I’ll admit, I kind of lost touch with the punk scene a little in the 90s. I’m not sure why, there are certainly some amazing records that came out of that decade, but it seemed to me like the punk scene was hijacked by mall punk bands while grunge laid waste to everything in its path.
Still when you look at punk releases from the 90s there are some classics. Social Distortion’s self-titled and Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, Green Day’s Dookie, The Queers’ Love Songs For the Retarded, …And Out Come The Wolves – Rancid , NOFX – Punk In Drublic and many more. Too many to mention actually.
It seems that even though the 90s was a blur for me, the punk scene was actually quite robust and even trailblazing. Pennsylvania punkers Subject To Change would probably agree and with their new EP – Sunday, they are waving that flag.
S2C were formed in 2011/12 by a bunch of friends and a couple of brothers, and gigged around a bit before releasing an EP (Green Couch Sessions) in 2014.
After the tragic loss of their vocalist/bassist/friend/brother last summer, S2C regrouped, recorded five tracks and released the EP this past May.
From the NOFX kick of Audit, to the Bad Religion drive of the raging Freedom 35, Subject to Change proudly wear their influences on their sleeves. I’m pretty sure it will take a bunch of you younger folks back to Grade 8 and I can relive the 90s!
Ethan Van Horn – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Nick Pelick – Backup Vocals & Guitar
Jesse Hall – Backup Vocals & Bass
Brad Parker – Drums
How did you become Subject To Change and what’s the story behind the name?
We started the band in 2011 as just a small basement project between friends playing mostly pop-punk covers. We didn’t start putting ourselves out there until 2014 when we felt comfortable enough and had the material to release a 4-track demo. Ever since our demo release we’ve been refining our sound and playing gigs. In 2015 we had to change around the band roles somewhat as John Van Horn who was our Lead Vocalist/Bassist at the time passed away unexpectedly. Since then, Jesse joined the band and we’ve been going strong ever since by playing shows and releasing our first EP titled “Sunday” in May 2016.
As for our name, it was sort of a happy accident. One day after practice we decided to sit down and brainstorm potential names. After about an hour or so of nothing sticking, Brad said “Let’s just say that our name is Subject To Change until we decide on something.” and so that name just kind of stuck.
Tell us about your hometown scene…
Sadly, the punk/alternative scene in our town and nearby areas is almost nonexistent. We live in the small town of Bellefonte, PA which is very close to State College, PA and Lock Haven, PA. In these areas it’s very difficult to find shows that have bands playing their own original music, as the majority of bands around us are bar cover bands.
This year we’ve been taking the initiative to help rebuild the scene by hosting shows and bringing in local and out-of-town bands via our company Dead Scene Shows and Promotions. Our good friends in the local band Greylines have been a great help to us as they’ve gotten us in touch with a lot of bands wanting to play shows. So far we’ve been focusing on Lock Haven first, as we have a consistent venue to hold shows. We’ve been having good turnouts and people are starting to take notice, so it looks promising. It’s all still in the early stages, but we hope that by continuing to do it we’ll help reignite the punk/alternative scene in the area.
Describe your sound as a cocktail – what’s it called and what’s in it?
We’re a Gin & Tonic – Crisp, refreshing, and while seemingly simple at first, there’s an underlying complexity to our sound.
Tell us about your live show…
Our live shows are pretty straight forward, we usually play a short set of around thirty minutes which consists of original songs and 2 or 3 covers. We’re still fine tuning our stage presence, but we try to keep the energy high and just have fun with it. People keep coming to our shows so we must be doing something right, haha.
How does your songwriting process work?
I (Ethan) am usually the one to compose a draft for a piece of music and then I present it to the band. During practice, we work together to solidify and make changes to the song structure, tempo, and the overall feel of the song. Fortunately most of us play multiple instruments, so we can easily share ideas regarding various dynamics in a song. Once we’re all happy with a song, we do a rough recording and then I take the recording home with me to write lyrics. My lyric writing process varies, but typically I figure out the melody and rhythm of what I want to sing first, and then I start writing the lyrics.
What influences the band lyrically?
I (Ethan) try to draw from experiences in my life and the other band members’ lives. It makes it more relevant to who we are as individuals, and it gives it more meaning to us, as clichéd as that may sound. Our lyric style is constantly evolving, and I think that the lyrics mature and improve with each new song that we write.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
Anytime in the late 80s or 90s. Those were great times for the punk genre and most of our influences come from bands in that era.
What tunes are currently on heavy rotation for you…
Ethan: The albums “Paradise” by White Lung, “Run Your Pockets” by No Cash, “Somewhere Behind” EP by Greylines, and the “All Hallows” EP by AFI to name a few, all of which are fantastic records. Aside from those, I’m a bit of a Drum & Bass junkie, so I regularly listen to a lot of artists in that genre.
Brad: Lately, Alkaline Trio’s “Goddamnit”, NOFX’s “Punk in Drublic”, “Coral Fang” by The Distillers, “Hello Rockview” by Less Than Jake, “Pennybridge Pioneers” by Millencolin, “All I’ve Ever Known” by Threads, and Sublime’s “40oz To Freedom”.
Nick: I’ve been jamming tracks from Paddock Park, Affiance, As Blood Runs Black, Within the Ruins, and The Will The Way.
Jesse: I just found Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and I really dig the sound they have. It’s super soulful and incredibly tight but still very rock and roll. His voice is flat-out amazing. I’ve also been listening to the new Weezer record a lot and it’s really goddamn good. It’s a very down-to-earth, relatable record from a lyrical standpoint and I’ve loved Weezer’s sound since I first heard them in like middle school.
If you could tour with any band right now who would that be and why?
Brad: It would be awesome to tour with Less Than Jake. They’re a big influence to me as they bridge the gap between punk and ska. They’ve also been around for damn near 25 years, so they obviously know what they’re doing, and they attract a wide range of generations of show goers. Not only that but they tour with a good mix of punk and ska bands, and I love both of those genres. Plus they are on Fat Wreck Chords which is my favorite label, so ultimately I’d love to do a tour with anyone on Fat to be honest.
Nick: It would definitely have to be with Killswitch Engage. Adam D was a huge inspiration for me to become a guitarist. They seem like a really funny group of dudes, so I think it would be a great experience.
Jesse: I’d love to tour with Blink-182. Especially now that Matt Skiba is with them. Blink and Alkaline Trio we’re huge foundational bands for me in highschool and to see Matt join the band is pretty awesome. It would be cool to play with my heroes who really shaped my taste and perception of music.
If you could only bring ONE record in the tour van/bus/plane what would it be?
Ethan: For me personally it would probably be “Viva Emptiness” by Katatonia as it’s one of my favorite albums. If we’re all going to be jamming the same record though, it would be tough for us all to decide, but I think we could all agree on “Goddamnit” or “From Here to Infirmary” by Alkaline Trio.
Brad: “Punk in Drublic” by NOFX. That record pumps me up and it has so many awesome songs on it. I love NOFX and we take some influence from them, so clearly I don’t mind listening to them.
Nick: “Fortitude” by Feed Her To The Sharks, it’s currently one of my favorite albums that really pumps me up.
Jesse: I have like a hundred answers for this but I’m the last to write something up for this so I know what the other guys picked. Knowing what they’re bringing, I’d grab Low End Theory by Tribe Called Quest. I feel like some laid back, classic hip hop is a great thing to have in the arsenal when you’re traveling long distances.
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Ethan: I can usually be found whitewater slalom kayaking or working on one of my random little projects. I spend a lot of my free time creating stuff such as artwork in Photoshop or producing music for my electronica side-project, things of that nature help me to relax.
Brad: You’re either going to find me at work or in the woods hiking, camping, or downhill mountain biking. I love being out in nature as it helps me to clear my mind and keep me normal when I’m not drumming. Lately I’ve been reading the new NOFX biography “The Hepatitis Bathtub”, so I’ve been more antisocial than normal, haha.
Nick: In my spare time you could find me either playing video games, watching movies, or going to shows.
Jesse: Aside from STC I write my own music. I also really love to record other bands and artists. Something about helping people capture a true representation of their sound is very special to me and I’m really passionate about making it happen. Other than that I love to learn. Podcasts are my shit. I listen to the “Stuff You Should Know” podcast and soak up that delicious knowledge like a Spongebob at Sandy’s house.
What’s up for the rest of 2016?
We’re hoping to have another release out by the end of the year, most likely a short 3-track EP to help get our sound out there more. Other than that, we’ll be hosting more shows in Lock Haven and we’ve been contacting venues so that we can play some out-of-town shows. Since the release of our “Sunday” EP it’s looking to be a very positive year for us, so we’re excited to see where it takes us.