Same emerged in 2016 with Weird As Hell, a clamor of tangled guitar leads and power pop by-way-of emo hooks reminiscent of Clarity-era Jimmy Eats World. The four-song debut EP, released this past August, finds the Pittsburgh band pacing themselves in many respects. It’s a fairly polished introduction, at times more crisp and frontward-facing than many of the seminal works it seems inspired by. Still, Same is deft in their pairing of vocal ambivalence and the neon warmth of their compositions, and prove almost immediately to be more than just a pleasant surprise for those of us looking for guitar-driven music that isn’t afraid to get, well…weird.
We spoke to Same recently about their recording process, what they listen to on tour, and…potentially covering the Cheers theme song? Give it a look with your eyes below:
How did Same come together? Had you guys played music together before this?
Jesse and I (Tom) have been friends for over ten years and have jammed on and off over the years, with a few projects that never got off the ground. We started our first “official” band together called Naked Spirit a few years ago in Pittsburgh. We knew Jake because we had played shows with his other band, Meridian, and he booked Naked Spirit a few times. We added him to Naked Spirit on keys, but shortly after, Jesse and I left the band to do something different. Jake decided to come with us for the new project, which eventually became Same. Jesse and I had known Jamie from college and knew he was one of the best drummers in the area. Jamie and I had talked for years about jamming together but had never followed through, so we didn’t hesitate to hit him up. He was into it, and we have been jamming together as Same ever since. So yeah, we had played together in some way before and had all known each other for some time before doing this. It seemed very natural for the four of us to come together this way.
You released Weird As Hell back in August and recorded it in the couple months before that. How long did it take you guys to write those songs and get them ready for recording?
When we started jamming back in June 2015, we spent about six months writing eight songs or so and decided that four of them were worth releasing. We spent a few more months polishing them up and recorded them with [Matt Very] at Very Tight Recordings here in Pittsburgh. We decided that we wanted to really take our time with writing and developing the songs before we started playing shows or recording in a studio. Before we recorded, we made several rounds of demos ourselves and the songs changed a lot from the beginning to the end stages. So we existed as a band for about a year before we recorded anything at a studio.
Has the writing process changed at all from when you were working on Weird As Hell? Any updates on new material?
It hasn’t really changed too much. We used to write music in a basement and now we do it in a bedroom. We write slowly and put a lot of careful thought into the songs. It ends up being a long process, which is sometimes frustrating, but we’re cool with that because the end product is exactly what we all want. It is a very collaborative effort between the four of us. We have quite a lot of new material that we are sitting on now. We are starting the demo process soon and should be in the studio this Summer. The best way to hear our new stuff right now is to come see us live.
You’re playing some shows in Chicago, Detroit, and Columbus this month. Do you get to play out of state often?
We definitely try to as often as we can, but we all do have a lot of personal responsibilities as well. All things considered, we get out of PA pretty often. We did a tour of the Northeast back in September, and we’ve got that midwest one coming up at the end of this month. We’re doing another tour of the Northeast in April as well. A great thing about Pittsburgh is that it’s really not too far from other cities, like Cleveland, NYC, DC, Philly, etc, so it makes playing out of town relatively easy when we want to.
What do you want people to take away from seeing Same live?
We have a lot of fun writing and playing, and we just hope that other people enjoy the music and have fun at the gigs.
What are some of the ways you guys stay occupied on the road? Any ideal road trip albums?
We talk a lot and listen to a bunch of music and podcasts. Recently we’ve all been listening to DIIV, Silversun Pickups, Yo La Tengo, Yuck, and Pinback, so we will probably keep it going with stuff like that. We like to eat at diners when we are on the road.
What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?
Tom went to Kurt Vile’s NYE show in Philly this year, and he says it was “sick.” We went and saw Dinosaur Jr. at this really small bar in Akron, OH back in 2015 and that was really cool. The venue was really small, and that made it a unique experience. It was after they had just finished a long tour, so to cap it off, they played a really long and unique set. It was announced on short-notice, like less than a month. It was loud as fuck. That’s definitely one that we remember.
We stalked your Twitter a little bit…Does Jesse really do stand-up comedy? Do any of you take part in other types of art or performance?
Haha, nah Jesse doesn’t, but Tom actually does. It’s something he’s always been interested in, but music takes up a lot of his free time and energy, so he doesn’t get to do it as often as he would like. Jesse and Jake both do illustration, and Jamie plays in another band called Scrap Kids. Check out Jesse’s work at jessecaggiano.com
Same is a fairly new band all things considered, so I was kind of surprised when I saw the picture of this billboard. What’s the story behind this?
The billboard is 100% real.
Everybody Loves Raymond…or King of Queens?
Cheers is probably better than both honestly; Jesse is a huge fan and will be making his annual pilgrimage to the bar in Boston this April when we are on tour. We have discussed covering the Cheers theme song, but that’s another idea that hasn’t materialized…yet.
Listen to to Weird As Hell and hear some new songs live at one of the dates below:
2/24/17 — Columbus OH — Big Room Bar
2/25/17 — Chicago IL — Subterranean w/ Ratboys + Nnamdi Ogbonnaya
2/26/17 — Detroit, MI — The Rockery
4/7/17 — Columbus, OH — Donatos Basement
4/8/17 — Cleveland, OH — Mahall’s
4/9/17 — Rochester, NY — The Bug Jar
4/10/17 — Albany, NY — The Relief Theater
4/11/17 — Boston, MA — Obriens
4/12/17 — Worcester, MA — Hotel Vernon
4/13/17 — New York, NY — Gold Sounds
4/14/17 — Philadelphia, PA — Creep Records w/ Three Man Cannon
4/15/17 — Washington, DC — The Dougout