New Politicians started in late 2012 with Gian Cortese on guitar, keyboards and vocals and his brother Renal Anthony on vocals and guitar. The band, now a four piece with Erik Watson on drums and Winston Mitlo on bass, play Post-Punk, Alternative Rock and are based in Centerville, New Jersey. Tomatrax caught up with the co-founding brothers to discuss their latest EP, Remission.
Where did the name New Politicians come from?
Gian: We tried out loads of names. It’s difficult to find something that hasn’t already been claimed on the internet these days. But we liked the idea of ‘New’ something. We landed on ‘New Politicians’ and it just kind of stuck, we liked the irony of calling a rock band “politicians.”
Renal: True story. I was watching the 2012 presidential debates when I thought of it and sent it to the group. They seemed to dig it and take it to another level that I hadn’t thought about.
What made you pick Remission as the title track?
Renal: Well “Remission” was the first lyrical idea that I was working on while listening to Gian’s instrumental tracks. I was really inspired by Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams and binge watching the TV show True Detective at the time. The lyrics for Remission are as open as I have been in any song, I didn’t hold back and so it sort of comes off as the statement for the record. It was only fitting that we decided to use that as the title for the album.
Was it hard to pick what went on the EP?
Gian: Not in the sense that there was anything we had to exclude from this record. We spent a lot of time with the songs on Remission, some of them having even been written before we released ‘Drag a City’ in 2013. So it felt like it was a record that had matured longer and I feel that informed a lot about the aesthetic and also the tone of the album.
What was the inspiration behind the “abandoned homes” style video for Cut a hole?
Gian: The house and the tree were the main symbolic imagery for this record. The location for the Cut a Hole video was the same for the album cover shoot, so in a way it’s like a virtual tour of this place where the music is coming from.
Where was the front cover taken from?
Renal: The tree and the house are actually right next to one another. I had driven by a similar looking tree everyday on my way to school and I had always thought that it would be a cool idea for an album cover. When we found the site of the house and tree on a hike, we instantly thought it had the ideal visual aesthetic for the record.
You’ve put out three EPs, are there any plans for a full length album?
Gian: Without a label and a team it’s difficult to take on such a massive project like that. So we hone in on a smaller collection of songs and this allows us to realize them and get them out quicker. Then we can move on to more projects like music videos and the rest of the work that goes into promoting an album acting as your own DIY label.
You used kickstarter to help fund the EP, do you think this is the future for independent bands in funding their music?
Renal: I think that it will be an intricate part of the future for independent bands as the music industry continues to take a financial downturn. I personally think its great; we don’t need to conform or change what we do because we aren’t under a contract. It seems like a lot of bands that sign those contracts end up conforming and giving up their creative perspective, that isn’t something that would fit our band very well.
Did you get any unusual requests for rewards as part of the kickstarter campaign?
Renal: We still owe a naked acoustic set to someone and a few kisses 😉
Quite a few critics have likened your music to Joy Division, is this reflective of your musical influences?
Gian: Joy Division are a great band with an iconic sound. I think it makes sense that if your music fits into the post-punk sphere that someone will inevitably bring up that name as well as Interpol, etc. But at the same time there are a lot of other influences there ready to be discovered. That’s what I love about music and the true majesty of it is that no two creators can interpret it exactly alike. I hope that’s the impression we can leave on listeners over time.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Gian: That’s a great question, because the answer is yes. Quite a lot actually, when you’re mixing and recording over the course of a year you probably hear the songs close to a hundred thousand times. By time the record is finally ready to release, it’s impossible to imagine what someone might hear listening for the first time. But that’s definitely what makes it so exciting.
What other music do you listen to?
Gian: Currently… a lot of Nirvana, and Brand New.
Renal: I concur.. Add in some REM and The Smiths.
Now that the EP is out what do you plan on doing next?
Renal: Getting better. Continuing to play and write music and growing artistically. We will be playing some live shows and we are also working on a few more music videos, so stay tuned!
Check out the New Politician’s website to find out more!