In this edition, I interview Alex Reindl from the scum pop band Old Joy. He gave me some very cool insight to their up and coming EP titled, ‘Trash Your Life’ scheduled to be released on September 20th.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BAND:
Old Joy is a scum pop/power trash band from Chicago, Illinois started in April of 2016. The members include vocalist, guitarist, and pianist Alex Reindl, guitarist/vocalist Colin Kaniff, guitarist Hoagie Wesley Ensley, drummer Matt Petot, bassist Anthony Santoro, and vocalist Olivia Post. They are “driven by death, pain, loss, blown opportunities, and missed conncetions” and ready to take on the world.
Q & A with Alex Reindl
Zemmie: What is the name of your new album/EP and when was it or when will it be released?
Alex: The album is called Trash Your Life and will be released September 20th at the Empty Bottle. The first single comes out Friday June 16th.
Z: Explain to me the meaning of your album/EP. What is its’ significance? Is there a backstory? A concept? (Explain in detail)
A: The album is called Trash Your Life. Most of the songs were written over the past 5 years or the past 6 months, and it is an intensely personal album. It describes my experiences in my last band, struggling to make it as a musician while simultaneously maintaining a serious heroin addiction and a codependent relationship with another addict. It details life on the street, watching friends die, going to jail, seeing relationships fall apart, and the struggle of addiction, cleaning up for a little while to go on tour or release a record, only to be sucked back in again. It also details my struggles with the death of my best friend and previous drummer. I met him while I was serving 10 months in the cook county jail, and we bonded over similar music taste and a similar back story. When we got out of jail in early 2016, we formed the band Old Joy together. However he relapsed and ended up overdosing and dying In October of 2016. The band was adrift for a little bit, but I made a promise to his mom at his funeral that I would live out the dreams that he and I shared, and so I jumped back into it with renewed drive and passion. We started recording the record in January of 2017 and just finished it this week. It has a huge meaning to me, and every song describes a different detail of my life and my relationships. However the record is optimistic in outlook towards the end. The title track, trash your life, has a message that it’s okay to fuck up. You only get one life, but even if you fuck up drastically like I did, you can still find redemption. No one who has ever lived has lived a perfect life, and none of us are alone.
Z: How was your experience in the studio? Were there any changes made? Songs trashed? Songs rewritten, etc?
A: The studio experience was good. I came in very prepared and knew exactly what I wanted to do. Nothing was re written. However I did write two new songs during the recording process and felt that they were some of my best work, so we recorded those also and put them on the album, bringing the total to 10 from 8. I was working with an old best friend and band mate who owns his own studio and is a brilliant engineer. He knows exactly what kind of sound I want and he knows exactly how to achieve it, but he’s also far more methodical than I am, so we went through every detail of the record with a fine tooth comb. My approach is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, and he helped me go through the tracks and find everything that worked, elevate it and bring it out, and take out everything that didn’t work. We did a great job with it and I’m very proud of it.
Z: What is your favorite track or set of lyrics and why?
A: My favorite set of lyrics is a song called “I’ve seen.” It talks about everything I’ve seen in my life, from men being beaten down by baseball bats on the west side for a drug deal gone wrong, to girls passing out in closets with needles in their arms and blood running down to their fingertips. It is a very personal song, and writing, singing and releasing it was extremely cathartic to me. It also attempts to describe why I did the things I did and made the choices I made. And there are no easy answers, but that’s why I like it.
Z: What does music mean to you?
A: My music is everything to me. It is literally my life. I make music as a way to document my existence on this planet. Anything, however horrible it may be at the time, is always fodder for a song, so I can go through anything and feel like it has a silver lining because I can write a song about it. I try to take my own pain, struggles, heartache and depression and turn it into something beautiful to share with other people and try to make their lives a little easier. I think it’s the songwriters job to find ways to say things that everyone feels, but has trouble expressing. We put a voice to a feeling that is otherwise inexpressible, and I think that is a truly beautiful task or vocation.
Z: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or done at a show?
A: In my old band, my other guitar player accidentally bashed me in the head with the head stock of his guitar and left a gaping wound that started bleeding heavily. I bled all over the white t shirt i was wearing, and thinking it would be a cool rock and roll moment, decided to take off my bloody t shirt and throw it into the audience. They were not happy about it and threw it right back on stage with me, telling me they didn’t want my nasty ass bloody t-shirt.
Z: How does your band handle the songwriting process?
A: They handle it very well. I write all the songs, then I take it to the band and show them the structure. They are all very good musicians, so we play through it a few times and they start figuring out where each of them fits in. Sometimes we will make changes to the rhythm or the structure as we are working out a song, but the lyrics, melody and basic structure of the song are always the same as the way I write then when I’m alone. I usually write all the guitar parts myself and then teach them to the other guitar players, though occasionally they will write their own parts if they work in the context of the song. I usually leave the rhythm section alone and let them do their thing, giving them minor suggestions here and there. I guess the songwriting process is equivalent to a benevolent monarchy, where I write the songs and everyone has their say, but at the end of the day we are all serving the song, rather than our own individual egos.
Z: What does your band name mean?
A: Old Joy to me means nostalgia. Its the joy and happiness you once had, but will never have again. You may be happy in the future and feel joy again, but it will never be the same as the old joy you once had.
Z: Anything else you want to tell me?
A: No. I think I was very thorough in all of the above questions. We do have two shows coming up if you would like to see us play. We play at Schuba’s tomorrow June 10th, and then we release our single next Friday, June 16th at the Auxiliary art center. We are also playing at Crown Liquors June 27th, Cole’s bar in Logan Square on June 30th, and at the DIY venue Club Soda on July 15th. Thanks for reading!
Be sure to follow Old Joy on all of their social media accounts and look out for their debut full length “Trash Your Life” coming out on September 20th. Stay tuned for their first single set to release on June 16th as well!
– Fehora Maei
Fehora Maei is a horror metal band from the South Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Founded by vocalist/bassist Javier Sanchez and guitarist Zemmie Ferguson in mid 2014.
The band started out as just a side project for both Javier and Zemmie. Javier was pursuing guitar in his band Kneverlette while Zemmie was working on a solo, instrumental EP after having left her band Oscillates late 2013. With no set direction, they wrote a few progressive instrumental demos just to test the waters. After writing together for some time, Javier and Zemmie decided to take it up a notch and began writing heavier material while also honing in on a set direction and image.Jared, also a member of Javier’s band Kneverlette, came along when he discovered Javier and Zemmie were ready to expand, write, and get down to business. He joined in 2015 after experiencing a dramatic slow down with Keverlette.They began writing a set list over the next year and a half incorporating manic bass lines, odd chords, crazy riffage, and dark lyrics. They were all fans of horror movies and dark humor and wanted to incorporate that into their live performance and image – thus forming their signature trio: The Possessed, The Demon, and The Priest.Fehora Maei’s first show was in 2016 for Zemmie’s 20th birthday party where they performed in front of a room of over 100 people.
Unfortunately, after going through two drummers, the band remains without one and continues their search for a full time member. Fehora Maei is currently tracking their 7 song EP ‘Don’t Let Them See You’ set to release in the Summer of 2017.
Fehora Maei is…
Javier Sanchez – Vocals and Bass
Jared Kingery – Backing Vocals and Guitar
Zemmie Ferguson – Guitar