Loose Buttons is the swagger behind New York's indie rock scene
Loose Buttons are no strangers to New York City's rock scene. In fact, they are the self-proclaimed "first" indie rock band of New York. But having started out in their teens, they've shared the stage with bands twice their age. Now in their twenties, they are fresh off a month-long residency at renown Pianos in the Lower East Side.
Loose Buttons has made a name for themselves with a classy blend of alternative and electronic rock charged with emotion and a live energy on their recordings. Their swagger follows in the footsteps of fellow New Yorkers, The Strokes. Loose Buttons is now taking their sound to the next level with a four-song EP called 'Sundays'.
AOL.com had the chance to sit down with the Loose Button's founding members, frontman Eric Nizgretsky and guitarist Zack Kantor. The conversation delves into the band's unique live recording process for their 'Sundays' EP, their residency at Pianos, and their plans to get Oasis back together. Check out the full interview below!
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How did you fall in love with music?
Eric Nizgretsky (lead vocalist): I can tell you how I fell in love with Zack. It was the first day of sixth grade. I was the new kid in school, and I saw this nice handsome man with long, curly brown hair. It was wavy. He happened to be the only guitarist, and I came with an agenda to start a band when I started sixth grade. So, we started the band like the second day.
Zack Kantor (guitarist): He probably wouldn't have picked me if there were any other guitarists there, but I was really the only one around. This was in the days when I was extremely bad at guitar. I could play some chords and some Bob Dylan songs.
Nizgretsky: And that really turned me on.
Kantor:Honestly, I was just learning at that time. Playing guitar solo or by myself was not something I fell in love with, but playing in a band was a little bit more of a connection.
Nizgretsky: Same here. I wasn't much of a solo person. At the time, I was playing more Guitar Center-style shops, shredding and stuff. It was really meant for a band, rather than a solo act.
What was the name of the band at that time?
Kantor: Jupiter's Moon.
What was the transition of the band from there?
Kantor: We've been playing music in a band since sixth grade. We started with Jupiter's Moon. That ended. Then, we started Sins of the Loose Buttons. We were very much the Triple-A Team. Nevermind, more like the Single-A Team at that time. Then, we worked ourselves up to become the Triple-A Team of Loose Buttons, which we are now.
How did the other members join the band?
Nizgretsky: That was college. I went to the University of Miami. Zack went to Wesleyan. We always wanted to play music together even though we went to separate colleges. I rounded out the band with two incredible musicians in [bassist] Manny Silverstein and [drummer] Adam Holtzberg, and we became Loose Buttons.
How did you come up with the sound of your latest EP?
Kantor: As far as recording, it was kind of different than most bands. The recordings were pretty much live. That's a new thing. Most bands would just do track-by-track, starting with maybe drums. But we did most of it live, then obviously a few overdubs here and there. It was pretty weird and interesting and pretty cool. I would do it again that way. That's how the EP was recorded.
Nizgretsky: It was written over the time we graduated college to the time we came to New York. We started bouncing around ideas.
Kantor: Some of the songs are older than others, and they were in the running to be recorded for a while.
Nizgretsky: Then, we would rework them until it felt cohesive enough to be a body of work, which we call 'Sundays.'
What is the writing process like for individual songs?
Nizgretsky: The initial idea will either stem from something I bring in or Zack brings in. But I've said this countless times, I don't think a song really becomes a Loose Buttons song until all four of us touch on it and make it our own. These songs can go in so many directions. Manny and Adam put their touch.
What are the best and most challenging aspects of being in a band?
Kantor: The best thing is probably playing shows. It's probably the main reason I do it because it's really fun to play in New York or anywhere. We've jumped around some of the OG venues in New York many times now. It's fun to play them and fun to have people come out, whether we know them or we don't. That's definitely the best part for me.
Nizgretsky: Playing shows is definitely the most fun. At the end of the day, that's the biggest reason why we play. There's this weird energy, it's too hard to explain. Going up there and just playing, it feels right. The challenging thing is probably loading for shows. Actually, load out.
Kantor: Or keeping the studio clean.
Nizgretsky: Keeping the studio clean is the hardest, the hardest thing of being in a band.
Where do you pull your musical inspiration?
Nizgretsky: This [Sundays] EP is the most honest record we've done in terms of how we are musically and how we are lyrically. Musically, we wanted the EP to sound as live as possible because that's the way we play live. So, there's an energy of how we play live. Then lyrically, I wanted to talk about stuff that was relatable to others. Something I was writing about during the writing of this EP was a breakup, and everybody's gone through a breakup that's kept them crawled into a ball for a little bit. So lyrically, that's where it stems from. We're very New York, so The Strokes are a huge influence on us as a band. Growing up in New York, those were the gods. And they still are. I would say they have the biggest influence on us as a band.
Kantor: I definitely would agree. We all have our own little vibe that's brought in. Adam brings in his '90s folk vibe. A little Rush from the bass side. But these New York bands from the 2000s are the ones.
Nizgretsky: Those were the times we started picking up on music in the scene coming out of New York. The Walkmen. The Strokes. Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Things like that.
How did your residency at Pianos come to be?
Nizgretsky: We've played Pianos a few times. We hadn't played there in over a year, if not more. The philosophy was let's give people more opportunities during the month to see us, and we're going to change it up and have a good time. It was like our own little party for our fans.
Kantor: It was a party, but it was also a time where we could play around different potential songs and some new songs. Anything can happen.
Nizgretsky: It was a good warm-up for a tour. We're working up some ideas. But staying in New York, we love that.
Kantor: Pianos is in Manhattan. It's easy to get to. It's easy to play at. We used to play there all the time. We hadn't in a while, but it's a nice place to hang out and invite anyone. People can come because it's easy to get to.
If you could collaborate with any musician dead or alive, who would it be?
Nizgretsky: Yeah, that's a good one. Michael Jackson could be cool too. Prince would be fun. I'm curious which of the two of us is taller, so maybe that's a big reason.
Which do you prefer between touring and being in the studio?
Nizgretsky: I love writing songs. I consider myself a songwriter first before I consider myself a musician. So, I do love writing songs in our studio and creating with these guys, then playing those songs live. So it's like this healthy balance.
Kantor: They're both good. I also like writing songs. It's a little less pressure than to perform on a tour, but that's not necessarily a good or a bad thing. I like both. I love playing. I'd say that's the most fun part. The final part of any cycle is to write the music, record it, and then play it. So, it's the most fun in that sense, but it's also fun to write.
What do you hope fans take away from your music?
Nizgretsky: We've been doing this for a little bit, but I think this is the most honest body of work we've put it out. As long as we get people to feel some sort of emotion, whether it's a deep love for us or a deep hate for us. I really think we accomplished something. With all that hard work, we just want some sort of accomplishment at the end resonating through the people.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Nizgretsky: It's going to be a major cliché. But if you just love music, don't stop. As we've been saying, we love playing music. At the end of the day, that's why we do it. It's great that fans come out to our shows. But we do it because there's something special about going into our studio and the four of us just jamming. So if you love music, just keep on having a good time with it.
Where do you see the band in five years?
Nizgretsky: In five years, we'll probably be the biggest band in the world. And we will be the band that gets Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher [of Oasis] together to open up for us because we're the biggest band in the world. I'd say that's maybe in three or four years.
Kantor: I'd say by the fifth year, we're already on our downward spiral. Manny will check himself into rehab.
Nizgretsky: The real answer is we hope to be amplifying what we're doing now, so just reaching more people. By then, we'll hopefully have our debut album out and resonating with more people. It's all about being better tomorrow than you are today. That's always been our philosophy since day one. As long as we keep going that route, we're happy campers.
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