Front Bottoms' Brian Sella: Our Music Is "a Funny Joke"
The Front Bottoms get to the bottom of it all by being up front! (or something like that)
Pardon the pun, but when you name your band the Front Bottoms, you're leaving yourself open to become the butt of many jokes. Fortunately though, hewing to the norm has never been a major concern for Front Bottoms singer, songwriter, and guitarist Brian Sella or drummer and bandmate Matthew Uychich. With four albums -- two of them released independently -- and a like number of EPs, the duo has shown a penchant for not taking themselves too seriously. Theirs is a steady, stream of consciousness blend of teen angst and attitude in equal measure, a kind of off-handed exuberance tailor-made for even the testiest audiences.
Childhood pals, Sella and Uychich formed the band in 2007, convincing Uychich's brother Brian to join them on keyboards. They gigged steadily around their native New Jersey for the next few years, holding down day jobs, recording when they could, building a homegrown following. In 2010, Brian opted to leave the band, and a year later they were signed to indie label Bar/None which released their eponymous third album, its successor Talon of the Hawk, and now, their new EP, Rose, due for release later this month.
We recently caught up with Front Bottom Brian Sella and asked him to help us probe the band's curious MO.
New Times: We can speculate on our own, but we feel obligated to ask anyway -- where did the name Front Bottoms come from?
TicketsFri., Jan. 20, 7:00pm
Side by Side: A Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme Tribute
TicketsFri., Jan. 20, 8:00pm
The Last Waltz 40 Tour: The 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz
TicketsSat., Jan. 21, 7:30pm
SFSO - ÜBERMENSCH
TicketsSun., Jan. 22, 5:00pm
TicketsSun., Jan. 22, 6:30pm
Brian Sella: The name came from a movie called Sexy Beast. I had never heard the term before, and I thought it would make a funny band name, so I called Mat and told him we had to start a band!
Your music seems to have a lot of teen angst -- and your lyrics that almost seem like they were borne from a stream of conscious. So where does this angst come from? Is it part of any kind of past or current personal experiences, or are you trying to emulate the same emotional state as the audience you're singing to?
Both and all.
But more specifically, where do these scenarios you sing about come from?
They come from my life, and people I overhear talking on the street.
Who writes what?
I write the lyrics and the skeletons of the songs... Just like a framework of things that may end up either being cool or not being cool. Then I'll take them to Mat and the band and we'll work on them. We then come up with more ideas, see how they sound after a little, and either throw them away or keep playing them.
How would you classify what you do?
A funny joke.
Are you cognisant of any divide between cool and quirky? Do you try to navigate toward one of those elements or allow for a combination of both?
We like to stay in touch with both.
What's been the high point of your career so far?
Being able to go on tour with my friends for as long as I have been able to, meeting all the people we have met, and going to all the places we've been!
So when did you know you could give up the day jobs?
When we decided that being homeless is okay with us. We just saved up enough money to keep on touring.
Do you find it liberating or restrictive working in this two man band format?
A little bit of both. In the beginning, we had a plan and didn't feel like waiting around for anyone else. We would call our friends in just to add to our songs. So in that sense, having only two members (in the band) is great because it was like we could have as many people we wanted contribute to the band.
Talk a little about your new albums. Did you do anything different this time around? How does it differ from what came before?
We just polished up some old, old songs. When we first recorded these tunes, they were done in one take in a basement. They weren't mixed or mastered, and we just wanted to have our friends hear them. It's nice to go back and spend a little more time on them. To add a few lead guitar parts, some harmonies, and mix them. We really like these songs and it means a lot to us to be able to give them a little more love.
At this point, what's the big plan? And what's your plan for the immediate future?
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, keep doing what we're doing, stay busy, keep trying to make better music, tour more, and make more friends.
Are you happy with things so far?
Happiest we have ever been!
Anything you'd like to add that we haven't covered?
Thanks for allowing us to reach more people! Kiss kiss. Much love.
The Front Bottoms perform with Say Anything, the So So Glos and You Blew It! starting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 17, at Revolution Live, 100 S.W. 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $17.50 in advance or $21 day of show. Call 954-727-0964, or visit jointherevolution.net.
Get the Music Newsletter
Find out about upcoming concerts and special offers happening in the South Florida music scene.