Brooklyn is a truly great place. Although it may never be as popular as it’s older brother, Manhattan, the thing about Brooklyn that makes it truly unique is it’s rich and vibrant music scene. This is the bustling borough that has brought us the likes of Grizzly Bear, Yaesayer, and other great artists that were born elsewhere but now call Brooklyn home like Sufjan Stevens, MGMT and The National. Today we would like to pay homage to another great four-piece coming out of Brooklyn that goes by the name of The Subjects. The band is made up of Joe Smith and Jimmy Carbonetti on guitars, Matt Iwanusa on drums and Dave Sheinkopf on bass and after releasing their debut album in 2007, they have just released a brand new EP called New Soft Shoe which we are currently playing to death. Drummer Matt Iwanusa was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band’s interesting begginings and clown car impressions in hotel bathrooms. Take a look at the whole Q and A below:
Yellow Bird Project: Firstly, we hear you guys have interesting beginnings as a band. Could you tell us how you guys got together and how your band name came about?
Matt Iwanusa: Dave and Joe taught Jimmy and I in high school. Joe and Dave had been working on recording songs together and a friend of theirs gave it to a few of New York’s “finest” dive bars…
Jimmy and I were writing music together as well, playing at private parties for our parents, school talent shows and charity events we put together at lunch time with very creative sounding “charity names”.
Joe and Dave starting getting emails from clubs to play shows and i guess it just seemed right for Jimmy and I to help complete the band.
YBP: There must be a large age discrepancy in the band. Does it ever get in the way of anything?
MI: Not that large. I think maybe 7 years? We have spent so much time together that we all can act 7 years older or younger at any point during the day.
YBP: When you guys are writing new songs is there one or two band members who handle most of the songwriting or is it more of a full band collaborative effort?
MI: Lately it’s started out that Dave or I have an idea. We’ll record it at home then bring it in. Sometimes it’s a full song other times it’s just a melody. After that we probably record it as a band 4 or 5 times. Once the full band plays it so many new ideas come up that the song usually sounds way different. Everybody plays a big part in the process.
YBP: How have things changed since you guys first got together? How have you grown as a band?
MI: We have become much better at our instruments for sure and now we all feel comfortable multi-tasking. It’s a great feeling when you can switch around and not feel locked into one specific thing. I think that has opened up a lot of possibilities for us.
YBP: We are big fans of Daytrotter and we saw that you guys performed for them. Could you tell us a little bit about the Daytrotter experience?
MI: Everybody that works at Daytrotter is amazing. We did a session with them right when they started and have stayed friends ever since. Sean is a great guy and I think he is doing a really great thing!
YBP: Out of all the amazing bands to come out of Brooklyn who are some of your favorites? And could you introduce us to a Brooklyn band that we may not know but you think more people should know about?
MI: My favorite band right now is Here We Go Magic. Luke has always been doing great stuff and I think the direction he is going in now is awesome.
I love Glass Ghost as well. Their new record is going to be amazing.
White Rabbits are great also. We toured with them in June and I never got bored of watching them play. They are a great live band and do an amazing clown car impression in hotel bathrooms.
YBP: Who has been the most fun band to tour with thus far and why?
MI: I think I answered that in the last question but I would definitely say White Rabbits. It was great to tour with a band who is excited about what they are doing. They go out and kill it every night and then are ready to party after. We were friends before the trip but are definitely besties now!
YBP: If you could tour with any two bands dead or alive who would they be?
MI: I would say Genesis 1972-1973 and probably Wings…
YBP: Where is one place you haven’t played yet that you would give anything to play?
MI: England. We haven’t been there yet. It’s been talked about but for some reason hasn’t happened yet.
YBP: Finally, who are you favorite bands that have designed T-shirts for The Yellow Bird Project?
MI: I have always been a big Shins fan. I think those guys put out some great records.
Well we think so too! And a big thank you to Matt for answering our questions and wish him and the rest of the band luck on their upcoming tour!
Here’s a song from their New Soft Shoe EP: The Subjects – “Winter Vacation”
–The Middle Distance Runner