Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 20! New songs + EP updates 

Friends, fans, humans,

Hello again.

It's been awhile, so we thought it would be a good time for an update. Going to try to make this quick (no promises!), so you can get back to Pokemon Go and updates on Caitlin Jenner and Donald Drumpf.

So it's been a crazy few months musically - we've gone from just-about-to-release new tunes, to going back to the drawing board, to issues with song premieres, to re-writing, to reworking arrangements, to a host of other boring details about recording and releasing songs that I won't get into.

The bottom line is - it hasn't been ideal, but I also want to apologize for the delay. The good news is, we are getting closer, and (in my opinion, at least) the songs are getting better.

To take a quick step back, we started working with a PR company to premiere 2 new songs in advance of the EP release. In the midst of that process, a lot of shit either went wrong or changed. More specifically, said PR company (which bragged about having tons of great blog and label contacts), turned out to be a fraudulent, scam-errific shitshow. We've dealt with shady publicity and PR companies in the past, but this company was a whole different kind of beast. They were impossible to communicate with, gave no real guidance, made virtually zero effort on our behalf, and basically just flat out ripped us off. Most of these small PR companies are shady, vulture-like operations preying on artist dreams and insecurities - but again, this was on another level.

I have no qualms about sharing the name of this company - they're called Vicious Buzz, based in LA/Hollywood. For any fellow artists out there, if these guys contact you, run in the other direction and fast. Every artist I've spoken to about the company has had virtually the same experience as us. I just don't want it to happen to any other artists. Bottom line - do your research.

But a good thing did come out of this whole experience. For me personally, it reminded me why I started creating music and what my intentions were in the first place. To create for myself, to see a fragment of an idea come to life in full. The overall positive response to these creations has been a fantastic bit of gravy on top of everything else. But the motivation was never to be rich and famous; it was always to create art that I was proud of. And helped me personally get through life. And, hopefully, it had even an iota of that effect on others.

Another thing that's happened as a result of these delays is that I've taken a step back on the new material and realized that I wasn't completely content with where the recordings netted out. I've taken this extra time to rewrite some lyrics, and we're in the process of rearranging and re-producing the tracks, in order to try to capture the original vision for these songs.

So, the good news is that things are moving along (however sluggish the process might be). And we should have a new song or two to share within the next couple months. And a full EP WILL BE HAPPENING. When? Can't say exactly. Hopefully by early 2017. But I've learned to stop guessing. :)

We appreciate your patience, and really hope you enjoy the final creations. Of course, I think this will be our best album yet. Really.

As always, thanks for your support. And thanks for listening! News and updates coming soon.

Cheers,
SA



 

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 19! New single  

Hey guys,

We are currently working on our forthcoming EP, to be released later this year, but wanted to give you a sneak peek of the first single, "The Aesthetic."

Look out for the track premiere, coming shortly, along with other new singles, videos, and shows scheduled for the summer and fall.

A snippet of the new track, "The Aesthetic," is below. Thanks for listening!

SBA
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  1. The Aesthetic - Preview

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 18! Inspiration 

Hey,

Have you seen this thing yet?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-varon/to-anyone-who-thinks-theyre-falling-behind_b_9190758.html

A bunch of friends posted this article on Facebook. I thought it might just be another list of motivational tips. The type of thing you see ad nauseam, if you're friends with even one "sensitive" person on social media. To my surprise, this article was just the opposite.

To summarize a pretty lengthy rant, it's about the notion that perhaps we don't need to be constantly reminded that we're not doing shit, and maybe it's ok if we aren't doing anything right now. Motivation and inspiration strike at random moments; we're not robots who can drum it up at any given time.

And I agree with this, but I've never really heard that perspective before. Which brings me to the point of this post. As a creative person, I'm not always inspired or motivated. In the past, this band has been pretty productive. I wouldn't say "prolific," but we've put out a steady stream of new material - and the ideas typically pour in quickly. This last year or two has been a bit different. There's definitely been ideas, but where in the past we'd have to cut down the number of songs to fit an LP length, lately there's only been ideas here and there. I'm not frantically running to a pad to jot down a lyric, or recording strange sounds into my iPhone that would eventually morph into a song. Maybe I haven't been inspired. Maybe I'm just too busy with other shit in life that my brain isn't as crowded with weird ideas and sounds lately. 

But here's the thing - it's ok. One of the beauties of being an indie artist is that we don't have a record exec breathing down our necks waiting for the next release (cue animated demon holding record contract - muah ha ha). And that's a good thing. Because creativity shouldn't be a job. It's not about meeting deadlines. It's not about putting things out on a set schedule, for financial purposes. That's for pop music; for everything else it should be about enjoyment, enlightenment and inspiration. But that won't stop PR bloggers from constantly yelling "you need more followers!," "you need to be putting out more stuff!," "where's your new stuff, you need more stuff to stay relevant!" blah blah...

The reason I mention all this is because I feel like a lot of music right now feels uninspired. Even some of my favorite artists' music. And I feel a big part of that is because: a) artists generally are insecure and need to put out new material for that constant validation, b) they're on labels with label expectations, and c) well, shit, they need to eat. Anyways, sometimes this works because certain artists are prolific and can crank out good stuff constantly. But for a lot of artists it just seems like they want to keep top of mind, and just release average music so people don't forget about them. (oh, and then there's that 'contract' thing)

With our forthcoming releases, we've had the opportunity to sit with the songs for awhile. Not intentionally, it's just worked out that way. Sometimes we haven't written or listened back to recordings for weeks. And then we have the opportunity to listen to them to make sure they even work at all. And who knows if this has been beneficial. I certainly feel like it has, as I haven't been prouder of new material in awhile. And I have to believe it's because we've waited for inspiration to strike instead of trying to force it out, and given the songs time to breathe, to become more refined. 

Which is all to say (as the article harps on), don't always feel like you're not being productive when you don't feel the motivation or inspiration on certain days. Sometimes it's better to wait until you're inspired, til you're truly ready to give it your all. And make something better. Otherwise it's ok to just say, "Fuck it. Netflix binge watch." In the end, it'll be better for all of us.

/dan

 

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 17! Our new EP 

If you follow this blog (and who doesn't!), you may have noticed that I mentioned a couple of new tracks would be released soon. And while that is not entirely untrue (we will be releasing new music soon), the reason for the delay is, among other things, because we have gone in a slightly new direction with the band's sound.

Long story short, some of the new material we've been developing sounds like the biggest departure since the band began. The tracks that we were about to release, on the other hand, sounded very much in line with what we have done in the past. And while we haven't exactly shelved those songs (they may appear in some form on the new EP) we have chosen to follow the muse into this glorious new patch of earworms. It may just be an experiment, who knows, but I am really digging where this is going.

Are we Crunk now? No. Are we jazz-metal fusion? Nope. Psychobilly? No. Did I pick up the flute in hopes of becoming the modern day Jethro Tull? No, but that sounds amazing. To me, at least (side project).

At the end of the day, it's still Soapbox - with a few nice, unexpected little sonic flourishes added in for good measure. But it feels pretty unique for us. There are songs and sounds that are reminiscent of our past, and some stuff that has nothing to do with what we've done in the past. And by the time we're done, none of it may resemble anything else in our catalogue. But I, for one, haven't been as excited for a new batch of songs since we released our first album. 

Keep checking back here and on our FB/Twitter for updates on the upcoming EP. We should have a new single out by late this year/early 2016 and a new EP release shortly after that. We will also be playing a show on November 13th at Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn, where you'll be able to hear a teaser of where our heads are at with this new release.

Thanks for listening and thanks, as always, for the support! More updates coming soon.../dan

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 16! Rock is dead and we keep missing the memo 

Hello good people,

Well we are approximately 85% done with 2 new songs. Right now we're in the middle of the mixing phase, and after that we go to mastering (which is like adding a bright sheen to the tracks) and then we is done! We will be releasing these new tracks as singles over a couple months, while we play some shows and work on some other new material.

You'll never believe this, but we're going to say that this is the best work we've ever done. I know, shocker! Never heard a band say that. Anyway, we're very proud of these songs and can't wait for you to hear. 

On a side note, while we've experimented with different sounds over the last couple years - these new ones are most definitely rock songs in every way. In fact, one of the songs may be our heaviest one yet. Everyone keeps hearing and talking about how rock is dead, or dying, but I guess we're still banging nails into the coffin and haven't buried it yet. ;) I guess the point of telling you this is that I believe our next series of songs will be more experimental again - an evolution, if you will. There will always be traces of rock there, but we've sort of said what we can say and played what we can play in the rock realm and it's about time for something new. It's not forced in any way, it's just what our collective brains are churning out these days. It's the natural progression of a band. You know, as you get older your tastes change and... wait, am I explaining life to you? Yada Yada - you know how it goes. Look out for some new tracks and new vibes mid-late this year. In the meantime, prepare for the rawk :)

That's about all for now. We hope you're having a fine week – we'll keep you posted with updates on the new songs, new shows and other news about the band.

Cheers,
Dan/Matt/Simon

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 15! New songs 

Greetings peoples!

We have been cranking away in the studio working on 2 new songs for your aural pleasure. We are about to move into the mixing phase and hope to start releasing these tunes by April. In the meantime, here's some background.

The two new songs are called "Paper Skin" and "Circles (En Route)." The former is a song that dates back to probably 2009 or 2010. I always liked the main riff and overall musical melody but something always seemed to be missing. The song was never fully realized. It would disappear and reappear from our live sets but I always knew there was something special there. Just needed to figure it out. Happy to say that the lyrics and all the various parts have come together and I'm really excited about this song. The subject matter is somewhat political (which is an area we don't delve into often), but it's a topic that's all over the news currently and I feel very strongly about.

Circles (En Route) is a personal song about something that deeply affected me in recent months. Although some of the lyrics might sound melancholy, it's actually a pretty optimistic song (well, for me anyway) and is indicative of the kind of music and lyrics I want to write in the future. I'm very proud of this one.

The new songs are being produced and mixed by our very own bassist with great hair, Mr. Matt Basile. Matt also produced and mixed our latest EP, Maps.

That's all for now. Keep checking back on this page, we'll be providing more updates about the songs and other band news. Also! We'll be playing a FREE show at Arlene's Grocery on Fri, May 8th at 9:30pm. Don't Mees Eet. More details on that soon...

Thanks for all the support!

Cheers,
Dan






 

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 14! Performing 

After our last show at Pianos, I started thinking about live performance in general. When I was growing up, I was incredibly shy and had trouble interacting with anyone but my friends. I even struggled being myself around my family. On the flip side, I remember being really comfortable whenever I was performing for people. I wasn't exactly an "entertainer/child prodigy" type, but I was really into break-dancing and performed at a few Bar Mitzvah's, weddings, etc for money. I had absolutely no trouble getting up in front of people and doing my thing. When I was a little older, a friend and I created a duo called "Emma & Gahildali" - a comedy sketch based on two old lady characters who were modeled after the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial. In our 7th grade English class, we would get in front of the entire class and perform as this duo and our classmates loved it. When my parents heard about this, they were like "What? Dan? Really?!" They couldn't believe I could break out of my shell and have the self-assuredness (a.k.a balls) to do this.

As I got a little older, I really started to get into music and began piano lessons. I was actually pretty good and at the time I knew how to read music. I did a few piano recitals and I remember not having any nerves and performing the songs perfectly. I also played the drums briefly, but I never stuck with either instrument. In college I picked up the guitar and started writing songs, but it wasn't until around 2004 that I played my first open mic. If I tried to explain the sheer terror I experienced performing in front of people, it still wouldn't encapsulate how bad it was. For at least a year or two, simply playing a couple songs in front of a small audience had me on the verge of panic - I was sweating, my voice cracking, my hands shaking. Fucking awful. I couldn't believe the paralyzing fear that overtook me - and how different I felt as an adult performing as opposed to a child. But the bottom line is - kids are fearless, the idea of having anything to lose doesn't even enter your mind. As an adult you're an insecure, neurotic mess (ok, I was a neurotic mess). It took me years of open mics and full band shows to get to a point where at the end of the set I didn't simply feel a sense of relief, like "Fuck I'm glad that's over."

I didn't enjoy performing for years, but within the last year or two I've started to become more and more comfortable. There's always a crazy adrenaline rush that comes along with the completion of a performance, similar to the high of your favorite speed of choice (or for you "high on life" peeps, like drinking 10 espressos). But recently the actual performance part has become really enjoyable to me. I'd heard all the time from other performers that they felt more comfortable on stage than in their everyday lives, but I'd never actually felt it. But in the last few shows it's finally hit me, and I've really felt it. I'm still learning and growing as a performer, but I'm getting there. It's an incredible feeling to get back to loving what you do, as opposed to it being a chore.

I guess the main point of this long-winded shpiel is that if you love something, set it freeeee. No no, don't do that. If you love something or even if you're just interested in trying something, DO IT. Life's too fuckin short and the end result is way too rewarding to pass up. There's an incredible feeling that comes along with conquering your fear and achieving your goal. We all experience various degrees of fear every day of our lives, and the idea of putting yourself out there for criticism or ridicule has gotta be at the top of the list of fears. But it's also one of the most important things we as human beings can do to grow. (The more you know, mutha fuckas! lol)

And that's my .00000000002 for the day.

As always, thanks for the support! New shows and tunes coming your way soon.

/dan

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 13! Dead Man Walking 


Truth is, I never even heard this song until about a year ago.

The producer of our first 2 albums, Craig Levy (Little Pioneer), had sent me some tracks as ideas for what to cover at our live shows. There were a bunch of good ones; "Dead Man Walking" was the last one and it definitely stood out to me. I'd later find out that the main riff to the song was donated to David Bowie by Led Zeppelin's own resident genius, Jimmy Page. It's a pretty simple riff and the song isn't super dynamic. But I loved the melody and the lyrics seemed to fit into the theme that was developing for our EP. Right then I decided that it would be the song we'd be covering for Maps.

I was never a huge fan of Bowie's. I always liked the hits, and loved the whole Ziggy Stardust thing, but for whatever reason he was never a favorite. However, a few years back I was listening to some of his songs and I suddenly realized how much I really loved the guy (same thing happened to me with Bjork and U2, but I digress).

I knew I didn't want to cover "Heroes" or "The Man Who Sold The World" or "Space Oddity" or "Changes." As great as those songs are, they've been covered to death. I realized "Dead Man Walking" was an odd and random choice, but that's kinda why I picked it. It comes from 1997's Earthling LP, which isn't exactly his biggest album. But "I'm Afraid of Americans" was pretty well known at the time and got a lot of airplay. "Dead Man Walking" definitely didn't; but in my opinion it's a better song. The studio version is completely electronic - but the one I first heard was an acoustic version that he played on Conan O'Brien. Stripped down, you could really hear the melody and the vulnerability in the song.

When you start to dig into the lyrics, it comes off (at least to me) as a song about feeling stagnant; not growing, not changing, and feeling irrelevant. At this point in his career, Bowie had been in the game for 30+ years. To me, it sounds like he was saying that his career relevance was ending. The musical landscape was changing rapidly around him, and he was just trying to keep up. So in essence, he's "dying." Whether the song is about Bowie or not, that's how I took it. Electronic music was becoming big at the time - and so it was even more interesting that he was sonically changing with the times but kinda admitting that it's over (perhaps because he wasn't leading the way anymore). And I think a lot of people can relate to this conceit, not just musicians. I think you get to a certain point in your life where you start to feel irrelevant, stagnant and lose that youthful "I'm gonna fucking rule the world" energy. The themes of not growing, not changing, but withering and fading felt very in line with the overall theme of our EP, which I discussed in the last blog (though our EP is more about the desire to change and grow).

Originally we intended to cover the acoustic version, but soon realized we wanted to make the song our own and reinterpret it. Our bassist Matt (who produced the EP) said "Let me take a stab at this" and the next time I showed up to his studio the song was fully formed as the stripped down, electro-rock song that you hear on the EP. I did a couple takes of vocals and voila! It was essentially done. I love what Matt did with the song and it's one of my favorite songs we've ever recorded. You can check it out here:
https://soundcloud.com/soapboxarmy/dead-man-walking-d-bowie-r-gabrels

Thanks for listening!

Dan

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 12! Our new EP, Maps! 


Friends,

It's been awhile since we've posted, and I know you all have been DYING to hear from us. So here goes.

In the time that's spanned since our last post, we've completed and released our new EP, Maps. I'm extremely proud of this new EP and believe it to be our best to date (of course I do). Every album we've released has been a progression, an evolution. And this one is no different.

This new EP is our first release to have a running theme throughout all the songs. Without going all-out Rush style concept album sci-fi odyssey, the lyrics do tie together under one big umbrella theme - although each song is about something different. As you've noticed from our last blog post that you've read at least 10 times (right?), I don't like to explain the inspiration/meaning to songs because I think it takes away a little of the mystique and I like the idea of people getting to interpret the songs themselves. That said, I would like to talk about the overall theme because I think it's significant within our catalogue of albums.

Each of our albums prior to Maps, whether personal songs or songs about various external issues, have dealt very much in a pessimistic or negative viewpoint (ya don't say!). Sure, there are songs here or there that are more positive, but generally speaking they're few and far between. That said, I am extremely proud of each of our albums and I feel like any viewpoint is a valid one - after all, part of creating art is using it as therapy. But I was also really desiring something new. I felt a sort of 'been there, done that' attitude, especially lyrically. I wanted to create something that reflected my own desire to change, to move on, to be more positive. Even if it didn't necessarily sound like daffodils and rainbows - in my mind there was an interesting balance going on between light and dark in the music and lyrics.

Every time I've ever sat down to write a song it would be this negative, angst-ridden outpouring where I tended to get very melancholy and/or lash out at the world or blame others for different things, rather than taking control, responsibility, or trying to change things. And there's not anything super revelatory about that; as I said before art is something that helps you work on yourself and get through things. We're all guilty of these emotions, to various degrees. And all these songs have come from a very genuine and honest place. But at some point, you have to grow and move on. Art is all about evolution. This time, I was looking to exorcise some demons in a way that didn't just contribute to the cycle of negative crap; I tried to look at things from a different perspective. Perhaps it's just getting older, but I wanted to create something that I could listen back to that reminded me (and listeners) about the importance of growing, changing and progressing instead of feeding into all the darker stuff that my brain is constantly churning out. Because as Bob Dylan famously wrote, "he not busy being born is busy dying." Life is growth and renewal, or death. And at the end of the day, my life ain't that bad. And I need to learn to pick my battles and be grateful. We all do. There's a whole lot of negativity and vitriol out there these days, be it in the news, at work, online, in our relationships or anywhere else. And while a lot of world news is very heavy and hard not to get upset about, a lot of other things are trivial and we need to just let that shit go. We have a lot of work to do on ourselves, and social media has put a big 'ole spotlight on that. Life really is too short for the B.S. and the negative, soul-sucking garbage. To put it mildly. And I think that's what this EP is ultimately about.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the EP and thanks for listening. We are very proud of it. Here's a link to check it out. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
http://soapboxarmy.bandcamp.com/

We'll be playing an EP release show on Fri, Nov 21st at 8pm at Pianos in NYC. Hope to see you there! Rock.

Dan


 

Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 11! Keeping the mystery in music 

Friends, we greet you post-amazing-session at Mission Sound Studios in Brooklyn, where we tracked 3 songs off our upcoming EP. Look out for that in the spring/summer 2014! But I digress...

Recently I read an article where the new breakout band A Great Big World discussed the meaning of every single song on their upcoming debut album. I've noticed this trend happening a lot lately, which seems to just be a natural evolution of music coverage in the digital age. Haven't heard of A Great Big World, you say? Yeah, you definitely have. Their single, "Say Something" ft. Christina Aguilera is completely ubiquitous and inescapable. As much as it bugs me that the song title is reminiscent of one from our forthcoming EP, I can't front - that song is a killer. Regardless of your music tastes, the lyrics hit such a deep and relatable nerve. Singer Ian Axel has an unorthodox (at least for pop music) voice, and Christina adds a great layer harmonically, without overstepping her bounds and going into the crazy frenetic (see also, grating) runs that she normally does. She just lets Ian shine.

I used to see Ian Axel at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC, and it's great to see him get some success as the dude is clearly talented as a singer/songwriter. That said, the article I read had him explaining the lyrics (in detail) to every song on the band's upcoming major label debut. And it made me think about the idea of artist over-sharing. I realize the irony in what I'm saying as I write this blog, but I do think it's important to keep some mystery as an artist. Every artist pre-internet was shrouded in mystery, from the more obscure bands to the experimental to the massive pop stars. As much as Twitter and Facebook and Instagram are a "necessity" nowadays (and sort of crucial to an artist), the idea of explaining your lyrics just doesn't sit well with me. I strongly believe that people should be able to interpret your songs and that telling them EXACTLY what it's about sort of ruins it. It's one thing to give a quick overview of the meaning, but to explain it fully is a mistake. I think the song should make sense to the songwriter and the fan, each who probably take it to mean something entirely different. The Police song "Every Breath You Take" was never explained by Sting until long after it was a hit. The lyrics are actually about governments spying on its citizens (according to Sting), but that didn't (and shouldn't have!) stopped a million couples from making it their wedding song, with a completely different meaning in mind.

This all said, fans nowadays do expect to have a deeper connection to an artist and there are certain expectations when being featured/interviewed. But this is just something that struck me recently, as it is such a giant shift in our music culture and presentation of art. And I'm curious how you guys feel about it? /Dan