INTERVIEW: The Flashpot Moments

1. How would you classify your music?

Arena rock that’s still making its way to the arena. When we’re making a song, I don’t just tell the producer or mixing engineer “Make the guitars louder” or “Let’s double the vocal.” I’m also likely to say “I want this part to make your head explode” or “this is where the pyro goes off” or “I need the crowd to see God.”

2. Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Bruce Springsteen circa “Born To Run, Darkness and The River.” The Hold Steady’s “Boys and Girls in America.” Catherine Wheel’s “Adam and Eve.” Green Day “American Idiot.” U2’s “Joshua Tree.” Pearl Jam. Queen. Stereophonics. Bands that seem intent on making the biggest, most epic songs a human brain can produce. But then, I’m also always chasing the perfect pop chorus. “Livin’ On A Prayer.” “Since U Been Gone.” “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Motown classics from the Temptations and Four Tops. Rick Springfield. Carole King. Tom Petty. Billy Joel. Beatles, of course. My publishing company is called Shout-A-Long Songs. The idea is to create immediately satisfying melodies with stadium rock heft. (That’s way more than a “top 5”!)

3. What do you want fans to take from your music?

Most music is something you put on while you’re distracted, doing something else. That’s background music. The Flashpot Moments is foreground music.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your latest album?

When will it be released and how does it differ from your previous work? The album was just released is available everywhere. This is a debut, so there’s no “previous work.” I’ve been writing songs for years, about 40 altogether, but this is the first time I’ve done a proper, cohesive release. As I mentioned, I want to make music with strong melodies and a “pop” sensibility. But I also want to go beyond the obvious lyrical ideas associated with pop music. Instead of bravado or romanticism, I try to write honestly about self-doubt, social awkwardness and regret. If there’s optimism, it’s guarded. I even try to incorporate humor. I got these notions from the Hold Steady, Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello, Colin Meloy and Paul Westerberg. Its an approach that delivers sweet melodies, without too much pop-sugar.

5. What do you love and hate about the Music Business?

I just make the best songs I can make and work hard on the song craft and production. Anything that happens as far as money and notoriety is just gravy. I’m passionate about the making. If people feel that, I feel they’re more likely to connect, buy, download, whatever. Beyond that, my business plan is to have no plan at all.

6. What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

The band’s name – Flashpots – refers to those little pyro cannons that go off when you’re at a rock show and the song hits its crescendo. I want to give listeners that feeling of excitement that I’ve experienced seeing Bruce play “Born To Run” at the Meadowlands. U2 playing the final choruses of “Gloria” or “With or Without You.” KISS playing, well, just about everything. What I love about performing, personally, is the emotion and camaraderie. You can know a song backwards and forwards. You can rehearse like crazy. And yet, in the moment, the band can find a way to change a song based on the shared emotion of the moment. The song morphs into something unfamiliar and exciting in real time. I love that.

7. Is there a song on this latest CD that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

The Last Stand. I wanted to put everything I knew about songwriting and production into one massive opus, like Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia,” Wings’ “Band on the Run,” Kansas’ “Carry on our Wayward Son,” Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” or Bruce’s “Jungleland.” Key changes, time changes, pages and pages of lyrics. It was a beast to produce something like this on an independent record. But I think we pulled it off and I’m proud of the results.

8. How have you evolved as an artist over the last few years?

More confidence. More willingness to chase an atypical songwriting idea. This album was written over the course of several years. “Satisfaction Isn’t” was written early in that process when I was just trying to write hooky, well-crafted rock songs, period. But later, with songs like The “Last Stand” and “’Splode,” I got a bit more confident and played around with time signatures and song structure. I wanted to write “radio-friendly” songs that didn’t have a by-the-numbers pop structure.

9. If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

MEET: Bruce circa 1975. PLAY A GIG: Open for Queen at Wembley. (Runner Up: Pearl Jam somewhere huge and outdoors) CO-WRITE: McCartney anywhere between Rubber Soul and Wings. (Runners Up: Elvis Costello or Jenny Lewis.) PARTY: Motley Crue circa 1985. (Have your read “The Dirt”? Most salacious, riveting rock bio of all time.)

10. So tell us what’s next?

This is our debut. I’m just wide-eyed, open to the experience. Play some shows. Connect with people who like the music. Ride the ride.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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