Artist Spotlight: House & Home carve their place in the scene with heavy-hitting new album
Richmond three-piece House & Home are carving their place in the punk rock world with their debut album, Find Sense. Feel Love. Make Light. Singer Pat Williams, guitarist and vocalist Joey Grammer and drummer Matt Stumpf live and breathe their scene and they’re now sharing their unique sound with a much bigger audience. Atlas spoke with Grammer about the story behind the new album, hopeful tour plans for late 2020 after losing dates to COVID-19 and the band’s love of Mario Kart.
How did you guys come together as a band and how did you find your sound?
Pat, our other guitar player [and] main vocalist, and Matt, our drummer, have known each other for awhile. They went to high school together and they actually played in the same band at different times when they were younger. I didn’t come along until much later. I met Matt when I was working at the music store around Richmond and it turned out that we knew some similar people. We talked about jamming, we talked about hanging out and everything. About a year later, it eventually came together that we would eventually do that. That’s how the three of us met each other- we’d been seeing each other around at shows before, but we’d never really hung out or jammed or anything like that. That’s how we came together and we started jamming before we even knew each other all that well- at least from my point of view.
We kind of liked similar music. We each have our own branched-off things that we liked more- Matt has always been into the pop punk kind of thing, Pat is a big singer-songwriter indie kind of guy [and] I grew up listening to a lot of metal and heavier sort of stuff. We all had our own inspirations and things that we grew up listening to but I think that we all decided that there was one genre-esque sound that we were going for so we tried to push towards that. I think it’s unique just because we all dipped into our different influences to put it together.
When we started, we were all really into Title Fight. I think Like Pacific was still new-ish around the time, we really liked that. Boston Manor, same deal- I think they had just dropped their first LP around that time. That’s just a few- I could go on for the rest of the day about bands I think are awesome.
What names come to mind when thinking about your personal influences?
I’ve always been a really, really big Foo Fighters fan. That’s one of my favorite bands of all time. Green Day is the same way- actually I’d probably even say that Green Day is my favorite band ever. I was a little disappointed by the album they just put out but I won’t go into that one.
Other than that, some of the heavier stuff like Ozzy Osbourne was one of the first artists I ever dove deep into and really loved and then Black Sabbath from there. When I started playing guitar, Metallica was the big inspiration- that’s how I learned all my chops. I was into a lot of one-hit wonders. I gotta say- most of my music taste should be credited to Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk’s Underground. I was a big gamer when I was a kid and that’s how I got most of my music. I think I played through that one Tony Hawk game 90 times.
What’s the story behind your new album?
We’d been writing for the album for a few months and we were still in the stage where we didn’t know if we were going to do an album or an EP. Eventually we had eight or nine songs ready to go. We had this plan to go record at a studio with another producer than the one we actually went with- I’m not going to mention a name or anything. We ended up not going that route because we recorded our previous single, “Wander”, with our friend Will Beasley and we had already made plans to go record this album before we had recorded that single.
We were still shopping around ideas and starting to get things set in stone. We had changed our plan after recording that one single. Will is one of our best friends now and it’s crazy thinking that we weren’t going to do the album with him.
The whole situation with switching up and everything made us feel a little powerless and made us feel like we were jumping the gun or people were trying to get the upper hand on us. This song itself is really about feeling like somebody has an advantage over you; feeling like your hands are tied in a position where you have no choice but to do a certain thing even though your heart and your mind are telling you to do something else. So that was the whole concept of the song and it did change a lot when we were recording the album, but the base idea stayed the same throughout it all. I can’t be happier with the way that it turned out. Pat is a genius- I’ll just tell you that straight up right now- when it comes to stuff like this. He’s very poetic, just very well-versed with that kind of thing. He’s really good at taking a concept and running with it. He came up with the concept for the video, he pretty much wrote the song himself- basically all of the lyrics were written by him and he’s really good at writing things about a certain scenario versus about a specific event that happened.
Are there any topics that you tend to gravitate towards when you’re writing music?
We try to steer clear of writing things about something super specific and we more so try to write about a general idea. It can be said across the whole band that we tend to dislike songs that are about a person or about ‘somebody did this to me’ or whatever. It’s not that we hate them necessarily, it’s just that it’s not our thing to write about so we try to generalize more stuff.
But there are a couple songs on the record that are more focused. There’s one track on the album that’s about dealing with….coming to terms with a loved one who’s battling health issues- in the specific sense, it was a loved one battling cancer. It’s more so defined in that sort of song. So there are certain songs on the record that were picked for specific things, but usually we try to make it more general.
What do you hope that your fans take away from your music once they’ve heard the record?
I’ve never really thought of music as something ‘you should be thinking this, you should be finding this’. For me, it’s what you interpret from whatever you’re reading or watching or listening to- that’s all up to you. If somebody’s going to listen to this and if I want them to take something away from it, I want them to take away what hit home with them.
The whole record, if you look at it from a broad spectrum, is about the introspective self-battle that goes on throughout your early 20’s, the stages we’re in now. That’s what we’ve been writing about the whole time- you don’t really know where your life is going or what you’re doing. That’s what I’ve poured into the record. Everyone else who was involved in writing it has poured their own thing into it.
What’s coming up for House & Home?
We have a lot of plans getting started. We’re in the baby steps period of a lot of things. We have another tour that’s isn’t announced yet that’s coming up. We are working on doing a really, really long tour over the summer [Editor’s note: COVID-19 permitting], maybe split up into a couple different sections. We’re going to be very busy this year.
Hopefully you make it to where we are on the West Coast!
I am dying to get west. I’ve never been. We’ve never been west of Texas. The farthest I’ve ever traveled is with the band. It’s been a really cool, eye-opening opportunity to see all of these places.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about the band, or is there anything else you’d love to talk about more that you might not get asked?
That is an awesome question and I don’t really know how to answer it! Usually people ask Pat questions- maybe I should text him.
Kind of just a fun fact, not necessarily music-related at all, but we all love Mario Kart. We bring the Switch with us in the van all the time and we like to play this game that is within Mario Kart- we call it Beerio Kart. We love that game, it’s the best. I am really good at sober Mario Kart. I am not so good at drunk Mario Kart.
We also have an inside joke because we all went bowling one night for somebody’s birthday, but for some reason, Pat got better and better at bowling the more beer he drank. So we now have an inside joke where if you’re really, really drunk, you’re really good at bowling. So that’s what we say instead of ‘I’m really drunk’.
It sounds like fans need to meet you guys at the merch table to battle you in Mario Kart on tour.
That’s right! Switch not included, please bring your own Nintendo.
Find Sense. Feel Love. Make Light. is out now!
Story by Olivia Khiel
Photos courtesy of the band