Artist Interview – PUBLIC the Band

On Thursday, I got the chance to talk to the guys from PUBLIC the band, via Skype. They were incredibly nice, and I appreciated the time that they took to talk to me, despite having to drive to another show later that night.

Me: Alright, so we’re going to start off with some easy ones. Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman?
PUBLIC: Batman. Batman.
Me: The world is ending! What’s one thing you have to do before we all go up in flames?
PUBLIC: Batman! Er… Each of us individually, or as a band?
Me: Either one.
PUBLIC: Tip of the tongue… I know what I would do. This is probably what I would do. Well, it’s complicated, how long do we have? Does the world end tomorrow or in five minutes?
Me: You have an hour.
PUBLIC: An hour… No traveling time in an hour… I’d probably get together with a group of my closest friends and have like a cheers to, like a good life, and then go up in flames. Yeah.. Right! I would cover myself in marshmallows, so that when I went up in flames, I would just be like a giant smore. I would fill John’s pool in hot fudge and just jump in. Yeah, yeah! That’s my answer, Ben. John would be the marshmallow, Matt would be the fudge, and I would be the graham cracker, and then we would all hug so that when the world goes up in flames, we would be collectively a smore.
Me: Okay then!
PUBLIC: That’s the right answer, wasn’t it?
Me: That was… the best answer.
PUBLIC: Good job, guys.
Me: That’s my favorite answer I’ve ever heard, actually. What are you all currently listening to, music-wise?
PUBLIC: You-you can answe that. I’m listening to a lot of classical music. Nerd. I really am. Klaus Debussey, that’s my favorite. I just bought Melanie Martinez’s new album, Crybaby, so that’s what I’m listening to. I’m listening to a guy called Tom Miche, who’s like, he’slike a modern, kind of contemporary Jazz kind of guy, and he features other singers, it’s really cool because you’ve got jazz, and you’ve got like a kind of ghetto bass in there, it’s really cool just like music for driving.
Me: Yeah, there’s actually a local band from Columbus who does that kind of thing, they’re called Digisaurus and we actually wrote about them before. Are you guys friends with any of the bands that you’ve played with before, like WALK THE MOON, MisterWives, or twenty one pilots?
PUBLIC: I would say generally, like yeah. Like, if we aren’t friends already, and some of the other bands we play with, we become friends with. Yeah, like Matt is good friends with the bass player from American Authors, I got to know the bass player and like the singer from MisterWives kinda well, the twenty one pilots guys we played a lot with when we were younger… Oh, yeah, and an Oh Honey tour that we just did, so we know Nick Santino. I think you kind of end up becoming buddies with them all, and if you don’t then it’s kind of a loss, y’know… So, yeah! Yes.
Me: How would you describe the color blue to a blind person?
PUBLIC: The color blue…. Ben actually, he’s done that. Yeah, I do this all the time. I run a small business where blind people come to me and I describe colors for them. I would say.. imagine you dunk your head in really really cold water and you snap it out and as soon as your head’s out of the water, you get hit with, like, a cold chill. And then, you stuff your mouth with blueberries and scream.
Me: Alrighty…
PUBLIC: No, nothing tastes more blue than blueberries, except maybe blue paint. *laughing*
Me: You guys are currently unsigned, so you produce your own music, right?
PUBLIC: We are? *laughing* Yeah, we are. We do. Mostly Ben, I mean Ben is the production point side. I guess more with that is like when we write and record music, we kind of have to pay for that all ourselves. It’s very DIY, whereas a record label will, you know, they’ll front the money for you to do that, but that’s kind of all in-house for us, you know.
Me: What’s next for you guys, as a band?
PUBLIC: Um… We just, like, we just wrote a lot of new music, and someday soon, we’ll… Like, I think the next step for us is releasing new music. We’re not really sure when that’ll happen, but like, it’s this big thing for us. Yeah, there’s kind of a lot going on, I would say that on the business end, the unsigned end of PUBLIC right now, um, and along with that there’s a lot of content that we’ve been working on for the past few months, and we’ve been figuring out how to get that out to people. It’s gonna come within the next couple of months, we’re kind of just waiting to unleash that.
Me: What’s the most fun venue you that you’ve ever played?
PUBLIC: Oh, it’s probably different for all of us. I have to take a minute to think about it. (Matt) Oh, I have one! I can’t recollect all of the concerts that we’ve ever played, or how to gauge how much fun I had at each one, but Fourth Street Live in Kentucky, when we played with Young The Giant was really really cool. It was just a closed-off street in Kentucky. It was super, super fun to play that. Just because everyone was in a narrow space.
Me: Alright!
PUBLIC: (John) Um… I think, honestly, I think my favorite performance might have been that one, there was just so much energy. As far as venue goes, there’s a place called Trees, in Dallas, that was just really cool. We played there when we toured with Walk The Moon last October. I don’t know why, but it was just such a cool, it was kind of forest-themed inside, like the pillars were painted like trees and the stage was really high off the ground. I don’t know why I liked it, it was just very cool. I had a giant tree in front of me the whole time, splitting half the audience, so I had to keep dodging the tree trunk. (Ben) I agree, the same one Matt said, my favorite show was the one in Louisville, in Kentucky with Young The Giant. I think that was the first really high-energy outdoor experience that we had.
Me: Do you guys have any weird fan encounter stories?
PUBLIC: Ooh, I know that I do, I just have to think about this one for a second. I think I’m the only one in the group that’s had this, but some fan wrote fanfiction about my biceps. That was so weird… That was bad. It took us to a dark place. It was dark.
Me: Did you read it?!
PUBLIC: Yeah, it was a weird thing to read about me. Oh yeah, that.
In general, a thing, everywhere we go, our fans bring us sour candy. That’s a good thing! It’s not weird, it’s great. Um.. It’s not like an encounter, but a few times on the internet, people have commented on my pictures and called me “dad”, I don’t really get it, I think it might be a social media culture thing that I don’t really understand… Okay, well this isn’t that strange, but we played a show at a college a few weeks ago, and this girl really wanted me to kiss her. She didn’t really specify where, she just kept saying “kiss me”, and I was saying, like, you know, I have a girlfriend, I don’t really do that in pictures, and she just wouldn’t take no for an answer. So she kind of left in not a great mood, and it was just kind of odd. Ha… An unsigned band doesn’t kiss anyone… *laughing*
Me: Why did you start the band, did you guys grow up together? How did you meet?
PUBLIC: Me (Ben) and John grew up together, we’ve been friends since before we were born, and we started playing music at the same time, in like Middle school, and then when we were in high school, we met Matt in the Jazz band. Him and I, he was a sax player and he was kind of messing around with the bass, and he and I would meet up before band practice sometimes and we would kind of jam, it was really bad. He was kind of getting me into some other music that I didn’t really know yet, like Muse, and then one day he came over to where Ben and I kind of jammed, and we jammed as a three-piece, and it was pretty fluid.
Me: That’s so cool! What is your plan B, if this doesn’t work out?
PUBLIC: Golf. Well, there’s that blind color business. I’m gonna be a farmer. I have a few different things that I like, and I don’t know if I would call them “Plan Bs”, but I really really like film. I’ve been getting into some local, like acting stuff lately, and through our booking agent, there have been some things that really have been cool. I also really really would like to get involved in, like, protecting endangered animals. That’s like, something that i think I could spend a lot of time doing. And, I’m a year ahead of both of them, so I actually went to Ohio State University for engineerig, then I transferred over to UC, and I took engineering for two years there, and now I’m taking a year off. So if I needed a plan B, I would probably go back to school for that, get my MBA, and then see where it takes me. The boring stuff, yeah. I’m good at the boring stuff.
Me: My brother’s into engineering! What kind of engineering?
PUBLIC: Civil engineering. *laughing* They don’t get it. We’re making jokes, sorry.
Me: Who would you say your musical influences are, as a band?
PUBLIC: As a band… You’re gonna have to limit us, give us a number. I’d say the Killers, Maroon Five, Muse…
Me: Good choices!
PUBLIC: And then individually, lots of Ledd Zeppelin. I think, um, I think as far as some of the new stuff that I’ve been working on, I think some of the new vocal territory that I’ve been trying to explore. I think Adam Levine, and I think Brendon Urie, kind of trying to push myself a little bit. Um, first starting as a bass player, bass players… Flee from Hot Chili Peppers and the bassist from Youth. Lately, I’ve been into kind of pop artists like Jason Derulo, and listening to where the bassline kind of is pop songs, like where it just sits. It’s kind of a learning curve.
*John holds up two kittens*
Me: Those are your cats, I’m guessing?
PUBLIC: *laughing* Sorry, what was that?
Me: Cats.
PUBLIC: *laughs* that’s my Plan B, right there. Those two little angels.
Me: Alright, one more. Who’s your favorite band who you’ve opened for, both in musical taste and personality-wise?
PUBLIC: Hmmm.. Twenty One Pilots, I would say in personal ways, those guys are like the best. I, uh, I can imagine.
Me: Yeah, I’m going to their show on Friday!
PUBLIC: Is that at the Schott?
Me: Yeah! I’m excited!
PUBLIC: It’s gonna be rad. Um, that’s a tough one. There are some bands where I wish we had spent more time with, so like sometimes it’s like ships passing in the night, you know? You play your shows, you leave. I think Josh and Tyler have made an impact on me, though. Specifically talking to Tyler, about songwriting, he’s someone with a very clear vision, so I took a lot away from that. Someone, like, Eli from WALK THE MOON has become an actual, like close friend of mine, like whenever we’re both home, we try to get together and write and hang out, so that’s kind of a rare thing to actually develop with someone else. I think mine was who we got to experience the most was WALK THE MOON, seeing as we’re both Cinci bands, we kind of got to see them grow up. We’re coming from the same thing, and Kevin, the bass player, kind of took me under his wing, and I think I learned the most from them so far. I was able to connect the most with them.
Me: Do you guys all live together?
PUBLIC: No, we’re just practicing here. We’re actually about to leave, and drive through the night. We have a show tomorrow.
Me: Alright, that’s all I have. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
PUBLIC: Did you win your field hockey game? Can you answer our question?
Me: *laughs* no we did not. JV did not, but Varsity tied 0-0 with our biggest rival of the whole season.
PUBLIC: What position do you play?
Me: I’m a right back, so defense.
PUBLIC: Is it similar to hockey? Two of us played hockey for a long time.
Me: Kind of… Sorta.
PUBLIC: So, yeah. Is that it?
Me: Yes, thank you! Have fun at your show!
PUBLIC: Cool, thanks! Have fun at the Twenty One Pilots show!

Despite their comical answers to some of the questions, the boys from PUBLIC were cool. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am excited for that new music that they mentioned! Go like their Facebook page, check out our review of them, and listen to some of their stuff, because I really love this band.

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