Interview With Envy On The Coast - 13th September 2008
Photo Of Envy On The CoastWe caught up with Envy On The Coast at the Cockpit in Leeds just before they hit the stage to support Underoath.

First of all can you give us a brief history of the band for the people who have never heard of you?
(Ryan) We are all from Long Island, New York, we got together about three years ago or so. We have all been playing in bands on Long Island for years prior to being in this band.

What are your influences and whom would you say contributed to your current musical style?
(Ryan) We listen to a ton of different stuff, we grew up listening to each persons musical taste very different from the next. I really like bands who attempt to do something different, Incubus, Rage Against the machine, At The Drive In, The Mars Volta and we actually like a lot of bands we have toured with. Like this band called Middle Class Rut from California, they are probably one of my favourite bands.

How did you come up with the band name of Envy On The Coast?
(Ryan) Its actually not that much of an interesting story. It happened because our old name was Writ in Water, but that kind of confused people as ‘Writ’ is not a common word in the English language any more. Its kind of antiquated and out dated. So we changed it, we went with an old song title that was originally called Envy On The Coastline, that song had a lot of meaning to us so we shortened it to Envy On The Coast.

When did you start playing music and what made you pick up your first instrument?
(Brian) Well me and my mum had two different stories. My mum said that one time we were sitting on the sofa watching this Woodstock thing and I saw Jimi Hendrix play the national anthem. He played it all fucked up and crazy on drugs. I was just so into the way he played it, then I wanted to play guitar. I don't remember that, I remember watching the Grammys in like 1996 and seeing Hootie and the Blowfish. I though ah cool Hootie and the Blowfish! then thought I want to play guitar. So that is two completely different stories, I'm not going to lie and try and say one of them is true and the other is not.
(Ryan) For me my parents had instruments in the house since I was young, like a keyboard I used to mess around with. Twelve years ago, I remember getting a drum set I always wanted to experiment with different instruments. The earliest I can really remember of wanting to be in a band and write music was when seeing a Foo Fighters video for Everlong and watching Taylor Hawkins play. As for singing, I started singing in a band simply because we just needed another dude to sing, so I was alright I will do that.

You have been on the music scene since 2004 how would you describe your journey and achievements so far?
(Ryan) People were like ‘these guys came out of nowhere.’ But we had been playing for a while before our EP came out. We did the local thing on Long Island like shitty bars to hardly anybody, everyone hated us. We have been kind of working our way through the ranks with our EP. We kind of took a new direction with the album and got some flack for that too. Our success at this point is pretty organic, we’re still struggling, we are by no means comfortable with our success level, we just want to strive to be better musicians.

You came over to the UK earlier in the year to play the Give It A Name Festival in London and Sheffield, how did it feel to be playing this long running once a year indoor festival in the UK and which show did you enjoy the most?
(Brian) We had no idea what to expect with Give It A Name, we knew it was a big festival. All I really cared about when I heard we were playing is the fact that Glassjaw were playing. We have been trying to see them since like forever, Ryan's had like six lots of tickets to see them on different occasions and missed them every time. I was just excited because I was finally going to get to see this hugely influentially band play in another country. As for our set, they were incredible we had a great response.

You are currently on tour supporting Underoath how have the shows been going?
(Ryan) Its been great, epically last night in London it was probably the most fun I have ever had over here. Its always like a roll of the dice when we get ready to go on stage as this is a very heavy tour and we are sandwiched between two very heavy bands. Although I have been very surprised with the amount of people that have had an open mind over here. To be blatantly honest a lot of people in the industry and such have been telling me that a band like ours would not do well over here.

Do you have any rock and roll stories from your time on the road over the past few days? Or have things been really mellow with a cup of tea after the shows followed by early nights?
(Brian) Hostly! These shows are very hot and sweaty, so after we are very tired. Usually we just go back to our tour manager's flat and play video games or talk to our friends and girlfriends on our computers. But actually last night we actually ended up going to a heavy metal bar, called the Crowbar in London. That's one of our favourite places to visit.

You are playing the Cockpit in Leeds tonight, how much are you looking forward to the show and what can we expect from it?
(Ryan) Yeah we are definitely looking forward to the show tonight, you can expect the same thing from us all the time, I sound like I'm playing a fucking sport of some sort. We give a hundred and ten percent every night.
(Brian) Your going to expect us to try our hardest to put on a great show and be the band that we are, there's nothing more or nothing less then that.

You seem to spend a lot of time visiting the UK and touring over here, what is it that you like the most about the UK?
(Ryan) You know what my favourite thing is about the UK and its something that sometimes is not my favourite thing? It’s the honesty from the kids, back home people come up to us and are like ‘you guys were really good‘, very fluffy comments and stuff. It’s nice to hear those things, but the kids over here will tell us straight up if we sounded like shit or not. They will come up to us and be like ‘you guys were absolute fucking shit tonight’ or they will be like ‘you guys were shit last time, but I liked you this time’.
(Brian) Its cool because we really know if we have played a good show or not.

You have toured with many bands, who have you enjoyed playing with the most and why?
(Brian) One of my favourite tours we have ever done was Sound Wave in Australia, It was such a diverse bill. We had bands like Incubus headlining and then our friends in My American Heart, The Receiving End of Sirens and Thursday that was probably the most fun because we got to hang out with all of our friends in this beautiful country and play amazing shows.
(Ryan) That was pretty amazing. There are a lot of tours that have meant a lot to us for different reasons. The first one that hit us really hard was when we toured with Circa Survive and we became really close with those dudes, were still friends with them. We befriended them during a period of time when our band was going through a lot. The Middle Class Rut and Receiving Ends of Sirens tour, that was a great tour too.

You have not long released the video for 'Mirrors' what was it like creating the video?
(Ryan) It was kind of weird, it was a weird thing for me as I had to act in it a little bit, which is one of the strangest things I have ever done. I love films and cinema in general but I don’t know if I ever want to act again. There were a lot of really good aspects.

What did you have to act?
There is a whole story line, a series of scenes with this actress girl. I'm kind of dead then following her around, everyone thinks its about vampires and it’s not. Chasing her down, then she's dead too.

Who designs all your artwork, for Myspace and so on?
(Ryan) The Actual elements of the artwork came from our record, that was done by a guy called Drew Roulette, plays bass in a band called Dredg. The actual layout for the Myspace comes from different incarnations of the artwork itself. Erm what's his name?
(Brian) Zane Holloway, he actually laid out the Myspace. He just contacted me one day and was like ‘I want to do a Myspace layout for you guys’ and I was like ‘yeah sure whatever‘. Then he showed it to me and I went ‘holy shit this looks awesome!’. He did it and I think we have an exceptionally vibrant Myspace layout.

What do you think about the state of the current music scene?
(Brian) Oh man! It seems there a lot of bands that are trying to please whatever appetite the current mass has for music, you know like when one band comes out you have a hundred others that sound just like them. Its always been like that, but I think its been particularly vapid in the last five years. Like there are bands putting out complete shit records and not really trying to challenge their audience, or try to give anybody anything that they can take in as real its all kind of fluffy nonsense. We don't really subscribe to that kind of mentality. We have always been the type of band that would take in our influences and try and internalize them, then put them out in a way that's not like, you know I'm not really sure how to explain it.
(Ryan) I have a good one, I'm going to give you an analogy here on at least how I perceive the sate of music. I think that there has always been shitty bands. I think there has always been a prop of bands making prioritised money over actual artistic integrity. That's not so much what upsets me really. I think that there will always be those, you know its not just our generation, every generation has had one. Here's another analogy, just compare the whole thing to the beginning of skate boarding, like the Venice Beach Dog town dudes, you know Jay Adams, Stacie Peralta and Tony Alva. Skate boarding was this prissy sport and it was completely ridicules with the outfits. It was very structured and organised came from a wealthy place in LA. Then you had a dude come along like Jay Adams and completely re-change the entire sport. He was doing things in skate boarding at these competitions that were completely ridicules, the judges themselves and the people themselves had no idea what to look at it as. This dude that was doing things out there that now skaters do everyday. He essentially ignited the whole sport. At that time he was getting scores of four and fives based out of ten, because nobody even knew what to call the things he was doing. Eventually people caught on and now his recognised for that. But I only hope for that during this time while everything is completely ridiculous and sugar-coated and awful, that not the bands go away but the people at least recognise that there are bands out there constantly doing something different. Putting their ass on the line to do something different or putting music out there that is unbelievable. I just hope people can recognise that eventually and the people will ask for it. Some people are saying something needs to happen soon, some band needs to come along (I'm definatetly not saying its us) I'm just saying that there should be a shift soon and I hope people are ready for it and want it.

If Envy On The Coast were not a band, what would you guys be doing now?
(Brian) I've no idea, no idea. I lived in a pretty weird place before this band started. I was going to music school, fucking up all my classes I didn't really care about anything that I was doing and then I found the band and that really changed me as a person. So its kinda really hard to say what I would be doing if the band had never happened, I'd probably be a really big fuck up. But if the band dissolved now I think I would probably have a more positive outlook on like what I can do as a person, that's why I'm so grateful that it did happen because it gave me a lot of confidence and insight as to who I am and what I'm capable of.
(Ryan) I've changed a lot since I was fourteen and first really started obsessing over music. A lot of things have changed in my life and such but the only thing that pretty much remained consistent is the fact that the only thing that I think about all day is music and the only thing that really consumes my time. Since I was fourteen years old now twenty-one its all been music. I can give you a bunch of things I think I might do, but I have a feeling even if this band were to end I would go home and start thinking of the next thing I was going to do musically because I think I'm supposed to be doing music.

You seem to get this question a lot but as the trend has already been started I would like to carry it on, who is “Lucy Gray” and what made you call your début album this?
(Ryan) Lucy Gray is the character from a William Wordsworth poem. The actual poem itself is about a girl that goes to the woods and never comes home then disappears, there is no remnant of her body she's pretty much incorporated into nature and suction. I found the poem and passed it onto the dudes during the period of time when were trying to name the record. It just seemed to fit with all the themes that lyrically came in during the writing of the record, taking a definite different light. There was a lot of struggling and people's personal life's happening as well as the writing process, that was very taxing and we were trying to figure out how to write with one and another also how to jam with one and another. I think looking back in retrospect over the course of the last year playing this record live, I think the purpose of this record was for us to learn how to be a band together on the stage and how to work together. So Lucy Gray whole scenario kind of epitomised all that, kind of dying then being incorporated into something new.

Your album was released just over thirteen months ago, are you expecting to work on the follow up any time soon?
(Brian) That's what we are doing the days after tomorrow. We are going home for six months and we are going to write a new record. We are not completely shut off to the idea of doing another tour before that as your time elapses, but as of now that's our main focus and concern is trying to go home and trying to flush out our creative energies and make some good songs out of them.

Where do you hope to see Envy On The Coast in five years?
(Brian) Still playing music.
(Ryan) yeah, its really like if we were just like we want to be playing arenas or the 02 arena, that's just a really shallow goal. I would love just to be still playing music.

Okay, one final random question; if you had a choice, what animal would you be out of a Zebra and a Giraffe?
(Brian) I'd wanna be a giraffe, because number one they eat a lot of vegetables because they have to eat out of trees, so that's good. They have big long necks and they probably have big long giraffe penises. So that would be cool.
(Ryan) I'd be a giraffe too, I think it would just be funny to see a giraffe with dreadlocks.

Thanks for your time, is there a message you would like to give to your fans reading this?
(Ryan) Yeah, thanks so much for reading this and giving a shit about what we have to say, that's awesome. Spread the word over here, so we can come back over as frequently as possible.

Interview By Ellie Pockley
 Band Members

Ryan Hunter (Vocals, Guitar)
Sal Bossio (Guitar, Keys, Vocals)
Jeremy Velardi (Bass)
Brian Byrne (Guitar, Vocals)
Dan Gluszak (Drums)
 Latest Releases
Envy On The Coast - Lucy Gray
Release Date - 6th August 2007
1. Sugar Skulls
2. Artist and Repertoire
3. Gift of Paralysis
4. Tell Them That She's Not Scared
5. (X) Amount of the Truth
6. Vultures
7. Mirrors
8. If God Smokes Cheap Cigars
9. Starving Your Friends
10. Lapse
11. ...Because All Suffering Is Sweet to Me...
12. "I'm Breathing...Are You Breathing Too?"
 Band Related Links
Envy On The Coast Myspace