Hey there! This is Jordan Blum, a Philly-based music journalist currently writing for several outlets, including The Big Takeover, Popmatters, AXS, Examiner, Rebel Noise, and Rock Society Magazine. Of course, I’m now working with Gashouse Radio to bring you stellar local music coverage, too. For instance, I recently spoke with Barry Phillips, leader singer and guitarist of local alternative rock quartet Audio Impulse. The band is on the cusp of issuing its first EP, Straight Shot, with a release show at Connie’s Ric Rac on March 4th. In preparation for the event, Phillips and I dug deeply into several topics, including his motivations to be a musician, his goals for the band, and of course, his critical yet enthusiastic assessment of both the problems and possibilities of the Philly music scene.
Hey, Barry. How’s it going?
Ah, I’m good. Can’t complain.
Good. Me too. So I suppose the logical place to begin would be to ask you where the name Audio Impulse came from and how you would describe its sound?
Well, the band name is actually pretty cool. All three of us—or all four of us, I mean—are really into video games. We’re into old school video games and all that stuff, and there’s a Super Nintendo game called Chrono Trigger.
Oh, yeah. The game with sixteen different endings.
Yeah, exactly [laughs]. It’s, like, rated as one of the best RPGs [Role Playing Games] of all time. One of the moves in it is called Arc Impulse. We found out that another band had already taken that name, so we just kept rattling off things until we came to Audio Impulse. We checked to make sure that nobody else had it and then we took it. Just through trial and error.
A lot of people, or musicians, rather, seem to be inspired by video games these days. There are people who make an entire career around making music that references video games.
We’re nerds, you know. We love video games and cartoons. We haven’t grown out of our immaturity stages. We all have our opinions on what the best system is, but we’re pretty much Xbox guys. Anyway, that’s how we came up with our name. Our sound is hard to describe. We draw from so many influences. My main influence is Smashing Pumpkins. I love them and grew up listening to them. My guitarist [Nate Blithe] loves Incubus and 311. He’s a huge 311 fan. My bassist [Pat Duffy] loves Thrice. He’s always interested into the attacking bassline. And then our drummer [Joe Freeman] loves The Wonder Years and The Foo Fighters. I mean, we’re all fans of The Foo Fighters. Our biggest influences combined are Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and Nirvana. A lot of stuff. Our sound has been described as, like, punk rock, pop rock, punk rock pop [laughs]. Sometimes we’ll get a comparison to Good Charlotte, and other times it’ll be Blink 182 or Foo Fighters. Just in the alternative rock vein, from the 90s to the 2000s.
I can definitely hear that. As I was watching the video for “Straight Shot,” I was thinking that there was a little bit of Blink 182, but as much punk pop as them or, like, Panic! at the Disco. You guys are more alternative rock, but I see the punk part.
When it comes to punk, I grew up listening to The Sex Pistols and The Ramones and all that. The old school stuff; well, for me it wasn’t old school, but I guess it is now. Then I got into The Pixies, which lead me into Nirvana and that grunge scene. My influences are all over the map. I actually started out listening to my dad’s music, which was Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. Classic rock. It was interesting. That’s what got me to start playing guitar: Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” I was sitting in his car one day, playing air guitar, and I thought, Man, I want to do this for real. I asked my dad for a guitar and I got it that Christmas. The rest has been a history of degeneracy ever since.
Those are definitely some good influences to have.
I took lessons and was trained in classical guitar and stuff. I got into jazz and then into blues and funk. I was in a jam band in high school. I literally listen to everything except country. And by that, I mean pop country. I still like Johnny Cash.
Well that’s the thing. What the media says is “country” is not really country music. It’s pop music with slide guitar and southern accents.
You hit it right on the head. That’s basically what it is, and it kind of sucks that people think that that’s the real music. But who am I to judge, right?
Yeah, I guess. Going back to the group, you formed it back in 2012, with Nate. Both of you came from previous bands. What made you start working together and form Audio Impulse?
Actually, we became friends during our junior year of college. I met him through Pat. Nate and Pat were playing together and Pat started bringing Nate around to hang out. Pat and I were roommates. We all got along really well. I ended up dating this girl and we were living right around the corner from them. About two years, or really a year and a half after living there, the band I was in [Broken Down Sunset] broke up, so me and Nate were talking and we figured that we should just get together and jam. We’d just sit on my porch and jam. I didn’t think much would come of it until my girlfriend at the time—I caught her cheating on me, so we broke up.
I moved out and moved back home. To keep me sane, Nate came out, like, two nights a week just to hang out and jam. We started writing, and that’s actually how the first album [Plug In & Tune Out] started being written. Me and him just sat around and wrote the songs. Then we realized that we needed to get a bassist to fill it out, and we needed a drummer, too, to get a full line up. Basically, we knew that it had to be Pat. We were friends and there was an understanding between all of us. Immediately, he was in the band. He wanted to do it and he liked the music. The drummer search was kind of funny. It was a little random. We put up an ad on Craigslist.
That’s always a risky move.
Yeah. Freeman was one of the few who answered and he was the only who actually came out and tried out. We knew we had to have him in the band; he was just pure natural talent. Afterward, we found out that he never took a lesson a day in his life. He’s just a freaking prodigy. He learned to play from Rock Band, dude [laughs]. Like, get the hell out of here. It’s ridiculous! I don’t have that coordination. I had to spend three years taking lessons, and then I taught for two, and this kid just plays a video game and there he is. One of the best drummers I’ve ever heard.
I think it’s harder to play those games for guitarists because the guitar parts don’t synch up with actually playing, so you expect do strum at different times and stuff. With drumming, it’s a lost more accurate to what it’s really like to be a drummer. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’ve learned drumming just from playing Rock Band.
It’s ridiculous. If I had known that, I probably would’ve picked up a copy myself. I was always a Guitar Hero guy. So we formed and we practiced for about seven or eight months. Then we finished writing the album and practiced for another seven or eight months before we got our first show. Just being in the scene for so long, I knew that I wanted to do it right. I wanted us to be solid before we touched the stage. It showed because our producer said that the only reason why he gave us such a cut rate deal—I mean, me and him worked together previously, but he gave us a great deal because he said, “As soon as you guys walked into the studio, it was amazing to see how tight you were in such a short time.” And that’s kind of the thing we go for. We want to be very tight in the sense that everything we do, including stage presence, has been rehearsed. When we have live show practices—we have two types: studio practices and live show. In the studio, if we screw up we can just restart the song until we get it right, but if we do a live practice we just play through the song. We play a live set. I’ll practice the changing out of a guitar, as if I broke a string or something. We practice things that might happen and make sure that we have all of our backup instrumentation ready. We practice banter on stage. I actually practice what I say to the crowd. You know, everything is rehearsed but you gotta make it sound natural. You have to drill it into year head. That took us about eight months to do.
That’s so good, though, because it seems like so many bands will get on stage and—it’s not that they’re more spontaneous, but it seems like they’re not sure what to do. I’ve heard some people who work in recording studios tell musicians that they shouldn’t even bother coming in if they don’t know what to record and how to do it and what they want to do from the moment they say, “Go!”
So you say that Audio Impulse plays live music with a “no holds barred attitude.” What do you do to ensure that your sets live up to that motto, and do you think that a lot of live bands hold back in that respect?
This is always a good question because it’s hard to really determine what a band does in the sense of what their personality is. My personality is that I’m very outgoing and very boisterous. It’s just who I am. All of us in the band are relatively personable guys. When we get on stage, you know, we just love playing. We love being up there and we want everyone to get involved and be a part of it. Our thing is that we were concert rats as kids. We loved going and hitting the mosh pits and headbanging and singing and jumping around. I find that some bands, when they get up on stage, they kind of forget that music is not the only force of entertainment. They’ll just stand there and play; they really won’t do anything in the sense of jumping off the stage or headbanging. That’s basically what we do. I’m all over the map. I jump into the crowds when I can, when I’m not on the mic. We all headbang and we love to dance and act like total nut jobs on stage because we have so much fun with it. We love the music so much that we can’t help but get into it. That’s our main thing. We just want the energy amped up so much that nobody can stand still when they hear us play. The only way to do that is to entice them by being a total maniac yourself on stage. Crowds are more welcoming if they see that you’re going just as nuts as them.
A lot of people, when they go to shows, have a hard time breaking out of their shell. If they see us making complete asses of ourselves in front of everyone, they’re not going to be afraid to do it themselves [laughs]. We just like to have fun. Some bands get up there and they’re too focused on what they’re playing (because they don’t want to screw up) or they’re nervous or just not as seasoned. It kind of dampens the energy of the show, and people don’t feel as into it.
Especially with the genres you guys go for. You have to make sure that it’s, well, maybe not rowdy, but a bit unpredictable and free-spirited. Going along with that, how important is the interaction with fans? What do you do to ensure that they feel acknowledged and appreciated?
That’s the beauty of it. Everyone can relate to that, to going to that one show and seeing that one musician and thinking, Yes! This guy is nuts. That makes the show more fun. It’s memorable.
That goes back to what we were talking about earlier. Take Devin Townsend, for instance. I’ve seen him many times and he’s always out of his mind on stage. It really gets everyone else going crazy.
Exactly. One of the great things about us is that we get a lot of interaction from our fans, both online and live. I try my best to talk to them and see what they like about the show. Most of the time, people who’ve never seen us before—one of the main reasons we gain fans is that people bring their friends because they’re like, “You’ll have so much fun at this show.” The network keeps growing and the fan base gets bigger. It’s awesome because we have a reputation for having a really good live show. It’s mostly because we go so crazy, which has been beneficial in getting us further ahead in the scene and being a band of prominence among the local fairing.
For sure. You guys are remarkably tight. You sound very professional and well-rehearsed. And you seem very dedicated, even in what you’re saying now.
You know, it’s just one of those things where we just love it. We’ve been lucky enough to have people who are willing to invest their time in us, like my producer, Shane Garland, who—I guess we can announce that we’re now signed to his label, Hunger Before Greed Productions. He gives us free reign over studio time whenever we want. It’s great because we can sit there and hash it out, and we still have control over the sound that we want. We’re always open to his interpretation because he’s not just producing it, he’s engineering it too. We can keep working to get better sound.
It’s great that you have that kind of freedom and opportunity.
Yeah, and it helps because as a local band, we have some cred but we won’t become regional. We want to become regional to the point where, you know, we can book anywhere in the northeast and be a well-known band. Then we want to crack into being national. To do that, you have to invest the time. Man, we’re so busy. It’s ridiculous.
It sounds like it, but that means you’ll never give up on it, no matter what trouble comes with it.
I love it, and they love it, and the fans love it. Why stop? It’s true what they say—if you enjoy what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.
Absolutely. So speaking of the video for “Straight Shot,” the title track from the new EP, what was the process for making it and conceptualizing it? Also, how was the reception to it been?
Well, “Straight Shot” is a very straightforward song. It’s a break-up song. It’s the typical kind of what you’d think is a break-up song. It has that energy where it feels dirty and raw, but it’s rehearsed dirty and raw. It just sounds awesome because it all came together a lot better than I ever expected in the studio. With a straightforward song with blatantly obvious lyrics, we decided why not a straightforward video? Just do a video of us playing in a basement. It was actually our practice space. It was the first official video that we’d done that wasn’t live. On a personal level, I wanted to ease into it with the band, but it was more about it just fitting in with the straightforwardness of the video. The reception has been insane; I think that within the first month or two, we had over 10,000 plays. We’re at over 16,000 now. I mean, we’ve gotten pretty good reception on it. It’s actually been getting us national attention, to the point that we’re being asked to open for national acts and hop on tours and stuff. I feel really good about that first single coming out, and I think it’ll get even bigger once we release our second one.
That’s what I was going to ask you about next, actually. Do you know what the next single is, and are there any plans to do more videos?
The next video we’re gonna shoot is for “For the Road,” a song that’s already up on our ReverbNation page. I think you can stream it. We were contacted by videographer who does national acts. He saw that we had those 16,000 plays, and he’s friends with our producer, so through him he contacted us to work with us. We agreed to do “For the Road” because it’s a video that we can spend time with. It’s got a story and a premise to it, so we can actually have something that, instead of being a straight through video, can have a storyline. We’ve been told by a couple people who heard our test samples that that should be the next single. We all love it too. The way we describe “For the Road” is that it’s kind of the full fruition of the sound we wanted to accomplish on the first album.
Specifically, there’s one song on there called “Disenchanted.” We decided that “For the Road” is the full realization of what that one could be. What I tell people about this EP is that I love it so much because it’s the first time in my career as a professional musician where I am actually happy with the way it sounds. You know, we all criticize and critique and think of how stuff could be better, but with this EP, it is the full realization of what I thought our sound could be. There’s still room to grow, obviously, but it’s want we wanted. We were lucky enough to have full reign over how we wanted to do it, and we had an unlimited time frame, really. It’s nice to be able to sit back and develop yourself.
Yeah, that’s great. What more could you ask for than to listen to something you’ve created and think, This sounds like it should be. I’m not nitpicking all of these little details that your fans probably wouldn’t notice but you would because you’re the creator?
I can’t tell you how many guitar sounds we went through [laughs]. That’s the problem; you have too much knowledge. I could do so much but I have no idea what would work. Anyway, Straight Shot shows growth with production and songwriting. I wouldn’t say it’s better, but we’ve grown. I mean, to say it’s “better”—that’s all open to interpretation. As songwriters and as a band, we’ve grown and learned to do what we want, when we want in a song. Just through trial and error. Before we even got to the studio to record this EP, we already had seven more songs written, and then we picked five to record and then put four on the EP because of the limited space. I think we recorded six or seven—I don’t remember, but we whittled it down so that we just have the best of the best. We focused on the songs that we thought were further along than the others. The way I describe it in comparison to Plug in and Tune Out is that Straight Shot is like a sophomore effort compared to a freshman effort, you know?
You can really see that more production was put into it, and there was more time taken, and we were more self-aware of what we were going for and what we wanted to do. We matured, but it was a natural maturity that comes with our sound. The subject matter and the energy stays the same, for the most part because we sing from life experiences. That’s never really going to change. I guess we’re more self-aware now, and that’s what Straight Shot is. It represents a more self-aware Audio Impulse.
That’s a good way to put it.
Yeah, sometimes I have my moments of clarity.
Moving onto the EP release show, which was initially postponed until March 4th due to weather, what makes Connie’s Ric Rac such a good spot to have the release show and to play at in general, especially considering that 2016 marks its tenth anniversary?
There’s a lot of things that makes Connie’s great. I’d say that the big thing that makes it a really good place for bands to play is the management. The way it’s run. They’re very much about helping the scene. Like, Ron [Bauman] is very willing to give bands a chance. I mean, he let me book this entire bill. He said, “You know, I trust you. I’ve seen you play. You’ve played there a couple times and you seem to know what you’re doing.” Me and him can talk and shoot the breeze, but when we start talking about music, we go really in-depth. We’re on the same page about how to grow the scene. So that’s a big factor. Also, they always hire good sound guys, and that’s a big thing. I just love the atmosphere of Connie’s, in essence, because it’s just, like, that typical dive bar that you just want to go to and drink and have fun. It’s the perfect set-up for it. You go there and you don’t have to worry about anything, really. You just go in and get drunk and listen to live music. The set-up is perfect because people are encouraged to go to the stage because of how the bar is. They have history, too. A lot of the bands I listened to in high school played there.
It’s not necessarily, like, a Dobbs or Doc Watson’s, with an insanely long legacy. But it’s on its way. It’s basically part of the new generation of awesome venues for bands to play. The music scene recognizes it as a place where everyone goes to hang out. There’s always good shows. They’re very conscientious of the bills they book, so they won’t put, like, a pop/ska band with a thrash/death metal band. The kinds of bills we’ve all seen as musicians. It’s just crap [laughs]. Like, I’m in a rock band and I have to play at a death metal concert. I’m the only one not wearing black.
That could definitely be awkward.
Yeah. So they book their shows very carefully and they pay attention to detail and they really care about the scene. That’s what makes it great. The bar itself is in a prime spot, right in the Italian market. Parking isn’t insane, and you have Geno’s and Pat’s right down the street. What else could you ask for? It’s a good, fun dive bar with awesome drinks. Everyone just gravitates there. If I don’t have plans, I’ll just drive there and see what’s going on without really knowing. It’s helping to revitalize the scene. Connie’s has a lot going for it.
I see posts about it all the time on Facebook. It’s really growing in popularity.
The whole thing is that a lot of people will say that the scene isn’t good because the bands aren’t good, but the bands aren’t good because the venues aren’t doing their best to promote it. All that stuff, like, what came first: the chicken or the egg? Who’s really responsible for revitalizing it: the venues or the bands? Ron kind of took charge and had a roundtable with Dustin [Dellinger] from Gashouse Radio and Jim Thorpe. Those guys do a lot for the scene, with booking and promoting. Just in general. They started this discussion and put a callout saying, “Okay, here’s what you’re trying to do and here’s what we’re trying to do. What else do you think we need to do?” He asked me to come talk about it one time, right after Dobbs closed. I went to Connie’s, to the roundtable discussion. I basically put in my two cents, and the whole thing is that with the way the scene is, we need to make it a cool thing to support each other. People aren’t going to look on Facebook and just got to events. People are going to go to the event because other people are going. The only way to do that is to go yourself and bring your friends. I can’t tell you how many times we go to shows and I’ll bring the band and we’ll each bring our friends. We’ll meet up with other bands and just build the community.
I see a lot of that on Facebook. Like my friend Rob Conn (ex-Stealing Fame), whom I’ve known since high school, kind of became a booking agent for a lot of these places. Chrissy Zeller from Prosper or Perish does a lot of that, too. That’s what makes the sense so impactful. A lot of bands will say, “Hey, come see us” but they won’t support others. Then they say that the show didn’t get enough attendance because of the venue, but then the venue will say that they have to promote their own shows. It goes back and forth.
I know them both, and they’re good people. That’s awesome. I mean, what can you do? You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you just bite the bullet. You play a couple of shitty shows to network with other bands and you start going to their shows and they come to your shows. You make friends with them. I never understood the whole competition between bands. I mean, I understand Battle of the Bands. That’s the whole premise, but in general I never understood why bands have this mentality that they’re better than everyone else. The truth of the matter is that we’re all in it together; we’re all going for the same crowd. We all want to make this a living, but people aren’t focused on the music as a whole. They’re more focused on themselves. It’s a problem because if you look at any business, not only do they focus on their personal camp, but they focus on the market, too. They have to build the market. That’s where we’re at. We’re at a rebuilding stage.
Unfortunately, that’s true.
You see it happening already; venues are closing down and promoters are getting the hell out. Bands are breaking up. Philly’s a great place to see local music, but it’s because what we have now come from the ashes of what came before.
Exactly. Would you rather have one hundred bands with one hundred fans each, or have a percentage of both but everyone involved is much more hard working and dedicated? It’s a smaller scene but it’s a better scene.
Right. That’s just the typical symbiotic relationship between any community and a music scene. If it gets too big, people exploit it and you have the leeches who join the scene. What happens is that it falls apart because the mainframe won’t support it. Then people get jaded with it and it becomes smaller and goes back underground and starts building up again. I’m just hoping that Audio Impulse can either lead the charge or ride that wave [laughs].
It sounds like you’re doing all you can to make sure that happens.
We’re trying! I make it a point to go out and promote other bands on social media, too. I make sure that I push them. For instance, our recording schedule for this year is that we’re going to release two singles and shoot for a new EP by the end of the year. Probably around November or December. In July, I’m thinking that we release two singles and one of them is going to have the singer from Midnight Mob [Blackey Deathproof] on it. I like that collaboration aspect of it. We can work together on a unified front to get things done. If you do things like that—getting other bands to promote your tracks and setting up a package deal for a bill—it’s a lot easier to grow because it’s like you’re growing your family.
Absolutely. Going along with the topic of the bill, you said that you picked out the bands that will be playing alongside you at the EP release show. What makes Behind Deadlines, Dead:Stop, Midnight Mob, and Palaceburn such good matches for Audio Impulse?
So, all the bands we picked—we scrutinized the selection process a lot because, like I said, one of our main goals is to make friends with everyone in the scene, so we had a lot of options to pick from. We decided to pick bands that have a similar sound but also complement different aspects of our sound. [For instance,] Behind Deadlines is a ska band, like ska and rock melding together. It’s a really cool sound and they’re a really good band, so that brings out the punky influences from back in our heyday. Then Dead:Stop is more like punk/metal, or heavy rock. There’s a lot of heavy rock elements in our sound, so we wanted to make sure that was brought out at the show. Then we have Midnight Mob. We’re really close friends with them; they’re helping us grow in the New York scene and we’re helping them grow in the Philly scene. They have more of a classic rock sound, you know? They’re more rock ‘n’ roll than just rock.
There’s definitely a difference between the two.
Exactly. Originally, we were also going to have Revel 9, who are more along the lines of alternative rock, but their schedule didn’t work for the new date, so we brought on Palaceburn, who kept it in the same vein. They’re a little bit heavier than Revel 9, but it’s a similar genre. It’s metal, but it’s also rock.
Okay. That sounds great. Speaking of Palaceburn, I see Meredith Bell posting about other people’s shows on Facebook too, just to go back to what we were talking about before.
Yeah. Palaceburn is the shit anyway [laughs]. Her vocals are on point all the time. So the whole bill is very complementary of our sound, and it kind of shows the versatility of our sound and where we come from. It’s all cohesive, too.
It seems like a really good line-up. I’m sure the crowd will love it. You also have Eddie Berner (ex-A Flock of Seagulls) from Rockin’ Road Grill hosting the event. How’d that come to fruition?
We met through a mutual friend who’s very invested in wanting to help the band. He does a lot of promotion and has a lot of connections. I’ve known him for years. He was really interested in the sound of the band, so he passed it along to Eddie. I gave him a pre-release copy of the EP and he loved it. We ended up talking and then we had beers with the rest of the band and the idea just kind of came up. I said, “It’d be great to have [your] name behind it” and he agreed without hesitation. He’s a pretty cool dude. I’ve been picking his brain and he gives me stage advice about what to do and what not to do. I’m so glad he’s going to be there. It’ll bring another aspect to the show, to have someone actually hosting it like that. It becomes more of a showcase like this, and it’ll be easier to push promotional aspects, too.
Definitely. It’s more like a fully-fledged event now. A really big thing.
Exactly. That’s what I always wanted. As much as I love just playing shows in general, I love it even more when it’s an event because you can get more people out.
The promotional poster, with his name on it, certainly helps as well. It looks really good.
That was done by our graphic designer, Kari Tumminia. She designed our web site and she helped design our logo, too. Before we even did our first show, I knew that we had to have a logo. You want something that fans will recognize and go, “Oh, Audio Impulse. Awesome!” So went through a bunch of iterations of logos before settling on what we have now. She designed that and gave us preliminarily drafts so we could sit down and work with what we had and build an image that we wanted. One that was feasible to all of us and fit our personalities.
It’s a really cool logo. It really fits.
Thanks. It took a good amount of time to get it, but that’s because we were being so indecisive. We wanted something that was really going to speak to all of us.
It’s great that you have a graphic designer.
I think that that’s an aspect that a lot of bands overlook. They just think, Oh, I’ll just make my own flyers and I don’t need a website because of all this social media and everything. A lot of what you do as a band is a popularity contest. You have to put yourself out there and your best foot forward. Like I tell my fans all the time, and my friends: don’t release anything if you have to explain it. If you can’t say hands down, “This is the best shit we could do right now, with our resources,” then there’s no reason to ever release it.
It seems like a lot of bands need to hear that, honestly.
It’s true. I don’t mean to sound like I love preaching, but it’s funny that you see a lot of bands that don’t really understand that. They’re just spinning their wheels, and then you see bands like Audio Impulse, who are in the same frame of mind and understand that this is a business. They’re growing by leaps and bounds. Look at Palaceburn: they’re very much conscientious of that. Midnight Mob is, too. All these bands that we kind of have around us, they follow the same spread. Everything you put out there, you just have to act like you’re being watched.
I’ll give you a prime example: we’re showcasing for Sumerian Records on March 20th in Long Island, NY. I found out about it from a promoter who I booked with back in November or October. We had a show up there, and he was talking to contacts that he knew. There was a record scout there for Spin Records, and he told us, “You guys sound like you’re doing a lot, and you’re kind of further along than I expected any band to be tonight. I’ll definitely put a word out.” I’d say, maybe a month ago I got a message from a promoter who said that Sumerian had us on a list of bands that they wanted to showcase.
Thanks. The whole reason why they wanted to see us was because they had already been watching us. It’s not like they just say, “Hey, who do you think should be on the bill?” and the promoter pushed it. It was, “Hey, we’ve been watching these bands.” They hire people just to do that because what labels want these days are bands that are do-it-yourselfers. Bands who already have an image developed and who take the time to develop a writing style and have a cohesive sound and actually treat it like a business. You know, they can run it themselves so [the labels] don’t have to waste money, which is now limited.
That makes a lot of sense. I look for a similar thing on my end. When I want to do press for a band, I want to see actual details and professionalism, like influences and biographical information. Sometimes I don’t see any details, or I’ll see only some sophomoric jokes like “We like pizza and girls and beer.” That’s fine, but what about the important stuff?
That’s exactly the point. Social media is a two-edged sword. It’s really good because you can get yourself out there and you can really scrutinize bands, but it’s also bad because you can get lost in the mire. You have to set yourself apart. I think that’s one of the reasons why Audio Impulse gets such a good response online and in person. The reason why we play music is because we love it. There were times in my life when I didn’t want to—you know, everyone goes through shit in high school. We all go through depression and I had a really serious bout of it at one point. I just remember one morning, I woke up and found [The Smashing Pumpkins’] Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I started listening to it and almost immediately realized that everything was going to be okay. At least I wasn’t alone in this feeling. That’s basically what we want to do.
I think that’s the greatest thing music can do.
Yeah. All of the guys in the band have that one album that just defines us and why we love music so much. For me, it was that album; I forget what it is for the other guys. That’s why we play. We want to write that album and that song that makes someone say, “Holy shit! I’m safe. I’m not alone.” We play every show like we’re selling out the Susquehanna Bank Center. If we make one person walk away from our show feeling better about themselves, even if for a brief time, our job is done. Mission Accomplished. That’s what I care about. The reason why we’re trying to grow bigger is that yes, we want to support this and make it our living, but also because I want to do that for as many people as I can. That’s one of the things that we make a very clear statement on in terms of our goals. When we give interviews and talk about why we do it, that’s the main thing that always carries through. When we talk to bands and promoters, it’s a subject that constantly comes up. I could ask anyone—I could ask you what the album is that saved your life?
I don’t know. There are always some that just stick with you.
Everyone has that sanctuary, and if I can give that back, hey, I would feel like I did some good for this world.
That’s great. Actually, I think I know which one I’d pick. I’d probably say Weather Systems by an English band called Anathema. I wrote a series of essays about it, song by song, for Popmatters. Just about what it means to me and how well they capture love and loss and purpose. My jaw dropped when I first heard it; I couldn’t move. It spoke to me so much and captured exactly what I was feeling.
That’s what gives you chills. Just thinking about it does. It’s just so good. It’s like that quote from Bob Marley: “The good thing about music is that when it hits you, it doesn’t hurt.” That’s so true. That music brings you back to a certain time and place, whether it’s a negative or positive effect. You know that if it’s a bad memory, you’ll never have to go back there, and if it’s a good memory, you’re reliving it. Music is the universal language.
Absolutely. Well, thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Barry. Do you have any final words for fans? Specifically, do you know what time the show starts, how much it costs to get in, and what the order of performances will be?
I don’t know the line-up just yet. The price at the door is $10 and there should be some drink specials. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and the first act will probably go on around 8:00 or 8:15. There will be enough time for people to get drinks and get sauced and then enjoy the music. That’ll be good. Also, stay tuned because we’re going to be releasing two singles and another EP. We’re going to be doing a tour and a couple more music videos throughout the year, at least. Every time, each one will have an event and a show, so pay attention to that. Come out and hang out. And check out the other bands on the bill; they’re all really good. If you haven’t listened to them yet, you definitely need to. Oh, and check us out at http://www.AudioImpulseMusic.com, https://www.reverbnation.com/audioimpulse, and https://www.facebook.com/AudioImpulseMusic. We’re also on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. We’re all over the map. Oh, and thanks Jordan.
No problem. Take it easy, Barry.
You too, man.