Hey guys! How’s it going today?
I'm doing very well, thank you for asking.
So, who all am I talking to today?
Just me, Hagen.
Oh, cool, cool. So, what exactly are your positions in the band and what do you do?
I'm the lead vocalist and I play a bit of guitar as well. Daniel Anthony Castleberry is behind the drums. Cody plays guitar as well, and Noah is our bassist.
What is your favorite part about being in the band?
I think being a part of not only the scene here in Tulsa, but a community that stretches all the way across the country has been a hugely rewarding for us. There is so much hospitality and kindness out there and we've made lifelong friends going out and playing shows across the country.
What were you doing before you joined NeoRomantics, and how did you meet each other?
I met Anthony back in 2013 and kind of pitched the idea for NeoRomantics. We were attending the same community college at the time and we had both graduated from the same high school. That said, we only sort of knew of each other at the time. I think we connected through some mutual friends, or maybe the internet, I don't really remember. We immediately hit it off and have been best friends ever since. It was really serendipitous that we have such creative chemistry, considering it was kind of a shot in the dark at the time. Noah and Cody jumped on over the summer, as fill ins, for our headliner, at The Vanguard and we were so pleased with their performance that we immediately asked them to jump on board the project. We knew creatively that they would be a valuable asset, not to mention how infectiously ambitious they were. It was really refreshing, adding them to the lineup and it really pushed me a lot. Stylistically, it gave me a lot of context as to where to push the new record.
Have you guys always been involved in music? What inspired you to choose this path?
NeoRomantics was my first band, and prior to that I really wasn't involved in the scene at all. I grew up singing, in fact, I can't really remember a time when I wasn't. I sang in church and in elementary school honor choir and all of that. I feel like my parents really opened up that creative outlet and encouraged me not to forget that I had a voice. It seemed to be this sort of cathartic thing that I could fall back on but it wasn't until I was a young adult that it sort of hit me that it was what I wanted to do in any serious capacity. I can't really remember what the catalyst was, for starting Neo. For me, it just needed to happen. As far as the other guys, I know Anthony has been playing since he was little and played in the school band and that sort of thing. Cody and Noah started out in their formative years as well and have been in loads of bands.
Do you think the Tulsa scene has evolved over the years, or has it stayed the same? If it has evolved then how so, and where do you see it in the next 10 years?
I definitely think it's ever evolving. Anthony and so many others have done some incredible work for the scene and I think it's stronger than ever. The bar scene is huge here and it's starting to become a DIY haven, in my opinion. We have a loads of formidable acts drawing new people into venues at home, and getting out on the road and representing Tulsa on tour.
How would you improve the scene?
I mean, I think the people who are working actively for the scene in Tulsa are doing a proper job. We just need to continue to push each other. We need the bands on the forefront of the scene to continue making waves nationally and internationally. I don't have a lot of negative criticism really, I think it's just important that we all do our part in making sure that Tulsa's scene lives up to its potential. So long as things continue to grow and flourish the way they have, I think we are going to have a really massive, influential scene here in the near future.
So, when you guys write songs how does it all come together?? Like is it lyrics first, or instrumentals?? How long do you think it normally comes up with a song? What’s been like the longest it’s taken to write a song, and what’s been the shortest?
I don't think I have any particular routine as far as songwriting goes. It's an ever evolving process for me, which sometimes makes things more difficult as far as continuity goes, but I also has a tendency to make things more interesting in the long run. For this record, the song that's taken the most amount of time, is an untitled song that we currently call "Chicago Song" that I wrote about balancing tour and your life at home. It has a bunch of time signature changes and stuff and it took us a bit to sort of nail everything down. The song was on a loop in my head for like a week in between rehearsals. We toured it a little bit but I don't think it had reached its full form until the other night in Tulsa. The song that's taken the least amount of time? There's another untitled track that pretty much wrote itself. I wrote the song back in April on the acoustic guitar and had been thumbing around with how to use it in the context of NeoRomantics. Towards the end of one rehearsal, I just starting picking it and playing it to myself while people were starting to load up. Everyone heard it, plugged back in, and we played the entire song without breaking on the first try.
What’s your favorite song that you’ve written with NeoRomantics, and why is it that?
It's hard to pick favorites. It's like a parent picking which of their children they like the most. I think there is an aspect of nostalgia that comes into play when you're playing songs you wrote when you were 18. There are so many memories buried in them. Then with the newer stuff, it's fresh and exciting to showcase where you're at now. I think on the last run I enjoyed playing the aforementioned, "Chicago song" the most.
What are you guys currently listening to right now?
I have a playlist I've been spinning a lot that has a bunch of Life Lessons, and Salt Creek, and Embracer, some regional bands we've come across that are killing right now.
What’s been the hardest and most difficult part of playing in a band? On the opposite what’s been the most rewarding and fun?
At least for me, balance, probably. It's easy to let it consume all of your energy. That said, I think we handle it all pretty well. Being gone, even for the short amounts of time that we are can weigh on you. We are all really family oriented and being away can feel tough sometimes. As far as the most rewarding? At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think there are people who are really intrinsically connected to what we do. Like our music defined a certain time in their life and hearing people tell you that it made an impact on them really drives me to continue to do it.
I’ve heard that you’re going to be releasing an E.P. this summer. Could you talk about that a little bit? How will it differ at all from your past efforts if it will at all?
Probably closer to spring time, actually, but yeah. This record is really interesting because in essence, we really turned the entire process that we used to write our last record on its head. I generally come up with a concept and map out the skeleton for the song, and the guys picks those songs up and filling in all of the blank spaces and embellishing it. Cody and Noah and Anthony are all creative forces, and they all bring someone unique to the table. I'd say that topically, it's a lot looser conceptually and less melodramatic which I think added an entirely new dynamic, and ultimately made it more intimate for me. It forced me to evaluate myself through clear eyes rather than just bearing all of my heartache in every song. Being our first release in about two years, I think the growth in maturity that you'll see from Anthony and I will be stark. I also think sonically you're going to hear a pretty clear shift. I think we've focused a lot more heavily on texture and tone and production on this record.
Where do you wanna NeoRomantics next? Like is there a tour coming up soon, or anything
As far as what I want for NeoRomantics? I want to tour with my favorite bands and put out as much new music as possible. Everything that we've ever really wanted to do seems more viable every day. We've been working for four years to get to this point and now that we have traction, we aren't slowing down for anything. As far as what we have coming up? We have a tour coming up within the next few months, but unfortunately, I can't talk about the details yet. It's a big one for us though.
Last thing I have to know is how did you guys come up with that amazing stage move you did last Saturday night where the lead singer lifted the bassist in the air and turned him upside down? What’s the story behind that if there is any at all?
I wish that I could take credit for coming up with that, but I had seen bands do similar stuff before ever trying it. It's always worked well for me because I'm a pretty big guy and our bassists for the most part have been light and easy to toss around. We've been known to do some wild stuff on stage.
Anything else you'd like to tell our readers about you, NeoRomantics, or anything else we didn’t cover??
Uhm, I would say go listen to our new single 'Concentrated'. It's on all major media platforms now. Make sure to look out for upcoming tours and try and catch us live. We'd love to meet new people and make new friends.
Well, thanks so much for taking your time, and talking with MNSTRM Media! We really appreciate it, and can’t wait to see what’s next in store for you guys!