Alternative rock is a staple in San Diego music and these local teens are paying homage to that, while still creating their own, pop-driven, rock sound that is shaking up a plethora of venues across town. Without an EP, these 18-year-olds from North County San Diego, have been booking shows at The Casbah and House of Blues with ease, all due to their talent and what they believe to be the main ingredient for success: kindness.
We sat down with Michael Leto, Luke Fabry and Cole Clisby of Almost Monday to chat about their upcoming EP, how they found a place in the local music scene and their post-high school plans.
PACIFIC: Tell us about how Almost Monday formed as a band.
Luke: Me and my best friend Dawson, who is the lead singer but is currently away in Ireland, we have always wanted to be in a band. When we started thinking of people who could fit, Cole came along. Dawson met Cole through surfing and they started doing music. That's how the three of us came together. Michael came a little later. We went through two other drummers until we found him and he is a great fit. It's been about six months since the current lineup has been together.
Michael: When I joined them, they already had a bit of a following. So, as soon as we started, it was like show, show, show, show. It's been really cool.
You have been playing tons of shows without even dropping an EP, how has that worked out for you?
Luke: It's crazy but we have always been throwing stuff together to get ready for shows. It has been our main focus up until now. We still write, but not as much as we want to be.
Cole: After doing a lot of shows, it's nice that we are going to be able to spend the time to look into every part of the song and work with outside opinion, too.
Luke: The EP is on the way.
What can listeners expect from your first EP?
Luke: As cheesy as it sounds, it's us soundtracking our youth. Music is such an emotional connection and the idea of having a song or an EP that really connects with you, and instantly reminds you of a memory or place when you hear it, is cool. We want to get this out before summer comes so it can be kind of a summer soundtrack.
Cole: We want to create something we are stoked on that hopefully translates well. We hope people like it. We want to use the EP to play some more shows around here and hopefully elsewhere, too.
Luke: We are juggling around a couple producers and trying to find the right fit, but we will be recording at Switchfoot's studio. We are really excited about that.
Here's how I think of it: This is the window, the window is here and it's only getting smaller so let's try to fit through it now. It's not gonna happen later if we don't try hard now and give it all that we got. - Luke Fabry
How did the relationship with Switchfoot emerge?
Cole: I am friends with some of the members of Switchfoot, so they were kind enough to offer to let us use their space.
Luke: Dawson works (at the studio) as well, so it was kind of a double connection for us and it has been great.
How do you feel about the San Diego music scene and the shows you have had here so far?
Michael: When we throw a show, we do all the booking, promoting and everything on our own. We have been fortunate because a lot of the other shows we play just kind of get thrown our way through emails or whatever. I have some friends trying to make it in San Diego and they feel that they are tanking terribly. All they do is complain about not being able to do things here and about the San Diego music scene, but for us, it has been amazing.
Luke: It's been awesome. We know people don't just get shows like this and it's been great. L.A. is way more impacted than San Diego, and it's more mellow here. There's not that many "kid bands" in town that are just killing it, so it's easier to get that music heard. You have to work for it, but there are people who want new music and are ready to hear it.
Michael: We definitely got very lucky, though. The connections all four of us bring to the band, don't make sense.
Luke: Really though, building relationships and being kind - those simple things really matter. You can be the most amazing band and that's one thing, but if you're just rude and obnoxious you aren't going to get too far.
Who or what inspires your alternative rock sound?
Luke: Switchfoot is cool, like they are awesome people. They aren't lame and aren't just like, doing cocaine and partying every night. We don't want to do that. They show you can kind of do it big and still do it right.
Cole: Musically, we are inspired by Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix, The 1975 and Saint Motel.
What's the band's game plan post high school?
Luke: We want to continue to play together, that's the goal. We'll all be in school, I'll be heading to Point Loma Nazarene University.
Cole: I think I'll be at UCSD.
Michael: Yeah, and I'll be heading back down to San Diego (currently a freshman at Riverside College) to attend Point Loma, too.
Luke: It is going to be crazy, though. You hear people like, "We went to school for the band," and it's kind of a big deal. Here's how I think of it: This is the window, the window is here and it's only getting smaller so let's try to fit through it now. It's not gonna happen later if we don't try hard now and give it all that we got.
Dawson Daugherty - vocals, bass, guitar
Luke Fabry - guitar, bass
Cole Clisby - guitar, bass
Michael Leto - drums, synthesizer
Local Brews Local Grooves
When: Saturday, March 25
Where: House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave., downtown
About the brew
We grabbed some tea and coffee drinks over at Living Room of Point Loma. The cozy coffee shop is one of three others in the small San Diego chain of "living room" coffee houses. The coffee shop serves a large variety of teas, house made coffees and blended drinks, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner.
1018 Rosecrans St., Point Loma. pointlomalivingroom.com