Frank Zappa once said, “Modern music is people who can't think signing artists who can't write songs to make records for people who can't hear." Generally speaking, not much has changed in the music industry, which is why one must go off of the grid to find an inspired musical act that promotes itself and that reaches audiences simply by turning up the volume. Justin E.’s [Eckley’s] band, MELTED, has been doing that for nearly three years, and in that time, they have played in some very colorful environments (including Fullerton’s Comic Book Hideout and a Green Party political rally). This Friday, MELTED will be sharing the roster with Massenger and Hillary Chillton at Acerogami, in Pomona. In advance of that performance, the Weekly spoke with the local pop punk band to get a glimpse of the journey of a DIY artist.
OC WEEKLY (Scott Feinblatt): How did MELTED originally form?
MELTED (Justin E.): MELTED originally formed after I watched Sam Perez and Leo Arroyo play in Teenage Babies, a surfy garage band with a couple of their friends, in mid 2013. After we became friends, I asked them to start a band with me. We played shows almost weekly for 2 years until October 2015. We started to have personal and professional differences which ultimately led to both Sam and Leo's departure. I asked Sam Mankinen, who had filled in for us on our tour with No Parents, to be the drummer of the band permanently. I then recruited Thomas P. from The Grinning Ghosts to join in on bass as we had been friends and tour buddies for some time. Vaughn Sutterman occasionally plays second guitar and may later join the band permanently.
What are some of your musical influences?
Listing influences is always difficult to do because there are so many, and some of them are inherently obvious. We like the music of Audacity and FIDLAR, but we really take influence from bands long before. Bad Brains, Descendents, Black Flag, the Hives, Green Day, the Cure, the Cars, and Weezer all have reference in our songwriting and performances. Essentially were a hardcore/pop band.
How would you describe the punk scene of SoCal?
I can't say that MELTED is too far into the "punk" scene, but I can say we play a big part in the DIY scenes. The DIY scene has this constant push and pull, that feels like you want to embrace it and leave it behind at all times. There are always venues popping up and just as quickly shutting down. There are good and bad promoters and some unprofessional people working with those promoters. It's tough, but we love it, and wouldn't trade the friends we have made through it.
Burger and Lolipop are both great labels to be associated with. Just having their name backing ours has helped immensely. Both are the reasons why there's even a scene for us to play in. Orange County would be lacking if it weren't for Burger. ALSO, we have a new live tape out via Burger and Bummer Tapes and it's available from us or in the Burger store!
Some of the venues that you've played have been quite eclectic; how do you get your gigs?
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We book our gigs ourselves. We get asked to play shows, quite a lot actually, and play as many as we can. We don't really turn anything down unless we get real weird vibes or if there are scheduling conflicts. We've played some weird places, and I doubt that'll change anytime soon.
How did the Acerogami gig come together? Do you know the other bands on the roster?
We've been wanting to play a show with Massenger for a long time, but it's never quite worked out. Hillary Chillton and MELTED go way back, they are real good friends of ours and have been for a while. The bar set up the show, and we're stoked to play with both bands.
MELTED will perform at Acerogami, in Pomona, on Friday, February 19 at 8:30. For more information about MELTED's performance dates, visit their page.