Story by Mike Rice.
Giving a band a name like Alright gives people a lot of passive opportunities for bad jokes. For instance, “hey bro, did you go to that Alright show? How was it?”…”It was alright hahahalololololol!!!” But the Charlotte trio is not alright. The brainchild of the Self Aware Records founders Josh and Sarah Robbins, who have recruited drummer Garrett Herzfeld (ex-It Looks Sad, Richard Parker, Old Soles) is really great. The band blends some of the most tasteful pop-punk you’ve heard in years with just the right amount of that lovely fuzz that is shared in some form throughout the Self Aware family. We caught up with them to talk about their upcoming second release, the current state of the Charlotte scene, and how they are definitely not gimmicky.
Whats new guys?
Josh: We just recorded a new record with Kris Hilbert. I always like recording with Kris Hilbert. He’s a great guy. I don’t know, does anybody else want to say anything about recording?
Sarah: I really like recording with Kris Hilbert. He’s a great guy.
Garrett: Any recording process can be stressful, but this was good. Legit Biz is a very welcoming environment.
J: It was also really good for us to record as this unit, our real band. Last time we recorded with our fill in drummer…
S: …And spirit animal! (Scott)…
J: Yeah, but it made a big difference to record with Garrett because he helped write the songs, and it brought a lot out of it. And Kris again did a great job like he’s always done with things like the Junior Astronomers record, and Totally Slow and the Late Bloomer record and stuff like that.
What’s the main difference between Alright and other projects you guys are in?
J: I think it’s more chill in a way because everybody contributes. In most bands that I’ve been in, I sometimes feel like I’m the only one driving it, not necessarily with songwriting, but like getting stuff done, like booking shows and stuff. But there’s usually always that one guy in every bad.
G: Now you have co-pilots!
J: Yeah it makes it fun that everybody is on the same page. It’s fun having three band dads.
Besides being married, you guys (Josh and Sarah) have been working together with Self Aware and stuff for a while now. It must be a pretty smooth transition to actually being in a band together, right?
J: It’s something we really wanted to do for a while. But I think sometimes it’s the same sort of thing as playing music with a best friend. Sometimes it can get hectic. When you’re around somebody so much it can get a little stressful. Like not only are you working on a song, but you’re basically working on whatever happened years ago. It’s the same with anybody, when you’re working with someone that close to you. But I think we do OK. We try to keep Garrett out of the line of fire. But I think its probably more important what she thinks.
S: We do alright.
G: (makes drum fill noises)
J: Another thing is that we really try to not make the band about the fact that Sarah and I are together.
G: But there is a lot of draw to that though.
S: I’m really just using Josh because he’s a good bass player.
J: But seriously, we just try to not play in to the whole husband and wife duo thing. If that were the thing that would be horrible
S: Practice does get held up sometimes though because we won’t stop making out.
G: Yeah that does get awkward.
J: But there are bands that make you feel like it revolves around that people are together in the band, and it’s usually the worst. Even if one person writes a song about the other person and they know it. Like just to feel like people are singing in tandem together staring at each other making cutesy faces is usually the worst thing you can ever do. We’re just two people in a band.
S: I guess we’re not really like that anyways. We’re not cutesy.
J: It would become gimmicky. We really try to not make other people suffer. I think it’s horrible to make everyone wait for your bullshit. And I think about how bad it would be for Garrett to be just sitting in the van listening to one of us bitching about laundry or something.
G: Thanks for that.
What’s cool in North Carolina right now?
S: Josh is not cool. Garrett is cool. Are we talking about music? I think a lot is cool in North Carolina right now. It seems like things are on the upswing.
J: I really think we have a reeeeally good governor right now.
S: Things that aren’t cool: How close it is to South Carolina..
J: Lunchbox Records is cool, always. It’s a good time to be a band in North Carolina.
S: I hear people complain that the scene is bad but I don’t see that. People try to compare Charlotte to Raleigh or Richmond or something but it’s just never going to be the same as another city.
G: I have always liked that Charlotte, as long as I’ve been playing in bands and stuff at least, never has really seemed to be known for just one specific genre or anything. There is always something for most people.
J: Yeah, I agree. You can always complain about what you don’t have. Like no we aren’t Raleigh or no we aren’t this place or we don’t have like late night falafel stands or something like that. People get hung up on things like ‘we don’t have enough hardcore bands’ or ‘not enough indie bands’, and reviews will say it too, but what I think makes Charlotte different is that we have a lot of different types of bands and people from this band will go to this band’s show so it’s more of a scene as a whole and thats how it should be and that’s how its growing. Its good.
Here’s a teaser video of Alright recording their new EP at Legitimate Business in Greensboro, NC.
Check out the band’s ‘Sleep Study EP’ here.