New Jersey pop punks, Man Overboard, recently visited the UK and Europe on their tour with Moose Blood, ROAM and Smile Burn. The tour was set to take place in November of last year but due to vocalist and bassist Nik Bruzzese tearing his ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) it had to be postponed until May. We sat down with Nik and Zac Eisenstein (guitar/ vocals) to ask them about and their time in Europe, whether they actually like pop punk and their recent split with Senses Fail.
YOU'VE JUST COME BACK FROM EUROPE HOW WAS IT?
Nik: Better than we thought.
Zac: it was our most successful trip to Europe ever, I think. We had a good time and the crowd was good. The shows were really good. We’ve definitely had worse trips out there.
DID YOU THINK IT WAS GOING TO GO BADLY THEN?
Nik: it’s tough to gage how it’s going to be and to build like a pop punk fan base over there. It’s very metal driven. We’ve been going over there since ’09 and now it’s starting to pick up.
Zac: That’s the thing, we can’t really monitor it as well as at home or even in the UK for some reason. We’re just kind of going over there in the dark, so to speak. You’re kind of like ‘I hope somebody comes to the show’ and then one person turns up and you're like 'that's cool' and then more people come and then you’re like ‘this is a real show!’
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO VISIT IN EUROPE AND WHY?
Zac: I’m going to say Amsterdam.
PPUK: For the coffee shops?
Nik: We support your local coffee.
Zac: I like Vienna a lot, Italy.
Nik: I like Italy. We had fun in Milan, Switzerland.
Zac: I decided yesterday if I ever lived in England, I want to live on Old London Road in Kingston. I want to live across from the Fighting Cocks and get drunk from sun up until sun down every day.
Nik: You could probably do that after this.
Zac: I am.
Nik: We’ll just buy a house.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF EUROPEAN FOOD? IS IT BETTER THAN AMERICAN FOOD?
Zac: We’re partial to American food but over here we’re big falafel fans.
Nik: We love falafel. We treat falafel like chipotle. So we’re like ‘falafel down there was really good’ or ‘it wasn’t so good’, you know?
Zac: I think I find England and the UK more convenient to get something to eat than Europe. At least if I’m in England, I know there’s a kebab shop somewhere.
Nik: A lot of stuff in Europe closes early too. So, come five o’clock everything’s closed and you’re hungry and you’ve got to wait until the next day.
SO THIS TOUR WAS MEANT TO BE IN NOVEMBER. HOWEVER NIK, YOU TORE YOUR ACL, IS EVERYTHING GOOD NOW?
Nik: It’s all okay, yeah. I had surgery but I’m all good now.
Zac: He’s a trooper.
IF YOU COULD PLAY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Zac: My elementary school. I would want to have a big show on the street I grew up on with people on the baseball fields and stuff.
Nik: That would be cool. I think I would want to go to Greenland or Iceland, I would love to go check that out. I want to go to Alaska to, that would cool.
Zac: Places I’ve never been I want to go. Brazil, we’ve never been there. I would like to go to Johannesburg.
Nik: We get asked to go to Brazil a lot. So we’re going to try and make our way over there sometime.
SO NEXT WEEKEND YOU GUYS ARE PLAYING PINKY SWEAR AND FURY FEST IN THE SAME WEEKEND, ARE YOU EXCITED?
Nik: Yeah, I like it because it takes a lot of the eyes from us because there’s a lot more bands to focus on. It’s not all about Man Overboard so it’s a lot more comfortable. I can breathe easier if there’s like ten bands. But then I found out we are playing last and I was like ‘shit’.
SO DO YOU STILL GET NERVOUS BEFORE SHOWS?
Nik: Yeah I still get nervous. Like Zac said, I get nervous and he gets confident and then if I don’t get nervous he gets nervous. But I always get nervous, every show I’m like ‘shit, shit’. That’s all I say over and over.
Zac: I go ‘what’ and he goes ‘I’m nervous, man’.
Nik: I think we said one time, we were just kids, if we were going to play a show with a bigger band, I would get nervous and I wouldn’t want to do it so I asked Zac what he would do. He said ‘I would drag you, beat your ass and throw you on stage’.
Zac: (laughs) I remember that.
IF YOU COULD PLAY WITH ANY BAND WHO WOULD IT BE?
Zac: The Cure. That would be a crazy one we would never play with. I would like to say AFI or Coheed but I like to believe those are bands we could potentially play with one day, we just haven’t yet.
Nik: I would take Rage Against the Machine. Even though we would look like idiots. Like, ‘this song’s called Love Your Friends Die Laughing, Rage Against the Machine’s up next’, it just doesn’t work.
Zac: Metallica. It would be awesome to play with Metallica. Morrissey.
Nik: The Rolling Stones.
Zac: Guns N’ Roses.
Nik: We’ve been on a book kick. We’ve been reading a lot of rock ‘n’ roll biographies.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN READING? IS THAT HOW YOU PASS THE TIME ON THE ROAD?
Nik: Yeah. Wayne’s been reading about Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin’s tour manager wrote a book and he was telling us all these stories from it.
Zac: I’ve been reading lots of books about wrestling honestly. What do you read about, Nik?
Nik: Keith Richards.
Zac: Wayne also read the Morrissey thing.
Nik: We’ve got a book club.
Zac: It’s called the clean plate club. You’ve got to finish your book to be in the club and if you’re not in the club you get treated like a second-class citizen on the bus when we drive.
DO YOU FIND IT BORING ON THE ROAD OR IS IT QUITE FUN?
Zac: We’re all pretty funny. We all think that we’re funny so we entertain each other pretty well.
Nik: Night time is the funny time. We all get in our sleeping bags and then someone says something funny and it just rolls at like four in the morning or something, going at it.
DO YOU GUYS ACTUALLY LISTEN TO A LOT OF POP PUNK?
Nik: No, not really (laughs).
Zac: No. We’re not dissing it, it’s just that we’re a few years older in general than most of our our fans. When most of our fans are our age I think that they will move on to a different sound too. It’s all good. You play the type of music you feel you can play best or expresses you the most. Sometimes it’s like a thing of if there’s a restaurant I love and I go get a job there it’s probably not going to be my favourite restaurant anymore. I’ll still like the food and think it’s great but it might not be where I go eat in my free time. Just go with the flow, just keep stimulating yourself. It's normal if you’re an intensely musical person the same sounds aren’t always going to do it for you forever and you’ve got to keep it going. You can’t like the same stuff forever or you’ll fall into a rut where you remember when you used to like music.
HOW DO YOU GUYS PICK A SETLIST FOR YOUR SHOWS? YOU HAVE A GOOD MIX OF OLD AND NEW SONGS.
Zac: He’s (Nik) setlist guy.
Nik: I just wing it. Actually I don’t, I just write it twenty times over and rip it up and then I start another one. I look at Spotify (laughs) to see what the most popular songs are and then it’s just trial and error really. We play songs live and if they don’t go down well we just cut it and out and add another one in there. We play How To Hide Your Feelings every night and there’s one part of the song where we look at each other. It’s the bridge and we all look at each other like ‘is this cool?’.
Zac: And Justin plays the lead there too, so we roll our eyes a bit. I’m just kidding, actually no I’m not.
Nik: You’ll see us do it. If kids are bored then we’ll cut the songs.
Zac: There might be a song that they’re bored by tonight and if we were in San Francisco, for example, it would be popular. We have to just try it out. We're like 'this one doesn’t do as well here as at home and stuff but this one does and no one cares at home'.
HOW DID THE SPLIT WITH SENSES FAIL COME ABOUT?
Nik: We’ve been friends with them for a long time.
Zac: They were the first band that we listened to and I really looked up to Senses Fail in high school and they were like the first band that paid attention to us, that ever contacted us.
Nik: We played here with Senses Fail, they headlined. It was our first or second time here.
Zac: I think our second time here, it was like 2010. I’ve had two birthdays on tour with Senses Fail. We were a pretty new band and Buddy emailed us and was like ‘you’re cool and you're from New Jersey’ and whatever and that was the best thing ever. That was a long time ago. So flash-forward, we were on tour with Bayside and Senses Fail and we were like ‘why not do a split and cover Senses Fail and whatever’ and we thought it would be fun. We had nothing else to do.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHAT SONGS YOU WERE BOTH GOING TO COVER?
Zac: We just picked one and they picked one.
Nik: Well Justin said it was a seven inch and there’s only a certain amount of time on a seven inch so I basically had to look down the list and pick like any song that was two minutes and something. Any song that was over two minutes we couldn’t do because there wasn’t enough time. So that’s how we picked the song. We did it (the song) exactly how they did it.
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THEIR COVER OF REAL TALK?
Zac: We loved it. It’s awesome.
Nik: We freaked out when we heard it.
Zac: To hear Buddy sing our song is insane, so insane. Thinking about it, it’s Chris Hornbrook from Poison the Well playing our song and that was awesome. We’re tickled to hear them play our song. It’s crazy to us.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE ARTWORK IDEA?
Zac: I think that was my idea.
Nik: Was it? I thought it was my idea.
Zac: I think it was meant to be like the Brady Bunch originally. But then Justin said ‘well they’re just going to be looking up and we’ll just be looking down’ and I was like ‘okay, whatever, not really the Brady bunch’ but then when I saw the record it looked liked the Brady Bunch so it was kind of the Brady Bunch.
Nik: I think I’m going to start a band called the Brady Bunch.
Zac: We were going to make it like some emo-ass thing of a boy and girl holding hands on a bridge and I was like ‘no let’s just have fun with it and be smiling on the cover’. That was cool.
Nik: The bridge thing was my idea.
HAVE YOU GUYS GOT ANY PLANS TO RECORD/ RELEASE NEW MUSIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Zac: We don’t stop. He’s (Nik) got his own recording studio and we frequent it.
Nik: Yeah we always write songs. Life keeps on rolling and we keep on writing about it so that’s just the way it is for me and him.
SO HAS A LOT OF THE STUFF YOU'VE RELEASED BEEN RECORDED IN NIK'S STUDIO?
Nik: Yeah a lot of it. This Passing Ends EP was recorded there.
Zac: We have things but we can’t quite say what. We have things.
Nik: We have a lot of things. Sixty Things.
Nik: We have a lot of things. Sixty Things.
That thing turned out to be Man Overboard's new album which they have since announced will be released on June 30th. Check out the newest single from Heavy Love, Cliffhanger, below:
Pre-order Heavy Love here.