A Few Minutes with… Under The Den

After releasing their most recent single “Drunk and Lonely”, I had a chance to sit down with Upstate New York rock n’ roll band Under The Den to discuss the new song, being a part of the Capital Region music scene, and what they have planned for 2022. Under The Den is made up of Ben Zoleski (guitar), twin brothers Jason and John Nowak (drums and bass respectively), and Madison Lewis (vocals), who was, unfortunately, unavailable for the interview. 

Courtesy of Under The Den

So first thing’s first, how did Under The Den come to be?

[Ben]: It’s one of those old classic tales of “right place/right time”. I moved to the area after school and I was just looking for bands to play with. Jason reached out on either BandMix or Craigslist, saying “We’re doing cover shows, but we also have some original stuff.” I said alright, cool! And from there it’s evolved into what it is now, writing music that we really enjoyed writing together. 

[Jason]: My brother and I have been playing together in bands for a really long time. We had a couple iterations of people we used to play with before we met Ben, but the idea was that we really wanted to start writing original music again. Madison and I had a couple of college classes together, and so we were familiar with each other. Then Madison and I were also in a big Motown project together through some people we had in common, and so I thought her vocal talent would really translate well to our own band. 

[John]: Stylistically we had really similar influences as, our core being 90s hardcore, punk, and pop-punk styles, and so we gel really well together. 

Under The Den’s newest song, Drunk and Lonely.

Congratulations on the new single! Did your writing & recording process change from your first EP to the latest release?

[Ben]: Very drastically, yes. The “All That Talk” EP we recorded at The Recording Company with Tim Lynch. For this release though we recorded the drums with Tim, and then everything else we did in-house. We were able to record a lot of what we needed with the setup I had at home, and at a studio that I work at. 

So besides the recording of the drums, we kind of did it all ourselves. It was a learning experience and a lot of fun to do, and I think we’re really happy with the way that just a couple of goofuses were able to come up with this song that we’re really proud of and proud to put out. 

Your band plays out a lot. If anything, what has changed for you all about playing a show going from pre-pandemic to now?

[John]: The people who come out now seem to be more ready to have a good time and experience a show, y’know? Everybody! The bands, the crowd, the bartenders, the people working in the industry, they didn’t know if we were going to have an industry to go back to. It’s hard, because some venues face uncertainty, not having the personnel or the socially-distanced space. So one of our goals has definitely been to find new venues to support and to rock them. 

[Ben:] Yeah, you can tell with the people that come out now that a piece was missing from their lives. You can see how much they really enjoy it, and how much it means to connect and hear something that’s new, different, and exciting. It’s cool. 

Everyone has their favorite venues to go out to and see a show. From the musician’s perspective, what are some of your group’s favorite venues to play at in the area?

[Jason]: We played this really cool place, Bound By Fate Brewing. Outside, out on the deck, in the summertime, out in that area of New York, just a great, chill show. They were really nice to us, and their beer is so good. 

[John]: Pauly’s Hotel is kind of like our home base, they were the first people to put us on, way back. Desperate Annie’s is very nice too.

[Ben]: Parish Public House was fun. Putnam Place, J.P. Bruno’s, y’know there’s a lot of good spots. 

What’s some advice or tips that you would give to a young band who are just starting to play out and make their way onto the scene?

[John]: Show up early, have everything you need, and then don’t ask for too much. If you’re just starting out, don’t expect people to understand that you need a special FX delay through your monitor and all that. You’ll get there. OR, pay to bring your own sound.

[Jason]: Just be grateful, man. We’re all out here trying. Be respectful of change over time. We’re hustling, it’s a job, let’s be professional about it. And know where you’re playing, show up on a different night before your show, get a lay of the land, support another act while you’re there. Try to be a part of the scene. We’re not going to be a scene unless us musicians support each other being musicians. 

[Ben]: You’ve got to put the hours in going out and supporting the scene, but also make sure you’re sticking with your craft. When I was a younger musician I rested on my laurels too much I think. It’s easy to sometimes get comfortable and fall into this state of “Oh yeah, I got it, no problem.” So stick with it, and give your craft the time it needs. 

How do you all manage the balance between practicing, playing out, and recording, with things like family, friends, and other projects/work?

[Ben]: I think the biggest thing is setting aside one night a week and saying okay, this is band night, we’re going to get together, and knock stuff out. With that time set aside, we’ve been fairly consistent, so that if there are any gaps that need to happen like the holidays, we still have our goals that we’re still working toward when we can.

It is kind of like a job, and like any job or relationship or thing that you care about, you’ve got to make sure there’s time set aside for it. We all find ways to make time, you just have to do the best you can to find the balance. 

[John]: You’ve got to put the work in. We try to keep it light, but we understand that the band itself needs us to work for it

[Jason]: Yeah, none of us are doing this for ourselves, we are merely invoking the muse for the band’s sake. It’s the greater good. 

Finally, the big question. Your band put out two great singles in 2021, is there an album on the way in 2022? And if so, when should people be on the lookout for it?

[John]: We have some new material that we would like to release, and if it does end up going according to the timeline, we’re hopefully looking at the fall for maybe another six-songer or EP. 

[Jason]: Hopefully by March we’ll have a new single or two done and out to set off the spring with. A springtime jam for the ages! 

The band’s fantastic newest single, “Drunk & Lonely” is out now on major platforms, and will absolutely get you rocking and moving. Be sure to check it out and explore the group and their other releases at the links below.

Under The Den Social Media:

Website Facebook Instagram

Listen to Drunk and Lonely:

Spotify ReverbNation YouTube


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