By paul

PAUL: Please introduce yourselves!
MARK: My name is Mark Sutor, I’m conducting the interview here today and I play drums for the band June. The rest of the guys are Tim Brennan on Vocals/Guitar, AJ Brown on Vocals/Bass and Mark Palacz on Guitar.

PAUL: Who are June, where are you from, when did you form and how would you describe your sound?
MARK: We are a band from Chicago that started about 2 1/2 years ago while we were all in high school. We took the “garage band” tag for a while as we would practice in different basements and garages for a long time while trying to book shows at our high schools and small little clubs around us. We gained a cool little following in a couple suburbs and we ended up putting on our own shows that would draw 100-150 people. The lineup would consist of only us as we didn’t know how to put on full shows just yet, haha. Anyway, it was our last year in high school where we started thinking very seriously about progressing with the band and that’s when we started to practice long and write very frequently. We decided to record an EP with Jesse Meiselman (who runs “The Vinyl Summer Recordings) and we spread it everywhere we possibly could while proceeding to book our own tour. In October of 2004, we signed to Victory and began preparing for our debut full length. We released it and that’s where we are now! Touring whenever we possibly can. I would simply describe our sound as pop/rock. It’s a bit harder at times but we don’t scream so it has a lot more melody and harmony involved.

PAUL: Why June and not May, July or August?
MARK: Well, when I was talking about our “garage band” years, we were actually called “Drive Like June“. It was the first name we chose for our band and we had no clue of another band that had existed in the past called “Drive Like Jehu”. When we started to send our music (music before the EP) to bigger clubs, like the Fireside Bowl for example, we’d get promoters coming back to us saying “Are you kidding? Change your name!”. We’d also get similar responses from some labels around the area so we just chopped off the “Drive Like”. This way, we felt we wouldn’t lose out on our fanbase, as small as it was, and we could continue to try growing around the Chicago-land/Midwest area without trying to completely start over. We had no big meaning behind the name but occassionally we tell people that we named it after Johnny Cash’s wife, June Carter. If all else fails, just put that, haha.

PAUL: The EP was self-released and generated a good response. Did this surpass your expectations?
MARK: Well, we got help monetary-wise recording the EP with our good friend Jesse, like I mentioned earlier, but the only distribution it had was through Smartpunk. You can probably say that’s almost self-released but we definitely led a bunch of people to Smartpunk to buy it and our EP turns out to be one of the top 100 cd’s sold of all time on the site now, ha. We didn’t know what to expect at all. We just needed to a way to record 4-5 songs that would sound awesome but without a huge price tag involved. When we found Dan Duszynski, we were blessed. He knew Jesse well and had worked with Sean O’keefe (producer for Fall Out Boy, Spitalfield, Punchline, etc.) on a number of different projects. We met up with him and he was eager to do an entire project on his own so we agreed to record the EP with him. It turned out amazing, we were all very excited and then we just sent it everywhere we possibly could afterwards. Our expectations were definitely surpassed with the kind of quality we got on those songs. We still have alot of people telling us they like the EP versions of the songs better than the album.

PAUL: How did you hook up with Victory?
MARK: Victory is from Chicago, so alot of the staff there likes to hang out at different shows to scout bands/meet people/etc. We had started becoming friends with a couple different people from Victory so we knew that maybe they would at least listen to our EP when it was done. Victory was at the top for us…if they were interested. We got them all music and then patiently waited. Then, when we heard that Tony Brummel (owner of Victory) wanted to have a meeting with us, we freaked! We were incredibly excited and everything went very well. From that point on, we talked over a deal with Tony and signed with Victory. It’s been fantastic since.

PAUL: Did you know any of the bands on the label before you signed to them?
MARK: We knew Spitalfield, that was about it at the time. Obviously, we met alot more bands since then.

PAUL: After the success of the EP, why did you feel it was necessary to re-record two of the tracks for the new album?
MARK: We just felt that the EP didn’t get too much exposure yet so it wasn’t going to be something that people heard over and over again by us. We knew the album was going to be nationally distributed everywhere and many more people would get the chance to hear our music, so why not put a couple songs that we feel very strongly for from the EP on there? I think it was a good choice and alot of people have shown really cool reactions for those songs.

PAUL: Why did you choose those two specific tracks and not one of the others from the EP?
MARK: Those two were the first two that popped out at us being good songs to complement our brand new songs… and they’re just great songs (in our opinion) in general. Brian McTernan agreed with us when we played him the entire EP so we felt like we had the right idea. We still think the rest of the songs on the EP are very good, don’t get us wrong, but those 2 (“You Had It Coming” and “OK Corral”) were the ones we wanted to re-record for our debut. Who knows, we might go back to the EP again to record another if we feel like the song can be re-recorded in a good fashion to belong on the next record. We have no idea, ha.

PAUL: A submitted question for you. What inspired the artwork for the album?
MARK: We didn’t really have a solid mindset on what we wanted to see in the artwork. We are all big fans of something just looks very sharp and doesn’t portray a message that we feel wouldn’t fit ours (like blood, haha). Jason Link, a graphic designer from Victory, showed us the pictures and we loved them. We contacted Jac Vanek (the wonderful lady in the pictures) and she said she’d love for us to use the art. I think it fit with our album very well as it looks very sharp and glossy but also has somewhat of a “dark” feel to them. You can compare that to our music as we write alot about failing relationships and just different situations in life along with catchy/melodic rock music. We felt like the pictures were perfect. We absolutely LOVE the cover itself, I think it looks awesome and stands out like none other in a crowd of CD’s.

PAUL: What was it like working with Brian McTernan?
MARK: It was amazing, he’s an experienced and professional producer who showed us how to be studio musicians to the best. The way he worked was perfect for us as his ideas and criticisms helped to get our songs to how they are now. There were some really strange ideas that we had alot of trouble working out into songs alone but when Brian came along he would show us new angles and ways to look at the parts. He helped us piece together and structure songs in an amazing manner. I think our focus on the EP was to piece together awesome parts of songs and the album Brian led us to really put together good and full songs, without worrying about the individual parts (verses, choruses, bridges). He was making sure we had entire songs that flowed well and occassionally flushing out random parts that wouldn’t really fit into a song. On top of all of that, he’s an incredible engineer and mixer. We love everything about the album, from the tones to the mixes and to the final songs.

PAUL: In the future, if you could record with anyone who would it be and why?
MARK: I’m really not sure any of us put any thought into this. Maybe, the one person I can think of is working with Stephan Jenkins, as I am a HUGE fan of Third Eye Blind. I think he wrote 3 incredible albums with amazing songs all the way through each one. I’m not sure if we could ever get that to happen though, ha.

PAUL: Another submitted question. Are the Threadless t-shirts competition winners going to be available widely or as a limited run? How has the response been?
MARK: I think the shirts are going to be available widely. We didn’t really get details on what will be done with the actual shirts we just knew the prizes that the different winners would get. I’m sure Threadless will have details for those shirts…if they’re a limited run or not.

PAUL: Any plans to tour the UK?
MARK: We will, for sure. We have no definite plans of just when yet, but don’t worry, we will.

PAUL: Any funny on the road stories to tell?
MARK: There was one day while driving through New Mexico where we blew out a tire. We proceeded to put on the spare tire and drive to a repair shop/tire store to get another real tire. By the time we got there, the spare tire was almost completely rusted off and was basically about to fly off the car. That’s 2 tires that now messed up. We now had to get a new tire for our van and a new spare tire. Everything was changed and we left the repair shop. 15 minutes later, we blew out our trailer tire on the highway. That was NOT a fun day, but funny nonetheless, haha.

PAUL: Another submitted question. If you were an interviewer asking June a question, what would you ask and why? What would the answer be?
MARK: Wow, I have no idea. Maybe I’d ask “what’s your favorite part of being on the road?” and I would answer “The plain double cheeseburger being the only thing we can afford to eat from McDonald’s”, haha. No, but I would honestly answer that playing to and meeting all the different people in a new city every night is the MOST fun I have ever had in my life and it’s only going to get better as we continue to tour.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]