Kevin Bivona is the guitarist/keyboardist of the ska/punk band The Interrupters. The L.A. based band just released their second full length album titled “Say It Out Loud” via Hellcat Records and are currently out on the Vans Warped tour in support of the release. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Kevin prior to the bands set in Syracuse, NY about the group’s background, their new album and their relationship with Rancid front man Tim Armstrong.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background info on the band?
Kevin Bivona: The Interrupters are from Los Angeles, and are sound is kind of a mixture of ska and punk. We started the band at the end of 2011 and release our first record in 2014 in Hellcat Records. Our second album “Say It Out Loud” just came out in June and we have been touring pretty solid since the release of the first album. This is our first summer out on Warped tour and so far we are having a really great time.
AL: What was that appealed to the band about doing a tour like Warped tour as opposed to a traditional headlining tour?
KB: We had actually planned on doing our own headlining tour. The band has been very fortunate in that we have been able to open for a lot of great bands who have amazing fan bases. We have been out on tour with Rancid, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Less Than Jake to name just a few. Through opening for all those bands we felt we had developed a solid enough fan base to go out and do our own headlining tour. We then got the offer to join the Warped tour which was taking place the same time as our newest record was scheduled to come out. We wanted to take that huge opportunity to expand our fan base even more before going out on our own. We were really lucky to get the offer. There is so much variety on this tour and you get to play for people who might not otherwise check out your band so this was just the perfect thing for us as a band.
AL: With Warped tour being one of the few remaining touring festivals in the U.S. What do you feel attributes to the shows staying power?
KB: Warped tour has a very loyal fan base. As that fan base evolves sound does the line up from year to year. If you look back 20 years ago when bands like Bad Religion, Nofx and Rancid were playing it and who could still play it today as they are the godfathers of the tour off of them sprouted all these sub-genres of music who have found a home here on the Warped tour. I think the fact that Warped tour stays current with what’s going on in the various scenes and fans know this that’s why more and more people come out to see the shows each summer. What I am seeing a lot of this summer is parents who bring their kids to the shows who have their own set of bands they want see which is just really cool. Having a multi-generational appeal like Warped tour has is something very rare.
AL: With the band being on the tour all summer who are some of the bands you like to check out each day?
KB: There are so many. I like to see Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish; Masked Intruder is amazing and really fun to watch. Teenage Bottlerocket and Pepper are a couple others I like as well. I found out about this band Ballyhoo! while being out here and there are great as well.
AL: How did your relationship with Tim Armstrong and Hellcat Records come about and what is it like working with him?
KB: I first met Tim in 2005 after getting the job as the touring keyboard player in The Transplants. While we were out on Warped tour that year Tim had a studio on the bus so him I started working together. Pretty much any project he has going on I try and get on in one way or another be it playing or working behind the console. I have worked on all sorts of projects with Tim from his Tim Timebomb solo stuff to the Jimmy Cliff record. It’s just a lot of working with Tim and he is always down to check out what I have going on as well which is really cool. With The Interrupters I think we definitely have a sound that fits the Hellcat sound and all of us individually and collectively had worked with him before so when we started the band he jumped on board as a producer/collaborator. Tim was super helpful while we nailed down the band’s sound and vibe. Making our second record with him was a lot different than our previous as we had more time together and some shows under our belts. That first record is sort of an introduction to who we are as a band. We had a solid and defined vision of who we are with this second album so it made things much easier I think when it came time to write and record.
AL: You mentioned a headlining tour was in the works after Warped tour wraps up. Can you tell us anymore about that?
KB: We are trying to put all of that together right now. We have never done a headlining tour in the states before so that’s going to be something new. Right now we are focusing all of our energy on these Warped tour shows and then once we wrap up with that in mid August we should have some more concrete plans for the band and the rest of 2016. We want to play as many places as we can in support of this new record.
For more info on The Interrupters you can check out http://www.wearetheinterrupters.com/