E.R.I.E. to Celebrate the Release of Their Brilliant Sophomore Album, “Suburban Mayhem” on April 7th

ALBANY – On April 7th, local indie-rock outfit, E.R.I.E., will be celebrating the release of their upcoming record, Suburban Mayhem, at Lost and Found in Albany. The album is a brilliant addition to the band’s repertoire, and a veritable tour-de-force of musicianship, lyricism, and songwriting. Taking the stage with E.R.I.E. that night are Seize Atlantis, and ALMA. This will surely make for a night of music not to be missed!

Prior to the event, I had a chance to sit down with the folks in E.R.I.E. to discuss the release and many other topics! What follows is our conversation.

For more information on the release party, and to RSVP, please click here.

E.R.I.E., from left to right: Levi Jennes, TJ Foster, Chad Flewwelling, Matt Delgado. Photo credit: Elliott Ambrosio.

Lucas Garrett: Thank you, everyone, for sitting down tonight to talk about your upcoming release. How are you?

Matt Delgado: Thanks for having us!

Chad Flewwelling: Having a fun Saturday. How are you, sir?

LG: Doing well, though I don’t think many people call me sir. I’ll take it where I can!

TJ Foster: Hahahaha.

MD: Happy to oblige.

LG: Talk to me a bit about the album Suburban Mayhem.

TF: It’s been a few years in the making. I think the first song that we started demoing for this was way back in 2020. It’s pretty wild that it’s finally coming together. A lot of heart, and soul, and energy, and sweat, and tears…

CF: …hours, and drumsticks…

TF: It’s wild that we’re here releasing it in a week. We’re all super excited for people to finally hear it from start to finish.

LG: Congratulations on your Listen Up Award!

MD: Thank you very much. Pretty wild.

CF: Yeah, we weren’t expecting that in the least bit.

LG: Let’s talk a bit about the release show that’s on April 7th.

Levi Jennes: We’re going to be at Lost and Found in Albany with our friends, Seize Atlantis. They’re great dudes; we’ve played with them a couple of times. They’re the best. We invited our friends ALMA from New York City. TJ found them doing a write-up for them in the Rodeo. They’re the best man; they’ve got beautiful, angelic voices. They were kind enough to grace us with their presence on our song off the record, “Little Heartbreak.” They’re coming up to help us celebrate.

LG: TJ, do you write the lyrics in the band?

TF: I write pretty much all the lyrics. Matt and I collaborated on “Can’t Stop Runnin’.”

LG: Let’s talk about “Bad Man’s World” a little bit. It has one of the most ridiculously obtuse choruses I’ve heard in a long time.

TF: Thank you! I usually write from a personal perspective, but the chorus from this song came to me and I decided it had to be more narrative-based with its characters. It had to be tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic. I had a lot of fun with it. I wrote many more verses than are actually on the song. I was able to slice and dice and pick out which ones make the most sense. I’m really happy with how it came out. Again, it’s not the way I usually write, so it was a nice exercise, and I’m happy with how it was received.

LG: What I really like about the song, is that you’re making fun of the entire song, itself. You have these lines where you’re not even singing anything, just saying random comments.

TF: Pretty much! Haha. There are a few moments on the record where it’s like that. Self-referentially sarcastic…

LG: I think I definitely know some people that are outlined in that song.

MD: That’s the thing! We all know those people, and it’s a great reminder to not be those people.

LJ: Haha.

LG: Matt, I wanted to talk to you about how you approach the guitar on this album.

MD: Sure.

LG: I really enjoy how you enjoy the chords and the keys you’re playing in. A lot of times, people write solos that are just a bunch of notes. What you played really outline the chords, and it’s the sign of a mature guitarist.

MD: Thank you. That’s very kind. There was a lot of conscious decision-making that went into most of those songs. With “Can’t Stop Runnin’” I just wanted to pretend that I was in an 80s hair-rock band, and rip a solo. I got that out. But, especially on things like “Little Heartbreak,” or some of the other tunes, it really was important to make sure the notes and cadence of those notes told a story. It wasn’t about me; it was about the story. Thanks for noticing, because it was absolutely a conscious decision on those.

LG: A lot of times I’ll hear guitar players, and it just sounds like f*cking diarrhea of the mouth. It was great not hearing that.

[everyone laughs]

TF: It was wild writing with Matt this time around. Having him send parts and then having him come into the studio and watching him play these parts. His fingers were flying around the fretboard. I don’t think like that, so it was really cool to have two very different mindsets and approaches to writing guitar. It made a lot of the songs a lot more special.

LG: When you play out live, Matt, do you play it note-for-note or do you veer it off and try to make it new every time?

MD: The spirit of the song stays true. There are some variations that occur; there are some liberties that are taken, but the spirit of the song remains the same, for sure.

LG: How long have you been playing?

MD: Since I was about 15. It goes back to the days of Mars Music in Crossgates commons. I also got my first Epiphone for a $129 starter pack that came with a Crate amp. Musically, I started playing violin in 3rd grade. That’s where my history of music started, and I continued with violin daily and weekly until I graduated from college. So, it’s a pretty interesting perspective that I’m able to bring.

LG: Chad, of all of you folks, you’re the only one I’ve never met or talked to. Why don’t you tell us a bit on how you got in the band?

CF: I was not playing a lot at all and getting bored. I was playing beer league ice hockey on Sunday nights, but I wanted something more fun. So, I made a post on Craigslist to start a cover band to have some fun, play some tunes, and so some stuff. I had a young son and didn’t have a ton of time. TJ found my ad on Craigslist and sent me an email exchanging pleasantries.

He says, “I have originals. How do you feel about originals?” I was like, “I don’t have time to write originals,” and he says, “that’s funny, then!” And, he gave me his first full album! I started playing along with that, and I think it took about three or four weeks until we could play. I had time to work with the songs and learn the material. They came up to my house, and we just started going.

LG: How did it feel to get in the middle of the chemistry that was already there with the other members?

CF: They’re very easy to get along with. They were very nice. We all have children around the same age, so we’re in the same situation in life. We’re going through work, taking care of our kids, and when we have free time, we’re playing music together. That was huge. They’re just the nicest dudes, and in the last three years have become the best friends I have. It’s been great; there was no adjustment period. We jammed, had a beer after, and a group chat was made the next day. The band was made that night. There was no introduction period.

LG: That’s not easy to find, man.

CF: It’s not! It’s really weird!

TF: I’ve been in bands where we’ve tried out drummers, and there was always that awkward, “Yeah, we’ll call ya…” or, some weird shit like that. To Chad’s point, we were just hanging out like we’d known each other forever.

CF: The first song we played was “The Dirt Inside Your Soul,” and it was just like the record. and, it’s been that level of chemistry and fun ever since.

LG: Let’s discuss all of your musical influences that you feel are relevant to the band.

LJ: When I look back at the vast catalogue of music that I’ve picked up over the years, the one band that I still listen to is Rush. Geddy Lee, which is not a surprise – I’m a bass player. I’ve listened to a lot of different stuff. I’ve missed a bunch of the punk music that was around me. These guys are introducing me to stuff that I haven’t listened to. Also, Michael Anthony from Van Halen; trying to pump those eighth notes as even as I possibly can when I need to.

TF: My biggest influence whenever I’m writing music… I always come back to Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab (for Cutie). All of their recordings are so warm, and I’m always trying to tap into that. Lyrically, I love those two bands and vocalists. Telling story arcs or iterating personal truths… always trying to emulate that. For this record, more than anything else, it was trying to get back to my roots, so-to-speak.

Growing up as a teenager, I was playing a lot in pop-punk bands—that kind of stuff. I’m not necessarily bringing that pop-punk “sound,” but the spirit of fast and loose. Having fun, not overthinking it.

CF: So, I grew up on 90s hip-hop and pop country. Those influences don’t bring a lot, but I got into the same pop-punk circles TJ’s referencing as I got older. In my early years, it was those genres and hair-metal; I played to Motley Crue when I learned to play drums almost every day for two years. Hit the drums hard and have fun.

MD: I ended up starting in that classic rock world. Then, somewhere in the 1997-1998 realm, I discovered all the variations of alternative rock. I think it fell in with The GetUp Kids, Saves the Day era… the Vagrant Records, and all the Midwest emo stuff that was blowing up at the time. I’ve lived there ever since and have evolved with the scene as it’s gone through its iteration. I’ll still listen to the Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters. Jimmy Eat World is a huge one for me. Definitely, those heart-string-type bands are a sweet spot for me.

LJ: The one common thread is: the music we enjoy is all well-played and people really took time to put together what they wanted out there in the world. While the actual influences may be slightly different, that’s the thing we all gravitate towards. It all ties together.

LG: That underlying songwriting ethos…

TF: Exactly.

LG: I think that’s a sign of songwriting maturity. When I used to write songs when I was a lot younger, I’d think, “How many things can I fit in here?” without thinking if it worked with what else was there.

TF: Yeah. What is your background? What did you grow up on?

LG: I grew up on The Beatles. Then, I moved on to Eric Clapton and 1970s rock n’ roll, and 1980s new-wave. Then, I went way back into 19th-century Irish music. If you listen to some of my guitar solos, they’re written in a way that incorporates a lot of typical Irish music patterns. I love a ton of stuff. Jazz, Motown, and singer-songwriter stuff, too. Alternative rock… One of the best things I ever did to better my musicianship was to imitate the parts of other instruments on my own instrument. It makes you think differently. But, for example, listening to what the horns are doing, or how the bass is playing… that’s really what I’ve been doing lately – listening to a bunch of different instruments to get ideas.

TF: That’s really interesting because I’ll find myself falling into those muscle-memory patterns where I’ll pick up a guitar and my fingers will do the same thing. It starts to become a little frustrating because it feels like you’re being derivative or you’re getting stale. With this record, I didn’t necessarily adopt what you’re saying – which is a very interesting approach that I’m going to steal…

LG: Hahaha…

TF: … but trying to use different textures within songs. I resorted a lot to keys, even if it was soundscape or ambient stuff. They’re really held in the background, but it really helped flesh out the songs to a different degree than I’d normally be comfortable with. Those little challenges, to your point, as a musician, you have to keep challenging yourself so you don’t fall into the same routine or pattern.

LG: You guys have made a fantastic record, and I’m excited for people to hear it when it comes out!

MD: Thank you!

CF: Thank you very much, Lucas.

LG: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

CF: We’ve got so much coming up, it’s kind of a whirlwind this month.

TF: We’ve been very pleased with the buildup to this record. It’s been very fun. It’s been awesome, and we hope anyone reading this will come out and see a show. That’s where we live and breathe, where we have our most fun, how we let out all the frustrations and shit we go through on a daily basis.

LG: All the sad boi feelings!

[everyone laughs]

MD: Guilty as charged. It’s great that we get to be a part of this scene. The sheer volume of fantastic folks and artists in the community and the fact we get to share stages with them. We’re going out in May with Doctor Baker and doing a split with a band from Philly. Having that kind of relationship is really special, and nothing that any of us take for granted.

LG: Thanks again for taking the time, and best of luck with your upcoming release party! I’ll be in touch with all of you very soon.

E.R.I.E.: Thanks so much!

LG: Have a goodnight!

E.R.I.E.: You too!

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