Act As If

24 Nov

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What began as a solo act, Peter Verdell, released his debut album, There’s A Light. Within a short amount of time, songs from the album were being played on networks such as ABC and MTV. As the music grew more popular, Peter formed a band and together, they recorded their first EP, The Iron Is Hot, in 2012. Success struck and the band has had the opportunity to open for big acts such as Barcelona and Emery. I first came across the band about two years ago, when I was randomly browsing Spotify for new music. I clicked on “Oh My My” and a smile appeared on my face. Everything about their sound, the tone of the singers voice, I loved. Their brand new album, Steady, has just released, and if you can’t already guess, I love it. I really feel like you should get to know this band and that’s why I have this Monday treat for you. An interview with frontman, Peter Verdell.

Q. As the founding member of Act As If, what were some of your initial hopes for the band?

A. My initial hopes were all over the place (…similar to my current hopes). Sometimes I think I’d be totally happy with putting out good music as an indie band and doing small tours, getting some songs licensed here and there. And then other times, I just want things to be massive…for us to get on big tours, have our music featured in a ton of different outlets, do the label thing, etc etc. So, I’m happy about the opportunities we’ve had so far, and I’m thankful for the amazing band that Act As If has turned into (the first album was just me and a macbook and a microphone I borrowed), but I’m also anxious and optimistic for bigger and cooler things.

Q. Your career began as an A&R rep at Drive-Thru Records. This was during the time when pop-punk was all the rage. What was the driving force behind you leaving the label?

A. The driving force was simply the fact that I was spending 40+ hours behind a desk every week, out at shows lots of the nights, and just didn’t have time to be practicing or playing music. I had lots of great experiences working at Drive-Thru, but ultimately I had this inner voice telling me “You need to be playing music! You’re not going to be happy until you at least TRY!” So…I quit…starting taking some music classes at a community college, and shifted my focus towards getting better at the drums, and eventually, my songwriting.

Q. Your band has had really great success in terms of having your music featured on big TV networks. Besides your music being heard by so many, what’s your favorite thing about it playing on such large platforms?

A. Having songs placed on TV shows or being featured on blogs, etc, is important for a few reasons–obviously the “being heard by so many” is necessary if Act As If is going to keep growing and moving forward; but, it’s also just fun…and it helps drive our story forward. It gives us something to talk about, and it gives people more of a reason to take us seriously.

Q. Your brand new album, Steady, was just released a few weeks ago. Prior to this, you’ve released one other record and an EP. How is this album different from the past ones?

A. I’d like to think that everything is just…better: the songs, my voice, our band. We also recorded this album in a studio, as opposed to recording in random apartments for the past EP and full-length, so there’s an obvious sonic difference. There’s also more of Sara’s voice on this record, which I love. I just kinda said “you do your thing, girl”…and she did. She is the queen of harmonizing. And also of tambourine. She is the tambourine queen.

Q. If you could name one thing that sets you apart from all of other musicians out there, what would it be?

A. Great question…I’m not sure the best way to answer. I think every songwriter is unique, I just hope that my unique experiences can be channeled in a way that brings a sense of connection or meaning to other people. My dad died of cancer when I was five, so maybe I have bent toward thinking a lot about death, and the shortness / beauty of life. I was raised conservative/Christian, and then I got really over it, and then I sort of came back to a faith that’s much different–so I think a lot about theology / philosophy. And maybe most importantly, haha, is that I’ve been largely single for the past few years. Lots of dates and lots of nice people, but nothing that’s really stuck. So. I think all of that comes across on this new record. And hopefully, it’s a good thing…a relate-able thing.

Q. I listened to the new album in one sitting the other night. It starts off with the title track, which happens to be my favorite on the album. Can you tell me about the process of writing that song and why it’s the title of the record?

A. I’m glad you like it…it’s definitely one of my favorites. It’s about a couple different things, but it was mainly inspired by a girl who I was having ‘long-distance conversations’ with. A friend had been talking this girl up to me for awhile, and so I went on a date with her while I happened to be in her city for a couple days. We ended up talking every day after for about 6 weeks, which was pretty significant for me at the time. Anyway, I wrote this song somewhere in those 6 weeks, and then as the album was getting finished I felt more and more of a connection to the song, and even just the word “Steady.” I love it.

Q. Now that you have this new album out, do you plan touring in support of it?

A. We want to tour, but it depends on a few things. An extensive U.S. tour will probably have to wait until we can get a good support slot / someone to hit the road with. Until then, it will likely be Los Angeles and regional / west coast dates.

Q. You’ve released some lyric videos in support of the album. Any plans for a music video?

A. Yes! We have a music video for “Uh Huh” coming very very shortly, and we hope to do videos for ‘Steady’ and ‘L.A. Kid’ at some point as well.

Q. What was your favorite part about the recording process with this album? What was your least favorite?

A. My favorite part was watching my bandmates kill it…it’s so fun watching them…I’m always inspired by their talent. My least favorite part was waiting. There’s so much patience involved…and it’s hard to stay calm when things are running behind or taking longer than you’d thought.

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

A. There’s a b-side from this album called “Sooner Than You Think” (which we’ll probably release in the next couple months)…and that might be the one; we’ll see if you agree when you hear it!

Take a listen to “All Our Friends” from the new record. If you love what you hear, give these guys a chance. Their music is magnetic.

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