Article written by Kyla Wyllie
Photography by Annika Cimas
Lobster Party is a well known, local indie band that has been rocking the venues of San Diego for years. Now, post breakup and reunion, we sat down with them to talk about future music, major influences, kissing on stage, and yet another departure? This is our first uncut & unedited interview, so sit back, read on, and enjoy.
So can you tell us a little bit of backstory about your band? How did you get started, what inspired the name, etc.
Matt: Yes! Wait, has anyone ever said no? Levi, you go first.
Levi: Well in high school, Matt and I were juniors, Grant and Connor were seniors, and Matt walked up to us one day and was like, “hey do you want to start an indie rock band called lobster party?” And we were like, “yeah, that sounds sick.”
Matt: Fun fact, I based it off of the Red Lobster ad, where they have a promotion called “Lobster Fest,” and I was like, “that’s a great band name!” But then I screwed it up when I presented it to them, and the rest is history.
Grant: And I’m just the drummer so Matt walked up to me one day and said “hey, do you want to play in a band?” (Matt: Yeah, true.) Basically I just said yes, and then it just got started from there. It was my senior year in high school, and Matt and Levi were still juniors so they had an extra year, it was a great commitment.
Sick, so can you guys make up a name for your sound? Like if you had to come up with a crazy funky name, what would you call it?
Matt: Well, I would say Lobster Party is probably like… (Levi: Hot dog rock!) It’s hot dog rock, it’s scum rock…We’re part of a collective called Scum Dungeon Records. It’s just basically the four of us just trying to make a record label. It’s just for the lonely souls on the dance floor that like, are always getting crosses made out of fingers thrown in their face, and people are hissing and stuff at them when they dance. But yeah, we’re just here to be angsty, be teens… maybe angsty teen metal? I don’t know… Let’s just say it’s bad.
That’s a pretty great description haha. Okay, how do you think music has changed you as individuals? What would you be if you never had music?
Grant: Well, I would probably still be going to college if I didn’t play music. (Levi: Same!)
Matt: Also, chicks wouldn’t be into me as much as they are. Can you put in that chicks are super into me? (Yes, yes we can.)
Grant: So, Levi and Matt are both kind of in between college life right now. (Matt: We’re dropping out!) Exactly, you heard it here folks. (Matt: Don’t tell my mom, we’re taking a leave.) Yeah, but anyways, for me… Connor and I are like, the committed college students so (Levi: Well Connor is studying music.) Yeah, he’s studying music so I’m the only one who’s not studying music. (Levi & Matt: Music business, music business!) Music business is what Connor is studying but for me, I’m still in San Diego at USD studying psychology and theology… Which is not music, obviously, but it’s like one of those extra things on top that makes life that much sweeter.
I noticed that you guys were broken up for a long time, what was going on during that period?
Matt: Well Levi and I got into a huge fight (all three laugh). They (Grant and Connor) just went off to college and Levi and I were still in high school, but then we went off to college to. We were all just kind of at separate schools and couldn’t really do anything, but we weren’t broken up because of bad blood or anything, we’re all still the closest friends. I called them more than I called my mom, so yeah, they’re my best friends.
Levi: But when we do break up, we really want it to be like a huge fight on stage.
Matt: We’re going to throw crap at each other. (Grant & Levi: Yeah!) We’re going to cook a lobster on stage too.
Grant: I’ve been looking for an excuse to clock Matt in the face for so long!
Well let us know when that happens and we’ll be there to catch it on video.
Grant: Oh we will, everyone’s going to know anyways. I’m just going to be on stage on my drum throne. I’m not going to do anything I’m just gonna watch all of it and then I’m going to eventually walk off stage.
Matt: Yeah, everyone wants to punch me, that’s like what this band has lead up to. Everyone like hates me enough to want to fight me, but they need me.
Levi: We’ve pitched so many music video ideas just like… (Matt: Basically in every music video I get punched and we’ve never filmed one yet). (Everyone laughs)
Matt: That’s the basis of all of our videos, is that I will be punched at some point by one of them, if not all of them. Oops, we’re getting off topic sorry.
Oh it’s fine. So who are some of your major influences?
Grant: Bombay Bicycle Club! Their first album was influential for us.
Matt: For me as a human being, I think we all love Father John Misty too. All these people that we’re listing, I don’t think we sound anything like, we can’t tap into that exactly, but they really influenced us to keep creating. Oh! Pinegrove, how could we forget! Pinegrove is number one influence on us right now, they’re great check them out.
Grant: Yeah, I think it’s funny because I think Connor, Levi, and Matt all have pretty similar music tastes. Then for me, I grew up listening to like, metal, classic rock, so we have a metal, sort of infused surf-pop-y drums. I have a double bass pedal that I use and pretty much in every performance so there are parts where you hear some harder rock, or metal, sometimes even like punk-esque drum beats and stuff like that. My favorite drummer is Neil Peart from Rush, so I try to channel a lot of hits, same as he does. We’re all kind of on the same page with what we like.
Matt: We were all in jazz band too so I think that plays a part into just the overall structures in the songs. There’s some jazz chords and such, but it’s not jazz, I don’t want to turn off anyone from listening.
What was the strangest experience you guys have had on stage?
Matt: We all kissed once (all three burst laughing).
Grant: Except for the drummer! Except for the drummer! (Matt: HA HA yeah, the drummer was not involved in that one.) Grant didn’t do it, I didn’t do it!
Matt: But I would like to go on the record stating that Levi, Connor, and I did kiss.
Levi: Can you explain? Explain.
Yeah, was it just like a peck or was it a passionate kiss?
All Three: No, it was a peck, it was a peck!
Levi: It was a very manly peck!!
Matt: We were all like, “I LOVE YOU MAN!” And then, you know.
Levi: Yeah, okay, so it was like a strong, masculine peck is what I’m hearing. (Matt: Nahhhhh, it was pretty feminine…) STRONG MASCULINE PECK. Okay, Matt’s was feminine but everyone else’s was masculine.
Matt: I’m passionate with my lipsss (everyone laughs).
Grant: And I just want to repeat: the drummer was not involved in that one. (Matt: But I was thinking of Grant while it was happening.) Right, okay, fair enough, I’ll take that. So this is our strangest experience at a show?
Matt: Well I don’t want it to be about kissing someone. We use to have beach balls, and then we were kicking them in the crowd. They hit a lot of people’s faces, which was strange, but then when we were playing this one show and we were super stoked we had all these beach balls. We set them loose, and the big bouncer guy that they have in the middle just grabbed them and popped them all (everyone bursts laughing). So that’s kind of our strangest experience on stage, super fun.
Oh god I know that bouncer you’re talking about.
Matt: Yeah, he’s a great guy though I’m not trying to dis him at all. He’s also huge and can totally beat me up. If you’re reading this, I completely respect you.
Grant: For me, if I described my strangest moment, as a drummer, it would be this one show, we played with a band… I won’t say their name but they needed a drum set so I let them use my kick drum and the whole set basically. We set it up and I let them use it, and uh, they trashed my drum head on the kick drum, so I was playing with a broken bass drum for our entire set while the other band got a perfect drum set for all of their time which is pretty funny. Oh, and then there was this one time I think we played a show after school, we were all still in high school, and I actually had a baseball game before, I played varsity baseball. Anyway, I came back after a game and I had a completely dirty jersey, everything, in my baseball uniform and played a show. That really showcased my…uh… (Levi: Fashion) That’s right my great fashion.
Where do you guys think you would be if you never started this band? Like what would you be doing right now?
Matt: A loser! A nobody! Uh, we’d probably do music some other way, I don’t know. Levi…
No, like if you had no musical talent whatsoever.
Grant: So occupations if you did not play music at all, like right now (Levi: So you go first). Well I would probably still be similar to where I am, I’d probably be boring, but really really engaged in school, a total nerd… (Matt: Yeah we’d be the type of kids that get made fun of.) If I actually, if I didn’t I probably could have had a college baseball career if I kept playing in high school, or uh, played as much as I did. Then I would have plans to go get, like, a PHD right out of college but, now I don’t think… I don’t know, we’ll see.
Levi: Music saves lives I guess (everyone laughs).
Matt: I would have probably been an artist, like a visual artist. Before I was going to do this, my mom convinced me that I should’ve been an artist, because she thought that was more lucrative.
Levi: He still is an artist, Matt is definitely an artist.
Grant: He makes all of our album art.
Isn’t a musician also an artist?
Matt: Yeah, but I’d be a visual artist. I’d still be making no money, probably, you know, not having a fun life for a long time. Maybe when I die people would want to buy some of my stuff, who knows?
Levi: You just have to fake your own death, that’s the only way to make it dude. Um, I would… Yeah, I don’t… I’m kind of in a similar boat as Matt, the only other things I like are like, History and English, so I would still be making no money. Yeah, maybe when I die… Except when I die no one will care, so that’s one difference.
Can we expect anything new from you guys?
Matt: Oooooo, well we (Levi: We are attempting to record a new album). We are recording an album.
Levi: We finished the drums, it’s coming out eventually, (Matt: Look for it next winter!) God knows when (Matt: Next winter, God knows, God knows.) Other than that, new… Well Matt and I are moving to Seattle, like together, (Matt: We’re not a couple! Just putting that out.) and Connor is probably going to stay…
Matt: I mean, it’s been questionable before, but I’m trying to use this ad to get chicks, 5’s and 6’s are accepted, 7’s and above would be best (the entire room bursts laughing).
Levi: Okay, we’re… this is probably going to be one of the last times we’re all in the same state for a very long time. We want to play like whenever we’re around each other, but, you know, it’s come to a close.
Grant: Yeah, so I’m the only one that’s staying in San Diego, for the longest period of time. I still go to college here, and obviously all through high school, and everybody else has pretty much just left me at that point, but it’s not anything personal like that. I’m not bitter about it at all, sometimes I get a little pissed at school when I’m just like, really itching to play some music and I just can’t do that because these guys aren’t around. The plan, for the future, hopefully, will be: I’ll definitely try and come up to Seattle whenever I can and come play shows with them. On breaks, and anything like that if they don’t come home, and then most likely they’ll probably come home too.
So this is serious? You’re not like, faking your death to sell more albums right?
Matt: No, we are… We… Well, there will be an album release with a lot of the material we have, and then Levi, Connor, and I all kind of have some solo projects going on right now. Connor’s is called… well it’s yet to be determined but it’s going to be sick. So hit him up for more info! Then my project’s called Sorority Girls, and it’s a little bit more dancy, it’s a little bit more funky. It was called charming indie, so I guess I’ll go with that title for now or… dirt funk? Whatever you want to call it. (Levi: Dude mine is dirt folk, you can’t be dirt funk.) Well he’s dirt folk, I’m dirt funk, I mean wow we’re definitely living together.
Levi: Yeah, I have a solo project called Drench Fries, Matt and I are moving to Seattle to pursue music. We’re going to be doing a lot of that and playing shows together, Matt and I have a band called Tight Pants too, it’s a duo. We’re moving up there with another one of our friends who’s doing music, so we’re just going to be like, living the dream. Except we’re going to be almost homeless (Matt: There’s no dream, we’re living the nightmare. Don’t tell my mom I told her it was going to be fun.)
Aw, is there anything else you guys would like to be present in the article?
Matt: Sorry Connor couldn’t make it everyone, I know you’re probably reading this just to hear what he had to say, and (Levi: He has nothing to say!) he’s working at Lego Land right now.
Levi: Connor works at Lego Land, let’s make that public right now!
Grant: He’s an usher, he gets paid to hand people 3D glasses and tell them to stay in line, easiest job in Lego Land some might say.
Matt: Well I’m teaching guitar lessons for the last few months so, hit me up if you want to learn how to shred!
With that, we ended out interview with popular indie band, Lobster Party, and closed the door on yet another era in local music. We look forward to hearing your new album and what comes from each of your solo projects, and hope to see you guys in town again soon. Thank you so much for talking with us before Frick It Fest 2016, and thank you again for putting on such an amazing show. I think everyone in the crowd appreciated you closing your set, and the night, with the Drake & Josh theme song. (Disclaimer: The band’s argument about the controversial topic of tots vs. fries will be included in a future article, as well as the voices of many other previously interviewed artists, so keep an eye out for that!)