You probably aren’t familiar with the rock band, The Wrecks. The 5-piece consisting of Nick A. (vocals), Aaron (bass), Nick S. (guitar), Harrison (guitar), and Billy (drums) decided to come together in Thousand Oaks, CA and become a band only a few short months ago. Good luck finding any of their music online, but now is the time to put them on your radar, folks. With a plum gig opening for UK’s rising stars Nothing But Thieves at The Troubadour, the young rockers demonstrated, with their maturity of song and inciting performance, that they won’t be unknown for too much longer.
Sitting down to chat with the band before the show started off as an adventure, wandering around back rooms of the venue until they found an unassuming door marked by a 1: their designated green room. The discussion began in the most obvious of places: at Aaron’s knees, which according to his bandmates are “the nicest.” Conversation resumed thusly:
Read on to discover how the band came to be, their guerilla-style EP recording, and why a puppy Vine might be responsible for their popularity.
High Voltage: We got ahold of some demos of yours that sound exactly like our type of music, but we know very little about you so…
Nick A: So here we go.
HV: Here we go! You are a very new band formed at the end of last year.
Nick A: Literally November.
HV: How did this happen?
Harrison: We’re all from Jersey.
Billy: Not all. That’s not true. Drummer and two guitar players are from New Jersey. Wisconsin [Aaron]. New York [Nick Anderson].
Nick A: Through other projects we all met our current manager. He [Aaron] had actually interned for him. The guys from Jersey were working with one of his artists as a live band and I was assigned to his management as a writer. Aaron and I started putting this project together and I had known these guys because I had been writing with and for their old bands. We said we needed members and I knew they were super talented. What they each had style-wise in their musicianship I thought would fit the project.
Billy: We had found out about this project the last day of the tour [of their last band].
HV: What did it look like the first time you all got together in a room?
Nick A: Ugly. We’re not a very attractive bunch so it didn’t look that great.
Nick S: The first time we played together was…we came a long way from the first time we sat in a room and played with each other.
Nick A: It felt right from the start because these guys are just so talented. They knew exactly what we were going for. The exact sound we wanted to get for this project. Everything just clicked! We had looked at other members but it wasn’t working. This (gestures around the room) was just so easy. The writing process has been so easy because of the styles that each of these guys has blends. It’s really fun.
HV: How would you describe the style you are going for? You don’t really have any music out there…
Nick A: We don’t have any music out there (laughs).
Nick A: (continues)…it keeps changing. Being a new band you try so hard to find your sound, but I think there is always that underlying style of writing or vibe to what you’re doing. We just keep playing with it. When we first started we had a lot of influences from bands like The White Stripes, Jack White in general, or Jet. But now, it’s more The Strokes…
Harrison: …Cage the Elephant, The Killers…
Nick A: …yeah, I’m a big The Killers fan, the style that Vampire Weekend has been able to come up with and The Vaccines are a big influences. It’s been a big process and fun travel through different genres trying to figure out what we want to do collectively but I think in our set tonight you’ll notice a lot of different influences and styles.
HV: I am really curious. I heard three of your songs and one does sound different from the other two. Nothing But Thieves do that, they have this wide range, so I was wondering if that’s what we were going to hear from you.
Nick A: Yeah, I think it’s a love for writing and writing different styles. I like a song to be fun and get everyone dancing. I like a song to rock. Then I like a song to be slow and sad. Eventually, I think we’ll have a little more solidified sound that makes more sense across the board, but right now we’re just having fun writing songs and coming up with whatever we come up with.
HV: What can we expect from the live performance tonight?
Billy: High energy.
HV: I noticed comments on your Facebook page about how great your live set was.
Nick A: We’ve had great responses from our shows. We did a string of shows in Arizona in December: that was awesome! We went out and the response was great. The crowds were awesome. It was a new kick of inspiration that we are on to something here. It was kind of a nail in the coffin in that we’re doing something real. We hope to keep those responses going.
HV: I’ve been watching your Facebook likes go up and up and up and I was wondering what you were doing.
Nick A: We have a lot of support from friends and family. We’re from all over different places in the country. We invited all of our friends and family to our Facebook page. They saw us with our old bands in our old projects and they always wonder, “What’s the project they will end up in?” and this is that. I think people who have been following us for years can recognize that. This is the one we’re all really serious about and really want to do. That’s a cool feeling to know. It’s been this process of a lot of people coming around to that; the people that followed our old projects pretty heavily liking our page and following our Twitter account, coming to terms with what we’re working on now.
HV: I saw on Twitter that you were doing some grass roots recruitment, going to shows like KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas and promoting the band.
Nick A: We have been going to lots of shows.
Nick S: We didn’t go to that one. That was the plan and then something…
Nick A: We had the plan to go out and then we…didn’t.
Billy: We did end up going to that Panic at The Disco show.
Nick A: We do love going out to shows and promoting, especially bands that we love where we think people would like music like ours.
HV: Are you big on social media?
The Wrecks: [pause, mumbling…]
Nick A: We’re trying to get better on that but we’ll get there. Harry’s got a Vine that has like 75 million views. Harry, tell them about your Vine.
Harrison: I had a video earlier last year of a puppy. My family breeds Golden Retrievers and we were just messing around with the puppy. He was like 8 weeks old at the time and Phil Collins was playing and I was drumming with the puppy to Phil Collins. My friends took a video of it and put it on Vine and I woke up three days later and it had a million views out of nowhere. Then the day after that it had five million and the day after that it was trending.
Billy: We were at a show in Pennsylvania and were watching it go up like 500 views a second.
Harrison: At its peak it was about 1200 views a second.
Nick A: It has 80 million views. Here’s the Vine. [shows the Vine of puppy drumming to Phil Collins]
Nick A: (continues)…that’s the root of all our online social media presence.
Harrison: You like this dog, check out The Wrecks!
Nick A: We’re going to dress her up in a Wrecks t-shirt.
HV: Speaking of mascots, you created this robot…thing…
Nick A: The identity of the robot is currently a secret. It is currently confidential, but it will reflect some future artwork and things like that that we’re working on. You’ll see that unravel eventually. As of now, its name is Otis. Otis the robot.
HV: So…stay tuned!
The Wrecks: Exactly!
Nick S: We’re going to keep writing…
Nick A: We’d like to put out an EP soon. We recorded an EP and it’s kind of a funny story of how it happened. A mutual friend of ours was housesitting and she said that she had a studio available to her in the house in the back garage and she said, “Hey there’s a studio. Come over and hang out. Let’s record. Let’s drink. Blah blah blah.” I go over there with one of the other guys and I look at the equipment in the studio and I don’t think she realized how nice of a studio…
Harrison: …this isn’t a little rinky dink home studio, this is a studio built in a house. This is a STUDIO.
Nick A: I called up our engineer, Andrew, who lives with us in our house and I said, “You have to get here now.” An hour later, we’re tracking drums for our EP. The girl who called us over, of course, is loving it. We order Domino’s…so now we’re recording drums and we say, “Hey, so how many days do you have in here?” And she says, “He’s gone for 10 days.” How it turns out is we have three days on and off to record this EP and the hours were like 5pm to 9am. We had an ex-wife show up at one point and we had to hide (laughter). We’re recording our EP and we tracked guitars and drums. We got everything done except for vocals. We’re looking at this like, we just recorded an EP for zero dollars.
Harrison: In three days. Three 16 hour days.
Nick A: And none of us had ever recorded a full production EP on our own before. We’ve definitely dabbled with production in other recordings, but this was a live studio with live drums and everything like that. We had the fun idea of doing the EP for free and once it had started it was like killing us to even rent out a microphone to do the vocals. We just recently got the ability to use a nice microphone. So we’re now tracking the vocals for the EP, fixing up the mixing process and putting out our first single probably in the next week, week and a half. We’re mixing and recording in our own home studio at the moment. We’re tracking vocals wherever we can get use of it. It’s been this weird, every different location-process and it will be cool to see it all come together. But it’s coming together really smoothly.
Nick S: We’re very thankful for what we’ve got.
HV: This first single, what’s the name of it?
Nick A: “Favorite Liar.”
HV: Excellent! That’s my favorite!
Nick A: We just tracked vocals for that one. Then the rest of the year will be promoting and playing. We’ll be announcing possibly a tour for the spring.
Harrison: We’re trying to line up some things.
HV: How did you guys get this show (opening for Nothing But Thieves at The Troubadour)?
Nick A: We’re on the same management as Nothing But Thieves. We’re management mates! We’ve been friends with them for years now. Awesome guys. Love their music. We’re probably some of their biggest fans.
Billy: Before I was even in this band I loved Nothing But Thieves. First time I’m seeing Nothing But Thieves live, I’m playing with them. I’m so stoked.
The Wrecks: (Chorus of agreement)
Billy: It’s cool that I can say that now.
Nick A: Their whole sound is so awesome and it’s exciting to see them grow so much these past six months, how much it totally blew up.
HV: Ok, awesome! Well, let’s end here with something more fun. I’ve got some random questions here…
The Wrecks: Down! We’re better at that.
Nick A: I don’t think Aaron has said one word so he can answer this one.
HV: OK, we’ll put this on you. What should I ask?
Aaron: Something great.
HV: Something great! That’s too much pressure. How about something easy for you: What is your favorite post performance food or drink?
Aaron: Well, this Stella is hitting the spot.
Nick S: What are you going to drink after the show?
Aaron: Probably the rest of the Stella at the end.
HV: Okay, how about three words to describe the band.
Nick A: Ugly! Wait, what’s the first one?
The Wrecks (all at once): Come on! That’s lame. Take that one out.
Nick A: Cut that one out. Ugly for sure.
Nick S: Goofy. I think we’re goofy.
Nick A: Ugly, goofy and handsome.
Featured Photos: Deegan Marie Photography
Photo Gallery: Cortney Armitage