By: Joseph Longo
They're the type of band you stumble upon. During their recent Summerfest Musical Festival set, lead singer Brendan Hoye introduced them as such. “Who are these guys?” Hoye said. “We are Finish Ticket from San Francisco.”
With a guitar-heavy, tinged sound, Finish Ticket seemingly regurgitates in both sound and style. Reminiscent of Walk the Moon or the 1975, they face an uphill battle to notoriety.
But, it’s a disservice to simply reduce Finish Ticket to just another in a long-line of boy bands. The up-and-comers need a niche, and they may have found that in stage presence. Performing with a raw energy unrivaled by their peers, they finally standout. It’s hard to deny they bring something to the table. Give them a few years, and Finish Ticket will have found that unique quality.
In the past year, you have opened for Twenty One Pilots and Fitz & the Tantrums. How has opening for such big names influenced your sound and your band as a whole?
Brendan Hoye: It’s always a new challenge playing to different people’s crowds. You just learn a lot each time, because it’s a different crowd and a different type of person you’re playing to. Within the first day of the tour every time you kind of realize quickly who you’re dealing with and how you have to command the stage a certain way. Twenty One Pilots is a much younger crowd; Fitz & the Tantrums a much older, dancier crowd. With the Fitz & the Tantrums crowd, we’ll have to keep working them the whole time.
You recently announced a Fall 2016 headlining tour. This will be the second headlining tour, after completing your first this Spring. Why such a quick turnaround? Do you just enjoy being on the road?
Alex DiDonato: Our headline tour last time was really eye-opening for us, because we had never done one before. We realized we actually had fans across the country, so we’re kind of eager to get back out and kind of do the same thing again and hit a lot of those same places because we had such a great time.
H: That was such a big milestone for us. As much as we do love opening, now that we have gotten to do a headline--I think every band prefers playing their own crowds. We had never known that. Before that, we had a few markets like New York and San Francisco, but now we can go do it across the country...It’s a lot more comfortable.
You have a predominantly young female fan base. Do you feel any responsibility to be role models or watch what you say for them
D: A little bit, but we don’t want to filter ourselves too much. I think most bands who have fans of any kind are kind of sometimes seen as role models. We generally try to be nice people, even if we weren’t role models. So we’re just continuing who we are and luckily we’re not bad people.
Because you’re coming up in the indie-rock scene, do you feel any pressure to set yourself apart?
H: Every band has a certain path and it takes certain bands longer. It took us longer; we’ve been putting music out since 2008. I don’t think we found our real sound until 2010. Even back then, our sound kind of fit what would now be the "mainstream alt-rock" sound. We’re still pushing our (When Night Becomes Day) EP, but we have new music on our minds. I think now we have gotten to where we want to be or starting too.
We’re an arts magazine, but we also like to talk about social justice. A lot of artists like to discuss this topic, while others don’t feel like that’s something to talk about. How do you stand on this?
D: We’re not opposed to talking about it. Obviously it’s a little polarizing when you talk about your views as it has to be one way or another. But, we’re all for social justice; that should be a given. Power to the people, but we don’t want skew people away from us just because we might have different personal views from them. Our music is meant to affect whoever feels affected by it. If anybody connects with it, it doesn’t really matter what their other views are.
H: As individuals it’s important to a lot of us, but until recently we never really had the platform. It’s really a newer thing for us to even think about.
You like to stay active on social media. Why is that important to you?
H: I’m conflicted about it. Social media can be very toxic in any way for every random person, but also just for bands. It makes you really check in, and you have to be involved in social media.
D: It’s how we stay in touch with our fanbase. Most of the fans only really find out about stuff going on with us through social media. So, it forces us to be a part of it regularly.
H: Especially when you’re a band that is up-and-coming. You’re not so massive that world travels through every outlet ever. When you don’t have that kind of power, you really have to rely on social media to get the word out about like the upcoming tour. We stay really active on it so people are constantly reminded of our presence on social media. So when we have big announcements, it will reach them.
You’re arguably best known for “Color,” but what’s your favorite song?
D: Our favorite song live to play is “Bring the Rain.” It really encompasses our band and our sound more than “Color.” We like to put on a really high-energy (set)--I don’t want to say intense. But, we want to be really captivating, and that sound does that the best.
H: On the EP, there’s one called “Wrong.” Lyrically, I love that one. I’m happy “Color” has connected with a lot of people and a lot of people like it. I can see why it is an obvious single, but us as a band it’s probably one of our least favorites out of everything we’ve done. I don’t mean to disparage anybody that likes that song. If anyone just knows “Color,” delve deeper, check out our last record, and check out other songs on the EP. You’ll get a better idea of who we are.