We had the chance to catch up with SixTwoSeven frontman and brainchild Greg Bilderback, who hails from Seattle. Making waves with their new record Some Other's Day we dive deep into the making of the record, as well as the band. Let's dig in, shall we?
How did you get your initial start playing music?
I have been playing drums since I was little like 4 or 5. I didn’t get a real drum set until sometime later, like in 4th or 5th grade, but I had a snare drum and a case for it, and I used to take a music stand and make a hi hat, and put my practice pad on the snare case like a tom over a bass drum. I had a waste basket I placed upside down for the floor tom. My brother had a bass guitar, and my dad for some reason was always chill about us using his guitar, so we would write songs like that and dub them onto tapes. I have always been obsessed with writing and recording music.
What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
I would love for things to progress to the point where we could spend more time working on music and less time doing other things, like engineering Naval weapons facilities, or writing emails to radio station music directors. Seriously, besides full time day jobs, we get to balance writing, recording, organizing releases, booking tours, interviews, features, and reviews, all independently. So the dream would be for all of that foundation to be the groundwork for bigger and better projects down the road. We really long for a time when we could spend more time writing and playing music, instead of spreading ourselves so thin trying to support it.
How long have you been writing your own music?
I think I wrote the lyrics and melody to my very first song at about 2 or 3. Maybe it was as late as 4, I don’t know, my memories of it are super hazy but I do know it was about a Black Truck and I still remember the melody. I could still sing it now. So could my Mom I assume. I have never stopped writing songs and melodies since, although this collection is the most flushed out any of those ideas have ever been, considering their commercial implications. That being said, it is also one of the more stripped back, in terms of the song structures being simple, rather than some of the more math-rocky projects I have been in over the years, like Wheelchair, Test Proof Positive or Five Hoss Cartwrights.
Who are your top three influences and why?
I would have to say it is a tie between number 1, and number 1 (A), if that makes sense. So I’d say first Foo Fighters. I really like the way Dave Grohl writes songs, and moreover I am drawn to how he conducts himself in the public eye. I really like the way he goes about his business, and they never fail to deliver when it comes to making records. Even if at first I am a bit skeptical about a direction they decide to go, time always wins me over and I fall in love with pretty much everything they release. Then of course I have to go with 1 (A) being Muse. I went to see them play at the Key Arena last December for Drones, and they were absolutely unbelievable, I could not sit on the sidelines after seeing that. Matt Bellamy is literally my Guitar Hero, and that voice! He is amazing. I feel like we could be friends too lol. We have similar tastes for sure, including the fact that both of us have publicly declared “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins to be our favorite book. It is a life changing read, you should check it out. I would say my third biggest influence is Dinosaur Jr. at least in terms of this project since I am playing guitar. Nomeansno out of Victoria B.C. is my biggest musical influence ever, but having grown up obsessing over J. Mascis guitar solos, I’d have to say you can hear that influence above anything else when you listen to the way I play leads. I am not the most technically proficient guitarist by any means, maybe not even proficient at all, so I am really big on “feel”. Nobody gets that better than J. Mascis, and on top of that, he actually has mad technical skill. But yeah, love all three, and Royal Blood from the UK too. Damn, tough question because I love so many different kinds of music.
Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
It’s a lunch pail kid, blue collar kind of record. I have survived all the same BS that everyone out there is going through. Struggling to make ends meet, being a single parent, surviving an ugly and publicly humiliating divorce, regaining your children’s respect after surviving shame, switching jobs, whatever it is. The truth is, you can recover from that stuff, even though when you are in the middle of it, it seems like there is no light. I would like for this record to be a shot in the arm for the weary, a vote of confidence for the self-conscious, something that everyday people can grab onto when they feel like they can’t get over that next hurdle, and when they hear it they say “Hey, just a few more inches to go, I can grind this out” because I am living proof, that you can. Believe me, if Jesus still has the patience to peruse me after everything I have done in my life, there is hope for everyone.
Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favorite venues?
The scene here seems like more beards and flannels with perfectly combed hipster hair, than the long hair and flannels of yesteryear. If you are playing instruments, like with strings and amplifiers, with tubes and such, there seems to be a limited number of venues to host you. This scene seems very focused on that indie sound that harkens back to old school swing/soul, or maybe even gospel roots, but with alternative subject matter. There seems to be a large gap between that, and the metal or post hardcore scene. There isn’t a lot of mainstream Rock and Roll to take up that space in the middle, we are hoping to occupy some room there. We play at El Corazon or Funhouse, we played Lo-Fi. Didn’t care for the vibe at Studio 7 much at all, though it’s probably not too big of a deal since they are primarily a metal venue. The Analog in Portland was my favorite place we have played so far, besides the legendary Mint in Los Angeles. That was pretty sick too.
Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
I’m so glad you asked. My favorite undiscovered bands at the moment are of course Drive on Mak from Austin, TX. You have to see Scott Feigh play drums and a harmonica at the same time while singing harmonies with Sean Makra. It’s a trip. I am a huge fan of Adam Kennedy’s project, the Welkin Dim from Portland, OR. I’m surely not the only guy talking about that band right now, in fact they have a record coming out in November 26 called “Learning to Relent”. I am super excited to hear that. I really dig this two piece sort of post hardcore band from Eugene called Amelia. You haven’t heard a duo this chunky sounding since Royal Blood, these ladies will hand you your ass in a brown paper sack and all you will have to say is “Thank you may I have another”. Really good band and Jennifer and Tess are really cool people too, inspiring role models for young women everywhere.