The Lonely Biscuits: Campus Crusaders (Interview)

It’s about that time where thousands of kids across the country are heading back for their spring semester of college. But can you imagine, on top of homework, labs and exams, a full-time music career? The Lonely Biscuits, forming in a dorm room at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, might be some of the best multi-taskers you’ll ever meet. Fresh off an MTV Woodie Award win and fourth  EP release in just three and a half years, the guys are not only juggling their studies and social lives, but what potentially could be a dynamic future in the music industry. With an easy-going vibe that will make you crave summer, The Lonely Biscuits are a fantastic blend of everything you could want out of a feel-good sound. We were able to catch up with two of the four members and talk about how they’re making their college and music experiences all come together.


Substream Magazine: I read on your Facebook that you guys just finished finals. How’d they go?

Sam Gidley: They were good. Only a little bit of a bummer. Only two classes failed. (Laughs)


SM: What are each of you majoring in at Belmont?

SG: I am majoring in audio engineering, along with Nick. John is a Studio Art Major and Grady is an Entertainment Industry Studies Major.


SM: Why did you decided to go to college instead of skipping it like a lot of bands do?

Grady Wenrich: We met at school. Sam and I were random roommates at the beginning of freshman year and that’s how we met and started the band. Then John [Paterini] and Nick [Byrd] also lived in the same hall.


SM: The Lonely Biscuits seem to like playing college shows around the country. What makes those shows different than a regular show?

GW: It’s a good way to have your first show in a new area because the school and fraternities promote it a lot. There’s always going to be a lot of kids there. You go out and play and even if kids don’t know who you are, they come out because it’s a school event and then they learn who you are. Then maybe you can come back and play a venue and sell more tickets. It’s a good way to introduce the band to a new area.


SM: At the MTV Woodie Awards this past year, you guys won the Best Collegiate Artist. What did it mean to you guys to win this award?

SG: It really meant a lot. That was our first ever major accomplishment as a band. It kind of bumped us up to the next level and made everything we were doing a little more legit. Everything was starting to pay off, which was really cool for us.


SM: You also got to play SXSW because you won that award. Had you guys ever been to SXSW before?

SG: No, that was our first year last year. They actually announced yesterday we’ll go back down there in March to play some more shows. We’re excited about that.


SM: What was it like playing a festival like that?

SG: It’s awesome. You get to play in front of a ton of new faces who have never heard of you. It’s nice just to be out seeing other big bands, so it’s a good way to expose yourself to new fans around the country.


SM: The Lonely Biscuits also have a philanthropic side. You wrote the song “Everybody” and donated the proceeds you made to Hurricane Sandy relief. Why was it so important for you guys to do this project?

GW: It was kind of a coincidence thing. I’m from New Jersey, right on the beach. We had written that song before the hurricane hit and shot the video. We had a weird thing where we decided we didn’t like the song anymore and we weren’t going to release it. And then the hurricane hit and we realized that the song had a deeper meaning to help the victims of the song. So we released it and decided to put all the proceeds towards relief funds.


SM:  Listening to your music, I would say The Lonely Biscuits have a very unique sound that blends a lot of genres. Why did you want to make this kind of music?

SG: We really didn’t plan on anything like that. All four of us come from different musical backgrounds. We all had different musical interests in high school and even still today. I think when we’re all in the room writing together, all of our interests and ideas kind of blend into that weird, unique genre that is our sound.


SM: Who have been some of your biggest influences when you write music?

GW: We’ve got a lot of different influences.

SG: Yeah, I would say The Roots for our rhythm sections. G. Love for our rapping.

GW: We’ve been listening to whatever has been coming out recently.

SG: A lot of bands from Nashville.

GW: There’s a lot of cool bands coming out of Nashville we’ve been inspired by.


SM: What’s your favorite thing about writing new music?

GW: I like how it just comes out of nowhere. You can sit down and try to write a new song forever and not get anywhere with it. Our best and favorite songs just come out of nowhere. We’ll get inspired by something random and it will come together by the end of the day. You never know when a new one is going to come.


SM: 2013 was a busy year for you guys in terms of music releases. A Girl Named Destiny was released last January and Things Sure Have Changed was released this past October. Why did you decided to release two short albums this year and space out your music?

SG: Last year, we were really concentrated on putting out content for fans. Just having something to tour off of and have shows. We didn’t really want to put out a full-length release on our own. We’re kind of saving that for when we have some more backing and a bigger fan base and more promotion. We’re doing more EPs just to put music out for fans.

GW: It also has to do with the attention span of our fans. Most don’t wanna sit through a twelve-song album. So it’s easier and more accessible to them to put out just six songs for now.


SM: Which song is your favorite that you’ve written?

SG: I think, as a band, our favorite song is “Pool Day,” which was off our most recent release. That song is the direction we want to go in and is the overall vibe we want our sound to have.


SM: Even your music videos are fun and feel-good. Which one of them was your favorite to make?

GW: I think “Casual Vibes” because we got to be on more of the director’s side of things. We had all of our friends acting in it and it was just a fun video.


SM: What would you say to musicians debating going to college or starting a music career as soon as possible?

SW: I would say just do whatever feels right. College definitely isn’t for everyone. If you have the ability to support yourself and go out and play music, and if it’s truly what you want to do, I say go for it. But, other people, they want to get their degree and still play music and maybe go full time when they have a degree and that security. I think either way is a good option, it just depends on your situation.


SM: What would you like to see come out of The Lonely Biscuits for yourself?

GW: We’d love to make it our career and do it for awhile. Be able to tour and support ourselves with it. We want to travel and play music, and that’s about it (laughs.)


SM: What do The Lonely Biscuits have planned for 2014?

SW: We’re gonna play a lot of shows in a city near you (laughs.)

GW: We also have new music video coming out soon that we haven’t announced yet. That and just a bunch of shows and a couple festivals. And probably some new music by the end of the year.


SM: Thank you guys so much! Good luck this year.

SW: Yeah, thanks for talking with us!


A Girl Named Destiny and Things Sure Have Changed available now on iTunes!

Facebook: /thelonelybiscuits

Twitter: @Lonely_Biscuits


Interview by Stephanie Roe