Interview by Jordan Nielson
2016 might be a new year, but for Actual Villains it’s also a new name and new music with an original sound. Cincinnati based band Actual Villains (ex Close to Home) took some time out of practicing and writing to answer a few questions about what we can expect from the group this year. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can check out the band’s first single “Cave In” right under the interview and pick it up on iTunes or Spotify today!
Read my whole interview with Actual Villains below!
-See you in the pit.
We all love Close to Home. We love the sound and we love the music. Will Actual Villains have a similar sound?
Actual Villains is a little more back to our roots, back to the way Close to Home started, with more melodic songs and a little less metal influence.
When can we expect the new album? (I MUST KNOW!)
We just released our debut single “Cave In” in late December which is available on iTunes, Spotify, Touchtunes jukeboxes, etc. We plan on releasing an EP this spring.
Why Actual Villains? What sparked the decision of the name?
We were at a turning point in the band and we wanted something really different from Close to Home. The name was inspired while binge watching the 90’s Batman animated series.
If you could pick a label, who would you want to be signed with?
We’ve had our eyes on Fearless, Eleven Seven, and Epitaph but honestly we are open to anyone that sees our vision and wants to help us reach the best audience for our music.
New name, new members, is there anything else that’s going to be new?
We are made up of 4 of the 5 members of Close to Home. It was our original guitarist Josh Wells leaving that sparked the changes.
Any tour dates set yet?
None at the moment, we are still in the beginning stages of the band but we are rehearsing and preparing to start playing live soon.
Most of you were in the band when it was still Close to Home. Do you still feel that you carry the roots of that with you, or is this something totally different for all of you?
There will still be elements of Close to Home in everything we do because it was such a large part of all of our lives but we plan on using that experience to evolve further and write our best songs yet.
When can we expect the first local show?
We are working on making our live debut here in Cincinnati by March.
Will you be playing any Close to Home songs live? I still play all three albums all the time!
No, we are trying to set ourselves apart from Close to Home and have plenty of new material to show the world. That said, we have discussed the possibility of doing a CTH farewell show.
How have fans responded to “Cave In?”
So far we’ve received mostly positive feedback. It’s possibly one of our most pop-punk/alternative rock songs compared to the rest of our catalog and fans have compared it to bands like Mayday Parade and Go Radio which we take as a compliment since they’re both great bands.
Is there a new song that is most important to you, and why?
Each song has a story. We drew heavily from our own past experiences in each song so they all have some important meaning to us. Our single “Cave In” for example is about giving up too much of yourself to make someone else happy, to the point where you start to lose your identity.
What’s the writing process like? Do you guys all team up and write or is it more of a solitary thing?
Actual Villains music was written by vocalist Andrew DeNeet and lead guitarist JJ Cooper. Close to Home was more of a group effort.
What’s your favorite place that you’ve been on tour?
There are so many places we have loved to play but touring Europe was an amazing experience for us.
What are some things you like about touring and some things you don’t like?
Everything. No, seriously, it’s a double edged sword. We love to tour but it can also be very taxing on your relationships, family and personal life but it’s also something we feel we can’t live without.
What’s your funniest/craziest tour story from being on the road? Any good stories about crashing at people’s houses?
Well, we don’t want to embarrass anyone, we’ll just say in the last few years we’ve made a lot of friends on tour and have had our fair share of ridiculousness. For some reason our memory might be a little hazy on some of those nights.
What was important to you while writing the new album? Any big inspirations or influences?
We really just wanted to reinvent ourselves and do something new while honoring the influences that we came up listening to in the early to mid 2000’s.
We wanna make a mini playlist for each band that we interview. What are 5-10 songs/artists that you’ve been listening to lately?
Justin Bieber’s new album [Purpose], every track (not a joke). I’m not sure if we’ve listened to anything else lately.
What’s in store for Actual Villains in 2016? What are your biggest dreams or goals for the band?
We are hoping to hit the ground running in 2016. We are currently in the running to be the Touchtunes Breakout Band of 2016. You can help us start this year off with a major push by playing our debut single “Cave In” at your local bar or restaurant’s digital jukebox now. We are also seeking out a new record label and looking to release more music, then hitting the road again as soon as possible.
Check out “Cave In” here, and be sure to pick it up on iTunes or Spotify! Keep an eye out for more Actual Villains throughout the year!