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Interview: Hello Control

Hello Control are a 4-piece pop-rock band from Plattsburgh, New York and since their formation, they have performed with some of the biggest emerging bands from the US including All Time Low, Hit The Lights and Farewell. The band last year released a self-titled EP, which was the given away for free and distributed through top American alternative store, Hot Topic.

Now the band are writing new material and preparing for their first full tour.

Sean caught up with the band, to talk about the benefits of giving away music for free, signing a record deal with a label in Japan, singing blink-182 cover's with All Time Low and also a tale of drinking on an empty stomach.

ATP: First of all who are you and what do you do in Hello Control?

HC: Hey, this is Mikey Lemieux and I play the drums. Plus, behind me is Milo Marnes who sings and plays guitar and Ryan Hayden on guitar and backing vocals. We are currently in the studio writing new songs.

ATP: Tell us how Hello Control came together?

HC: Ryan Hayden and I worked together at a guitar factory and we always talked about starting a really great pop rock band with catchy hooks, great vocals etc. So we decided to start looking in the area for more members and mainly a singer. We knew of this local band with a young, but great singer. His name was Milo! Luckily, on bass was Garry McShane, Milo’s longtime friend. We talked to them after the show and decided to all write some songs together and see how things went. Two years later, we couldn’t be happier.

ATP: How would describe Hello Control?

HC: (Milo speaking) Four avid masturbators who, when aren’t jerkin it, like to make music OR pop rock with catchy hooks. You decide.

ATP: Last year you released a self-titled EP for free. Tell us a bit about the EP?

HC: It’s the first five songs we wrote and we just really wanted to have the songs recorded before we played out. So we went in to the studio and recorded each one right after we had written it. I feel it gave each song a life of their own. Plus, we were super excited about each song because they were new to us each time.

ATP: Why was it released for free?

HC: The music industry is so messed up right now. No one wants to buy music anymore and honestly I hardly do either. It’s just a normal thing to get it for free. It sucks, but we are trying to adjust to the times. We figured, we like getting free music so let’s give the music we make away for free too.

ATP: What do you think are the benefits of releasing music for free?

HC: For us right now is that it gets our music into the ears of so many more people than if we were selling it. We’ve already had over 13,000 downloads of our EP since last year. That’s way more than most label bands sell. When we go to shows now it seems like way more people know all the words too. We’ll be playing 5 or 6 hours away to people we’ve never played for and they know all the words already.

ATP: For our UK readers explain how important distributing the EP through Hot Topic was?

HC: Hot Topic is the leading clothing and music store for alternative kids. They are actually one of the main companies still making money in this recession. So for them to get behind us and have our EP be the first ever free download they offer was really huge. It helps make people listen to us instead of writing us off as some small local band. We can’t thank them enough!

ATP: You also have a deal with Kick Rock Music in Japan. How did that happen and how does it feel to have your music being sold overseas?

HC: The label came to us and asked us to be a part of their CD compilation “Beyond the Blue Vol. 2” along side bands like All Time Low, Every Avenue etc and we really were honored. Then they approached us about putting our EP out. We thought it was a great idea. The label is home to tons of great bands and we really hope to build a great fan base over there so we can start touring there.

ATP: What would be a typical Hello Control live show?

HC: We really like to have fun and not take ourselves to serious. We usually just see how the room is feeling and really try and get everyone involved and have fun. We have lots of hand clapping parts and usually put in some fun covers and do anything to keep things new and fun but at the same time playing our very best. We are all really into being as tight musically as possible.

ATP: You’ve played alongside some of the impressive bands like All Time Low, Hit The Lights, Farewell and Every Avenue. Who’s been the best band you’ve played with?

HC: When we played with All Time Low they let Ryan, Milo and Garry get up on stage and do a cover of Blink 182’s “Dammit” with them. It was such a fun time. When we played with Hit The Lights we asked Nick, the singer, to come out and do a cover of NFG’s “My Friends Over You” which turned out really fun! It was really awesome playing with Farewell too. I got to hang out with the singer, Marshall, all night and he turned out to be such a rad guy! We still stay in touch actually. I can’t wait for their new album!

ATP: What has been your best tour?

HC: We are actually going on our first REAL tour this July. Since the industry is so different, we are trying to do things the most logical and affordable way. So we’ve been sticking to weekend tours and things like that. In July we’ll be hitting the road for a month with our friend Secret Secret Dino Club so we can’t wait to start playing for way more people!

ATP: Is there anywhere overseas you’d like to go?

HC: EVERYWHERE! One of our big influences is Simple Plan and how they play all over the world. So we really are going to try and get to that point. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see as many places in the world as they can. I’m looking forward to Japan and the UK the most!

ATP: Any stand out moments or stories to share?

HC: At on of our shows, a few of us started drinking way too early with no food in our stomachs. The show luckily didn’t turn out as bad as it could have, haha, but on the ride home I remember being insanely drunk and finally falling asleep. Then waking up a few hours later with puke coming out of my mouth onto the guy in front of me! Haha..I will definitely remember that one.

ATP: I understand you’re currently writing new material. How is that going?

HC: We are actually sitting in the studio right now writing some new songs. It seems like it goes really slow for us, but it’s because we are so picky and never want to settle for a song that is just ok. We usually write the song then re-write it a million more times. What we have so far is really coming out awesome!

ATP: What can we expect from the new material and when?

HC: We are hoping to have it out for the summer, but we don’t want to rush anything. So I guess we’ll have to play it by ear.

ATP: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

HC: We are planning on playing and touring as much as possible. The summer we’ll be hitting the road and then a lot of writing too. Hopefully some labels will be interested and then we can really start to do a lot more!

ATP: Have you got anything left to say?

HC: We love Alter The Press!!! If anyone is interested in downloading our EP just check out the link on our blog at and our myspace page at

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!