AN INTERVIEW WITH SUBURBAN LIVING
Sitting on a curb enjoying the beautiful spring weather at Macrock, I had the opportunity to speak with lead singer Wes from Suburban Living about his migration from VA Beach to the bustle of the thriving Philly music scene.
How’s Macrock been treating you?
Good! We got here at 3am last night. We drove from Philly, stayed at a friend’s house, ate some delicious chocolate pancakes, and then came here.
Are there any bands here that you’re really dying to see?
I wish I would’ve gotten here the day before. I don’t know a lot of people playing, but that’s kind of the cool thing about Macrock, I get to discover some new things I’ll probably like. A lot of my friends played last night like Erik Phillips and True Body. There’s a really cool band from Philly called Blue Smiley that played that I wanted to see
I know that Suburban Living started with just you in Virginia Beach and then you moved to Philadelphia. Why’d you move there and how did the rest of the lineup come together?
I moved to Philadelphia because I fell in love with the city by just hanging out there a lot. I knew about five people, but for anybody who has been to Virginia Beach, it’s not a very musical town; there’s not a lot of art stuff going on. I was born and raised there, so it was time to move on. I moved there, like I said, and I didn’t really know a lot of people. By chance I met Chris, Mike, and Peter who are now the rest of the band and they really liked the songs. Luckily Suburban Living had already put out some music and was known on the internet, so they were excited to join the band!
On the note of you talking about the Virginia Beach scene, what was it like for you to be involved in it?
I’m not going to hate on it. There’s some really cool stuff coming out of there. My buddy is in a band called You’re Jovian, True body is from there, and there’s a lot of really cool noise projects. Growing up there you really had to make your show. We used to throw shows in record shops, and we would have a few shows in pizza shops. I saw Screaming Females in a garage! It’s not a flourishing art town, but there’s still a lot of people doing great things.
You released Almost Paradise in October. What was it like recording that compared to your previous releases?
It was very different in two major ways. One is we worked with this guy named Jeff Zeigler who produced artists like The War On Drugs and Kurt Vile. So it was really cool working with him for the first time and having his input. It was also different because I actually didn’t fully write the songs. I made the shell of the song and then Chris, Mike, and Peter kind of fine tuned it. It was nice to not be in total control of the music and kind of letting it naturally turn into something else with the other guys.
Who are your musical influences? I definitely notice some 80s vibes in your tunes. Anyone from that era in particular?
Yeah! I really love cheesy 80s pop, but I’m also really into Sonic Youth and The Cure. I really try and take the pop aspect of 80’s pop and add an edgier side of it with those influences like Sonic Youth and kinda of using different tunings on my guitar, so I try to blend those things together.
Bands of the 80s and 90s didn’t have access to social media yet they still had huge fan followings. What role does social media play in your band?
Oh man! It’s a weird thing. I would love to get to the point where I would never have to use it. I fucking hate it. If I wasn’t in a band, I wouldn’t have social media. I think it can be really toxic. It’s a weird thing too, a lot of industry folks look at that stuff too. Those numbers never reflect things like you can buy followers. It’s just lame. It’s tacky.
What’s an artist/song/album that makes you feel a heavy dose of nostalgia?
Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road. Every single time that I hear that I feel like I’m a kid again because my mom was a really big Elton John fan. Every time I hear it I’m just taken back to the times where I was sitting in the back of my mom’s car while she was going to work and she’s just in the front seat belting that. Every time I hear that I’m just really taken back.
photo and interview by KATELYN KIBLER