Photo Credit: Rob Menzer
One of the most common misconceptions we all have growing up is that teachers do nothing else with their lives but teach. They don’t have hobbies, families, or even live outside of school hours. Obviously we’re all proven wrong and shocked when we see our English teacher at Sizzler for the first time, but that’s the reality of life. Teachers do indeed live normal lives just like the rest of us and for some, that means playing in a band. At least that’s the case for Samantha and J.D. of Answering Machine. Together, along with Jackson, Craig, and Louis, they create badass rock music. New music in fact that’ll be on their first release from Wiretap Records, ‘Bad Luck.’
While they can’t play traditional shows for the world right now, fans can get a taste of their live show with Fest at Home, which will be streaming live April 16th. So check that out then, pick up the record the next day, and right now check out what Sam and J.D. had to say about label ease, poker faces, and more.
Kendra: Do you feel like being teachers has helped the band as a whole run smoother than perhaps bands that don’t have members with jobs that call for that particular type of organization and leadership?
Sam: We’re definitely great at communicating and collaborating as a band, which are pretty important skills to have as teachers. So, teaching may make us better bandmates, but creating/working together as a band, and having an outlet to express ourselves through music also helps us become better teachers.
J.D.: I think it absolutely helps the band run smoother. Personally it’s taught me to be way more patient and understanding. A strong classroom is all about relationships and so is a good band. We all have pretty stressful jobs so the band is more therapeutic than anything. We just want to have a good time and write the best songs possible.
Kendra: It’s been a few years since you dropped your debut EP. In that time, how do you feel you all have grown together as a band in terms of sound and songwriting?
J.D.: It feels like the first two EPs were a rehearsal. We were searching for a sound we could stand behind. On this album I feel like we’re finally onto something. We weren’t afraid to lean into our influences a little bit more. Sam and I were covering Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks before Answering Machine existed and I think that comes through with this group of songs. We’re also a lot more comfortable with each other musically so putting songs together is a lot smoother. It’s become a lot less work and a lot more fun.
Kendra: That EP came about before you signed to Wiretap Records. Does having label representation for your debut LP, ‘Bad Luck,’ allow you to feel a bit more ease with the release?
Sam: We are honestly learning a lot about how to get our music out to a wider audience. We’ve done things pretty DIY in the past, so it’s nice to have the support and guidance of Wiretap Records to help us continue to grow.
Kendra: Speaking of ‘Bad Luck,’ that’s the name of the record’s latest single. A great track that is a sort of mental note to not let the negatives of life stop you from continuing on. Was that something that came from personal experience or a reflection of the world as a whole?
Sam: “Bad Luck” was written as a way to cope with the personal things in my life that didn’t go according to plan. I was having a rough summer where a number of big life changes were thrown at me all at once. It sort of narrates my journey of learning how to pick up the pieces and rebuild. In the beginning I found myself feeling frustrated and blaming it all on bad luck. But I eventually learned to accept that this *bad luck* would actually lead to a lot of positive change. This song is a reminder that it’s okay to feel a little frustrated when things don’t work out, but to also keep in mind that sometimes things need to be torn down in order for something better to be built in place.
Kendra: The video for “Bad Luck” presents a game of poker. With that, who in the band has the absolute worst poker face and can never hide anything?
Sam: Probably me! J.D. and Jack actually taught me how to play poker for the first time. Also, I’m a terrible liar!
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Sam: We still plan to release ‘Bad Luck,’ our first full length album, on April 17th with Wiretap Records. We understand the uncertainty of almost everything right now so we will need to keep an open mind and play things by ear. We are sending positive thoughts out to all of those who are being affected by the current state of the world and hope for a safe recovery.
J.D.: It’s difficult to choose one song that always gets me through, but I would have to say “Stay Free” by The Clash. It’s been hitting me a little harder these days. Just knowing that a band like The Clash even existed gives me some hope in humanity.