Chicago fivesome Belmont are proof that there’s plenty of life left in pop-punk. Taking the heart-on-sleeve genre to new and more experimental places, the band have just followed up their self-titled debut album with anthemic new EP, ‘Reflections’ - and every song sounds like an instant classic. Sam Patt and Brian Lada catch us up.
Hey guys, how's it going? Are you all stuck at home at the mo?
Sam: Indeed we are stuck at home, everyone is safe and sound though, I think we view it as an opportunity to write some more music.
Who are you all, where did you meet, and whose idea was it to start the band?
Brian: To boil it all down, we are a group of friends who happen to be in a band together at the same time. The band formed around the end of 2014 while we were all 16-17 and in high school. We were all scattered around the Chicagoland area. Taz had got together with our old bassist and guitarists through the internet, and I (Brian) went to the same high school as our old bassist who got me to link up and jam with the band. It was all brought to life in my parents' basement, and that would be the spot we would practice/work from there on out. We all clicked, and really became friends first before the band, but we kicked it into high gear and very soon after got Sam into the band through playing shows in our local scene. A couple of lineup changes later, adding Jason and Alex, and we are now at our full form!
Can you remember the first song you wrote together? Is it still kicking about?
Brian: A lot of the first songs never made it onto any type of recording, but the first real song we made was called 'Absent Mind' which we did end up recording, but is now hidden on the internet. We definitely don't have them kicking about currently, but who knows if it will reappear or not!
How has your writing developed since then?
Brian: The writing has constantly been evolving and maturing since the beginning. The idea has always been to make a continuation and better version of Belmont with every release. The most substantial development in writing from the beginning of the band, however, is transitioning from a mindset of wanting to sound like our favourite bands to being our favourite band. The music is exactly what is wanted now with no barriers or boundaries. Making a signature sound completely true to itself is our current state, and we've really only started to form our mould. It will keep evolving as we go.
You dropped your debut album a couple of years back, how did you find it? Did you enjoy putting it together? Did everything go as planned?
Sam: Our debut was a long process, but it was extremely rewarding. It all kind of came together as it went along over the course of about a year, and we actually ended up finding our permanent fifth member of the band (other guitarist Jason) through the process. I think everything is always slower than you'd like it to be, nobody actually obtains "overnight" success that many dream about when they drop a new record. What we did with the full length was something people needed to kind of digest for a minute, but it's launched us farther than I think we ever would have hoped and we're just ready to keep moving forward. Overall I don't think there's a single thing we'd change about it.
What's the biggest challenge you guys have come up against so far?
Sam: I think the biggest challenge so far has just been sticking with it. You get knocked down a lot in this world and a lot of times bands have a hard time sticking together through all the trials and tribulations that come from rising out of a local scene through DIY touring and then slowly beginning the support tour grind. It can be mentally exhausting, we're lucky to have extremely supportive fans, a really solid team of management and agents/label behind us, and above all else, we're great friends with each other.
How did you come to work with Pure Noise Records?
Sam: After we dropped our debut album in 2018 it completed our record deal with our label at the time, Mutant League Records. Mutant League signed us when we were in high school and took care of us better than we ever could have hoped for from 2016-2018. After the full length dropped we knew there was the possibility of signing to a bigger label, we had always looked up to artists on Pure Noise when we were younger, and it just so happened that our manager had a great relationship with them. They've got savvy A&R reps and came to us with a great pitch that made us feel like they understood what our vision for the future was. We were in talks with a few labels at the time, but Pure Noise was the obvious choice to us, and they've been absolutely phenomenal so far!
Tell us about your new EP - what's it about, and how did you decide which tracks to include?
Brian: Our new EP Reflections is a statement in our catalogue of music. It's the first Belmont release that is truly not afraid of doing exactly what we want. There are a lot of new elements brought to the table and experimentation. It holds no barriers and was something that we did for us. We didn't care what people would say about it, we just wanted a release that we would love and be something that we've always wanted to hear. The music was made to stand out and be completely fresh while keeping the same Belmont energy that's been here since the beginning. The theme is a general continuation from our past releases. It is a struggle with self-identity, opening up vulnerabilities, learning to value the life one leads, and finding a positive shine through hardship with what life throws at us in general. It is a collection of songs that we recorded in different places over an extended period of time. Every song that was recorded for the EP made it onto the EP, so we actually didn't have to decide on songs to keep and scrap. Everything was ready to go.
Is it a precursor to another album?
Brian: It is definitely a precursor to our second album which we will be going into the studio to record very soon!
What else are you up to at the mo? What's your plan for summer?
Brian: The world is at crazy spot currently, so we are taking everything day by day. A lot of writing is being done at the moment in preparation for our second full-length album. We plan on hitting the studio this summer to record it, and lots of touring! We will be out there as much as possible. Crossing our fingers for everything to get back to normal soon!
Taken from the May issue of Upset. Belmont's EP 'Reflections' is out now.
Featuring PVRIS, Boston Manor, Dance Gavin Dance, Enter Shikari, Trivium, Angels & Airwaves, Diet Cig and loads more.