Indie rock outfit MAKESHIFT have just released their brand new EP, complete with a fresh video for the single What’s Left Of Me. We caught an interview with them to find out their story and their plans for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hi guys – great to chat with you, congrats on the new release! What’s Left Of Me is brilliant, nostalgic and powerful. What can you tell us about the writing process, and what does the song represent for you?
This song was one of the older songs we began writing just after the release of our previous EP Reflection. Andrew originally came to the band with the chorus and a vague idea of a verse and some other elements that would make up the song structure. Most of us didn’t like the overall song as it was, so we changed it several times until we were finally happy with it – almost a year after the initial idea. The resulting product is a song that describes this weird feeling of nostalgic longing for a better time.
This song is important to us because it’s one that we really worked hard to get the kinks out of and has become one of our favorites that we’ve written.
For those who don’t know, how long have you been a band, and how did the band-name come about?
We started the band in late 2012, when we all went to high school together. We had just started to write songs together and when it came time to name the band we couldn’t think of anything good. Austin suggested the name “Makeshift” and we went “sure”. Wish we had a better story.
Who does the song-writing in the band, and how easy is it to balance your different creative drives and performance styles?
Andrew is the main songwriter for the band as far as bringing the first stages of the song to the rest of us. From there it’s a pretty collaborative effort. We’re a band of four people with four very different tastes in music, so this can present a challenge at times, but we all try to stay open minded to new ideas. We also just got a little “studio” setup (if you want to call it that) at Dan’s house, which has been helpful in the demoing process.
Do you start with a melody and build around it, or do you jam it out? Also, how do you balance such addictive melodies with such a full rock / pop-punk sound?
We don’t necessarily have a set process that we go by when it comes to writing. We’ve started with riffs and written parts around them. We’ve also started with lyrics to put to melody, and everything in between. A lot of the time a melody randomly strikes and the rest of the song follows. Keeping our song writing process free from a specific structure seems to help us diversify our sound from track to track.
What can you tell us about the new EP – what topics do you deliver, and which song would you say means the most to you personally?
All four songs on this record cover very different topics and showcase very different parts of our musical abilities and tastes. For example, the final song on the record, titled I Needed You to Go, delves into guilty feelings stemming from cutting toxic people out of your life, while the second song on the record – Undressed – is about the struggle to chase happiness while just barely keeping your head above the water.
What’s the scene like where you are for this kind of music, and what are your thoughts on the genre at present or your hopes going forward?
Our local scene on Long Island has definitely seen its ups and downs over the past few years, but right now there are a lot of bands making great music in a bunch of different genres, which is awesome to see. There are also a lot of people working hard to get shows booked for these bands so most nights of the week you can go to a local show and see what’s current on the Island.
We’ve been working hard to kind of break out of the Pop-Punk pigeonhole that a lot of bands find themselves in, since that genre of music seems to be on its way out in a way. We hope that in the future we can delve more into the Rock and even Pop aspects of music to diversify our sound even further than what’s out there.
Do you have any unexpected influences, outside of the rock world?
We all have very different influences. Andrew listens to a lot of blues, Dan listens to a lot of the current radio Pop and Pop-Punk bands, Austin is into Metal, and Ethan is into Screamo and actually played in a screamo band called Summer Homes for a few years until he joined Makeshift.
Do you have any plans for embracing the current lockdown as a band – any live online sessions, and good advice for other independents?
We don’t have any set plans aside from getting our tour, which was set for this April, rebooked for hopefully sometime this spring or summer. I’ve been seeing a lot of bands going live on instagram and Facebook with acoustic sessions which I think could be a cool way to still stay engaged with our listeners.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be, and why?
I wish the music industry was solely based on the quality of content that you’re putting out and it wasn’t so heavily intertwined with the internet and a band’s internet presence. There are a lot of bands out there making awesome music that may never be widely heard because they don’t have a big following on Twitter or other social media, which really upsets me.
Is there anything else we should know?
Be sure to keep up with us on our social media, linked below. Our new EP Remember The Feeling is out now and available everywhere you can stream music. We also released a music video for What’s Left of Me which lives on our YouTube channel. And lastly if anyone’s interested in supporting us during this downtime for the industry, all of our merch along with Remember The Feeling Bundles are available on our online store. Thanks for chatting with us!
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