Act As If

9 Sep

“A few years ago I came to the decision that I wanted Act As If to be more of a force for good / positive vibes

When you start out your music career as an A&R rep at one of the most well-known labels, you’re bound to know the ins and outs of the business. Lead singer of Act As If, Peter Verdell, started out at Drive Thru Records, helping to propel bands into the spotlight. With all of that experience under his belt, he set his sights on creating his own music. After releasing his debut LP, Peter set out to complete his own lineup. Diego de la Rosa, J. David Carrera, and Sara Lindsay joined and the band started making music together. Act As If has received notoriety from many outlets, including MTV, Apple, and many TV shows. They just released their new EP, The Iron Is Hot, which I have been enjoying non-stop. Their single, Oh My My, has been featured on the site a few times, which should show you just how much I adore this band. Recently, Peter Verdell answered some questions for the blog, giving us all a chance to learn more about this band that is skyrocketing before our eyes.

Q. It’s so refreshing to hear a band with a happy/summer sound that you guys have achieved. Which bands/singers are the influence behind your sounds?

A. Thanks! I think it’s easy for a lot of artists (including myself) to write slow, sad songs. A few years ago I came to the decision that I wanted Act As If to be more of a force for good / positive vibes…so even though we’ll still create some slow / sad songs, I want things to generally be more upbeat. I’m inspired by way too many people, but some of my favorite bands are The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, U2, Smashing Pumpkins, and Third Eye Blind.

Q. How did it feel to have a song licensed by Apple, who has quickly become so influential in the music business today.

A. It was incredibly exciting–and it came out of nowhere, literally. No one pitched the song, no one had any contact with the company; I just got an email one afternoon from the “senior director of music marketing at Apple”…and three days later, our song was in a video on It was incredibly validating.

Q.What’s it like playing in such an iconic venue like Hotel Cafe, where so many other great artists have also played?

A. The Hotel Cafe is one of our favorite places to play…and yeah, I’ve seen some incredible bands there–from friends/favorites, Barcelona, all the way up to megastars like John Mayer. There’s a sort of magical vibe there in the room. It’s intimate, charming, and the people working there are on their game.

Q. How much more work was it releasing your first full length album than it was when you released your current EP?

A. It was so much harder doing the first full-length, mainly because I recorded all the instruments–with the exception of bass. Recording is a little overwhelming regardless, but that was exceptionally overwhelming. Thankfully I had an amazing friend in Nashville mixing it (Nick Baumhardt), and he was really patient with me. I’ll always be proud of that album–even if only a few thousand people own it–it’s my baby. With The Iron Is Hot – EP, the band recorded it together, and even though that has it’s own challenges, it was definitely a quicker process and slightly less work than There’s s Light.

Q. How did you come to the decision to record a Christmas song, and does this mean we could expect a Christmas album or EP in the future?

A. I don’t know. I’m hopelessly romantic and there’s something especially charming about the holidays. I live in Los Angeles, but I’m originally from Olympia, WA, and I tend to get homesick thinking about my friends, family, old girlfriends, etc…during the winter and that’s what inspired the song. If we can come up with a few more Christmas songs that we’re proud of, I’d love to do a Christmas EP.

Q. How much of a thrill was it to hear your music for the first time on a famous radio station like KROQ?

A. It was pretty amazing. I got an email from Kat Corbett (DJ @ KROQ) letting me know she was going to play “Oh My My” on her show, so on the night it was supposed to air, I just got in my car and drove around LA until it came on. I think I actually yelped/screamed when I first heard the drum beat through the speakers; it sounded so damn cool on the radio! Anyway, Kat has been playing the song still, and we’re actually playing a KROQ Locals Only showcase soon–we’re stoked.

Q. When it comes to the songwriting process, is it a collaborative effort with the band, or is it something that each of you does individually?

A. So far, it’s been more of an individual process. Usually, I’ll write a song, record a demo, email it to the band, and then we’ll hash it out together at practice. I’ve been trying to record more and more “skeleton” versions of demos so that we have more breathing room to create parts together.

Q. Do you prefer smaller, acoustic shows or playing in larger venues to larger crowds? How does the feeling differ between the two?

A. For the time being, I’m over playing small acoustic shows, ha. I think eventually I’ll be ready for it again, but I’ve played so many. We’re finally at a point where the sound we make as a band is really impressive; it’s taken a lot of time and work, but now that we’ve got it, I don’t want to strip it down anytime soon. I think acoustic shows are really only fun when people know your songs and are strictly in the room to watch you. Otherwise, there’s a bit more of a barrier to our egos if we’re making a bit more noise; people can talk a little, or come in and out of the venue, and it’s less noticeable.

Q. Do you find there’s a difference when playing on the East Coast vs. the West Coast?

A. We’ve only been to the East Coast once–and we loved it–but the shows were really small. So for now, the West Coast is where it’s at for us, but hopefully sooner than later we can have more of a place on the East Coast too.

Q. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which would it be and why?

A. Hmmm…probably “There’s a Light.” My voice has developed A LOT since recording that first album, but I’ll always have a sweet spot for that song. There’s something about it that still inspires me–and I think it would make my “stranded on an island” situation more enjoyable.

I’ve featured their song, Oh My My, one the site a few times before, but since I’m completely obsessed with it, I’m featuring it again. Which only means, you should listen to it and fall in love with it. Then, go check out more of their fantastic EP, The Iron Is Hot.


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