Interview by: Marisa Young
Live photos by: Julia Gawle
Boston post-hardcore band Actor|Observer discuss playing on Warped Tour, music, friends, and burritos in the exclusive interview below!
Greg Marquis – Vocals/Guitar
Alex Paul – Guitar/Vocals
Brett Colangelo – Bass
Dan Bob Goterch – Drums
WRBB—Marisa: So this is your first Warped Tour—
Brett: Yes! Well, first one I’m playing…I’ve been before many times.
Right, the first time that Actor|Observer has played Warped Tour
Brett: Yes, yes it is!
How’d it feel?!
Brett: Uhm…it felt really…cool. There were a lot of friends and fans that we’ve known who have become almost like family, that’ll come up to us and be like “hey!” and give us a big hug. We do our best to remember everyone’s names and stuff like that because you know, it feels nice- I mean it felt nice when I was a kid when like Therefore I Am knew your name and it felt real good so we try and make an effort. But yeah, Brian Marquis who used to be in Therefore I Am came and did guest vocals with us, which he’s only done once before because he lives in California, so it was really fun. But other than that it felt like a regular show!
I noticed you guys had a pretty solid fan base in this crowd! I can see it building over time and it makes me excited for you.
Brett: Yeah it’s really exciting. I was walking with my friend to go see Vanna, stopped for a second before going in, and this random dude who was like a dad walked up and shook my hand and said that he liked my band. And that was really great because I wasn’t expecting that and it’s been happening all day.
That’s cool that dads like your band!
Brett: Yeah, we’re a dad band! But yeah it’s really cool when people come up to us and say they like our band or they’re willing to check us out. I walked the line with headphones, which is probably one of the most obnoxious things you can do at Warped Tour, but there were a lot of people who were really receptive and then I saw them come back and watch our set, so it worked! Not a thing I imagined happening.
I feel like at my first few Warped Tours that happened to me a lot. I was always that kid who was like “Oh cool new music!” and now I feel like people don’t really do that as much. It kind of bums me out.
Brett: Yeah I mean it also feels like—
(Greg Marquis joins the interview)
Greg: Greg here, from Actor|Observer. The only member that matters—
Brett: Shut the f**k up.
Greg: You can go now (Brett), thanks for doing my job.
Brett: (laughs) No but it was cool, because I just went up there and I wasn’t like “Hey, uh, you should like listen to my band”—I was like “Hey! I’m Brett! I’m really excited to play Warped Tour! Do you want to listen to my band?” I was just completely regular, which is a big thing with other musicians—not being regular. You know what I mean? A lot of people put on a front—
Greg: Yeah, being unique, while still being regular—like…regularly unique.
Brett: —and what I mean by regular—
Greg: —uniquely regular…
Brett: I mean I guess I should clarify: when say “being regular”, I mean yourself—
Greg: —incredibly average…
Brett: I am unbelievably, exceptionally redundant. I mean, I’m a weird dude, but I’m not gonna like try and be a band dude. I’m just gonna be the kind of weird dude like I am that gets excited about everything.
You know what I like about you guys? The other day I noticed your new default picture on your Facebook page and you’re all just like (poses awkwardly with a ridiculous smile)
Brett: (laughing) Yeah!
Greg: We’re all just laughing and smiling like a pop punk band…
Photo by: Chrissy Bulakites
Greg: I mean the really intense thing is totally legit if your music is serious and you wanna look serious—I mean obviously we wanna be taken seriously. People might look at our picture and think like “Oh that’s probably a pop punk band” but I think when you actually listen to it, it’s kind of refreshing like “Oh! These guys play serious like…”—I don’t call it “hardcore” or whatever, I just call it passionate music. That’s all we care about; all we wanna do is just be passionate. A lot of times that comes out as you know, screaming at times, but not all the time.
I like how we associate different, uh, “band poses” with a genre—like you said if someone looked at your picture they’d probably think you’re a pop punk band whereas people tend to associate super stern band photos with a metal band.
Greg: Yeah, its true, I mean pop punk is super friendly. At the same time we kind of dance between the two (pop punk and metal) because I wouldn’t call us pop punk but like some of our songs like “No Regrets” is clearly Four Year Strong influenced because you know, we grew up listening to that. But at the same time it’s got some hardcore elements too. We don’t want to limit ourselves to one sound…I know every artist says that.
How did you feel after playing today?
Greg: How’d I feel—exhausted. I felt exhilarated, exhausted, bummed that I didn’t get to use my pedals or my actual amp because we had some problems with the cab. It wasn’t my fault, which was nice because I know that my gear isn’t broken but yeah—I felt really good. I was super excited. It was a way bigger crowd than I expected. I mean, who are we? Just seeing all our friends, and not just our friends but people we didn’t know were our fans. And then not only that but people who were just like, “I’ll check this band out” and then were like, “I’m into this” and they stayed for the whole set! I felt really good because when I’m that excited and I’m getting that much reciprocation, it makes me work harder and perform better. I feel like, as far as our performance, I feel like I performed like I was stoked to play Warped Tour, which I was, you know what I mean? It was one of those things where if I don’t move around and give it my best, if I were in the crowd I’d be like “Does he know he’s playing an awesome festival or…?” It was just such a great day and any little thing that may have gone wrong was overshadowed by the fact that we’re playing Warped Tour and it’s really such an awesome privilege.
Brett: And things did go wrong! Alex’s pedals broke, you (Greg) had to run direct and it kind of got all weird, I almost threw up…
Greg: Brett almost throws up every time we play a really, really exciting show—he gets so into it and he drinks so much water…
Brett: Well what happened was they’re supposed to give you water and they didn’t, so I ended up running and grabbing the first thing I could which was a really cold, raspberry tea, and I was chugging it because I’m exhausted because I’m giving it 110%
Brett: Everything that like worried us though I feel like when we were playing—OH MY GOD
Greg: OH, Alex has like a sopping wet burrito…
(Greg and Brett are distracted by the gigantic burrito Alex walks by with)
After a few moments of discussing food and burritos, Brett disappears with Alex, and Greg and I resume interview mode:
If you had to sum up your band in one word, what would you say?
Greg: Uh…what’s the opposite of apathy? The absolute opposite?
Alex (walking over): like…boner pee.
Greg: Boner pee? Really?
Alex: Boner pee. That’s usable interview content.
Greg: One word…(calls to Brett) do you think considerate—if we were to sum up our band in one word—passionate or considerate?
Brett (rejoins conversation): or eclectic. But with our personalities I’d say considerate—mindful.
Greg: I feel like we try to be as mindful and considerate of what we’re doing and how important every aspect is. Like if you don’t care then you might go somewhere but it’s better to go somewhere in a respectful way. I think the more passion and effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
Brett: So I’d say passionate or eclectic. I’ll give you two; you can pick one.
(laughs) I guess I’ll give you both
Greg: or you can just go with boner pee…
Brett: It’s also cool to point out too that a lot of bands…don’t treat [their fans] with any respect; if you don’t understand that without them there’s no point of you even existing, why would you not make every effort to make your fans feel like a welcome family? But yeah all those bands who are total assholes and you talk to them and they’re just not cool people, I don’t wanna listen to the bands like that. I want somebody to be able to talk to me after a show or talk to Greg and be like “Those dudes were really nice, I like that I like them” rather than “I wish that band that I like wasn’t a bunch of assholes.”
Greg: In an ideal world it’s just about the music and so the way a person is in their everyday life shouldn’t matter. But it’s tough to really look up to a band and really respect them for their music because it means something to you, and then to find out that they’re assholes or they’re not appreciative of their fans. Its kind of like…if you’re an artist yeah you communicate through your music but you’re also communicating through your behavior and the way you treat other people. We’re all super appreciative and grateful of anything that anyone ever does for us or says to us and we want to always stay that way. I don’t know where this band will go, hopefully good places, but if we were to ever make it to the level of like Four Year Strong or something like that, or even past that, we would always wanna make sure we stay grounded in that idea that you treat everybody with respect and appreciation and gratitude. And they do—like Four Year Strong is like that, they always have been really good guys and really great to talk to, and it’s awesome they’re a band to look up to also.
Greg: Oh yeah, we have 3 new songs that are recorded that will be released by the end of the summer—
Brett: On a split, with another band…
Greg: We’re trying to keep it a secret but we don’t want to…I’ll say one word and you’ll (Brett) say the other and it’ll be like no one said anything: Native—
Greg: —is the band.
Brett: We’re doing our split with the band Native Wildlife and they’re awesome. And what’s cool about this is we’re doing a new song from each band and then another new song that features each other’s vocalists, and then we’re each going to cover one of each other’s songs. At Warped Tour today we ended with a song written by our friends in Native Wildlife. And it was so much fun!
People really enjoyed it too.
Greg: And it was the exact amount of time to finish the last few minutes, it was the only 2 minute song we knew.
(Dan Bob enters interview)
Dan Bob: When I heard that I was like I hope Greg and everyone else decides to play that cause it was the exact amount of time we had left.
Any last words?
Greg: Keep your ears and eyes peeled for the new songs and they’ll be up on our store, vinyl, download, whatever, by the end of the summer definitely. My acoustic stuff, I have an acoustic EP that’ll be available by the end of the summer—
Brett: —I played on it
Greg: Brett played on it—
Dan Bob: —Me too
Greg: Dan Bob played on it once, not the actual EP but he played on previous songs
So like Actor|Observer part 2?
Greg: Alex did slide guitar (laughs). Yeah, but two albums coming out by the end of the summer and then we just thought those 2, 3 songs will hold people over while we’re writing other stuff because we’ve got a lot of stuff going on in the bank that we’re working on. We’re making progress everyday on new songs so we want to release another preferably 5-7 song EP beginning of next year or middle of next year—
Brett: —full length, what are you talking about?
Greg: …or a full length. We just want to keep producing music and hopefully start touring soon.
Greg: [We’re playing] in Weymouth, which is probably our hugest following at the moment. The kids down there are so passionate and they’re all really great, we’ve become friends with them.
I’ve still never been to a show in Weymouth but I’ve heard they’re awesome.
Greg: Yeah [our show with] American Verse, Bachelor Party, and Go Long Kid…it’s at a VFW hall –or I mean Knights of Columbus hall— so it’ll probably be like 300 kids there, it’s gonna be like, I might be expecting too much when I say this but, when we go there it brings me back to the days of Therefore I Am when they played in churches and Alex (singer of Therefore I Am) had to hold kids back because they were all so excited.
Right yeah, I feel like that doesn’t happen as often anymore. It’s kind of sad.
Brett: Yeah the last time we played there we played with three mics set up, so Al, Greg, and I could all have microphones and we ended with “No Regrets” as we usually do and none of us got to sing any of it because all the mics were taken. The crowd just goes “They’re ours now!”
Greg: and it’s not like we have a problem with it or could take it back since we’re all playing guitar so we’re just like “Well I guess we’ll let them sing!” and it was awesome.
Brett: It was like the coolest. And then we’re playing in Wells, Maine on September 2nd. I mean we’ve got a bunch of stuff up until then. You can check the bandcamp: Actorobserver.bandcamp.com and uh—
Greg: but our Facebook has all the show details there.
Brett: Also, there is a dad with a dyed purple goatee walking by and that is worth pointing out.
Greg: There it is…oh, he’s walking away. Over it.
Brett: Into It. Over It.
Greg: But yeah, we’re hopefully going to start touring by the end of the year, we’ll do some weekend tours, we’ve got a show coming up in Vermont soon, and yeah good things in store.
Cool, sounds exciting!
Brett: Well thanks Marisa.
Thank you guys.
Greg: Boner pee.
I’ll just end it on that.