Fusing their own elements of punk and pop music that could rival the likes of Simple Plan, All Time Low and New Found Glory, are Brisbane four-piece, Down & Out. The band have already scored quite the coup when American pop-punk vocalist, Nick Thompson – lead singer of US band, Hit The Lights – agreed to feature on their debut single titled ‘Horizon’ due for release on Friday January 12 2018.
Having formed in January 2017, the band have spent much of the last year readying themselves for what they anticipate to be a grueling 2018 firming up plans for their debut single and impending EP release.
‘Horizon’ is a fast paced “go hard or go home” pop-punk track epitomizes the antics of one of the bands disgraceful Gold Coast weekend road trips. “The song is all about those endless nights out as a band” said singer/songwriter Andy. “We’ve had some crazy times and wanted the video to flow from that feeling, from the road trip, to heading out… and playing in the hotel room” added guitarist Mark.
The band knew they were on to something when one of their own musical hero’s – singer Nick Thompson, lead singer from Ohio pop-punk staple Hit The Lights who’ve frequented the US Alternative charts and sold over 120,000 albums in America alone – agreed to a cameo on the track. “We were so honoured to be able to work with Nick as Hit The Lights have long been heroes of ours.”
Down & Out – consisting of Andy Mouland on Vocals/Guitar, Mark Gravina on Guitar/Vocals, Anthony Nissen on Bass/Vocals and Josh Casey on Drums – have individually worked on a number of projects over the years, supporting acts like Neck Deep, Trophy Eyes, Kid Courageous and Lee Harding.
After taking a break from making music together, the group of old friends started jamming again in January of 2017 and reformed under the new guise of Down & Out.
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Hi Guys, congrats on your release of your debut single ‘Horizon’ a couple of days ago. Prior to this how was the nerves?
I think matters are worse now! When we released the single and clip, we had recorded and filmed it months ago, it was more a relief to get it out. Now there has been such a positive response; there’s nerves as to how to follow this up.
Now the song you worked on so hard is out in the world how are you feeling?
We are happy to finally have it out. I think we finished the clip back in August/September, we had 1 false start with the release, then next thing its Christmas break. We were just waiting for the right time to release it; I think it all worked out quite well.
Have you been happy with the response from your fans?
Absolutely! We posted it on Facebook and didn’t really know what to expect, within a week it hit about 200,000+ views. All the responses have been great! It’s so cool to start getting messages, we need to translate; people from all around the world tell us how they enjoy the song. There’s a few people comparing us to other pop/punk bands, which I feel is a compliment …whether they mean it like that or not. Also, some press saying our sound is “too early 00’s pop/punk” which again, is exactly what we were aiming for. We grew up listening to those awesome Aussie pop/punk bands of that time, One Dollar Short, Best Kept Secret, For Amusement Only, New School Hero.
Are you looking forward to the Zoo launch?
You know, the Zoo is such an iconic Brisbane venue, even in our past bands, we never played there. So I think it will be a special night for us. Plus the bill is filled with great bands; Tim Sparks Fire is celebrating their single release. I caught some of their set at Beyond The Valley Festival, they are awesome, really catchy.
You guys collectively have so much experience working on projects and supporting bands like Neck Deep and Trophy eyes. Can you explain what each member brings to ‘Down and Out’ other than clearly musical talent!
Aww too kind! Everyone has their own jobs, which is evenly shared around …depending who you ask (contentious issue). Andy (singer/guitarist) is stuck writing the songs and recording in his home studio (worth noting that the single was recorded there. DIY Pop/Punk!). I look after more management stuff and try and plan tours, also keep the guys in line. Anthony and Josh are the most committed guys on the team, always at gigs and practice early. Helping out the other bands on the bill, lugging gear around. They have the worse job it seems, hope they don’t realise.
Love your sound, I agree with your press release states that you have a similar sound to Simple Plan, you sound reminds me of No Pads. The ‘Go Hard or Go Home” vibe is true pop punk. Can you take me through the inspiration behind ‘Horizon’?
We were massive fans of Simple Plan and that album. Andy and I met them years ago in Brisbane and they invited us to Sydney on their guest list. As I said, our time was really early 2000s pop/punk, so you’ll find those albums playing at our house, from Sum 41 All Killer No Filler to MXPX Before and After Everything. I think we feel that we are still living in that time… that was the best time for pop/punk. We want to write songs that would have fit that time. Some would say it’s unoriginal, but, play what you love.
Your music video is great, I actually thought that it shows that it is always fun and easy to be in a band. I know that is not the case as you would for sure! It sure seemed like that you had fun shooting it.
Can you share anything amusing that happened during the filming?
It was such a stressful 2 days, taking on manager roles, I had arranged with the bars and clubs to film, as well as the hotel. So if anything went wrong, we were in a spot of trouble. Plus the videographer was only in town those 2 days. We shot the playing in the hotel room scenes last, again, if anything went wrong, we really had no plan b. So we start doing the first take and all I’m think was “I assured the GM of the hotel it wouldn’t be loud and this is so fucking loud”. As soon as the take is finished, there’s a banging at the door, we all look at each other like, “well it’s all over”. Clay (Videograher) opens the door and it was just housekeeping wanting to give us towels. Ha, so probably not the most amusing story in the world, but to us, the relief. We went back to filming and all work well in the end!
I really like the concept of the phone call of Nick Thompson from Hit the Lights, well played! Who thought of that?
Oh thank you. There were a few ideas getting thrown around. Can we skype? That would be a bit awkward. Do we fly him in? $1500 for 12 seconds and what does his schedule look like. In the end it seemed like the easiest. The shot wasn’t exactly to plan, well what I was thinking anyway. I had the thought of us passed out all over the room and the phone ringing subtly in the background. Problem was, when the shot rolled around, the whole room was tipped up, we weren’t left with many places to sleep. I remember being so hungover and we are told to lay there, act asleep, act hungover, thinking “this won’t be hard”. Almost dozed off
Ha ha! How did the cameo part involvement for Nick Thompson come about? Certainly, a great start for you with this being your debut single.
Definitely, we were so lucky! We were always huge fans of Hit The Lights. I contacted their label years ago and he was keen but the timing didn’t really work. This time around, we tried again, sent him a few songs to get an idea and he was keen. We actually have a Japanese version of the single which we are going to release soon. So, maybe I’ll go back to the start, Horizon was written and record a few years back. When I was in Japan, I became friends with another band Secret 7 Line, a fantastic pop punk band. We recorded a demo with Shinji, the bass player/vocalist from Secret 7 Line singing the second verse. The song was never release, and that version of the band went our separate ways. Years later, I was in a hotel in Sydney for work and heard news that Shinji passed away in a car accident on the way home from a show. I gave Andy a call, we hadn’t really spoken in a while and we came up with the idea of finishing the song for a tribute. That conversation pretty much start Down & Out.
I like the lyrics “It’s our turn to shine now” with the song being your debut song, was that intentional telling people that you have all come together to form the band and the plan to take the pop punk world by storm?
Ha, I’ll have to ask Andy about that one. I wish our aspirations were so high! We are just playing shows and writing songs with the vibe of the pop/punk we grew up on. If people wanna come along for the ride, it’ll be a hell of a party. If they don’t, it doesn’t worry us. We aren’t changing.
What is next for Down and Out?
We have spoken about the next single, which I think will be a lot more poppy. So we will do a video clip for that and release it. We have just signed onto a few supports (locals and international), working with our pals at BTM Management on some shows. I believe we are going to do a suburban tour at some point; local hall shows, which I haven’t seen in years. The video has got quite a bit of interest in Asia, so we will price up a self-funded tour there. It’s been a crazy 2 weeks, so it will be hard to back up. But as I said, we are just doing what we enjoy to do and we will continue to do so.
Thanks guys, all the best with the single and I hope the Zoo launch goes well.