MusicMusic Features

The Front Bottoms Find Inspiration in Their Past

Ann, the new EP by New Jersey pop-punk act The Front Bottoms—guitarist and vocalist Brian Sella, plus childhood friend Mathew Uychich on drums, with new addition Tom Warren on bass and guitar—is the second release in the band’s “grandma series,” a pair of EPs featuring new recordings of old material and named after Sella and Uychich’s grandmothers. As the band celebrates its 10th anniversary, it felt the time was right to look back.

“We were messing around with the idea of going back in our catalog of about 30 or 40 songs of early material and re-recording them,” says Sella. “When we first made these songs, the idea was to record everything in our friend’s studio, then immediately upload them to the internet that night. Our goal with the EPs was to take that material and try to re-capture that energy.”

Sella explains, “The first EP was called Rose, named after Matt’s grandmother, who had passed away right around the same time we started work on the project. It’s a drawing of her on the cover.” During the recording process, Sella’s grandmother also died. The band decided that its next EP would be titled Ann in her memory, and Sella enlisted his mother to produce the artwork. The EP, Sella says, is “full of songs my grandmother liked.”

The band, which returned home from a lengthy European tour earlier this year, is currently on a cross-country tour in support of Ann. But Sella insists that the group’s schedule isn’t as draining as one might think.

“I mean, I look at this as my job, you know?” he says. “So, if I’m on tour for two straight months, and then I come back home for one month before going out on tour again, that month at home becomes my time to relax, recuperate, hang out with my girlfriend, pet my dog, et cetera… Plenty of people work wackier schedules than mine. I feel lucky to do this for a career, so that’s why we try to take advantage and go on tour as much as possible. It’s just about balancing things out mentally.”

The band’s current shows consist of two sets—one featuring a full playthrough of the “grandma series” and a second featuring a full playthrough of the band’s 2017 album, Going Grey. The goal, Sella says, is to find a perfect balance between fans who request old material and those who want to hear more of the new stuff.

This split presentation is the closest thing Front Bottoms fans will get to a 10-year anniversary show. According to Sella, the band isn’t quite ready to accept the fact that it has been playing together for more than a decade.

“It’s insane to me that we’ve been around for so long. I could have had a kid and started a family in all this time,” he says. “Thankfully, we’ve been able to keep things fresh. Whether it be an album or a tour, we can kind of hit the restart button for ourselves in different little ways. I don’t think I could have handled playing the same 15 songs for 10 years straight with no changes.”