Before their set on Family Force’s Five “Tourantula” concert in Philadelphia, PA, photographer Chrissy Dumire and I met up with Brendan Johnson (guitar/vox) of Since Forever in the small alley behind The Trocadero in Chinatown. He was finishing up another interview when we got there, yet still entered ours with excitement and an unmatched energy. Despite the fact that my voice recorder was close to being confiscated by venue security who, once again, didn’t believe that we were there as journalists, the interview went well. Brendan’s whit and uncanny character shine through in the following transcription.
Immediately following our brief chat, Brendan and the crew took the historic stage. After their set, fans lined up for pictures and autographs. The band’s accessible and engaging personality works well in this scene. Check out the full concert review HERE.
To find out more about them, including what game shows they want to be on, what it’s like to play for FF5 fans each night, or how a band transitions from heavy music to super pop, read below:
Rebecca: Give me a little history of the band:
Brendan: My name’s Brendan, and I’m in Since Forever. Three of our members were in a previous pop/rock group that they had just sort of started as a small thing. I actually played in it at one time so I had met all those guys. And we met Eric at college as well. We were actually playing music together at a church in our hometown and then we started playing our own songs. At the time, Nashville didn’t really have a whole lot of pop/rock at all. It was mostly hardcore bands. So we decided just to make the music we wanted to hear. So that’s how we started. Was there more to that question?
Rebecca: Nope! Alright so I apologize if this is cliché but…tell me about your name.
Brendan: Yup! We have such the most story boring story about that. The truth is we were looking for a name, and I don’t know who thought of that phrase..cause you know it’s a phrase. Like, “I’ve been doing this since forever.” And so.. or, “I’ve been working on this paper since forever,” ya know? So we googled it and no one had used it and we were like “This is stupid. No one has used this!” It’s short and simple. It doesn’t have numbers. It doesn’t have the word ‘the.’ All things I like in a band name. So that’s how we got the name. We really just picked it. Sometimes we lie though and say that it’s the letters of our name all put together, or that they were Zach’s first words.
Chrissy: You could totally say that though. People would believe you.
Brendan: Yeah. It was Zach’s first words!
Rebecca: We’ll just keep that as the official answer. So I noticed that there’s a distinct difference between your first record and this new one. Why did you decide to pursue a more pop/rock sound than before?
Brendan: Well our old bass player did a lot of writing on the first CD. Well not a LOT, but we wrote it all together and he put his feel on it. And at the time we were also, like I I said playing with a bunch of heavy bands, so we wanted to have a little more of a heavier thing. We played those songs for a long time. But it was a natural progression. I was tired of playing five minute songs. I wanted three minute songs and that’s it! And that’s what we were going for. We wanted to do more hooks, ya know? It’s so weird for people who are unabashedly about pop. But we really are. We just love pop music. So we tried to craft a bunch of short pop songs with hooks and work in that format. So it’s just a stylish change and progression. We didn’t want to do breakdowns and that stuff anymore.
Rebecca: Well it’s definitely a change when you go from breakdowns to pop hooks, but it seems to be working really well for you. So you’re touring with Family Force 5 and witnessing their heavy dance music set each evening. How has it been playing for their fans?
Brendan: They’ve been great. When you look at us on paper..well, not literally on paper..but when you look at our music and compare it to their music you wouldn’t necessarily think that it would mesh well. But we always strive to put on a really energetic live show. And they have one of the best live shows I’ve seen in my entire life. I mean it’s different, but their fans have been so awesome. They get what we’re throwing down. They’re picking up what we’re laying down. They like to bounce with us and stuff.
Chrissy: So are you all FROM Nashville?
Brendan: Well, pretty much the Nashville area. Jason and Zach and Taylor live in suburb called Hendersonville.
Chrissy: Ohhhhh we were just down there!
Rebecca: Yeah we were down there for a show. A friend of mine played at a church in Hendersonville and we went to see him.
Brendan: Who? Who’d you see?
Brendan: Ohhh yeah yeah yeah! We know all those guys. Yeah we were at that show. It’s the opposite way of Murfreesboro which is where I’m from. Eric’s from Maryland. But we all went to school in Murfreesboro.
Rebecca: Alright so let’s switch things up a bit. If you were interviewing Since Forever and could ask the members anything you liked – what would you ask?
Brendan: Oh shoot. So like a question I’ve always wanted to be asked?
Rebecca: Yep! Or something you’d want to know about one of the other guys.
Brendan: I would totally ask Eric why he beat boxes so much. I would ask Jason why he loves shopping so much. I would ask Zach how he sings so nice. I would ask both the Easterwoods that. Actually, because I don’t really know it, I would ask them about their vocal training. I know their dad knows a lot about singing but I don’t think they really have much training besides choir in high school, but they sound like they do. But that is something that no one ever asks about their singing. I mean, are they not good singers? I always thought they were. Are those good enough?
Rebecca: No those were great. And yeah, I’ve thought they were as well!
Brendan: Oh man wait. I would ask what game show we would all want to be on! And the answer would definitely be Legends of the Hidden Temple.
Chrissy: Ohh yeah!
Brendan: The thing is, we would win anything you ever put us on. We would be on Minute to Win It. We tried to be on Silent Library. We’d win that. They probably wouldn’t take us because they know we’d win. We’d be like – we’ll eat anything, we’ll never laugh. Family Double Dare, Wipeout, Ninja..what’s that..Ninja Warrior? I really liked the game Lingo. Do you remember that one? Ah, Family Feud! We’d be AWESOME on Family Feud.
Chrissy: So you’re in Philly – what do you think of the town? The food? What do you eat on tour usually?
Brendan: Oh man. Tons of junk food. Tons and tons. It sucks. WE all really like sports so when we get free minutes we do that to stay in shape. Eric’s really into P-90X. I can’t do it. It kills me, it’s so hard.
Rebecca: Ah yeah. I know a lot of people on tour who use that because it’s so convenient.
Brendan: Yeah because you don’t need anything. Dereck from Family Force 5 uses it. Dang that man is ripped. He’s a short guy but yeah..they all are really in shape. But food I like to eat on tour – homecooked food. Foods with vegetables. Oh and Taco Bell of course.
Chrissy: Ever been to Moe’s?
Brendan: Yeah but I’m not huge into it. Taylor though – Taylor could eat a burrito for every meal for every day of the rest of his life. Taylor loves burritos so much. He ate Qdoba today.
Rebecca: Well, it is Cinco de Mayo. And in case you forgot, half of the Facebook world mentioned it in the status.
Brendan: I know right! Philly’s been really cool though. I’ve never been here before. We walked down to a market to get cheesesteaks earlier. So good.
Rebecca: Awesome. Anything else you’d like to add?
Brendan: What is this for?
Brendan: IndieVision! No way! Oh man, I want to say that when I was in a heavy band in Nashville that we were on there once. Well that’s super good. Exposing music. How awesome.