Household Stories began to pursue their musical ambitions in the winter of 2011. With varying personal and musical backgrounds, Jon Majiros, Matt Zeoli and Frank Hebda became fluent in finding the chemistry that has produced the band's unique sound. With influences that include anything from The Beatles and Neil Young to Nada Surf and The Smashing Pumpkins, the band's sound is an unmistakable blend of melodic lead guitar, solid acoustic rhythm and driving lyrics backed by a technical, ear-pleasing barrage of drumming.
In the abscence of a Bassist, their combination of instruments can be compared to the likings of An Horse and Best Coast. Listeners have likened Household Stories to various esteemed acts such as: The National, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Built to Spill.
Jon Majiros - Guitar // Vocals
Matt Zeoli - Lead Guitar // Vocals
Frank Hebda - Drums
Household Stories recently just released their second EP titled "Blueprints" which was recorded and mastered at Mr. Smalls Studio in Pittsburgh, PA. The tracks include such titles as "Brothers and Sisters", "Pick Up the Pieces" and geek friendly track "Collider"--maybe the only song partially inspired by the large hadron collider!
Interview with Household Stories
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Sound Chronicles (SC): What first struck me about you guys was your band name “Household Stories” (H...Sound Chronicles (SC): What first struck me about you guys was your band name “Household Stories” (HS). Please, elaborate a bit about how the name came about.
Household Stories (HS): Well, we first came together with our instruments in the upstairs of Jon’s duplex, which is home to his housemate, Steve. When we started to get serious about the whole band thing Steve helped us out with the name game… we wanted something that related to our musical upbringing and music itself, Household Stories says it all. So thanks to Steve, our friend and fan, Household Stories came to be.
SC: I like to think that every band has a unique musical point of view. What would you say is the musical point of view for HS?
HS: Good, relatable song writing…with a unique melodic message anyone can listen to and enjoy, whether they are 16 or 60.
SC: What is HS trying to achieve, if anything, with their sound?
HS: We would like to reach as many people as possible with our music (I guess that’s the cliché answer), yet still maintain a unique and fresh outlook in the music business.
SC: Let’s talk musical influences. Who’s inspired you to write and create your music?
HS: To be honest that’s a hard question to answer seeing how music is such an integral part of our lives, but if we had to nail it down the 90’s Indie scene (Weezer, Nada Surf, Pavement, etc.) , all the classics (The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello) and the recent Indie scene (Death Cab for Cutie, Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, Weatherbox, etc.)
SC: Though you guys are young, there is an “old soul” quality about your music, very reminiscent of The Clarks who are also based in Pittsburgh. How would you rate the current indie music scene in the city of Pittsburgh? Are you guys close with any other bands around town?
HS: From playing in Pittsburgh you can get a sense of how the Indie scene is growing. The more we play the more we discover. There are a plethora of bands we love to play with and who only add to the growing Indie genre. Valedictorian, These Lions, Mount Royal and The Semi-Supervillains are only to name few, but are some of the great bands hovering around Pittsburgh.
SC: So, what’s it like to be a local band? Any favorite venues you like to play? Any insane shows that stick out in your mind? Any stalker fans as of yet?
HS: Being a local band is great…the more we play the more we enjoy it. Pittsburgh has a great music scene stemming from Carson St. on the Southside to Mr. Smalls on the North and to Howler’s Coyote Café in Bloomfield; there are plenty of great venues to play at. We love the ex-cinema feel of the Rex Theater (as well as the sound of course), yet I don’t think we can pin one venue as our favorite because they are all so unique in their own way.
SC: Okay, random question: Pepsi or Coke? Or beer? Don’t worry, this is totally a critical question in the interview process.
HS: Easy, Coke. Unless it’s the weekend.
SC: As you know, there is tons of good music floating around right now. What kind of music do you listen to outside of your own genre. Feel free to name names.
HS: Some of the bands we like to listen to outside of our genre include, but are definitely not limited to, The Strokes, 1,2,3, Bombay Bicycle Club, Givers, Bon Iver, Colour Revolt…the list can go on and on and on.
SC: What’s the next step for Household Stories? Can we expect an EP soon?
HS: Next step, hmmm. Well, we have the artwork for our first EP in the works, done by a great local artist. I believe by the end of September 2011 it will be finished and ready to buy.
Big thanks to Household stories for allowing me to interview them. We look forward to music from you in the future!
Steel City Start-Ups: Household Stories
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Household Stories is a band that prides itself on simplicity. The band only uses one amplifier for l...Household Stories is a band that prides itself on simplicity. The band only uses one amplifier for lead guitarist Matt Zeoli, preferring to plug lead singer Jon Majiros’s acoustic guitar directly into the PA. They don’t have a bassist or even a drum stool for drummer Frank Hebda to use. With their simple setup, they are capable of producing a sound so full that fans have remarked upon hearing a “phantom bass” in the trio’s music.
The band’s indie sound runs deep, creating music that combines gently-pulsing melodies with lyrics weaving slice-of-life vignettes. When the trio talks about their experiences, they finish each other’s sentences, almost as if speaking from one stream of consciousness. They have no set method of writing songs, and the songs are usually brought together from bits and pieces as a collaboration. As Zeoli puts it, “We’re just one big groove machine.”
Despite the simplicity of their set-up, the guys have instant chemistry. Majiros and Zeoli first met while at job training for a YMCA-sponsored summer camp. Zeoli, who currently teaches autistic children, encouraged Majiros to pursue teaching. Hebda and Majiros met on Halloween while Hebda was in a zombie mask, and they jammed together later that night. Hebda then ran into Zeoli when he played a solo acoustic set at the Keynote Café, which became the venue for the band’s first show in late winter of this year. “The owner of the venue, she does everything she can for the artists and musicians that go in there,” said Hebda. “We gave her one of our high-res black and white photos that Jake [Rinehart] took, and she put it on the front window.”
Each member of Household Stories brings a uniqueness to the band through their individual personalities. Hebda is both a visual artist and a musician, and he received his current Sonar drum set from his grandfather at 13. At 15, his grandmother signed for his first tattoo and, noticing his passion for the craft, encouraged him to pursue it. Later, he obtained his GED and began working as an apprentice at Big Daddy’s Tattoos while performing in a local punk band called Slick and the Uglies. That band performed in hole-in-the-wall bars (with a tendency to get shut down quickly) and inspired moshing so intense a listener once crashed into Hebda’s drumset.
Majiros began teaching himself guitar five years ago at 18. “I never really had any critics,” he explained, and said that this gave him the freedom to express himself and let his natural style develop. Majiros is currently a senior at Seton Hills, which is where he plans to graduate in May and become a secondary school teacher in another one of his passions: history. Majiros feels inspired by his parents for both of his passions. Growing up in upstate New York, he remembers his father hosting pig roasts and playing music for his mother, as well as taking him to visit Civil War sites. Majiros draws his musical influences from the 80s, such as the bands Talking Heads and the Cure.
Zeoli finds himself heavily inspired by 90s and early millennium pop and rock bands like Weezer and Motion City Soundtrack. He started playing guitar as a high school student. “When I was in middle school, I told people I played guitar before I played guitar,” joked Zeoli. “Then it was like, ‘Oh crap, I’d better learn.’” A chance-viewing of Buddy Holly on MTV gave him a “musical epiphany,” and set the spark that would encourage him to pursue music more passionately.
The band has progressed so quickly that the members themselves are a bit startled by it. Since their formation towards the beginning of the year, the band has played almost 20 shows and opened for acts such as TS and the Past Haunts. They recorded their four-track self-titled EP at Mr. Smalls, a studio that lists the Black Eyed Peas and Roger Daltry as past clients. Majiros described the recording process as “kind of surreal,” since he had never been in a studio. The band plans to return to the studio in January or February of 2012 to record a full length CD.
For future updates on Household Stories, be sure to check them out at www.facebook.com/householdstories.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.