Interview: Only Living Boy

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Only Living Boy continues to floor us.

When we first encountered the power(ful) trio from Northwest Jersey, they mesmerized us with their bombastic whiskey-soaked bluesy rock ‘n’ roll stylings. Their 2011 record, Hide Nothing blew our doors off with huge anthems like “My Heart is Burning” and “Hear Music.” Hide Nothing is still one of the best records we’ve heard in the five years we’ve been covering the New Jersey independent scene. In this writer’s opinion, that record could never be topped, it’s just that damn good.

Four years later Only Living Boy went and proved me wrong.

Little Fish, their latest EP, is a mind-glowingly fantastic collection of big, bad ass rock ‘n’ roll anthems. OLB deftly walks the line between a well-oiled, polished and produced rock band and the wild, punch you in the mouth, edgy style they’ve perfected over the years.

Simply put – listen to this record…NOW.

Recently, we caught up with Only Living Boy’s drummer Trevor J. Newcomb to talk about the band’s time off from recording, their “new” sound and the Asbury music scene as the band preps for Little Fish’s official release party at The Saint on Saturday night (presented by our pals at Dark City Entertainment).

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It’s been two years since your last EP, Cool Collected Headcase. Why the long gap of time between EPs?

The funny thing is, we tracked drums, bass, and some guitar for Cool Collected Headcase and Little Fish in the same session. The idea was to get them out in quick succession. But we were delayed by good old Hurricane Sandy; it completely destroyed the studio we were working with and it completely ruined our timeline.

Did the time between EPs benefit you guys at all?

Honestly, no. I think we would have been better off had things gone to plan… but nothing seems to ever goes to plan in this business. So, I’m just happy we’re able to see the Little Fish EP though. We have so much material on the back burner that we’re dying to release and getting Little Fish out will give us something to run on as we work on the next release(s). Also, it’s worth mentioning, all the delays we faced with this EP lead us back to Paul Ritchie (Parlor Mob). He mixed Little Fish and we’re happy he was able to do it. Oh, and Joe Cirotti used the time to get his solo album done and its awesome… so thats a plus.

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There seems, at least in my opinion, a sonic difference between Little Fish and Hide Nothing. Is this just me or is there truth behind that statement? If it is true, what was the inspiration to change things up a bit?

I’m not sure it was a conscious effort on our part. Perhaps, it was just growth and where we were heading. When we recorded Cool Collected Headcase and Little Fish, the idea was to release a “heavier” ep and follow it up with a not-as-heavy EP. That could be why Little Fish stands out a bit.

How do you feel you guys have grown as musicians since when we first met you guys in 2011?

Oh man, thats a good question. I think we’re better at our instruments and I think we play tighter live, thats for sure. Also, I think we’re more focused on the sound and over the next year or two, I think we’ll narrow our focus even more. In 2011, we we’re a little more scatter-brained and not as well defined. I’m not saying its a good thing, but I think the next couple releases, including Little Fish, we’ll be a little more concise with the music.

In the same vein – you guys have been in the Asbury scene for years, how do you feel it’s evolved since you first broke into it?

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I think more and more people are recognizing Asbury Park as the epicenter of music for NJ, as a whole. It’s the best place around to discover new musicians and support the ones you already love. So long as the city maintains a sense of dedication to live music, it’ll be the best town in the state. Anyone who is involved in the AP scene should feel lucky; I know we do.

For those who might be checking you out at The Saint for the first time what can they expect from an OLB live show?

The Saint is the best room in town to see music, in my opinion. So, we’re happy to be playing there. In general, OLB is known as dynamic and energetic (at least, I hope thats someting we’re known for). So, folks can expect some serious shredding. But we also planned something special: we’re bringing in a rhythm guitar player, Matt Schmidt of Quimby Mountain Band. He’ll be joining us on most of the songs off of the new EP and a couple more. Also, we’ll be playing some super new material… thats always fun.

What are your plans for 2015?

I want to get another full-length out and keep touring… just keep the train moving and grooving.

Only Living Boy performs tomorrow night at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey with with Amy Malkoff & The Moonshines, Thee Idea Men, Ether Sunday and Matt Schmidt of Quimby Mountain. Click here for tickets.

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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beauty daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites