Underdog Champs caught my eye (based on one of their really funny music videos which you can view below) and I wanted to know more about them, so singer Mark Bradly kindly answered our questions:
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We all grew up in Northern VA – Fairfax area, but 75% of us (Nick, Josh and I) now live in Richmond VA and call it home.
How did you meet?
We met playing in various bands in the Northern VA music scene. All of us have been in and out of bands for a while and were all really big fans of each other’s projects and enjoyed working together.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Underdog Champs played their first note at a house show in January 2015. We’ve been going on two years technically, but it really does not feel long at all.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Haha! We are not sick of that question because the story is pretty funny… I wanted to call the band something dumb, so we all sat down and went through the list of names that I suggested right before our first show. We decided upon Underdog Champs because the rest were all just so bad.
What are your influences?
We all listen to tons of music, but the influences that make it into the band are definitely bands like Taking Back Sunday, Underoath, Mayday Parade, Anarbor, Blink, and Pierce the Veil. It may be hard to hear some of those influences but they are there subtly. Stage performance-wise we also draw a lot from the Chariot and one day will be able to pull off playing with such passion and accuracy live.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Our music is a fresh mix of all the styles we love. We don’t really care about genre when writing; we just finish the song. The songs contain a lot of different styles within them – from heavy to proggy to pop punk. We think that what makes us unique is that we don’t try to be a certain way. This album has an acoustic song, a proggy song, a heavy song, a pop punk song, and some poppier songs. I wouldn’t be upset if on the next release we have some spoken word verses or a super heavy song.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
This EP is all about the dark skeletons in the closet that we all hide. I try to write as specific as possible in my lyrics, while also not making things too obvious. Songwriting for me is a way to express emotions that I keep deep inside and don’t get a chance to really talk about or figure out until I write them down. This record was a lot of darkness over the past two years that I saw and dealt with.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We want to have as much fun as possible at shows. We leave everything on the stage and just try to not hit each other. Our live show is very high-energy. We’ve played a fair amount of shows, I think 50-60 or so, over the last two years and we want to play more!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
We get dangerously close to hurting each other every show because we move around a lot… One time a drunk guy went onstage and started shouting nonsense into Nick’s mic, trying to guess the words to our song. It was funny for about 5 seconds, then it started to get weird. We had to motion to someone from the venue to ask him to leave.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Here’s what we use – and we would love endorsements from any of these fine companies:
Justin uses an Orange Ad200b amp head, SWR 8×10 cab that he re-finished himself, and a Fender P bass.
Josh is a Zildjian elitist with 3 ride cymbals. his shells used to be an OCDP Newport, now it’s a bastardation with his own custom wrap.
Nick plays a custom mahogany Tele into a Soldano Hot Rod 50 and a Peavey 5150 running in stereo into an Orange ppc412-hp cab.
I sing into a beaten-up SM58 usually, or whatever the venue has so long as it’s not too smelly.
What are your plans for 2017?
We plan to keep writing songs, play more shows, hopefully do a few more music videos, and maybe even release more music before the year is over! We have been writing a lot and have tons of ideas that we need to finish up after the EP cycle slows down. We would love to play our local date of Warped Tour or a bigger pop punk festival.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
That’s such a hard question… but a new one and a good one! I think we could all agree that opening for A Day to Remember or Blink 182 would be a dream come true, with someone cool from our hometown like Centerfolds or Kept at Bay (reunion) opening up for us. There are so many cool bands from our area – if you check out our hometown shows you can find out more of them!
EP Skeletons in Daylight is released on 24th February