SCAD Radio recently had the opportunity to chat with Microwave after their performance at 2017 A.U.R.A. Fest in Savannah, Georgia.
Microwave is one is most prolific up and comers in the pop punk and post hardcore scene. The band sings about some of the most personal material in a way that never feels corny whilst simultaneously crafting some of the catchiest music to ever hit the genre. Coming off of a tour with A Will Away and Tiny Moving Parts and ahead of a European tour, Microwave took the stage in Savannah, returning for the first time since a show at Sweet Melissa’s.
Here’s a look at our interview with Microwave.
Kush at SCAD Radio: For someone who has never listened to Microwave before, what would you say is a good entry point into your material?
Tyler Hill from Microwave: I’m just going to go ahead and say “Vomit”, because that was the first single off the new record. We thought it would be a good, all-encompassing jam. [laughs]
Nathan Hardy from Microwave: Definitely “Vomit” or “Drown”.
Kush: You guys are often considered one of the up and coming bands in the current emo revival. Do you guys take any influence from bands that might be considered midwest emo or even skramz?
Nathan Hardy: That’s seriously weird to me, because I never think of Microwave, especially with Much Love, as emo or releasing emo records. I’d say we are more indie rock or alternative rock.
Timothy “Tito” Pittard from Microwave: Some hard rock and soft rock in there as well.
NH: Medium rock. [laughs]
Tyler Hill: I will say that I’ve heard that we’ve gotten more emo in the last 6 months, because of Much Love, I guess.
Nathan Hardy: I guess musically, it doesn’t really make sense. I guess people are talking about lyrical things being more emo. But I mean, Radiohead was kind of depressing and sad, but people don’t go around calling Radiohead an emo band. I don’t know. I’m not sure what I think of when I think of emo. I think of Bright Eyes, honestly.
K: Are there any current bands in the emo revival scene that you guys are really into?
NH: I think Brand New is a really big influence for us. They’re kind of seen as forefathers of that whole scene. I bet they wouldn’t really consider themselves an emo band either, though. Because, if you listen to OK Computer by Radiohead, there’s a lot of similar elements between that and the last two Brand New records. I have a theory that Jesse Lacey really likes Radiohead.
TH: You had five seconds to ask him at Riot Fest, and you blew it. [laughs] You said, “Hey man, nice set.” Not even, “Hey man, do you like Radiohead?” [laughs]
NH: I got to say I talked to Jesse Lacey though. It was the best set of a band I’ve ever seen in my life.
TP: It was really awesome. It was a great set.
NH: They’re a great band.
TH: I don’t know if Citizen is part of that category, but Matt Kerekes’ solo record is f–king awesome. I’ve been waiting for it, and it’s super dope.
K: But that’s what other people have to say about you guys. What would you guys call your own music, in regards to a genre?
NH: I would just say indie or alternative rock. Hard rock, soft rock.
TP: The rocks.
TH: Medium well, rock.
NH: [laughs] It’s like a rock sandwich.
TP: Firm enough, but still bleeding. [laughs]
NH: You know, maybe we’re just not self aware. But I feel like this new album has a pretty good spread of different vibes. Some of them will be pretty hard to call a certain genre.
TH: I think when you can’t fully decide, that’s a good thing. You’ve got diversity.
NH: I think it’s that there are so many bands that you like and you’re like, “I want to do something like that!” and like having a short attention span with all these different bands. I mean, we love Converge and Chariot and bands like that. Like, I want to do heavy stuff and then bands like Radiohead and Portugal. The Man and Queens of the Stone Age and stuff make their way in. Queens of the Stone Age is one of my favorite bands. That’s why I don’t know if I’d ever want to be thought of as just a straight up emo band. We’re not trying to do something — like I know there’s the whole sadboy movement. Like it becomes a point of being particularly emo or sad and that’s not us. Maybe some of the s–t is lyrically somewhat sad or whatever, but you know. Life is just bad. Everyone just dies. [laughs]
K: Microwave writes some deeply personal lyrics but they never come off as corny, and are instead rather poetic. Is there anything you guys do to have lyrics like that?
NH: Be obsessive compulsive.
TP: Rewrites and rewrites.
NH: Hate yourself and listen to the things you write and think that they sound corny. And then rewrite them. [laughs] Heavily. [laughs]
TH: Probably, that’s the key right there.
NH: Probably, because I’ll write something and then I’ll be “This sounds f–king corny”. I don’t know. I’ve never been big on the whole magical write on a napkin in the middle of the night storytelling/songwriting sort of thing. I don’t know, I always overthink things. It’s never a poetic moment or whatever.
K: Is there anything you guys do outside of music, like a hobby, that contributes to the band musically in a way?
NH: Tito’s really into paintballing.
TH: I am really stressed out by my job.
NH: Tyler programs HVAC units for…
TH: Commercial equipment. It’s incredibly stressful. You want a temperature adjustment? I got it. Differential pressure? Come on, I’ll get it sorted out.
NH: He takes tech support calls in the van. He’ll hop onto his computer, and while we’re on tour he’ll be taking tech support calls.
TH: It stresses me. So much.
NH: But aside from that…Uh, you know. Making love. [laughs] You know, to our beautiful woman.
NH: WomEn. More than one. I get corrected on my plural pronunciation all the time. Wemen. [laughs] You have to say “we” first. Wemen.
TP: I don’t know. I mean, we all drink. [laughs]
TP: I read. I like reading. I work occasionally. I work at Flying Biscuit.
TH: We’re really boring. [laughs]
K: What’s the most “rock star” thing you guys have ever done?
TP: Touring with Motion City Soundtrack. That’s pretty up there.
TH: Riot Fest Chicago. That was super, super awesome.
NH: I injured myself a bunch last year from…stage things. I dislocated my shoulder onstage while playing at Wrecking Ball. And then at Riot Fest, I strained my neck. I gave myself whiplash, from headbanging too hard. [laughs] And then on the All Get Out tour, I smashed my knee into the ground doing like an Elvis Presley slide. And it’s been 3 months, and I just got an MRI on it last week. [laughs] It still hurts. I’m okay, I just have a bone bruise.
K: What was different for you guys when you were writing and recording Much Love, as opposed to working on your older material like the split with Head North or Stovall?
TH: Stovall was written over 2 years. Much Love was a lot more condensed. In terms of the whole band being together and working on it, that was different.
TP: We did demos, though. I feel like that was the difference. For a month, we kept changing the songs.
TH: We practiced a lot.
NH: I think a big thing is after Stovall, we got a lot of Manchester Orchestra comparisons. I kind of learned how to sing in high school by singing Manchester Orchestra songs and covering them. So, it kinda bugged me. So, I was like “Oh s–t, I’m just a worse version of a band I like.” So, one of the big things was I wanted it to sound as little like Manchester Orchestra as possible. [laughs] They’re a great band, but I wanted to do something that sounded more personal or something.
I know it’s now late in the day, but who are guys most excited to see at AURA Fest today?
NH: Definitely Oh, Sleeper and Unearth. Probably Zao too. I’m pretty bummed I missed Vatican, honestly. Yashira sounds cool too.
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