When It Counts [August 2013]

By James Brown

Punktastic recently stumbled upon When It Counts after they posted their band in a self-promotion forum, and we loved their EP enough to give it an excellent review (Read here). Alternative music shouldn’t be about waiting for the PR guys to push a band your way, so we wanted to give the Staten Island band a chance to have their say. Let’s see how they got on…

Tell us a bit about When It Count – how did you get together?
We’ve been together in some form since July 2010. Everyone in the band met in our high school’s marching band and we started jamming in 2010 under the name Falling With Style. We played under that name for a few years, not really doing anything special. After some member changes, we changed the name to When It Counts in October 2012, recorded our debut EP, and haven’t looked back.

You’re from Staten Island, not exactly known by UK fans for its alternative music scene, are we missing a trick here?
Without a doubt. SI is home to a ton of great local acts that are beginning to do great things, like our friends in Everything Ever, Backslashes and Bad Ideas, and Wester. Wester actually just did an east coast US tour with Hindsights from the UK.

Does being a free ferry ride away from Manhattan have its benefits for a young aspiring band?
Yes and no. The ferry, while free, is a lot more time consuming than taking a train, and there’s no subway from Staten Island to Manhattan. While it’s easy for us to bring our friends out to a show in the city with a headliner (like when we played with Real Friends in July), it’s a little more difficult to get kids out to a show with a few smaller bands. If we were from Brooklyn or another borough, it’d be a lot more convenient. It’s not so bad though – I love the community of the SI scene.

Your debut EP is up for free download on Bandcamp currently – why should UK music fans check it out?
Well, first of all, it’s free, you have nothing to lose! It’s fast, furious, to the point music. If you like pop punk, you’ll like us.

Was there a reason why you choose to offer it for free? I know previously it was up for a few dollars.
After the initial release, we noticed we weren’t getting many downloads (We had it up for $3). We figured that since the EP is already up on a few free download and leak sites, we’d rather just put it up for pay what you want. Since then, we’ve gotten a couple downloads a day.

Are you surprised at how much competition there is to get people to even download a new band for free?
Yeah, there’s a ton of bands releasing music every day, you have to find a way to stick out in that crowd.

Without a label backing you, how do you set about getting your name out there and introducing your music to people?

Twitter is definitely a huge help. We don’t buy our followers or Facebook likes or anything, but we follow a ton of people and talk to them on our Twitter account. We also “leaked” the EP ourselves to a few sites after we released it. Interviews and stuff like this are also a HUGE help, because people can learn a little bit more about us. We also bought a bunch of stickers and hand them out at every show. People love free shit, and I’ve spotted a couple stickers in places that I know we didn’t put them, so that’s cool.

You’re just heading out on tour – how do you think it’ll go? Do bands of your size draw much of a crowd in the US?

I’m actually packing as I write this. We’re super excited, we think it’s gonna go great. Some shows will for sure be better than others, but I feel that this tour is gonna be really fun. We ourselves probably won’t draw too big a crowd (it’s our first time playing a lot of these cities), but we have some awesome local support and bigger headliners on a lot of these dates, so that should be good.

Tell us about the bands you’re playing with, should we be listening to them too?
You should absolutely listen to One Fell Swoop and Scoutmaster Jack. Super talented musicians and some of the nicest guys we’ve ever met. Swoop are more hardcore influenced, they sound a little bit like old Thrice and Senses Fail, and Scoutmaster remind me of Blink-182 a lot.

You clearly wear your influences on your sleeves – I guess you’re not overly surprised when that’s mentioned in reviews? Do you take it as a compliment?
That’s actually why we named the EP The Same Old Story. We know it’s nothing crazy or groundbreaking, but it’s solid, good music, and we do take those comparisons as a compliment.

Finally – the kids from The Goonies get into a fight with the kids from Stand By Me. Who comes out with all the bruises?
The Goonies. Keifer Sutherland from SBM grows up into Jack Bauer from 24. You don’t fuck with that guy.

You can listen to When It Count’s debut EP here:

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]