Interview – All Systems Go

We spoke to All Systems Go! ASG are a 4-piece from New Jersey, they consist of;

  • Matt Pezza – Vocals / Guitar
  • Devin Kollmar – Vocals / Guitar
  • Dean Mason – Bass
  • Joe Codispoti – Drums

1. It’s coming up to your one year anniversary (December 6th) of your EP ‘The Waiting Room’. What does this mean to each of you personally?

Joe: It definitely means a lot to me. I contributed more to the writing on the EP compared to our album, and it’s been really cool to see people’s reactions to something I’ve helped create. I will admit that I was a bit embarrassed of the lyrics I wrote for “Real” when the EP dropped because they were nowhere near as deep as the lyrics of the rest of the songs. But since then I’ve come to accept them for what they are and I’m much more satisfied with the final product and my contributions to the EP a year later. 

Dean: I’d say that, more than anything else, it just makes me want to put out more music. I think that now that our most recent release was a year ago, we’re all feeling pretty motivated to get something fresh out there soon.

2. Are you proud of how it has performed in its first year? 

Matt: Most definitely! Since releasing it, we’ve had more listeners in any given week than we had in ALL of 2019, and the feedback has been great. Also, I feel like these songs have stuck with people more than our older stuff. 

Devin: As most local musicians know, you crave more and more viewership and recognition. With that said, I couldn’t be more proud of what has been established so far and what is to come.

3. What was the blueprint for the year after its release, and how has it differed? What did you succeed with?

Matt: After releasing the EP, we wanted to 1. Play more shows than ever in 2020, and 2. Figure out how to grow our listener base. Obviously we couldn’t achieve the first goal. Fortunately, I’ve had more time this year to work on goal number 2, and I think we’ve had success in that. Aside from trying to network more, I’ve spent countless hours this year listening to podcasts about music marketing and promotional strategies, and I’ve definitely learned a lot. All stuff I’ll be keeping in mind for our next release.

Dean: We were planning on doing a lot of shows this year, including in regions where we haven’t played before (like New England), and I know that we were planning on having had more progress done on our next release at this point, but while we didn’t have opportunities to make all of that happen thus far, we have been spending a lot of time just promoting The Waiting Room instead, which has helped keep the EP on people’s playlists in the meantime.

4. In another year from now, where do you hope to be and what to have achieved?

Joe: I think our goal right now is to put all our energy into a second album. I can’t say for sure that it will be out a year from now, but if I had to guess I’d say we will be pretty far into it at least. 

Devin: In another year I’m hoping to be back on the road touring, not only locally, but to do some more traveling outside the tri-state area. 

5. How did you approach the writing for TWR? And looking to the future releases, how are you approaching these?

Matt: Any of the songs on our EP were no more than maybe 25% done going into the band practices where we first started piecing them together, so the process was very collaborative. Right now all four of us have our own individual ideas either saved as audio files in our phones, or bits of possible lyrics written down. Once we’re all home in December, I’m excited to see how we can collaborate again to start whatever’s next.

Dean: I made my Grand Debut with All Systems Go after The Waiting Room was already written and recorded, but I believe that TWR is a more mature record than Garden State Skies from a musical standpoint, and I expect that our next release will continue the trend and reflect how we’ve grown as songwriters and as musicians since TWR was released.

Devin: The music from TWR came naturally to us. We had a lot of time to sit and work together which we haven’t been able to do as of late. We plan on getting back to that in the near future. 

6. Can you give us an interesting / funny / weird fact about the EP?

Matt: Each voice that you hear in the middle section of “TJ Eckleburg” (not the screaming or the countdown) are actually all text messages from various friends.

Joe: That’s a tough one. Because I’m not sure what the other guys will cover here. Devin heard the verse chords to “Real” while we were recording and said it sounds like a children’s song. This inspired an interesting ASG phenomenon where Devin strums the verse chords and sings about vegetables. We call it “The Vegetable Song.”

Dean: The first time Matt and Devin tried to show me how to play TJ Eckleburg Isn’t Even a Doctor, I couldn’t follow along to save my life. It’s now my favorite song of ours, but it’s also the hardest to play on bass.

7. What is it like being part of the legendary New Jersey scene? Pre-covid, you must have played plenty of shows and made tonnes of friends with local bands!

Matt: The NJ scene is great! We’ve been trying to support our friends as much as we can by cross-promoting each other’s stuff and even creating content together. Some of our most memorable shows pre-COVID have been with bands such as: Sweep Echo, The American Standard, Win By 2, Driving Underwater, and Out of Service.

Joe: It’s cool! We’re in a good area for music between the NJ scene and the Philly scene, which is only about a 30-minute drive away for us from Delran. We’ve played a lot of really cool venues, met a lot of great people, and heard a lot of great music from other bands. 

Dean: It’s always a blessing to be able to listen to the music that my friends in other local bands put out from time to time. Making connections and building relationships with other musicians is an awesome time, but when someone I know or have played a show with puts out a really good record… That alone is enough to make it all worth it.

Devin: The NJ music scene has created many contacts for us and supplied us with many memories at some legendary venues. Unfortunately, some of these venues have closed their doors. 

8. Following that, what is the funniest moment you’ve had whilst at an All Systems Go gig?

Matt: Our original drummer filled in for us once at a holiday show at Harper’s Pub. He grabbed my mic in the middle of our set to ask his mom if she could grab us some shots while she was up at the bar. This happened a few times during our set which I thought was hilarious and afterwards the night ended up getting pretty lit #HouseWhiskey

Joe: One of the first times we played The Union Firehouse in Mt. Holly, NJ, we got about 30 seconds into the first song and the drum seat on the house drum kit dropped and I all of a sudden shrunk behind the kit. I had to play the rest of the song with my knees practically touching my ears. Some of my friends were there and they told me it was pretty funny to watch from the audience!

Dean: Every time I get to listen to Devin’s banter is the funniest moment I’ve had while at an ASG gig.

9. Who is the most annoying member?

Matt: Either me or Devin. Me because at least 50% of our group chat is just me rambling about band stuff every day. Devin because he’ll leave the chat on “read” for hours if it’s something important but will respond right away to other stuff. 

Joe: Well first of all, I don’t know how the other guys deal with my busy college schedule. But besides me, I’d say it’s Devin. He had a habit of showing up late to rehearsals when we first started out, which August made light of by saying that he runs on “Devin Standard Time.” I thought that was hysterical (sorry Devin). That being said, All Systems Go would not be the same without the front man personality that Devin brings to the band.

Devin: Me. I’m an ass, won’t shut up, and don’t like following the rules or listening.

10. Leave a message for the readers…

Matt: Go listen to The Waiting Room and follow us on Spotify or wherever you listen to music! 

Joe: Thank you for taking the time to read this interview, and thank you to those who have checked out our music! Sending my best wishes that you’re safe, happy, and healthy in these crazy times!

Dean: A message for the readers…

Devin: To our lovely listeners and readers: we hope that we can get to a show near you soon and that everyone can rejoice once local shows are back and better than ever!

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