Interview: Off By One

OFF BY ONE – interview by smc

Image result for off by one band
After listening to the advance copy of San Diego’s own Off By One, I had the opportunity to interview these up-and-comers as well as see them live. Double bonus!

Introduced to this young band by guitarist Jon Bishop’s older brother, twenty-one year old Marc Gould quickly joined the recent high school grads using his musical background and talent to unify the group. Marc, along with the talented Jon Bishop and the charming and equally-as-skilled drummer Trevor Easter were constantly at a loss when it came to the bass position, hiring and firing unsatisfactory applicants regularly. Always Off By One, the band finally met bassist Jordan Brownwood and became the poppy, punky powerhouse that has brought me here tonight. Marc and Trevor were nice enough to donate a few words before the show.

bystander: Modern Fix? That’s a cool mag.
Marc: How you doing?

Marc Gould and Trevor Easter of Off By One
Marc: First person to get my name right the first time

Alright! You’re music is an excellent mix of several styles of the ‘pop-punk’ sound. How would you describe your sound and what was the process that got you there?
Marc: Well, the sound that we have is from like, basic music. We just kind of, you know, growing up, myself, I really didn’t have many influences. I really wasn’t a music connoisseur. I played piano since I was a kid, classically trained, and then I just moved onto the guitar and it was kind of more of, well I wasn’t that good with the guitar, so I never really got into MEH MAOW (guitar sound with riff maneuver) that crazy stuff. But I was able to sing, so I just poured the melodies out. I listen to the Smashing Pumpkins, and I really like the Beastie Boys, it was kind of just what came out of that. And then I met these guys, they’ve been really cool, because Johnny is insane on the guitar – ‘spider fingers’. He was able to give that outlet of technicality that I don’t have personally. And Trevor’s just a really good basic beat keeper, you know, he’s really good at keeping a steady beat. And then when we brought Jordan in, it all worked out.

So, LMC is your label now, with manufacturing and distribution by MCA and Universal respectively. What made you choose LMC and did you send out demos and shop a lot of other labels?
Marc: No, actually we weren’t even finished with our demo. We were trying to record our first demo with Jason Hill from Convoy at his little studio and we had given it to John’s aunt who had ties to some producers up in LA. These producers were interested in doing a produced 3-song deal and shopping us, but then the owner of LMC happened to hear about us through the grapevine up in LA. He’s from San Diego, so he called us up and we hadn’t really talked with anyone else, so we just figured it was an independent label and our gear was to get on an independent label because we like the independent side of it and he just came with a really good offer to us and said ‘Hey, I’ll really help you out and give you guys freedom in what you’d like to do’. And, us being four kids, it was like a dream come true. I mean a week before that we were all just sitting around playing in Trevor’s garage.
Trevor: He believed in us and was willing to throw down for us and really push us hard. This turned out to be a cool thing.

And it obviously paid off. The disc is great. Tim Palmer, who has worked with Pearl Jam and U2, mixed the album, and Graham Edwards of the Rembrandts, who is also the source of your interesting cover of ‘Torn’, produced.
Trevor: AND Marc’s interest in Avril.
Marc: Oh yeah, my interest in Avril
smc: Hey, I like her.
Trevor: He used to date her
Marc: I used to date her. She’s my ex-girlfriend.
Trevor: That’s how they met up. The same producers.
smc: Did you guys learn a lot from these rock veterans?
Marc: Yeah, you know, Tim, I would just sit in there and watch him mix it…
Trevor: We never met because we were at school
Marc: Yeah. He was just really driven to do a good job. He has a really good work ethic. It was just really fun to watch him do his stuff. Graham, on the other hand, when we got in the studio with him, he brought shit out of us we never thought we would be able to do. We had like 24 songs that we showed him and we just went into the studio and worked through each song. We sorted through all the other songs and came away with 12 songs that we wanted. He had us play every song we had and then we said ‘Okay, these 12 will do’. The basic songs were there and in the studio we would play and John would come up with cool licks.
Trevor: Like ‘Untouchable’. That song was written in the studio. We said ‘Hey this sounds pretty cool’ so we just ran with it.
Marc: Trevor, on that bridge, the bridge wasn’t there, so Trevor came in and Trevor’s very beat oriented and he said ‘Dude, let’s drop a little DUT DUT, DUT DUT (drum sounds)’. So, I mean it’s really cool how things turned out.

There are a lot of really nice production effects on the album. That’s what I like about it.

Marc: We had this idea of doing something completely different from our live show. A lot of people try to capture the live performance on the CD. Our idea was kind of like doing that in a sense, but then you can’t really have the excitement of a live performance on a CD because it’s in your car, right? So with little effects and nice production it keeps you paying attention to the CD, which kind of in a sense is the same as interaction with the crowd.
Trevor: Like live we’re rocking out, but on a CD you can’t see it…

Well, I’ve got to tell you that’s the reason I got sucked right in. I listened to the first song and it was total ‘wow’.
Marc: We try not to be standard.
Trevor: Because it’s been done so many times before.

Has that experience helped you with your music?
Marc: Yes! That guy is the coolest guy ever…
Trevor: He didn’t just produce the album, he taught us how to be Off By One.
Marc: He was like a father to us. He spent a lot of time with us. In and out of the studio. Lunches. Dinners. I don’t know if that’s normal in the industry, but he was basically a mentor to us. He’s just a kind, genuine person.

It’s obvious that he liked you guys, because it shows in the music.
Trevor: He really knew what we had, because he would say ‘No. Try something a little different’ and we would come back and he would say ‘That’s what I was talking about’.
Marc: We hung out for 2 weeks before we went in to record the album. We spent time with him getting to know each other. That experience was the best experience of my life. I’m sure there will be other great times, but the making of our first album, it’s unbelievable.

You’ve already played with Jewel on the Soul City Café Tour. How was that and are you excited to play with her again tomorrow night?

Marc: It was really cool.
Trevor: It was really frickin’ cool. It went above our expectations.
Marc: We all walked away from it thinking that it was so beneficial. What happened was we got off stage and we got mobbed by about 500 girls and there was a huge line for us to sign autographs. We signed for about 2 and half to 3 hours.
Trevor: Into Jewel’s set…
Marc: And into Jewel’s set. Over M2M and into Jewel’s set.
Trevor: No one went to see M2M. And our sound guy was like ‘What just happened?’

You guys obviously represent well live then?
Trevor: We work 6 hours a day when we’re not playing out.
Marc: We’ve just been practicing every every day since we started. Trevor had this space in his garage that his father built for us. There’s nothing else to do, so we just would go everyday and play. Everyday in the summertime. Summer days, everyday, we just play.
Trevor: We got back from the Warped Tour and…
Marc: We were off for 4 days.
Trevor: And we just went right back in to the studio and played.

When you’re devoted to something like you are, it pays off. You get what you give. The Warped Tour, obviously, asked you along. How does that make you guys feel?
Marc: It’s so cool man.

Has the crowd been into you guys?
Trevor: Yeah. So far the only tour we’ve been on was a 4-day thing with RX Bandits. But, now we’re on the Warped Tour, with MXPX, like our favorite bands we grew up listening to. Then we’re like ‘Whoa’, Played everyday in the heat. We learned stuff daily.

33 dates plus these extra shows. That means you’re pretty much on stage everyday. You’ve been on since mid-June and you’ll be on till mid-August. How do you like being on the road for so long?
Marc: I love it man. Trevor has told me that he never wants to go home.
Trevor: I’m like ‘Go home? I don’t want to go home’. I love this.
Marc: You never imagine it would actually happen. I mean you dream about it you know, but never take the time to actually sit back and think ‘What if it does?’ or ‘What if it happens too soon?’ I mean things have been happening fast. A year ago Trevor leans over to us at the Warped Tour and goes ‘Dude, it would be cool to play…
Trevor: No, I said it like a fact. I said ‘ Next Year we’re gonna be playing the Warped Tour’. And look, the next year.
Marc: It’s a dream come true. It’s very humbling.
Trevor: The cool thing is so far everyday something, like the record label will call ‘ Hey, this is happening’. We’re just like ‘What the fuck is going on?’
Marc: It’s weird. Cos you never really think people are gonna like your stuff. Believe it or not…
Trevor: We’ll be playing in the garage, and like ‘Dude, whatever, no one’s gonna like it’ Record label calls up, we’re like ‘Nice!’
Marc: I mean I thought I was gonna be working at 7-11 for the rest of my life. I mean I was selling shoes at Nordstrom’s for 4 years.
Trevor: Yeah I thought I was gonna have to go to college.

You know college will ruin your life.
(laughing)

Have you been getting Marc to buy beer for you?
Trevor: Never!
Marc: Yes.
(laughing)

With that I sidled to the back of the room and waited, camera in hand for the music to start. A show of local favorites, Fifth Wheel opened with an impressive handful of melodic punky blasts. NobodyZero followed with a captivating and intriguing set of post-punk inspired rock. Longtime locals G Spot took the stage next and belted out an energetic block of horn-tinged rockers, but none would compare to the slick grooves that Off By One graced the hometown crowd with. Their first headlining show, Off By One thrilled the audience with a series of hits, as yet still unavailable, being immortalized on film for a band video. The Warped Tour and the locals obviously know what’s good, because this was a rip-roaring good time. If you like a little punk in your pop and you’re not hung up on age, check these kids out at www.offbyoneonline.com and pick up their debut album August 6th.