Interview with New Jersey band The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms - Hamburg 2016
Brian Sella of The Front Bottoms. PHOTO CREDIT: Spike Porteous

Interview with Brian Sella (lead vocals/guitar) of The Front Bottoms
February 23, 2016
Hamburg, Germany

Tonight is the European tour finale. Selling out so many shows must have been quite cool? 

Yeah, 22 dates I think it’s been, we’ve certainly been hustling. Selling out any venue is always great the UK dates were a real trip and it’s great when we can see we’re making real progress. In the States it was kind of a slower process. We would hit cities and there would be 15 people there, next time 50, then 100 and so on. In Europe we would play to 15 then come back a year later and there would be a couple of hundred, so the progress is more obvious. It’s been fantastic.

What stand-out moments have you had?

The UK probably, because it sold out. Scotland was amazing, we even sold out King Tuts [King Tuts Wah Wah Hut] in Glasgow. I love Scotland, it’s a beautiful place. We also played our biggest show in London, then to come to Germany and play Cologne, Munich and now Hamburg where there’s a line of people outside. It’s unbelievable. 

You are back home for a couple of weeks off, then straight back into the US tour and the festival season. I’m guessing one of this years highlights will be Coachella in May? 

It’s gonna be a real trip for sure, everyone keeps saying Coachella the biggest festival there is. I have to admit to having never been there not even as a visitor, so to go there and actually get to play on stage is gonna be insane. We’re also playing Boston Calling and Shakey Knees in May. There will be a few other dates that we’ll announce as soon as they are confirmed, so keep an eye out.

Festivals are such a crazy thing. It’s like, get there around 8:00am, hang out, play for 40 minutes. Then enjoy the chaos and maybe see some of your heroes. Guns N’ Roses are playing Coachella, which will be like a once in a life time opportunity……if it happens. We’re also back in Europe in August for some more festival slots.

With touring Europe, the US and the festival season, can you guys fit anything else in this year? 

We’re gonna try.   If we can fit it in, we’d like to do another EP before the year is done, or at least have something written and prepared. It’s difficult to write when you are on the road with limited resources, but I’m sure we’ll get a few more new songs done over summer. And I do have a notebook, which I will scribble ideas in then attempt to decipher them when I get home. Right now though, I think all of our effort should go into the shows.

I’m also trying to write a book. Hopefully I’ll get it done around the summer too and release it as an audio book or something. It’ll be fictional, well I have to say it’s gonna be fictional and that it may be based on some actual events. I’m really excited about it.

The Front Bottoms. PHOTO CREDIT: Spike Porteous
The Front Bottoms. PHOTO CREDIT: Spike Porteous

Last year you signed to Fuelled by Ramen. Since then you have been put on the ’16 to watch list for 2016’, you are tipped ‘likely to become one of the oddest breakout bands of all time’. You have sold out shows across Europe and Back on Top went top 40. I think it’s fair to say this could be The Front Bottoms year? 

Really, I wasn’t aware. Yeah, it’s been incredible so far. We’re in a good place right now.

We were a band who had been independent and had been hustling for like seven years. The UK tour before this one also sold out, which was down to the hard work we had done for ourselves.   We could have stayed on the independent path, which would probably still have been great, or take the next step up and see what happened.

Before signing, our main question was who was going to give us the best opportunity to continue to do what we do. We talked to a lot of labels but Fuelled by Ramen were the ones who sat down with us and said “You do what you do, you know what’s best for you”. They were happy to just go with it, support us and work things out as we went along. We had the album [Back on Top] written before we signed, so we had something ready and were able to go into the studio almost immediately. Obviously there is a business relationship, but to be in a band and to work cooperatively with a major label is great. In three albums time it may be different, I may be crying about it, but that is something that even they acknowledge. It’s a relationship, it’s moving forward and as long a it’s positive it’ll be good.

It seems everyone has an opinion on The Front Bottoms style of music. You’ve been described as everything from Indie and Emo to Rock and Folk. At risk of pigeonholing yourselves, where do you see the band fitting in? 

The safest answer to this question is Rock N Roll. Back home, when we were starting out ,we would play basement shows with a lot of hardcore and punk bands, that was the community that was most accepting of The Front Bottoms. At that stage the kids we played with were like “This is awesome”. So we were questioning, “Are we a Punk thing”? “Are we Hardcore”? I guess our mindset is very DIY, which is kinda Punk, but you listen to our music and it’s kinda fun and jumpy. I would say Rock N Roll.

One final question. Have your Moms, Sisters, Aunts and the wider Female population come to terms with the band name yet? 

You know, in the States we kinda got away with the band name, it wasn’t such a big deal over there. Now I feel the name has become like a badge of honour for us. Generally, anyone who can’t get past the name probably won’t like the music anyway. In Europe it still raises the odd eyebrow when someone asks the name of the band and we’re like “The Front Bottoms”!

Connect with The Front Bottoms online: (Website)  (Facebook)  (Twitter)  (Instagram)  (YouTube)  (Spotify)

Purchase Back On Top on iTunes.

All Photos By Spike Porteous.


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