Band Q&A – Cities Never Sleep

Cities Never Sleep are from Duluth, MN. Their members are;

  • Patrick Tarnowski – Guitar/Vocals
  • Joe Alaspa – Guitar/Vocals
  • Jacob Carlson – Guitar
  • Ryan “Waldy” Waldemarsen – Drums

1. Who are your top 3 influences?

  • Pat: New Found Glory, Iron Maiden, Jimmy Eat World.
  • Waldy: Thrice, Copeland, Beloved.
  • Joe: Bayside, John Mayer, Green Day.
  • Jake: Alkaline Trio, Motion City Soundtrack, Death Cab for Cutie.

2. How did you get your band name?

It is actually from a Hit the Lights song.

3. ‘Try Hard, Forever’ came out earlier this month. Is the album achieving what you want it to achieve?

We think it is! We are really proud of what we all did and it seems to be received really well.

4. What was your song writing process for ‘TH,F’?

Pat writes most of the songs, including lyrics. The rest of us act sort of as a filter for his ideas…and that balance differs from song to song. And then certain songs, like Kerosene for example, were written by Joe and I and then Pat and Waldy acted as the filter to turn it into what it is now. Waldy had a big part in turning that one from a dull demo into a rad rock song. We usually write independently (not as a group) and everyone sort of plays the role of producer. We’re all sticklers for different criteria and in the end (sometimes after a couple arguments) it turns into something we’re all proud of.

5. What do you hope to have achieved a year from now?

We want to be doing a lot more touring. We’d like to play some festivals and We’d like to have another EP in the bag and ready to release.

6. What was CNS first gig experience like?

Joe: We played at a place called carnival thrillz. It’s an indoor arcade/amusement park in Duluth. We played with the singer from Owl City’s side project at the time called Swimming with Dolphins and I remember having a really great time. Pretty sure I wore white pants and I kind of regret that.
Pat: You most certainly did wear white pants! You loved those pants! I regret you wearing them as well.
Jake: My first gig with the band was actually at a bowling alley in Minneapolis. It was a fun DIY-type show and a good intro for me as a member of the band.

7. Biggest challenge so far?

Joe: Scheduling, we are all very busy and our shared calendar is a nightmare
Waldy: The starting over process. It’s like being a new band again. Gotta rebuild that cred.
Jake: Trying to reinvent ourselves as more than a mid-2000s pop punk band. We like to pay homage to the classic sound but also be completely original and new sounding. Sometimes it’s hard to transcend that image, when most people think of pop punk as being a novelty sound, like something they used to listen to back in high school.

8. Favourite thing about performing?

Pat: I love jumping around and just getting to goof around with my friends. I love seeing the crowd having as much fun as we are.
Joe: Interacting with the crowd, I like to get into peoples faces and make them a part of the show. I also really like talking and making lame jokes. One giggle or smile is worth it to me.
Waldy: Beating the shit out of my drums.
Jake: I love the energy we play with while performing. We always have a blast and end up in a sweaty daze by the end of each set. These songs are just fun to play.

9. What happened after your 2012 EP, when there was a huge 7 year break in your music?

Joe: We’d been touring a lot and some of the members burnt out. Some found other opportunities and some moved away from Duluth where we all lived at the time.
Pat: Joe and I continued writing songs, some of which are on this new album. We went through a few member changes until we found our new life mate Jake and recruited Waldy on drums, who had actually played bass for us at one time.
Jake: I joined the band in 2016 so I can’t speak on the first part of that hiatus. However, when I joined the team we were just trying to get some momentum going again. We ran into a few issues with bassists and drummers not sticking around (something that Pat and Joe know all too well at this point.) but when Waldy finally joined the team and Pat started playing bass, we were finally ready to push forward and start (well, restart) recording. And then a 5 song EP turned into a 10 song album, which ended up taking more time than expected but ultimately I’m very happy we did it.

10. What inspired TH,F lyrically?

Life, significant others, money problems, friendship, addiction, ambition to be something more than we are. All of the lyrics on this album are really personal in one way or another.

11. What do you do when you’re not musically involved?

Pat: I currently work as a supervisor for a group home, when I’m not doing that I’m either hanging out with my wife and kids, at the gym, reading comic books, or working on other projects.
Joe: I work in the music industry on the road a lot working for other bands so I never have a week that isn’t musically involved.
Jake: Race cars, climb mountains, and drink a lot of water.

12. What is your favourite song on TH,F?

Joe: Kerosene,
Pat: I would have to say Trying to Make a Dollar out of What Makes Sense or Kerosene, both songs are very personal to me.
Waldy: Badwolf is my favorite to play live.
Jake: Ooh. Badwolf is the most fun to play, but I might be inclined to say Providence or Trying to Make a Dollar would be my favs.

13. Who has the worst dress sense?

Pat: I think we are all gonna unanimously choose Joe.
Jake: Joe. For sure. All his clothes are falling apart.
Waldy: That’s tough. I’m going to say joe but that’s mostly because his pants are always ripped or blown out.
Joe: I have pretty ratty clothes and I don’t see the need to buy new clothes until they rip off of me.

14. Funniest show story?

Joe: We played in bay city MI on my birthday and I broke strings on two guitars and fell off stage into the audience all during one song (second song in the set).
Pat: I can’t remember where we were but Joe has this problem with personal space, he runs around slamming into people and unplugging himself and everyone else. At one point ran into our bass player at the time and he had just had enough and he had shoulder slammed Joe in my direction and before he could hit me, I shoulder slammed him back in the other direction. Joe flew to the ground and had to finish the song laying on the stage.
Waldy: Years ago before I was in the band I filled in on bass for a tour. Long story short I got shocked a few times before a fakedown and it shocked the shit out of me and it was caught on video. I was trying to be tough but no one is tough while they are getting shocked.

15. Pizza! What toppings do you have?

Joe: Pepperoni and banana peppers or what ever the other guys want (absolutely 0 tolerance for pineapple).
Pat: I am a big fan of Pepperoni and Onions.
Waldy: Pepperoni and banana peppers.
Jake: Pepperoni and spinach.

16. Most annoying member?

Pat: Probably Joe, but it’s out of love, he just thinks every show is in Rochester and can’t remember half the stuff to save his life. But we all have our annoying traits, I personally pester them all on a daily basis.
Joe: Me, I have strong opinions and need quite a bit of convincing to change my mind. I also have the worst memory ever so I forget the set list and where we are playing almost every time.
Waldy: Pat? Only because he is kind of the mom of the group. But because of that we get shit done. So ya, I appreciate that.
Jake: Pat.

17. Who has the worst tattoo?

Joe: Mine is pretty weird (Joe) it’s an album cover from my very first band when I was a teen. My only tattoo.
Pat: I think all of our tattoos are pretty great, but I guess that’s also a matter of opinions, as long you are happy with your tattoo that’s really all that matters.
Waldy: Prolly me? It’s an appletini.
Jake: Waldy’s appletini.

18. Fast forward and you’re millionaires. What do you do with the money?

Joe: Buy rental properties in hot spots, have the band be full time and playing dope tours, buy my parents a place.
Pat: Pay off my debt. Buy frivolous nerdy things, give my family the best life I possibly can.
Waldy: Help some children’s hospitals and the kids families. Also I’ll build an amazing record collection.
Jake: I’d buy you a monkey. Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?

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