Punktastic caught up with All People as they passed through Chicago to talk touring, new album, New Orleans and veggie oil fuelled cars…
You are week four into your tour you said? How is it going?
GREG: Great! Everything has been really awesome.
What is the best thing that’s happened in the last four weeks of your tour?
D-RAY: Rob’s birthday happened to fall when we were in Brooklyn and we basically all had a birthday because it was Rob.
How old did Rob turn?
26! That’s a good age to be.
ROB: 25 was awesome so like, being in New York for your 26th birthday it was… well.. now 27 is going to be real hard to top just because New York was so fun.
You’re just going to have to go on a European Tour…
ROB: Or Japan!
Turn 27 in a completely different country! But then you would have to do that every year..
D-RAY: There’s only so many countries.
GREG: Well you’ve got about 11 and a half months to figure it out.
So you have an album coming out in May?
GREG: May 5th is the release date for our next record
Do you want to tell us a bit about it?
GREG: It’s a full length and the vinyl is a co-release on Asian Man Records and Community Records. D-Ray and I we play in this band and we co-run Community Records. The tape is being released on Broken World Media so we’ve collaborated with a few other labels to make everything happen. The record was recorded last August at a studio in New Orleans
ROB: It’s called The Living Room, it’s a studio that’s been running for about like 15 years. Chris George started it out of his living room and now since Katrina he bought an old church and gutted it and it’s become this really cool space.
GREG: He does everything from like a band as big as Collexico but also he gives a friend rate to some of his close bud and it’s a killer studio to have access to.
D-RAY: I think Kendrick Lamar contacted him and wanted to record his next record there…
GREG: Chris also likes to do what he wants to do.
That’s a good way to be.
GREG: Yeah! Totally! He built that thing too!
D-RAY: He built it himself. He’s an architect as well as an engineer. So the studio is really closely tied with us and recording at The Living Room is the only way we see that we should do it if we were going to record the record that we always wanted to record.
How long have you been doing Community Records for?
GREG: A little over 7 years. We’re at release number 56.
Is it weird putting your own record out on your own label?
GREG: Part of the reason why we do the label is so that we have a platform for our own music but at the same time sometimes I feel sort of guilty even just like posting about our own music just because it’s like we’re also representing all these other bands and people that have entrusted their music onto our platform or whatever. Sometimes it’s like “ah I don’t know if people want to hear about our stuff”
D-RAY: Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and be like “You know what it’s our turn. It’s fair”
GREG: It’s a balance and we try to be sensitive to the situation to the best of our ability. But it’s fun! I’m definitely very proud that like we get to go out of the road and every night we’re not only representing ourselves we’re also representing the label and all these bands that we really love and that we’ve embraced. That’s one of the best things about touring that we get to go out and bring the whole distro of the 56 releases that we’ve put out.
D-RAY: And we get to represent ourselves how we want to be represented. There isn’t some sort of disconnect with maybe somebody else doing it.
That’s cool that you take everything you’ve released out with you to sell rather than just your own.
GREG: It feels like a natural thing to do you know?
D-RAY: We’re going around to all these places and it just makes sense to have it.
What else have you got coming out on the label soon?
GREG: So recently we did releases for CaddyWhompus and Pope and we did a four way split that was Woozy, Ex-Breathers, Gnarwhal and Ovlov, We also did a release for Sun Hotel. Coming up we have a release we’re about to announce for Boyfriend Material from Florida, then we have Safety from Brooklyn. In the fall we have a release from Woozy and then not to long after another CaddyWhompus release. We also have some other bands that we’re maybe going to be working with that hasn’t been solidified yet. But right now, we’re mostly focusing on the All People release whilst this is happening and then Boyfriend Material and Safety.
The thing I’m always interested in because I come from a pretty small island, what is the best and worst thing about touring around a country as big as America?
GREG: The best part for us is that we have a veggie oil van which is awesome. A couple of years ago we did some research and we got a diesel engine van and we did a crowdfunding thing to help us pay for a conversion to get a diesel engine van to run on waste vegetable oil. So we basically tour on waste fryer oil which is pretty awesome.
ROB: Saves all the money that you usually lose when you’re touring.
Do you just roll up to places and ask for oil?
D-RAY: You go up to restaurants and you just ask if you can have it. Most of the time they say no, or they say yes but the oil is not good to put in to a vehicle because it’s mixed with fat or water or it’s just gross. It’s really a lot of swing and miss sort of thing, a lot of “Can we?” “No.” “Can we?” “No.” and then like 7th or 8th time you’ll get lucky. But even then sometimes it’s like 5 gallons.
GREG: Doing the DIY touring thing, today we got a bunch of oil from our friend Dan who plays in a band called The Reptilian. He works at a restaurant and was able to let us take as much oil as we needed. Sometimes it’s even someone as directly as the person who booked the show happens to know where to find oil.
Have you ever got stranded because you’ve run out of oil?
D-RAY: Nah it can run on diesel as well.
GREG: Yeah it doesn’t run exclusively on oil. But the worst part of touring the states, the long drives are kind of brutal sometimes.
D-RAY: The long drives but also how far away hubs of good cities are. Like in the North East it’s really easy because you can easily go to all major cities. But in the South it’s hard to get to bigger cities and the drives are a lot longer. Getting to the West Coast is just really hard. It’s hard to tour the entire country, it’s not hard to tour but if you wanted to do the whole thing it’s really difficult. Sometimes we miss opportunities because it’s not really the best idea or the most affordable to try to go to the West Coast even though we all want to. You gotta pick your battles and it’s better to be on the road for long periods of time hitting places you’ve already hit instead of hitting places you haven’t hit yet.
If you had to pick a band that was the best thing to happen recently what band would that be?
GREG: Over a year? I think Ava Luna is amazing even though they’ve been around for a little while, they’ve gotten more attention in the last two years. But that band, I love that band.
This is the question I ask and everyone hates me for it.
GREG: I want to name off like 5 bands but Ava Luna is the first that comes to mind.
ROB: Do they have to be from the States? I think Toe is like the best band ever, or one of the best bands ever.
What’s the punk scene like in New Orleans?
GREG: I like it a lot because there’s a lot of different things happening and my personal opinion is that most of the different things that are happening all the bands overall are very good at what they’re doing. A lot of the bands that we work with on the label and bands we put on shows with locally they’re all really good.
ROB: The scene in New Orleans right is is very… I want to say influential but that’s not the right word.
D-RAY: I think it’s exploding. I think bands are realising that being from New Orleans is not a crutch anymore and I think that’s like a mindset that has not existed in New Orleans until fairly recently.
Which gives everyone a lot more opportunities?
GREG: As far as running a label with bands mostly from New Orleans it’s made our existence so much more fun. Just kind of awesome because we get to work with bands that are killer and I really enjoy a lot of the stuff that’s been happening. Also too a lot of New Orleans bands are realising “Oh! We should be touring as much as possible!” and that’s awesome!
D-RAY: They do well and they do awesome stuff and it just reflects back well on everyone in New Orleans.
ROB: The only negative side of the scene is just places to play. It’s hard to find places to play and it’s hard to cater to all ages and find houses that a cop won’t try to shut down. There’s a couple of warehouses, one burned down. So we’ve just been losing places left and right. Which is traumatic in a way.
It’s sad that’s the case, every time I come back to Chicago I feel like there’s always something new rather than something lost.
GREG: That kind of movement has always been slow, we lost a bunch but then this place Sisters In Christ which is a record store inside a venue that does 21 and up shows also does early all ages shows in the record store part. So it’s like almost like 2 or 3 go away and one pops up.
D-RAY: I think in a way the lack of venues has made bands feel more comfortable touring. They want to play, and if they can’t find places to play or they feel like places don’t cater to them they try to get out of the city and that’s a good thing. It’s broken this New Orleans curse in a way, bands are getting out and making a name for themselves. Being really motivated to do it themselves and believe in them themselves rather than hop on the backs of some label. That’s really important.
All People have an album out right now which you can buy here: http://communityrecords.org/releases/people-learn-forget-repeat/. You can also catch them on tour…
5/8 fri. – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks – album release w/ Ava Luna *^
5/20 wed. – Tallahassee, FL @ All Saints *^
5/21 thu. – Orlando, FL @ Space Station *^
5/22 fri. – Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem *^
5/23 sat. – Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic *^
5/26 tue. – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *
5/28 thu. – Brooklyn, NY @ The Gutter *
5/29 fri. – Worcester, MA @ The Firehouse *
5/30 sat. – Chester, NY @ The Elephant Graveyard *
5/31 sun. – Washington, DC @ The Black Cat *
6/3 wed. – Memphis, TN @ Murphy’s *
6/5 fri. – Denton, TX @ Gatsby’s Mansion *
6/6 sat. – Houston, TX @ FPSF after party *
6/8 mon. – Lafayette, LA @ The Wild Salmon *
* = w/ POPE
^ = w/ BOYFRIEND MATERIAL