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[AltWire Interview] Alex Stewart and Chase Nichols of Mascots

AW: I first wanted to take the time and thank you for doing this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and anything about the band you’d want us to know?

Mascots: We’re Mascots, a pop punk band based out of Cincinnati, Ohio that was established in 2014. I’m Alex [Stewart], I play bass and this is Chase [Nichols], who plays guitar and sings in Mascots. The rest of the band is made up by Chris Henderson on vocals, Robert Coyle on guitar, and Justin Schreiber on drums. Since we started, we’ve released three EPs, played shows throughout the Midwest, and recently played the Cincinnati date of the Vans Warped Tour. If you’re a fan of bands like State Champs, Mayday Parade, or Neck Deep, you may just like Mascots.

AW: Let’s talk about what you currently have going on. Any new music or new tours in the works?

Alex: We actually just released a new EP on October 19th called Time To Time, we’re really proud of these songs and you should definitely check it out! Regarding new tours, we are currently planning out a bunch for 2018, so expect to see Mascots in your city sometime next year.

AW: When you write any new music, can you tell us what the process is like? Describe to us what happens in a typical writing session.

Chase: Every song varies a little bit, but I guess typically it will start with a single idea, whether it’s a guitar riff, some lyrics, etc., then continues to grow as each member inputs their take on the song. I think as a band, what we do really well is putting all of our individual influences and ideas into every song.

AW: With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? If you could change anything about it, what would it be?

Alex: What I like about the alternative or pop punk “scene” is that, at least to my knowledge, there aren’t too many grudges or enemies. Everyone tends to get along well with one another and you can see bands like State Champs or Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, etc. are all friends and it’s like one big family. I really like that and everyone kind of helps promote one another and bring everyone else up in the scene.

The things that I personally do not like is how certain people within these bands have taken advantage of their younger fans. A lot of these bands in this genre of music have younger listeners and some have abused their position to get what they want, which is absolutely terrible.

AW: Do you or any of your band members have any side projects? If so, what are they?

Alex: None of us currently have any side projects, but we would not be against doing a hardcore side project or something. We always like to end our practices by doing some sort of hardcore or metal song just for fun.

AW: When you’re preforming how do you handle any mistakes on stage if they ever happen? Do you have any stories that stand out to you that you had to make a memorable recovery?

Chase: Mistakes happen all the time! I don’t think it matters what level you’re at, Murphy’s law still applies. As long as you don’t make a big scene out of it, 9/10 times nobody will notice. I think one of my more embarrassing mistakes was landing on my pedal board, then stomping my foot around like I was playing dance dance revolution in attempt to fix it as quickly as possible!

AW: How do you decide which songs go into a set when you perform live? Do you change up the sets or stick to a regular set list? Do you have any covers?

Alex: So for the covers that we used to play, we did The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, My Friends Over You by New Found Glory, and Face Down by The Jumpsuit Apparatus, but we no longer do any covers in our set. For our set right now, we basically play our two recent EPs, The Good In Me and Time To Time, we play them in full. We always mix up the order of the songs.

AW: If you had a choice to go on any bands tour, which tour would you pick and why?

Chase: This is probably the most difficult question yet! If I had to choose right now, I would love to tour with Knuckle Puck. They keep releasing really great stuff, and they just seem like cool dudes to be around!

AW: Do you have any advice for any upcoming artists? What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Alex: My advice is really just be genuine and have fun. Everyone is in this because we enjoy music and playing music. It’s pretty simple and very transparent through your music how genuine you really are. No one was really there to give me advice when I wanted to become a musician, it sort of just happened, but from what I’ve learned so far is that being kind to others and standing up for what you believe in will take you so much farther than treating this as some sort of competition. We’re all here to have fun.

AW: Any last words?

Alex: Go to local shows and support your local artists because you never know where they might end up in the future. Also, go listen to our new EP Time To Time!

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