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March 30, 2011 / punkcakes

The Bynars, An Interview

Bynars Balloons (Photo by Kiel Szivos, Illustration by Cathy Durso)

The Bynars is one of those bands that you can play in the midst of a really shitty day and will inevitably leave you skipping down the street, or at least bobbing your tired, overworked head. They are energetic, witty – smart electronic music as I like to call it – and they can make you dance. They have been working diligently on their self-titled debut album, which will release April 26, and the release of their single “Asking Your Mom For Money” creates an overwhelming anticipation for the rest of the tracks. They’re fun, and we all definitely need a little bit of that – we need The Bynars. Check out the exclusive interview with Matt (guitar/vocals) below, and get to know more about these fine, fun fellows.

Q: To put it simply, who are the Bynars? What are you roots? How did this journey begin?

The Bynars began one summer when I was listening to The Hippos album Heads Are Gonna Roll with Ben.  Ben and I had been in a band for years, which had just dissolved and we decided to start a new, fun pop band with lots of synthesizers.  We got some songs together, found some friends to join up with, and played our first show in early 2008.

Q: If you could describe your music in a few words, what would they be? What do you want people to know about you guys?

We played in Toronto in 2009 and there was a review of our show that said “If Weezer and The B-52’s got drunk and hooked up, their offspring would be The Bynars.  Deliriously danceable rock doesn’t get any better.”  I’m not very good at describing our band, but I like this description!

Q: Who and what inspires you guys as songwriters and as a band?

As a songwriter, I’m most inspired by The Beatles, Carole King, Beach Boys.  We’re also into music that utilizes science & technology.  I’m a sucker for a good love song.  And we like reggae.

Q: Who are your musical idols/inspirations? Who do you guys look up to as a band?

The songwriters I just mentioned would obviously be on the list, but as a band we have a different sort of mindset with what we aspire to be.  We have really tried to emulate the power-pop vibe of Fountains of Wayne, Weezer, and The Rentals since the beginning, but I think the artists we most look up to right now have a little more to do with electronic/electro-pop music than rock/pop music.  Daft Punk, Devo, and M.I.A. come to mind as examples of what we would like to sound like in way or another.

Q: You guys recently released the single “Asking Your Mom For Money” which will be featured on your upcoming album, The Bynars. What can we expect from the album?

I think we’ve been able to incorporate more into our sound than just “pop songs with lots of synths.”  The new record has better songs, more of an electronic flavor to it, lots more stuff going on, everyone’s performance skills & musicianship improved 1,000% over the course of doing the album.

You can expect 12 tracks that you can appreciate as songs or on the dance floor.

Q: How do you feel you have grown as a band from your previous EP’s?

Things have changed quite a bit for us on this record.  Firstly, recording at Camp Street Studios – a “real studio” – was a huge step up for us in terms of the quality of the album’s sound.  On our previous EP’s, we’d recorded on our own, at our practice space, in Kiel’s dorm room, in the bathroom, wherever.  The results were good for what they were, but we were chomping at the bit to do work at a studio.  We still did some home recording for the record, but Adam Taylor (producer at Camp Street) made it sound awesome!

In terms of the music and being a band – I’d say our first few EP’s had a lot of good songs, we are proud of them for what they are – but there’s a bit of a quick, rushed vibe to a lot of it.  This time we did it the way we felt was right.  We really took our time with everything and figured out exactly what we wanted to do, what songs were best, what we could do to push them to be even better.  We probably chipped away at a lot of these songs for over two years, so I definitely wouldn’t say they were rushed this time.  We also conducted an anonymous song study where we asked hundreds strangers on the internet to evaluate our music.  The results were awesome.  People hated it, people loved it, they were vicious, they were kind, many told us we sucked, and other people gave great, thoughtful constructive criticism.  We were looking for honesty, and we got it in heavy doses.  It was probably the best decision we made working on the album.  Overall, the whole thing it was a huge growing and learning experience.

Q: What are you most stoked on with the release of the album, and the future for you guys?

For months now, we’ve either been in the studio or in our rehearsal space working on the album, so we’re just excited to get out there and play lots of shows right now.  We haven’t played a show for so long, we are itching to get back out there with the new songs!

Q: What do you guys love about playing live shows? Coming to Brooklyn any time soon??

We’re playing our first shows in support of the new album in April and we’re actually really scared!  We haven’t played out for I guess 8 months because we were working on the album.  We have a new live setup equipment-wise, and lots of new/re-worked songs, and a new band member.  It’s sort of gonna feel like playing our first show again, and so many things can go wrong!  But we’re just gonna have fun with it and do what comes naturally, which is be nerds and dance like white people!  As for Brooklyn shows, nothing confirmed in Brooklyn yet, but we’re playing in Manhattan at The Cake Shop on 5/13 with our amazing friends from Brooklyn, Infinity Hotel!  Check them out you’ll be glad you did.

Q: The road of making music is a long and treacherous one, but nevertheless awesome. Do you have any advice for young bands just beginning and trying to get their music heard?

My advice to young bands is to create the best possible songs possible.  Don’t get wrapped up in your image, your genre, your Sound, your guitars, how cool you or other people think your music is, who guest stars on your track, what shows you play, who is at the shows, or whatever.  What people will actually remember in the long run are great songs.  If you have solid songs, people will notice, positive things will come of it.  The goal of being in a band & making music for me is to move people, and a good song is one of the most potent forms I can think of to move someone.  If you’re not in a band to create great songs, then I don’t really know what to tell you!

Some other great advice: don’t drink the water, there’s blood in the water.  – Dave

Q: The obligatory Punkcakes question – Punkcakes is a music blog with an appreciation for the pastry.  What is your favorite dessert? A favorite recipe you’d like to share?

Hmmm… I’m not really sure.  If it’s one of my band mates’ birthdays, I usually bake them a cake, and no one has complained yet… so I guess we like cake!  I usually just do what it says on the box and use lots of frosting.  We’re also really into buying bags of Cadbury Mini-eggs right now.  Hippity hop hop, hippity hop, The Easter Bunny’s on his way!  Hippity hop hop, hippity hop, to bring us our eggs on Easter Day!

Practice Space Photo (Photo by Nate Legsdin)

Catch these guys May 13 at the Cake Shop!


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