Adam Wolfsdorf, 2011

 

Interview by: Jason Perlman

 

Streets of In-Between is the band’s fourth studio album to date. How has the band grown since from say Awake or Climbing Palace Walls?
Oh, wow. Maybe a better question would be how haven’t we’ve grown?! We understand the nature of the beast we are dealing with so much better now. When we wrote and recorded Awake, we were very much rookies in the music game. We loved the long nights in the recording studios, eating rice crispy treats, listening to our songs and beefing them up to sound great. It was about us and ‘living the dream’. But now we see and experience things in a far greater and more integrative context. We understand the music and we understand the business, and we know that the two go hand in hand. So there have been a lot of superficial growths since Awake: selling out major venues such as Irving Plaza in New York and the Middle East in Boston, having songs placed on MTV and ESPN, touring with prominent artists such as 3 Doors Down and Vertical Horizon. But I think the most growth has occurred internally, as we have learned what it means to be a professional rock band on the musical circuit.


I am not sure if there has been a more dramatic change in the history of the recorded music industry businesswise as what has happened in the five years that this band has been together. How as The Energy been able to battle through all the changes?
This is a great question. Very thought-provoking! I guess like everybody else we are adjusting and trying to understand the industry. It’s true: the music biz is undergoing a radical metamorphosis and nobody seems to know exactly where it’s headed. It’s certain to us that multi-media and the Internet in particular have become powerful resources for the artist, so we spend a lot of time making sure that our media presence is strong, and that we have covered all of our bases online. In addition to that, we have been patient with the topsy turvy nature of this process, knowing that artists as prominent as U2 and Coldplay are trying to figure out what the heck is going on. If they can’t, how can we?! We take it in stride and enjoy the journey!


You worked with producer and industry mogul Scott Riebling (Fall Out Boy, We the Kings, The Academy Is), for Streets of In-Between. What did Scott bring out in the band that you maybe didn’t know existed before spending time in the studio with him?
Another excellent question. Scott is a unique producer because he’s an ultra-perfectionist, but at the same time keeps everything in the studio super fun, amicable, light-hearted, and enjoyable. As a former performer himself (Scott played bass in both Letters to Cleo and Wheezer), Scott understands the artist side of the industry. He has miraculously good ears, and is able to point out when things are ever so slightly out of tune or off-beat- and I mean down to microseconds off. It’s uncanny. He really helped us to bring out more pop elements in our sound and put forth a sound that much more accurately conveys who we are. Scott’s production is both commercial and personal, individual and collective. He’s really quite a gifted guy.


Have you become more comfortable with the release of a new record or are the same butterflies and excitement still there even after four releases?
Pretty comfortable. I mean, of course there are the butterflies, and you’re pumped to hear what people think of it. At the same time, we’ve been working on this album for over a year and a half, so it’s time for other people to hear it and experience it. It’ll be cool to hear what people think of it.


Touring wise, what is in store for The Energy in 2011?
A lot. CD release shows at marquee venues in Boston, DC, Baltimore, New York. Probably heading out to the Midwest in the spring- let’s do this, Ohio! Probably west coast over the summer- California dreaming. Maybe Vegas. Some whispers of some opportunities overseas. Follow along on our Facebook and come see us when we get to a venue near you.


There has always been more of a focus on the punk and hardcore coming from Brooklyn, was it hard to get noticed as a straight-up rock and roll band?
Nothing in this industry is easy. We like to think of our sound as melodic rock or pop-rock with strong melodic elements. We definitely don’t sound like the punk or hard core bands you’re alluding to, but at the same time there’s definitely a Brooklyn thing we got going on- especially when you see us live. We’re pretty hyped up on stage- fun to watch and dynamic. I guess that’s what the pizza joints’ll do to you in BK :)


There seems to be a bit of an Ohio connection with Ian Vandermeulen being a classical trumpet major at Oberlin College. Any chance Ohio gets a little more clout when it comes to booking the upcoming tours?
Ian, our guitar player, studied classical trumpet at Oberlin. He keeps telling us he’s gonna quit unless we book a show in Ohio. Hey, the guy knows what he’s talking about. Of course we’ve heard that the best music fans in the world are based in Ohio!


You said of the band, “We’ve found our sound.” But there are bands like U2, Radiohead and others that redefine its sound with each recording. Is this sound what you want for the band, or do you see the band taking some hard turns along the way as far as veering from the current version?

Yeah, maybe a better way to say that is that, “We’ve found our sound for the moment." This is definitely the best CD and the best collection of songs we’ve ever put together. At the same time, as soon as you stop changing and growing, you’re dead. The plan is always to develop, always to get better, and always to continue to hone and redefine our craft. Being open and expanding is where it’s at.


Lastly, after five years and four records, is the band becoming more content with each record or is the band still striving for that “perfect” song?

I’m not gonna lie: we’re pretty damn happy with this new album. Streets of In-Between is awesome, and a lot of people are going to love it. At the same time, you’re always striving to make the next one, and you’re always falling in love with your new baby. We’ll probably enjoy the fruits of this new album and then get hungry to create our fifth disc. It never ends