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Artist Spotlight: America Part Two releases fiery new album; talks band’s message and what’s next

Hearing America Part Two for the first time invokes a raw, DIY feeling from a band clearly passionate about the sounds they’re creating. The New Jersey three-piece is issuing a re-release of their debut album today, and their message couldn’t be more timely for a world so recently thrown into upheaval. Atlas spoke with the band via email about their latest music, spreading their directive to fight hate and what they’ve been up to during the endless downtime of quarantine.

Can you tell us how you got together as a band and how you went about finding your sound?

Hello all, we’re America Part Two, and if you’re reading this interview, you are too. We have three members in the band: Alex Fabio, a first-gen American with Colombian and Greek descent who sings and plays guitar; Fred Rainville, an intergalactic cowboy sent to this world to bring the gift of rock ‘n’ roll to the 21st century who sings and slaps; and Sam “s3mi” Weingarten, a zen master who turns aggression into art with a flick of the wrist on drums (and vocals on record).

Fred and Alex have been playing music together since the ages of 11 and 12 in numerous bands throughout their lives. Sam was on a parallel path in other circles of the scene and we knew of each other for at least a couple years before we joined forces. AP2 was founded with four members in 2017 and two of those members decided to leave in pursuit of other paths in life. We asked Sam to jam so he came over, and after playing for 15 minutes, asked “so do you guys like…need a real drummer or are we just jammin?” And we played our first show together at Rowan University the next week. 

How would you say that your music has evolved from when you started to where you are now?

When we started back in 2017, we recorded our first EP, Pure. Those four songs were the culmination of all the bands we loved as teenagers in one; a sound that we had been chasing for a while, and we felt we had finally done it with that release. It was a great way to start playing shows and have some material. But as our lives continued to evolve, we quickly realized that we wanted to play music that was straight from the soul- something purely original that could only possibly be uttered from our bodies. We started writing really visceral stuff and took a complete 180 from Pure by recording our first more notable single, “Split”- live tracked, no metronome, etc. That song set us free creatively, nailed an aspect of the band’s message we hadn’t touched yet and resonated with people in a way we’d never seen before. 

After that song, our management came into play and we started touring as a band, playing all the DIY spots we could around the country. We started recording our debut album, Price Of A Nation and used the same philosophy we did with “Split” by tracking the drums, bass and guitar in the same room together at the same time. 

The sound we’ve come out with on this first album is very raw, very honest, and absolutely unapologetic. Much of modern “rock” is heavily processed, taking the humanistic sound out completely. No matter what bells and whistles may whiz around in one of our recordings, you will always hear the band playing our hearts out right in the center. 

Who do you count among your biggest influences and inspirations?

The Beatles, Enter Shikari, MCR, Goosebumps, Plato, Sublime, Futurama, CKY, Rage Against The Machine, Biggie, Slipknot, Spongebob, Bad Brains, The Cramps, Link Wray, Robert Johnson, Black Sabbath, Gillian Welch, Lead Belly, Henry Rollins, CCR, Elmore James, Title Fight, The Moms, Back and Forth, Pete Andrews, Motorhead, Lawrence Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Sasso, Nirvana, Amy Winehouse, All Time Low, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Paramore, Sonic Youth, The Stooges, System of a Down, Sadhguru, Rick Rubin, Say Anything, Pink Floyd, Datsik, Linkin Park, Jack Black, Triathlon, Lil Kim and The Sandlot.

With the new record coming out soon (the new single is killer by the way), can you tell the story behind the album and how it all came together?

Thank you! The album started coming together two years ago with a five day session at Barbershop Studios in Hopatcong, NJ where we tracked nine songs. We kept working on seven of those and tracked three more with Pete Andrews at Submergent Studios in Middletown, NJ later that year.

Once we had the basic tracks for every song we went back into Barbershop with our good friend Rob Chiarappa. We’ve been homies since the womb so it was amazing to bring it back “home” so to speak and do additional overdubs, mixing and mastering with him on our own time. 

We started dropping singles throughout 2019 and early 2020 while touring as much as possible to get our name out there. That allowed us to grow at a pace we were happy with while working on the album when we were home. When the pandemic hit, we used the extra time to finish the album in May 2020. We started talking to Revival Recordings that summer, and did our first release with them (“Split 2020” // “Freedom”) in October. 

At this point we’re really proud of the foundation we’ve built, so with the support of our new team, we finally announced the album with a re-release of “I Don’t Wanna” the first week of 2021, and now “Glaciers” is taking us into the album drop next month. Absolutely cannot wait for you all to hear Price Of A Nation.

You’ve addressed a pretty wide range of topics in your music. What would you say is the most important message that you’re trying to convey to your listeners? Are there any topics that you’d like to write about that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

There is so much music left to write, and one album is just the tip of the iceberg, but if there’s one message we have as AP2 it is this: Perpetuate Love // Fight Hate.

What song of yours resonates most with you as a band and, in turn, what song seems to resonate most with the fans?

It’s tough to name one song that resonates most with us because they’re all an extension of us and I’m sure you can attest to the fact that people are NUANCED af. We are all like 30 different people in one so depends on the moment for sure.

Our friends and fans seem to resonate a lot with “I Don’t Wanna” and “Split” on a surface level. Everyone takes what they need out of art so that’ll probably be an ever-changing thing as our relationship with the world around us grows. 

Every band or artist has a unique relationship with music- whether it’s how they started, how it’s affected their lives, etc. How would you all describe your own relationship with music?

Alex: For me it’s a sort of spiritual experience. It’s a truly meditative headspace that I fall into where time and space don’t exist. This doesn’t happen every time I listen or play…far from it, but it’s the feeling that brings me back to music every day knowing that achieving this sort of purity is possible.

Fred: There’s music constantly on upstairs! All day every day, I’m working in some way to further my journey. The music I write is already out there in the ether, in the stratosphere. You hit a chord or two and let the lightning come to you. Fill in the blanks with melodies, words, chords and phrases that sound original and nice to YOU! I find that I have to, I love to and I choose to give most of my waking moments to music, it’s a way of becoming myself and sharing myself.

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost a year into the pandemic and I know that it’s made planning for things pretty difficult. You’ve already played a drive-in show, but what else are you tentatively planning for coming up? 

Our debut album Price Of A Nation comes out March 12th. We have plans for a sort of live concert series that we’re working on and more music videos to support the album as people get acquainted with us. 

We recently started an open forum type website called Hotel Resistance where we’re posting handmade zines and submissions where our community can open up about the things that keep them up at night. And everyone uses pen names so it’s completely anonymous. 

We’ve also opened a new webstore called MischiefNite where, as well as band merch, we’re selling one of a kind badass pieces for low prices. Our aim is to merge our love of thrifting and fashion and bring the secondhand store online.

Is there anything else that you’d like people to know about you or your music, or is there anything you wish you could talk about more that you may not get asked?

Thanks for asking, that’s quite thoughtful. Only thing we could say is thank you for having us, rock ‘n’ roll is alive and it’s always better to look inward than outward. Don’t let the internet tell you who you are!

Price of a Nation is out now!

Story by Olivia Khiel
Photo courtesy of America Part Two