The 131ers have a dynamic new sound that reflects their upbringing as lovers of great rock and roll. We sat down with the guys and got their insights into their music.
MB: The 131ers are based in Torrance, CA. Are you guys CA natives? Where did you all grow up?
Kaleb- Born in England! Moved across the pond when I was a wee lad to get sun burnt in California.
Chris- Born and raised in Torrance.
Greg- Lansig, Nebraska
MB: How did the 4 of you come together to form the 131ers?
Kaleb- I met Ry in high school. It was love at first sight. We started playing music for a battle of the bands when I was 14.
Ryan- I was forced into going to a Young the Giant concert with Kaleb whom I hated at the time, we bonded over a cute girl and the rest is fate.
Chris- I worked at a church where I met Kaleb as a little kid. He lived about 10 houses down from me, and when he got older and built a recording studio at his house, he started having me come over to play on various tracks.
Greg- I answered an ad on Craigslist. They were looking for a photographer, but I showed up with a guitar instead of a camera.
MB: What’s the story behind the band name?
Ryan- 131 is the computer genre tag for indie music.
Kaleb- Grab your iPod (do they still exist?) Go to genre, look for 131. If you know, you know.
Greg- I think it has something to do with the time of day you’re supposed to drink tea.
MB: Your new album, “Nothing’s As It Should Be” is out in June, can you share with us the meaning of and how you came up with the title?
Chris- That’s the title we went with? Shit.
Kaleb- For me, I think the title clicked one day last year. I woke, had my coffee, read the news, looked around and realized that nothing seemed right. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. This album is our response to that – it’s us saying fuck the bullshit, you can still party and listen to kickass music in Cheeto era America.
Ryan- it’s our love letter to millennial America.
Greg- I threw out the title Pet Sounds, but apparently that has already been used.
MB: We love the new songs; do you feel your sound is influenced in any way by California.
Greg- Interestingly enough, I was influenced by most Amish culture. Californian Amish culture though.
Ryan- yeah, I think a lot of our sound is unique even to the distinct part of California we live in. We have created this interesting blend of indie rock influenced by surf rock, SoCal rap, dance, and beach vibes.
Kaleb- If you mean working 4 jobs at once just trying to make ends meet in this beautiful place, then yeah. California influenced this record. It’d probably be a lot less cynical if we were in Texas.
Chris- Also we’d have worked with less people in ska bands out there.
Can you tell us what gets your creative juices flowing and what your process is for writing and recording?
Ryan- I generally hate anything Kaleb has “been working on for a few days.”
Chris- Pretty much it’s a lot of yelling, throwing things, wrestling, and then eventually music.
Greg- I don’t write the music. The music writes me.
MB: If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?
Kaleb- I’d be far away, probably a lot tanner, with a slightly larger mustache making fruity drinks for the people of the island – possibly having sired a child with a beautiful woman. The child would eventually grow up to become a famous boxer and would return to Los Angeles to finally beat down the now aged and decrepit Conor McGregor.
Ryan- sorry, the number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service.
Chris- I’d be face down in the gutter, Carson Blvd, probably out front of Circus Donuts
Greg- Living a quiet life working at the local five and dime back in good ole Lansig, Nebraska.
MB: What’s your happy place?
Kaleb- My parent’s kitchen.
Ryan- playa del coco, Costa Rica. Ever sipped on margaritas while monkeys eat bananas out of your hand? Yep.
Chris- Our warehouse. I feel like I can do all manners of stupid things there and no one can stop me.
Greg – The good ole five and dime in Lansig, Nebraska.
MB: The first video you released was for the song “Face On,” filled with people getting their groove on and awkward dance moves. Who came up with that video concept?
Chris- Originally, I had written a script for a dads only dance party video. It was just going to feature our fathers shaking their tail feathers and the moms would all be jealous they couldn’t join. Somebody shot me down, and we need an easier idea quick.
Kaleb- Chris did. I just bought the wine.
Ryan- I don’t wanna be that guy, but this was definitely my idea. Sorry I’m such a genius.
Greg- Have you seen the movie Face Off?
MB: The second single is for the song “Rome,” what was the inspiration for the song?
Kaleb- This song was really just inspired by being a working musician. It’s about sacrificing relationships, friends, financial stability all for some silly little dream you have. I kind of have to keep reminding myself that it takes time, that eventually I will make it – and in this way it relates to our experience in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Irma. You can’t build a music career in a day and that bothered me. Watching an island having to rebuild itself after a disaster like that really put the song into perspective for me and changed the meaning a bit.
Ryan- Kaleb and I were stuck in Puerto Rico during hurricane Irma and drank so much that we convinced ourselves we were in Rome.
Chris- If you want to find out more about our efforts to raise money for hurricane relief, check out our organization Artists for Disaster Relief at www.afdrmusic.com
Greg- It’s in the song. Rome. Rome was the inspiration.
If you could pick your ultimate tour line-up for the 131ers to hit the road with… what would it be?
Kaleb- Arctic Monkeys, Childish Gambino, The Specials (original lineup) – all opening for us, The motherfucking 131ers.
Ryan- Young the Giant, The Cure, Vampire Weekend. My dream is to hang out in the green room with Ezra Koenig before the show. Neither of us have to be on the bill, just get me a green room with Ezra and I’ll be good.
Chris- Antarctigo Vespucci, The Littlest Man Band, and us. I could die after that.
Greg- Backstreet Boys, Rick Springfield and The Grassroots.
MB: If you could map out the next 12-months for the band, what would you like to see happen?
Kaleb- California tour, national tour, new singles, new videos, wealth, fame, whiskey and hopefully kicking my growing nicotine addiction. I’d also like to see Ryan calm down a bit. That’d be neat.
Ryan- I just want to see one famous person tweet about our band. Doesn’t even have to be THAT famous. I’d even take Doris the waitress from Groundhog Day.
Chris- We release our new record. Immediately, Ryan goes into rehab for a drug habit that none of us had any idea existed. While he’s gone, Kaleb has a pregnancy scare that seems like he’ll have 3 half siblings born within a week of each other. Trying to construct a nursery, I burn down the warehouse, but it’s okay because it turns out there’s not going to be any kids. Ryan comes back and he’s all better, so we call Greg who disappeared into the mountains for the past few months to drink every kind of coffee that exists. From then on, pretty much status quo, I think.
Greg- Disappear into the mountains and drink every kind of coffee that exists.
MB: Please share with us all the places people can, find, follow and hear the 131ers.
MB: Thanks for joining us, were looking forward to hearing more from you four.
Chris- Do you guys validate for parking? Or…