Infectious Magazine’s Owen Paterline recently had the opportunity to sit down with Passages to discuss the Launch Music Conference and more. Check it out after the break. Don’t forget to check them our right here.
Hey Infectious, I’m sitting here with Passages at Launch music conference in Lancaster, PA. You all are from the literal incarnation of the middle of nowhere.
Dustin Perrott : Oh, Yeah!
What’s it like coming from Hagerstown, Maryland and not having much of a scene?
Dustin: It’s a struggle to build a local following that people want you to have before you start playing in normal venues. Our first show was in a barn and it was the only place we could play, and it was shut down last summer. So we no longer have a home to grow local fans. Baltimore is the closest we have to a home now.
Zack Uchima: It forces you to be more creative.
Speaking of the creative venues you have played…
Dustin: That’s a nice way of putting it.
What are some of the more creative venues that you have played?
Zack: We played a tattoo party once. It was weird.
Dustin: Yeah we met a guy who had this back woods farm property, and he called Zack to play at his tattoo party.
What’s a tattoo party?
Phil McField : That’s a great question
Dustin: Its when an armature tattoo artist, invites his friends and family over and they have a night of him doing tattoo’s for everyone and that’s how they make some income. I believe that person was just released from prison at the time of the party.
Zack: Probably drug charges.
Dustin: Yeah, there was a lot of “recreational activities” happening at this party. Now, we played outside in…
Dustin: Yeah the middle of October and it was super cold. We didn’t get paid for the show, he was going to pay us with tattoos, but when we saw him disappear every hour to do “recreational activities”, we decided that we would try our luck elsewhere for tattoos.
Yeah, makes sense. Do you guys have any unique tattoos? Zack I see you have one on your arm.
Zack: I have five.
Dustin: He’s the only one that’s tattooed right now.
You used to be named Common Wealth but then switch to Passages, why the name change?
Dustin: It wasn’t by choice. We were contacted by a New Jersey based band with the same name, and they had the legal rights to the name so we had X amount of days to change it.
Did you keep the music and just change the name? or were you starting a clean slate with it?
Dustin: We were such a new band at the time that we were still developing our repertoire. So we kept a few and then just wrote more around those.
What are some of the problems you have come into as a smaller band playing these small shows?
Dustin: Well going back to our lack of venues, Baltimore is about an hour and a half away from us and our target demographic is high school, college age kids. So especially when school is in session its difficult to get people to come to our shows on weeknights. A lot of these kids don’t even have a drivers licenses yet. Also at the stage we are at, all these shows are pay to play, which we need to have a certain amount of pre-sold tickets. So we struggle with getting these group of people to find rides, drive down to Baltimore, and watch us play.
Do you have any creative solutions for that problem? Or are you still working to find a solution?
Dustin: Well I think it’s fortunate that Zack and I work in restaurants and they are very supportive of what we do. Our co-workers always try to come out and bring friends with them.
Zack: Lots of footwork.
Dustin: Yeah we are trying to work more with locals to get the word out. Actually recently we just got a street team in Baltimore made for us by five fans of ours, two of which are from Georgia.
That street team just happened naturally? Like you talk to someone about creating it they just came to you and said “Hey we want to be your street team”?
Dustin: It was their brainchild. Honestly, we were floored. We were so surprised anyone cared so much at our level to do that for us. We already have jobs and school so it’s a struggle for us to do any of it and these girls decided that they would assist us.
Zack: If you are reading this. THANK YOU!
You have been touring around Pennsylvania and Maryland, are there plans to expand farther out than that?
Zack: We are lucky we made a lot of friends with people that are a little farther in the game than we are. Because of that we have the opportunity to branch out to different audiences that we normally couldn’t reach ourselves. This summer we are looking into doing a little mini tour.
How do you juggle work and school with starting up this band?
Dustin: Planning is the biggest thing. I work at Olive Garden and as long as I give them a heads up I can have the time off to play the show.
Phill: Product placement right there.
Dustin: Hey we don’t make a lot of money in this band so if you want to swing by and pay me to make you fancy drinks it would help us out.
I like fancy drinks!
Dustin: See! Owen Paterline endorses fancy drinks so come to Olive Garden!
Zack: I bartend two different restaurants. But the nice thing about that is that we don’t have big boy jobs. It allows us to take nights off and be flexible.
Phill: I work at a data processing center, so its great because I get paid well and its super flexible of when I can be there so I have it made!
How did you guys hear about Launch?
Dustin: A couple years ago I was recording with a band here in Lancaster and our producer was encouraging us to go, but we never did. This year, you actually told me about it.
Phill: You set that up!
Maybe a little! But arnt you glad you’re here?
Dustin: Oh Yes, so much! But yeah without you, we wouldn’t have been here meeting all these professionals and showcasing our talent.
What was the process from me telling you about Launch, to you playing Launch this evening?
Dustin: I wasn’t sure how to go about doing this. I saw a link of it on reverbnation, so I clicked it. Filled out the paperwork, submitted the music. Gave them a description of who we were, and then waited until they got back to us.
Anything you are excited about in the panels at Launch?
Phill: The endless possibilities.
Dustin: Yeah there are so many panelists and musicians, and there are great networking and exposure opportunities.
Last time I spoke with you, you were working on a record, its out now correct?
Dustin: Yeah its out! It’s a mini EP. We are still trying to figure out what Passages is so there is a lot of different variations on there. Dark and brooding, or pop hooks its on there.
Phill: I was going for Catchy Edgy as a genre
Anything you want to say to your fans?
Dustin: Yeah we love you guys, thanks for supporting us and we hope to never disappoint you in the future. Thanks for having us man.
Of course, Thanks for coming.