playing a few venues there and in San Marcos, maybe Dallas or something seems more responsible at the moment, with there being people with whom we could stay, and use their gear, sleep on their couches and bum rides to the show, you know, the glamor or being traveling rock stars.
Greg, you have spent most of your musical career behind the drums. How does it feel to take the lead on SixTwoSeven? How has it changed the way you perform live?
So fun, I can’t believe it. Getting off the leash and running around, it’s my dream come true. Every kid who ever dreamed of being a rock star has dreamt of being the guy up front in the middle with the lights on him. I will say this though, I get much more nervous, like butterflies in the stomach nervous, now before shows. Playing the drums is automatic for me. Playing the guitar, while a blast, is not something where I see other people do it, and I think, I could play what that guy is playing. I look at everyone else who is playing the guitar and I think, how the hell do they do that? I could never do that. It wasn’t until after the record was recorded, we were all in my truck driving home listening to the mixes, and Dave said to me, “I know you think you were a drummer, but maybe you were born to play the guitar”, I was like, huh, never really thought of it working out that way. A strange evolution for sure.
Coming from the Seattle scene, what diversity for you find within the bands that play in the area? What sense of community is there currently?
We haven’t really played that much in Seattle yet as SixTwoSeven. I haven’t played out much in the last few years before that, so it’s changed a lot since the late 90’s when I was gigging really actively. Very dead now. Large clubs closed on Friday nights, no Pioneer Square “one cover get you into all the clubs” kind of thing like I remember. They are in different places now, and they have different challenges now with city noise ordinances and what have you, so it isn’t like you think when you think Seattle Music Scene, not like that movie “Singles” or anything. Don’t get me wrong when people like a band they will come out to see them, Monday, Tuesday, doesn’t matter. But if you are a new rock band, making new original music with drums and guitars and stuff, it’s pretty tough. There aren’t many of us (rock bands), and the venues are even fewer, especially if you don’t tip the scale over into Metal or Post Hardcore, it’s hard to do here. So when you do find great bands, like Amelia (Eugene, OR) or the Welkin Dim (Portland, OR) you want to make sure you stay in touch and set up more shows with them again. Those are the kinds of bands it will take to build a scene, that’s what we want to do. Seattle has a ton of great music right now, but the market is ripe for something like what we are doing. Something with a little punch. It’s ok for Seattle to have attitude like Richard Sherman or Gary Payton, or SixTwoSeven.
What artists not influenced your sound, but made you want to create music, even early on in your life?
For Jason and I, we grew up on the Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division before we made our way into the punk thing, Dead Kennedy’s, Black Flag, NOFX. Eventually heading more alt-ish, like Fugazi, Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du, but everything changed for all of us when we discovered Nomeansno from Vancouver BC. They just blew our minds. Our entire high school musician crowd became obsessed. Everything about how they made their music seemed to break the conventional rules that we knew, yet at the same time, they were beautifully masterful when listened to with the trained musical ear. If you don’t know who they are you are definitely missing out. That made everything look and sound different to me, and I’m sure it is some of where our edge comes from as a band. Then this last December I went and saw Muse at Key Arena for the Drones tour. I decided that night I was done spectating. That show was so awesome. I knew I had to be on stage again after that, up front this time. Matt Bellamy is nuts, I’m not even sure I could speak if we ever met. Serious hero there.
What connection have you found in SixTwoSeven that you may not have found in prior bands? What makes the group ‘click’?
I think it’s the fact that every guy in this band could be the front man in his own band if he wanted to, literally they all play all the instruments. We are seriously the all-star reject band from our town. One guy each from a few good bands at our high school, and not the “popular” guy that you might think, nope not us, we are the “no name” guys from those bands. That’s our roster I’m serious. But kind of like everything Pacific Northwest, we have a chip on our shoulder about it, and that chip, is what makes us tick. We know when people see our names in the paper they think “why those guys?”, hey we get it, we are thinking the same thing. I think the reason why is exactly that, maybe this band is new, but we aren’t, and we still have that chip. We have paid our dues, now it’s our turn to shed some light on an area jam packed with talent, that is largely overlooked. We all are pretty united in that goal. We are going to do it right this time. Have you seen the 30 Seconds to Mars Movie “Artifact”? We are the new model.
If you had to choose 1 song from the upcoming record as your absolute favorite, what would it be, and why so?
One Single Night. It’s new (even to me), we wrote it together, it rocks so hard, it’s lean, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s still strange, it really sums up everything I was after when I wanted to create a band, but on top of it all, we all wrote it together.
In your own words, how would you describe the SixTwoSeven sound to new listeners?
The most beautiful ass whoopin’ your ears ever took. Guitar rock for the blue collar worker. We can relate, we are living very normal everyday blue collar working class lives, just like you. We want to make music about your frustrations, your concerns, they are our concerns and frustrations too. That’s what music does, it acts as therapy, we’d like to help you with that. Warning, we have no formal therapy training as counselors, but we do have drums and guitars….you know, the kind with strings.
SixTwoSeven is live at the Funhouse in Seattle, Washington on 9/18