The Front Bottoms has been cropping up out of NJ’s underground scene and is a band that should be on your radar. Comprised of Brian Sella (guitar,vocals) and Matthew Uychich (drums, bullhorn), this duo is a musical amalgamation that is not only emotive, but clever and entertaining.
Sella and Uychich have known each other since they were 10 and 8 and have been making music for a lot of that time. The guys started out playing a couple times a year for high school talent shows, learning a cover song and writing an original song. This led to Brian’s mom presenting him with three hours of professional recording studio time for Christmas one year.
“We went in and the guy showed us how to set up. He pressed ‘record’ and left the room. We recorded 12 songs without stopping.” And thus with enough original songs to play a full set, the Front Bottoms were officially born. Their first club date was an all-ages show at the Main Stage in Pompton Lakes, NJ.
Most of the bands were teen punk bands. Casey Lee Morgan who was doing sound at the club befriended them, giving them some faint praise, telling them that they might not be very good but they were better than all the other bands that night. Eventually, Casey would record them in his basement studio. Much of the music on the Front Bottoms debut was recorded by Casey.
The Front Bottoms played around Bergen County, eventually branching out and making connections in the DIY concert community that have included everything from punk flop houses to VFW halls, and fire stations. That circuit got them from New England to Florida, starting in a Ford Escort and eventually moving up to a 1989 Econoline van. Mathew’s brother (also named Brian) played keyboards for a while but left amicably after realizing he didn’t want life on the road. More recently, Drew Villafuerte has been sitting in on bass and keyboards for select shows.
After signing to Bar/None Records The Front Bottoms released their self-titled full-length album this past September.
The musical experience of these two men is portrayed in their songs. The smart hooks and various tempos display their craftsmanship. The Front Bottoms has a sound that spans across a multitude of genres. The infusing of punk, guitar-folk, lo-fi experimentalism, and imagist-inspired poetry creates a truly unique, intense, and humorous musical experience.
The best thing about The Front Bottoms is their music is real. Listening to this band you cannot help but feel all the sentiment that is conveyed in this album. The often hilarious, anecdotal lyrics paint a vivid picture that is full of emotions. Many can relate to these adolescent themes of teenage angst, love, and loss because they have gone through them themselves.
Stand-out tracks: “Flashlight,” “Looking Like You Just Woke Up,” “Beers,” and “Legit Tattoo Gun.”
ESBMusic caught up with The Front Bottoms drummer Matt Uychich to talk about where they got their band name, what inspires their music, and where they are touring next.
ESBM: Front Bottoms is a unique band name, how did you come up with it?
MU: The name came from a movie. Something about the line stuck with Brian. He told me we should start a band and name it the Front Bottoms. I was in.
ESBM: How did your band come together?
MU: The band started when we were bored of doing the usual bullshit. We had a name to go by, so we needed to make some songs. We were able to gather enough pieces for a drum set, and we had an acoustic guitar sitting around.
ESBM: What inspires your music?
MU: Our music is inspired by our friends, each other, people we met, and their stories and dreams.
ESBM: You guys recently signed to Bar None, how has being on a label been?
MU: Being with Bar None has been nothing but a blessing. We are very happy with everything and the way everything is going.
ESBM: Any big changes?
MU: Nothing but positive ones. It’s just nice to have really awesome people helping you out.
ESBM: We love your song lyrics. Are your songs about real people & situations that you have experienced?
MU: Thank you! I guess I kinda answered this in the inspiration question. All the lyrics come from real people and real places that either we have experienced, or a friend or stranger has been through.
ESBM: Your self-titled debut album came out this past September with 6 of the 12 songs that are on the previously released Slow Dance to Soft Rock it has been said that the six new songs on the album can be heard as clues to understanding the material from “Slow Dance,” and vice versa. Is this true? Do you like giving your listeners a challenge with your music?
MU: I think the clues just came naturally. We don’t challenge anyone with the music. It’s made mainly to have fun.
ESBM: Your video for “Maps” was directed by Pablo Nieto who is a Spanish director and found you guys on the internet. The video features you guys running around Williamsburg, playing outside a barn, and features some puppets. How did you come up with the concept? Will you be working with
MU: Working with Pablo was something we will never forget. The concept was envisioned by him. He took ideas from our past videos and photos that we would post and he expanded on that. Everyone’s been really busy but we keep in touch and one day we will work together again.
ESBM: What is the next single you are going to release?
MU: Haven’t given this much thought yet. We’ll see!
ESBM: We heard you’re going to be kicking off a tour soon, right? Where are you planning to play? What spots are you looking forward to?
MU: We’re so excited for the next few months. We are playing with Matt Pryor, Kevin Devine, and Say Anything over the next eight weeks.
ESBM: Any last words?
MU: Thank you. sorry the answers aren’t very detailed and rock and roll.