Alter The Press!


Interview: Last Call

On August 2nd, Las Vegas-based pop-punk band Last Call will release their new EP, 'Stay on the Outside' through Mightier Than Sword Records. The EP is the follow up to last year's '12:57' EP and sees the quartet working with producer Paul Miner (New Found Glory, H2O and Fireworks) again. With comparisons to Saves The Day, The Swellers and Dillenger Four, Last Call's style is one that is tight and thrives on the bands DIY punk rock ethics.

Alter The Press! recently spoke to drummer Adam Blasco and vocalist Austin Jeffers about the new EP, joining MTS Records, where they stand as a pop-punk band and more.

Alter The Press: Could you tell us your name and role in Last Call?
Last Call: My name is Adam Blasco. I play drums. Pacing ceaselessly next to me is Austin Jeffers, who sings in Last Call.

ATP: To begin with tell us what the new EP is about and what fans can expect?
Last Call: The whole idea behind 'Stay On The Outside' came from the concept of our song 'Disconnected'. It was one of the first songs we wrote after releasing 12:57, and like everyone, we each had our shit that we were dealing with at the time. Basically, the idea is that no matter who's surrounding you, what you're doing, or what you're going through physically, mentally or emotionally, sometimes you just feel alone. On the other hand, sometimes you're completely overwhelmed with everything and need to be alone for a while, which is pretty hard with how the world is these days. Sometimes you need to disconnect from everything, and get yourself right before anything else.

When we were talking to our buddy Mitch [Wojcik] about the artwork for this record, he came to us with a concept of a cardboard box being photographed in all of these different situations and settings. It's a subtle motif that can be found throughout the artwork for 'SOTO'. The idea behind this is that this box goes everywhere with you. Inside the box, you keep everything that's a part of you, whether it's things that you want to keep close to you, things that you want to keep separate from the rest of the world, your anxieties, your secrets, whatever. They're always there, and you learn to deal with that in a positive way.

With all of that being said, listen to 'Stay On The Outside' and take from it what you will. At the very least, you'll have a honest and catchy cd that's fun jam when you're driving.

ATP: Last year you released an EP called '12:57' How has the band's sound developed since?
Last Call: '12:57' is a record that, for the most part, we’re very proud of. It was the first release we put out after some major changes in our band, and '12:57' was the result of everything feeling right about Last Call. The way I describe 'Stay On The Outside' is that each of the 5 songs has all of my favorite parts of '12:57' in them. I think that when we were writing and demoing these songs (and the songs that didn't make it onto the record) we were able to better see where we were musically, what we wanted to do differently, and ultimately, where we wanted to be for this record. I don't want to sound cliché and say that 'SOTO' is a more mature sound, or some bullshit like that. Every band wants to progress with every release, and we're no different. I feel that musically and lyrically, we hit the mark that we were shooting for for 'SOTO', and we'll continue to shoot to make the same sort of progress on all of our future releases.

ATP: You recorded the EP with Paul Miner. What did he bring to the bands sound and what was it like working with him?
Last Call: We've recorded all of our music with Paul, and over the years, he's actually become one of my good friends. I'm not sure if that's a very common thing for a band, but I think it's rad how things have worked out. Paul is super talented, and his history and love for punk rock has really been beneficial for us. It seems like we always send him demos that are just that, demos.

Typically, they're way rougher than anything anyone would want to ever hear. Then, when we get into the studio, we hammer away at each little thing, and they slowly transform into actual songs. He's always got rad ideas to help improve the songs in all aspects, and usually doesn't hesitate to tell us when something could be better.

I [Adam] am personally really into catchy melodies, lots of harmonies, and lots of vocals throughout the songs. In that regard, we really click. We both feed off each other's ideas until everything is where we want it to be, and everyone is happy with everything. Austin is obviously more focused on the grittier side of the vocals. Paul's got a great ear for helping us find a solid balance between the clean and the grit of the record. It definitely shows on specific parts, as well as in the overall feel of the songs. We actually had Paul do some vocals, as well as tracking some of the bass on 'Stay On The Outside', so we're really psyched. He's ended up being more a part of this record than he has ever been before.

ATP: With so many similar pop punk bands at the moment. What makes Last Call stand out from the crowd?
Last Call: I always refer to our band as a punk-rock band for this exact reason. It seems like everyone refers to Last Call as a pop-punk band, and I feel like the genre of "pop-punk" has become really diluted, and the term is used really loosely now. Often times, when I hear someone use the term "pop-punk", I can almost guarantee that the same bands don't come to my mind that are coming to theirs. Granted, there are a lot of bands out right now that are similar to Last Call, but that doesn't really affect us. We all have so many different musical influences, and the culmination of all of those ends up in our music. We write music that we like, and the music that we want to write. We don't write music to sound like another band. It just comes out how it comes out. So far, it seems like that's paid off, for whatever it's worth. People seem to find something in our songs that is relatable, so that's all that’s really important to us.

ATP: The EP is coming out on Mightier Than Sword Records. How did you come to work with them?
Last Call: Haha. This is a funny story for me because everything kind of all just fell into place by fluke. About a year ago, Mightier Than Sword released Blink-182's Self-Titled record on Vinyl. I had supported other MTS releases before this, but with Blink being one of my all-time favorites [and The Juliana Theory being one of Austin's], I was all over this. I ordered the records, and went about my life. A few weeks later, I got an email from RJ about my order, and we went back and forth a couple times. Somewhere in the course of those emails, I mentioned something like "judging from your previous releases [more particularly Such Gold's "Stand Tall" EP], you may like my band…" and sent him the zip file of '12:57'.

I really didn't think anything of it. It wasn't that I thought we may get signed, or anything like that either… It was legitimately because I just thought he might enjoy our music. Surprisingly, he emailed me back and told me how much he was into '12:57', and asked me to call him at the MTS HQ. By this point, I was kind of freaking out. For our little band, having a label that I loved and supported whole-heartedly want me to call them, I was stoked. So, I called RJ on my way home from work, and he began asking about our "future plans". I gave him a run down on what our band is about, what we were planning, and what we wanted to do. We're all very like-minded guys, and I think that has had a huge positive influence on our relationship, both in terms of business and friendship with him and Buddy.

We announced our signing at the beginning of November, and that was followed by the Digital Re-release of '12:57'. Now, we're here, and couldn't be more excited.

ATP: Overall why should old and new fans check out Last Call and 'Stay on the Outside'?
Last Call: For our old fans, hopefully they feel the same as I do, and think that 'SOTO' is a step up from '12:57'. Like I said before, as with all of our music, we wrote 'Stay On The Outside' for us. It's where we are right now, and will always remind us of this point. It's our fans, both old and [mostly] new, that will interpret our music for themselves. It's how they receive it that helps us do all of the cool things that we love to do as a band. At the end of the day, we wrote the record with as much honesty as we could, and that's it.

ATP: Any final words to close the interview?
Last Call: Support everyone that has had a part in making this record possible:
RJ Crowder-Schaefer & Buddy Nielsen - Mightier Than Sword Records.
Paul Miner - Buzzbomb Sound Labs
Mitchell Wojcik - Mitchell Wojcik Photography
Chris Mounts - Immunity Management/Immunity Clothing

Pick up 'Stay On The Outside' on August 2. Learn the songs, and come sing them with us when we roll through your town.

'Stay On The Outside' by Last Call is released on August 2nd through Mightier Than Sword Records.

Last Call on Facebook, Tumblr, Bandcamp, Twitter, MySpace, and Big Cartel.

Words by Sean Reid

Alter The Press!