"The Next Step" – An Interview With Almost Monday
Almost Monday was first created by Dawson Daughtery and Luke Fabry, and we soon learned how long and how many drummers it took to create this indie rock-surf fusion of a band. Gaining Cole Clisby and Michael Leto for now just over a year, they talk about how this group came to be, archaeology, an EP, and their shared love of performing live on stage. Sitting in the green room with these boys, we listened, talked, and definitely laughed a lot, so let’s dive in.
So can we talk a little bit about the band and how it started?
Dawson: It started really with Luke and I, because I’ve been friends with him since we were really young, like first grade maybe? And we played music forever, but I met Cole surfing and through a couple friends and did the whole ‘you play guitar?’ ‘I sing’ ‘let’s start something,’ and then we went through a drummer, or two, or three maybe?
Luke: Then Michael came along later and he killed it- (Dawson: yeah he’s a great friend and a good person.)
How long have you guys been officially Almost Monday?
Micheal: Us four?
Michael: June? (Dawson: Early June) (Cole: June 2016… Jeeze)
Who are some musicians that have influenced you individually and as a band?
Luke: We are a very eclectic group, so we all have very random music backgrounds that we like, but I think general bands we all like The 1975, Colony House, Phoenix, Saint Motel.
Micheal: Individually we’re a little weird-
Dawson: Yeah I feel like Michael, if you talk to Michael outside of us being here you wouldn’t even know he’s in an alternative-ish pop-ish band.
Michael: I listen to like quiet gospel, Justin Bieber, (everyone laughs) like jazz fusion, and One Direction, I’m not even kidding.
Nice! So earlier you mentioned you were all into music since forever does that go for all of you or when did you guys start getting into music?
Dawson: So I played piano for 4 years like when I was little; I wanted to play the drums, but my mom wouldn’t let me (Micheal and Cole laugh) so I played piano and never went to drums. Then I started playing guitar, started playing bass for a little bit, and now I’m back with guitar, and basically now I’m here.
Michael: My dad’s the musician of the family and he’s a bass player and he would bring me to gigs and stuff, but then he bought Beatles Rock Band in 8th grade and I thought, “let’s do something really annoying,” and I picked up the drums from Beatles Rock Band.
Luke: I started playing guitar when I was nine. (Dawson: Dang! I didn’t even know that) yeah so I was in the fifth grade (they all laugh “when i was in the fifth grade”).
Dawson: Wow! Yeah I started playing guitar, because I thought my youth pastor was cool and I wanted to look cool, but I was like young (Cole laughs: You’re still young) yeah I know. But I tried to sing kind of, because he was singer too and he was like, “hey that was kinda good!” I was like “really?” I didn’t even know he was listening, so he was like “yeah you should start singing!” So singing became my main thing along with song writing but I did start with guitar.
So going into song writing what’s your process? Take us through the process a little bit.
Dawson: I think we’re still trying to figure that out-
Luke: Usually someone will have an idea, we’re maturing, we’re bringing that entire structure, first chorus, whatever bridge, then we fill in.
Michael: Often though we send our ideas over voice memo in our group chat if we’re ever apart.
Dawson: I think in a songwriting sense, I reference I find is archaeology a lot of times as an archaeologist you go out and dig for weeks and just come up with dirt and then every so often you find this lost city, so you’re more so finding a song than creating it, (Michael: that’s a great way to put it) you’ll come up with a lot of dirt in a lot of ideas and their not as great as you want and then you’ll find something and think that’s gold- that’s what we’re looking for. It makes it all worth it, like we all as a band love writing music because at the end of the day you find the thing you were looking for.
That’s really sweet. So do you all write or is a mainly you?
Michael: No we all write-
Dawson: No everyone’s a really talented songwriter-
Michael: No all of our different backgrounds definitely come out in our writing (Luke: Which is a problem sometimes) (Dawson: Which is a big problem! It’s like a curse!)
Luke: We’ll write a semi-jazz soul piece then we’re trying to write pop or like it will be super rocky and we’re just still trying to find our genre, the current one I like is alternative-rock-pop (Michael: That sounds like a good candy to me) (Dawson: Did you make that up?) Yeah, cause we’re alternative rock but kind of pop-y, we just pop. (Dawson: I like that)
Dawson: Being the only singer in the band and having others write, and they’ll be like “sing like this,” and I’m like, “yeah let me flip this switch so I can be like Shakira or something,” (lots of laughter) that’s the hard part, but it’s also super cool cause it pushes me as a singer.
So are you guys putting anything out, going back in the studio-
Dawson: Actually first time going in the studio.
Oh okay, that’s awesome! So what do you guys have planned for that?
Luke: 4 songs, we are going to release single before we release the EP and then 3 new ones on the release date of the EP, so this is our last show until we strictly record and write, cause we had the luxury to have been playing a lot of shows ,but now we need the time to sit down and go part by part.
Are you guys on Spotify or Apple Music or anything like that?
Michael: The EP will be, but none of our other videos, but the EP will definitely will be on Spotify and Apple Music.
Luke: I think Dawson was gonna talk about how we wanna make this EP not just be a local band putting out a ordinary EP, like everybody and their mom does, but actually make it really good.
What are some short and long term goals that you want to accomplish?
Dawson: As a band we appreciate Switchfoot, they’re like the poster-child for any San Diego band, because of how successful they’ve been. We just want to put out an EP that translates to people and see where it goes, ya know?
Michael: As cliché as it sounds for long term goals, we all want to do music as our careers and as far off as that is, we’re pushing as hard as we can to get there.
I was gonna ask whether you prefer performing or being in the studio, but we’ll save that for next time-
Dawson: I think it’ll still be performing cause nothin’ beats the faces of people that you know are connecting with your art, that’s priceless you know? When people are singing your song it’s the best thing ever, you see peoples lips moving and you’re just like “THEY KNOW IT! OH MY GOSH LOOK LUKE THEY KNOW IT!” It’s so crazy, we just can’t stop smiling.
Luke: I want people to listen to us and be like, “dang they’re so sick!” And then I want them to come to a show and be like, “pfff my mind has exploded.”
Michael: Because especially in this day in age you hear someone’s studio work then you see them live and it’s a total let down.
Dawson: Yeah I think what’s always gonna be our biggest thing is connecting with our crowd, with real instruments, and real sound, so it’s all organic and right there. (Michael: it shows who we are.) You feel so encouraged, I mean, you’re on stage, so everyone is there to see you, and when you see that they’re with you, you know that people want this to be happening.
Michael: Some of it is a bit of relief, you’re up there and it’s vulnerable, with all these lights on you and an instrument in your hand. (Dawson: that’s so true.)
Dawson: ‘Cause people have to remember that you’re just a kid performing with your friends, wearing your heart on your sleeve.
This was right after Almost Monday headed on stage to perform their last gig before they get down to producing their first EP. We look forward to hearing all the new music, whether it’s alternative-rock-pop, or that awesome rock surf fusion. Thank you again for talking with us before the show and for giving us a sneak peek of what it’s like being Almost Monday.
Everybody, make sure to keep your eye out on Spotify or Apple Music for when their EP drops, it’s going to be one to remember.