INTERVIEW: 7 Minute Martians Reflect on the Long Journey to Their Debut Full-Length, "Curious"
Cincinnati pop-punk band, 7 Minute Martians might be getting ready to release their debut full-length, Curious this month, but that doesn't mean that they're new to the game by any means. In fact, Curious has been a long time in the making - nearly seven years, to be exact! First inspired by artists like blink-182, New Found Glory and Sum-41, the band's timeless sound will make you long for the 90's and early 2000's, when pop-punk was in its prime.
Now that Curious is almost out for the world to hear, 7 Minute Martians are opening up about the long journey to create the album and the stories that come along with it. From feeling inspired by a new blink record to mourning the loss of both a parent and an old relationship to the desire to help others find comfort within music, Curious is a deep, meaningful debut for this foursome. Read what the band had to say about the album below and grab your copy on March 15th!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about 7 Minute Martians for any readers who might not be familiar?
Yeah, we’re from Cincinnati, Ohio. I kinda just consider our music as rock, generally, but a lot of people call us pop-punk. We pull influences from blink-182, Sum 41, Taking Back Sunday, and The Beach Boys. Our full-length debut album Curious is being released March 15, 2018 that we self-published and we’re very excited about it. It’s been an incredible amount of hard work and it’s been a goal for a long time so it feels amazing to be closing in on accomplishing it.
Your history with one another goes way back to high school, before 7 Minute Martians even existed. How do you feel this has affected the music you write today, if at all?
Well, Ted and I met when we were 14. And at that age you’re sort of figuring out who you want to be and what stuff you like. You’re kind of deciding what characteristics are important for you to have and music and art is huge part of that. You’re developing your own style and becoming and individual. Ted was my best friend, you know, we confided in each other about girls, our parents and what we wanted to do with our lives. And when we went to have a good time we did it together. We liked the same music and that solidified our bond because we both wanted to make music a career. So we sought to do that together as well. Life happens fast and it doesn’t always go according to plan but I do feel that being as close as we are gave us the freedom to be ourselves. It means a lot when you can write something and your best friend/co-writer says, “Eh... it’s kinda boring. But what if you did this?” That allows for cycle to start to where you’re feeding of each other. A solid foundation is important because you’re not worried about this person thinking you’re uncool. You’ve got that guarantee, so now what you do is try to impress them without feeling pressure and it comes out great.
Although you guys have been writing and playing together for quite some time, you’re just getting ready to release your debut full-length album this March. Has it been a long time coming? What are you most excited for listeners to hear on it?
We’ve been writing for this album off and on since 2011. A lot of stuff got in the way, you know, I went to jail, Ted had a baby, couldn’t find other members. Recording is so expensive and we worked our asses off to pay for it and that stuff takes a long time. When you have someone bankrolling your music you can spend 2-3 months in the studio recording and pump it out. When you gotta do it on your own it can take 6-7 years [laughs].
We’re excited for people to just hear our music in general. I think it has a throwback late 90’s early 2000’s SoCal punk vibe that’s definitely been missed. But I think it has something new to it as well. There’s an authentic garnish that comes from just being who we are as individuals and the influences and experiences we’ve had.
What did you set out to accomplish on Curious?
It’s very simple for me – I had never been so full of life, so happy to be alive, so inspired than the summer of 1999 because I had just heard blink-182’s Enema of the State. And people will laugh at that and say, “What a dork,” and that’s fine but that record changed my life entirely. From that day forward all I cared about was playing music. Luckily, I found an incredibly rad dude who felt the same way. And all I want to do with Curious is inspire kids the same way I was inspired by Enema, to play music or at least be a soundtrack for having fun and being a kid. You know, living it up while you’re young. If someone said, “Your record inspired me to play guitar,” or, “Curious was the soundtrack to my teenage years,” I mean, you’ve won the lottery right there. It can’t get better than that as a musician. Mission accomplished.
You recently released your single, “Stutter” from the album. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
My mom committed suicide on May 13th, 2016. My stepdad, my brother, sister and I took a vacation together to try and regroup as a family after that blow. So we headed for the beach. And I did the whole cliché thing walking on the beach at sunset just thinking existentially. (That shit really is therapeutic). And in the midst of all that pain and mental anguish I was feeling, I still had my ex-girlfriend on my mind. She’s just an amazing person and I really fucked it up. You know, she’s the kind of girl you meet when you’re too young to realize the rarity of finding “the one.” Never been able to get over her and never want to, you know? So I thought, “What is it about her that I really really love when you strip almost everything away? What charming attribute does she have that just kills me?” It’s her stutter. It’s not a constant acute stutter; it’s slight, mostly on transitions. Anyway, the thought just made me smile. It made me feel better just thinking about her, knowing damn well she’s with some other guy 1,000 miles away and that my best friend just killed herself. And I’m not a very poetic writer; I’m not very metaphoric. Sometimes it’s that way but most of the time it’s just straight-up, real, and literal. And so I just started singing what I was doing – walking on the beach, man. The whole song came out that night. The chorus, the second verse. It was all there that night. She helped me get through that time in my life without even being there. Just on her memory. And I also realized that I would be okay in that very same way with my mom. It’s my favorite song on the record.
How do you feel you’ve grown as musicians and songwriters with the creation of Curious?
Well, my first experience being in a band started out on the opening stride of the emo era. That morphed into a post-hardcore rock-n-roll hybrid thing, and then touched down in the fields of electronic pop, all of which I did vocals for, all of which I felt like a session musician who was asked to write. It was never my shit, you know? It was never where my heart lied, and it wasn’t fun. I thought, “Fuck, I miss playing guitar! I miss pop-punk and skate-punk”. And the same time I had that epiphany blink came out with a new record. So that fueled a bunch of inspiration, played heavily into some decision-making and here we are. I think with the pursuit of writing/recording Curious we’ve figured out what our style is and what our sound is, but that’s always subject to change because you’ve gotta grow. If you don’t grow then you feel like shit. There’s a line in High Fidelity where Laura says, “You have to allow things to happen to people, most of all yourself.” And it’s fucking true.
Were there any struggles or challenges you came across when writing and recording the album? How did you overcome them?
With writing there were no challenges or struggles really. In fact it was therapeutic, as it often is for musicians. What was an incredible challenge was recording. You have something in your head and a preconceived notion of how it’s going to sound, then you track it and it’s waaay different, and you don’t like it. Then you have to rewrite it, or if it’s in the production aspect you have to ask your producer to get inside your head and listen to how you’re hearing it. That’s impossible. Damn-near impossible. And that’s where the difficulty lies. I co-produced Curious because there is no other way for me to be. I’m too invested in my music. I have to have my hand on the wheel. So our producer, Eric Tuffendsam, he’s an amazing musician and friend, we clashed a lot. He’s very partial to albums where instruments and vocals are very upfront to the listener and a bit dry of effects, and I like instruments and vocals with depth, space, and effects. We argued and argued on things but what stood out to me is that his arguing meant only one thing - he cared. He was invested. We compromised. He got his way on some things and I got my way on some things. There are some things on the record I’m not happy with, but money started to dry up and at some point you gotta just go, “Fuck, okay, that’s enough. This is true. This is what came out naturally. Let’s move on,” because if you don’t do that you will never release anything. It’s always a work in progress and it can always be better. That’s the nature of the beast.
What would you like listeners to take away from Curious?
Life is dynamic. It happens fast. It’s dramatic, and it’s real. Love is real. Pain is real. Death is real. And we’re all going to feel it in various and similar ways together eventually. The good news is there’s always a song for it. We want you to feel good and have hope after listening to Curious.
With the album out soon, do you have any show or tour plans coming up? What goals do you have for 2018?
Our release show is March 31, 2018 at Legends in Cheviot, Ohio. We’re playing with our good friends Pilot Around the Stars and Current Events. Go check them out on Spotify or whatever platform you use. We’ve been building up the release show and preparing for it while working full-time jobs so tour talk hasn’t started yet but it will after the release show. The goals in 2018 for 7 Minute Martians is touring coastal regions, promoting the shit out of Curious, shooting 3 music videos, and make it onto some festivals where we can play in front of larger crowds and gain as much exposure as possible. We’d like to do some video interviews and maybe some podcasts as well.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The pleasure was all ours. Thank you so much for having us. We should do it again sometime!