Interview written by Rhyan Gaspari
Last Call, a punk rock band from Las Vegas has had their fair share of hardship but still remains an inspirational band for many. With their lyrics being based off of actual life experiences and thoughts, fans can connect with the band on a more personal level. In a world drowning in the over-saturation of the music industry, Last Call comes out on top.
This week, Metal and Melodies spoke with Adam Blasco of Last Call and found out his thoughts on Last Call, halloween and his personal theme song. In this 10-question interview, all is revealed.
How are you today?
Hey! I’m doing pretty alright. I’m sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee, listening to Spotify, and working on getting my day going… It’s pretty much all downhill from here.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Adam Blasco – I play drums and sing in Last Call. I’m doing this interview on my own this morning, which could be a really good thing, or a horrible thing, but I’ll introduce the rest of my band since there’s nothing they can do about it [insert maniacal laugh here]. Austin Jeffers sings and plays guitar. Ryan Stokke plays guitar. Kyle Peterson plays bass.
How was Last Call started?
Last Call got started in the winter of 2008. I met our original guitarist, Fidel Romero, through some mutual friends who were in another band. We started jamming, and we had some pretty awesome musical chemistry. We had a really easy time writing songs that we really enjoyed (at the time), and we had a lot of fun doing it. We introduced some other people into the mix, and began playing shows in February of 2009. Since then, we’ve gone though a million members, put out a few records, played a few hundred shows, met some amazing friends and seen some really rad places.
What is the message in your music?
I think that the messages in our music have kind of swayed since the beginning of our band, but that’s to be expected with the amount of members we’ve gone through over the past 5 years, and just growing as individuals and as a band. Austin and I have written all of the lyrics for our last few releases, and being that we’re fairly similar people and personalities, we seem to mesh pretty well when it comes to a message we want to convey in a song. On one end of the spectrum, we’ve written a few… more light-hearted songs, and on the complete opposite end of the spectrum is where you’d find the majority of our discography. That’s not to say we’re a completely negative band who writes completely negative songs. For quite a long time, Austin and I have both suffered with depression, demons inside of our own heads, and a lot of other situations that I’m sure many people go through in their lives. So a lot of our music is how we’ve dealt with those situations, both internally and externally.
I think that Austin and I would both agree when I say that I think we’re most proud of our full length ‘Dog Years’ and the messages, thoughts, and emotions that we were able to get out into those songs. For every one of our records, we’ve worked with one of my best friends, Producer & Engineer, Paul Miner. Because of that, being in the studio is always one of the most comfortable places that we have ever been as a band. We’re free to say and do whatever we feel, without (very much) criticism, and there really aren’t feelings of apprehension or awkwardness. I think that really allowed us to produce a record that was extremely personal for us. Dog Years was written at a time in our lives when there was a lot of shitty situations going down around us, so there are a lot of depressing undertones that accompany the otherwise upbeat and catchy instrumentation. On top of that, if you were following our band at the time we were recording Dog Years, you probably know that a lot more shitty things happened to us around that time, which ultimately forced us to stop recording for the next 6 months. In those 6 months, we wrote a few more songs from scratch to add to the record, and rewrote the lyrics for some of the songs to make them more relevant for the spot we were now in. Every song is about something personal that either he or I, or our band was dealing with during that time. There are songs about girls and boys, coming to terms with growing up, dealing with loss, realizing that the person you want most in life doesn’t want anything to do with you. I wrote a song about homophobia, and dealing with the criticisms and ignorance that much of the LGBT community is faced with. “No Bridge Back” is about dealing with depression, being trapped inside of your own head… There’s a lot of heavy shit on Dog Years, and I only touched on a handful of the songs. I’ve never been more proud of anything up to this point in my life, and I don’t think we would change a thing if we could.
What do you feel stands out in your music compared to other artists in this genre?
Let’s face it – Last Call is part of a genre that’s become so fucking over-saturated over the last few years, but it’s a genre full of amazing artists, and some of our best friends that we’ve had the privilege of meeting. So many bands, including ourselves, bring something unique to the table, but there are also plenty of things that we all have in common, and I think that’s what makes this community of punk rock so tight-knit and supportive. I don’t regard our band as a group of some amazing lyricists, but one thing that I’ve heard countless times is that our messages seem to set us apart from a massively more “happy” genre, and I’d have to agree. At a time when a lot of bands are writing about happy thoughts and wanting to go on tour with your best friends, I’m sitting in my basement on the verge of tears, trying to put onto paper why I feel so fucked up inside my head. How no matter how hard I try, I can’t remember the last time I felt genuinely happy. Austin’s writing about similar situations he’s facing, or how “the man” (some may call him “the bank”) who’s trying to swipe his house right out from underneath his family’s collective feet. We’re writing about trying to let go of someone that you love so much, but by sticking around, they’re just extinguishing the flame that is your quality of life, over and over again. We’re writing songs about touring too, just from a much darker perspective. In no way is this me trying to discredit anyone’s emotions, or artistic expression. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that I’m extremely proud that an aspect of our music that is so personal to us is one of the things that allows us to stick out to some of the people who listen to our records. The feeling that you get when someone you don’t even know tells you that that song you wrote… that song about a really really dark time in your life… how it helped them get through a the lowest point in theirs. There’s nothing more gratifying than hearing that your music touched someone emotionally, and to a life-changing extent.
I feel Rock ‘n’ Roll is dying and that there’s a lot more hardcore music coming out now. How do you think the scene can be restored and revived to its original glory?
I think that the world of music is constantly evolving and genres come and go in cycles. I also feel that the internet, and how easily accessible music and artists are has severely hurt all music scenes. Obviously, record sales are nowhere near where they once were. Kids aren’t going to shows to watch bands they love anymore because they “can just watch their videos on youtube.” In all honesty, I don’t think any music scene (or industry) will ever be what it once was. Hardcore music, and really all of the sub-genres in this vast community of punk rock, are pretty niche. Just like our music isn’t for everyone, neither is metal, neither is hardcore, and so on. Simultaneously, mainstream popular music isn’t for everyone either. Fortunately, in our little community, it’s less about record sales and the amount paid at a show, and more about the energy and experiences that take place during that 40 minutes in that disgustingly sweaty loud room. I don’t think that that will be going anywhere any time soon.
Looking back, what advice would you give to the 16-year-old version of yourself?
Wow. I’ve always loved this question in interviews I’ve read, and it’s the first time that I’ve ever had the opportunity to answer it. I honestly don’t even know where to start. I’d do a lot of it the same if I could go back, but I would definitely sit 16-year-old Adam down and tell him not to sacrifice his own happiness and quality of life just to make other people happy. Don’t be afraid to express who you truly are… Fuck what other people think about you! I’d tell him to open up more, because it’s so unhealthy to keep your thoughts and emotions bottled up inside. You’ve got tons of people that you can talk to about anything, and people who care about you more than you can even imagine. Don’t be afraid to cry… you’ll stop when you’re ready. Start that band… Through it, you’ll have some of the best experiences of your life, and you’ll meet your best friends. They’ll change your life in ways that you’ve never imagined. Try to relax more, and don’t sweat the little shit so much.
Then there are some more obvious bits of advice I’d give 16-year-old Adam like… Don’t take that class in college… the teacher fucking sucks. Don’t let him tattoo you. Stay away from Growlr, and lastly, liquor before beer.
What is your personal theme song?
Hmmmmmm. This is a tricky one. I think I’ve listened to the new Into It. Over It. record ‘Intersections’ at least once a day since its release… So I think it’d have to say that my current theme song is IIOI’s ‘Upstate Blues’. It’s just a really good sad song… and who doesn’t love a good sad song?! I may be biased, as Evan Weiss is my favorite songwriter, but that’s what I’m going with. I strongly recommend check out that record, and the rest of his amazing discography. Fall Out Boy’s ‘Miss Missing You’ from their recent LP ‘Save Rock And Roll’ is a close runner up.
What are your musical influences?
I think that our band has such an eclectic range of musical influences, ranging from metal to post-hardcore to emo to acoustic to pop, and the list goes on. Going back to earlier when I discussed what I think sets us apart from other bands, I think this is one of those factors. Because all of our individual influences vary so much, I think that they all come through somehow somewhere in our music.
Since it’s now October, can you tell me a memory you have about Halloween?
I’ve personally got a lot of memories about Halloween, mostly because it was my favorite holiday growing up, and because my birthday is the day after. I think one of my most memorable Halloween’s was in 2011. Last Call was on tour with Such Gold, KOJI and Former Thieves, and we were in Jacksonville, FL. We spent all day before the show going to different thrift stores trying to gather different items for all of us to dress up for the show. We succeeded, but I wasn’t surprised when we rolled up to the show, and we were literally the only people that night dressed up. That pretty much sums up how awkward our band is. But it was a blast. Austin was dressed up as the comic book character, Deadpool. Ryan was dressed up as a Smurf, and he pretty much nailed it. Our guitarist at the time, Tim, was dressed up as a classic sheet ghost. Our touring bassist, Lyle, and our mercy guy Chris were dressed as Juggalos, and I think they were fucking perfect. Their costumes were hilarious. I was dressed as “I Get Wet” Andrew WK, which was probably my favorite, most spot on, and cheapest costume I’ve ever had. The only downside – during one of our songs, my drumstick go caught in my sweaty wig, and I fucked up one of our songs. I played for at least 4 minutes with this chopped up stick dangling from my head. It was punk as fuck. I wish we had more pictures of that night.
What do you think of the current state of the music scene?
I think my thoughts on the current state of the music scene is tied into the earlier question about a revival of the scene. I think that media has kind of put the metaphorical nail in the coffin of the music scene… but at the same time has significantly helped the music scene. I think it’s a very complicated, very thin line. Without media outlets like Youtube and Facebook and Bandcamp, many amazing bands would never get the attention that they deserve. Simultaneously, like I mentioned earlier, those things also contribute to all of the reasons why the music scene is suffering so much more than it ever has. As artists, we must recognize change, roll with the punches, and learn to grow and change with the times. We need to find things to use to our advantage, and sway away from some of the things that may no longer be relevant to what we’re doing artistically.
What is coming up in the near future for Last Call, and for fans who haven’t heard of you before, where can they check you out?
Not much excitement is planned for us right now. We’re spending the remainder of the year at home, with one hometown show planned for the beginning of December. We may or may not be doing some writing at the beginning of the year, which may or may not lead to some recording of music in 2014. In terms of touring, there are no plans of any of that right now.
For those of you who may just be hearing (or reading) about our band for the first time, you can check out all of our music at: http://lastcall.bandcamp.com
Probably the best place to keep up with what’s going on is via Facebook. Like us at: http://facebook.com/lastcallnv