Modern Baseball: "This is just a fucking band, we can do what we want with it"

Interview Modern Baseball: “This is just a fucking band, we can do what we want with it”

On the last day of a sold out UK tour, Philadelphia’s finest are feeling anything but pressure.

March is drawing to a close, and tonight in Bristol is the last date of Modern Baseball’s third UK tour in a year. Since the Philadelphia rabble first made their way over in support of Real Friends in May of 2014, they have returned in September with Spraynard, and now for a third time as co-headliners with Evan Weiss’ Into It. Over It. “We’re actually all on spring break from school right now, so it’s just lucky that Evan and [support band] Tiny Moving Parts were also free for the 12 days we could do so the tour could actually happen!”

This tour, one of even bigger venues than the last, has been almost completely sold out in advance, and the four-piece, who released their second album ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ in 2013, have just kept rolling with the increased success, says singer/guitarist Brendan Lukens. “We have got into the habit of booking our next tour in the UK as we’re finishing the current one, which is an amazing situation to be in.” No offers have come in so far on this tour though. “If no-one makes us a proposal by the end of tonight, that’ll be us gone for a little while!”

As well as the trio of UK runs, the band have been on countless tours in America to promote ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’, the latest playing alongside The Wonder Years, The Story So Far and Gnarwolves. Despite the thorough live showing they’ve given the record, there’s no pressure for new material being felt by the band just yet. “We’re constantly writing. Jake [Ewald, co-singer] and I have always been the kind of guys to never write at a particular time, but just be always thinking over new ideas. We have no plans to record anything soon though.”

Modern Baseball: "This is just a fucking band, we can do what we want with it" Modern Baseball: "This is just a fucking band, we can do what we want with it"

Modern Baseball at Slam Dunk 2014. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.

‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ arrived only a year after debut album ‘Sports’, and Lukens says that has brought an unfair expectancy of new material upon them. "We do everything at our own pace, when it comes it comes. It's weird being asked when new stuff from us is coming when our record was released only 13 months ago. Most big bands take 2-3 year cycles for a full-length record, yet you're expected as a smaller band to follow an album up with another so soon, and it seems especially so with us after 'You're Gonna Miss It All' came out so soon after 'Sports'."

With three out of four of the band heading back to school following the tour, the balancing of band and study has become integral to the workings of Modern Baseball, but they seem to be managing it impeccably, and wouldn’t call it a hobby. "This band takes up most of our time. It's not unlike a hobby in that we enjoy doing it so much that we would never call it 'work'. It's not professional, but needs a more intense word than hobby. Since the dawn of this band it's been our attitude to write when it comes to you, and that can be on tour, or at college, or at home. We've been lucky to never really experience writers block for too long. Sometimes our ambitions as Modern Baseball get scrambled a little with all the other bands we play in, and different things we do with our lives, but we never really stop thinking about this band."

The question of whether their increased success as a band affects their thought process regarding the writing of new material is met with a resounding “no” and a chuckle by the band. "We never feel any pressure, as pretty much everything we do is a big inside joke anyway! Modern Baseball is just a fucking band, we can do what we want with it. The songwriting process has always been out of concepts and personal goals that we want to achieve, rather than pleasing a public."

Modern Baseball recently took UK punk stalwarts Gnarwolves out on their first ever American tour, and commented on the similarities and differences of DIY punk scenes on both sides of the Atlantic, and how they’ve felt more comfortable on each subsequent return to Europe. "The first time we were in Germany, it was overwhelming. I think, purely from a language perspective, being on mainland Europe for the first time was terrifying, but now it's our third time, we feel more welcome and at home. The UK is nice now because at this point we have friends almost everywhere that we look forward to seeing when we play here. We know Banquet Records in Kingston really well now, as well as Wrong Way Round in Southampton and Moving North in Manchester, and being welcomed back is a great feeling. We're now excited to go to each city not only to play the show but to see certain people. That’s one of the main things we like so much about touring at home, so to have it here is wonderful."

The shows on this tour have shown a startling age difference in the crowd that comes for Into It. Over It. as opposed to Modern Baseball’s devotees. "Into It. Over It. have been around for so much longer than us, and they've got a fanbase that has grown with them from album to album. We've only been touring as a full-band for three years, so we hope that as we progress, these kids at the shows will also grow with us into whatever we write next."

As Modern Baseball finish up spring break with a blistering set to an adoring crowd and prepare to head back to school, the pairing of work and play seems to be continuing to, just, work out. "We played 180 shows last year, and are still on track to graduate only a year behind. We don't get much sleep, but it's all worth it."

Tags: Modern Baseball, Features, Interviews

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