Cheerleader Discuss Debut Album + What Drinks Pair Best With EP, ‘On Your Side’
What started as a reunion between school friends Joe Haller and Chris Duran has turned into the quintessential power-pop five-piece outfit known as Cheerleader (which includes the additions of Paul Impellizeri, Josh Pannepacker and Carl Bahner). While the band may not be a household name just yet, the five members are doing everything they can to change that.
They've opened for the Hold Steady throughout Europe, they've played the Great Escape and they've rocked one of the biggest music weeks in the country, New York City's CMJ.
Luckily for us, Cheerleader took a few minutes to sit down with us during their recent trek to New York and we chatted about everything, from touring with the Hold Steady, how their debut LP is coming along and what we should drink while listening to their EP, 'On Your Side.' Check out our exclusive interview below:
So let's kick things off with an easy one: What's the story behind the band name?
Chris Duran: It comes from an old friend. Joe and I used to record together in GarageBand, demoing songs like that probably for a year, year and a half, before Cheerleader started -- before 'New Days,' which is our first song. When the two of us would work together, it sounds kind of silly, but we would pump each other up. We'd like a vocal part or guitar part and then say, "Oh my god, that's so good." And I was telling a friend about that, and she said, "You sound like cheerleaders for each other." So we made 'New Days,' and I was like, "Oh man, what if this was just a Cheeleader's song?" And once I said that, it kind of cemented itself and went with the vibe of the songs.
You guys were on tour with the Hold Steady in Europe in early 2014. What did you learn during that experience?
Josh Pannepacker: Be careful when you play football with the little guy. Because the [Hold Steady] drummer had a black eye, and we were like, "Did you get into a bar fight?" And he's like, "No man, my son threw a football at me, and I wasn't ready for it." [Laughs]
Carl Bahner: It was pretty crazy because, for most of us, it was our first time in Europe. So even though we were playing shows with the Hold Steady, the whole experience was really new. And the rooms were much bigger than we were used to playing. So it was just really great and really positive. The guys were cool, and all the shows we had were a lot of fun. There were really no complaints except for the jetlag -- but that's just part of the course.
Paul Impellizeri: They're total rockstars, not in a negative way. They're a super tight band and also the nicest guys, they are so personable.
Chris Duran: They are a really well-oiled machine. They were super tight. They knew what they were doing. Not to take the magic out of it, but they had it down to a science, but at the same time, they gave so much back to their fans every night and put on a killer show. And the fans are super supportive, and they just gave it back 100-percent. They were great.
Your EP, 'On Your Side,' is out now. Any news on a full-length album?
Chris Duran: We're pretty much there. The date just has to be set. It'll be this year .
When we last spoke with you guys about your track 'Future Stars,' Carl, you talked about how the band was given a bottle of Glenfiddich during the recording of it. So for the rest of the songs on the EP, what drink would you pair well with each of them?
Joe Haller: I got one for 'On Your Side' -- a nice white Burgundy.
Paul Impellizeri: 'On Your Side' is like a Bud Light Lime. [Laughs] I'm just kidding.
Chris Duran: I would say a nice white wine for 'On Your Side.'
Josh Pannepacker: Even though I'm a red fan.
Paul Impellizeri: Something you bring out when you're out with a girl, some kind of wine.
Chris Duran: 'Perfect Vision' is ...
Paul Impellizeri: Something that goes well with a steak.
Chris Duran: Bacardi or something for a party.
Carl Bahner: 'Future Stars' is whiskey, you know, hard liquor.
Joe Haller: 'Tomorrow Always Knows' might be Fireball.
Paul Impellizeri: Yeah, it's kind of spicy on the tongue, then hot going down.
If you guys could create a perfect tour, who would you want to be on the bill with you?
Joe Haller: Tame Impala definitely.
Carl Bahner: Deerhunter would be cool.
Besides prepping for your debut full-length, what will you guys be up to?
Chris Duran: We're just going to make some music videos, write some more music and play more shows.
Listen to Cheerleader's 'Perfect Vision'