An Interview With the California Trio A PAGE UNTURNED All About New Music, Biggest Inspirations and More!
Posted On 25 Jan 2019
Meet A Page Unturned! In the past couple of months they have released a few singles; “Reflection,” “The Hangover” and “Return To Sender.”
The trio released “A Page Unturned” last summer & “Reflection” is the second in a run of upcoming singles, which kicked off with the November release of “The Hangover.” The California trio delivers an accomplished, hook-heavy and unequivocally catchy brand of pop-punk. A well balanced sound a strong cohesion, despite their notable youth and inexperience. Nods to many of their California-based predecessors is evident throughout; elements of Yellowcard and Set Your Goals shining through on the new track.
Learn more about A Page Unturned in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Ryan: Thank you for having us! I’ll be working with Yoshi all day going over mixes for some new tunes and editing videos.
Damon: Working from home, recording Vocals, re-writing lyrics, updating websites, fixing some issues in the recordings and going over mixes.
Now that a new year has started, what musical goals does this band have for 2019? What are you most proud of about 2018? Do any of you make any New Years Resolutions? Mine is to read more for fun!
Ryan: Goal wise we want to play way more shows then we did the last, we would love to set up a US tour as well. We’ll be in Japan playing a few shows in March so we’re stoked for that. I’m just proud that we put out our first EP and 2 singles in our first year as a band, we got so much more coming out this year. My New Year’s resolution is just to work twice as hard as I did last year and put out as much content as we possibly can.
Yoshi: I’d love to do a little tour in California. It’ll be a big challenge for us but it would be really fun too. I think a big challenge like that will come with new amazing experiences and opportunities for our future. We released our songs for the first time. It’s a great milestone for our long history and it gave us a lot of great opportunities. Making new friends and meeting lots of fans.
Damon: Definitely getting these two new singles released, write more music and going out playing shows. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing new places. My New Year’s resolution, I’d like to get in shape and work out more but I don’t know man we’ll see.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on?
Ryan: Yeah right after we finished playing through the first demo when I auditioned. We sounded good and I could tell they took their craft just as seriously as I do mine. It’s hard to find people like that. Damon already had the band name figured out when they asked me to join so I didn’t care, I thought it was a cool name.
Yoshi: Yes it was hard to find a name. Damon hit upon the name after discussing it for a few months. I believe that was the first struggle in this band.
Damon: I think our first show together was the moment I knew we all kind of clicked together. The first show that you play together and how you all gel on stage says a lot about a future for a band.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
Ryan: Not much honestly, I grew up in a pretty normal town called Newbury Park. None of my friends really listened to the same music as me. I was mainly influenced by my family and upbringing if anything. My dad had me listening to The Ramones and The Beastie Boys by the time I was 3 so that really shaped what styles I got into and how I played. I was raised to handle my shit and work hard so that’s what I try my best to do in all aspects of my life.
Yoshi: I don’t think my hometown influenced me. My hometown has a population of less than 8,000 now so I always kept my eyes open to the outside world, looking for something new.
Damon: I think I was, but I was different from the normal scene. I moved around a bit when I was younger but for the most part of my life I grew up in West Covina. The “scenes” out there were mainly like metalcore, hardcore punk and ska. I say I was more on the rock and pop punk side but I learned a lot going to those local shows and watching the punk scene and I really admired the “Do it yourself” ethic that it had so I feel I took a lot from that.
How has your various musical backgrounds helped shape the sound of this band?
Ryan: I think it’s given us a really unique sound and outlook on how we approach song writing. We all have similar tastes in music but at the same time we all have very different interests and influences. I grew up listening to everything from punk rock and alternative to Santana or The Marshall Tucker Band, even Genesis or The Beastie Boys. When I got into middle school my brother turned me onto heavier stuff like Underoath and Saosin, and once I got into that I just got heavier and heavier. Killswitch Engage, The Devil Wears Prada, Rage Against The Machine stuff like that. That’s when I got into double bass and that just broadened my horizon so much behind the kit. I didn’t go into this band thinking “okay, I HAVE to play punk rock”. I start with a blank canvas for every song and just play how I want to play. I don’t really limit myself as to what I should or should not do, or what is “appropriate” for the genre. I think that’s something we all do and thats part of the reason we work so well together.
Yoshi: I write melodies by the piano but I believe my taste of writing melodies is totally influenced from Japanese music. So my Japanese sense of music should add some uniqueness to our music. I listen to a lot of different styles music besides punk rock. I listen to jazz every Sunday morning.
Damon: A lot when it comes to melody, song structure and lyrics, I listen all kinds of different music like John Mayer, Augustana, Oasis, Green day, blink 182, Queen, Avicii, Genesis and the new age pop punk scene like As it is and the story so far. I have an open mind and when I hear something unique, I like to learn from it and sort of ask why something is so appealing.
How do you think that you have grown as a band since forming? What has remained the same?
Ryan: I think we’ve all learned a lot about each other personally as well as how we think music wise. We are all perfectionists so recording and mixing especially always takes us forever to make sure everything comes out exactly as we want it to. That being said we know that now so we know what to expect and how to prepare ourselves to make sure everything goes smoothly before during and after, whether that be for a show or the studio or whatever.
Our drive and dedication has remained the same. We still want this band to succeed more than anything and are willing to put all of our time and passion into it to make sure that happens.
Yoshi: I wanna keep growing up until the end of my life so I believe this band has given me the best opportunity to do so since forming. For our sound, great skills are needed as a guitarist and composer. I want keep improving them for sure. Fortunately, my passion for music hasn’t change at all and that helps me a lot.
Damon: I think our passion towards performing is the same and we believe that our music is great. I think we are improving on how to work together as a band
Let’s talk about your recent single “Reflection”? What was the inspiration for this song? How would you say that it shows the growth that the band has gone through over the years?
Ryan: Well we didn’t really plan that song out in advance. D started playing the bass line and I thought it sounded cool so I started playing that tom groove over it. We just kept playing and it sounded rad so Damon showed Yoshi what he had in mind for guitar then started singing some freestyle lyrics over it. We wrote the song in about 15 minutes then spent the next 4-5 hours working on it.
I think it’s definitely a departure for us, it’s our darkest song and in my opinion our best song we have ever written. It shows a much more serious and mature side to us that no one has really seen before. It was cool cause we didn’t really try to make it a punk song or try to make it sound like “us”. We just did whatever we wanted and didn’t care whether people would like it or not. I’m really happy we did that and I look forward to writing more stuff like that.
Yoshi: Damon hit upon an idea for the song while rehearsing. I just followed what he had in mind. I believe Damon can talk the inspiration clearly and perfectly. We have been working for almost two years but the song gave us a lot of opportunities to grow up as a band. Writing and recording process were really tough but I would say the sound is really good so far.
Damon: I don’t know why but sometimes I will get a random idea for a song right when we get to rehearsal, and when I present it to them, they can clearly understand it and build off of it to create something great. This was the first time it ever happened. I had this idea in my head for a bass line and guitar part, I also had this lyric in my head. “I can see my own reflection but it doesn’t stare back at me”. So it struck me as something quite dark. I played the bass part out to Ryan without really explaining all that much other than it having a blink 182 vibe and he made this really cool intricate drum part that was spot on to what I was thinking, it really gave the song a strong foundation and an almost “industrial” sound. Then I shared the guitar melody to Yoshi that I had in mind and he just added more elements to it. We worked out the arrangement and I worked out the vocal over time. For the lyrics, I just built off that one lyric I had and I talked about going through my depression. It’s a very honest song and I think the song was an important step for us to expand our themes and be able to write about darker situations.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Ryan: It depends honestly. Sometimes Yoshi will have an entire song composed so he’ll send us a demo, then I’ll write my drums to it on my own and Damon will do the same with the lyrics and bass parts. After that we will work on arrangements and structure and all the little details, then we go into pre-production and record soon after that. When I met these guys Yoshi had already composed “California” and had almost the entire EP completed with Damon. So for that I just took the songs and wrote what I wanted to play on the drums, keeping in mind Yoshi’s initial vision of the song. They were really open about it and let me do whatever I wanted which was awesome. Then again Damon has come up with songs and had no idea what he wanted to do for the drums or lead guitar, so he’ll show us and we’ll just go in on it. I don’t play guitar and I’m not very good on the piano, so if I have an idea for a song I try my best to explain it to Yoshi who always picks it up very quickly. He’s a really talented dude and has an amazing ear. At the same time we have come up with a few really good songs just by jamming out and messing around, that’s probably the most exciting way to write cause the magic happens and you just go with it.
Yoshi: At first, I mainly composed the music and melodies first and then I would show Damon and Ryan a short demo song. While discussing, Damon write the bass parts and lyrics and Ryan does drums. But it depends on the song. Damon also writes melodies as well.
Damon: Yea normally when Yoshi brings us his compositions, he for the most part has the idea of what he wants. I will throw in ideas on changes to melody or arrangements. Sometimes he’ll like them and we’ll add it and sometimes he won’t which is cool I respect his vision he has towards the songs he composed. On some occasions, Yoshi and I will sometimes disagree on something and we will either compromise or have Ryan come in and give his opinion on it. With the current songs in our catalog, when it comes to song ideas that I have had, I would have an idea for a song during our rehearsals and share it with them and then they will build off of it. When it comes to lyrics, normally I go off and write them myself. If it’s Yoshi’s composition, he will give me an idea of what he felt when he composed the song and sometimes I’ll build off that then I will go off and write. Other times I will just write something out of nothing and get inspired by something I’ve experienced.
When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs?
Ryan: We have a new single called Return to Sender dropping in January, and another one called One Light dropping next month on February. We have a lot of songs in the works right now, so once we are done with these songs we’re gonna get back to writing more and playing shows.
Yoshi: After signing for a record label, we will get a bunch of chances to release our songs. I have a lot of great ideas for new songs so I’ll keep preparing for the opportunity and writing songs until then.
Damon: At the moment we want to release these two new songs and then focus on playing shows. More songs will come to us eventually and once we get signed, we can hopefully drop an entire album.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Ryan: Performing will always be where I’m happiest. Recording is always exciting seeing everything come to life, but it’s a pain in the ass and takes a lot of time. Once I knock out my drums I’m done but these guys have a lot more to do with guitars and vocals and all that. I know it drives them nuts but they always pull through.
Yoshi: As for me, seeing smiles from a stage always saves me, it’s like a reward for the hard work we put in every day. This incredible experience also gives me a lot of inspiration for new songs.
Damon: Being on stage is where I feel the happiest. Our recording experiences have been more annoying to me than anything. Mainly because we are songwriting at the same time. There are always problems and complications. It also really doesn’t help when we have a deadline as well.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you have a 2019 tour scheduled yet?
Ryan: You can catch us in Tokyo March 5th at Takodanobaba Club Phase, maybe some more shows in Japan around that time TBA. We have been so busy recording we haven’t had time to book any shows locally, but we might be able to play a few before we hit Japan and plenty more afterwards. Follow our Instagram to stay updated on all that jazz.
Yoshi: We don’t have a set schedule right now and we’re focusing on recording. But the next show might be held outside of USA.
Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?
Ryan: I hate Twitter so I prefer to use Instagram, it’s a great tool to build your brand and an easy way to connect with our fans. It’s not overwhelming at all. If anything it’s cool when people reach out or want to talk to us. We love all our supporters and I try my best to respond and connect with them all as much as possible. We will never be that band that’s “too cool” for their fans.
Yoshi: Honestly I don’t check it a lot because I need to focus on writing songs and pay attention for my conscience. Sometimes the responses affects my writing process too much even if they are good. All I need is a clear head and I’m always trying not to expect too much.
Damon: Normally when it comes to interaction with Instagram, it’s normally Ryan and I who are in charge of that. We try our best to respond and we are exploring different ways to interact with our audience through there while also working with our social media team to reach out to more people.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Ryan: The world is always going to have fucked up things going on but at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide how to deal with it. For me I just focus on bettering myself and writing music people will like. Playing drums is more then just an escape, it’s my whole life and I love it more than anything. If I want to escape from reality I’ll go to sleep. I love sleeping.
Yoshi: Honestly I can’t imagine the rest of my life without this band. This band is what I really wanted for a long time and it’s still the most joy today. So I hope our music is giving listeners a chance to escape from some negativity in their life like it does for me.
Damon: I definitely recognize the issues today and it can take affect me in some ways. I think our music is more of a perspective than an escape. Playing our music gives us joy and lets us see the best parts of life rather than just the issues. Ultimately, life is about being happy and being the best person you can be and I hope we can represent that as people, and through our music.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
Ryan: I would love to work with John Feldmann or Bert McCracken one day. Gerard Way would be rad to work with as well. Travis Barker, Aaron Gillespie and Luke Holland are my top 3 influence wise. Bands there are way too many to name, but The Used and Blink-182 are definitely at the top of the list.
Yoshi: I have no idea because I’m not interested in collaborating with anyone in particular. This band is a small unit and our best skills are always required. If we add some instruments by the other musicians, our sound would be different, but I wanna make an effort to improve our sound just with Damon and Ryan as much possible. I believe the pure ideas by us really affect our music.
Damon: When it comes to the band, we mainly do our own thing when it comes to writing and haven’t really thought about that. We of course are very much in the pop punk realm and we hope we can work with bands like As it is, Stand Atlantic and Neck Deep to play shows with. Doing a little collaboration with those guys would be kind of cool too.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Ryan: I just hope they like what they hear and will continue to support us as our music evolves. Even if people don’t like us anymore and stop buying our records we’re still gonna keep making music because we love it.
Yoshi: When I write songs, I try my best to express my pure feelings of human beings like joy, anger, sadness and whatever extremely. So I really want our music to touch people’s hearts and cheer them up. As I answered above, I hope people can escape from some of their negative thoughts and take away good feelings through our music.
Damon: To let yourself go and express yourself, don’t ever be afraid to be honest and real.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
Ryan: Thanks for checking us out and be on the look out for new tunes!
Yoshi: Thank you for reading the long interview! Anyways I would like you to listen to our music. I believe you will really know what I mean while listening. I hope you really enjoy and love our music.
Damon: What they said!