Interview: Group-Chatting with Stampeter

Stampeter - Connecticut DIY-Pop

Fresh off the release of the sad-punk outfit latest EP, "Too Many Boys", I met with the three members of Stampeter via Facebook Messenger to talk touring, workout playlists, and pineapple.

I just received your new t-shirt in the mail! Who designed them, and what made you/them decide on the Neon Genesis Evangelion theme?

Tom Fisher (drums): billie mae designed them and denny can explain why the theme was chosen.

Denny Notpuka (bass): i saw, u look so good in it! i had the idea bc we wanted to make shirts, I always rlly liked the look of those old gray fooly cooly shirts. our friend Billie Mae designed it we just sent them a frame from the anime to trace hehe, and Luca's friend Destiny printed it.
I love Eva, its one of my favorite anime tbh. Luca's seen it like halfway but they still loved Misato.

Luca Bartlomiejczyk (guitar/vocals): my friend Destiny Idalis Giusti printed the shirts, her company is De La Luna Creations.

What made you want to re-record so many older songs for Too Many Boys? How did you choose which ones to include?

Luca: well i just chose the best of the songs that we were actually playing live to record.
they were the most polished and my producer dawson goodrich felt that we could make them sound dif enough from the bedroom recordings to still sound good, but stick to what we already had in the sense of the concept.
there were only 2 songs that were already recorded but we felt they were good enough that they deserved to be polished.
the other songs on the album are just as old if not older, just never recorded until then.

How long had the live band been together before recording the record? How do you all meet?

Denny: the current lineup formed in March when luca asked me and tom to join, we've been writing new songs and makin it big full time yaknow?
tom drives half an hour to my house.
luca drives an hour from his house, or half from his school cuz hes a college boy.
we used to practice in my house but living with my grandparents. they couldn't handle the racket, so we practice at my uncles place that's a block down. he's always working and he's a contractor so he built his house but its like half complete so we just jam in the kitchen and be loud.

Luca: this lineup only happened after the record, before the record was devon covert on drums and jack dutt on bass.
but jack didn't even play bass on the album.

Denny: (devon plays in grass stains, a sick band our pals are in u should check out)
(promo for their new LP, tentative title "B. D. D.")
just putting that out there.

Besides Stampeter and Grass Stains, what bands around you are worth checking out? And what kind of bands in particular are coming out of the Connecticut scene? Did any artist in particular make you want to start writing/playing music?

Denny: i love this question!! always have thought of it in the shower.

Tom: uhhhh my favorite band for my entire childhood was coldplay and they got me started playing piano which got me into music as a whole and bands like teen suicide inspired me to write my own stuff.

Luca: for me personally i've been playing guitar and in and out of bands since i was 12 but what really brought me into this scene of music was meeting the people from my old band ellen degenerate namely judge russell from grass stains. he showed me a ton of music that i never heard of before and this underground scene that was new to me and i found it so cool that there was a whole hidden scene of music that i just hadn't been aware of. after that i started frequenting bandcamp and going to shows and stuff.
stampeter was not my first band but i think that having it be denny and toms first band experience makes it feel very new and fresh for me bc they bring so much drive and enthusiasm to the table and its really refreshing.
i would say right now that my main influences are bands in the scene who use powerful vocals/guitar and unique structures like hop along and two humans, bedroom pop bands like elvis depressedly and starry cat, folk punk bands like nana grizol and foot ox.
and i'm also trained as a jazz/blues bassist thru high school and that definitely influences the way i play.

Denny: what made me wanna start writing/playing/getting involved with music: when i was in 8th grade i stumbled upon pat the bunny's projects like ramshackle glory and wingnut dishwashers union, and they just blew me away by the lyrics and politics, it made me wanna find a scene (which i didn't find until like fresh/sophmore year lol).
i just found it really cool how someone from the area was singing about stuff that seemed big to my perspective, and was from vermont. how simple his music was (often just an acoustic and a very scratchy voice) but how much it spoke to me.
bands around us worth checkin out? hmm, DUMP HIM is from Western Mass and i really dig them, v cool punky punk but not punk punk.
Peaer was from Fairfield i think, they're making it big now but they moved to brooklyn but they still gig a lot here, I saw em on Friday
Prince Daddy & The Hyena is kinda localish, they're making it very big and i'm happy for them. we r opening for them. i'dd rec em if you haven't heard, and if you like a grinded version of weezer/btmi/green day with lots of weed jokes

Tom: two headed girl and carlos danger are the two best ones rn imo
also ice cream orphan is great

Tom, do you think Coldplay still influences your music in any way?

Tom: umm it's unlikely that they influence me too much besides maybe some song structures that i find inspiration in.

Is Stampeter your first band? What was the first show you played?

Tom: i did and kinda still do a folky lofi pop project called lifetime warranty. i started recording in freshman year and played my first show in the beginning of sophomore year.

Denny: stampeter is my first band, the first was at a pizza place we booked last minute bc our real first gig got dropped, and our second gig we were duped soooo...
it was good we were surrounded by pals.

A pizza place gig sounds ideal, to be honest. Doesn't get more Bandcamp than that. 

Denny: true the owner is super nice, i've been to a lot of gigs there. teen suicide even played there in 2015 hehe.
we played pool there a few nights ago.

What kind of pizza toppings do you usually order? How do you feel about pineapple?

Tom: i get cheese. i've never tried pineapple.

Denny: cheese, on that vegetarian wave ya dig? sometimes onions.
and i mean whatever, at that first gig toms friends from school got pineapple pizza and i got a slice bc i was really hungry. its okay. but it really doesnt compliment the pizza its just not a taste for me.

Luca: i love pineapple pizza fuck y'all.

Denny: easy i was neutral.

Luca: although i have to admit i don't usually get pineapple bc no one else likes it- my go to is olives and green peppers.

Where do you want to go with your music in the future? Do you want to keep improving on your new sound or do you want to try new stuff?

Denny: definitely improving, writing new stuff.

Luca: we've talked about this recently, our goal isn't really to get huge or anything but recently i booked TRextasy and they asked for $100 just to play and they also have been on bills with bands everyone knows like adult mom and stuff and they have audiotree sessions and that's like where i wanna be, i wanna be good enough to make a tiny bit of money and be a little known to the point where ppl love us in the scene and we don't have to beg for gigs but also that we can still get away with playing diy gigs.

Denny: in the future we're tryna play 1000 cap venues in long island with 311 and bon jovi.

Luca: short term goals tho, i wanna start solidifying new songs and putting out an EP this summer bc i'm so sick of playing the same songs ive played since i was 16.
plus denny and tom have been bringing some new songwriting to the table which i dig. so the songwriting in the future wont be solely centered around me.

Denny: the idea of fame gives me bad anxiety, i'm a v personal secluded person and its weird bc a lot of my identity in art is from my queerness which i'm not v open about sadly but i mean on a lighter note i'm cool if i can get pizza and no one recognizes me. if they do that's fine as long as its like a hello idk i sound pious.
fuck it just say hi to me whatever.

Luca: i've never thought about it too much bc it's so far out from where i am, not something i have to worry about now.
fame would be wild, but honestly if i had $$$ and fame i'd use it to donate a lot and buy a decent house for me and my girlfriend and our dogs.
i just wanna live a quiet life, and im very anxious about not having the money to do so bc im in such a strenuous career path.

What should I expect from the EP you plan to record? Also, where would you donate the money? And what kind of dogs?

Luca: i just wanna live a quiet life, and i'm very anxious about not having the money to do so bc i'm in such a strenuous career path. you can definitely expect a nod to the last album soundwise, but also a difference in songwriting and songs that are a little more punk than before.

Denny: like strong dog but longer.

Luca: now that i'm in college i'm so mellow but denny's songwriting is all angsty so there's gonna be some contradictions there. all my songs are gonna be about lifting weights and showing off my muscular physique.

if i could i'd just donate to lots of queer kids thru those tumblr gofundme's or to organizations that help queer youth, we want like five dogs of all different sizes and lots of plants maybe a garden.

So it's going to be a sad gym-core album?

Luca: im kidding about the gymcore.
imagine: i love my biceps baby, but not as much as i love you.

Denny: if u want gymcore check out fightsong.

Luca: no i've just been working out for like 3 days and i have this complex where i think i'm a fucking meathead now.

What music do you listen to when you work out?

Luca: straight up 2006 pop music.
jason derulo, beyonce, britney spears, like beat heavy pop music.
then for my cool down i listen to mellow indie  like pinegrove and ratboys.

Denny: at the gym i just listen to lil uzi vert.

What was the best year of your life, aesthetically or emotionally?

Denny: tbh? this year. last year was hell

Luca: from what i can remember this one, i mean my childhood was def better but out of my formative adolescent years definitely this one, i have a really great relationship, ive close to beaten mental illness, i'm starting to work out, i've been really trying hard at school, i recently quit my shitty job and im much happier working at the bakery with my mom again.
my only sources of stress rn are finals and sometimes my parents being controlling and stuff. they're kinda transphobic and coming out to them was a sad experience but now we just don't talk about it.

we're actually gonna be going on a small tour in july which i'm SO excited for.
we're doing like MA NY PA NJ, keeping it small rn.
over the winter break we're thinking of going west.

What's one piece of advice you'd give anyone reading this?

Denny: contrary to popular belief your pores don't have muscles that open up

Luca: i would say that uh the only way to make progress is to push yourself and work hard.
and not use ur downfalls as an excuse and instead overcome them as best you can, and you'll be proud of yourself rather than defeated thinking u cant do things, bc no matter what gets in ur way be it a disability or a setback it just means u need to work harder and go for what u wanna do regardless.
my mom taught me that bc she has physical disabilities that impact her in everyday life and she never stops grinding and tbh even tho im mentally ill, i dont either im always trying to get better and learn and do what i have to do regardless of the setbacks.

Never Stop The Grind- Muscle Milk

Denny: hm actually in general in life: know when to stop i guess.
be good to your friends, go vegetarian if you can.
i like that, luca.

grind hard play hard.