We here at The Garden Statement were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Chris Conley, Arun Bali, Rodrigo Palma, and Dennis Wilson from one of the best New Jersey bands out there, Saves The Day. We chatted with the band the Holmdel, New Jersey date of the Vans Warped Tour, to discuss the difficulties of picking a setlist, the band’s writing process, and how healthy grapefruits are for you.
The Garden Statement: So how has your Warped experience been so far, now that you guys are about halfway through the tour?
Chris: Oh man, we’re psyched.
Rodrigo: Totally psyched.
Chris: Way, way warped. And we’re just going for it, all the way, all summer long.
TGS: And so now today was a bit of a homecoming for you, as a New Jersey band.
Chris: Definitely yeah, it was a great crowd, and it was nice to be back in New Jersey rocking it.
TGS: You guys got to play back to back with Anberlin on the Warheads stage, so talk about how you guys as experienced bands have tried to influence some of the younger bands on the tour?
Chris: I don’t think we’re consciously trying to change anyone’s minds. But I do notice there are a lot of young bands that come up and try to figure out how to do it. Like maybe they come out and watch us and then add some little elements to their show- or maybe they here us talk about the business side of things and then they have a better perspective. You know, there’s nothing to worry about, we’re just having fun.
Arun: It’s kind of a unique tour too, to see who’s carrying the torch, to see the young bands that are doing it that we were unaware of before. And in this environment you absolutely get to know people really well.
TGS: So what are some new bands that you guys have really liked getting to know well and getting to see play live?
Everyone: The Story So Far!
Chris: We’re psyched on The Story So Far. They’re awesome
TGS: They’re actually playing right now over on the Main Stage.
Chris: I know we caught them on the way over. They’re really good, good set every day. Bad Rabbits is amazing.
TGS: I got to catch them this morning. Really fun show.
Rodrigo: Air Dubai.
Chris: Mixtapes is really cool. Protomen
Everyone: Ah, Protomen!
TGS: So I wanted to talk quickly, one of the members of Handguns tweeted that you guys have played 70+ different songs on the tour so far.
Chris: Yeah man, we’re up to like 75 probably.
TGS: So how do you guys pick a setlist for a 30 minute set?
Chris: It’s kind of hard to pick for a 30 minute set, because we’re used to playing 90 minutes. So that’s why we’re changing it up every day, so we can get through a lot more of the songs, because we want to play all of them.
TGS: Yeah, when you guys played TCNJ a few years ago, which is the school that our radio station is a part of, you played for almost two hours, so it was crazy to see that difference.
Chris: Yeah, it’s so much different. So we tried to switch it up as much as possible, so that over the course of a few shows, we are playing a full Saves the Day set.
TGS: So recently, last September I believe, you guys played your album Through Being Cool in full. So I wanted to see if you had any plans to do any other, maybe not that album, but any other of your albums in full.
Chris: Not at the moment. No confirmed plans. But we’re open to the idea. It could be fun.
TGS: So what was that experience like, to play an album like that?
Chris: Oh it was total madness. We’re playing this tiny little bar, and there were just bodies flying all over the place from the moment we started until the end.
Rodrigo: Chris went without a guitar, and we would lose him in the crowd of people. There was just a cord, and we had to yank on the cord and hope he was on the end of it.
TGS: That’s like, did you see This Is The End?
Chris: Yeah, I did. I just let go, and I trusted that it would be alright.
TGS: Sounds like a fun time.
Chris: Yeah it worked out man. It’s rock and roll.
TGS: You guys released a self-titled album last fall. How was the recording process for that album different than on previous albums?
Chris: I mean it’s not too much different. We always kind of go about it the same way. We go in there and do our own thing, try to make the songs sound as good as they can.
Arun: The songs sort of determine that too, how we might record it, they sort of just reveal what they want.
TGS: The songs speak to you.
Arun: I don’t mean to get off track. What we did on the last one might not work on this one. The songs sort of tell us.
TGS: So have you guys been excited about the response to the record? Because I know a lot of people have taken to it.
Chris: Yeah people are digging it, it’s awesome. It’s a fun change of pace. It’s a happier Saves the Day record.
TGS: After Daybreak was a little downtrodden.
Chris: That whole trilogy thing was about trying to get to the bottom of the darkness. Now we’ve pulled up the root and we’re just hanging out, having fun.
TGS: Sounds nice. And now you guys have the album cover which has begun kind of its own legacy.
Chris: Yeah, people dig the grapefruit. It’s good for you too.
TGS: We’re getting diet tips from Saves the Day!
Dennis: Unlike the record, it’s nutritious.
Arun: Don’t eat the CD.
TGS: Don’t eat the CD. That’s a good diet tip.
TGS: So recently you (Chris) sang on “John McClane,” the new song from Say Anything’s album Hebrews. So I have to ask, because it was a little bit of a reunion for you and Max, how was the experience of recording that song?
Chris: Oh it was a total blast. I had fun. I was psyched that Matt Pryor was a part of it, and that Matt, Max and I are friends, and it was a nice preview for working on the next Two Tongues record with Max.
TGS: That’s the question I was about to ask. How is that coming along, the Two Tongues record?
Chris: Started opening up the songs, cracking them open and seeing what’s inside.
TGS: Obviously you guys are both really busy right now, you guys are on Warped Tour and they’re on their own tour.
Chris: Yeah, that’s the reason it’s taken so long to make a second record. But we’re gonna get it done. We’re gonna spend some time on it later this year and early next year.
TGS: That’s really great. And last winter, you guys (Saves the Day) went on an acoustic tour with Jon Simmons of Balance and Composure. So I was wondering if you guys had any plans to do an acoustic EP or some kind of thing.
Chris: Not at the moment, but Saves the Day has always done acoustic songs on records. So it’s more likely we’ll do an acoustic song on an album as opposed to an acoustic EP.
Arun: We sort of just do whatever feels right to us at that moment.
Rodrigo: We did a few covers recently that we put out just because we were together and felt like doing some covers.
TGS: It’s nice to have that freedom, to just do something.
Chris: Yeah it’s great. That’s where we’re at right now. We’re just rockin and rollin, baby, all summer long.
TGS: …on the Warped Tour.
Chris: Getting so warped.
Rodrigo: Very warped
TGS: I know you guys just released an album last fall, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask if you guys were writing right now.
Chris: Yeah, it’s always happening. I think the process is hard to pin down in a chronological fashion. Because the songs are like little melodies, that will pop into my head randomly. Like I’m just sitting on the bus, or trying to fall asleep, or walking around, and there’s a little melody that pops into my head, and I sing them into a voice memo recorder. And that’s where the songs are born. And it’s not until I get time to sit down in the studio where I can actually try to make sense of those ideas, and figure out the chords that complement those melodies. And then I put together just a little skeleton of a song, and once there are a bunch of those, then we start to bring them to life all together- flesh them out, and sort of pull them apart and dissect them, and get the rock happening.
TGS: That’s a really cool way to record an album, to start from a voice memo, and go from there.
Chris: Always yeah, just let the little melodies happen. Then it’s not my conscious mind.
TGS: So is there anything else you want to talk about?
Chris: Oh dude, we’re chilling, cruising, and ripping all summer long.
TGS: Excited to be going on a little more- a month more of Warped Tour then?
Arun: Yeah we’re close to the halfway point.
Chris: Yeah! I mean any time you’re on tour it’s a grueling experience, because you don’t get to go to sleep in the same place every day, and you’re waking up trying to figure out where you’re going to get your food. But it’d be silly to complain about, because it’s the rock and roll life that we all want and we’re psyched.
Arun: We have a lot of friends out here too, it’s like summer vacation. It’s like a summer camp. And we’ve made so many friends out here, new friends.
TGS: Yeah a lot of people have been saying that.
Rodrigo: It’s a ruthless experience, but there’s some calm and just sort of going with the flow.
Chris: Got to let it go and let the rock flow.
Rodrigo: If you’re trying to fight the river, then it’s not for you.
Arun: I get to watch friend’s bands play all day, and that’s great.
TGS: I appreciate you guys speaking with us, and we’re really excited for everything that’s coming next for Saves The Day.
Chris: I’ll catch you on the flipside.
Thanks again to the great guys in Saves the Day for sitting down and chatting with us. You can catch them on the remainder of the Vans Warped Tour, or you can pick up their self-titled eighth studio album, which is available now from Equal Vision Records.