After the release of their most recent album, and a slew of shows and really great achievements, The Hook had the opportunity to talk to Alive & Well about how they're doing, what inspires them, and how they like their grits!
Check out our interview below!
1. How’ve you been (Because it’s polite to start any conversation with checking in on the person you’re talking to.)
Mike - We've been great! Our video for 'Addictions' just came out through New Noise magazine and we have a bunch of shows coming up!
2. To get straight to the personal stuff, would any of you identify as a “cheese person” or “sugar person” in regard to grits? (Seriously, a person’s identity lies in the answer of the question.)
Mike - Oh man, for grits? Salt and butter. Cheese is good basically all the time for anything though. String cheese, is a favorite because it's perfect for on the go scenario's, which I find myself in often. Sugar isn't really necessary to add to anything. Only add it to coffee if you're gonna pound it and get a fuel boost. Then add tons. I call that Space Juice.
3. It seems that your music focuses on acceptance and freedom. If I could describe your music in terms of food, it would be sweet, maybe comfort food, but the best kind, like Oreos and Pizza. Would your music be encouragement to others to enjoy their lives as it is or is it a statement, telling the world that you will enjoy life regardless of your circumstances?
Mike - You have to find enjoyment in everything (especially oreos and pizza), but that doesn't mean you have to settle where you are and say ' yep, this is how's its going to be forever'. If things are rough right now, find something fun about it, engulf yourself in it, enjoy it, utilize it, because you're only going up and that one thing that got you by in that particular situation won't ever be there again. It won't ever have the same feeling the next time around. Everyone is always going up, so enjoy every step of the way.
4. What inspired your song “259 Park Drive”?
Matt - 259 Park Dr. is about the house I grew up in. I had a single parent and my mom worked a lot and my friends and I took advantage of her not being there by having parties and hanging around since there wasn't much supervision. A lot of my friends who all have settled down and taken up careers, gotten married, had children, look back at that house and it represented wilder times in their lives. We all got our bearings on life there, made mistakes, drank too much, tried drugs, and had a blast as we figured out what kind of people we were going to grow up into. That song is a thank you to the people who were there as I use to have huge anxiety issues about being left alone, I still prefer being with a group but at that point in my life it was crucial to have people around in order to be comfortable.
5. If you guys were still in basements and not at beaches, would you still make music? Would you still embrace the process?
Matt - The move from East to West was a monumental experience in all our lives and in different ways and it provided great content to write about. But our lives individually revolve around music so much that it doesn't matter where we ended up, I am pretty confident that we would still be making music no matter what.
6. It says in your Facebook bio that you guys are collectively interested in “Enjoying the fuck out of life and what [you’ve] got.” That also seems to be a reoccurring theme in your music. Could you elaborate on why that, specifically, is important to you and the music that you create?
Mike - Kind of what was said in question three. Some days you have it all, some days you have nothing, but have fun. There's no point to any of this (life) if we don't have fun with it. Space Juice helps.
7. Are there any topics that you’d like to use your platform to sing about in the future?
Matt - We have a lot of new stuff that's being written right now, as things progress were constantly being provided ideas for new songs. Mike is now a big part of the process of conceptualizing songs with me while Brozgold takes more part in the arrangements, but whenever Mike and I hang out we talk a lot about what we want to address. We consider ourselves spitefully optimistic so well continue to write songs that will hopefully motivate and encourage people to fight for things they believe in. But the commentary this band will provide ranges from civil rights, politics, and religion, all the way to partying, drug use, and debauchery.
8. Your music also seems to discuss cyclical nature (drugs, seasons, day-to-day conflict and resolution). Could you elaborate on your reason for focusing on this?
Matt - The seasons being the most obvious one, my teenage years and early 20s I could anticipate aspects of my life based on the season it took place in. I was happiest in the summer where I could purely focus on music, partying with my friends, and traveling. I spent the fall still enjoying myself but in the back of my mind prepping for the inevitable seasonal depression that would kick my ass in the following months. Winter was miserable, broke, freezing to death in my van on my way to college classes where I was completely unmotivated to work due to my mental state. And then in spring I would dig myself out the mess I made and fix my life up. I repeated this for years before hastily fleeing for the west coast.
The drug aspect is something that I think a lot of people wouldn't talk about with as positive of a connotation as I do. I am a careful, recreational drug user and I think that some of the experiences I have had under the influence have contributed to why I am such a positive and welcoming individual. If you're not religious and consider humans for what they are; animals that have evolved and adapted over time by chance and made up of a combination of chemicals, then its easier to accept that some folks chemicals aren't in in sync all the time and if you can take something that makes you feel better than you would with out it, why wouldn't you? Its a shame when some folks lose control while experimenting and its certainly not for everyone, some people have disastrous reactions and it ruins their lives but I personally use substances to alter myself into a better version. They help me act like more of who I believe I am, a more confident and overall happier individual. I'm not condoning it or even celebrating it but to not include it the songs is not addressing a large aspect of who I am.
9.) 50 years is a long time to commit to music or anything or anyone for that matter. Do you see yourself committing to music and/or to each other for nearly as long as 50 years?
Mike - If the world doesn't cave in on itself by then then hell yeah! We'll be Alive & sort of Well. I'm sure our bodies will be in shambles though.
10. If you could rock out with anyone who isn’t with us anymore, who would it be?
Mike - Dime bag probably. Dude could head bang and the after party would be insane.
Matt - Lemmy, the dude could party and Im sure he'd hate our band.
11. What is your top five artists of all time?
Mike - Every Time I Die. Vinnie Caruana (all his stuff). Sum 41. Springsteen. Alkaline Trio
Matt - Green Day, Billy Joel, The Chariot, Tom Waits, Every Time I Die
12. Are there any artists who you plan to work with in the near future?
Mike - All the bands we played with the first year we started. Those first few shows were crucial and helped us out a lot. So Light Years, Driver Friendly, Firestarter, Such A Mess, For The Win. And some new friends we've made a long the way I'd like to play with again. Post Season, Chasing Morgan, Crooked Teeth, Trophy Wives.
Matt - I think we're a perfect fit with Hit The Lights, Four Year Strong, and Set Your Goals. I don't know how to make that happen but it would be awesome.
13. What, specifically, do you admire about those who influence you?
Mike - The fact that they're just people. If I'm lucky enough to meet the artists or bands that influence me, they're always just a regular person. No rockstar mentality.
14. Tell me about some of the projects you have lined up in the future.
Matt - We want to end this EP cycle with a huge music video for 259 Park Dr, ideally I'd like to do it on the east coast with all our childhood friends and family in it because its a song about them. After that we gear up for our next release.
15. How do fell about emotional vulnerability in art?
Matt - I think its amazing, some of my favorite lyricists are people who pull the curtain back on their lives. The good, the bad, and the uncomfortable. I think it takes balls to admit something in a song that you might not even be comfortable saying in conversation and thanks to music shifting away from radio, where you had to be careful about what's being said, now I think you're getting a closer, realer look at song writers.
16. Where do you want your band to be in ten years?
Mike - Every/ anywhere there's a stage.
We want to thank Alive & Well for this really stellar interview, and if you're looking for more on these really cool guys, check out their social media below!
Alive & Well: Facebook // Website