New Jersey’s A Boy Named John may have just released their first full-length album, So We Live | So We Die, but that doesn’t mean that they plan on laying low for the rest of the year. With tour dates throughout the rest of July, including a highly anticipated show at Webster Hall with The Funeral Portrait, A Boy Named John are ready to show us what they’re made of. Stronger and better sounding than ever, this sextet is ready to take the world by storm. Listen to So We Live | So We Die, and catch them at a show near you! (Tour dates below.)
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about A Boy Named John for any readers who may not be familiar?
Jack Lips [Guitar]: Sure! We are A Boy Named John, an alternative punk rock band based out of northern New Jersey. Our sound comes from a variety of influences from bands like My Chemical Romance, Bayside, Pierce The Veil, and Brand New. We like to include a hard driving punk sound while incorporating theatrics and softer indie vibes as well to create the sound that is A Boy Named John.
How do you feel the New Jersey music scene has affected A Boy Named John as a band? What is the best part about being part of the scene?
Jack Lips: The New Jersey Music Scene has been great for us as a band. We started playing local shows when we were around 13/14 years old every single weekend and had a blast. It really helped us grow and mature by seeing what these older bands were doing successfully and also what not to do. Everyone in the scene has, for the most part, been super supportive and friendly to us and it really is like a big old family. We’ve made some awesome connections and friendships in the scene and I think the best part of it would be how much of a home it feels like for all of us and how we always have that family from the music scene to always count and rely on.
You guys just released your new full-length, So We Live | So We Die. What does this album and the title mean to you?
Chris Singh [Vocals]: Well, at first the album name was kind of a shot in the dark. Then we all listened to the songs, figured out what they mean collectively and came up with this: We’re too afraid to break routine and the simplicities of life. So We Live | So We Die is kind of a mockery of that idea, we’re not gonna stand for the easy simple life.
What are you most excited for listeners to hear on the album?
Josh Lustig [Guitar]: I’m excited for people to hear “Eye of the Harbinger” because it’s the song that shows the most growth as musicians. I think that the guitar harmonies that carry the motif throughout the song blended with the tasteful ambient noises really show how we’ve progressed as songwriters. I’m also excited for people to hear “Sir Rock” because I wrote the first lyrics to that song years ago and never did anything with it until now. It’ll be nice to get feedback about what people think of the mix of new ideas and old ideas.
What was the biggest challenge you came across while working on the album? What was the most rewarding part?
Josh Lustig: The mixing and mastering process was definitely the most difficult because we are perfectionists. This dynamic causes us to send the mixes back and forth a thousand times until we have exactly what we want. The fact that it’s such a mission to achieve that “perfect mix” makes it extremely gratifying when it’s done. Luckily, we had Kevin Kumetz who did an amazing job at helping us achieve the sound we were looking for!
How do you feel you’ve grown or evolved with the writing and recording of the album?
Jack Lips: Writing this record has definitely challenged us as a band. We tried a lot of new things and took a few risks that we hope will pay off. The writing process for this particular record was long and thought out but we agree that it’s the best of ABNJ so far. We wanted to write a record that would open up the eyes of the listener and inspire some change in this messed up world. As a band and individual musicians we really expanded our comfort zone, tried a lot of new styles and matured our sound to get the best record that we can put out there.
You have a few shows coming up in support of So We Live | So We Die – what about these upcoming shows are you most excited about?
Dean Mulligan [Drums]: I’d say the most exciting part about these upcoming shows is definitely being able to play at new venues in front of new people. First in Nyack and then in NYC, we love traveling and seeing what other areas have to offer musically. Our upcoming show at Webster Hall on July 19th is going to be our second time playing there and we can’t wait to show off the new music to the always exciting Studio at Webster Hall crowd.
With the album out now and tour this month, do you have any other big plans coming up?
Nick Spillert [Bass]: Yes we have a lot in store for us! We’re excited to see where this album takes us in the coming months. On July 19 we’ll be back at Webster Hall with The Funeral Portrait and The Ivory. It’s one of our favorite venues to play and it’s going to be a good time. Then later in summer we’re touring in Virginia and Boston. We have a bunch of other things in the works too like another music video and more so keep up with our social media pages!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dean Mulligan: I would just like to add that we are excited to see what the music industry has in store for us. We’ve already had the pleasure of working with various companies and meeting amazing people who share the same passion as we do! We are here to share meaningful messages through our music and ourselves as people. Now it’s time to rock on and show people how A Boy Named John does it.