Los Angeles rock band New Language makes their way to Silverlake’s Dinosaur Coffee to chat about their latest single “Bail Me Out,” being a part of the KROQ Locals Only club, and how Richard the gold skeleton came to be the band’s mascot.
New Language is comprised of:
Tyler Demorest – guitar and lead vocals
Matt Cohen – bass and backing vocals
Sebastien Betley – guitar
Richard – resident HBIC (Head Bone-Daddy In Charge)
So you have a single out right now called “Bail Me Out.” I wanted to ask you, what inspired the instrumentation, the lyrics, and the promotion aspect?
Tyler: “Bail Me Out” is kind of like the complete opposite of our last single “Give In,” where it’s a bit catchier for radio purposes. KROQ started picking that up. We decided as we were writing the song that we wanted to write something a little heavier.
Matt: This one started off with my bassline kind of all honky donkey. *does air bass example*
Tyler: Oh yeah!
Matt: It’s not really our style at all, but I brought it in for Tyler to hear. We plugged it into his guitar amp, and totally tried a Royal Blood, Death From Above type of situation. He got on the drums, and that really evolved from that kind of honky donk style that I was playing around with.
It’s funny how it ends up working out when you’re just messing around, trying something new.
Tyler: Yeah! Our songs tend to change a lot from the initial demo phase, but then we end up jamming out on it to help it grow. The band consists of Matt, myself, and our friend Sebastian who’s played guitar with us since the beginning. It’s not a set four guys in a room jamming all the time, it more along the lines starts from an idea one of us has or from the three of us together with me getting on drums on something that we had written. They definitely grow a lot from its initial state.
And since you mentioned that it’s really only part of you that are in the same room brainstorming. Do you think that’s easier than having four or more separate personalities there are at the same time or is that just what naturally happens?
Tyler: It’s kind of what ends up happening. *laughs* I think everything kind of just depends on the situation. With the first record we wrote, it was four guys in a room with no preconceived ideas. Now it’s really just based on how schedules work. We have a rapport with each other from working together for a long time so it makes it easier.
So your guys’ music video for “Bail Me Out” is completely animated, which I think is really cool by the way.
Matt: Thank you!
What made you want to go in that kind of artistic direction for the video and how long did it actually take to get everything done for it?
Tyler: So the animation kind of accidentally came up as a part of ‘our thing.’ When we first started the band, we had bought that skeleton, spray painted him gold, and did our own kind of stop-motion with him. From there we kept growing that idea and always wanted to make sure that we incorporate that in what we’re doing. With this video, in particular, I went onto this website called Upwork, it’s kind of a digital freelancer hub, and we got this guy from Hungary to do it. I typed out the treatment and the shots that we wanted for the music video, posted it as a job listing and ended up finding this guy who does really cool stuff that worked with our aesthetic. We worked together on creating the characters, sent him pictures of us to animate, then he sent me all of the individual pieces and I cut them all together. It was definitely a process, but it’s also very 2018 working with a dude we’ve never met from Hungary to animate our video. *laughs*
Matt: I think we’re always looking for creative ways to incorporate the band performance music video without it being just us playing. I mean, we did that for “Give In” and it’s a great video, but I think we’re just always looking for creative ways to bring forth more.
Yeah! Keeping your audience on their toes and wanting more!
Matt: Exactly! *laughs*
And since we were already kind of talking about it, I’ve noticed a lot of your social media posts are more interactive and overall and have a bit more aesthetic. Do you feel like those styles of posts are what’s getting people to want to learn more about you as a band?
Tyler: I don’t know actually. As a group, we just wanted to create cool stuff and not limit it only to our music. You’ve got to create good merch and cool posts. We take the time to create the things that we think are neat, but I don’t think it’s really that intentional. We’ll just think “Oh, this is cool!” or do fun things with our skeleton or have different things that are more interesting going on in our posts.
And you had already mentioned that with the skeleton you had found it and decided to make it a part of your band, almost like your mascot. Does the skeleton have a name?
Matt: Richard is his name. *laughs*
I’ll have to make Richard the featured photo for the live post. *laughs*
Tyler: That was actually our press photo for a while. Just four little skeletons. *laughs* It’s been really fun to have that because it makes it easier to think of creative concepts, storylines, just things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do if you were taking normal pictures of yourself.
That’s very true. Not a whole lot of bands really have that aspect of having a character that they incorporate.
Tyler: Yeah. It’s by no means unique because you’ve got Eddie from Iron Maiden. *laughs* But for us, we spray painted him gold because we wanted to show that everything that we do is serious while not taking ourselves too seriously. We can have fun with a blinged out skeleton without it being too tongue-in-cheek.
Cool. And how important do you think it is to have engaging ways to promote yourselves in this day in age? I mean, it definitely shows that you put in time and effort into each post instead of doing a “Hey! This is my guitar!” kind of thing. Even with the animations as well.
Matt: Yeah, they do take awhile. *laughs*
Tyler: That was the first video we outsourced to get animated. The first video that we did, we worked with our friend J.J. in New York. He wrote out the characters as well as the hand-drawn stuff. But with “Everybody Screams” and the lyric videos were all of us just trying to figure out new skills. *laughs*
Matt: We were learning Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and stop motion on the fly. *all laugh*
Tyler: Yeah we were like “Let’s buy Final Cut and we’ll figure it out.” *laughs*
I mean, that tends to be a reoccurring thing in life, not just music. *laughs* So in terms of the local music community, would you say that there is an unpublicized competition between the rock bands in the local scene?
Matt: I actually don’t think so. As of late, there’s almost been even more of a little community kind of forming right now. We’ve been playing a lot with the Locals Only scene, and we got to do the KROQ stage at the Warped Tour, which kind of created a little hang out for bands all experiencing the same thing right now. It feels a bit more unified.
Tyler: Not everybody is out to ‘win’ right now. Matt sometimes plays in Holy Wars, another band that’s also doing well in L.A. I think we’ve all learned to work together to create something instead of being in competition with each other. The older I’ve gotten, I’ve learned that even with bigger bands, everyone is working with each other to create more music.
It’s definitely a better support system when you’re all in the same group together.
Tyler: Yeah! I mean, obviously you want to succeed and do well, but I don’t think everybody is like “No, I don’t want them to do it.” or being competitive.
And that’s cool that you’re working with other local bands too. I’m sure that Locals Only has helped as well.
Matt: Yeah, it’s been a really cool experience getting to know them. We got in touch with a guy named Chris who works there who checked out our music, and we ended up becoming friends with him.
Tyler: They’re really honest people and they’ve been very supportive, Chris especially. They’ve been playing us on the air and announcing our shows. And we got to hang out with them a little bit more at Warped Tour.
Speaking of Warped Tour, you guys got to play the KROQ stage at the Pomona date.
Unfortunately, I missed it because I was at the Ventura date. I was bummed. But how was that experience like playing the last Warped Tour?
Tyler: You never know what to expect, but we went into the venue and were just amazed at the incredible job they did. They put us on a huge stage right in the middle of one of the main stages and one of the metal stages right across from the beer garden, so there was a lot of foot traffic. Beyond the logistics of just wanting to play, we were thankful to be able to sneak onto the last Warped Tour. *laughs* It was a great time.
And you can brag to everybody about playing the last Warped Tour. *laughs*
Matt: *laughs* Yeah! We made it on, and it was hot!
Tyler: Definitely made me realize that I need to get in better shape. *laughs* I was fucking tired.
Matt: Yeah, theme parks, and Warped Tour, you know it’s gonna be hot no matter what.
And if you could choose three artists to go on your own personal world tour, who would they be and what would you name your tour?
Matt: Ooh. Wow, I have no idea.
Tyler: Matt’s is gonna be like Hanson. *all laugh*
Matt: *laughs* Naw! I don’t know, whenever I get questions like this I always just go to Queen for some reason. *Tyler laughs* Like if you could just hang out with one band live, I would just love to see Queen in their hay day. You know?
Tyler: I could get behind that. I don’t know if there’s enough room for a second after that. *all laugh* I mean, any heavy rock band that’s still doing stuff today like Deftones and Mastodon would be someone we’d love to tour with.
Matt: Thrice is on the bucket list too.
And what would you name your tour?
Tyler: Oh man, I don’t know! It takes a long time for us to name stuff. *all laugh* Even with our band name and album names, and stuff like that. What would you name our tour?
The ‘I Don’t Know, It Takes A Long time For Us To Name Stuff’ Tour. *all laugh*
Matt: Alright! That’s what we’re going with. *laughs*
And kind of keeping on that vein of naming things. What made you choose New Language as your name?
Tyler: I mean, it was a process. *laughs* The band itself started when a couple of us got together with Tony Haijar, who plays drums for At The Drive In. We weren’t really intending on it becoming a new band, that’s just how it ended up. And then we ended up writing a record together, and it just felt so good to have a completed work that we started throwing around band names. We felt that the term ‘new language’ really encompassed the feeling of what we were doing musically, its message and its vibe without having to explain how to spell it or what it sounded like. It’s the first band name that I’ve actually liked. *laughs*
That’s always a good thing. *laughs* What are some of your favorite venues that you’ve played so far? They can be in L.A. or any other places that you’ve toured.
Tyler: I think my favorite show that we’ve ever done was in Atlanta. It was a place called The Masquerade, and this was supposed to be one of the last shows they were doing. It’s a mill with three venues, and we were playing at the stage on top. Everything was just super low with short ceilings and everyone was sweaty. It was crazy!
Matt: It was like monsooning outside so water was dripping through the ceiling. It was the second to last show before the venue closed.
Definitely a story to remember.
Tyler: Yeah definitely. We also played The Midland Theater in Kansas City. That show was really fun and that venue was just huge. We had this six-foot banner because we were the opening band, and we were like, “Yeah! This is gonna look really good!” Then we took a picture of it and realized that it was probably the tallest venue we’ve ever been in.
Matt: Its capacity was actually five thousand people.
Tyler: Yeah, so when you only have like two thousand in there it feels so empty. *laughs* But it was still pretty cool.
And then your six-foot banner looked like a little two-foot banner. *laughs*
Tyler: It was hilarious. We sent the picture to our team and they just got a kick out of it.
I bet! *laughs* Now, your music has been featured on a few frequently listened to Spotify playlists. What are you guys rocking on your own playlists?
Matt: We’ve actually recently made a playlist of all of the stuff we’ve been listening too. It pretty much consists of everything that we mentioned on that dream tour with bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Death From Above, Norma Jean.
Tyler: This guy Astronauts, Etc. just put out a new album that I’m digging. I’ve been listening to a lot of The Black Angels, that kind of psychedelic rock. Hundred Suns too. Citizen, and our friends in Teenage Wrist.
And since we’re in the age of music streaming and social media, do you think it’s easier or harder to pave your way as an artist with music being so easily available and creating a social media presence?
Tyler: I think it’s more just different. I think it’s easier to create bands here in L.A. then it is in Kentucky and Austin, Texas without even have going there. But I also think it’s harder because there is a critical mass in each market. So I think because it is so easily accessible through those Spotify playlists, it’s easier for people to find you, get into you, follow you, and share you. But then it also doesn’t help you tour the community when you only have like 20 new fans at a time. It’s impossible to survive off of a slow-growing fan base.
Matt: I actually just had this same conversation with a friend recently. I think with the playlist thing, you can’t really name the band that you’ve been listening to lately because you’ll just know the songs. That’s a pretty normal way of listening now, so it takes more in order to really earn a fan.
Tyler: There’s a lot of passive listeners out there now, and that’s why artists are leaning more towards putting out singles as opposed to a full body of work where you experience the whole thing. You now only have three minutes to say ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing.’
Do you think there’s more of a pressure that’s being put on artists to do more of the singles tactic instead of the album in order to get the fans hooked within that three minutes time?
Tyler: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a ‘pressure,’ but it does kind of change how you want to put out your music. With so much going on, it’s just so easy to get lost in it all. So what we do is we write something, then we record it, then we put it out, and in the meantime, we’re writing other stuff in hopes of releasing an album so we have more than just that one song to work with.
Sounds like a solid setup you’ve got going on. And what do you hope your audience will take away from your music?
Matt: I hope it’s refreshing and entertaining for them, and something that they can turn up loud. I hope that it evokes a feeling, one way or another.
Tyler: Definitely. Most of the time when we’re writing music, we want to make sure the listener can feel it. We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves from never being able to write more somber styled music. We like what we’ve been doing because it’s honest, and that’s all we really want to accomplish.
And last question. What fun things should we be expecting from you guys in the near future?
Matt: I would say probably a couple more songs by the end of the year. We’re in the studio right now writing another song, so hopefully, we’ll have a new one out by the end of summer. We’re just writing a ton of music. We have one show announced in October with Cleopatrick in Downtown L.A. We’d like to go on a full tour, so that’s what we’ll be working on.
Still recovering from Warped Tour. *all laugh*
Matt: Yeah. *laughs* But now we’re ready to get going.
About Dinosaur Coffee:
Coffee and dinosaurs – two of my favorite things that I never would have thought would go together so seamlessly. Well, Dinosaur Coffee in Silverlake definitely proved me wrong, and they incorporated the theme in a tasteful way. It’s so easy to think that you will walk into the space having to push past large dino decor and potentially fight against floaty green things (leaves, flowers, vines, and such) coming down from the ceiling. However, the decor definitely veers more on the chic and modern side than Jurassic Park with tiny painted toy dinosaurs hidden among the succulents, merch, front counter and tables. But be forewarned, it’s rumored that there may be a dinosaur hidden behind the bathroom door looking to trap you there.
Their menu consists of the classic brews, along with a few specialty drinks, displayed on a wooden wave styled menu perched up in the air with a case of mouth-watering pastries perfectly placed in eyesight as you go to check out at the cash register. While I would have loved some dino themed (and shaped) food and drink, I’m glad that they kept their overall business a coffeeshop with incorporated elements. Whether you’re there for an interview like me or coordinating a mini high school reunion (that literally occurred while we were walking in), Dinosaur Coffee is worth spending the day amongst the hipsters from the pleasant atmosphere alone.