Welcome to our newest edition of #ViralPirateRadio! In this interview we shine the spotlight on a Cincinnati-grown indie rock outfit known as PUBLIC.
PUBLIC is a classic indie-rock trio that came to being during their high school years and, like many others, in one of their basements. They have spent that last six years crafting a sound for fans of a pop-rock vibe. That does not mean PUBLIC has been sheltered from the nation’s live-music scene, however. No stranger to large tours, the band has supported well-known acts Walk The Moon and Young The Giant in recent years.
The trio is currently making waves with their latest single, “Perfect,” which is to be remixed by their previous tour-mates in Walk The Moon. As we uncover, PUBLIC is priming itself to make even bigger moves in 2017.
Enjoy my interview with PUBLIC, and be sure to take a listen to their exclusively curated #ViralPirateRadio playlist found after the drop!
Would you please introduce yourselves and state your roles in the band?
Ben Lapps on drums.
Matt Alvarado on bass and vocals.
For those who are unaware of PUBLIC, what is your band’s backstory? How did you get together?
(John speaking) Ben and I have known each other since kindergarten. When we got into highschool, we joined the jazz orchestra and met Matt who was originally a saxophone player. Eventually we started jamming and writing songs together.
You guys have two EPs out, Red, released in 2012, and Let’s Remake It from last year! How have you grown since releasing these two works?
It’s hard to pinpoint just a few aspects, but I would say that our songwriting and performance mentality have evolved quite a bit. We started writing tunes stemming from things we would jam on in rehearsals, and we’ve since moved onto organizing legitimate writing sessions and producing demos to bring to the studio. Everything just seems much more intentional now.
Last month you guys dropped a new single titled “Perfect.” The track is pretty different from your other songs since it’s a little more rooted in the reggae-rock/ska tradition. What influenced you guys when writing the song?
Well first of all, the feel of the song more comes from the band embracing a lot of different styles right now. We’re moving into a place with our songs where we’re trying not to be so worried about what genre it might fall into. If we like the song, we’ll go with. This one in particular started out as that intro guitar lick and then just fell into place after that.
The song is set to be remixed by Walk The Moon, what can we expect from the remix?
We’re really excited about that. We’ve never had a remix done before and to have one by some good friends of ours is really a privilege. It’s definitely an interesting take on the song in the sense that it’s probably not like most remixes you’ll hear. Eli (of WTM) had pretty much all the creative freedom he wanted so it really is an interesting piece.
Can we expect a full-length release anytime soon following “Perfect”? How will it compare to your previous releases?
That’s the plan. These tunes that we’re releasing here going into 2017 are leading up towards our first full length LP. Writing to release an album is exciting because we get to plan this project that expands past the mentality of an EP. It feels like we really get to make a bigger statement musically than we have before. It also gives us the opportunity to include songs that aren’t exactly “single material.”
You’ve hit the road before with the likes of Walk The Moon, Twenty One Pilots, and Young The Giant. What’s it like to tour with such big acts, and how have they influenced you in your writing?
Touring/playing with big acts is always such a huge opportunity. Not only do we learn a lot by the way they interact with their fans and put on a show, but we have the chance to win over another fan base and really show what we’re made of. Honestly, I don’t know that these bands have influenced in-depth aspects of our writing so much as they’ve taught us to be true to our own sound and to trust our instincts.
Where in the world are you most eager to tour?
Can we expect more shows or a tour soon?
How does PUBLIC get ready to play a show?
As of now, PUBLIC is unsigned. Do you hope to catch record label attention, or do you think you’d rather stay independent for the time being? What labels would you be most excited about joining?
Being unsigned has definite perks when it comes to creative freedom. I think that if we get involved with a label, we just really want it to be the right one. We don’t rep being unsigned with the attitude that we’re above being with a label—we’re more just trying to be transparent with our fans and have fun in our current situation.
What advice would you guys give to other young bands hoping to get started writing and recording?
I think one of the biggest things we’ve learned thus far is the importance of having plenty of material. Early on we would write four songs, and then go record four songs. And once you start trying to get other team members involved and making sure you’re always putting your best foot forward songwise, you really need a catalogue to choose from.
With this LP, we’re choosing ten or so songs from about thirty finished tunes instead of “just the ten we cranked out.”… You always need to stay true to your natural sound. Once you start trying to cater to the industry when you’re writing songs, it’s really easy to get lost and confused.
What messages do you hope fans take away from your music?
We’re really not different from the people that listen to our tunes. We’re using all of our very normal life experiences to write these tunes and we really hope that our humanity comes through with everything we do.
That’s all, folks! Be sure to stay up to date with PUBLIC over on Facebook and check out their music on Bandcamp or Spotify! Give a listen to PUBLIC’s exclusive #ViralPirateRadio playlist handpicked by John, Ben, and Matt below!