Today’s Feature – September 12-13: The Times New Roman

September 16, 2008 at 8:31 pm (Today's Feature)

Proudly representing the city of B-more, I give you The Times New Roman. Shut up – they know it’s a font. Rob Stevens, Brian Fee, Kevin Jahn, Sam Morgan and Scott Smith are creating an advanced breed of music; a new style and take on a number of influences – and they’re doing it with less than year together under their belts. These guys have only just begun to tap into their potential, and the best part for the members of PensEyeView is that they’re growing and maturing right in our backyard.

Currently making their rounds through the diverse Baltimore scene, the members of The Times New Roman might be the only guys not surprised by their unique and attention-grabbing sound after only three quarters of a year together. Bassist Brian Fee says “There was definitely an instant connection. I think we wrote pretty much all of ‘Underground’ the first time we played together, also the backbone of 2 or 3 other songs that we are still playing. It was pretty cool just to get together and have songs come out instead of sitting there wondering what to do.”

These first sessions have led to the band’s first EP release, “The Warehouse Sessions.” And much like the assorted background of the setting they played in (an actual warehouse complete with crates and stripper poles), the collection contains tunes that jump up and down the genre-meter; what they call a “batch of audible experimentation.” It’s a great listen, riffs, chords and mixed lyrics included. The Times New Roman are trying to spread the word through their evolving stage show, so check them out when you stop in Baltimore. There’s much more to learn, so get into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: The Times New Roman

RS: Rob Stevens (Guitar)
BF: Brian Fee (Bass)
KJ: Kevin Jahn (Drums)
SM: Sam Morgan (Vocals)
SS: Scott Smith (Guitar)

PEV: Tell us how The Times New Roman first came together as a band.

RS: Brian and I broke off from our previous band and started posting ads online for musicians. Over the course of a couple months the band just kind of took shape as it is today, each piece of the puzzle fell into place one by one.

PEV: Now calling Baltimore home, what were you listening to growing up?

SM: My older sis got me into a lot of hair bands. I was the only cigarette smoking 11 year old with a Guns’n’Roses jean jacket and holey jeans. Hey it got me alot of 15 year old girlfriends. (laughter) Kids, I do not condone smoking.

SS: I started with Springsteen and The Eagles, then came The Beatles and Pink Floyd. I got really into the brit-rock thing around ‘95, ‘96- Oasis, The Stereophonics, Travis, Ocean Colour Scene, The Verve and now I’m just all over the place.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your lives when you knew that you wanted music to be a career for you? Even if it isn’t right now, but the concept of it possibly becoming a reality?

SS: My first Oasis show in ’96, I could even tell you what song it was that got me hooked, it was Slide Away in the acoustic set. That’s when I decided music was what I wanted to do. I went out the next day, bought a guitar and started to teach myself to play.

PEV: The first time the band got together to practice, what was that like? Was there and instant connection?

BF: There was definitely an instant connection. I think we wrote pretty much all of Underground the first time we played together, also the backbone of 2 or 3 other songs that we are still playing. It was pretty cool just to get together and have songs come out instead of sitting there, wondering what to do.

PEV: Tell us about a normal day of a show for The Times New Roman. Is it excitement? Chaos? Running around? Chilled out?

KJ: It’s chilled out for the most part, as the show gets closer things speed up a bit and it’s just making sure everything is set for us to give the best possible performance. We’re all pretty easy going for the most part.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live The Times New Roman performance?

RS: A lot of energy, our goal is to make an impression. We’re adding new songs to the set all the time so every show might have a different feel. Hopefully the people who come to see us go home happy and those who have no clue who we are want to find out. We want people to get attached to our songs, to be singing them in their heads for days after the show.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is it just go out there and perform?

BF: No time for rituals, hopefully we’ll have time for that some day when we’re playing arenas. We really just show up and play, except for Rob who has been there for 5 hours measuring the stage and getting acoustic readings on the angle of the walls of the venue and taping off amp placements. (laughter)

RS: Yeah, while Sam is sitting at the bar letting us do the heavy lifting.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music?

SM: I really think Baltimore has something great going for it. I spent a lot of time around Denver playing in bands and the scene here in Baltimore is much more diverse. This is also a great location geographically, with DC, Philly, and New York right around the corner.

PEV: Ok, Saturday Night Live calls up and wants you to be the musical guest – who is your dream host for that night (why)?

KJ: Kate Bosworth (without any hesitation)–because I love Blue Crush.

BF: Tom Hanks or maybe Will Ferrell, so he could run out and play the cowbell on one of our songs.

SM: Angelina Jolie, with the hopes that she has room for one more adopted son.

PEV: What can fans expect from ‘The Warehouse Sessions’ the band’s first EP release?

SM: What we bring to the table at this point, is really a batch of audible experimentation. We’re still getting to know each other as musicians and the music is still in that metamorphic state, before it settles into “our sound”. Warehouse Sessions is a sample of where we are right now, but the project is constantly evolving.

PEV: How is the sound on ‘The Warehouse Sessions’ different than any other music out today?

SM: I think our music, while not being categorized as Emo, definitely spans the spectrum of human emotion. Some songs like “The Circle” are melancholic and sensitive, and then we throw “This City Is…” into the mix, bringing you aggression and sarcasm. Not saying that other bands aren’t doing the same, but we have an experimental itch that I foresee being scratched in the near future, so I’m pretty excited about that.

PEV: How has your family and friends reacted to your music career?

KJ: Nothing but supportive.

SS: Everyone has been really excited about what we’re doing.

BF: My wife said after listening to the cd that she forgot she was listening to my band, she just lost herself in it.

SM: I recently saw “Walk Hard, The Dewey Cox Story” and it struck a lot of similarities with my situation. (laughter)

PEV: What’s your opinion on the heated debate on downloading music for free? Do you find the internet has been helpful for bringing great music to the forefront?

SS: We’re all for it. The more hands you get your music into the better. If you find something you like, buy it, support that band. Sharing music could do nothing but help a band like us. I’ve found a lot of bands I never would have heard of otherwise from p2p sites. The thing is, if you like it, you should support the artists.

PEV: Do you have a “dream collaboration”?

SS: Ryan Adams, his mind always seems to be going a million miles a second. It’s not just the quantity of songs he produces but the quality. Name a genre and he’s written a classic in it.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

SM: Yes, check out J_Roddy Walston and The Business. They’re another Baltimore band that totally kick ass.

PEV: As an up and coming band, what do you find to be the hardest part about breaking into the business?

SM: I’d say making friends who are already established. It’s a very competitive industry in and around Baltimore, it sometimes seems to be about who you know. We’re the new kid on the block and thus far haven’t found anyone to play tag with.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of The Times New Roman?

SM: The members of The Times New Roman usually wake up at 6AM after a hard night of partying and go eat greasy omelets at the Broadway Market in Baltimore.

RS: Ack, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

RS: We all have jobs, so that keeps us busy but, we always make time to check out other local bands in the Baltimore/DC area. Scott and I are always coming up with new song ideas.

SS: Brian and Sam play W.O.W, I don’t even want to know how many hours a day that takes up.

PEV: In one word, describe The Times New Roman.

BF: GORGAK (laughter)

SS: Expressive

PEV: So, what is next for The Times New Roman?

SS: Playing shows, writing, recording… Just grinding out a name out for ourselves. We feel like we have something here and the songs we’re writing keep getting better and better and we want to get that out to people.

For more information on The Times New Roman, check out www.thetimesnewroman.com

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1 Comment

  1. Howard Skelton said,

    I would like a shot at your drumming opp…..I am drumming with EM Spencer now, but looking for something with more commitment.
    I can be checked out at:
    myspace.com/theemspencer and myspace.com/hs1952, fair demos…..
    I am committed and ready to make your project work. No drama, just love to play!
    Nickname bones, my cell is 410-409-4074

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