Recently I was able to chat with a band from Annapolis, Maryland called Again In May, whose new EP Feels Like Home came across my inbox and I was immediately hooked. The band consists of vocalist Liam King, guitarist Daniel Contreras, bassist Sean Anderson, and drummer Noah Doney, and their sound is similar to a mix between Saosin and the pop sensibilities of The Format. In this interview, I asked the band about their goals for their music, what other artists they look to for inspiration, and the rapid, grassroots feel of winning their audiences over one show at a time. Feels Like Home is available now on your favorite streaming service.
Thank you so much for your time today, and congrats on the recent release of your debut record called, Feels Like Home. How has the reaction been to the new material from your fan base?
Noah: It’s been great. Everyone’s been just so nice and welcoming to us in the scene, it’s been so good.
Liam: Especially just jumping in having nothing out prior. With how many people let us know that they rocked with our music, that’s insane.
Definitely! So, how long did it take to put this EP together? Did you have a lot of songs that you built up over time?
Noah: We worked on writing for about a year. It was really like, we had a New Year’s show where we just did covers in a basement. And then after that, we got into writing. By January the next year, we were tracking and then it came out in May. We really wrote it for about a year.
Liam: Yeah, there were a ton of songs that we kind of went through too, and different iterations of these songs.
Sean: Yeah, and I’d say a lot of like, a lot of the progress on the EP came within, like the last one to two months of writing it too.
I really enjoyed the song on the EP called “Empty Room.” Can you describe what went into making this particular track and the lyrical inspirations?
Liam: Yeah, so I wrote “Empty Room” coming out of, at that point, one of the most depressive periods of my life. It’s probably one of the heavier songs on the EP, lyrically. And just, it’s aggressiveness, I mean I would say it’s the heaviest songs.
So what are some of the core influences that you guys each bring to this band? You’ve talked about some covers you did early on in the early days of your band, but what do you listen to collectively in this band?
Noah: Well, Dan, and Sean and I, we’ve all been playing for probably like almost seven years together now. We never really had any records or anything come to fruition. It was just little writings and stuff. But when we first started we were just covering Avenged Sevenfold and Santeria, and stuff like that. And then we all kind of, well, we all have different tastes. Personally, I love Bring Me The Horizon in and that was kind of like my core influence for like the past four or five years and Pierce the Veil and Sleeping with Sirens a little bit.
Sean: Yeah, one of our biggest influences right now is probably Movements. And for me, Dan and Noah, I’d say Bring Me The Horizon is still one of our bigger influences.
Liam: I grew up in a different headspace of music kind of adjacent to that scene, but like Motion City Soundtrack, Bayside, and Alkaline Trio, My Chemical Romance. Yeah, those are huge bands for me. The Format, anything Nate Ruess has touched.
Nice! So what do you guys normally get compared to as far as some of those bands you name dropped? I hear a little bit of Saosin mixed with some of the pop of The Format…
Liam: What did the guy from This Wild Life say? Hands Like Houses?
Noah: Yeah Hands Like Houses. Yeah, I don’t know. We haven’t been compared to other people that much. But, I love Saosin, so it’s nice to hear you say that!
It’s like one of the first things I heard when I heard that EP…Also, thanks again for the generous invitation for the upcoming show of yours. I’m sorry, I couldn’t make this one. How would you describe your live performances? And what are you most looking forward to getting back to play these shows again, regularly?
Liam: We actually have only played one “real” show of our songs. Aside from that cover show, that basement show that Noah mentioned. We played a show back in August. That was our first show, I think.
How did that go?
Liam: Oh, it was sick.
Noah: The crowd reaction was phenomenal. It was so cool, because everyone around us has seen us play for a long time. But this was the first time for everyone to see us playing our original music. The room was just packed. We were able to get all of our friends and family there, and it was really nice.
Sean: Yeah, it’s really cool seeing people like that moshing and everything. That’s probably my favorite part.
Now that the EP is out there, do people actually start to sing along and know the words now?
Liam: Yeah! It was not something I anticipated.
Yeah, that’s the cool thing about music in the digital era. It’s so easy to put your music out there. So, how did each of you spend your time during the pandemic?
Sean: We spent a lot of time in school, but practice-wise, a lot of Zoom calls, and we would get together to practice once a week. And he (Liam) lives three hours away from me.
Liam: ONE hour away. Yeah, we were all in school at that point. I personally watched a lot of TV, ate a lot of food, and drank a lot of beer. <Laughter>
Noah: My girlfriend and I have three dogs that we rescued. And then we also picked up 15 chickens.
Oh my god. One of our writers for Chorus.fm, Garrett Lemons, but he is a chicken farmer too. So he would be excited to hear about that! He calls himself the “chicken dad” of the family. <Laughter> So were there any setbacks in getting Feels Like Home out into the world?
Liam: Recording went really smoothly actually.
Noah: Yeah, the recording process went really well. It was interesting because when we released it, everything was up in the air. In January/February I would have wanted to book tons of shows for the summer, but we had no idea of when shows would even be a thing, and we’re just lucky that a month after it was released, shows were starting to open up again.
And for this show tomorrow, you have a couple of different bands you’re playing to get together with, right? Did you guys know these other bands?
Noah: Well, it’s actually the same venue we played in August. It’s called Zen West. And I think because of how many people we brought the first time, they said, “You guys can headline!” They kind of just did the work for us.
Nice! Do you guys get metrics weekly from iTunes and other streaming services about how the EP is doing from a commercial standpoint?
Noah: We do, I get a lot of phone updates. It’s kind of funny seeing that a song streamed this many times this week. And it’s 2 or 3% more than last week. Yeah, it’s crazy to think that there’s 300 or so people that listen to our record all the time
Are there any plans to do a physical release for this album or for any of the future releases?
Noah: I played with the idea of vinyl. We haven’t made it happen yet. But it’s not out of the question. We’re still developing our merch right now. We got some new sweatshirts on the way and we have a shirt right now. But eventually, I’d like to have embroidered hats, and eventually vinyl.
Yeah, and the vinyl industry is very delayed right now. So that’s kind of like one of the things you don’t have to rush out for right now. I think Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! just tweeted out yesterday that unless you finish your record in the next three months, the vinyl will not come out until a full year after that.
Liam: Yeah, I saw that!
How has your songwriting evolved now that you guys are starting to get back to playing shows?
Noah: Yeah, we’re definitely trying to get back into the swing of things. Our writing process for Feels Like Home was more of like, Daniel would start it, and then we would just add to it. But now we’ve kind of started this thing where we just bounce ideas back and forth. That way, we’re all really actively contributing. And that way we can all start our own songs too, like find a cool beat. But for these next songs, we’re just trying to switch it up and develop new sounds.
Liam: Yeah, and the fact that we can actually get together and play in a room is nice, too, because that was off the table for most of last year.
Noah: It was hard not being able to like jam or play the song. Before we went into the studio, we really didn’t get a chance to really play any of these songs together.
Wow! Okay, so how did that work out?
Noah: We used Microsoft SharePoint to store our files, and so we could save all of our projects there.
Liam: And save over each other.
Noah: We ran into some problems with that, because one person was working on something and then another person saved and would overwrite it.
Is there anything that kind of stood out from these sessions when you were putting the final touches on this EP?
Liam: Our producer, Eric Taft, was incredible. We could not have been happier with that experience.
That’s awesome. What do you see in your band’s future?
Liam: I know we’d like to get on the road at some point, and be able to play shows in other states and travel around. We are all fully committed to making that a reality at some point.
Sean: Touring regularly is a big goal for us for sure.
Excellent, and you guys are definitely on the right track because you have a killer EP to start off with. So I applaud your guys’ efforts and I look forward to seeing your continued growth!
Liam: We appreciate that so much. Thanks!
Cool, so any other last words for you guys or a quick little pitch for people to check out your music?
Liam: Check us out, if you haven’t! Hopefully you won’t be disappointed, most people haven’t been!
Thanks fellas, and good luck at the show tomorrow!
All: Thanks, Adam!