Q&A: The Front Bottoms


The Front Bottoms are one of the most interesting new bands I’ve come across in a long time. The New Jersey duo, composed of singer/guitarist Brian Sella and Matt Uychich recently released their self-titled debut album, an absolutely mind-blowing blend of pop, rock, and old fashioned punk spirit. They’ve only got a drum set and an accoustic guitar, and yet they manage to craft songs that are catchy, fun, and surprisingly emotional. It’s no wonder that I love ‘em so much. And so, being such a huge fan, I sat down with them after their show at the 567 a few weeks back. Read on to hear a bit more about their songwriting, influences, and crazy tour stories.

Eric: So just tell me a little bit about about the band.
Matt Uychich: Sure, We’re the Front Bottoms, two friends, Brian and Matt, we play music that we like to play, like dancey, indie music.
Eric:  How’d you guys get started?
Brian:  I’d always kinda jammed with Matt and his brother, and were kinda like ‘Let’s do this a little more official’ so we thought of a name and then we started playing shows and just as soon as we would think of music we would record it, give it out, play more shows, and we’ve been doing that for about four years.
Eric:  Nice!  And you’re debut album just dropped this week right?
Brian: This week yeah, the sixth.
Eric: What was recording that like?
Matt: It was fun, it was a little different and it kinda dragged on.  We recorded it in our friend’s warehouse space.  It actually was like Christmas time and there was a big break taken between him, and there was flooding issues where the studio is.
Brian:  A lot of shit got destroyed
Matt:  So it took a while, but it all came out good
Eric: Some of the songs were on some EPs earlier right?
Brian:  Yeah, there were six songs on an EP called Slow Dance to Soft Rock that we had released kind of unprofessionally.  And so this is called The Frontbottoms, but it’s really Slow Dance to Soft Rock and Grip and Tie.  Two separate things that came together to form the LP
Matt: Grip and Tie is what we recorded during that break spot, and then when it finished we were talking to Bar None, and then we signed with Bar None, and then we were like “let’s put these two together, and it will be something cool”
Eric: So what are some of your biggest influences just about sound or songwriters in general?
Brian:  I think that our friends and the kids that we hang around with are kind of our biggest influences right now personally. Matt always says that. That’s about it. I mean musically we could say I like folk music, and I like dance music.  I like hip hop a lot too, and I like Top 40 dance music.  A little bit of everything, you know?
Matt:  Without the people we were involved with, our songs wouldn’t be what they are.
Eric:  So are there specific stories that go along with the people?
Matt: Well he writes all the words, but there’s instances where someone will tell us a cool story about their friend, or a distant friend, or even them, or something that happens to us, and that’s what the song is.  And then when I make the drums, it’s like I express my mood in the songs.
Brian:  Yeah, we’re driven by our emotions, for sure!
Eric: So what goes into writing the lyrics, because I know some of them seem sort of stream-of-consciousness, non-sequitur…
Brian:  More like parts put together?  Definitely, we feel the same way.  I might have twenty parts for a song, and they might not be about the same thing but the style and the mood and the theme of the song are all the same thing, so that’s kind of how it goes.  Piecing things together.  There’s some songs that are a complete thought from start to finish.  There’s not many, but there’s a few of them.
Eric:  What would you say is an example of one of those songs?
Brian:  I would say Father, Swimming Pool, and then a lot of old stuff.  That’s the way I would write a lot of old stuff.  Less verse chorus verse chorus, and more like a thought into a song.
Eric:  So how’s this tour been treating you?
Brian:  It’s been pretty good, rock ‘n roll.  We’ve done a lot of DIY tours for the past couple years, and this one’s good.
Matt: We’ve played a lot of new places that we’ve never been to,  so no familiar places when you roll into the area.
Brian: It’s like, where are you going to sleep tonight?
Matt:  It’s also the first time we’ve had our friend Drew play with us live, to fill in our sound, and he’s been great.
Eric: What’s he play?
Matt: Keys and Bass, and he’s really helping out.
Brian:  He really knows what he’s doing musically, so he definitely pulls it together.
Eric: Is this your biggest tour so far?
Brian: No, we did some DIY tours down in Florida, I think like twice, two times in the past.
Eric: What’s the big difference between this and a DIY tour?
Matt: To be honest, this is definitely a DIY tour.
Brian: Yeah, finding places to sleep is still an issue that happens every night.
Matt: The only difference was that it wasn’t just me booking it. We had three people helping me.
Eric: Do you find that gives you more time to be creative if you’re not having to deal with booking everything?
Matt: I think, definitely. I mean, I sometimes go back and forth because when I’m the most stressed and the most busy and trying to work 40 hours a week and do all this shit, I write the best material.
Eric: If you guys could go touring with any bands, who would you like to go out with?
Brian: I think I would like to go out on tour with someone I’ve never heard of.  Or a band that is completely not our style because you have to really learn to perform.
Eric: Any interesting stories from the tour?
Matt: The cops busted some of the first shows. We were about to play, getting our shit together, and nine cops raided the house.
Brian: Just random debauchery, you know.