An Interview With The New York-Based Emo Punk Band, LIVE WELL!
Posted On 31 Jan 2019
Earlier this month, the emo punk New York-band Live Well released their single “Neck Tattoos.” This video release leads up to their upcoming 2019 debut album ‘Perfectly Temporary,’ due out in May. They recorded the collection at Lumber Yard Recording and worked with Ace Enders (The Early November) and Nik Bruzzese (Man Overboard). Live Well is excited to share their nostalgic music and deep rooted lyrics with new fans in the coming months.
Live Well was started by Paul Masbad and Max Johl after traveling the country together in late 2017. With the addition of Matt LaPerche, Neil Stafford, and Luis Castro the band was complete. In April 2018 Live Well released “First Demos” and have been playing and writing relentlessly ever since.
Connect With Live Well Here:
Music video link: https://youtu.be/m-0cXCa-P08 (out 1/15)
Read more about Live Well in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Hey Hey! This is Max, I play guitar and sing backup vocals in Live Well. Today is Sunday and it’s been a super chill day. About to show a friend my mini school bus I modded to drive around the country with and use for the band. Beyond that, Neil (drums in Live Well) and my friend are gonna go to JG melon in the city to get — what I’ve been told — some of the best burgers in the city!
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!
I always say that time is a relative social construct so I’m not really big into resolutions personally but hey, reading is cool! We do have some goals this year though. The first one was achieved on the 15th of Jan with the release of our first official music video “Neck Tattoos”! Beyond that we have A LOT planned for this year. We will be releasing our debut full length album titled “Perfectly Temporary”, we are going to release 4 more music videos, some singles, and go on a national tour in late spring! The band will be a year old in April and we’ve just been having a blast creating, playing, and hanging; so we’re just really happy to be able to put out so much content.
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?
Paul and I went on a month long road trip in my crazy mini bus in late 2017, taking his awesome podcast “Dear Stranger and Friend” out around the country doing interviews in person. I had always been a fan of Paul’s songs and would sing them constantly. While on the road I suggested filling those songs out in a full band setting. After we got back we started jamming and the rest of the band took shape. Neil, our drummer, is my roommate and would listen to us jam in my room and we finally asked him if he would be interested. I was talking to Matt (guitar and backup vocals) at a party about how I was making music I was so happy about with Paul — who he hadn’t met yet — and asked him to come jam. Then a few weeks later Matt brought Luis (bass and backup vocals) in to rehearse and we all hit it off almost instantly.
The name actually wasn’t hard at all! “Live well and have enough” is a phrase that Paul’s mother would always tell him. While on our road trip (before the band was even a thing) Paul and I got road trip/best friend “Live Well” tattoos. Seemed like a no brainer when coming to picking a band name.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
I don’t think our hometowns have really influenced our sound but we all have a lot of common music interests as well as very different tastes. In terms of how we carry ourselves, I think we all just feel great on stage. We love all our friends from this home area (Yonkers NY and Westchester County) and when we play a local show everyone is singing along and laughing and just having a blast.
How has your various musical backgrounds helped shape the sound of this band?
I think because of all our mutual and varied musical interests we’ve been able to create a sound that is both nostalgic and mature. We all love pop punk and emo but I personally am not a fan playing in a band that has the whiny vocals that defined our favorite teenagehood bands. Also, some of us in the band have rough pasts and have been a part of experiences involving violence, guns, drugs, racism, and harsh living conditions. Because of this there are certain aspects of playing this genre of music that feel emotionally conflicting. So, to combat that maybe whiny, white privileged male centric perspective we have tried to say more or at least carry ourselves with a “fuck it” attitude. In Neck Tattoos we had someone who plays in a very popular band give some feedback about the line “I slept with him but you give better head”; he said it was “cringe worthy” and something we might regret putting out. We all almost instantly said “fuck that” as we don’t care about saying something that might rub you the wrong way or isn’t directly marketed at a specifically young demographic. We are here to tell you a story and at this point in our lives they aren’t all pretty or ones that can be idealized. I think that’s why we call ourselves Emo Punk. The emo is obvious and yes we have some uptempo songs and some heavier songs but, the punk aspect is the unapologetic side of our lyrics and vibe. We are a gang, a family and you can get with it or not.
How do you think that you have grown as a band since forming? What has remained the same?
I think we are ready to have even harder and deeper conversations in our music. We’ve also grown as a group musically, our music is becoming more tonally expansive, a little more tricky but still straight forward and you never lose the core of the song.
Let’s talk about your latest single and video for “Neck Tattoos.” What was the inspiration for this song? What was it like making the video for it? How creatively involved were you with that process?
Paul wrote “Neck Tattoos” in New York after living in California and going through an ultimately failed relationship that still lingered when he was home. It talks about the destructive nature of continuing to involve yourself in the life of someone who is not good for you and that everyone on both sides knows as well.
I was able to Co-Direct this video actually which was super fun! I love approach music videos with an outlook of putting a “new spin” on an “old trick”. For “Neck Tattoos”, Paul wanted to do a one shot music video which was our fun take on what is a standard “day in the life party video”. We also wanted to convey the story of the song in an interesting way, so we thought the one take, some all cast moving tricks, tricky camera movements, and lighting (done by Will Armstrong) would be great. Another fun part was using a female lead actress as “Neck Tattoos” doesn’t use any gender pronouns in the lyrics. We really want to present any of our creative efforts in a diverse way, whether with race and or gender. Stephen Emmerick (Co-director, filmer and editor) suggested actress Katrina Abreu, who ended up being the perfect fit and after we kicked around the general concept over a few sessions, a month later we went just for it. About 20 friends/fans came out and we had them running all over the house to make some of the sequences work but we feel it all paid off and hope y’all do too.
How excited are you all to be releasing your debut album later this year? Did anything surprise you about the process of putting together “Perfectly Temporary”? How do you plan on celebrating the release?
We are all beyond excited! Our songs are very short so at this point anyone who has seen us live has heard most of the music and we can’t wait to have it all in one place for everyone to hear. We are going to have a huge release show rager in Yonkers with local bands and friends, hugs and smiles in late spring before heading off for a month long tour in support of the album.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Paul will write the bare bones of the song and typically send a voice memo over to me and then we meet up and flesh out the song more, maybe changing chords, lyrical phrases, rhythms and then present it to the band. From there we all jam on the song and really bring it to life.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
It’s really hard to say! I think we all love both for different reasons. Beyond recording and playing out we all just love hanging on Tuesdays, rehearsing and laughing and joking with each other a lot!
Where can people see you perform next? How has your recent tour been going? What has been a favorite show of yours so far? What do you think makes an ideal show for this group?
No tour yet but we will be playing up in RI, Virginia Beach, the Bx (the bronx from y’all non NY natives) and the knitting factory march 30th. I think we would all LOVE to go on tour with Joyce Manor, a Saves The Day reunion tour, out with The Early November or Man Overboard.
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?
I run the bands Instagram, Matt runs the Facebook and for hilarious ramblings you can check out what Paul puts on our band’s Twitter. By breaking it up, I think it’s made it way less overwhelming. I don’t mind doing the IG as it’s a platform I really enjoying engaging on.
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?
I think we do it side by side, by that we feel the political weight of our current climate, bring some of that into our music but also just have a good time and remember to smile. Music will always give us all joy that’s why we do it.
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?
Joyce Manor has been a big mutual favorite band of Paul, Luis and myself. We also all love Blink 182, Thrice, Saves the Day and so many more. We’d love to play with any of them. Also, bands like Microwave, Oso Oso, PRESS CLUB (Paul and I are huge fans of this Australian band and would die to play with them and everyone should check them out if you haven’t) We also would lose our shit to play with Pinegrove.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I think it’s been said earlier but we just want people to feel anything when they hear our music. It’s not all pretty or easy to swallow but it’s our stories and truth, if anyone can find any kind of release from it that is what it’s all about.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
Just want to say thanks so much for reading! If you are a person of color start a fucking band, if you are in a position of privilege at all always try to always be an ally. If you have done something wrong in your life it’s OK try and forgive yourself, find forgiveness, a community that will help you grow and just always try to live each day better than the previous. We love y’all.
<3! Live Well