Guitarist/vocalist Stephen Cobucci of Wolves At the Gate
Assuming you guys are Ohio sports fans, what are your feelings about Lebron winning a championship? (none of this nice guy stuff either!)
Well I (Steve) am not native to Ohio, I am from New Jersey, so I am quite apathetic/in opposition to most Ohio teams. I can speak for the band, as well as myself in saying that we’re not happy at all that the Heat won. Although it might be a bit of a relief to not have to see them in the news every single day, hearing excuses from the team, comparisons to Michael Jordan (there simply is no comparison if you ask me), and so much hype around it. There are plenty of great players in the NBA that don’t get the time of day because of all the Miami nonsense. Give me hardworking, quiet, humble basketball players like Russell Westbrook any day.
What made you guys want to sign with Solid State?
We grew up on Solid State/Tooth and Nail bands. They always signed bands that were solid. From the outside it seemed like an awesome family to be a part of and from the inside it has been no different. We’ve been really blessed with our team at Solid State. Our A&R at the label, Adam Skatula, is just a genuine guy. As hard as it is to find solid men who love Jesus and pursue His righteousness, it is even harder in the music industry. It’s a business just like anything else. Many times people label Solid State/Tooth and Nail as a Christian label but it simply is a record label just like any other. This label just happens to have people working there that have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Naturally, this then affects your everyday life and decisions you make as a person. The label does a great job at supporting us to be the best band we can and we do our best to work with the label in that way, trust their judgement, know that they are giving it their all, and see this as a familial relationship. The bands and people at T&N/SS headquarters rally behind and alongside each other to promote, support, and sell records.
As far as touring and recording since signing, what are some good and bad memorable moments?
Beyond flat tires, transmissions that go out, no AC during 102-degree weather, getting stiffed by promoters, and sleeping in a freezing van during the winter…that’s just normal band stuff. Every band goes through that and we’re better for it. We don’t have any outrageous stories that I can think of at the moment, but our band is very good at keeping a level head amidst catastrophic events. I think one memory that sticks out in my mind as one of the best was going to Germany last December for a two-day festival called Christmas Rock Night. We couldn’t believe that they wanted us there, thought no kids would be there to watch us, but we were quite surprised. The fans were incredible, singing all of our songs with us, and just going nuts. It was the first time any of us had been to Europe, and the first time our drummer Ben Millhouse flew on a plane, which was hilarious. It was just an awesome blessing for us to experience that together.
So what’s it like being young and I’m assuming single on the road? I’m assuming that you guys have a pretty good pick up line. Seriously, do you guys get hit on a lot at the shows? How do you keep true to your morals/beliefs on relationships?
Hahaha well we have a really good relationship of accountability with each other. Since day one in the band, we have established what is most important in the band, that the Gospel be communicated by our music and as people. God has not given us this opportunity so that we might exploit it for our own selfish desires. We all started this band grounded in our faith which has been crucial to our longevity to this point. Although we really don’t have that problem at all. Our drummer Ben Millhouse is married (2yrs), our guitarist Jeremy Steckel has a girlfriend (although none of us have met here…yeah I know, suspicious), since our vocalist Nick Detty joined the band I told him that he was not allowed to date (he’s 19 and has a lot of growing up to do, so naturally a girlfriend is the least of his worries). Each guy knows that if he were to compromise the integrity of this ministry that God has granted us that they would no longer be in the band as well. Yet, that is just a secondary measure. Most importantly as I stated earlier, each guy is engaged in a growing relationship with the Lord. As soon as you seek to live this life based on your own merit and strength, you will surely fail. Simply trying to live a “moral” life only leads to immorality. I choose to live a pure life because of my love for the person of Jesus Christ and what He has graciously given me.
I know the big thing with a lot of bands/fans have mixed feelings about record labels now (pros – tours, recording, promotion, etc… and cons – labels are evil vampires that take all the money from the band and make them tour all the time and scrounge out a menial existence). From your experience what are the pros to being with Solid State and what advice do you have for any indy bands?
The label gives us things that simply would take years for us to accomplish. The resources to record a full length record, distribution, marketing, promotion on that album, wisdom, connections, credibility, etc. Although, the worst thing that I hear from so many bands is slanted opinions of record labels. Many bands think that record labels can’t offer them anything calling them exactly what you had stated. They think that they will take you for all you’re worth and then leave you with nothing. Yet, there are other bands who think that signing to a record label will solve all of your problems and set you up for the rest of your life. My advice to indie bands is to not make getting signed your “end all be all.” We were a band for four years before we got signed, worked hard to get where we were (which really was nowhere haha), and we now are working harder than before. The work only gets harder. Ask yourself why you are playing music. Ask yourself why you are playing/writing the music you have. Labels can read through fake bands, and labels will know when all you care about is getting signed. Educate yourself in record contracts. Understand the business of playing music. If you are in negotiations, get a lawyer. So many bands are bitter about their contracts because of their own ignorance and excitement during the process. Be willing to say “no” to a deal because it is not fair. There is no formula to getting signed. It generally is “right time, right place.” Play music because you love it, write music you believe in, and have purpose to what you do.
Within the last year, when and where has your biggest and/or most fun show been? Any shows where for whatever reason there are like 5 kids there?
We’ve played some awesome festivals such as Creation, Sonfest, Christmas Rock Night which were all awesome. The crowds were incredible. We also played the Basement in Columbus this past February when we filmed our video for “No Rival” which was absolutely nuts. That was most likely the most rowdy crew of kids we’ve ever played in front of. The Basement is such a cool venue for that kind of show as well.
What are some guilty pleasures music wise that you guys are spinning in the van?
Here’s a quick list: Will Smith, Shaq’s rap album, Chumbawumba, and most other terrible 90′s music.