Following the success of many other local bands, Friday Giants has taken Cincinnati by storm. Combining top radio themes with hardcore punk and rock music that is inspired by bands like Blink 182, Nirvana, Switchfoot, and the like, Friday Giants is celebrating the release of their latest album Twenty Nothings TODAY!
The Giants lineup includes Gavin Bonar as vocalist, Chuck Ralenkotter and Kyle Rhodes as duel guitarists/backing vocals, Zac Taylor as bassist/vocalist and Logan Boatright as drummer. Among the many shows they play in the area, Friday Giants will be playing a release show at Southgate House Revival on Saturday May 20th. They are also competing to play in Warped Tour 2017 via the Ernie Ball Play Vans Warped Tour ’17 contest. We are rooting for them and would be so excited to see them play in this year’s lineup! You can follow the contest and Friday Giants here.
What is the inspiration behind your most recent album, Twenty Nothings? How does this differ from previous work, if at all?
Gavin: Twenty Nothings was inspired by a conversation among friends about our generation. Everyone seemed to be talking about millennials all at once in negative ways. I’d heard about our work ethic, lack of commitment to values, and our entitled attitudes. Started to feel proud and disappointed at the same time for how much commotion we were causing. I thought there was a voice unheard by so many people so I started crafting lyrics explaining how we got to where we were. The first song written for Twenty Nothings was the title track and it was about my experience working in a corporate job and hating the experience of climbing the corporate ladder in a direction I hated. You’re going to hear quite a bit about my past in these songs and see how my view has been shaped from it. The album is pretty far off base from ‘Life On Repeat’. You’ll hear a recognizable song or two on the new record, but we took this opportunity to rebrand ourselves within the genre. There are stronger elements of metal core, hardcore, and pop punk that we put a bit more thought into.
You were recently named 96.5 Homegrown Artist of the Week. How does that recognition, not just in the radio industry but in general, help move Friday Giants to the next level? What was your reaction to that particular recognition? (Congrats by the way, that is so awesome!)
Gavin: If you’ve ever seen any of our social media posts, you know how much we love being a part of this music scene. To see local stations like 96 Rock give bands a primetime spot was a big deal for us especially with the album release. Friends, family, and all in between were sending us messages saying congratulations and thinking we had been signed to a major label! Stations who back their local music scenes play huge roles in getting bands noticed especially when listeners can now stream stations like this online at anytime. We are glad they liked the song enough to share it for the week! Kyle: I’m a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve so when Gavin sent us the screenshot of the email, my heart was so full. When WNKU announced they weren’t going to be a station anymore, the music community was wondering how are we gonna continue to reach listeners? So for 96Rock to continue it is amazing! The feedback was amazing as Gavin said! We got so much love from family and strangers. Thank you to 96Rock for the love!
(This may be directed more towards Kyle) Was the break from Friday Giants taken to focus on individual careers or was it to prep for upcoming work?
Kyle: This is a funny question because we were literally just talking about this the other day. I chose to leave the band because of internal member conflict. Everyone knows that bands argue, it’s what they do. In this case, if things didn’t go a certain way, it wasn’t good for the rest of us. I decided to remove myself from that environment because at the time I was coming back from a hiatus with my last band. I wanted to pull double duty but it’s funny how life shows you what you’re ready for. And it’s funny how life just works sometimes. If I didn’t leave we probably wouldn’t have met Gavin and who knows what this band would be if certain things didn’t take place. I’m truly grateful to the guys for letting me come back and make music with them again. I’ve never had this much fun making music and I’m glad it’s with these four dudes.
You released a lyric video leading up to this album release. How does this part of your strategy build into the making of an album, its reception, release, etc.?
Gavin: It’s funny you ask that because the lyric video wasn’t the original plan. When we heard the final mixes from our producer, we realized how important getting a message out like the one in ‘What You’re Made Of’ would be. The song is about forgiving the insecurities and mistakes of our youth that shaped who we are. It was important for me to know that fans could clearly hear what I was trying to say especially since the song took 10 years to get right! The feedback has been pretty great! It’s been played on Idobi Radio, Jango.com, and a handful of other online stations mainly through people just finding it. We hope the album does the same.
Kyle: We try and see what bands in the industry, even locally, are doing. How are they prepping to release a new record? As Gavin said, this song wasn’t even on our radar for a single. We had our plan to make a music video for another track but after getting the tracks back we knew that “What You’re Made Of” was the song. We saw some bands were doing music videos or just releasing the track but others, not many, were doing lyric videos. We teamed up with some friends and the end result was better that we could’ve asked for. We’re grateful for the love that the video has gotten, our new fans seem to be digging it and our old fans are excited about the change.
What is your favorite track on the new album that we can look forward to and why? What about favorite track from the band altogether?
Gavin: I am really excited for everyone to hear Swipe Right. The music is so hype and I’m incredibly proud of the lead guitar riff. Couldn’t think of a better song the start the album. It’s also my way of calling out the one night stand culture. I actually downloaded Tinder, Bumble, etc. to get an idea of what it was all about. Oddly enough, I had few good dates out of that but didn’t go any further than that. It’s what fueled my point of writing the song. As a band we are pretty stoked to release the title track because we felt it best tied together the concept of the album. We recorded a music video a few weeks back to promote so we really believe in it. We think fans are really going to be surprised listening to the last half of the album compared to our debut EP.
Kyle: When I came back “Twenty Nothings” was pretty much written. The idea was thrown around that we need an acoustic song. That being my background, I took the challenge to write something and have my stamp on the album. That being said, “This Isn’t a Love Song, It’s What I Need Right Now” is probably my favorite. I was honored that the dudes would let me put a song on an album that means so much to them and now myself.
Where do you guys turn for inspiration when writing, composing, and shooting?
Gavin: All of us are completely different when it comes to favorite genres of music. Chucks favorite band is A7X, Zac is obsessed with Nirvana, Logan is big into TDWP, I love Switchfoot, and Kyle is in love with Real Friends (rightfully so). All of us are obsessed with bands like A Day To Remember, Blink 182, and Paramore, and a few others in that genre. We did our best to hit a wide spectrum of punk genre on this album so it represented us well. There is something for everyone of us on this record. The fun part is guessing which songs resonate with each member the best! Chuck and I have been the primary writers for the band, especially this record. Chuck will write his best guitar work when he’s feeling something strongly like frustration and I will always counteract my best lyrical attempt to match the energy of his music. We really have a good system down and it’s helped us friends too!
This can apply to so many fields, specifically writing and music; how do you overcome writers block from musician standpoint?
Gavin: Writer’s block got easy to overcome once guys like Logan, Zac, and Kyle jumped in the band. Logan was able to help Chuck develop different drum beats (since Chuck used to drum for us), Zac was the main lyricist on the song Catch Me If You Can, and Kyle brought the acoustic arrangement of This Isn’t A Love Song, It’s What I Need Right Now which ulitmiately completed the album. If we depend on each other, we can usually kill writer’s block in an instant. We’ve been lucky that we can riff off each other so easily.
Kyle: Writers block is the worst, I just wanna throw that our there. Everyone gets it, and you feel like you’ll never get out of the rut. Gavin actually taught me that you need to just play every day. Never look for a song, just play and something will hit eventually. As I said before, my music background is WAY different from what we’re writing. So I get frustrated trying to write but here recently we’ve gotten a few ideas and I’m excited for what our sound can develop into in the future. Something else I do is I listen to artist from other genres. So when I was writing music for my old band, I was listening to pop punk and hardcore stuff. You learn new techniques and styles to help your playing and most of the time it can be translated into the style your playing. Ultimately don’t give up, writers block happens and you’re gonna want to quit at times but just give it time.
You guys have had huge success as a local band and beyond. What advice can you give to younger industry hopefuls and those still trying to find their sound?
Gavin: We used to idolize and listen to Cincinnati bands like Pilot Around the Stars, Close to Home, Cinema Sleep, Pluto Revolts and A Decade to Die For. To be told we are a successful local band means to world to us and if we could get to the ranks of those guys, everything would have been worth it. I’d say stop trying to impress other people. Our first EP kind of felt directed towards an audience instead of what we as writers wanted. Bands can end at anytime without any warning so we realized a long time ago how lucky we are to be one unit that can play together so often. We started writing music that we wanted, not what maybe an audience would want to hear. Fans proceeded to comment about our energy on stage after that and always asked if they could get our music online. It’s easy to be excited about music you believe in and that for us has made the difference. We hope you can hear that on Twenty Nothings.
Kyle: I loved going to shows in high school, I still do! Ultimately that’s how I found my love for music. You can listen to the radio and love what you hear, but I didn’t know what hardcore music was until I went to a local show. Places like the Mad Hatter and Radiodown were places where you could go every night and find your new favorite band and make friends in the process. If I had advice for kids in the scene, go to shows, even if it isn’t a show you’re interested in, you never know who you’re going to see. Make connections. I would message bands on Myspace and make friends that way. One of my best friends in the music scene is Ben from Pluto Revolts, and we met via Myspace. He messaged me about coming out to a show and I did. Who knew that today we’re still supporting one another in our musical ventures. Another tip, never be afraid to ask for help. As a community, bands want to see one another succeed. We’re all here to help whether it be bands to play with, venues, etc. You never know how far you can go with the help of others.
When people say Friday Giants, what do you want the reaction to be/what legacy do you wish to leave?
Gavin: We all were young teenagers in the Myspace days and were big into those bands. We used to idolize Cincinnati bands like Pilot Around the Stars, Close to Home, Cinema Sleep, Pluto Revolts, A Decade to Die For, etc. If we could get to the ranks of those guys, everything would have been worth it. I’ve always dreamed of our music being able to inspire a new generation of musicians to start a band and contribute to the scene.
Kyle: Something I’ve always tried to do in a band is inspire. Gavin showed me his lyrics for the album, and I could see he was doing the same thing. As a group, we’ve all had some tragedy in our lives, some more than others. We take those experiences and put the pen to paper to give a voice to the issues we see in society. My biggest lesson from our songs is to never be afraid to speak up. You have a voice, use it! Also, dreams aren’t supposed to only be dreams. We live in a world now where you can literally do anything, be anything. Take the time, and make your dreams a reality. My whole life I was put down for playing music. I was told I was wasting my time, I’d amount to nothing. Look at me now, not to brag but I’ve got do some pretty cool things that I wouldn’t have gotten to do if I wasn’t playing music. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve gotten to live out thanks to music.
What can we expect from Friday Giants in the coming weeks/months/years?
Kyle: Now that “Twenty Nothings” is available, you’re going to see us all over! We’re about to release a new music video and have more to come. We’re going to be releasing the physical copies of the album May 20th at the Southgate House Revival with our friends Pilot Around The Stars, HereComeHere and Ocean Grid! We’d love to see you there! Also make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all that fun stuff. We’ve got some big plans for the year, and we’d love to have you along for the ride!