Band: Cold Fronts

Members: Michael Fickes, Craig Almquist, Alex Smith, Sefton Eisenhart and Jake Hammill

Who we talked to: Craig Almquist, 22

How did you guys meet / How long have you been performing together? We all knew each other. The guitarist Jake and I were kind of enemies. We dated the same girls and didn't really like each other. Then, we were both living in New York briefly (and) met up. I showed him some tunes, and he really liked them. We all just moved to Philadelphia together to start the band. (We) pretty much live out of this garage space we have. It's like an artist loft thing. (We) got started in January.

Is that what inspired the band name? Yeah, to a certain extent. A lot of the songs kind of reflect a little bit of seasonal depression. But nothing too serious.

Describe your sound and style. (We're) pretty garage rock, but with a lot of guitarmonies. It's really poppy and upbeat.

Who are your influence? Television, Guided By Voices, Roy Orbison (and) The Replacements. We definitely like the garage rock kind of punk. Some of the influences are kind of varied. Our guitarist (Jake) kind of likes a lot of heavier rock stuff. I like The Beach Boys a little more. I think you can kind of hear it in the sound.

Are you friends with any other bands in Philly? The Powder Kegs are pretty good friends of ours. Honestly, we play with a lot more bands from New York City, like Minerva Lions (and) Hanging Cupcakes.

All of you guys are from York County. How do the two scenes compare? Maybe because I was in high school, it seemed like there was an abundance of kids who wanted to pay $10 for shows and buy T-shirts. Now, it's a little more like everyone's broke . . . and there (are) a lot more options for shows. People can choose a lot of different places. There's a lot more room for collaborations . . . with other artists. There (are) people doing video, photos (and) setting up house shows. You could book a show, like, every day or every week here.

It sounds like you have a lot of shows on the horizon. We're just starting to do short little runs (of shows) around Boston and (Washington) D.C. and New Jersey and New York. We're not trying to travel, like, ridiculously far yet. We're doing a run with a band from New York called The Gay Blades. We're slowly expanding.

Are you working on an EP? That's actually what's next. We're going to be dropping our first EP, which should be out . . . some time (this month). We're actually doing mixes on it right now. Pretty much everyone in the band has done their own home recordings. (Jake) and I both have made our own full-length album and EPs and stuff. We were going to do studio time (for this project) but we figured we can craft our sound . . . more efficiently.

Would you ever play shows back in this area? We actually (played) The Depot (July 15 at) our friend's fundraiser for an organization she started called R.A.W. (The organizer) Shannon Sylte is a good friend of ours. It would be fun to do, like, an all ages show in York and really get all our friends out and people who had seen us in other bands.

How does your songwriting process work? I'll start out writing the starting idea (and) make a chorus first. (Then I'll) bring it to the band, and if they like it, then we start adding (musical) parts. I basically . . . make a demo of it, teach them the part and then they make them unique to their playing ability. They put their own style to it.

What do you guys like to do doing your down time? I'm not going to lie. We pretty much work all of the time. I guess we make breakfast and we work until 11 (p.m. or midnight). None of us really have jobs and if we do, we're doing the bare minimum to get by for rent and food so that we can dedicate all of our time to the band. It's a little stressful. We honestly don't see our friends as much as we used to. I'm finishing up at Temple (University) and our guitarist Sefton (also attends).

What are your goals? We've all talked about what we would do as time goes on. We want to play at South by Southwest and be in, like, a small tent at Bonnaroo or something like that. I think in the next year we'd like to be doing that full time regardless of school.

What are your biggest challenges? Making sure, like, all (our) ducks are in a row. There are so many things that go into being in a band on top of, you know, writing music and becoming tight as a band. You could have a full office to run a band (to take care of) merchandise, getting shows, managing practices, car repairs (and) graphic design. We have a manager, but no one cares more about your band than the people in it.

- Erin McCracken, FlipSide staff


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