Daily Wildcat: Where are you guys originally from?
Kaleb Davies: We’re originally from Torrance, Calif. Ryan and I went to high school together. Chris was a local from the neighborhood, and then Greg, who joined the band about two years back, was originally from Indiana. I actually came up with the band name when I was like 11 years old.
DW: What were bands that influenced you as a kid?
KD: I grew up listening to a lot of British music. I think The Cure, which was probably one of my first favorite bands. Arctic Monkeys — I got into them, their first album — and that was kind of why I started playing guitar. Neutral Milk Hotel was a massive influence on me when I was a kid. I used to listen to “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” every day, twice. It would change everything I knew about how I listen to music. Primarily, I think our band was influenced by maybe more contemporary American indie bands like Vampire Weekend.
DW: Your latest album is “Nothing’s As It Should Be.” What are the favorite songs you like to play live from that album?
KD: We close our set usually with “Leave This Man Behind.” People just love to have a good time to that one. That’s kind of a song about hating your day job and making the choice to love yourself and have a good time instead of wallowing in self-agony over having to wake up at 6 a.m. for your shift. That song is just all about living in the moment.
DW: Could you elaborate more on the origin of the song “OG Food?”
KD: I was dating this girl, and I was just completely enamored with her. It was the first time in my young, short adult life that I realized that she probably wasn’t going to stay this time, and I was going to have to deal with that myself. It’s that girl — you’d meet her — you know she’s just going to absolutely wreck you, and that kind of was the idea behind that song. I always kind of call it an “Angeleno” love song. It’s for kids that grew up in L.A. and that have been around the city. You meet all these beautiful people that aren’t as real as you think they are. It’s hard to find the truth in people.
DW: What do you think is the toughest thing about being on the road?
KD: Trying not to binge drink every night. I know the other guys in our band, they have families and stuff at home, so I know that that’s really tough. But the toughest thing is probably you’re never alone, and that’s really hard. As much as we all love each other, being in a van with someone for four weeks is a long time. Sometimes you just don’t know where you’re staying. We have to start asking people if we can crash on their couch, or else we’re going to be sleeping in the van. Yesterday we had to wake up at 6 a.m., and we drove 14 hours. In the end, we get to play a dope show. We get to meet some new fans and make people happy, then it’s worth it. I’m always just surprised by the kindness of strangers. You have to stay focused on the music. It’s not just the 24/7 party. There’s a lot of work that includes setting up a tour and touring.
DW: Have there been any strange experiences while you were traveling?
KD: We’re playing in Oregon last year, and we’re at this gas station. You’re not allowed to pump your own gas. It was pissing down with rain. We’re desperately trying to get to the venue, and we need gas. There’s this long line of cars. We’re finally going to get the gas, and all of a sudden, the gas station attendant just freaks out, throws down the pump and goes, “I can’t do this anymore.” He leaves, and there’s like 16 cars waiting to try to get gas. Made us afraid to come back to Oregon.
DW: What do you love about live music specifically?
KD: What I love is when someone comes up after and goes, “I don’t listen to Indie rock music. I only like hip-hop, or I only like punk. But you know what, I had such a good time.” We played a show in Visalia a couple of nights ago, and the super punk kid — tatted up, nose ring and Black Flag shirt — he came up and was so stoked. He actually got up on stage at the end, and they had to kick him out. But he came up, and he just was so excited that he liked the band, but he just didn’t understand why. When music does that, I think that’s what’s exciting for me.
The 131ers will play a free, all-ages show at Espresso Art Café on Sunday, April 7, at 8:30 p.m.
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