Modern Chemistry has hit the road with Taking Back Sunday and Every Time I Die on one of the more diverse alternative rock tours of the summer. Before their show at Mavericks in Jacksonville, Florida, I had the opportunity to talk to chat with guitarist Brendan Hourican and drummer Jesse Slachman. We discussed their roots, their influences, and their new record ‘Everything In Gold,’ while guitar techs set up for Taking Back Sunday’s exclusive early evening acoustic set.
Everything In Gold is a conceptual indie rock album with progressive, emo, and alternative rock influences. The record has emotional lyrics and an expansive sound that has been compared to Manchester Orchestra and Kings of Leon. Their raw alternative rock blends genres in a way that is thematic and real. The lyrics and sonic energies rise and fall throughout the record. They tease listeners with soft, wafting moments that build into intense, driven explosions.
Their energy is as powerful at their live show as it is on the record. The amount of effort and genuine artistry they put into their music is clear. Modern Chemistry was formed in 2012, only a few years ago, but they have already toured with acts like Mayday Parade and Frank Iero And The Patience. They have played festivals like SXSW, South By So What, Gentlemen of the Road, and Riot Fest. Their releases include last year’s Dreaming Adjacent, which was produced by Taking Back Sunday frontman Adam Lazarra.
On working with Lazarra, Brendan Hourican raved “Ohmygod, it was crazy. We went down and recorded at a little studio in his hometown. We worked 13 hour days, barely slept, and drank a lot of coffee. It was one of the coolest experiences ever.” “We listened to them growing up,” Jesse eagerly added. He elaborated that, “it was really cool to work on our songs with someone we admire…He was fun to collaborate with [and] threw a lot of ideas at us.”
They shared with us that despite having worked alongside Taking Back Sunday many times, this is their first real tour together. The two acts played a short tour before and for the past three years have played holiday shows together in their home state of New Jersey. Still, this tour is their first full length.
Coming from New Jersey, Hourican told us that “being close to Philly and New York… living close to big cities, there is an ambition that comes from the area.” He and Jesse agreed that they have learned a lot of lessons from the bands there but Slachman pointed out, “as far as sounding like a Jersey band, we sound like us.” He added that it is a “hardworking, DIY scene.” Maybe that DIY attitude is what motivated Brendan’s swollen pink nose piercing. He shook his head when I asked about it laughing, “I did it wrong…I did it myself.”
Modern Chemistry’s releases have earned them great reviews. Their new record was produced by Paul Levitt, who has also produced for Have Mercy and The Dangerous Summer.” This album is the closest to what we have wanted and heard in our heads. We like so many different kinds of music that it wouldn’t make sense if we made one streamlined type of music,” Brendan explained.
Some personal influences for Brendan include The Dangerous Summer, Taking Back Sunday, Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd. As for Jesse, he is more influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a favorite of many great drummers, and The Starting Line. Some of their favorite acts to play alongside include emo mainstays like Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line, and Mayday Parade who they did a sold out club tour alongside and described as “super nice.” Another favorite they noted was Third Eye Blind, one of Brendan’s favorites, who they opened for at a New Jersey balloon festival.
Their mission for 2017 is to tour as much as they can. Brendan detailed that they want to “get this new album out to as many people as we can,” continuing, “we worked really hard on it and we are really proud of it. We want people to hear it.” Jesse added, “I’d like this record to be something people see as a whole product and say I love this album.” Their main goal, they explained as we wrapped our conversation, is for “people to get the vibe and understand what we are going for.” When they played later that night, the passion and charisma they exhibited while we talked
When they played later that night, the passion and charisma they exhibited while we talked was visible from every band member. We look forward to watching Modern Chemistry’s progress as they gain new fans on this major summer tour. They are an alternative act with a real potential to transcend sub genres and connect with listeners in a real way.