Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jon Puleio - Guitar/Keys/Vocals, Chris "Bebo" Simmons - Bass/Vocals, Tyler Magazzu - Guitar/Vocals, Kevin Murray - Guitar/Vocals, Ammiel "Miles" Hundley - Drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Familiar Things? How long has the band been around?
Bebo and Jon were most recently in a quite short-lived pop-punk band called Straight Down Maple around 2011-2012, with only one EP released and a few live shows played. Kevin played guitar in the Philly-based band Anomaly who released a 6-track EP before splitting up in 2015. Ty was most recently in the band Ghosts & Androids (also based out of Philadelphia) whose members went their separate ways prior to the completion and release of their first full-length album in 2016. We finalized the full Familiar Things lineup towards the end of summer 2017 and began to write and practice together before finally recording and releasing our debut single "Okay, Then" in December 2017.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Bebo and Jon created the name Familiar Things prior to playing their first "show" performing acoustic covers at a friend's backyard party in the summer of 2016. Though their set consisted mainly of covers and was played for fun in front of their friends, they ultimately began writing original songs with the intention of telling stories. Their intent was to relate to and connect to people on a personal level; whether it be about ourselves or others, and in that aspect, would be a "familiar" concept to our listeners. The duo later recruited Tyler, Kevin, and Miles to fill out the quintet, and Familiar Things just seemed to stick.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We are lucky enough to be a band full of extremely talented songwriters in one way or another. Of our first five songs we released as a band, four different members have written the general framework and lyrical content of at least one full song. Once the general concept and structure are brought to the other members, we work as a band to write different parts and finalize it together, putting our own unique spin and style on each of our parts.
We've written a lot about common concepts so far, like love, relationships, and heartbreak. We definitely have our eyes on continuing to grow with our lyrical content in our next batch of songs and into the future. Humans are naturally complicated and complex emotionally, and we all have many more things that we want to write about and express musically. Going forward, with our first release out of the way, we feel a greater sense of freedom to expand and explore deeper concepts and ideas.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Overall, though we're all from an extreme variety of musical backgrounds, we all connect with bands such as The Starting Line, Mayday Parade, Cartel, and other bands mostly from the early to mid-2000s pop-punk wave. At the same time, each of us brings influences from different styles, ranging from early 70's rock & roll to more modern alternative. We all have a strong affinity for the honest and heartfelt energy of those styles and we definitely are influenced with that in our songwriting. We also wanted to take that sound and do different things with it and add different instrumentation and arrangements, so bands like Go Radio with the addition of piano, and Yellowcard with violin, who added non-traditional elements into pop-punk music definitely gave us the inspiration to do the same.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
With five separate members of the band each drawing inspiration from different places and influences throughout our lives, it's difficult to pinpoint any one single artist that lit the creative fire within each of us to begin playing. However, I can definitely speak for Bebo and myself about where at least the roots of our pop punk drive came from. When we were in high school a friend showed me the band With The Punches, and I eventually showed them to Bebo and we fell in love with their music.
One night, With The Punches came to play in our hometown of Marlton, New Jersey and played at the Gibson House, which was basically a town community center, where the bands would just set up in the corner of a big empty room and play. They played for only a couple dozen kids and what blew us away was the passion and intensity not only they played with, but that was given back in response by the audience, with everyone in the room singing their hearts out to every word of every song. From the first time we saw them, we agreed that we so badly wanted to be apart of this scene, and hopefully, one day be the ones to write songs that we can connect with people on. - Jon
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
In our first few shows, we haven't seemed to develop any pre-show rituals or routines as of yet (aside from having a beer or two to loosen up and make funny buzzing sounds with our mouths to warm up).I'm sure as our career progresses and we become more and more comfortable with the chaos of putting on a live show, we'll find small quirks and inside jokes that become the norm to lighten the mood before stepping out on stage.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
In our young career as a band, one of our biggest highlights was the night of our EP release show. In our second gig as a band, we were fortunate enough to headline our own show at Kung Fu Necktie in Philly with two other local bands (Saver and Minor Nelson) who are both comprised of awesome guys and better friends. We were able to pack the place with so many of our close friends and family members to celebrate our first EP release, making it such a special night and one we will never forget that night.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Among all of our band members, are most widely loved band overall is probably Mayday Parade, so it would probably be them. All of us to some extent were influenced by their style in songwriting and just in general love their music, so to ever get an opportunity to tour with them and play on a stage of that size would definitely be a dream come true for us.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Our debut five-song EP "Fade Into The Scenery" is out now on Spotify and all other major listening platforms! We are going to be playing some more shows in the greater Philadelphia and tri-state area throughout the rest of the spring and summer before releasing another EP towards the end of the summer or beginning of fall, so keep an eye out for that!