Alter The Press!


Interview: Five Oh First

Alter The Press! recently spoke to Chicago, IL band Five Oh First. The 6-piece made up of vocalist Lars Heemskerk, guitarists Chris Hennessey and Adrian Villegas, bassist Matt Rizzo, drummer Danny Jankiewicz, and keyboardist Steve Jankiewicz, recently released 3-track self-titled EP on iTunes and was the follow-up to the bands first EP, 'I Have a Feeling About This'.

The band talked to us about their beginnings, being in a band and in college, their self-titled EP, their inspirations and more.

ATP: Where did the name Five Oh First come from?
Five Oh First: In the beginning we were having a lot of trouble thinking of a name. It had come to the point where we were looking through the dictionary for cool sounding words. At the time we were playing a lot of Starwars: Battle Front 2 for X-Box so we ended up deciding to name ourselves after Darth Vader's 501st Legion of Stormtroopers because we are all pretty big Star Wars nerds.

ATP: Likewise, how did the band form?
Five Oh First: We had all been friends in highschool and we were all in our own bands. Our senior year we all came together and formed Five Oh First.

ATP: You have quite the mix of genres from pop to post-hardcore in your sound, how would you sum up your music?
Five Oh First: We have always tried to write music that we enjoy playing and listening to. Genre never really comes up in the writing process so we hopefully end up with a unique blend.

ATP: You originate from Illinois, what's the scene like over there?
Five Oh First: The scene in our area is awesome! There's a lot of talented bands in the Chicago suburbs that we have become friends with. It's always great to come home from school and play a show in our home town.

ATP: Some of you guys are still in college and have only been able to play locally, what's it like juggling between your education and the band?
Five Oh First: We've been doing the whole school thing along with the band for about 4 years now so we are getting pretty good at it. Sometimes its hard but you have to make sacrifices in both areas to make it work. School is almost done for most of us so we will be able to put a lot more energy into Five Oh First.

ATP: You've had some label interest, have you been tempted to sign to anyone or are you playing the waiting game?
Five Oh First: Unfortunately some of us are still in school so we have to wait a while. We would love to sign with a label but we are in no rush.

ATP: Tell us about your self-titled EP?
Five Oh First: Our self-titled EP is kinda of our way of showing everyone that we are still improving and growing musically. The 3 songs on the EP are musical transition to the new songs we are writing.

ATP: How's that going down with the fans?
Five Oh First: It's going well! So far we've had a lot of positive feedback from our fans and friends. Hopefully it will make everyone excited for first full length.

ATP: Could you describe the writing process - did it take time, or did everything seem to fall in to place?
Five Oh First: We've been taking a lot more time with our writing since our first EP “I Have a Bad Feeling About This”. We wrote these 3 new songs while we were away at school so we had a lot of time to work on them individually before we brought it together as a band.

ATP: Were there any artists or bands which influenced the music?
Five Oh First: We all come from very diverse musical backgrounds so we have a lot of influences. Some big influences we have had as a band are New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, All Time Low, A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, The Devil Wears Prada and Chiodos.

ATP: Anything you were listening to at the time?
Five Oh First: While we were writing the EP we were probably listening to a lot of Forever The Sickest Kids and A Day To Remember.

ATP: If you could hop on a tour with any band of your choosing, who would you pick and why?
Five Oh First: New Found Glory because they have been around for so long and have been able to keep cranking out awesome records and we could learn a lot from them.

ATP: What would you say is the ultimate goal for Five Oh First?
Five Oh First: The ultimate goal for all of us is to be able to do Five Oh First without having to worry about having anything else. To be able to tour and make enough money to support ourselves would be amazing. We already put so many hours into this project that it would be great to be able to completely focus on the band with no distractions.

ATP: Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
Five Oh First: As long as we are still playing music in 10 years we will all be happy.

Five Oh First on MySpace
Five Oh First's webstore

Andy Burton

Alter The Press!