Alex: Our roots started in Bay Ridge. I think that’s why we have such a nostalgic feeling for that place: it’s where we met, it’s where our band started. But really, we moved around a lot. I remember when our mom moved out of Bay Ridge, like 1995 or something, and my dad lived there forever, but he moved into like three different apartments, then he was living with my stepmom, then he moved to Queens, and then me and Ryan lived on Long Island like half a year when our grandpa was sick. Then [our dad] moved to Atlantic Avenue, and then now he lives in Red Hook. So, a lot of moves within the same neighborhood. Then my mom moved to Westchester; Zach’s dad, Westchester as well. And just like moving a lot in the Tri-state area. We’ve always been in suburbs, growing up. Suburbs on the fringe of a city. Even Bay Ridge. Matt’s from Connecticut.
Zach: We’re products of the generation before: our parents are all from the city, their whole lives they were trying to get out. That’s what it was about. We were there for the beginning, and then we sort of making the moves that came with divorce, when they were forced to make decisions about schools, and all this and that… When I was in Westchester, when I first moved up there, I was a bad kid.
Ryan: We were seen as the dirty kids from the city.
Zach: Our parents were also fighting outside the school. Like “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” unfolding outside of fuckin’ some nice ass school in Westchester. Some public school but with, like, columns and shit. For me, I felt the whole time like an outsider, you know? And also the parents started not letting me play with their kids. And I was a bad kid! I was building bombs, doing drugs at a really young age.
Ryan: Smoking pot at 13.
Zach: Yeah, we were bad kids. We were all really bad kids.
Ryan: We were the kids some parents wouldn’t let their kids hang out with.
Zach: We were really bad.
Ryan: We were having fun. Everyone else was bitches! But it was funny, because we got into music really young, music that was on MTV, like all that early 90s stuff—Nirvana, Green Day, Offspring—and when we moved out of Brooklyn and moved up there, none of the kids that were up there listened to music. They didn’t know anything about music except like Michael Jackson? I guess they knew Michael Jackson. But they didn’t know anything that was contemporary or what we thought was edgy. And I remember Alex did really good impressions of Billie Joe and kids would make Alex—I don’t remember if we charged them or not—sing them songs. They wanted to hear it, too, they were hungry for it, but we introduced music to all these kids. And they were like, “Alex, sing ‘Welcome to Paradise,'” and he would do the impression and everyone would stand around and watch him do it. He was in like second grade.
Matt: People I meet today, still, it amazes me—you’ll ask someone what their first record was. Most people only got their first shit in like sixth or seventh grade. I had a full-on record collection when I was like eight.
Ryan: Yeah, us too.
Matt: My parents, instead of giving me allowance, would let me buy a record every week. All compact discs.
Ryan: Or tapes. It was our parents who were, not pushing us, but they’d be like, “you can buy one CD.” That was a thing. And that’s what we wanted to buy, and they bought it for us, and got us guitars and drums and shit. They supported us always. Really, they introduced us to music. They played us New Wave and punk stuff, tons of different stuff, listening to music that was on MTV back then, letting us watch MTV all day long. I guess it was to keep us out of their hair. But they would let us park in front of the TV and watch MTV all day, and that’s how we got into stuff, contemporary stuff, the first stuff that was ours and not theirs.
Alex: That’s kind of a long-winded answer to the question of where we’re from.
Ryan: Yeah, you wanna ask another question?
Photo by Boogie