An Interview with Teenage Halloween

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Teenage Halloween are an American indie Punk band which has been around for six years now. In 2020, they’ve released their debut record which is titled Teenage Halloween and it some of the most energetic and fun Punk music I’ve heard in some time. It’s awesome to see that the indie scene is a vibrant as ever. In regards to their debut album, I believe in time it will be looked back upon as yet another classic within the genre as well as the start of what hopefully will amount to a long career in music for Teenage Halloween. Today, I’ve got the entire band with us. In an act of solidarity, they elected to be interviewed as a band, and each answer is credited to all of them, even if it’s written from different perspectives. How punk is that?! You can head over to their Bandcamp here and pick up their debut. Once you’ve done that, give this interview a read. Enjoy.

Andrew:
Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Tell us about your back story. How did you begin playing music? What was your musical gateway so to speak? 

Teenage Halloween:
Thanks a bunch! Happy to be part of it! I started playing music when I was offered by family to get guitar lessons and try it out. It was really formative for me because I just started getting into Classic Rock and Soul music so I always really wanted to be someone who actually played! After a few years of learning guitar, I started bands in high school with some of my best friends and then the story kept going!

Andrew:
How did the members of Teenage Halloween meet? How did the band get started?

Teenage Halloween:
The band was started six years ago when I was a sophomore in high school! We met through going to local shows and being in the same friend circle. Hakim and I have both been consistent members since high school and have had a lot of rotation since.

Andrew:
Teenage Halloween is a interesting name for a band. How did you come up with it?

Teenage Halloween:
“Twinkle” by Jeff Rosenstock! Easy as that. It’s directly ripped from a line in that song! I Look Like Shit was one of my favorite records in high school! 

Andrew:
You guys are from NJ, right? I’m from NY myself. What bands influenced you guys as you were getting started? What’s the scene like in NJ?

Teenage Halloween:
The scene in NJ is actually huge and flourishing, there are a ton of bands and is always been amazing to watch it grow. We all work very hard to maintain a constant formation of venues throughout our small state so as many bands can play as possible. There was a point where things weren’t unified, but all of us have been working hard to be more of a together scene. When I was getting started bands like The Moms and The Waffle Stompers and Alyssa Kai were super important to me, in a DIY sense.

Andrew:
I became aware of you through a recommendation from Jeff Rosenstock. Have you guys had the chance to meet and/or tour with Jeff? 

Teenage Halloween:
Yes! We’ve actually been fortunate enough to play shows with their solo shit and also Antarctigo Vespucci! They’ve been a supporter of our band for awhile and it means a lot to be recommended!

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Andrew:
Every band has its own dynamic. What’s yours like? Who writes the lyrics, and who writes the music?

Teenage Halloween:
I write the lyrics, and Eli helps with making the melodies, the rest of the band writes their parts and we take it from there. Our dynamic is very understood and we try to keep our information as transparent as possible.

Andrew:
A lot of people will try and pin a certain genre on bands. What are your thoughts on genres in general?

Teenage Halloween:
I think genres tend to tie bands down even though I am definitely guilty of using them when trying to formulate a song.

Andrew:
I picked up your debut album on Bandcamp, and I’m so glad I did- it’s excellent. How important has Bandcamp been for you guys? In your opinion, how important has Bandcamp been for indie artists in general?

Teenage Halloween:
Bandcamp has been everything that Spotify hasn’t. Bandcamp royalties come fast and it makes a voice for underrepresented artists. I hope capitalism never takes it away, and I hope it stays a flourishing platform.

Andrew:
Tell us more about your debut album. Where did you record it? What was the experience like? What did you learn for the next go around?

Teenage Halloween:
We recorded it in July 2019 on at Big Mamas Recording in Philadelphia PA, with Evan Bernard (no thank you/The Superweaks/Slow Mass) and it was an amazing and patient experience. Evan has taught me a whole lot about making space in songs and trying to make mixes less dense and more of an accessible listen. He’s the best audio engineer that I have ever met.

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Andrew:
A lot of people have preconceived notions on what it means to be “punk.” What would you say to those people?

Teenage Halloween:
Punk is killing the cop in your head. It takes time, but the most important thing about Punk Rock is unity and confidence in yourself.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? If so, what are some albums that mean the most to you? Where do you like to shop for music?

Teenage Halloween:
I am mostly digital at this point because my collection got too big. I’ve been really into the Mountain Goats, Wilco, Built to Spill and The Halo Benders right now! A lot of my taste is relative to the moment. I’ve also been OBSESSED with Radioactivity.

Andrew:
What does music mean to you? What keeps you inspired?

Teenage Halloween:
Music is the driving force for me emotionally. I think it is the most impactful form of solidarity. I stay inspired by finding new bands that I can binge listen to that make me feel grounded and like I can do better.

Andrew:
2020 was a weird year, but we still saw seen a ton of great music released. What are some of your “must haves” for this past year?

Teenage Halloween:
JER! Bartees Strange! Bad Moves! KPG! Supercrush! niiice! Pink Navel! Thank You I’m Sorry! 

Andrew:
Regardless of want, or need, you guys seem to have maintained the DIY, underground ethos, which I personally love. Why is that important to you?

Teenage Halloween:
It is the only way to fully avoid the capitalistic side of music to the fullest form, while being forced to exist in late stage capitalism.

Andrew:
Last question. Has today’s musical landscape changed for better or worse? What advice do you have for other bands trying to get their start?

Teenage Halloween:
I think we have been changing for the better as a community! The only advice I have for a new artist is that self care is incredibly important and put your art over self destructive habits. Music and compassion is so much more of a positive weight than momentary pleasure!

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Interested in diving deeper into the work of Teenage Halloween? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

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