An Interview With Marcus, Dylan, Ryan, Brandon & Alex of Another One Down!

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Read Time:21 Minute, 32 Second

Image credit: Connor Lenihan

There’s not much I haven’t said already about Pop-Punk as a genre, and what it means to me. So, now, I leave it to the people, and artists to translate it for themselves. Another One Down! is one of those bands that has both the dedication and the drive to make the genre theirs.

Today, I’m chatting with the members of the band. Hailing from Rhode Island, Marcus, Ryan, Dylan, Brandon, and Alex of Another One Down! really deliver the goods. In this very detailed interview, we go over just about everything that makes them, well, them.

As a side note, I love how passionate people are in regards to their equipment. I love the band’s detailed answer to that question in this interview! Be sure to check out their music, and visit their pages here and here!

Anthony:
Guys, thank you so much for doing this with us today! It’s always a pleasure to interview Pop-Punk bands, and I can’t get enough of it! How have you guys been holding up these past couple of years? Looks like you’ve been busy putting out a lot of new music.

Marcus:
Thanks for having us! We’ve been trying to keep busy for sure, just playing shows, and dropping new music whenever we can. 

Anthony:
So, let’s start this off easy — Where are you guys from? Who are the five of you, and who plays what?

Marcus:
I’m Marcus Simonini from a small town called Exeter, Rhode Island. I’m the singer, main songwriter, and former rhythm guitarist.

Ryan:
I’m Ryan Beck, from Attleboro, Massachusetts, and I play drums.

Dylan:
My name’s Dylan Walsh. I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, and I am the bassist.

Brandon:
I’m Brandon Teh, from Warwick Rhode Island. I play lead guitar.

Alex:
I’m Alex from Taunton, Massachusetts, and I stole the rhythm guitar spot from Marcus. [Laughs].

Anthony:
What are all your musical backgrounds? What got you doing what you do?

Marcus:
I always loved music growing up but hearing American Idiot by Green Day for the first time is what got me hooked into what I do today. That album and Guitar Hero 3 made me want to pick up a guitar. Once I finally got into it, I knew that it was all I ever wanted to do because nothing emotionally gave me the same feeling as playing music. I’ve been into everything from Classic Rock to Metal to Alternative Rock, but the one genre that always reigned as my favorite was Pop-Punk. All Time Low, The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, etc. All those bands that I listened to from middle school to now. 

Ryan:
I’ve grown up around music my whole life, taking major influences from bands such as Blink-182, Simple Plan, and Sum 41, to heavier bands such as Bullet For My Valentine, and Slipknot. I picked up the drums at around ten years old, and I immediately knew I had to take it as far as I could. I remember the moment it really clicked for me that this is what I needed to do in life was in 2012 after coming home from the first Warped Tour I went to. It dawned on me that day that I needed to make music the main focus of my life.

Dylan:
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved music. I started playing piano at age five, mostly through a Classical lens. It wasn’t until I started listening to bands like Coldplay, and Green Day when I realized I had a much bigger love for Rock music. After having that realization, I learned guitar, bass, drums, and began writing, and producing my own original songs. I’ve been releasing solo material for the past five to eight years, putting music on Spotify as well as making fun little videos for YouTube. Musically, a lot of my current influences include Phoebe Bridgers, Toe, Charli XCX, and The Peggies, but over the course of my life, the most influential artists for me are Green Day, Paramore, Death Cab for Cutie, and Modern Baseball.

Brandon:
I got into Rock music in middle school (thirteen or fourteen years old) after getting Guitar Hero 2 on Xbox 360. I got really good at it real quick so I figured the next level was to learn the real thing. The first bands I got really into were Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Guns N’ Roses, and Rage Against the Machine.

Alex:
I was fortunate enough to grow up around music as my father is an extremely talented guitarist/vocalist. I started playing guitar at eight or nine years old (I should be way better [Laughs]), and I picked up drums, and bass later on. I soon realized guitar was what suited me best. Taking the percussive elements of drums, and bass then I applied them to the way I play guitar.

Image credit: Connor Lenihan

Anthony:
You’ve been together since 2014, how did you all meet each other? 

Marcus:
So, to make a long story short, I started the band in 2014 with some friends from high school. Over the years, we had a number of member changes until we ended up with the lineup we have today. 

Ryan:

I met Marcus through going to shows around Providence, and catching AOD! countless times, never knowing I would one day join. Everyone else I either met from seeing their old band play or through mutual friends.

Brandon:
I basically met everyone in the music scene at different times. I met Marcus back in the day during AOD!’s original lineup. I’ve met Ryan, and his brother a bunch of times at shows around 2015ish. I remember the first conversation I had with Alex was about Stratocasters at an AOD! show before he joined. Needless to say, we hit it off. And I knew Dylan from Marcus’ other band, The Summer Ends, and I thought they were super dope.

Alex:
I had played with AOD! on several occasions in one of my previous bands. Then 2019 rolls around, and the band I was in at the time split. At that point, I was ready to quit music altogether. Until I was given the opportunity to give AOD! a shot. Needless to say, I’m very happy I didn’t give up on this music thing.

Dylan:
I met Marcus at Berklee College of Music in 2016. We were both Pop-Punk kids, so we naturally gravitated towards each other, and ended up forming a group of our own. Through Marcus, I was able to meet the rest of AOD!, and we became friends. It wasn’t until early 2021 when I joined the band myself. I’m the new kid here, so please go easy on me. [Laughs].

Anthony:
You just released a new song called “Deadweight,” and you have some more new music coming out soon as well. Can you tell us what the overall theme of the upcoming album will be? Is “Deadweight” a good indication of what to expect on the rest of the album?

Marcus:
Really, the overall theme of the album is trying to overcome a depressive state. I wouldn’t say “Deadweight” is the best representation of the album as a whole, but it does represent one main theme of the album which is anger. In my eyes, there are three main vibes on this record which are anger/aggression, sad/somber, and hopeful/upbeat. 

Anthony:
As you mentioned before, Another One Down! debuted in 2014. By that time, digital music and streaming services were in full swing. That said, how has it been trying to get your music out there in the digital age?

Marcus:
Well, funny enough, when we started people were still in that in-between phase with some of them still buying music, and some streaming. So, for our first EP, we sold a ton of physical CDs, and people were buying our stuff on iTunes constantly. Since about 2017 though, the amount of purchases has gone down drastically, and now it’s probably 95% streaming revenue. Honestly, though, the digital age is all we’ve ever known for the promotion of music, so we’ve been pretty good about getting our music out there to be heard by joining online communities where people like the same genres, and promoting, and whatnot. I think the biggest thing to battle is just an over-saturation of the market now because there are so many bands, and they’re all on an equal playing field for the most part. You really have to strive to make your band stand out, and be the one that people want to click on and check out. 

Anthony:
Who are your greatest influences? You definitely have a 2000s vibe to your music, so it gives off that familiar sound, but it’s also original. It’s just very relatable and easy to get into.

Marcus:
We’re definitely heavily influenced by 2000s bands like All Time Low, A Day To Remember, Fall Out Boy, etc. But we’re also just as influenced by modern bands like The Story So Far, Four Year Strong, Knuckle Puck, etc. 

Anthony:
You got to play on the 2018 Van’s Warped Tour, how exciting was that? That had to have been a big achievement for the band.

Marcus:
It was honestly such an insane and surreal experience. It was on all of our bucket lists and at first, we thought we would never achieve it when they announced it was the final full Warped Tour. But we got insanely lucky and got offered to play the Massachusetts date on the amphitheater stage, which is insane because that was the stage where every big artist we grew up listening to would play. We got to go backstage, and eat catering with bands we grew up listening to, and even go to the Warped after-party that night, and talk to more of our heroes. Definitely one of the best days of our life.


Image courtesy of Another One Down!

Anthony:
Speaking of playing live, who have you got to open up for in the past? Have you got to meet or share the stage with any of your heroes in the Pop-Punk world?

Marcus:
We’ve opened up for a really wide variety of touring acts. Our first big one was Vanna who we opened up for at our second show ever, followed by The Ataris, Slaves, Bury Your Dead, Belmont, and a few smaller acts. Some of the bigger ones that we grew up listening to were I Set My Friends On Fire, Metro Station, and Four Year Strong, which is the one we’re most proud of still. 

Anthony:
Here’s one of my favorite questions to ask here, what equipment do you all use when you play live? Is it the same when you record too? I love learning all the different components people use!

Ryan:
I play all SJC drums with Evans heads. My shells are a custom finish tour series (8×12, 16×16, 18×22). My toms are equipped with G2 batter heads, and genera reso heads and my kick has an EMAD2 for the batter, and the standard calftone SJC branded Evans reso head. My snare is the SJC Josh Manuel 2021 signature copper shell snare (14×7) with a genera dry head on top, and a snare side 300 head for the reso head, or on occasion I cycle in my acrylic shell 14×7 built with Ludwig hardware, with a Remo Vintage Clear Emperor batter head and a 42 strand snare running across the reso head. Those are just two of my handful of snares. As for cymbals, I play a full Zildjian setup. On my left, I play 15” A Mastersound hats, 20” A Custom Crash, and to my right, I have a 21” A Sweet Ride, 20” K Sweet crash, and an 18” Oriental china. My pedals are DW7000’s, a DW5000 hi-hat stand, and DW9000 boom stands. For sticks, I play Vic Firth Freestyle 5b. My in-ear setup is a simple rack unit mixer/headphone amp/power conditioner with a DI built into the box. Any of us could talk about our gear forever.

Brandon:
We’ll be here for a while if I go over every piece of gear I used! I’ll go over the big parts though to keep it short. My favorite guitar is my Gibson Les Paul Tribute. It’s definitely the best-sounding guitar I own. You’ll hear it all over the new album too. I’ve got a heavily modified Fender Stratocaster that I play more live than my Gibson just because I’m paranoid about breaking it or getting it stolen. I painted it blue, put a humbucker in the bridge, and stickered the hell out of it, and I wrote BLM on the pickguard last year after you know what happened. My amp is a Laney Ironheart which is more of a heavy metal style amp but it sounds great the way I use it. I’ve got like a billion pedals but the highlights are an EQD Plumes overdrive that I dig, a Way Huge Supa Puss Delay, and an EQD Rainbow Machine. 

Alex:
I’ll do my best to make this brief but I’m sure I’ll fail. For guitars, my rotation of main’s are my 2003 reissue Epiphone ‘58 Korina Flying V, MIM Fender Stratocaster, and My “Jazzmaster” build. I “refinished” the V, simplified the electronics, and put a JB in the bridge. How can you go wrong? I’m thinking about installing a coil-split or a phase inverter switch, but we’ll see. As for the strat, like Brandon, I have an SD Hot Rails in the bridge position. I also installed graphtech saddles, a graphtech nut, an EB 5-way blade switch, Fender locking tuners, linear taper 500k volume potentiometer (I kept the tone controls 250k), and just a few cosmetic things. I think the only original parts on the strat are the neck/middle position pickups (because they sound killer) and the husk itself. Moving on to the infamous ”Jazzmaster.” Long story short, I had a 2014 Fender Marauder Modern player that took an unfortunate fall. I didn’t see the point in repairing it as I had already played it into the ground (pun wicked intended) so I took the Jazzmaster pickup, and the Triple Bucker, found a CNC’d JM style body, and a left handed Stratocaster Neck. The end result is well, let’s just say purists wouldn’t like it. I run those through my Rockerverb 100 MKIII with one of my PPC412’s loaded with three UK V30’s and a MOJO tone VM-30 which is usually the one I mic. Simply for its darker presence. I like to run a dark, mid-range focused tone. For pedals, I use a Sennheiser xsw-d wireless system/tuner, Boss GE-7, a first-run 80s Boss PH-2, Keely Compressor, EQD Dispatch Master, Source Audio Vertigo Tremolo, Radial PB-1 boost, EXH Freeze, and two gates. One is a TC electronic sentry for my pre-amp and an ISP Decimator II in my fx loop to eliminate that nasty 60cycle hum. I have so many more guitar builds but I think I’ll end this answer here. Otherwise, this article will be much, much longer.

Dylan:
Fender Precision Bass, Sansamp RBI run through a Peavey IPR2, and a Black Market Custom 6×10 cab. That’s it. 

Marcus:
As you can see we’re gearheads. When we’re recording we usually don’t use all the same stuff as we do live besides guitars. For this last record, we used Kemper profiles of a Friedman, and a Bogner for the most part and we used Brandon’s Gibson Les Paul Tribute and my LTD NW-44 for distorted guitars. For cleans, we used a Fender Strat, a Fender Tele, and an interesting sounding Guild Alex had through various clean amp profiles. For bass, we used my Fender P/J Special Edition and a Kemper profile of an Ampeg B25. For vocals, we used a Manley Reference Gold tube microphone. For drums, we bounced between a similar SJC kit and a DW kit (because our producer bought a new drum set during quarantine when his studio shut down) with a full Zildjian cymbal set to match Ryan’s true sound as much as possible. For the future, we’ve definitely talked about trying to emulate our live sound more though because we love our rigs.

Image courtesy of Another One Down!

Anthony:
And another we ask everyone! Do you guys collect any music? Vinyl, CDs, tapes, cassettes? What albums and artists mean the most to you whether or not they influence your music?

Marcus:
I used to be an avid CD collector, but I’ve been slacking lately since I got more into streaming. I do have a small vinyl collection though, consisting of some of my dad’s old vinyl, and some more modern bands that I like. If I really love an album, I’ll still buy the Vinyl or CD of it because I see it as sort of an art piece. There are so many albums that mean a lot to me, I think the entire American Football discography means a lot to me because it got me through some really hard times in my life (enough as to where my first tattoo is the house from LP1). Turnover’s Peripheral Vision as well. The last two I’ll mention are All Time Low’s So Wrong, It’s Right, and A Day To Remember’s Homesick, which aside from Blink-182 and Green Day are the main reasons I make the music I do today. 

Ryan:
Just recently I’ve been collecting a small amount of vinyl. Nothing too extreme, but a few of my newest editions are ISMFOF’s You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter, Vanna’s The Search Party Never Came, Hollow Front’s Loose Threads, and Keep Flying’s Survival. As for influential albums/artists, there are two specific albums that will always play a huge role in my life. That is Enema of the State by Blink-182 and Rise or Die Trying by Four Year Strong (which I also own both on vinyl).

Dylan:
Back in the day, my parents didn’t have an aux cord in their car, and we drove around a lot. I began collecting CDs back then. A couple of CDs from that era that really stuck with me are How We Operate by Gomez, Viva La Vida by Coldplay, London Calling by The Clash, and every Beatles album. Nowadays, I find myself collecting vinyl. I don’t have a huge extensive collection or anything, but one of my favorites is a signed copy of We Don’t Have Each Other by Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties. That album was really influential to me as a whole, and one of my good friends got me that vinyl as a gift for my birthday one year. Joe if you’re reading this you’re the GOAT.

Brandon:
I haven’t bought a lot of vinyl lately, but the most recent vinyl record I got was U.G.L.Y.’s LP Goons Live Young. Marcus plays guitar in that band, and the singer, Jack, was the singer in my old band, Silence the Radio. My main musical influences are basically still the same as when I was a kid. Billie Joe Armstrong’s rhythm guitar playing is etched in my brain, and as a lead guitarist, I unapologetically just try to emulate Slash.

Alex:
I’m more of an instrument enthusiast. As far as musicians/albums go, there’s a long list. But to summarize, James Hetfield of Metallica, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doyle from The Misfits (and various solo projects) Stevie Ray Vaughan are my main influences on the way I play. Albums? Jeez. So many. But I’m gonna have to go with Cold Bones by Bad Luck. That album is everything I needed at that point in my life. 

Image courtesy of Another One Down!

Anthony:
What would your fantasy lineup for a tour be that you would love to see or be a part of? Personally, I got to see The Story So Far, Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday, and that was pretty close for me.

Marcus:
Oh yeah, when I heard about that TSSF, Coheed, TBS tour I was like, “Wow that’s insane.” Hmm…for me it would probably be A Day To Remember, All Time Low, Four Year Strong, The Story So Far, Another One Down!

Ryan:
A dream lineup for me would have to be State Champs, Four Year Strong, The Wonder Years, and Another One Down!

Dylan:
I’m actually lucky enough where I got to see my dream concert. It was Modern Baseball, The Front Bottoms, and Brand New. These were my three absolute favorite bands at the time, and even though some of them haven’t aged well, that is still the most emotional, and impactful show I’ve ever been to. But if we’re talking about a dream fantasy concert, I’d love AOD! to be on, it would be with Modern Baseball (back together), Death Cab for Cutie, The Clash, and Kero Kero Bonito ’cause why not?

Brandon:
If we’re talking fantasy lineup, I would love it if Blink-182 took us on tour with them along with Four Year Strong, and maybe KennyHoopla ’cause the stuff he’s putting out right now is fire.

Alex:
Another One Down!, and Metallica. 

No, but seriously, I’d love to have a lineup that consists of AOD!, Bad Luck, Four Year Strong, and TSSF. That would be absolutely bonkers. 

Anthony:
What other passions do you guys have outside of music? Do you try to keep work, and play separate? Or is it just all intertwined?

Marcus:
I went to Berklee College of Music, so I do a lot of other musical work producing other bands and teaching guitar. Other than that, I spend the rest of my time watching comedies, and playing Nintendo games, mostly.

Ryan:
Outside of music, I am a graphic designer both as my day job and as a freelancer focusing on the music industry. That kind of forces my passion for graphic design to intertwine with AOD!, which I am totally okay with. I see it as I am always trying to better our visual aspects while also bettering myself as an artist.

Dylan:
I can’t escape music. It’s a curse. When I’m not playing with AOD!, I’m playing with other bands, teaching music, writing, and producing my own songs, or making YouTube videos for my music. I watch anime, and I think about how good the soundtrack is. I play video games, and I’m jamming out to the score. I go to parties, and I stand in the corner thinking, “They don’t know I listen to 100 gecs.” [Laughs]. Just kidding…I don’t go to parties

Brandon:
I’m in school right now trying to get a computer science degree, but I mean other than that, and the stuff I do in this band, not much really. I play bass in a Hardcore band called Traverse as well, and we released an EP last year during the pandemic called Sick to Death (shameless plug).

Alex:
I really enjoy building, rebuilding, and most of the time completely devaluing guitars. Weird wiring, getting different pickup voicings, working with what I got (I call it Rat Modding the V being a great example), and just making something out of nothing. A lot of my inspiration for that stuff comes from my time working in the automotive field. I also started to do some fill-in work for bands that need a bassist/guitarist. Just to break out of my comfort zone, and become a little more versatile. It’s a lot of fun. When I’m not busy with that stuff, I’m usually demoing song ideas, spending as much time as I can with those closest to me, and as of a couple of weeks ago, I got back into collecting Pokémon cards. Still don’t know how to play though. 

Anthony:
What does the future of Another One Down! look like? And finally, where can people find your music?

Marcus:
I think we’re all really excited about the future. We’re so proud of this new record we’re putting out, and we really want to tour it the best we can and get out to new places with it. The reception we’ve received from it so far has been insanely positive, so the future looks bright. You can find all our music on any streaming platform, and it’s still up on iTunes and Bandcamp for you crazy people that still buy music. 

Anthony:
Guys, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Is there anything else you’d like to say or mention that we may have missed, or didn’t go over?

Marcus:
Thanks for having us, and thanks for asking great questions!

Image courtesy of Another One Down!

Interested in learning more about the music of Another One Down!? Check out the link below:

Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/a-m-radio-archives/

About Post Author

Anthony Montalbano

Anthony Montalbano grew up in New York and North Carolina. Anthony is a baker by day and a contributor to the Vinyl Writer cause by night. With a passion for podcasts, Pop Punk, video games, and more, Anthony brings a unique and fresh perspective to the team. Anthony's column is a catch-all for the things he loves most, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
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