Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interview with David Tartaglia from Step Aside

Step Aside
Step Aside is a cool band from Arizona that we have been listening to a lot lately.  They are really good and you should check them out.  Their new EP is really cool!

PMAKid: My dad found out about you guys from a friend on Facebook. I know you guys live in Arizona and that your first EP is REALLY AWESOME. Can you tell me who is in the band and what you guys do outside the band?

David: That's really awesome, we are from Tucson, Arizona and we started the band late last summer. Step is Joshua Andrade, Ryan Bram, Riley Chander and David Tartaglia (myself). Outside of the band I am a manager at Jimmy John's (Sandwich joint), Josh is a store manager at a Zumiez in Mesa, Arizona, Ryan is a full time student and records bands in his studio on the side, and Riley is a cook. Thanks for the kind words about "Reaching Out", we are really pumped to have the record out and it means a lot to us that people like the record.

PMAKid: Are all the guys in Step Aside straight edge like me? What made you guys decide to be drug free?

David: We are, when we started this band we knew that we wanted to be a straight edge band. For me personally I was never really into bar culture or the partying scene. Growing up my dad abused prescription pills and my mom was a smoker, on top of that tons of friends around me did drugs and drank frequently. I would wake up nights and hear my mom coughing her lungs up, and see how my dad acted when he was high, and see all the problems my friends got into from making poor decisions while under the influence and that was something I just never wanted to be apart of. I like knowing that I am always in control of myself, my actions, and at the end of the day can feel okay with the decisions I make and don't have to use drinking or drugs as an excuse for bad things I have done. I do believe though that everyone should live their lives for themselves, if drinking is for you then drink (but be responsible) and if being straight edge is for you do that. I try to never knock people for their own personal choices unless they are harmful to others. At the end of the day straight edge is a personal choice, I have been straight edge over 8 years now and never felt better.

PMAKid: I asked Lou Koller this same question and am interested in hearing what you have to say: What is your favorite song or musician or band that is not hardcore or punk or that kind of music and why? Do you ever listen to classical music? I like the New World Symphony by Dvorak.

David: For me personally, I would have to say Gaslight Anthem. There is just something about that band that I connect with on every level, their lyrics, their songs, the feel of the songs, and the humbleness the band still has after being so famous is just amazing to me. I don't really listen to much classical music honestly, but definitely not by choice I just have never really hung around anyone who was really into that. As for a favorite song that is a really tough question, I don't think I could narrow it down to a single song without feeling bad about not choosing another song later on.

5 Records outside of hardcore or punk that are some of my favorites though are:

Gaslight Anthem - Sink or Swim
Against Me - Acoustic EP
Rocky Votolato - Suicide Medicine
Bruce Springsteen - The River
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska

I know I kind of jumped all over the place with that one as well.

The guys in Step Aside
PMAKid: We read a lot of books in my house. Do you guys read a lot? What are your favorite books and why? Did any book make a really strong impression on you?

David: Personally I don't read very much anymore being really overwhelmed with work, the band, school and everything else going on in my life. The last book I read though was John Joseph's "Evolution of a Cro-Magnon". The stuff that happened in his life is so bizarre and insane, it was definitely awesome to read and lured me back into getting into more books. As far as favorites, I think the single most important book that I have read in my life so far is "Catcher in The Rye". That book made me want to read everything out there, and I felt like I could relate to everything happening in the story on a personal level.

PMAKid: Last year Jordan Cooper from Revelation Records gave my school some records (test presses and others) to donate for our first Hardcore for Education fundraiser. A lot of the almost $3,000 we raised went to help pay for my school's band teacher. How important do you think it is to have music in school (especially for me at elementary school level)?

David: That is so cool, it's so awesome to me that after all these years that Revelation Records is still so involved with hardcore and doing really cool things like that to help out a good cause. Music in school is very important, I actually first got into playing music through school band. It definitely gives kids a good sense of playing music and is a lead up to what they could possibly do in the future. Music has been the most important thing in my life for me for years now and I think it's awesome that you guys got help to have a class.

PMAKid: Are you guys working on any new music? We listen to your EP a lot and we want more! Are you guys planning on touring to Northern California any time soon? It would be totally epic if you did.

David: We are working on some new material (finally) haha, we actually wrote those songs for the Reaching Out record in the summer of last year. So even though the record has only been out a little over two months we have had them written for like eight months. We played a new song at both of our record release shows, and kids seemed to be digging it which is always an amazing feeling for us. We are planning on writing a bunch of a new material for a new 7" later this year, and possibly a split with another really cool band coming up right now. We really want to tour California (and tour period) but we still haven't figured out a van situation so for the time being we are kind of stuck. We will definitely be doing weekends throughout the beginning of this year though and hopefully doing an actual tour in the summer.

PMAKid: Hardcore is an interesting kind of music. Some people are really positive like Toby Morse. Other people seem to be really angry like Noose. Where would you guys put yourself on that scale? It seems like some of your lyrics are positive and some are not. Would you guys call yourself a PMA kind of band? How do you stay positive when band stuff happens?

David: I would definitely say that we are a positive band by all means, to say that we as a band are always positive all the time is definitely not realistic. Real life happens and there are things that are going to upset you, but we definitely try to make the best of every situation and really appreciate the better things in life. We definitely promote respect, and really respect for other hardcore kids at shows. It's sad that shows have come to the point of kids trying to hurt each other and fight over music that is supposed to be about unity. We wrote the song Step Aside to let our opinion be known on how we feel about kids that act like that at shows, it isn't cool to ruin a venue, start a huge fight or break someone's nose just so you can fuel your ego. As far as the band we all get a long really well for the most part, our singer lives about two hours north of us now so we don't get to see him as often as we used too but he is one of my best friends so we cherish the time we have together through the band.

PMAKid: What is the absolute weirdest thing you have ever seen?

David: Weirdest thing I have ever seen....I definitely had a woman walk up to me at the counter at my work a few weeks ago with her underwear in hand dripping wet asking me for a trash bag for it. That was SUPER weird. haha.

Final words / Shout outs.
I want to personally thank Dan from Life to Live records for everything he has done for us. He shares the same love for hardcore that everyone in this band does and is a real genuine guy. When we need something for the band I can always call him and he does everything he can to help us out, we are really appreciate of him, check out his band Truth Inside they just had a new 7" called "Best Times" come out on Bottled Up Records.

Shout outs to Losin' It, Alert, Outlast and the rest of the Life to Live Crew, Better Times, Perspective, Hardcore Collective, Written Off, Dan and Iron Mind Records, Like Glue Records, Outcrowd, Erin Peters, Mantooth Booking, Galaz brothers, Manny Mares, Territory, Focused Minds, Mindset, Youngblood Records, Hardpress Records, Bad Vibe, Move Forward, Red Son, Run With The Hunted, and all the other Arizona bands who are doing their thing. All of our friends and families, and anyone who supports us as a band.

Thank you for this interview as well, it means a lot.

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