Today’s Feature – April 5-6: The Mile After

April 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm (Today's Feature)

The Mile After isn’t your typical pop-punk band, a description most bands of the like covet. But… what kind of alternative act rejects the indie scene tradition of body tattooing and spouts messages about “staying in school??” Well, a pretty damn talented act to be honest. The tattooless Mile After first started performing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2003 and has quickly become one of the country’s premier acts on the campus scene. Ben Carter, Chase Holfelder, Mike Horbacz and Jim Trice have experimented with all types of rhythms and sounds, but have come to something exceptional for their latest LP, “Armada.”

The guys have more than talent on their side Ð the 12-track piece was produced by Angus Cooke (The Ataris) and Gary St. Clair and mixed by Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World). The collection “pioneers a new genre of vocal-driven pop rock that balances meaningful lyrics with an endless supply of ear-catching hooks,” and is definitely worth your time. They’ve taken things up a few notches, using more and more in their songs including a new piano as well as some well-placed string arrangements.

A live performance with The Mile After can be summed up as impressive, proof that their work isn’t some over-produced product of a mega-studio. With three singers in the band, 3-part harmonies are easy to create and an integral part of the huge sound their set demands. After the new record hits shelves, the guys will be touring like mad men Ð so be sure to catch a show and see what’s up for yourself. Learn more in the XXQ’s.

XXQs: The Mile After – Ben

PensEyeView. com (PEV): How and when did The Mile After first get involved with playing and writing music?

Ben: We got really involved in music as kids. Whether it was playing piano, guitar, drums etc. That eventually evolved into forming bands with friends in high school and on into college. And now here we are.

PEV: What kind of music were you all listening to growing up?

Ben: An excessive amount of 70’s and 80’s pop and rock. We were constantly surrounded by bands like the Eagles, Chicago, and Queen. Then throw in some Kenny Logins and Richard Marx and you’ve got quite the serving of 80’s goodness.

PEV: What’s your take on today’s mainstream music scene?

Ben: Today its tough to really make a general statement about mainstream music. There are countless talented musicians that are doing really well and I makes me happy to see good music, regardless of genre, getting the success it deserves. But then there are the bands and artists that make you sit back and ask yourself, “How does anyone like this?”

PEV: At what point in your life did you decide that music was going to be more than just a hobby for you?

Ben: In college. We started gaining this crazy fan base in North Carolina and labels started calling every day. We kind of realized that we weren’t going to be in school much longer. But just cause we did it doesn’t mean that’s ok! Stay in school, kids!

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Mile After performance?

Ben: Hearing almost every vocal part you hear on the record. We have 3 singers so we write a lot of 3 part harmonies and multi part vocals into our songs. Those 3 part vocals also make it to the stage. There is that Eagles influence coming through.

PEV: Tell us what it was like for you when you first started out. Before you were regularly playing gigs.

Ben: We were just doing things casually. Play a show here and there. Write and record a new song here and there. We didn’t spend all of our time on the band because we were all in college full time.

PEV: How is your style changed over the years, since you first started out?

Ben: We’ve brought a lot more instrumentation to our songs. Two of us play piano so now most songs get piano parts written in or are originally written on piano. We also have been doing a lot of string arrangements for certain songs. All of that instrumentation with all of the vocals makes for a really huge sound.

PEV: What can fans expect from the new LP, “Armada”?

Ben: It’s 12 songs. It was produced by Angus Cooke (The Ataris), Gary St. Clair and mixed by Mark Trombino. (Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World) You can listen to a few track from it on our myspace at We’re super proud of it and it should be out later this year.

PEV: In all your travels, what has been the favorite city to play and why?

Ben: Well nothing beats Raleigh, NC. But Vegas is an obvious favorite.

PEV: Is there a certain “up and coming” band or artist right now you think we should all be looking out for?

Ben: Mercy Mercedes. Great band from NC. Also, go out and by Silverchair’s “Diorama” and let me know tomorrow how blown away you are. Not an up and comer by any means but way too overlooked lately.

PEV: Tell us, if you can, the meaning behind the band name, “The Mile After”?

Ben: Chase and Jim were film majors at UNCW and there is a French film where the main character is constantly singing a song that has “The Mile After” in the lyrics. We liked it.

PEV: How have all your friends and family back home reacted you the band’s success?

Ben: Our families are endlessly supportive. And of course our friends are important because they were the first ones to start listening to our music and coming to shows. We’d be nowhere without either.

PEV: The Mile After has a huge following on the college scene. Is there one college that stands out the most as the best to play?

Ben: We’ve done some really fun shows at UNCW in Wilmington, North Carolina in the past. Always a great time.

PEV: When you aren’t performing or traveling, what can we find the guys doing in your spare time?

Ben: We are always spending a lot of time with family and friends on off time. We also watch a lot of movies, play video games and yell and scream at the TV when the Carolina Panthers are playing.

PEV: What’s one thing fans would be surprised to hear about the members of The Mile After?

Ben: None of us have a tattoo. Kind of a rare thing in a band. Nothing against tattoos… but we just don’t have any.

PEV: What is a normal day of a show for the band like? Any pre-show rituals?

Ben: We’re always looking for good food on tour. But as far as pre show rituals go, we just make sure we get a good vocal warm up, have a cup of Throat Coat and maybe a beer. Its all about being relaxed.

PEV: In one word, describe The Mile After.

Ben: Bojangles. If you’re from the south you know whats up. Haha!

PEV: If you could have your “dream collaboration” with any artist, who would it be and why (living or passed)?

Ben: Paul McCartney for sure. To be able to write and record a song with him would be ridiculous. He is clearly one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

PEV: What has been the best part of the band’s career so far?

Ben: So much comes to mind. The one thing that we really cherish is the time we’ve spent on tour with some of our really great friends. Being able to play shows every night and call it our “job” is amazing.

PEV: What is next for The Mile After?

Ben: We’re going to get this record in store this year and tour as much as we can. We’ll see everyone on tour very soon.

For more information on The Mile After, check out


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