As you can tell by now, I love to do interviews. There’s a good reason, and it’s not because I’m a male rock groupie (though, I’m sure an argument could easily be made that I am. Screw you, I’ll own that shit.). It’s because when you learn about an artist and what makes them tick, you uncover a whole new depth to their art. It’s a secret layer that goes down to the canvas, invisible to the naked eye and/or ear. When you find it, you’ll never hear (or see) art the same way again. Why? Because that layer exists within everything that artist touches! You know it’s there now, and you’ll never stop looking for it. Interviews are the key to uncovering the mystery behind the art with information coming straight from the artist, and there’s nothing better than finding a quality artist right in your own backyard!
An Author, A Poet is a five-piece alternative/hardcore rock band from Galveston, TX. Their musical stylings are a blend of post-millennial hardcore rock and alternative. They use screaming vocals to emphasize the beautiful lyrics to their songs, but they also throw in some great clean vocals and well-orchestrated twin-guitar melodies. Not often will you find a hardcore band as melodic and clever as An Author, A Poet. I listened to their debut album, Reset//Restore, and I was intrigued by the strength of the songs, as well as the variety of influences I was picking up on. I decided to contact the band and talk to them about their new music, their sound, and their goals for the future.
Rob Gomez- Hey, this is Rob from South Texas Sound Project. We’re here talking with Michael Romero, guitarist and vocalist from the band, An Author, A Poet. Michael, how you doing today, bud?
Michael Romero- I’m doing great, doing great, man. How about yourself?
RG– Not too bad! You released your debut album last year, Reset//Restore. What has it been like supporting your first release?
MR- It’s been a lot of fun, man! I think one of the things that I’m pumped about is that we actually have the material to release, and we actually get to travel the country a little bit. We’re constantly trying to look to get out on the road and (play) songs that we’ve known for a while now but we can do for other people. We just want to go out and meet new people, and play to new faces.
RG– There’s nothing like getting new people to listen to your material, whether you’ve had it for a while or not. It’s got to be a good feeling. Where did the band name come from?
MR- Actually, if I remember correctly, the band used to be called a couple of different names. Brandon Talley basically had come up with it. Funny enough, it was what sold me to join the band, because I joined about 4 years ago. They’re sitting me in their car, they’re telling me about the music, they’re letting me listen to it, and I’m like “Ok, that sounds cool.” Then they said “Well, the band name is An Author, A Poet” and I was like “Alright, sign me up! That sounds amazing!” (laughs)
RG- I like it! (laughs) Yeah, that really grabbed my attention when I got into contact with you guys. That’s a very interesting, different name.
MR- I love the name! Love the name, and I think it’s actually grown to be a part of us now, because we all do take a lot of approaches to writing. We all love to write lyrics and music. I think every single one of us plays guitar. So, it’s something we’ve tried to embody, as well.
RG- Awesome. And since a lot of rock music is written on guitar, that’s really helpful. Anybody can pick up a guitar, write a riff, and say “Hey guys, here’s what I got.”
MR- Exactly. This way, I feel like when we need to write our songs, we all have a lot of input. We all have a lot of different backgrounds and musical tastes. It’s always interesting to see what comes together. It’s funny; even when we practice, and we’re just jamming, we don’t even jam the stuff we have on the record! It’s just hilarious! We just like to have fun, man. We just like to make music and make noise, ya know?
RG- Yeah, man! That’s how most bands start. That’s why you start playing an instrument… you wanna make noise! Speaking of the writing process, what’s the writing process like for you guys? Do you write together or individually?
MR- Well, we all do our own little bit of writing, but basically how everything breaks down is we have the drummer, who is probably a better guitar player than me and Joe (Kuykendall). (laughs) Jake (Gotlobb), he’s just a freakin prodigy when it comes to things like that. In a sense, we all have our own little ideas and we will bounce them off of each other. We have to do that, you know. We can’t not go to Jake or Brandon, or any of the other members if we have a song idea. We have to speak to everyone. I think every song is kinda different. Three of the songs that are on the record we actually wrote in-studio that were all just ideas, and we kind of wanted to write two songs in the studio while we were in Pennsylvania. So it’s interesting now, because I feel as the band evolves, as we get older, we’re trying to change up the ways of recording, also. We’re very thankful right now to be working and practicing in a studio. So our writing abilities are just… we’re just writing constantly, right now, which is great. We’re not really fishing for the next record; we’re just having fun doing what we love.
RG– Amen, man! That’s the name of the game!
RG- You guys are intense! There’s a real focus to your music, and the lyrics are very pointed and engaging. How did you guys come to find this sound?
MR- You know, it’s really cool that other people would see it that way. We’re all super critical about it, so I don’t think we would all agree. (laughs) But I don’t know. I think we just have a lot of passion. I feel one thing that Brandon does a lot is he’s very blunt in his lyrics, and if our music amplifies that, then I think we might be doing the write thing. I’ve never heard that, so it’s just kind of cool to hear what people think our music sounds like. I just feel like we’re lucky enough to have met all the members that we have right now, and just doing what we’re doing.
RG– Like you said, he’s very blunt, and that’s what I mean. The lyrics are just in-your-face, engaging. They’re not effervescent. They’re not “Oh, I wonder what he means by that? That could be anything! That’s very vague and open to interpretation.” They’re very in-your-face.
MR- Brandon does do that alot, and I think it’s a good thing. I think in the world today, we’re kind of questioning a lot of things. We see a lot of things out in the world, too, that we’re not happy with. I, unfortunately, cannot put those things down into lyrics, so we have Brandon and Bryce. Like I said, we all do a little bit of writing, lyrics and music. It’s really neat to what we, as five guys, can put together. To us, it doesn’t sound like anything, but to other people, it’s like “Hey man, that’s cool!” and we’re like “Ohhh, I don’t think so!” (laughs)
RG- What themes do you guys find yourselves gravitating towards when you’re writing?
MR- That kind of goes back to what I was just talking about. Something that I’m always trying to battle (against) myself when I’m writing something… Someone very important to me told me a long time ago that every artist and every band stands for something. They have something to say. He asked me “What do you have to say?” What do I have to say? So when we see things around the world, we just kind of (write about them). Our band is very positive. I know our band sounds very intense and just angry, but on a good note, we’re very positive. We’re all about togetherness, we’re all about family. I wouldn’t say we’re not religious at all, but I just feel that when we have things going on, we love family, we love togetherness. We love things like that. I’m trying to find the right way to say it, also, because I’m not saying we’re not at all religious or anything. I do believe a couple of the other members have their own beliefs. If anything, man, spiritually, we all love to come together and we just work together. So if we can get other people to see that, hey, we’re doing something.
RG- I think at the end of the day, to me, that’s the most important thing. You can have a positive message without being considered a holy roller or a Christian (band) or whatever. You can still believe in the human spirit and believe in the good in people.
MR- Absolutely! “…the good in people”, I like how you said that. That’s good!
RG- Thank you! (laughs) Any plans for acoustic versions of your songs? It seems like your songs, especially the lyrics, would make for a very interesting “Unplugged” set.
MR– Oh, man! I’m totally gonna plug what YOU just said, because I’m always constantly writing our songs in acoustic. Me and Jake, the drummer, we actually go out and do acoustic sets around Galveston, to make a little bit of extra money. We’ve actually play “Fearless” and a couple of other songs from the album acoustic. It’s cool that you’re able to see that, you know, so I don’t know, man. We definitely want to venture out and try do some more of that. We can do acoustic stuff, of course. You get a lot more people singing along, and you’re able to break down the music a little bit more and bring it that much more in an instant level, if you will. I just love the sound of doing stuff like that.
RG- I love unplugged sets, man. It’s really something beautiful when you can strip down music like that and just get the bare bones of it, and just show people what’s underneath.
RG– Oh, man. “An Author, A Poet Acoustic– Brought to You by South Texas Sound Project!” Maybe we’ll see that in the future!
MR- Hey! We’d have to come down to the city of Corpus and do a set for ya, man! That’d be amazing!
RG– That’d be great! We’d love that. What bands were instrumental in your development as artists?
MR- Myself, my parents brought me up on great bands. They constantly challenged me with music. They would always put music in front of me and say “What is this?” and I’d say “Oh, that’s Phil Collins off this record, and this is the Beatles!” So I was brought up on the classics. When I really started playing an instrument, there was one band that just spoke out to me- Thrice. It’s just an amazing-sounding band. I love the lyrics. Again, I wouldn’t say they’re a very religious band, but they’re more on that side. But, lyrically, musically, those guys speak out to me. They’re a huge, huge influence on me. Huge influence on me, yessir.
RG-You guys recently moved to a new practice space… Have you guys found your groove in there yet, or is it going to take some time to adjust to the new surroundings?
MR- Absolutely! Earlier when I was saying that we’re all kind of writing, that’s the one big thing, I guess, is we now found this new practice space. Some days, we’re like “Hey man, why don’t we record this idea?” So we can do that pretty freely. Of course, it’s taken a couple of weeks to get everyone to show up at this new practice place, because we all know how great it is when you practice at someones house. We’re doing great, man. We’re having fun. The studio owner, Nick at Madd Ox Studios. We gotta give him a huge, huge shoutout, because he’s able to do this for us and get us that much more comfortable. We were practicing in a house before, in Galveston. Now we’re practicing in a studio, but he makes it feel like a freakin’ house. He’s an amazing guy. Nick from Madd Ox Studios, we fuckin’ love ya!
RG- Nick, thanks, bud! Who do you guys look forward to sharing the stage with one day?
MR- I’m sure the band would have their own say. Everyone has their own influences, stuff like that. We’ve been thankful to share the stage with a lot of big, big bands that we’re really big fans of, like Stick to Your Guns and Norma Jean. Shit, we’d love to just get back on the stage and do a tour with them! For us, there’s a lot of really great local bands right now… well, I wouldn’t say local, but kinda on the rise. Empty, they’re from freakin’ South Carolina, they’re up and coming. They’re huge! We’d love to do a tour with them. You gotta check ‘em out! Another band off of our label, Cardigan Records, propersleep, Paperback. There’s a lot of really good bands. I kind of wouldn’t want to go straight to the big bands, because I feel like at a certain point, these are the bands that we’re going to be touring with in the next 5-10 years, you know what I mean?
RG- Definitely! There are so many good bands out there that people just aren’t hearing yet. Bands like you guys, To Whom It May, Recreating Eden. A lot of the bands that I’ve recently been talking to, I’m bringing them to people because I think these are really good bands, and people need to know who they are!
MR- We appreciate people like you, man! We need more people like you in the world!
RG- Well, I appreciate that, man! (laughs) I get that alot, and it means still means something to me every time someone says it, so thank you! Well, what’s the next step for An Author, A Poet?
MR- We’re working on a couple of things on the back end, because we’re trying to be 100% on the road. We know that financially, things always come up, so we’re trying to take the right steps to where, in 2019, we can be on the road every 2 to 2 and a half months. We don’t do extremely long tours, but we do regional, smart tours, to where every 60 days or so, we can go out 2-3 weeks. That’s our plan. We really want to be out on the road because we know that’s how we build up our product. We’re constantly writing new stuff. I don’t think any of us are in a rush to write a new record. Basically, we just released Reset//Restore, we just want everyone to know this record first! Other than that, just come out to our shows and we’re going to have a good time! That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to play, we’re not leaving! We freakin’ love what we do! Like I said, these guys are my best freakin’ friends. I had to say it last show, and I say it almost every show! Every time I play a show with these guys, I freakin’ love ‘em even more! So, we’re not going anywhere. We’re just having a fun, fun time, and hopefully we get to meet some more faces.
RG- Excellent! Well, Michael, I know we’re running short on time. Before we go, I want to ask you a few questions we like to do at the end of every interview. We’re gonna play a little game called “Would You Rather?” Are you ready?
MR- (laughs) Yes sir!
RG- Alright, here we go!
Would you rather bust a string onstage -or- have your pants fall down in the middle of a breakdown?
MR-Uh, have my pants fall down? I’m totally ok with a busted string. I can totally do that, man. I’ve totally mastered that art. (laughs)
RG-Would you rather get hit on by a fan’s Grandma -or- Meet your stalker’s parents (who were forced to go to the show)?
MR- Eh, where the Grandma’s at, man? I’m gonna stick up for all the Grandma’s in the world right now!
RG- (laughs) Everyone always goes for the Grandma! Nobody likes stalkers! Nobody wants the crazy, everybody goes for the Grandma!
MR- I guess it’s just a little too much!
RG- The Grandma is an interesting story, that’s what Dereak Messer told me! Would you rather perform N.W.A. karaoke in the style of Frank Sinatra to a church group -or- sing “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” at an old folks home?
MR- (laughs) These questions! These are awesome, man, honestly! Mmm, I guess the Frank Sinatra?
RG- N.W.A. in the style of Frank Sinatra to a church group?
RG- Kinky! I like it. Alright, last one! I know you gotta go. Would you rather forget the lyrics to a song in the middle of performing it -or- start singing the wrong lyrics mid-song?
MR- I would love to remember the lyrics, but what I usually do is I start singing the wrong stuff, so I would love if I could remember the lyrics! (laughs)
RG- Awesome! Michael, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today. We really appreciate it!
MR- You, too, Rob! We appreciate you, bud!
RG– An Author, A Poet! Check out their new album, they released it last year. You can find it on Spotify, as well as the bands website. Buy it, don’t just listen to it!