I caught up with Standard Broadcast at their performance at Mr. Small’s Fun House AcoustiCafe. Standard Broadcast is a four piece band with a different sound by mixing cello in instead of a bass guitar.
What are you currently working on?
N: We are working on our upcoming EP and have our first headlining main stage show coming up at Mr. Small’s Theater! It’s an all-ages show on August 26.
N: RANT possibly
H: I’m not sure who submitted us for that
N: It’s at 10, so the perfect slot
J: Potentially a show on September 29
H: I’ll be out of town
Me: You could always Skype in
How long have you been together as a band?
N: We have been Standard Broadcast for two and a half years, but this group of us has been two years collectively.
I’m sure you’ve come to have some favorite venues, what are they?
L: Ditto, Cattivo.
N: Club Cafe
Your sound is different because you don’t utilize bass, what encouraged you to go with a cello instead?
L: I’ve been playing cello since 3rd grade and it’s all I know
N: I was in a band previously where I did piano and backing vocals. Once this was getting started, we played a Halloween party and then began looking for a drummer. Once we had a drummer, we played as a trio for 4-5 months and then added guitar. Jeff was from Craigslist, definitely my best Craigslist pickup.
L: He was the best free agent
J: The price was right–I was free.
How would you describe your musical process?
H: Usually it’s done between me and Nate, we get down the melody and the chords. The bare bones of the songs.
N: All three of us, Holly, Leiland, and I, write. Sometimes we will have lyrics and then collectively we might change words.
H: We’re pretty flexible with how it sounds.
L: Jeff makes beats.
H: And Leiland makes it pretty.
N: He’s got two really pretty, very different, intricate musically pieces that we play. He’s classically trained, so it’s a different feel than our other songs.
J: Nate has this huge radio stand for his keys that blocks everything.
N: Yeah…It’s made from a cabinet stereo. I’m 6’3″ so I’m too tall for a standard stand. It’s actually made from an old radio, which is how the band’s name came to be: Standard Broadcast.
What are some things that you love about the music scene here in Pittsburgh, or things that you would change about it?
N: I love the camaraderie, it’s amazing. I think we have a really great DIY scene, it’s positive, and there’s a lot of sharing. Something I would change would be the lack of industry. There are very few labels, such as Misera. They work with national bands, not just Pittsburgh ones. The indie label scene goes beyond just indie rock. There are some other labels, too, such as First Flight Records and Wild Kindness. There is a different feel for things in Nashville or elsewhere. I was in LA for a bit and the scene there was very different. Pittsburgh is increasing it’s recognition and it has great venues and the scene is great, but we lack people who are transitioning talent into cash.
H: In changes, I don’t have anything negative to say or that I feel. There are a lot of bands who book, pay out, and have fans who are their friends. While having fans that are friends is amazing, getting a fan base outside of just friends is huge. We’re older, so we don’t have a connection to underage fans to get them to shows. Other than that, I love how strong and positive the scene is.
J: There is tons of talent, it’s just getting it together. I acknowledge it is hard to break through, especially with major promoters like Drusky. You can pay a good how but they want more and more money out front when you’re successful. You’ve really got to advertise and work with neighboring cities.
What are some other endeavors the band is involved with?
N: We put together Indie Rock Fest. Last year we held it at Cattivo and it had 5 bands. This year there are 12 bands, two of which are on labels. It really a benefit for the bands involved because there are no promoters. We worked with Mic Pgh, Full Pint Brewery, and The River’s Edge (catch our interview with them here) to really make it a success and hope that it keeps growing.
Are there any local businesses you think people should definitely check out?
N: Full Pint Brewery, especially their open mic. Henry Bachorski heads it and he helped us get our start. They have a bar, brewery, and really support indie music. Also The River’s Edge.
L: Mic Pgh, they help artists build a career and help them make money with their music and performances. Mike Clasic is the CEO.
N: Wake Up On Fire. Cate Sellowitz. Smalls Mainstage, Mr. Smalls in total. Also their AcoustiCafe and everything they’re doing at the Fun House.
And the question that can cause fights–what would you say is your favorite pizza place in Pittsburgh?
N: Why? There’s raw cheese on it.
L: They put the pepperoni underneath! What am I supposed to do, take it home and bake it again?
J: I grew up on Mineo’s but it is different than it used to be. I eat so much pizza it’s….it’s just.
There’s really a north versus south divide in our pizza selections.
Be sure to catch Standard Broadcast tonight at Mr. Small’s Theater. You can also catch them September 12 at The Smiling Moose