In between all of the madness that is the Vans Warped Tour, Philadelphia rockers June Divided took the time to discuss their sound, Indiegogo, the tour life, and much more.
June Divided is among the newest bands on the Vans Warped Tour, playing on the Ernie Ball stage with the likes of other smaller bands that have been picking up attention from the masses. The band just released their debut full length, Backbone, just this last month.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
Kissel: Rock and Roll.
Menago: Yeah, Rock. That’s it. [laughs]
Sasso: We’re pretty straightly just rock I would say.
UTG: Sounds right [laughs].
Sasso: No gimmicks [laughs].
Back in February you went with the tried and true method of using a crowd-sourcing site (indiegogo) to fund your full length album, Backbone. Why did you choose to do that? Would you do it again?
Kissel: We would definitely do it again, it was an awesome experience. It was great to see how much support we actually had, we’re a really small band, and just the support that we got from our fans and our family was incredible. We could’ve made this album without it [crowd-sourcing]–
Sasso: We are firm to not cutting corners, we could’ve easily recorded it ourselves and saved money on it, but we wanted to work with Alec [Henninger] who had done the last record, and we wanted to do it at the studio that he works at. All of that costs money to do.
Menago: We’re not signed, so we need to find a budget somehow.
Sasso: Our amazing fans were able to be there to support us, and now we have Backbone which is out, and it’s a great product. We’ve been getting a lot of good response from it.
The state of Pennsylvania has been home to a lot of different up and coming acts, along with other crazy things, like Amish people and coal mines. What are your favorite things about being from PA?
Menago: Definitely NOT the liquor laws.
Menago: Worst liquor laws, you cannot have fun in PA.
Kissel: We’re big beer snobs. But the problem is that everywhere else, you can get beer in grocery stores or gas stations. In PA you’ve got to go to specific distributors, and they then separate it between wine and liquor stores –
Sasso: And they’re all owned by the state…
Menago: However the beer scene IS good, the microbreweries are great.
Sasso: I don’t want to sound cliché, but the cheese steaks. I’ve got to say it. I’ve gone elsewhere to other states, and it does not even come close.
Menago: I could go for a philly cheese steak right now.
Sasso: I could definitely go for a philly cheese steak right now.
Kissel: I can go for anything right about now, I’m pretty hungry.
Menago: Maybe if we called Tony Luke’s they’ll deliver all of the way down here.
Sasso: If you’re wondering Pat’s or Geno’s, it’s neither…. Tony Luke’s.
I know you guys have talked about filming a new music video for a song off of Backbone, could you tell us anything about that?
Kissel: We don’t have any info for it.
Really? So you’ve got nothing to share about it at all? No ideas or anything?
Kissel: We haven’t picked any songs or anything.
Menago: The thing is that we don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up.
Sasso: We thought we knew what song we were going to run with and then another song started to really snowball on the record
Menago: So you’ll just have to see.
Sasso: We’re kind up in the air about it which one it will be.
I know what you mean, it’s kind of about seeing what could work with receiving a response, and then working with it.
Kissel: That’s what’s been awesome about this tour. Our record only came out two weeks ago, so we’ve been test driving it for new fans over the last I guess seven days and it’s cool to gauge their reactions.
How does it feel to be on such a prestigious summer tour like Warped Tour?
Menago: [It’s]hard work. It’s very much “work hard, play hard”. Like, last night was a crazy party, they have these crazy barbecue’s for the artists (which is awesome), but it’s definitely “work hard, play hard”.
Sasso: You know, there’s only so much that we could’ve prepared for this. We did one day last year, and we were like “ok, now we know kind of what to do from here and there, and we’ve seen other bands do things.” But like everything else behind the scenes, the driving from gig-to-gig, the sleeping 2 hours a night, the staying in the sun for 12-14 hours a day… It’s just stuff like that we hadn’t accounted for. Not showering… In that regard, a reporter yesterday had referred to Warped as an “artist’s bootcamp” , and it really is.
Kissel: That’s exactly what it is. If you can do Warped Tour, you’re set. You’ll be fine on any other tour.
Have any of you guys watched the recent Warped Tour documentary, No Room for Rockstars?
Kissel: I haven’t had a chance yet.
Not even the trailer?
Sasso: I saw the physical trailer, like [motions towards a nearby semi-trailer and laughs]
Kissel: They were filming something last night, I don’t know if that was a part of it.
I was planning on asking if you thought that it portrays the tour properly.
Menago: It probably does if it makes it seem very, very rough and also very rewarding, no complaints.
Kissel: I feel like if we could survive the heat, if it wasn’t so hot, it would probably be that much better. Like when we were on stage today, during the break of “Drive” I just cracked open a tour water and just dumped it all over myself.
MM: Oh, I looked over at Chris who was running our monitors, and at the end of “bullet” I was like “noo” [exhausted tone].
Sasso: Yeah, it was bad.
I know that Warped tour is pretty controlled as far as management goes, but do you have any crazy tour stories from the past?
Menago: Oh, just today, Chris took the morning shift of driving, and everyone else was sleeping. He stops (I guess) at a gas station, everyone is asleep. I wake up, me and our tour manager wake up and the car is shut off, the windows are shut, the doors are shut, it’s a hot car. We wake up and we’re like “where’s Chris?” We’re like “alright, maybe he went to the bathroom.” So we wait, and we wait, and we wait. And I’m like “Oh my God, it’s been 20 minutes”, so we open the car door, and we can’t find the car keys. So we’re like “Chris has the car keys.” We try calling him, and he left his phone in the car.
Sasso: He was just AWOL!
Menago: He was GONE! So seriously, 20-30 minutes had passed, and I’m like “did he get arrested?” I don’t know how he could’ve gotten arrested, or if somebody must’ve like kidnapped him. He’s like the biggest guy, he’s got the most muscles out of everyone, but I’m like “could he have gotten kidnapped?” [laughs]
Kissel: I was in line at Dunkin Donuts.
Sasso: For 30 minutes!!!
Kissel: Don’t ever stop at Dunkin Donuts at 6:30 am on the Florida Turnpike. It physically took 20 minutes.
Menago: But we didn’t even see the Dunkin Donuts, it was like hidden from the gas station we were at. Oh my god, I had a heart attack. We were running around the gas station, looking in the bathrooms, asking the gas attendant.
Sasso: We had a little bit of a panic attack this morning.
And you found out just by stepping inside?
Menago: One of the gas attendants were like “did he go into the Dunkin Donuts down there?” I was like “there’s a Dunkin Donuts down there? Oh my god.”
Kissel: Well I didn’t eat the barbecue last night, so I went and got a bacon egg and cheese and a coffee, because I was driving.
Alright, here’s the final cliché question, but what’s next for June Divided?
Menago: Showering, touring…
Menago: No, not on this tour. Not on Warped Tour. Not when you’re a small band on Warped Tour, you don’t sleep, never.
Sasso: We’re definitely doing (like you mentioned before) the music video, and touring. We got Backbone out, we pushed it forward to get it out before Warped Tour. So, Warped Tour is Warped Tour, but want to go out in support of the album, so in September we’re gonna go out and do some dates, and keep it rolling from there, and we’ll see how many dates we can pick up and support the new record.