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Behind the Noise: Interview With Orlando's Lively "Emo Trash" Rock Band FELICITY

Edited by Tiffany Mercer

The guys in FELICITY hanging out outside on a staircase on a sunny day.
Photo credit: Niles Gregory

FELICITY are no strangers to the scene. The highly dynamic rock band has been making their presence noticed for years. With their versatile blend of sounds going from emo, pop-punk, rock, and even a tinge of metalcore, the group has attracted listeners from every sub-genre by constantly abolishing the boundaries between sub-genres. Following their brightly vigorous single 'Charlie Sheen' in collaboration with Point North earlier in the year, which even attracted attention from Charlie Sheen himself, they announced their latest infectiously catchy pop-rock summer anthem, 'Lovesick Blues,' on April 14th, 2024. With its recent release on May 14th, the song has sunk its hooky melody into everyone's head. We got to speak with Cory Nicholas (Guitarist) and Andrew Rapier (Guitarist) about the creation of their latest single, the ever-lasting impressions they want to be remembered for in the scene, their mindset to constantly strive for improvement in every aspect, and more in this exclusive interview!


Iceis: Before we get into anything too deep, I just have a few fun random questions for us to talk about. So, the first one is if you could hang out with a cereal mascot, which one would you choose?

Drew: I think it would be pretty cool to hang out with Lucky Charms because it seems like he can teleport through rainbows. He's always teleporting and going through stuff. [It] seems like he has an easy, really effective means of travel. And for a band, being able to get around places easier would be great. So, [him] or Captain Crunch, ‘cause he's got the boat. [It] would be pretty cool to hang out on a boat all the time.

Cory: [If] I was [picking a non-cereal mascot, I’d] say Chester from [Cheetos] ‘cause he seems like he's not gonna be mean. He’s just gonna be chill and laid back.

Iceis: Doesn’t the leprechaun from Lucky Charms have a name? I feel like they all have names, but I don’t know if they’re ever told to us.

Drew: I think his name is Lucky from Lucky Charms. I think so, at least.

Iceis: We'll have to fact-check this after the interview.

Drew: Yeah, we have to.

Iceis: I always feel like Tony the Tiger would be pretty cool because he would just be aggressively positive everywhere.

Drew: Yeah, he'd [give] great motivation everywhere you go.

Cory: He’s always gonna want to work out, and [I’d have to] be like, “Dude, it's Friday night. Come on, not today.

Iceis: True, it would be a pros and cons kind of thing. Maybe you could hang out with them for a couple [of] days [in the] week and then abandon [him] for the rest.

Cory: Yeah, exactly. Definitely [on] Mondays or Fridays

Drew: Yeah. We’re in a band, so we're night owls. So maybe Count Chocula is more our vibe.

Cory: Hell yeah!

 

Iceis: Our next one is if you were to assign a song to a color, which song and color would you choose?

Cory: I feel like ‘Levitate’ would be gold.

Drew: So, our song ‘Levitate’ would be gold. I'm going to pick a non-FELICITY song. I'm going to pick one of my favorite songs. I’m gonna pick ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters, and when I think of that song, I think of the color gray. I don't know why. Maybe because the music video is black and white, but when I think of that song, [I associate it with gray]. Not in a negative way, though. I could see purple as well.

Iceis: Okay, so maybe we could do like a lavender.

Drew: Yes, like a muted purple.

Cory: A fabulosa color.

Drew: Yeah.

Iceis: I get your vibe. I see it. Let’s put ‘I Don't Love You’ [by My Chemical Romance] with a deep, purple red.

Drew: Yeah, like Maroon?

Iceis: Yes, maroon. That's the word I’m looking for.

Drew: I think everything off [of] The Black Parade seems black and white to me, as well, you know? It's just a very muted album. But yeah, I love that answer. That's awesome.

Iceis: Well, it is called The Black Parade, so I feel like the obvious answer would be to put it with the color black, but I don’t like to go traditional.

Drew: No, definitely not. And then I think everything [from] My Chemical Romance, until you get to Danger Days: [The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys], was black, white, and red. Everything they did was black, white, and red.

 

Iceis: Our next one is, what's the most useless concept for an app that you can come up with right now?

Drew: Okay, an app that you point at a hot dog, and it tells you if that hot dog has gone bad or not, [if you] should eat it or not, [if] it [is] edible, [and if] the meat [has] gone bad.

Iceis: Why stick to expiration dates on the package when you have an app?

Drew: Exactly! You don't need to look at the expiration date. If you just want to throw the package away, you could just use your app for it.

Cory: That is good. I would probably say an app that [when] you open [it], it looks like a camera, but it doesn't take pictures.

Iceis: What does it do?

Cory: Nothing. It's like the Beard app for the iPhone back years ago.

Drew: Yes, you look at things, but you can’t actually take pictures of it.

Cory“Oh, this would be cool, but guess not.”

Drew: Yeah, “What would this look like through a camera lens?”

Iceis: The most dying question everybody has [is], “What does this look like without actually being able to take a picture?”

Drew: Exactly! “What does this look like through a camera lens without taking a picture?”

Cory“If I had a camera, what would it look like?”

Iceis: I was thinking about this earlier. [The] most useless app on your phone would be an app that can read the energy in your basic household appliances and tell you what their mood is.

Drew: Yes, like my refrigerator is feeling lazy today.

Iceis: Yeah, exactly. And that’s why [the] produce in your fridge is wilted.

Drew: Yep, that makes sense.

 

Iceis: Our next one is, what five words would you use to describe one of the favorite things that you own?

Drew: One of my favorite things [is] my cat, Jules.

Iceis: What five words would you use to describe your cat, Jules?

Drew: Jules is very unique. Jules is very kind. Jules is very peculiar. Jules is very silly. And Jules is very loving.

Iceis: That sounds like a grade-A cat.

Drew: Maybe he'll come make an appearance.

Cory: I’m gonna have to say, Leif, my dog. He is stoic. He's unsophisticated. He's so charming. He's protective. And he's a goofball.

Iceis: [These are] all very good qualities to have for a dog.

Drew: Absolutely!

Cory: Yeah!

Iceis: I have a less [cool] answer because I don't have any fur children. Vinyl. I would describe it as round, colorful, fragile, sacred, and hard.

Drew: Yes, I think those are great adjectives for a vinyl! I completely agree.

 

Iceis: The final one is, if you had to choose between having spoons for fingers or forks for fingers for a week, which one would you choose?

Cory: I’m going [with] spoons.

Drew: Man, that's tough. I would go forks, because I feel like I eat more food that would require forks and it'd be great for scratching.

Cory: Oh, I didn't even think of that, ‘cause you can cut steak with a spoon.

Drew: It’d be more dangerous, for sure. With forks, you'd have to be a little more careful, but I could find myself being inconvenienced by the spoon fingers.

Cory: Yeah, [could] I do one hand [with spoons and] one hand [with forks]?

Drew: No, that’s not the question.

Iceis: [That’s] technically not the question because it's an ultimatum. But in the future, we can add a clause to this that specifies you can have both.

Drew:  I'd rather eat pho with a fork than spoons.

Cory: Really? I could just use spoons for all of it.

 

Jules the cat makes an appearance.

Iceis: You are such a cute cat! What kind of cat is he?

Drew: I found him in a dumpster, basically.

Iceis: Dumpster cats are the best cats.

Drew: Absolutely. He was part of the universal cat disbursement system [when] the world just gives you a cat every now and then. Cory was there [the] day the world gave me a cat.

Cory: Yeah. I'm allergic, and this lady asked [me] to take him, and I said, “I can't. I'm allergic.” And she said, “F you!” And called me an “A-hole.” I was very confused, and I was like, “Okay.”

Drew: But then I came out.

Cory: And then Drew came out four minutes later.

Drew: She was like, “Can you take this cat?” And I was like, “Sure!”

Iceis: Wow, how dare you be allergic to cats.

Cory: I know, shame on me. I'll talk to my mom.

Iceis: Shame on you. Obviously, you need to rethink your allergies in this lifetime.

 

Iceis: I feel like, especially nowadays, [there are] so many different bands and artists in the scene doing so many things trying to make their long-lasting impression. You guys have been around for a hot minute. From the beginning to now, what is the impression or thing you want to be remembered for in the scene?

Drew: I think we would love to be remembered as a band that always worked hard. And we were [never] known for anything other than being [positive, hardworking], and constantly striving for improvement. [For] always trying to top ourselves and working [our asses] off. I think [that] is a part of our reputation, especially [when] COVID came in. A lot of bands have taken breaks [and] have come and gone, but the people who have been with us and bands that have been around as long as us, FELICITY, just never [go] away. They just keep coming back and keep coming back. We keep trying to top ourselves. So, I think that's the thing we want to be known for. [Along with] longevity, refusing to give up, refusing to take no for an answer, and refusing to ever let any type of rejection, or anything, get us down or set it set us back. Because we've been told, “No.” A million times for every one time we've been told, “Yes.” But that's what keeps us motivated and keeps us going.

Iceis: Well, I feel like that's a really good quality to have. Being in a band or doing any kind of creative career is hard. When you are starting fresh, and you are starting from nothing, a lot of doors get slammed in your face pretty quick until people finally catch on, and they’re like, “Hey, you know what? That's cool. Maybe we shouldn’t have said no five years ago.” I feel like if you’re a creative [and] you're not in constant competition with yourself to keep improving and going, you need to ask yourself, “Why are we doing it?”

Cory: I think another little [thing I want] to add to it would be [that] we don't take ourselves too seriously. Life is very fragile, and it can end for anyone at any time. So, there's no sense in stressing the things you can't control. Just focus on what you can, and enjoy the ride. Just don't take yourself too seriously.

Drew: yeah, I think that's a big thing, too. Some of our songs may be serious or have some serious subject matter, but overall, if you follow us on social media or you [see] our live [shows], we [are] always [trying to entertain] people and trying to have fun. Everything we do is about positivity and having a good time. If you're along with us on this journey, it's about positivity. Exactly that. We don't take ourselves seriously. It's about making people laugh and smile, and if it is leaving an emotional impact, it's a positive emotional impact. Even if the subject matter might be serious. Anytime in the past, when we've tried to find ourselves as a band (We've been a band a long time), [tried) to find an identity, [and] tried to be the cool band that takes themselves super seriously, it just really comes off [as unauthentic]. It doesn't usually hit too well. For us, it doesn't usually resonate with us either. But anytime we've just been ourselves, which is being goofballs, [coming] off as cringe or silly, [and who] we really are, it tends to do well. So, we've just resigned to that. We don't care what people think about us. We're just gonna be ourselves. If that's silly and stupid, and we write songs that people hate because it's stupid and cringe, we don't care. We're just going to make what we want to make. Anytime we've done that, [it tends to work well. Felicity means happiness. Felicity means [to] do what makes you happy. That's what it means, and that's what we hope to be remembered for.

 

Iceis: I feel like within these past few years, people have really gotten behind FELICITY and started to notice what your band is. You've gained a lot of momentum over the past couple of years. But [going back to] what we were talking about at the beginning, where you really need to grind to pick up momentum, and you're being told no, what kept you persevering to get to this point?

Drew: We've always had this never-say-die attitude. Failure was never an option. There was never a point where we ever questioned whether we were going to keep going. Even through the darkest times, which I don't even know what [to consider] the darkest [times to be]. I can speak for myself; it always feels like we're just getting started. It always feels like we're a brand-new band. It doesn't feel like it's been a ten-year journey. It feels like the last song we put out is just the beginning of the journey, and we have so much more to do and so much more to prove. So, it always feels like we're still at the beginning chapter, and everything before was just a learning experience. I feel like everyone has their own journey in their career or their life, and there's no set time [for saying], “You need to be doing this by the time you're this in life.” And “It takes this many years to get to this point.” Whatever those benchmarks are. There [were] times in our career where we were doing things insanely ahead of schedule. Cory joined the band in 2016 or 2015, and within a year, we were playing [on] the main stage at Warped Tour. And then we didn't get another opportunity like that for years. [We were] like, “Are we doing something wrong? Are we doing something right?” Whatever it was, there's just no way around it. You just keep taking every single thing you do and say, “What can we learn from [this]?” If we get told “No.” We think about it as “Okay, well, whatever we're being told ‘No’ to, if that's something we really want, then [clearly] there's something else they want to see. So, what is it they want to see?” It's up to us now to go show them that. That's on us. We can't be mad or bitter that they don't want us. We [have] to say, “If we want to work with them, we need to show them whatever it is that they're not seeing. We need to go get back in the lab, get back to work, and go do that.” And then we just go get to work on whatever that goal is. That's how our mindsets [have] always been.

Cory: Everyone always says, “Have a backup plan.” Yeah, you need a career, especially if you're pursuing this. You need a job to pay for all the gear and stuff. But when it comes to the band itself, there is no plan B. We don't see this as something that has an expiration date. We joke around that we're going to be the old guys in our fifties and sixties playing in some dive bar if that's what it takes. Not giving yourself that option of it ever ending keeps you motivated, [at least for myself]. If you tell yourself that this is the only option you have, then that's where all your focus goes. But if you say, “We have to do this by the time we're thirty-five, and if we don't get it, maybe we should reconsider.” Well, then your heart wasn't in it from the beginning if you're trying to put a timeframe on it. Sometimes, it takes bands ten [to] fifteen years. I mean, look at Jared Leto in Thirty Seconds [To Mars]. Those guys were in their thirties by the time they got their [big] breaks. So, just making sure that everybody's on the same page and [acknowledging] that this is the only option keeps it going.

Drew: What really keeps us going is the constant improvement. We look back at the music we released a couple [of] years ago, and we almost cringe at it. We're like, “Man, we thought we were good then. We thought we were deserving of this or that. We thought we were ready to be [at] this stage. We thought we were ready for this platform.” [Now, we’re] like, “What were we thinking?” Because we're so much better now as performers [and] as songwriters. The music we're putting out [is better], and we make [better] content. We're so much better than we were two years ago, and we know so much more and [have] learned so much. But back then, we thought we were ready for it. So, [if] we think we're ready for it now, imagine where we'll be two years from now as long as we're looking back and always cringing at what we thought two years ago. We see that dramatic improvement year after year. As long as that's always the case, we feel like we'd be dumb to stop. Because that's what life is about. Life is about constant progression. You want to look back at where you were a couple of years ago and not say, “What happened? Things were so good back then.” You want to say, “Wow, I'm so much further along than where I was back then.” you want to look back at your career doing interviews and doing journalism and say, “Two years ago, [I] never would have thought I’d working with this band or that band or these publications.” And as long as you're constantly doing that, why would you ever stop? That's where we [are] as a band. We think about what we've done in the last year, the songs we put out, and what we've accomplished. We look back at what we did two years ago, and it's night and day. We [are] always pushing and striving ourselves, and we've been lucky enough to have the same group of guys for a really long time. That definitely keeps us motivated [because we’re] not constantly having to be looking for new guys who are on the same page. When you have a group of set guys who all have the same level of motivation, hold each other accountable, and push each other, [it] helps a ton. [It helps] when you're not constantly having to [find] members or slow down the momentum because of imbalances in the workload [and] things like that. It helps. We've been really lucky that Cory, Mike, Damien, [and I] have been together for the better part of a decade. Meeting up twice a week, literally, [for around] forty-eight weeks a year, I would say.

Cory: Another point [is] we always tell ourselves that even if something is scary, you have to be willing to take the risks. We're very proud that we're a band that will take risks. Even if we think [there are] more cons than pros, we'll take a risk, ‘cause we don't want to be retired and older [looking] back, and be like, “Man, what if we did this? What if we did this, and then our dream would’ve [come] true.” So, anytime there's something that can be done, or there's a new obstacle or a new challenge, [we’d] rather be the guys that say, “Man, I'm glad we tried that and gave it our best.”  Than [saying], “Man, what if?”

Iceis: I feel like, between the two of you, you have described the healthiest approach to any creative career in a nutshell. In addition to journalism, I do art on the side. Drawing, painting, [and] I pick up little hobbies and learn new things as I see fit. Something I did back in 2022 I thought was the best thing ever. It was really very good to me from a technical standpoint at the time. And then, when I looked back at it this year. I was like, “Yo, I could do this a hundred times better now than I did two years ago.” I feel like there's always a healthy competition to have with yourself. Always want to one-up the last thing you did because you can't reach your full potential if you're not willing to push yourself. And sometimes, you do take risks. The thing is, if you never take the risk, then you would never have known if someone would say yes or if it would fail. So, I feel like the healthiest thing in any creative career is to not let yourself become too comfortable because then you’re not evolving at that point.

Drew: And you only learn from your failures. You don't learn from your successes. If you succeeded over and over again, you would get comfortable and complacent, like you said. So, if you're taking risks and you fail, then you learn how you can do better. [There have] been times where we've gone after things, and we've failed. We've tried to do launches of a merch line, [but] it didn't sell as well, and we ended up losing money. And [then] we think, “Well, this one did really well. This one did really poorly. What went right about this one? What went wrong [with] this one? Can we learn from that?” Or maybe it's a song launch. “Well, these songs are doing really well. These songs aren't doing as well.” While it's art, and we love it all equally, it's exciting for us. If we want these to be successful, maybe we should lean [in] a certain direction. You have to take those risks and try different things. [The] most successful song we have on Spotify, ‘The Weather,’ was a really big risk. [It] was [a] completely out of the box type of song idea for us. That was a risk for us. So, it's a perfect example of that. If we hadn't taken a risk and made that song more traditional, it probably wouldn't have succeeded the way it did. So, you're a hundred percent right.

Cory: Fortune favors the bold.

 

Iceis: You guys have been a DIY band for pretty much your whole career. Every band operates differently and has different experiences, whether they're DIY or not. What do you feel like are some of the upsides and challenges you face being a do-it-yourself band?

Cory: It's a blessing and a curse. Ten [to] fifteen years ago, we didn't have social media the way we do. So, [being in a] DIY band was hard because you relied so much on the distribution, the promotion, and the PR [provided by] these big companies. Now, it's so much easier. The downside to it is that because of the accessibility of it, you're competing so much more [for an] audience. I do think it is a beautiful thing that there are a lot of talented people out there [who] are able to get discovered more easily now. It just makes it that much more of a competitive field because you start to notice that [there are] a lot of similarities, there's a lot of murkiness going on, and things just end up becoming the same. So, trying to identify yourself and [find] ways to always, [as] you said earlier, evolve [is hard] because [of] how fast social media goes. You have to work twice as hard now to just stay relevant and on people's timelines. Today, it's a viral video of a dude lighting himself on fire. Tomorrow, it's gonna be plane engines falling off. So, it's great because you have control of what you want to do, and you don't have someone telling you. But it's also scary because that guidance is why those people get paid [the] big bucks. They tell you what works, so not having that is scary at the same time.

Drew: We're financially on the hook for everything we do. A lot of times, people don't know this, but for a band like FELICITY, we financially pay for everything out of pocket. We're all, personally, heavily invested financially in the band, and we have full-time jobs. [There are] times we've taken out loans, and then we split the loan payments as a band. Things like that. Normally, a record label might front you that money and you would then have to pay it back. But for us, we do it a different way where we do it independently. Where we're on the hook, and we bet on ourselves. We choose to do it that way so that we're in one hundred percent control of our own destiny, and we don't owe anything [to anyone]. We'd rather owe money to a bank than owe money to a record label because then we own one hundred percent of the art. When you work with a record label, and you take their money, then they also have a big say [in] what happens with the art. They also have most of the upside of the success of it, too. So, it's like a double-edged sword. But for us, we can control the upside of the success, and we can control the actual final product of the art itself. But the downside is [that] it's a lot of work for us. [There are] only so [many] hours in the day. And even if you had all the hours in the day, having full-time jobs, families, and personal lives [makes it so] there's [only] so much mental bandwidth in the day to dedicate to everything. You have your job, you have your family, you have your friends, you have all the normal stresses you have going on in life that we all have, and then you have to be like, “Okay, we have to put a lot of mental bandwidth into creating content, figuring out how we're going to go on tour, we have a running list of stuff that needs to be done, and we could probably add five hundred more ideas of things we could be doing at any given time.” [We’re] compartmentalizing what absolutely needs to be done today, what can be pushed off ‘til tomorrow, what needs to be done this week, this month, and it’s a never-ending cycle of that. Where [with] a [big] band like Metallica, [they’re] just like, “Am I in the studio today or not?” Management might say, “Hey, guys, we need you to film this thirty-second Tiktok, but we're going to send a camera crew down to do it.” And other than that, they just get to enjoy their life, besides [being] in a set box of what [and] when they create art and when they don't. But for us, it's everything. We have to plan and come up with ideas for everything, execute [them], and organize [them] all ourselves. So, it's a lot. But luckily for us, we're pretty good at that. And that's why we've been able to get to where we are. [By] doing that. We thrive on that. It's really hard for us to give up that control sometimes if we [are] working with a manager or the times we've worked with labels and they try to take some of that away, we're like, “Ah, we don't want to.”

Iceis: When you're a small band, nobody's in it for the money. I don't think people understand that [you don't see any of the money returned for] the things that you put in to tour, record, invest in merch, or whatever for years. With record labels, while they do help with the funding part of things, [the] quality of what you create [and] how much freedom you get for what you create can be diminished quite a bit. I feel like a lot of bands these days are going independent [more]. We've seen success with that. Set It Off [is] a band that recently went independent.  [The] first single they dropped after leaving Fearless Records was ‘Punching Bag,’ and that hit mainstream rock radio coverage. So, I think bands are now starting to realize that they have better results when they don't have to fit themselves in that box that the label creates.

 

Iceis: Talking about social media, you guys are actually very notorious for your promotional content. What did you guys get kicked out of recently, Lowe’s?

Drew: We got kicked out of Lowe's last week.

Iceis: How many times have you gotten kicked out of Lowe’s?

Cory: Two that I can count.

Drew: [We’ve gotten kicked out of stores] more than five [times, but] less than ten [times]. We got kicked out of Wawa last week, too. We wear it as a badge of honor at this point if we get kicked out of places. That's the way we've become synonymous with promoting our music. [By] going into big-box stores and sticking it to the man and [the] corporate life. A lot of our fans are everyday people who work in places like Lowe's, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Walmart, and they dream of having a band they love [to] come in and put on a show for them while they're working. So, we go to do that, and sometimes their bosses don't like it. But we have a good time. And at the end of the day, they just tell us to go kick bricks, and then we come back a couple of weeks later, and [they tell us] to kick bricks again. Sometimes, no one even bats an eye. So, it just depends. [It] depends on the day.

Cory: [It] depends on the feeling.

Iceis: I would’ve thought Wawa would’ve been into it. Wawa’s hip.

Cory: I think it was just the manager, maybe.

Drew: Yeah. [With the Lowe’s] one, I think [it was] specifically because Damien was dressed up like a Lowe's employee. That was the first time we had ever done that. When we went on tour, we were playing in Brooklyn, and we [had] a fan (We won't out him because he hooked us up) [who] used to work at Lowe's. And he gave us his Lowe's outfit from when he used to work there because he knew the shtick, and he was like, “Well, now you guys can go up a different level and be incognito [at] the ones you've been banned from.” So, as soon as Damien put that on, we got caught almost immediately. I think that guy was the manager, and he walked by and immediately [knew] that Damien didn't work there. We still have the outfit, and we [are] still going to do it, but it's a whole other thing now. It's on a whole [other] level that we can try to go incognito dressed as Lowe’s and employees.

Cory: We [have] to start a war between them and Home Depot.

Drew: Yeah.

Iceis: Have you tried Hot Topic? I feel like you would slay at Hot Topic.

Drew: We have Hot Topics here in Orlando. The problem is [that] the one that we go to [in the mall], the mall is always dead. We've gone into it a couple of times, but the Hot Topic is usually pretty dead. We’re going to try that soon. We're going to go back into Hot Topic and try to play our song. We're promoting this new song, so we're gonna go in and do that at Hot Topic. We're going to try to do it on a weekend [when] it's a little bit busier. ‘Cause the mall we've been going to is just dead twenty-four-seven. People just don't go to the mall [here] anymore.

Cory: It’s like the blockbuster of malls.

Drew: Yeah, it's bad.

Iceis: I feel that. I went to a Hot Topic a few months ago, and I think there were maybe two people in addition to the employees, and I’m like, “Yo, when did Hot Topic stop being cool?”

Drew: I know! I think it's more of a mall problem than it is a Hot Topic problem. I think if Hot Topic was in a standalone store in busy shopping plazas in Orlando, [they’d be busier]. Shopping plazas are busy, but malls aren't that hoppin’ anymore. The shopping mall isn't that hopping unless [it] has an Apple store. If your mall has an Apple Store where people [can] get their phone fixed or buy iPhones, those malls are busy. But those malls don't have Hot Topics in Orlando. [The] Apple Store to Hot Topic ratio [does] not match up.

Cory: Maybe if Hot Topic brought their old logo back.

Drew: I remember when Hot Topic first came out. I'm [an] OG elder emo. Man, that used to be the coolest store to go to.

Iceis: I feel like it's that and Spencer’s. Usually, when you're trying to find good alt or emo anything fashion-wise, you always go to those two stores.

Drew: Yes, I used to go to Hot Topic [to] buy Avenged Sevenfold and Coheed and Cambria t-shirts. It'd be two for twenty bucks. It was the best.

 

Iceis: Who came up with the idea for doing that? Who said, “You know what? We should randomly go into a store that has nothing to do with music whatsoever, and we should do a random pop-up show!”

Drew: [It] oop started with Damien holding up a boombox. We have a big Bluetooth speaker, and Damien would hold it up in front of Pizza Hut. And then we would put like, “Day one [of] playing my band's new song until they bring back book-it and diamond seating.” ‘Cause all [of] the Pizza Huts here are to-go only, and that went kind of viral. So, then we did it in front of Subway. And then we [were] like, “Where else can we go?” So, we did Target and Walmart. We started going in front of stores, and that transitioned into “Okay, what can we do now? Well, now let's push [it] in a cart.” So, we put the boombox in a cart and pushed it around so we could get some people’s reactions. And then it was like, “Okay, well, now let's put Damien in the cart.” Then we [pushed] Damien in the cart around the parking lot. But then it led to, “Okay, let's push Damien in the cart in the store.” And then it eventually led to us just [bringing] our instruments [into] the store and pretending to play. That led to us bringing our instruments into the store and playing. It's taken us years to work up the confidence [to realize] “What's the worst that could happen?” At first, we were so terrified. You get the social anxiety of people seeing you. And now, we just really don't care. We're numb to the embarrassment at this point. So, we'll do anything, really. Since 2022, we've been doing it. So, we've been doing it for two years, and [it has] worked its way up. I don't know whose idea it was originally, but it originally started with [Damien] holding up the Bluetooth speaker in front of a store, and we were always like, “What can we do to top it?” I don't know what will be next. I think it will have to be [something] like us bringing actual amps into a store. We were thinking, “Can we get a generator that we can charge? Like, [an] electrical generator and small amps we can plug in really quick and put on a real concert. [One] we can set up [really] fast, get in and just plug in, and just start an actual show.” [It is] our dream, but we haven't figured it out quite yet.

Cory: [It’s a] lot of logistics.

Iceis: I'd be scared because then it takes more time to take everything apart and flee when you get caught.

Drew:  We [have to] practice. This is what you do; everyone knows what they plug in, and we have the set up [and] breakdown [done] in a minute.

Iceis: As soon as you see someone who looks angry and miserable, that's when you know to unplug and book it.

Drew: Yeah, but you[have] to get their reaction. What makes the content the best [is] when you get the angry employee. Like the guy angry at us at Lowe's. What made the video great was the guy kicking us out.

 

Iceis: You guys are playing So What? Music Fest this year. That's exciting. What expectations and hopes do you have for your experience this year?

Cory: The first time we did it, it was great. We had a blast. The crew was so accommodating [and] so helpful. The entire staff was there to make sure everything ran smoothly. Everybody was being safe and courteous, but [having] a good time. They're the kind of company that doesn't allow anything less than perfection to go. So, it's very exciting to be able to work with people like that.

Drew:  We're excited to see some amazing bands. They're doing [a] When We Were Young type [of] thing, where a lot of bands are [performing] full albums front-to-back. Underoath’s doing a full album front-to-back. So is Saosin, Switchfoot, [and] a few other bands. So, [we’re] seeing some amazing bands that we've looked up to, and [we’re] seeing some bands that we've never seen before. [We’re] getting to play with some awesome, amazing up-and-coming TikTok artists that we've come up with on the TikTok scene [with], like TX2, The Funeral Portrait, LOLO, and Arrows in Action. We've watched each other grow through TikTok, and now [we] are all in the same festival together. It's really cool that So What? Fest is not just focusing on national big touring acts like Underoath, Switchfoot, Skillet, and P.O.D, and all these bands that are household names, but they're also focusing on the next generation of bands that are making a name for [themselves]. A lot of them are independent [and] are just coming up through social media. They're giving us a platform, so that's really awesome. I think we're just really excited. The last time we played was in 2022. We got to play it, but we were the first band on the first day. So, the [the moment the] doors [opened] we were playing. Now, we're like the third band on the second day. So, hopefully, we'll get to play for a bigger crowd [since] we have a better time slot this time on a better day. And hopefully, we're playing in air conditioning, ‘cause it was like the hottest day I've ever experienced. It was right up there with Warped Tour. It was so hot. Dallas, Texas, was insane that weekend last year [in the summer outside]. I don't know if they're doing it inside this year. Hopefully [they are] because it was brutal. But either way, if it's outside, it'll be a hot, sweaty mess. And we're playing 20-minute sets. We're gonna jam-[pack] those 20 minutes with as [many] high-energy songs as we can.

Iceis:  Hell yeah! I feel like festivals, now, are [starting to work with] the current bands and artists in the scene. I feel we’ve seen the same five to ten bands that have been around for twenty years be a top priority. So, it's really cool to finally see festivals or radio stations and stuff take a look at what’s current and start pushing them now, too. I think it's really exciting to see the culture shift that we’re going through right now.

 

Iceis:  How do festival shows differ for you versus regular shows? Whether that be mindset or workwise.

Cory: [There’s] a lot more physical activity and labor involved ‘cause you're usually running all your gear yourself. But with a festival, you most likely will always have a crowd. Even if they don't know you, they will act like they are your die-hardest fan. Everybody is just so happy to be there that they're cheering on and supporting everybody. So, it's just a great atmosphere all around.

Drew: Usually, for us, if we're playing a festival, chances are we're playing early in the day [because of] where we are as a band. And if we're playing a show, we’re usually playing at night. So, it's usually [a] completely different schedule. If we're playing a festival, we usually have to be there [around] nine in the morning, and we're done super early. Then, we're just enjoying ourselves the rest of the day, just like any other fan would be. But [at] a show when [we’re] normally playing at night, load-in is [at] like four pm, and we're getting done and loading out late. [They’re] completely different [mindsets]. Get there early and [get] done early, versus get there late and [get] done late at night. [They’re] completely different shifts. So, that's usually the main difference.

Iceis: Well, I feel like a pro of that is when you start earlier in the day, people have more energy to give you. If you're not the headliners for that Festival, and it’s like seven pm [or] eight pm, people are tired. They just kinda sit there.

Drew: Yeah, exactly.

Cory: I’m the dude sittin’ under a tree.

 

Iceis: Also, on May [14th], y’all are releasing a new single, ‘Lovesick Blues.’ Congratulations. What did the creation process look like from start to finish?

Cory: So, we were in the studio, and we have a very bad tendency (I use bad loosely because it's what we love to do) where we’ll write a song that's more on the heavy side, and then we'll write a song that's just two-step pop-punk. But this time, we were like, “You know, we've never written a pop song.” And [we were] like, “I wonder what we could do?” And we were writing a lot of songs with our producer, and when you hear the word pop, whatever glittery, bubbly, happy, positive sounding, [and] lovey-dovey stuff comes to mind, we tried to put all of that in there [with] synths and clean guitars. We just wanted to make it the most radio-accessible song that we could. The hard part was [that] we, as a band, don't write love songs, and that's what pop is. So, we tried to think of a concept, and we [thought], “Okay, well, what if we write a love song about a breakup, but [we’re] using famous song titles and band names from the last fifty years?” We use a lot of different band names and song titles in our lyrics. So, it was a fun little jigsaw puzzle for us to see how many references we could put into a song consisting of just great hits throughout the decades.

Iceis: Hell yeah. I did get to listen to it before this [over] the past [of] couple days. It’s very bubbly and bright sounding. But lyrically, [It has this] dark manner of getting over heartbreak [and] over someone. So, it’s a nice contrast, and it gave me Broadside vibes from their most recent album, Hotel Bleu.

Drew: Actually, the same producer produced this song and that album. So, you're right on the money there!

 

Iceis: How do you feel like your creative process has evolved from the earlier days to now?

Drew: I'd say the main difference between the newest batch of songs we've written [and] how we used to write songs is back in back in the day, we used to put a lot of emphasis on writing before the studio. And [for] this last batch of songs, we essentially wrote everything in the studio, which was a really nice change for us. It required a lot more time in the studio, but it allowed us to be really focused. When [you’re] writing outside of the studio, you may be able to write in small batches of time. A couple [of] hours here [and there], or every week [when] we're writing on our own. It's hard to be collaborative because if Cory writes some stuff and we're here for a couple [of] hours, maybe we get to work on that idea for a little bit. Part of it might be us bouncing stuff back-[and]-forth or maybe even arguing about something about the song. And then all of a sudden, we have to break [away] for the day. We go and then come back, but then we have something we have to be working on for a show or something. So, maybe that idea is tabled for a few weeks. [Whereas] in the studio, we were there for two weeks, and we were spending an entire day just writing. It was a big group of us in the studio, and we were essentially writing a song a day. There was nothing that was owned by anybody. It wasn't like Cory brought this idea or I brought an idea. It was all written from scratch. So, there was no type of ownership. So, what was great was there was no one feeling like their feelings were hurt if something got used, didn't [get used], or something [got] changed. When we wrote all the songs [this] way, it was all one hundred percent collaborative from the beginning. Everyone was trying to give ideas and [trying] to make the song better. Doing it that way, we ended up writing a surplus of material, and we ended up wanting to use almost all of it. We've been working on all [of] those songs for about two years. And at this point, they're slowly being trickled out. We ended up with about sixteen songs, and they were [all] written from scratch in the studio, which is really cool. Our producer is like a sixth member of our band writing all the music with us, which has been a lot of fun. Normally, we bring him an idea, and he helps us rewrite a lot of it. Now, he's in the process from the very beginning, which has been a lot different.

Iceis: It sounds like [it was] a lot more of [an] organic creation for this set of songs. A lot of the time, that usually ends up being the best approach to things. I imagine it's a lot easier to do it from the approach of, “Okay, we have set studio hours. We will be doing this one thing from this time to this time for the next two weeks.” I feel like it's easier to creatively put things together that way, instead of leaving [and] coming back, [and] then the idea changes, or you don't like it anymore, or whatever. You're always in that creative headspace when you're in that environment.

Drew: Yep. And there's so many people working on it. If one person is fried, they can take a step out, and everyone else can keep working on it, and no one feels like it's theirs [or] they have to be involved. [There are] some songs that were predominantly written by certain people that day [while] some people were taking the backseat because they just weren't feeling inspired that day, or they just didn't have [many] ideas to contribute. And then some days, other members of the band were one-hundred-percent plugged in [on] those days and, for some reason, were [having] great [ideas] that day and were leading the ship. Those few weeks [were really cool with] how it all worked out [so] everyone was equally contributing, but equally had their own ownership on different days on different songs. It all balanced out.

 

Iceis: When people are done listening to ‘Lovesick Blues’ for the first time, what thoughts or feelings do you hope they walk away with?

Drew: I hope they want to just turn it back on and listen to it again.

Cory: I want them to be like, “Well, that was really neat. Let's go see what else they have!” And wanna listen to more [of our] music.

Iceis: That's always the goal. It’s like, “Can we keep you interested enough with this one song to make you go back through our extensive discography?”

Drew: Exactly, yeah.

 

Iceis: So, I have a sentence [that] I would like you to fill in the blanks for me. Your sentence is “’Lovesick Blues’ is the best song to listen to when you want blank because blank.”

Drew: “’Lovesick Blues’ is the best song to listen to when you [want to go] driving with the windows down because it's really great to sing along [loudly to] with [the] warm air and wind blowing in your face.” [It has] those summer vibes [that] put you in a good mood. [It’s a] good mood, [driving with the] windows down, summer song.

Cory: “’Lovesick Blues’ is [the best song] to listen to when you want to clean the house [because] you need something that's easy to listen to.”

 

Iceis: Coming off the momentum from ‘Lovesick Blues’ and your last single, ‘Charlie Sheen,’ which did explosively well, what things would you like to do and achieve off of this?

Drew: We would like to, hopefully, have this song do as well, if not better [than ‘Charlie Sheen.’] We don't know if that's possible because we definitely got a really big assist from the band Point North [by] releasing that song with them. But we would like this to be [the] biggest song we've ever released by ourselves. Considering this is a solo release for us, we'd like this to be our biggest release, which I think is definitely possible. Also, we’re really hoping we [can] get [on] some type of Spotify playlist, like [on one of their] official [playlists]. We feel like this is a really accessible song [for] anybody. We're really proud of this song because it's one of the few songs we think we can show to anybody. We could show it to our grandma or someone who's in elementary school, no matter what. It's not heavy. It's not necessarily just for the kid who goes to Warped Tour. It's a song that can be for anybody, and we're really proud of that because a lot of times we [put] ourselves [in a tiny niche] with some of the music we write. We feel like this one is a timeless song that could be for everybody, and that's what we're really happy about because [for] almost ten years, we never [have] had a single song like that.

 

Iceis: Before we get to our last question, what do you feel like is the most important thing for people to know about FELICITY?

Cory: We're very friendly. You don't have to be afraid of us. We don't have the egos. We have a Discord server. We love talking to people, [and] we like being [a] part of the community. We want everybody to feel like they're just as much [of] a part of it, too. We just like making friends, [and] we just want to meet everybody.

Drew: Yeah, we’re real people. We run all [of our] own social media accounts. Like Corey said, we have a Discord server. If you join that, you can talk to us one-on-one, and we'll get to know you and be your friend. We call our fan base "The FELICITY family," and that's how we treat it. Being an independent DIY band, we wouldn't be anywhere without the people who support us. So, we try to treat them like they're our actual family. They're as much a part of this band as we [are]. They’re actually the most important part of this band. So, we try to do everything we can to stay as connected with them as possible. I think that's the most important thing we [can] say about the band.

 

Iceis: [The] final question is, other than your new single, is there anything you're looking forward to professionally, personally, or both?

Drew: We're really looking forward to continuing to release more music all year. ‘Lovesick Blues’ is the first song of many we plan on releasing this year. We have a lot of big goals we're setting this year for ourselves. We just got back from our first tour that we were invited to be on, where we were the opening band for bands that we look up to, and that was a massive milestone for us. So, we're hoping we get some more opportunities like that soon for this year. [We’re] definitely looking forward to playing Chicago. We're definitely looking forward to So What? [Music] Fest. ‘Lovesick Blues’ is coming out. We're gonna have another song out by the end of June. We're gonna have music [coming] out [during] the rest of 2024. Some of these songs we are extremely excited for. [For] every song, we feel like we're topping ourselves, and we're still getting new mixes back from our producer of new songs. We're just like, “Oh my god, these are complete game-changers.” We're really excited to show everyone what we've been up to, and we're really excited to get to work. We have so much more work to be done as far as content, finding new ways to promote ourselves, [there are] more stores to go get kicked out of, and [there’s] all this exciting stuff to do. Hopefully, [we will] play as many shows as we can and meet so many more members of the Felicity family all over the country this year. So, that's what we're really excited about.

Cory: We've had a really productive week. I think going home and giving my dog a big kiss is something I'm looking forward to. [It’s a] small little win.



 

FELICITY is playing Sad Sun Fest in Tampa, Florida, on July 6th. You can view details here.


FELICITY

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