Interview: Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus Talks Orion Music Fest
INTERVIEW: Patrick Stickles
BAND: Titus Andronicus
PREVIEW: Orion Music & More Festival
This afternoon, Tri State Indie had the pleasure of talking with Patrick Stickles, leader of New Jersey’s premiere punk band, Titus Andronicus. The band is gearing up to play Metallica’s Orion Festival next weekend, and Patrick was nice enough to talk with us over the phone about his band’s forthcoming album, playing with Archers of Loaf, and supporting local businesses. Read the full interview below:
I wanted to talk about the Orion Festival a little bit. How did you guys get in touch with Metallica to play the festival?
You know, just out of the blue one day we got the call asking to play, and obviously we jumped at the chance. You know it’s not everyday one gets to play with Metallica, and nor is it everyday that we have a good reason to go and visit Atlantic City.
Just looking at the line-up, it’s a really interesting set of bands that are playing. I was surprised to see how many indie-rock bands were scheduled for the festival with groups like Modest Mouse and Fucked Up. Is there anyone you’re especially excited to see?
Well, Fucked Up is probably my favorite of the bunch. Rocky Erickson’s somebody that I really like a lot and I’ve never gotten the chance to see. Um, mostly those two, but what you say it true, it is a pretty eclectic line-up. I don’t think that we’ve ever … I’d never imagine that we’d be playing at the same time as Avenge Sevenfold at one of these things. And yet, here we are!
A few months ago, Titus Andronicus played with Arches of Loaf, who are heroes of yours, right?
Oh yeah, we love them very much. Back in my formative years, back in high school they were one of the first indie-rock bands that I got really into, so getting to play with them was like a real dream. A real thrill. And you know what else? They were really gracious, nice fellas, too, so that’s always encouraging.
I was happy to see that Archers of Loaf would pick a band like Titus Andronicus to play with. It seems like a good way for these torchbearers of alternative rock music to expose younger bands that show real promise to a different generation of fans.
Yeah, well, they’re awesome. It was great too because when they first reunited, like last year, or whenever it was, I didn’t get to see them because we were on tour. So I was super disappointed, and I figured that that might’ve been my only chance to see them, but, lo and behold, they came back. You know, dreams come true, after all.
That was probably the best experience you could’ve had seeing an Archers of Loaf concert.
I can’t really imagine a better one.
You guys are in the middle of working on a new album, right?
Yes, sir. Well, the middle? Kind of more like the tail end of working on a new album. Yeah, we’re in the throes of making one.
Can you talk a little more about that process? Is all of the recording done?
The recoding’s all done. Now we’re mixing it. It’s pretty different from the first two records, which were kind of like … very much kind of like big productions, you know? With like thirty players on the album, and stuff, and like fifty guitarists and all this craziness. This record was more like, trying to be more like real life. Trying to give a convincing picture of something that was actually happening.
We recorded most of it all live with everybody playing in the same room, which was like a different thing from the first two. And it was a band that had been on tour and had a certain rapport, whereas the first two records were all kind of done in a state of flux, somebody having just quit, or something. So, it was kind of more like real life. Not that there’s anything wrong with the rock n’ roll fantasy like the first two records were, but we did that a couple times. Just trying to do it like more kind of the old fashioned way, you know?
You recently went through another set of line-up changes. Can you talk about who’s in the band now, and what the line-up is currently?
Sure. Well, there’s me, of course.
And there’s the drummer, Eric. He’s been around for a long time. He’s been in the band for like five years, so he’s pretty legit. He’s kind of my rock; he’s always been there.
And then the bass player is this guy Julian. He’s been around for like a year and a half, and he’s quite ensconced in it at this point. So I’ve got a lot of faith in him, too.
And then the other guitar player is my friend Liam who actually has been in the band before. He was a full time member of the band back in like 2006? I guess? But then he had to go to college; he’s a pretty young guy. He had to leave the band to pursue his education, but occasionally like in the summer he would come back and play with us, and go on tour with us, and stuff, but like always as a secondary thing to his education. But now he’s graduated from college, so he’s back, which is very exciting.
And then, finally, playing the other guitar is this guy Adam who is an awesome guy. Who I know because he’s the founder of this venue in Brooklyn called Shea Stadium which is a place that I volunteer, and where my buddies this band the So So Glos live. They’re an awesome band.
And this is the band that, you know, we did this tour in March to get all juiced up and warmed up and get in good shape to record, which is like another different thing; for the first two records we didn’t practice quite as much. But that was ok because we were just gonna’ like put all this stuff out later in like a controlled environment. But this band got a real chance to, like, become an ensemble, you know?
Now that you mention Shea Stadium, I see from following your social media accounts and reading your twitter that you talk a lot about local businesses; there are places like Shea Stadium and Café Grumpy that I wouldn’t have been aware of had I not seen their names on your twitter feed. I was wondering if you feel that there’s this responsibility of the artist to support their community and support local businesses? When you mention these establishments, are you hoping that fans will pay attention to that and start to patronize these places?
I mean, if, yeah, if not exactly patronize the places that I go to, at least maybe they can try and foster a relationship with businesses and institutions in their own community. Café Grumpy is a great coffee shop, for sure, but not everybody can go there, obviously, but it would be nice if somebody were to observe the love that I have for that place or some other local business, and say, “Hey, is there a place like that in my community where I can go and give my business and foster support for the community?”
I guess my question is that as an artist, or as someone who people pay attention to, do you feel that it’s your responsibility to foster care for your community more so than someone who doesn’t have your following? Do you think that you have the power to spread that message further because so many people are listening?
Well, sure. I don’t know if I’m ready to say that it’s a responsibility, but it’s a personal compulsion that I feel. I couldn’t tell anybody else that that’s what they gotta’ do, but to me it feels right. What influence I have, whatever it may be, I’m more than happy to share it with the people and the things that I believe in.
Are you guys planning any more shows after the Orion Festival? Is there an upcoming tour to look out for?
Um, well, we’re going on tour in the autumn, but right now it’s mostly … it’s all very shrouded in secrecy at this point. Not anything that I’m at liberty to discuss now. The details, the finer details are still being hammered out, you know? But we’ll be around – never fear. We’ve been a little bit lazy over the past year, but it’s almost time to get back into it, get back into shape. Get a little more serious and stop loafing around the house so much.
Titus Andronicus will play the Frantic stage at the Orion Music Festival on Sunday, June 24th at 7:00pm.