pdn: Hello Steve! Bethpage Black sounds like quite an original band name, please tell me, how did you come up with it?
Steve: We're named after a golf course in Long Island, NY. None of us are from NY or play golf, but I heard it on TV one day and thought the syllables sounded cool. Plus, any band with "Black" in its name is cool. Black Sabbath, Black Keys, Black Crowes…Black Eyed Peas suck though. Just pure rubbish.
pdn: When exactly did you guys form the band? Did it take long to get your debut album all set?
Steve: We originally formed in 2009, and our current lineup has been together since May 2011. We actually recorded our debut EP before ever playing a show together. The new record, "Black Music," took about 4 months to finish, but in terms of actual days in the studio, it was probably only 2-3 weeks.
pdn: At about what age did you start playing music, and which was your first instrument?
Steve: I started playing music at age 9; drums were my first instrument. I thought to myself "Wow, either drums are really hard, or I suck!" Conversely, our guitar player Davin started playing guitar when he was 13 and thought to himself, "Wow, either guitar is really easy, or I'm really good!"
pdn: Which are some of your all-time favourite bands, some that have played an important role in the initiation of your musical carreer?
Steve: A few of my all-time favorite bands are Queen, The Used, Crash Kings, The Dear Hunter and probably Soundgarden. As far as what bands influence our sound, I would say that those bands do a little bit but my approach to songwriting is more about learning from many different great songs, regardless of genre. Which is why all our songs are different.
pdn:The sound is clearly an interesting mixture of different things. Could you please describe it in a few words?
Steve: Sickle pop: pop-rock with a sharpened edge.
pdn: As I understood, you write the lyrics. What inspires them?
Steve: Some of them are inspired by dreams I have. "Lipstick Colony" started out based on a dream I had about an earthquake under a Macy's, where all the survivors lived in the makeup department. Another song "Absence of Light" is about a dream I about the end of the world. Lately I've been really obsessed with the notions of identity and honesty in an Internet-dominated world where you can be anything you claim to be. The idea that although we're ostensibly more "connected" than ever, no one really knows anything about anyone.
pdn: If you could pick any bands to share the stage with, who would they be?
Steve: Well, we are sharing the stage with Crash Kings at our tour kickoff/record release show March 8 at Troubadour in LA, so I'm excited to cross that one off the list. I would love to do a song with Kelly Clarkson. I bet a Foo Fighters tour would be really fun. Right now I'm really into Young The Giant. On a more local level I would love to do a show with Saint Motel.
pdn: What are some other passions, preoccupations of yours besides being a musician?
Steve: I'm really into cooking, which is a longtime passion. I was a professional chef for a few years.
pdn: I've read that you work as a graphic designer for Marilyn Manson and that your collaboration is based on friendship mostly, and that you are working on some other things as well. Are you willing to reveal anything regarding those projects?
Steve: Well, as Manson said recently in his interview with Revolver (which is a great interview, by the way), there's no need to empty the whole bucket of mystery. If I say too much about what we're doing people will take different things I say and come to all sorts of wild conclusions, and then before too long it becomes "fact." I will say we're working on all sorts of artistic endeavours related to the new album. Including some new technology that will let people see a side of his artistry that not a lot of people know about. It's very cool to work with an artist with such a prolific artistic output, and to be a small part of something that so many people care about.
pdn: What are Bethpage Black's plans for the near future?
Steve: We're going to do a tour of the southwest US in March, including several shows at SXSW. Then we're going to make a new music video. The plan for this summer is to tour up and down the Pacific coast. And of course, the overall mission is always to write better songs and play better shows.
pdn: Thank you for taking the time to chat with playdeadnation! Anything you would like to add for your friends, fans, and just anyone eager to give 'Black Music' a listen?
Steve: We're very proud of the record, we hope you enjoy it, and if you do enjoy it, we hope you'll tell us. Trying to achieve success with an unsigned, mostly unknown band is really, really difficult, and words of encouragement and support really go a long way towards keeping us going.