Braceface Zine's Interview with Bryan Newman

Braceface Zine
Interview with Bryan Newman

Braceface Zine

What's your name and what do you play?

My name's Bryan and I play the drums.

Could you please give a brief synopsis of what happened to your last band, Sefler?

Well, Chris and I have been playing in all sorts of crazy bands since we were really young. We used to jam together in my basement on Metallica and Aerosmith songs pretty much everyday after school. I guess Sefler started in 8th grade with me, Chris, and Justin, who actually was in Saves The Day for awhile, but when Sefler started we were pretty much an alternative band, like all we listened to was Smashing Pumpkins and we actually released a demo as that incarnation (try finding that one!). Over the years we got more into punk and hardcore and so did our sound and we put out a 7" on this startup label out of South Brunswick, NJ, but it went nowhere and we really had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. So our lineup would change a lot but it always seemed to include Chris, Justin, and I and it went this way until 11th grade when we went into the studio but our bass player never showed up, Sean (McGrath) came to the studio, we asked him to join, we changed our name and there you had it, Saves The Day and the Saves The Day demo. So the really late Sefler stuff became the early STD stuff. I'm even pretty sure we played a bunch of those demo songs in Sefler.

Are the rumors true that the singer (Chris) and you played all the instruments on "Can't Slow Down?"

Yeah, they're pretty much true. Well, sort of. I played all the drums, Sean did about 75% of the bass stuff, Justin and Anthony did only a little guitar, little things here and there. So Chris did a bunch of the bass, almost all of the guitars and of course, sang. But now we have an all new lineup, and we're really gonna try and make it more of a band effort this time around. We're really excited about that, and this time it's just gonna say "all songs by Saves The Day" not "all songs by Chris Conley." I never thought Saves The Day would be a normal band where everyone records in the studio and writes songs but it looks like it might happen...

How do you feel when a big distribution company such as Revelation, calls your album one of the best CD's of late '98?

What can I say? It feels great. It's really great when we hear that kind of feedback from anyone, let alone Revelation. I mean I pretty much bought the entire Rev catalog over the course of my high school years, I worshipped that label. So for me, when they say that about our record, it's really special.

How did your recent tour go?

Besides the fact that we went to the hospital three different times in two cities, it was really good. a lot of fun. I love touring, I love meeting people all over the country who are into what we're doing and are getting something out of it, it's really rewarding. This past tour was over our winter break so it was only 3 weeks long and it was strictly an east coast thing, but it was still really fun. As I mentioned we had to go to the hospital a couple times as pretty much all of us got sick, we even had to play two shows in the south without Ted, our second guitarist, which was pretty bad. Anyway, by the end of the tour I was psyched 'cause I hadn't gotten sick the entire trip, until the last day I woke up and I couldn't even sit up straight I was so ill. But we had the last show of the tour that day, in Worcester, Mass. and I was like fuck it if my sickness is gonna stop us, so we played anyway. It was nuts, it ended up being one of the biggest shows on tour, something like 400+ kids, and I was so sick I threw up backstage before we played and it felt like I was hallucinating while we were playing. Anyway, overall the tour went really well and I'm totally excited to get back on the road this summer.

What was the best place you guys played on tour and why?

Geez, that's a tough question...I mean I always love playing in Jersey 'cause I get to see all my friends and it's like a big party, but Coney Island High in New York was awesome too. It was with Kid Dynamite and it was totally sold out, it was insane. Let's see, Tallahassee, Florida was actually amazing too, we played at this place called the Mega Rock Arena which was like this huge indoor warehouse where these kids put on shows. We got there and we were like, "What the fuck is going on?" 'cause there were tons of kids skateboarding outside and just kids everywhere, and everyone was freaking out to see us. It was crazy 'cause all these kids went to the same high school and were all into us, so we figured that this place was like the weekend hangout, and that's what it felt like, like we were playing at some sort of giant club house. These kids were so young though, and it was a school night, so as we were playing, their parents would be coming in and picking them up to bring them home, it was really funny and cute. Anyway, that show was amazing and we met so many nice kids in Florida...but pretty much almost every show this winter was really good.

What lead to the recent lineup changes in the band?

Well Justin left a long time ago, before last summer tour, and we carried on as a four piece with Anthony. When Anthony quit after summer tour we replaced him with David. A couple months later we realized we're a lot better with two guitarists so we called up our good friend Ted who had roadied for us in the past and who was working at Equal Vision at the time and asked him if he wanted to play with us and he did and it totally worked out. So then after winter tour, we asked Sean to leave for both personal and musical reasons and we got Eben to play bass and he's just absolutely amazing and we're really happy with him. I think we're the best we've ever been right now. I totally believe that.

What would you say to people that call you wannabe's of Lifetime?

I think that first and foremost, that's a really misguided statement. We've never wanted to be anyone but ourselves with this band and just play the best music possible. I'll be the first person to admit, Can't Slow Down is really heavily influenced by Lifetime, but that's just a product of where we were coming from. When we wrote these songs we were these young kids from New Jersey, and Lifetime were pretty much our hometown heroes. And it was also like we were these kids who were really into punk and really into hardcore and Lifetime was pretty much the perfect blend of the two, and we had never really heard anything like them before. But our new stuff is a whole lot different from Can't Slow Down, simply by virtue of the fact that we're really starting to come into our own as a band and as songwriters. Honestly, I can't even think of any direct comparisons for the new stuff, and I think we're really finding our own style and approach, it's great, I love the new stuff. Anyway...What would I say to the people who call us wannabe Lifetimers?...I love Lifetime, I think Hello Bastards is easily one of the best hardcore records of the nineties, and I don't give a shit whether or not some kid in some zine from California or wherever writes that we're a Lifetime rip off band. You know? Get over it. That's what I'd say.

Who writes most of your songs?

Chris is pretty much our core songwriter, and he has especially been so in the past, I mean, as I said before, on the insert to Can't Slow Down it says "All songs by Chris Conley." He's just a fucking musical mastermind. He constantly blows my mind, so why try and stop him, you know? But it's not as if he's some sort of dictator in the band, and it's very very rare that he'll bring in a song and we wont want to change it around at least a little bit. Plus with the addition of David, we have a second writer in that he's really collaborating with Chris on the leads and melodies. The other really rad thing is that both Ted and David have songs going on the next LP, which is an STD first, so we're pretty excited about that too...

What do you guys plan for the future?

We're just gonna keep on rocking and touring, just seeing where it all leads us. We're all taking time off from school to do this band next year which is both scary and real exciting at the same time. We're gonna do the U.S. this summer, go to Europe in the fall and put out a new full length as well, probably sometime around September. But before that we have an all acoustic 7" coming out this summer on Immigrant Sun records. We just finished recording it, we did it in Chris' sounds amazing, we're really psyched on it. But anyway, as I said, we're just gonna ride this fucking rock and roll train and see where it takes us and honestly I don't know where it's gonna end.