New Brunswick, New Jersey is not an unfamiliar town to anyone in the pop punk scene. It has seen the manifestation of The Bouncing Souls, Gaslight Anthem, and The Ergs!, and has been home to the legendary Court Tavern (RIP). The suburbs may appear to be quiet, but they won’t give up spewing melodic anthems just yet.
Meet City Limits, a melodic punk act in the same vain as Dear Landlord, Off With Their Heads, and The Lawrence Arms. The quartet released their sophomore EP “Homebodies” through Death To False Hope Records today, July 28th.
You can give it a listen here.
We also caught up with vocalist/bassist Allon Levin, and guitarist Dave Lopez to discuss the difficulties of analog recording, the songwriting process, and their upcoming tour. You can read the full interview and check out their tour dates below.
DS: “Homebodies” sounds different than anything you guys have done in the past and definitely has a more solidified sound. Was your song writing process any different?
Dave: I started writing more songs, so I think that changed the sound quite a bit.
Allon: Definitely. It’s always been the standard thing for how bands write songs, I think. Someone has an idea, they bring it to everyone else, and they piece it together from there. For our older stuff, Dave just put his parts into a song that was already done that Mike Davis and I had written. But for the new record, it was organic in the sense that the four of us got together and wrote. But otherwise, the dynamic didn’t change too much. Everyone had their own input.
Dave: It seems like we all write songs a little bit different. But I just started writing for all three instruments. It got to the point where we would all know the music before practice and then we would just have to teach Richie where the transitions are.
Fucking drummers. -laughs-
Dave: I’m probably the worst band member because I don’t pay attention to our lyrics. But I can read, and looking back, a lot of the songs on “Homebodies” seems to be about that every day pressure. None of our lives were as easy as they once were in college. I think we’re just realizing now how hard adulthood really can be. Especially since some of us are between jobs or moving. Some of the songs are coming from not necessarily a dark place, an unsure place.
A transitionary period, of sorts.
Allon: Yeah, exactly.
You guys recorded “Homebodies” completely analog, which is a total different process from digital recording. What was your biggest challenge?
Allon: A lot of it was in our heads in the beginning. It was pretty daunting at first, and it’s not too different if you have someone like Chris Pierce who knows what they’re doing. The only major change is that when you mess up and hear the tape rewind.
Dave: That sound would keep me up at night. Every time you screwed up, you’d have to start over. We were definitely nervous, and I kept on pushing recording to a click track, but it kept fucking us up. The cool thing with Chris is that he’s used to recording punk bands.
He did The Ergs!’s records, right?
Allon: Yeah. I thought it was really cool because it was something I had never experienced before. You can change things as much. Once you do it, that’s how it is.
Dave: Yeah, thinking about that screwed me over. My hands were shakey and I would keep messing up. Plus, I was chugging coffee the whole time and I’m sure that didn’t help. -laughs-
You guys are getting ready to leave for tour pretty soon, which venue or city are you most stoked to play?
What venue is it?
Dave: It’s my friend Eric’s house called Narnia. We have a friend named Sam who is in the band The Howl in Chicago, and Eric’s in Downsig and Kitty Hawk. We’ve been friends since college, and the only time I get to see him is when he’s on tour. Unfortunately he won’t be there, but I’m excited. I’ve never been to Chicago and his housemates rule. It’s gonna be a good show.
Half the band just re-located to Philadelphia. Are you guys gonna brand yourselves as a Philly act so you can be one of the cool kids?
Allon: Maybe. It’s a gradual thing. It’s a weird thing to say you’re a Philly band. Philly has that buzz right now. And it’s cool, it’s a really great thing. But every other band is from here. There’s the risk of over-saturating. I kind of like it when I hear a band that’s really good and find out that they’re from West Virginia or something and finding out more about the scene over there. But we’ll still say we’re from New Brunswick because of the history that place has.
Dave: Plus like, I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I went to the hospital there a few months ago and a doctor walked in, said “I delivered you” and walked out. That’s where we started, that’s where all of our influences are. We’ve played maybe two Philly shows. Between the four of us we have about one thousand New Brunswick band t-shirts.
Allon: We still feel connected to the scene in New Jersey. We’re a New Brunswick band for now.
Dave: Always have been, always will.
Allon: Unless we can convince Mike Davis to move down here. Maybe then we’ll be a Philadelphia band.
So I’ve noticed you guys have only released EP’s so far. Is that going to continue to be a theme?
Allon: No, I’ve been wanting to do a LP for a while. We decided a while ago that doing an EP was the right thing to do at that point, and I agreed with that. It was more to get used to recording. Before then we had just recorded in my basement. The only other time we were in the studio was for our split with Not The Bees, and we were only there for a day. We just did two songs.
Dave: It was super high pressure and deflating in a way.
Allon: It turned out well, but it was a lot to take in.
Dave: If we did a LP I would want to put it out on vinyl and tour around it and we all have full time jobs.
Allon: We’re always writing. So maybe in a year it will be done.
7/31 – Kent, OH @ The Workshoppe
8/1 – Chicago, IL @ Gnarnia
8/3 – Minneapolis, MN @ Memory Lanes
8/4 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency
8/5 – Bloomington, IN @ Kroger Castle
8/6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Basement
8/8 – Baltimore, MD @ Charm City Art Space
8/9 – New Brunswick, NJ @ Nowhere USA