July 14, 2009

Exclusive Interview with Dave from Aversion!

Every once in a while a band comes along that, although labeled a "local band", have a sound tight enough to stand with bands of more renown. Enter Aversion, a quintet based in Central New Jersey whose sound is reminiscent of mid-tempo rock bands such as Breaking Benjamin, yet with a style that can not be placed in any singular field. Aversion consists of Michael Newton (vocals), David Konopacki and Vito Badalementi (guitars and backing vocals), Kevin Czarnecki (bass), and Christopher "Chewy" Spitalieri (drums). I had the opportunity to sit down with cofounder Konopacki for an exclusive interview about fears, the future of the band, and the music industry. Read on!

Ryan Crowley: Hey Dave.
Dave Konopacki: Hey, how are ya.
RC: Alright, let's start with your band's history a little bit, for those who don't know you. You and Mike [Newton] started in 'Nam, apparently? [laughs]
DK: [laughs] I see you've read our band's bio.
RC: Yep, that's for sure. So really, where you guys got started...you're really two former bands, right? It was you and Mike who played together for a while...
DK: We started in a band together probably about 3, 3 and a half years ago...and things kinda fell apart after...well, they had been together for a while, I joined, and then things fell apart so...[laughs] I was the catalyst for things falling apart it seems. But then we decided we would continue to work together. We wrote a bunch of stuff by ourselves, we did programmed drums and I played all the other instruments and Mike sang. And eventually we started looking for other members; despite what our bio says, uh, we found our drummer on Craigslist, and...
RC: Your bio actually does say that, by the way, later on.
DK: It colors it a little bit. The Craigslist part is true...and he brought in Kevin, our bassist, and Vito, who's our other guitarist. They'd previously played together.
RC: So you guys formed and you took the name "Aversion". Is there any personal meaning to that or is it just kind of a cool rock name? What's going on with Aversion there?
DK: There...there's no personal meaning to that at all. [Laughs] When me and Mike were trying to start stuff...obviously the first thing you do before you start writing songs is, you try to figure out a name, right?
RC: Of course.
DK: So...Mike had a long list of things and well, honestly a lot of them were crap. [Laughs.]
RC: [Laughs.] And can you give us an example of that, or are you too embarrassed?
DK: It's not that I'm embarrassed, it's that it was like two years ago and I don't remember any of the other ones. I probably have the list at home, I just can't remember any of them right now. And Aversion is the one that stuck out in my mind, to me. Just fitting the most, and being memorable so.
RC: Alright then, so you heard it here first. Aversion, up off the list. Other bands have done it so that's not...
DK: That's how Nine Inch Nails came about, so...
RC: We're mentioning "More Than Sorry". That's your single on iTunes. You have that and "Lactose", which you sing on, actually...
DK: [laughs] I do, I do. It's amazing that I actually do that, 'cause I'm scared of microphones.
RC: [laughs] Well you're certainly not showing it now.
DK: [laughs] I hide it well.
RC: Yeah, he's holding his arms and sweating profusely, for those of you who aren't here with us. And, I have to ask, I've heard some of your other stuff, I've gone to some of your other shows. What's the next song you're planning on recording, if you have that lined up?
DK: Well, this will be purely my answer, the rest of the band has not...we have not talked about it yet. But, we just wrote a new song, I think the working title is "Conversation", I'm not sure that's the official title yet.

RC: I have to ask, is that the song you opened with at the semifinals at [Starland]?
DK: Yeah, that's it. Our bassist Kevin wrote that, and I think that's a really strong song so I think that's a good option. And also a song that's been kicking around, that I've had for a while, well, the basis of it... "Head On" now is the title. I think that's another good one; I think if we're gonna do another two song set, I think it'd probably be those two songs.

RC: And of the songs that you've been playing in concert, the other songs..."Funny..." to name one...which for some reason is called your "pop-punk song"...
DK: [laughs]
RC: [laughs] I personally don't hear it but Mike likes referring to it that way. Are those just more for full CD releases or more songs that you've been kicking around until you started recording, or what's the story on those?
DK: Well, if we do a full album, they'll be on it...but we're...we're kinda kicking around some ideas for a new business model at the moment as far as sales and stuff, and I'm not sure recording a full album at this point is really gonna happen. I'm thinking we'll probably do a couple songs here and there, and eventually all of those will probably see the light of day in a studio recording. But for now it's gonna be a couple at a time.
RC: It's working, now it's a great business model, especially in the modern age. So I take it, then, you're big into the whole digital music revolution, not having to release everything on CD but using iTunes, Myspace...by the way, myspace.com/musicofaversion, as selling points and as ways for people to hear your music.
DK: Uh yeah, that's...we're actually...we've been kicking this around for literally two days collectively, today being the second day...we're probably gonna follow the Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails model of pay what you want, and if that means we're giving music away, at least people are listening to it. We're also...like, we'd love if people went to iTunes and bought the music, but we know they can get it for free. So, if you want it, aversion.bandcamp.com. All you gotta do is enter your e-mail address, and you get everything we've recorded...at this point it's two songs...

RC: [laughs]
DK: But when it's more you'll get it for free as well.
RC: Well if I didn't like your music so much, I'd say it was a waste of $1.98...
DK: [laughs]
RC: But luckily I do enjoy your songs, so no worries there.
DK: [laughs] I'm sorry to the people who paid for it, we'll make it up to you in some way.
RC: Like a T-shirt or something, I don't know. But it really is worth...more than $1.98, honestly. But moving on with that, talking a bit about getting music out there, have you thought about sending demos to radios, getting some radio play, college radio, anything like that?
DK: Yeah, we're in the process of putting together a press kit to send out to all the local stations that'll have us, and some that probably won't. We've gotten some tiny bit of radio play on the Rutgers RSU station, 88.7 New Brunswick. That's a great station, listen to it.
RC: Please.
DK: Yeah. So we've gotten some radio play. Not very much, I'll admit, but a little bit. Also, we should probably do Philly stations too.
RC: Yeah, Philly's pretty awesome that way, we should get you out there. Alright, so, you've actually been playing in better venues now, bigger venues. You're not just a club band, you just did Starland, you literally just did Stone Pony two days ago. How's that been different for you, how's the feeling of those places?
DK: Well, that's a...I have a two part answer for that. It is awesome playing the same stage as your idols. Like, I saw Opeth at Starland two or three weeks before we played there, and I'm staring at the stage going "That's where I'm gonna stand. I'm gonna be there". It's an awesome feeling playing the same stage as the bands you love. On the other hand, when you're not a huge band and you're not drawing a huge crowd, it's a little disheartening to see just how empty the place is. Like when we play the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, we pack that place and it's awesome. Like, just the energy. But when we played the Stone Pony, it wasn't a whole lot of people there, it was a little hard to get into it. Not to toot our own horn here, we still put on a good show, but it was a little harder to get into it.
RC: Of course. You feed off the band - the energy of the crowd - and when there's not much crowd, it's a little harder to get the energy going.
DK: Right.
RC: Basic band physics 101, as it were. Alright so, anything else you want to say to our readers before...any plugs, anything that I missed?
DK: I think you got everything, but just again, it's myspace.com/musicofaversion, musicofaversion.com, aversion.bandcamp.com. We're on Youtube, just search for us...we've got More Than Sorry and Lactose up there in video form. I'm sure we'll be other places, just search for us. If there's a social media network, we should be on it. And if we're not yet, we will be.
RC: Alright, and I guess I just have to part with one more question. As you - as I mentioned earlier, you sing on "Lactose" and...you're giving me a look here...
DK: [laughs]
RC: And you sing a little bit on "Funny...". Will we be hearing more Dave Konopacki vocals in the future?
DK: Only if the song calls for it. I hate doing it, I really do, I feel like a jackass singing. I am not a good singer, I'm terrible, but sometimes the song just calls for something and that's when I have to step up.
RC: And you can't get Vito or Kevin or Chewy [Spitalieri] to step in?
DK: [laughs]
RC: [laughs] I'm calling you guys out by the way, you gotta start helping out on the mic.
DK: Vito does the background vocals on "More Than Sorry" because I can't. I tried it one show, and I heard a recording afterwards, and...the entire world is better off if I don't do it.
RC: [laughs] Fair enough, fair enough. For Dave Konopacki, this is Ryan Crowley signing off. I hope to talk to [you] and more members of the band soon, hopefully when more people have seen them. Hint, hint. Signing off. Thank you, Dave.

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