Brionna Grubbs ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
A Guy Named Guy is a Boston-based DIY Ska/Punk band that likes to party, have fun, and make music. With emphasis on the “DIY,” AGNG is a band that prides itself in having created the scene for its music. With current influences ranging from The Wonder Years to Streetlight Manifesto, the band’s music continues to mature while the musicians remain young at heart. The band formed in 2010 and continues to grow in popularity, planning a 10-state tour for May 2013.
Here’s an inside look at the band’s past, present, and future from three of the members: Dylan Zobel, Alex Pickert, and Adam Elmarakby.
When did you guys meet and start making music?
Alex: Freshman year, 2010? Dylan and I met. It was cute. And then we put up signs for a ska band and then we met Adam and Jacob and people at a party and yeah.
Adam: Isn’t there a better story than that? I thought it was that one of you was walking down the hallway of 150 and someone was listening to Reel Big Fish –
Alex: Both of us had been listening to Reel Big Fish –
Dylan: No, I was listening to Streetlight –
Alex: Okay, whatever; it was like, you guys listened to ska, and I brought you into my room and talked for like an hour and listened to music and talked about starting this band. That was it, right?
Why ska? I mean, it’s not exactly a top choice for most bands.
Dylan: [laughing] Yeah, it’s definitely not my top choice.
Alex: I played ska in high school, and I really wanted to start a ska band. I don’t know why. I just had fun playing Warped Tour with my ska band and I wanted to it more here and –
Dylan: I wanted to play in a punk band.
Alex: Now we’re playing a pop-punk, ska.
Where’d the name come from?
Alex: My roommate. He literally said, “A guy named Guy,” and I said, “Hey, can I use that for my band?” and he said, “Yes.”
Dylan: We’re pretty simple people. There’s not a lot of thought behind things.
What’s it like being part of the music scene in Boston?
Alex: There wasn’t really enough of a scene for us to do anything with so we kinda did it ourselves. And house shows like this wouldn’t be happening right now if we didn’t start doing it, y’know? We didn’t really get into a scene; we made our own scene.
So what are the pros and cons of having created your own scene?
Alex: Meeting other bands, all the really, really talented bands –
Dylan: Are the PROS, those are pros.
Alex: Meeting all these bands that give us good connections for other music scenes that we might be a part of. We just got thrown into Rhode Island; how did that happen?
Dylan: A lot of the cons are that it puts a lot of pressure on us to, y’know, keep up with what we’ve given out in the past.
Alex: It’s a lot of work.
Dylan: People expect, y’know, one of the very first house shows we did, it was just like crazy.
Alex: They expect it every time now.
Dylan: They expect that caliber of a show every time we do it and it’s a lot to hold up to, but we do our best. We try not to have repeat shows because we know we can’t repeat what we did before, but we have a good time, and we hope everyone else has a good time too.
What are your biggest influences?
Alex: Streetlight, Reel Big Fish, and Less Than Jake were like the first three, y’know? And then, lately it’s been NOFX, and The Wonder Years –
Dylan: Yeah, basically those bands.
Biggest inspirations when writing?
Dylan: Yeah, I write 85% of the material. I don’t write the horn lines anymore; the old ones were really bad. Most of the stuff I write about has to do with a lot of things I’ve seen or stories I’ve heard. I tend to write more songs when I’m in a bad mood about good things because it’s a good way to feel better. It’s just all about stories. People tell me stories all the time, and I just write about it from my point of view even though I never lived it.
So what exactly is your writing process?
Dylan: My basic writing process is just that I come up with one lyrical hook or something memorable, usually it’s a lyric, otherwise it’s a lick or like a chord progression, and I build that section of the song. Then I put it off to the side and then I take a bunch of sections of songs, and I kinda throw together bits and pieces until it makes sense. Then I round off the edges and make it like flow into one.
Adam: And then he comes to us with like a version of him playing acoustic guitar and singing and then we do the rest.
Dylan: Yeah, we usually demo it out one or two times before we finally get it.
How was the process of recording Terminals?
Alex: That was the best time ever, in my opinion, just because we worked with our friend Mike Moschetto, and he knows what he’s doing. He knows how he wanted us to sound, and he knew how we wanted to sound, I feel like. And he did everything so fast, and we did it in a day. It was like the longest day of our lives, but it –
Dylan: Yeah, it was definitely a long day.
Alex: It was really productive. Our EP took forever to record, and it was really nice to just get it done and have someone helping us along with that has been in the game for a while. That was really key.
Adam: I was sleeping in the van when they violently woke me up.
Alex: That was fun. I have video of that. We should post that.
Any plans for any new records any time soon?
Alex: If you guys give us lots of money, we’ll record as many things as you want us to.
Dylan: It’s up in the air. There’s an opportunity to maybe do another EP, time permitting and budgeting –
Alex: We’ll see. It’ll happen.
Dylan: Something will come out before our tour. It may not be an EP, it may not be good, but something will probably come out.
Alex: And in the next year after tour, we’re trying to get something recorded because we, I dunno –
Dylan: It’s been two years and we don’t have a full length.
What are your thoughts on your upcoming tour?
Alex: It’s called A Tour Named Tour.
Dylan: It’s a fifteen-day tour stretching from Boston all the way west to Chicago.
Adam: Yeah, DC is as far as we’re going south.
Dylan: Ten states in fifteen days. A cool way to say that is fifteen shows, ten states, fifteen days. One band.
Alex: And we’re booking it all ourselves through Facebook, which is kind of interesting. We don’t have anyone helping us out with it at all. And it’s really tough to do it, and we’ve never done it before, and we’re just gonna do it.
So obviously you rely a lot on social media.
Alex: Definitely. Facebook is like our savior.
Would you be creeped out if anyone followed you all fifteen days of the tour?
Dylan: Not at all.
Adam: We actually have some people that are going to follow us for like little legs of it.
Alex: Yeah, tidbits of it.
Obviously that sounds like a lot of work: fifteen shows in fifteen days. Are you worried about it?
Adam: I’m very worried about it. After one show here, we’re sweaty, vomiting, tired, so we’ll see how we can deal with the grind of the road.
Alex: Yeah, but I think we’ll get used to it after about three shows and three nights and be like we just gotta keep going.
Dylan: Basically, what we gotta do is we just gotta get into like a rigorous schedule of practicing, that just kinda pushes us enough that we can gain from it but not harm ourselves from it.
Is there any particular show you’re looking forward to most?
Alex: I know that Adam is looking forward to the Philly show the most. Dylan, Tommy, and Joe are looking forward to Chicago shows. Personally, I just like playing shows; I don’t care where they are. I’m just excited. I’ve only played in three states in my entire life, and I feel like that’s the same with everyone else in the band. They’ve only played in their home state, and then Massachusetts and Rhode Island –
Adam: New England.
Alex: Yeah, New England. And we’re finally going somewhere we’ve never played before, and that’s what I’m excited about, rather than like a particular show. We’re playing in a church in upstate New York, which is really weird. We’ve never played in a church, and apparently we’re not allowed to swear. And, uh, we’ll see about that.
What are each of your favorite songs, just overall?
Dylan: Of our songs?
Alex: Of our songs, oh man…
Adam: “18 Pratt.”
Alex: Favorite song for me to play is “Life I’m Not Used To.” I still think that’s my favorite song to play. That or “Five Days Straight.” Dylan, what’s your favorite song?
Dylan: My favorite song? I don’t really have a favorite song.
Alex: What’s the one you get most pumped to play?
Dylan: I guess right now it’s “Fire in the Fens.” I’m really keen to “Another Darker Day,” though.
A Guy Named Guy begins their tour on Friday, May 10 and will be going through places like Pawtucket, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, and Chicago. For dates and other details, check out the band’s Facebook page, and for their music, check out their Bandcamp!