INTERVIEW: The Greeting Committee talk finding success in their Facebook inbox
Kansas City has always had a relatively under the radar music scene. – Get Up Kids anyone? – But the most recent buzzy band to come out of the area? That title belongs to The Greeting Committee. Who we talked to during their time opening up for the Canadian rockers Arkells. The band is fresh off the release of their debut full length that dropped in October, and it was a definite conversation point with the group. They may be young but this is something they have been actively pursuing for the last several years now, and it is paying off. Be it large label interest where they chose to go with Harvest, an imprint of Capitol Records, to the tours they’ve found themselves on with artists like Jukebox the Ghost and Saint Motel.
Find our chat below and keep your eyes peeled for the mentioned headlining tour that should be coming within these next few months if what the band hinted at is true.
We were talking about it a little bit before. You guys aren’t strangers to Boston, you’ve been here twice, but now you’re on tour with Arkells. How have the shows been going for this tour? What were some expectations or hopes going into this tour?
Addie Sartino: Hopes for us as far as like the shows? If you haven’t seen us before, my hopes are that people have a good time and they clap and sing and dance and catch me when I jump into the crowd.
Pierce Turcotte: As interactive as possible.
Addie: That’s like a dream show I think for all of us. If everyone does those things really well.
Pierce: Where we’re not worried whether or not that they’re enjoying themselves, or show that they’re enjoying it. I mean before the tour, I didn’t really know who the Arkells were, but then I started following them probably the month or two before. And especially with all those arena tours they’ve been doing, I was starting to get a little bit more intimidated. Just because it seems like they have such a huge following and put on a very big spectacle of a show. So I think approaching the shows, I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe we’ll get a little taste of what they get from Canada if that will roll over to the states also. I mean I think overall, I was excited.
Addie: They play a really, really good live show. It’s very nice to be around that and get to watch that. You don’t copy people, but you do learn. At least I feel I’ve learned from every band we’ve toured with. Picked up on something that they do and go how can I do that but in my own way. So that’s always nice!
And speaking of that, I know that the band has been together for a little while now but you’re all still so young. You’re on a great label. How was that experience? Harvest being an imprint of Capitol Records.
Addie: That was really wild. I would check our Facebook and Facebook messages, and there would be people from Republic Records, Atlantic Records in these messages. And I’d be like, is this real? Is this a scam? So you run it by people, and you find out that they are genuinely interested. So getting to meet those people. I know for me, it was my first time going to New York City. And it was to do showcases for labels which is very intimidating. Monte Lipman, who’s a huge name in the music industry, is sitting in a chair. He’s the only one sitting, watching you, not having any expression on his face at all, not clapping. But then you get off, and he goes ‘I hope you’re not going to college because this is what you need to be doing.’ That’s a huge relief right there, and it was a really cool memory that we’ll get to always have. All of the labels were very nice, but at the end, we felt like Harvest would be the best for our career in the long run. Maybe not necessarily the biggest instant success but they would really put time into us and help us grow our career path in the past way.
Brandon Yangmi: I think that in picking the labels because there were certain labels where we would walk in, they would sit you down and be like this is what we want you to be. I think coming in as a band that was like fifteen years old, it was kind of like these labels were shopping for a new puppy. You have a puppy that these people can take, and they can mold it. When you get a puppy, you’re like I can raise it and make it the dog I want it to be. Well, Harvest was more not like that. They took us on, but they didn’t take us on because we were this baby faced band that they could mold the way they want. It was more like they abducted us as a puppy and let us go off into the woods and play on our own. Then we’d come back, and they’d be like ‘Okay what did you guys learn?’ Then send us out in the woods again the next day and come back.
That’s a great way to put it! And then your debut full length, I know there was an EP before that, but the album it only came out in October. It has experienced some success, with ‘Hands Down’ being a big hit for you guys. That debut record usually takes years to write. Was that the case for you guys or did you come in with purely fresh songs?
Addie: There are songs on the new record that are from when we first formed our band. And then I would say half of the album was actually written within ten days. We had a songwriter we worked with who came in and sort of acted as a director. To help us organize our thoughts. Hopefully, you can’t hear it too much on the record; I think it’s hard for me not to hear it because I know that’s how it was. But it does make me feel good that that record has some lyrics that I wrote from when I was fifteen, and it has lyrics I wrote the day we got into the studio. It’s nice to have that sense of growth on an actual piece of art. That’s how I would describe it I guess.
Brandon: I guess the album, it’s one of those examples of Harvest letting us do what we want. We had our first EP which we already had before they signed us on and then they wanted us to do an album immediately after that. But I don’t think we were mature or ready enough to do a full-length album. So we decided to do another EP which was great because we learned a lot about what we wanted to do and what we didn’t want to do. And how we wanted to mold our actual album because it feels like the EP was a trial run and the actual album was our break into the music industry. So we learned a lot in that process, and they were patient in giving us time, and when we got around to actually doing the album, everyone was more on the same page on what we wanted to do.
And then for you how did the writing progress? Maybe how did this project come together? I’m sure you were friends, all from the same area in Kansas City which is such a secret little music town.
Addie: So I wrote solo music, and I would perform it, and in my sophomore year of high school, I sold it in physical CD form to my peers and teachers, to whoever would buy it. And because of that, I would go play coffee shops, open mic nights, and I kind of figured out that that was extremely lonely. It wasn’t the kind of show I wanted to put on. It’s very different from the way I perform now. I get to kind of be an extension of myself on stage now. I get to go wild and have that source and that area to do it. So because of that, then I met Brandon and him, and I would do those open mic nights in coffee shops together. I still felt like there was something missing and I knew when I wanted to form a band, that he was the person I wanted to call. I called him, and from there, that’s how we met Austin and Pierce. Austin and Pierce grew up together, but the rest of us did marching band together. It wasn’t like we were these four best friends forever, and we’re like ‘Let’s make music!’ I mean they have that fairytale story.
Brandon: I had known Austin and Pierce for forever, but it was more something like these were the best musicians around the high school thing because there weren’t that many people in bands. At least where we were at Blue Valley, there were maybe two, three bands. That’s about it; there’s not much band music around there, so these were the group of people that weren’t in a band who played music and wanted to be in a band. And it worked out very, very well.
Addie: We’re very lucky.
Excellent! Then you’ve been on tour with bands like Jukebox, Saint Motel; now you’re out with Arkells who have spent so much time here. What are some focuses or hopes of going into this year?
Pierce: Like you said, the album is still so new. Obviously, there’s a little bit of downtime in the winter months for the whole music industry but the Spring, kind of the rest of the year is going to be directed more towards the album. We have a lot of media press stuff we’ve been working on to hopefully release later this year. Then a headliner tour, that’s in the works slowly, but they should be coming out pretty soon. So yeah really trying to promote the new album and kind of seeing where that takes us and kind of riding that wave.
Purchase or stream The Greeting Comittee’s full length debut album, This Is It by clicking HERE.