Highway Signs are a pop punk band from Wethersfield, CT.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jack Breton (Guitar/Trumpet)
Dante Goddard (Bass/Vocals)
Dylan O’Hagan (Vocals)
Jeff Buysse (Guitar)
Luke Mills (Drums)
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Highway Signs? How long has the band been around?
Luke: I wasn’t in any real bands before Highway Signs other than just fooling around with some friends in my basement. Highway Signs has been around for a little under a year when we decided we wanted to play a cover song at a talent show at my school. We covered Another Song About the Weekend by ADTR hahaha. We didn’t really start doing stuff as a band though until January when Dante joined the band and then in April, Jack joined the band.
Jack: I was in a progressive metal band called “Trapped in Theta” before this, but we didn't really do anything besides some cool jam sessions. Like Luke said, I joined the band in April. I started playing guitar about 3 years ago, and I’ve been playing trumpet for about 5 or 6 years, although I’ve only been into Ska and Ska-Punk for about 1 ½ years.
Dante: I basically started playing bass when I was asked to join the band. I had played bass for 2 years in a guitar class offered at my middle school but I didn’t really get much out of it nor did I really remember much of it so i pretty much started out with the bass in January when I joined the band.
Jeff: Yeah, same as Luke I was never in a “real” band, but him, me and one other kid named Zack had a “band”. We basically just played bad music in Luke's basement. It’s kinda funny cause I guess you could say we’re still doing that now haha. I had been playing guitar on my own for a while before Highway Signs but it wasn’t until the band started that I started taking it seriously.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Luke: It took us a while to decide on our band name just because we all had so many ideas. In fact, one of our songs and actually our whole EP that we’re finishing up writing is one of our original band name ideas. It’s “Wasting My Youth.” Another one of our ideas was “Through the Cracks” which we got from an ADTR song. We thought that sounded too metalcore though hahaha. It’s the classic “verb the noun” metalcore band name template, like Crown the Empire hahaha. We got Highway Signs though from a The Wonder Years song, “The Devil in my Bloodstream.” The line “Two blackbirds on a highway sign” evolved into Highway Signs.
Dante: Exactly what Luke said up there. I just didn’t want to feel left out so I’m writing this haha ;P
Jeff: My sophomore year of high school I just wrote a bunch of band names down in a notebook. We had a whole bunch, and were really indecisive about the name. I think it was actually Dylan who came up with Highway Signs and it was the best one we had I guess so it stuck.
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?
Luke: We work together to write our songs and everyone has input and gets to give their two cents on all the parts of our songs. For the most part though, the Lyrics are written by Dylan and Dante and the instrumentals are written by Jack and myself.
Jack: Usually Dante or Dylan write the lyrics and Luke and myself write the instrumentals. It’s really cool to see a riff/chord progression you came up with just fooling around become part of a song.
Dante: Usually Dylan or myself writes our lyrics; and usually Jack or Luke writes the instrumentals. Some main themes we’ve had in our songs so far are - girls, annoying people, leaving a place you hate and more. I’m not really sure if these topics will change, we don’t really plan topic for what we’re going to write about. It’s usually what just comes to mind about what we’re feeling at the moment. Maybe we’ll have some lyrically similar songs, maybe we’ll have some that are totally different but at the moment there’s no way to tell.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Luke: We have so many bands that inspire us. We get inspired from literally every band we listen to. To name a few that inspire me specifically, NoFX, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, A Day to Remember, The Wonder Years, Me vs. Hero and Neck Deep.
Jack: The Wonder Years, State Champs, NOFX, ADTR, and Real Friends, to say a few. However, for guitar, my main influences include Frank Zappa (I call my telecaster "Zappa" after him), Hendrix, and Stephen Stills (Old guitarists, I know. Haha) We also take influence from ska bands such as Operation Ivy and Streetlight Manifesto.
Dante: ADTR, Neck Deep, Real Friends, The Story So Far, Bring Me The Horizon, The Devil Wears Prada, Ice Nine Kills, All Time Low, Sum 41, State Champs, New Found Glory and many more. We have inspiration from many bands in a few different genres which I think is cool because now we have sort of a mixed sound of a few genres.
Jeff: I think as a band we have a really wide assortment of influences, from Dante’s hardcore/EZ-core to Jack’s ska and Zappa. I think the bands and their respective genres that inspire us really show in our music cause one second it’s a ska riff and then the next theres a breakdown. But my favorite bands are Mixtapes, The Wonder Years, Blink-182, Green Day and NFG.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Luke: My brother has always been in bands and I’ve always thought it was so cool. It looked so fun so I decided that I wanted to be in a band too.
Dante: I’d say the first show that really inspired me to really want to be in a band was the All Stars Tour 2013. I got to see some bands that I like that weren’t very popular at the time and hearing them talk about how awesome it feels to write music and put your heart and feelings into it and have people like it and want to hear is incredible. It got me thinking about how amazing that must feel to be able to have fans all over the country who will come out to see you and keep supporting you enough to tour the country; and have your other amazing fans come to see you. It really made the idea clear that no matter who you are, or where you are everyone can come together to enjoy great music. Ever since then I’ve really thought about how cool it would be to tour and be in a band.
Jack: I know this is in no way pop punk, but what inspired me to be in a band was seeing Bruce Springsteen live. I've seen him 3 times live and it was awesome! He's one of my favorite artists and he his band has so much energy on stage. I remember him throwing his guitar pick to me after his set a few years ago, and that really inspired me to take guitar seriously and work on learning it as well as I could.
Jeff: I love music a lot and so I’ve always thought being in a band would be awesome. My first show/concert that I went to was in 8th grade and I saw Best Coast and Green Day at a casino here in CT. It was awesome and the bands energy and even the energy of the crowd made me think, “I wanna do that”.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
Luke: We’ve only played a few shows so far but what I’ve done before those shows is just get really nervous hahaha.
Jack: For the couple of shows we have played, it's really nerve wracking before we go on. But as you start playing, you just feel normal again. Usually for guitar warm ups, I play through some of the Major/Minor Pentatonic scales and flex the ol' fingers, just to get loose.
Dante: I try to play through some parts of our songs to 1. get myself warmed up and 2. to make sure I remember how to play them. I try not to let nervousness get to me so I try to keep my mind off how nervous I am. I try to distract myself by talking with the guys and joke around.
Jeff: I’ve kinda made my own little “pre-show ritual” of drinking a monster right before we go on. I did it at the first two talent shows we played at Luke’s school and at the show we played at the Webster just recently. Somehow all that energy makes me a little less nervous I guess.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Luke: For me, the coolest thing we’ve done was play our first show. It was a basement show and everyone was there just to have fun and everyone was going nuts. It was so cool that people were getting into songs that we had written. It really made me realize why I wanted to be in a band.
Jack: For me, the highlight of what we’ve done so far is play at the Webster Underground in Hartford, CT. It’s a good sized venue and it felt awesome to be on a real stage.
Dante: For me the highlight had to be after we finished playing our first show which was a basement show. I felt really good about how we played and i was killing it with jokes in between songs. After we played we had many people come up to us and tell us we were awesome and they never would’ve guessed that was our first show. Also I had a some people telling me i was hilarious with some of my jokes which made me feel great because i was just trying to tell jokes to not make me so nervous. So to actually find out those jokes were funny was really cool, also it was great to hear that we played well. That set that we played can be found on our YouTube channel for anyone looking to check that out.
Jeff: Yeah, that first basement show we played was awesome. I’ve only been to two basement shows and one of them was that one, but both times there was so much energy. Something about all those people crammed into that small space just amps people up I guess haha. The crowd was amazing and really got into the covers and our originals which was great.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Dante: For sure the first band I would tour with if i had the chance is ADTR. They’ve been my favorite band since Luke showed me them in 7th grade. Some other bands that would be great to tour with would be - The Story So Far, Real Friends, The Devil Wears Prada, BlessTheFall, The Amity Affliction and more. Those are currently some of my favorite bands and from what I’ve seen they seem to have lots of fun on stage. Those bands have been huge influences on me and I think it would be rad to tour, play, and hang with them.
Luke: I would love to tour with The Wonder Years because they’re definitely my favorite band and from the interviews I’ve seen, they seem like really cool guys. I had VIP tickets to one of their shows once and they seemed like they would be awesome to hang out with. Plus, their live show is incredible.
Jack: If I got to tour with any band, it would definitely be NOFX. They seem like awesome guys to tour with and watching “NOFX: Backstage Passport” makes it seem so much fun haha.
Jeff: NOFX would be awesome to tour with cause those guys are pretty crazy. They are all in their 40’s though so that might make things a little awkward…. I would really love to tour with Mixtapes or The Wonder Years. They are two of my favorite bands ever and hanging out with them would be pretty rad haha.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Luke: We threw together a couple home-made demos of a few of the songs we’ve written and put them up on Bandcamp for free so that people could start to get an idea of what we sound like. You can check them out at highwaysigns.bandcamp.com. You can also hit us up on twitter @HighwaySigns and on youtube.
Jack: Just like Luke said, you can check out our Bandcamp and Twitter (@highwaysigns), my personal twitter is @jack_breton. Also make sure to look out for our EP coming soon!
Dante: Definitely be sure to check out our band camp and twitter, also we have personal twitters you can find from ours. Mine is @BaessistHS and you can find the other guys’ twitters from ours, we’re always friendly to our fans and try to interact with as many of you as possible