Keeping it going in this wild time in the music industry is a true achievement. Our friends from Eleventyseven have been putting out electronically propelled pop rock they call “neon punk” since 2005. They are now back after a short hiatus and taking things to the next level with a podcast and comback record Rad Science. We sat down with the duo to get more into the backstory and see what is coming next:
First off, we need to know how the name Eleventyseven came to be?
When we first started out, there were a ton of what we called “number bands”, bands that were basing their names on numbers or numerical references.
We came up with the name eleventyseven sort of as a joke. It’s a made up number, and at the time we were a made up band. Over time it’s been a really great reminder to not take ourselves too seriously.
How would you describe your energetic sound?
We’re a mix of New Found Glory, Depeche Mode, Michael Jackson, and The Pet Shop Boys. We grew up pop-punk kids, and pop music addicts.
When we get bored with guitars, we hook up synths. We really just like throwing out the playbook and trying new sounds, but we always seem to land on the danceable side of pop-rock.
Which bands influenced Eleventyseven the most through the years?
MXPX was a huge influence on us growing up. They made songwriting and performing somehow seem really attainable. I (Matt) grew up with a ton of new wave and 80’s bands so I’ve always loved how weird and left of center they were for their time. ELO was
also a big production influence. At heart though, we grew up on a slew of pop-punk and loved every minute of it.
The band had some major success in Asia, even though you are from South Carolina. Tell us how that happened?
We just so happened to be signed to Sony for our second record Galactic Conquest, and had just begged the label to let us nerd out on synths for a lot of the tracks.
Unbeknownst to us, Japan was getting really into electro-rock at the time and caught a whiff of our release in the states. They picked it up for release there, and before we knew it we were touring and doing festivals there. I think our imagery and quirkiness resonated with a lot of listeners there. We always felt really at home in that scene because everything is so pronounced and fun – almost like they’re living in their own cultural satire. I think something about that resonated with us too, and made us feel like kindred spirits. Growing up in South Carolina was fun, but we never really fit into a specific scene there.
You guys have been making music for quite a long time together (even with a little hiatus). What is the secret to keeping the band together?
There is no secret really. No one is immune to break-ups. They happen when they happen, and sometimes they can be really healthy. That was the case for us.
Right now, I just feel grateful to have my friends as bandmates and to be enjoying it while it’s happening. I always say bands are like marriages, and they have their ups and downs. It takes a long time to build trust, and just a few wrong moves to break it. Having fun stuff to do outside of the band is also really helpful.
Your podcast has opened up another avenue into getting to know Eleventyseven. How has that been developing?
We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to Eleventylife. We initially thought of it as being therapy for talking through our career and coming to terms with a lot of the things that happened to us on the road and in the industry. It is turning into a much bigger story now, as we’ve started taking on friends and guests to come talk about their experiences in the music industry at all different levels. We keep discovering these amazing stories from artists who are just starting out to super successful acts. Everyone trying to make it in music has a story, and we love hearing them. It’s a way of connecting on really basic levels with others’ struggles and failures. We’ve started to see this really fun community of fans come together and engage in each others’ journeys. It is more rewarding than we ever thought….
It’s been a minute since you gave us new music. Tell us all about the newest record Rad Science?
Over the past few years we’ve been through a ton. From forest fires, losing jobs, leaving faith, home invasions, deaths – you name it. This album is us chronicling this weird moment in our lives, and talking ourselves off the edge. Some tracks are candy coated therapy for depression, and others are us just giving a raw account of what we’ve been through. We worked really hard to make a record that we felt like fans were asking for, and we were happy with. It’s big, it’s loud, cynical, moody, fun, hopeful, sad, and optimistic all at the same time. Tons of synths, lots of guitars, and lots of pop. I would describe it as riding a unicorn into the first and last 10 minutes of a Pixar film.
What advice would you give to other hard-working bands in the scene?
Find people that get you, and get what you’re about. I produce for a lot of bands and I especially love helping the ones who are motivated, taking what they do seriously, and trying to do it right. Give more than you take. Invest in yourself. Help other friends around you trying to make it too. I’m a huge believer in being a part of a musical community. Find bands that are better than you and learn from them, don’t be intimidated. The bands who are happiest in their career (no matter how big or small) are the ones who are giving back and finding joy in the process.
What is on the horizon for Eleventyseven?
We’re always working on new music, so as soon as Rad Science cools off for a minute we’ll be putting out some B-Sides from those sessions. The podcast is a source of fun and community for us, so we’re continuing to build on that format and keep mining for awesome stories. We started a record label and studio called Rock Candy Recordings, and are finishing up a new studio build now. This will be a sort of creative headquarters, not just for us, but for a lot of other acts and projects.
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