Punk rock is alive and well in the capital city thanks to local band Courtney From Work, adding a unique central Ohio spin to their sound.
The group is still coming down from a recent high resulting from their radio debut on CD102.5, Columbus’ alternative radio station. The band released its first EP Might as Well late last year and have their sights set on 2017 for their second release, leveraging newfound motivation from local recognition.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with members Jacob (vox, guitar), Diontaye (guitar), Conner (bass) and Andrew (drums) to talk about their music and what the future holds for Courtney From Work.
The Indie Sound: Give me a brief history of the band.
Andrew: Diontaye and I have been making music since we met each other in the seventh grade. We had a band with Jacob for a while called Gentlemen, but that fizzled out. We picked it back up senior year, the three of us, and we kind of just stuck together. We knew Conner and he plays bass so…
Conner: Yeah, I’ve grown up with music. My parents are really rich in music, and my family is rich in music history. My Grandpa was actually the bass player for Willie Phoenix for 37 years, so he’s a local legend. So that’s where my background of bass playing comes from.
Jacob: Conner kept bugging me asking me to jam with us and I’d always kind of turned him down because I wanted us to be a three piece, but then eventually I said yes. It turned out to be a great decision!
Conner: All these guys were two grades below me in high school. None of my friends were into playing instruments so I had to back track and find them.
TIS: So, you guys all went to the same high school?
Conner: Yeah! We’re all from Worthington.
TIS: The name “Courtney from Work” is one of my favorite band names I’ve heard in a while. Where did you get the inspiration for it?
Jacob: Yeah he and I [Andrew] work at McDonald’s and we used to work with this cartoon man named Courtney. A lot of people think it’s a girl’s name, but he’s a man. We’d always find ourselves telling our friends stories about this guy Courtney from work and eventually we were like we should just call our band that. At first I wanted to call it something different, but then I finally settled on it.
Andrew: Yeah it all just worked out. You’d have to meet the man to know why, but he needs to be preserved.
Conner: And there’s no other band that calls themselves that, so it was a pretty easy settle.
TIS: You guys were recently played on air at CD102.5. What was that like?
Conner: Oh, so surreal.
Jacob: Yeah, I can’t describe it.
Andrew: It was really sweet. We went from our moms and dads paying attention to our music, to it being on the radio where people were kind of forced to pay attention to it for a minute, so that was really cool.
Conner: It’s cool to get local recognition because that gives us motivation. Before, it all felt like we were just having fun with it, but after that it was like wow, this could actually get serious. At least the motivational part.
TIS: What are your opinions on Columbus’ music scene? Do you find that it’s difficult to crack?
Conner: I’d say it’s pretty fair, but we’re not mainstream music.
Andrew: With our sound it’s a little bit weird. There’s a lot of jam bands and local rappers and we don’t really fit into either of those.
Jacob: Yeah, that and a lot of pop.
Conner: I wouldn’t consider us hipster either.
Andrew: We always end up on a lineup that doesn’t really fit us, but that’s just kind of how local music can be.
Conner: We’re starting to get more local bands that want to play shows with us, so it’s definitely nice to have that community.
TIS: How often are you guys playing shows? Do you book everything yourselves?
Andrew: It’s all this guy [Jacob]. Conner’s been getting into it too.
Jacob: Conner has been getting into it recently which has been really nice because it takes a lot of the weight off of my shoulders.
Andrew: I just go where they tell me to go and play music, I have nothing to do with it.
Conner: The show booking is all us right now. It’s really tough because you have to watch out for the sub-promoters, who in the grand scheme of things, are a scam.
Our very first show, that he [Jacob] put together at Skully’s, we got a couple of local and high school bands together and it ended up being really successful. At the end of the night we made $450, and that was after the $250 rental fee for the venue. So that was really cool. We just need to keep doing that somehow … definitely spread our wings beyond Skullys and Columbus, Ohio.
TIS: Might As Well was released at the end of last year, are you working on anything new?
Conner: March marks one year for us as band. That was just a handful of songs that he [Jacob] had brewing and then we threw in a couple to make it an EP and slapped a name on it. Right now we’re working on making a new EP. We’re not so much show focused right now. Since we’ve struck the radio, we’re more worried about getting new material out and building a catalog.
Jacob: This time we’re going to record in an actual studio
Conner: Oh yeah side note, the two songs that made it on the radio were actually recorded in my basement. We’ve been to the studio plenty, so it’s just funny those were the two songs they chose to play on air.
TIS: Where can people access your music?
Conner: Since were still so fresh as a band, we’re not trying to charge money for our music, so we haven’t made it to iTunes yet. Anyone that wants to listen can find everything by following us on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can download the entire EP on Bandcamp for free.
TIS: Who influences your sound the most? Who are your icons? Who would you compare your sound to?
Andrew: Wide range between the four of us.
Jacob: I could go on and on.
Conner: I initially thought of us as a punk band, but then we hear from other people and we’re described as punk funk, jam funk… garbage rock?
Andrew: Yeah, garbage rock!
Conner: Jacob and I are pretty similar with music tastes, so like Orwells, Fidlar, Wavves. Just like punk, psychedelic surf punk.
Jacob: Diontaye, Andrew and I really like Beck.
Andrew: Beck is my personal idol.
Jacob: They love Radiohead and Cage the Elephant too.
Conner: I’m really open, though. From working in the music business. I listen to it all.
My parents raised me on classic rock, so The Mamas & the Papas, The Rolling Stones and Beatles of course. I like everything, except new wave country.
Jacob: Pop country is terrible.
Conner: I like old country, though! Johnny Cash is the shit!
TIS: What is the ultimate direction for the band?
Andrew: Keep making music and hope people like it.
Conner: I would really like to see us play a major music festival within the next four years.
Andrew: We just have to keep it moving!
Jacob: I just wanna rock.
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