Meet BELMONT - Self-Titled Album Release (INTERVIEW)
Taz Johnson: Vocals Brian Lada : Drums Sam Patt: Guitar Alex Wieringa: Bass
Jason Inguagiato: Guitar
All I've done for the last month or so is blast Chicago pop-punk band BELMONT on repeat everywhere I go. I stumbled across these guys completely by accident on Spotify and fell in love with their intricate drum fills, metal-esque guitar riffs, left field breakdowns and enough lyrical hooks to fill a pirate's dresser. (That was fucking lame).
Forming back in 2014 while still in high school, the band debuted their first album, Vicissitude which was produced by Matt Kerekes of CITIZEN and his brother. Picking up steam, gathering a fanbase and touring all while getting their high school deplomas, the band signed to MUTANT LEAGUE RECORDS (Seaway, As It Is) in 2016. Soon after releasing their first EP "Between You & Me" with the label.
Releasing their self-titled full length LP via MUTANT LEAGUE RECORDS on August 17th, BELMONT has this sound that cuts through the fog, and paints a clear canvas of a new era of pop-punk all the while echoing the sounds of bands like KNUCKLE PUCK, NECK DEEP, SUCH GOLD & REAL FRIENDS and still being their own distinct entity.
BELMONT - HOLLOWED OUT
I recently had the opportunity to chat with drummer Brian Lada of BELMONT, as we discuss the band's writing process, influences, future, and more
TPPD: How is your guys writing process?
BRIAN: Our writing process varies. Prior to our new record, our music was written and recorded by our drummer Brian and our vocalist Taz. This time around, we were able to experiment more, and put other peoples ideas into the pot. We recorded the album with Jason at Graphic Nature studios who would come to join the band. We had less than two weeks to finish and record everything. Brian is the primary writer in our band, so he will come to us with full songs or the main idea of a song, and on this record everyone was able to throw in ideas into the mix. For songs that were not already written for the most part, we had only a couple of days to write the rest of the album, so everyone including Jason was on a high edge of throwing the best songs and ideas into everything making it a cool collaborative project. This pressure aspect works very well with us, and we think it shaped this record to exactly what we wanted it to be.
TPPD: You guys did Warped Tour, what was your favorite memory from that experience. What's your favorite Warped Tour experience going as a fan?
BRIAN: Warped was crazy for us when we played. The band had only started and we were all juniors/seniors in high school, so we got to live that dream of playing a day of Warped. All though we may have not sounded the best, our favorite experience would probably be seeing all of our friends through Chicago music coming out to support us while we played. Definitely one of our favorite memories as a band. A favorite Warped memory as a fan would probably be just seeing all of our favorite bands in one area, and just absolutely losing our minds when we were younger. Lots of good memories from there.
TPPD: Warped Tour wrapped up it's final cross country show. Thoughts?
BRIAN: It’s really sad to see such a monumental festival for rock/alt orientated genres come to an end. A lot of bands of our nature got their start from Warped, and it played a huge part in our scene of music in general. It kind of leaves everyone a bit lost, but it’s exciting to see how everything will evolve from here. There are a lot of young and hungry artists out there ready to make a move, and it will be very cool to see what the next generation will bring in.
TPPD: I found you guys on Spotify by total the fuck accident. (Overstepping was the first tune I heard from you guys.) Do you think social media and music streaming platforms help artists?
BRIAN: Social media and streaming platforms in music have their pros and cons, but they definitely help artists put their name into the public, and lets you be directly connected with your fans. “word of mouth” is now over the internet, so it’s crucial to really hustle online and want to connect with the people around you.
TPPD: You guys are young, fairly fresh out of high school. What was that conversation like with your parents when you were like: "Hey Mom, I'm doing music."? Were they supportive?
BRIAN: We’re now all about 2-3 years out of high school. Most of us actually were already planning to pursue something musical based, so it gave us the benefit of the band being not much of a surprise. However, the way our parents reacted varied. For some it was supported hard, and for some we definitely had the “what are you actually doing with your life” experience. All of our parents are very supportive of the band at this point though, and it goes a long way with making us feel good about what we’re doing. We’re grateful for that.
TPPD: Any of you guys going/ plan on going to college?
BRIAN: Most of us have already been going to school for some time. Brian and Jason have been attending Berklee College of Music, and Taz has been attending Columbia College. With the way that things are now, we are planning and taking time off to tour as much as we can, and put everything we possibly can into Belmont.
TPPD: I read you guys watch Netflix a lot while on the road. Go-To movie? Go-To series?
BRIAN: We watch Netflix a good amount, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie is a classic for us, we recently watched Doctor Strange.
TPPD: Jumping shift to music...stuff. What is your current live guitar/ rig/ drum set-up? Dream gear?
BRIAN: What is your dream guitar/ rig/ set-up. (I still want a fucking Mark Hoppus signature bass.)
We rip out of a Kemper and an Orange AD30 for guitars, bass rig is a Hartke, we would love to get a Kemper sponsorship.
TPPD: Speaking of "dream/fantasy". If you could build a tour with you on it. Who would you want to tour with?
BRIAN: We would love to tour with The Story So Far, Metallica, Slipknot.
TPPD: Have you guys had any "starstruck" moments while on the road/touring?
BRIAN: Touring with Such Gold has been a crazy experience, they've been a huge influence and we've been big fans for a while.
TPPD: I heard you guys like Meshuggah. (Makes sense.) Are there any bands/artists that would shock/surprise fans that influence you?
BRIAN: We do like Meshuggah very much haha. Honestly we all primarily listen to hip-hop and drill nowadays, we’ve been jamming a lot of Maxo Kream and A$AP Ferg lately. We are also huge fans of heavy music, jazz and RnB. We like to keep an open mind in general with music, so we would really be okay with listening to pretty much anything.
TPPD: Now on to your self-titled album. Influences for that record?
BRIAN: The influences on the record are all over the place. We take on a lot of pop-punk and alternative influences, but on this record, the influences range from hip-hop, fusion, progressive metal, and many others to cultivate truly everything we wanted in the new music mixed in with the original Belmont sound.
TPPD: How was it working with Dan Korneff & Jason Inguagiato for this record?
BRIAN: Working with Jason was awesome. We found a new guitarist and great collaborator, as well as a fantastic producer all in one writing/recording session. Working with Dan Korneff really helped take the record to the next level. He made it sound absolutely huge.
TPPD: Inspiration behind the album art (reminds me of Bruce Lee or Mortal Kombat.)
BRIAN: We wanted album artwork that spoke to the feel of the record while also standing out as art that all of us would rep regardless of its association with the band.
TPPD: And lastly. Plans/schedule leading into 2019?
BRIAN: We've got some stuff in the works, a lot more touring, content, riding the wave of the release of the album!
BELMONT is ON TOUR NOW with SUCH GOLD, SOUTHPAW, INTERVENTION & CHIEF STATE. Check them out in a city near you.
AUG 16 Milwaukee, WI
Shorewood Legion Hall
AUG 17 Chicago, IL
AUG 18 Indianapolis, IN
AUG 19 Columbus, OH
AUG 20 Brooklyn, NY
AUG 21 Scranton, PA
Irish Wolf Club
AUG 22 Trenton, NJ
AUG 23 Norfolk, VA
37th and Zen
AUG 24 Raleigh, NC
AUG 25 West Palm Beach, FL
AUG 26 Orlando, FL
AUG 27 Jacksonville, FL
AUG 28 Ringgold, GA
Cloud Springs Deli
AUG 29 New Orleans, LA
AUG 30 Houston, TX
The Secret Group
AUG 31 Dallas, TX
SEP 01 Albuquerque, NM
The Jam Spot
SEP 03 Scottsdale, AZ