Exclusive: We Interviewed Reckless Serenade In Their Tour Van

See which bands they'd want to share the stage with most.

By Ben Sparks - Oct 22, 2015
Reckless Serenade performed at the Nanuet Arcade and spoke with Ben Sparks about building a follow, traveling, and recording vs. touring. Reckless Serenade See which bands they'd want to share the stage with most.

Progress is a beautiful thing. To see a group of talented kids from high school go from playing in small, local venues to driving across the country, meeting fans and making new ones in multiple cities, evokes a special kind of pride. That's exactly the situation when it comes to my relationship with Reckless Serenade. I knew these guys before Reckless Serenade was even an idea, when they played in their own separate bands, or in our annual high school rock concert called "Illusion," and it was evident back then that they had an edge the other kids just didn’t have. Their combination of serious skill and raw ambition is not to be underestimated.

I got the chance chill with band in their tour van and ask them some questions about life on the road and what it’s like to be an up-and-coming hardcore pop-punk outfit (that’s the genre I deem them) just before their set at The Nanuet Arcade.

Ben: Did you guys ever see yourself getting this far as band starting in Mahopac, NY?

Mark Neidhart: I don’t know if we saw us getting this far, I don’t think we were even thinking about it at the time. We were just playing shows, writing songs, we didn’t really have a clue what we were doin’. We weren’t like, ‘Oh in three years we’re gonna tour and do all this cool stuff.’

Cory Brent: It’s kinda funny, we were just talking about this when we were in Nashville. Mark and I were just having this bro moment on the balcony of this crazy honky-tonk bar and he was like, ‘Dude, did you ever envision yourself when we were writing our first couple of songs that we would end up in a place like Nashville?’ It’s like this weird whirlwind type thing, and we didn’t think about it at the time but always hoped something like this would happen. It’s kinda hard to say ‘Alright! Now we’re gonna go tour the US!’ That doesn’t typically happen for a lot of bands, so it’s really cool that we’re able to do that.

What do you think was the reason that things kept working out and you were able to get a large enough following to actually do this?

Mark: I think it was us just staying consistent. We’ve always tried to play as many shows as we can and constantly put out better music. I think if you listen to all the songs we’ve put out since we’ve started, they’ve only gotten better. We’ve always wanted to improve on what we’ve already done because if we just kept writing the same quality songs for the past three years, I don’t think we would have gotten as much headway as we have.

Cory: I also think it’s the timing. I was able to graduate, Matt [Ruggiero] was dropping out and all of a sudden we had a whole unit and we were able to start playing a lot more shows during the year and that helped us push forward.

Ben: I was gonna ask how you’ve been able to keep everyone together.

Matt: Luck. And f***in’ ball sweat. Working really hard and prioritizing it above everything else.

Cory: Everyone who’s here wants to be here. It’s one of those things where it wouldn’t have worked if we didn’t have the musicians who had the passion for it.

Do you have a favorite place you’ve played so far?

Mark: On this tour, the Statesboro, Georgia show was my favorite show. There was a lot of people there, it was a lot of fun.

Cory: For me the Nashville show was just insane. Just being able to go into this crazy city and on a Monday night everywhere is packed even though it’s still fall. We played at this all ages venue called Rocket Town that was a skate park slash cafe slash venue. It was awesome to get the chance to play in a city like that.

Brian: I’m gonna go with Nashville as well. It was my first time being there, it was crazy being engulfed in a music city with country and rock bars. The venue we played was packed.

Rob: Location wise, for me Nashville, 'cause it’s the most fun place ever.

I gotta go to Nashville.

Rob: Nashville’s the best, the passion for music there is great. My favorite show of the tour was Cumming, Georgia 'cause you can tell those kids look forward to going to shows, they’re also the most passionate kids that I’ve seen.

Matt: Some of the kids that came out to Cumming, Georgia then drove four hours to come to the Atlanta show and then one of them drove five hours to come out to the Nashville show. Which was insane.

What’s the fan response or reactions been so far? Any crazy stories of people wanting to marry you or get your autograph?

Mark: [Laughs] Nothing like that. I will say the Statesboro, Georgia show, last time we played there was only about five or six kids. This time we played there all five or six of those kids came out and brought all their friends so that was the first time we’d seen such an immediate response. They knew the songs, they knew who we were. It was nuts.

Cory: Then we got to meet our first ever heckler this tour. [Everyone laughs] We played this place, The Nick in Birmingham, Alabama. There was this drunk guy, who probably didn’t realize how drunk he was. We were doing our thing onstage, talking to the crowd about the cities, trying to figure out what the deal was with Alabama, like is there a bunch of cities, or just one? And from the bar he yells, ‘There’s a million f***in’ cities! Now finish up your set and get off the goddamn stage!’

[Laughter]

Mark: I will say I think we turned him by the end of the set. He came around and apologized.

Brian: For me the redeeming moment was when we had other fans tell us after the show that they were gonna kick that guy’s ass. [Laughs]

Nice. Is there any difficulty in getting the energy of the live performance to match the energy in the recording?

Mark: A lot of Red Bull and high fives keeps the energy up.

Cory: The energy’s been great this tour. Sometimes it’s harder when there’s less people there or you’ve had a long drive but the most important thing for us is to always keep the energy up. If you’re not having a fun time it’s gonna be apparent to everyone there.

Which process do you enjoy more, recording and writing, or performing and touring?

Cory: This is kind of a cop out of an answer but for me there’s so many cool things with both. Going to school for production and recording, I completely love just being in the studio for a week or two and spending all your time on crafting these songs. Even before that I love the idea of sitting a room with some dudes and making cool music. At the same time, to go out and play shows and travel—there’s nothing like it. You’re in a different city every day, playing for people that have seen you before or are completely new, it’s an unrivaled feeling. I might have to go with touring.

Mark: I would give the slight edge to touring. I love recording but touring is just a whole different experience. Even if there’s nobody at the shows, just traveling around with your boys is the most fun sh*t of all time.

If you could tour with any band right now, who would it be and why is it the Foo Fighters?

[Laughter]

Mark: You got it. I’ve been spoken for.

Cory: It’s tough. We’ve been trying to figure out where we fit musically, we definitely switch genres a lot, which is a good thing. It benefits us when we play with heavier bands. I could see us playing with a Four Year Strong type band. I think that’d be a blast.

Matt: I would kill to have been on A Day to Remember’s biggest tours. At their peak, I would have loved to open up for them.

Rob: With this band? Probably Blink [182] with Matt Skiba. A lot of people would come out for that and I feel people who like Blink would like us.

Brian: I think Brand New or Manchester Orchestra. They’ve started from DIY all the way up. They have amazing energy, it’d be great to watch that and learn from them.

So what’s on the horizon for Reckless Serenade? New music, new tours?

Mark: Next month we’re going on tour with I Set My Friends On Fire. They were pretty big when they did the Sex Ed video for Smosh. That’s for a couple weeks then we’re going on tour with The Bunny the Bear again. Then we have Thanksgiving off and in December we’re going on tour with this band We Are Forever for a couple more weeks. After that we’re probably just gonna take a nap.

Cory: Take a little mini-nap. Reassess where we’re at. We just released something but we’re never cutting out the idea of writing new material to keep it fresh.

Matt: I just wanna add something to the question you asked about the energy of playing live versus recording. There’s nothing like everything happening at once. Everything all coming out of the same space and bouncing off of the audience and it turns into this cycle of energy from the band to the audience and back to the band. Playing live is way more energetic.

Cory: We’re aiming to be one sentient being.

Matt: Imagine starting a bonfire versus taking pictures of a bonfire.

Cory: Sometimes it’s hard to capture that. You know, you’re in a box with this d*ck-shaped thing in front of you and it’s like ‘What the hell am I supposed to with this?’ You have to exaggerate and make sure you’re getting that emotion across with each song. Our newest release has the best energy we’ve ever had.

So you guys first met each through Illusion, right?

Mark: Yeah, that’s how I met Matt, Steve, Nick, and Cory too.

Cory: I was in a band with Mark’s brother called And the Sky Opened. That kinda petered out. Then Mark and I were jammin’ and that’s where we all started out.

After this interview, the band performed a soulful acoustic version of the song “Fire” from their newest EP, Out Here. Stay tuned for that later!

When they finally took the stage their electrifying chemistry was immediately apparent. After three years, it was clear they had aged well and refined what made them such a unique and tight-knit pop-punk unit. The hooks were bigger, the riffs more concise, and the control of the crowd more organic and professional.

Cory keeps the crowd in the palm of his hand during a raucous cover of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” building up massive bombs of energy to be released at all the right moments. Reckless Serenade is a band that will make you a fan after witnessing what tremendous power they have as performers. Matt’s forceful and dynamic drumming provides the perfect rhythmic foundation for Mark, Rob, and Brian to exchange blistering riffs and solos. The sound is tight and well-rehearsed and will keep you begging for more.

It’s clear these guys have no intention of quitting, but rather have a bumpy, Red Bull-fueled road to the top. I just hope before they tour the world with Dave Grohl in the back of his private jet, they make one little stop in their hometown so I can get to see them one more time.

3181139Reckless Serenade

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Ben Sparks

A writer born in the suburbs who moved to NYC to be closer to the center of the musical universe. You can find me selling guitars at Sam Ash Music in Brooklyn or mellowing out til 2am at the various jazz clubs in NY. My first live show was Blue Oyster Cult, my favorite live band is The Dillinger Escape Plan, and my favorite live experience was Bjork at Bonnaroo in 2013.

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