I skyped with Ice Cream ahead of the release of their album in February. Lead singer Kevin, drummer Louie Rappoport, Joe Sample and Bryce Fernandez chilled in their San Francisco digs while telling me stories about getting mind-fucked by Tré Cool, adapting to the San Fran scene and chat about an earth-shattering (at least by impressionable youngster standards) New Found Glory gig.
Thanks for getting up so early on your end guys. I’ll knock out some direct q’s off the bat – how did you name the band?
Kevin: No worries, thanks for talking to us and listening to our stuff. We got stoned in a room before our second or third show and we were like, “Well, we need to decide on a name”. We did our first two shows under the name The Surfer Monks which we all decided, was just not the best name.
Joe: We argued about it for so long. Basically, Ice Cream was a name that no one has a problem with because we went through so many names and that’s a pretty neutral one. Everybody loves it.
Your album is coming out next February. How pumped are you for the release?
Joe: It’s something we’re super proud of. There are just a lot of bangers on it and it’s the best body of work we’ve ever done, in my opinion.
Kevin: We have this big secret about who’s mixing it. It won’t be in a second, I guess. It was Bruce Botnick who mixed L.A. Woman for The Doors which is epic.
I’m waiting for you to come to Boston so I can hear it live.
Kevin: Oh, we’re so down to do that.
Joe: I just got this shirt from Boston that says Join or Die on it.
Oh, dope. Very political of you.
Joe: [Laughter] I just liked it because it said Join or Die. I thought it was cool.
That would be some good tour merch if you popped Ice Cream on it.
Kevin: Honestly, yeah. We should do that. Just have a crew at all the shows in a Join or Die tee.
Everybody loves ice cream, that’s a valid reason. Who were some of your influences growing up?
Louie: Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd…like stony rock. I listened to a lot of Rush, which is way off. I used to drum to all that stuff like Rush and Iron Maiden. So much Pink Floyd back then, wow. Now I listen to this band called Doctor Dog from Philadelphia who has a really sick drummer called Erik Slick. He’s my favorite. He’s just really good.
If you were headlining a Lotus Play Beats festival who would you want on stage with you?
Kevin: Probably a big band to draw a huge crowd, right?
Bryce: Probably like Rihanna?
Kevin: Definitely RiRi…
Louie: I mean assuming we were really popular and were the reason that people came to the festival…
Kevin: Rihanna, a Michael Jackson hologram…
Bryce: What about Prince? Prince, Rihanna and Icecream!
Is there one big festival you’d guys want to play? I’m waiting for you to play Beach Goth.
Louie: Glastonbury! Shoot for the stars baby!
Kevin: Anyone reading or listening to this – book us overseas! We’re really trying to play over there. Secretly, the whole point of the band is just to travel.
You guys are based in San Francisco, has that scene influenced you a lot?
Kevin: The scene’s pretty disjointed. It took a while to get into. I’ve played music in a couple of different cities and usually the scene isn’t that hard to integrate into, but in San Francisco there are so many people moving in and out of the city at all times that it’s really hard to get locked in with people who are here to stay. A lot of bands will create themselves, but then won’t be a band in a year or two. Now I think we’ve got a little crew of bands we can summon for shows and homies that will summon us for shows.
I’ve seen SWMRS play – they’re Oakland products, no?
Kevin: Oh, yeah! Cole and Max are really fun to play with. I think that show was one of our funnest shows – the show we played with SWMRS.
Bryce: That was at the DNA Lounge.
Kevin: After our set we were in the crowd and I was totally moshing to the SWMRS set and beside me was Tré Cool – also moshing and I was like, ‘Oh, cool.’
Marc Finn worked at the station I work at now and his band The Frights open up for SWMRS a lot. I tried to ask what the Joey Armstrong vibe was because his dad is so epic. I never aired the response, but they just kept reiterating what a good dude he is. In the beginning they were also curious if the subject was taboo or not.
Kevin: I think they’re a great family…just from like…creeping on them on social media. [Laughter]
Bryce: What’s a good family? What’s your rating system?
Kevin: I don’t know dude – just like family values. He posts like pictures of his family on social media and stuff…I can only assume that’s real life. [Laughter]
I’d have so many weird/irrelevant questions, “Is he a good dad? Did he pick you up from school?” As if he’s some space entity.
Kevin: Sometimes he does posts that are for the Oakland Rams. He always tries to promote Oakland stuff. I think they did a little festival with an Oakland coffee shop to highlight the city and good music.
They did, yeah. I guess it’s weird I know that too, right?
Kevin: [Laughter] I guess we’re both on the same page. It was cool actually backstage we were talking to Tré Cool and I was like, “Hey man, huge, HUGE fan. You’re like one of the biggest influences of my childhood. I was really into the SWMRS before I even knew about the affiliation with Green Day.” He just looked at me and said, “Who’s Green Day?”
Kevin: And I was a little stoney and drunk and was just like…uhhhh.
You’re like, “I don’t even know man!”
Kevin: [Laughter] Green Day?! You don’t know Green Day dude?!
“I think they opened I don’t know dude.”
Kevin: So wild.
Are you all from the SF area?
Kevin: I’m Canadian and Joe’s from Michigan. Bryce is from Hawaii. So it’s eclectic.
Did you ever go to a show growing up in any of those places that made you think, ‘Fuck, I need to move kids the way I’m getting moved’ and make it your focus?
Kevin: There was a show as a child that I went to…it was a band called New Found Glory, which is like this old punk rock band. It was a free show at a record shop and everyone was just going nuts in this little record store. I just stood there like, ‘Oh man, yes, I need to make this happen, I gotta do this.’ People’s heads were like flying around; they couldn’t contain themselves. “FREE FUCKING MUSIC!” They were just going crazy.
Have you guys listened to Sticky Fingers? Not the Rolling Stones album – it’s a group from Australia with melodic influences from each country they’re from or culture they were raised in. There’s Kiwi (lead singer), Manchester (lead guitar), Brazilian (drummer) and other dope ties to make a sick sound; I feel like you guys would really vibe to them – great stoner rock.
Kevin: They’re from Australia? We’ll definitely check them out.
Louie: You should check out a band from Australia called Hockey Dad. They’re also rad. They’re a cool band.
What’s something you want kids who know nothing about your band, hearing about you for the first time to know?
Kevin: I’d want them to know that we’re grinding and we’re trying to change garage rock and make it more jazzy. Garage rock gets really locked in to this like really edgy, punky feel which we want to keep but I just feel like people aren’t really merging with any other genres that well.
Louie: Yeah, they’d just called it jazz-rock and not describe it in terms of its basis in garage. Also – not just one tone.
Kevin: Yeah, not just one tone…Deftones….
Louie: [Laughter] Also, I’d want them to know that we care about them. They’re special in their own special way.
On a real level – people buying your music or listening to you on SoundCloud, are getting impacted by what you’re creating. You could be a super influential part to the soundtrack of their young lives and that’s what it’s about to an extent, isn’t it?
Louie: There are definitely songs that I listen to that remind me of periods in my life and that make me super nostalgic. It would be awesome to be the soundtrack to people’s feelings.
You could be their Weezer.
All in unison: Yeahhhhhh.
Kevin: [Singing in the tune of ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias] I could be your Weezer baby…dun dun dun…
Bryce: Helping people through dark times with music…it’d be cool for sure.