Chicago's 2*Sweet have been making waves in the quickly expanding pop-punk scene. They are currently Smartpunk's #1 selling unsigned band - a feat that is sure to capture the eyes and ears of labels across the country. Read this funny and insightful interview to learn a little more about these rising hometown heroes.
PPJ: To begin, please tell us who you are and what you do in the band.
Justin Pence: Hello, I am Justin Pence, I sing in 2*sweet.
PPJ: Can you tell us how your band got to be where it is today?
Justin: We started playing out in many different bands together and decided to form this group very unseriously, 40 demos later and alot of figuring out exactly what we enjoy in music, we started to take this band full time and have done things our own way, making it up as we go, we recorded a record and released it on our own, we book our own tours and that's where we are at!
PPJ: You've always been heavily promoted by "Hey Chris" Gutierrez. How much do you think that endorsement has influenced your fanbase? Has it brought you any negative attention?
Justin: Chris is an amazing dude, it has certainly influenced our fan base, he gave us a chance and has always helped us spread the word on all the new stuff we have going on. Everything about that dude is positive, he is an amazing friend and author, we plan on touring with him again in the near future.
PPJ: Your MySpace page lists your genre as "Chicago Doom Pop." What exactly does that mean?
Justin: We like riffs alot, we like heavy riffs, we try and incorporate as many heavy riffs as we can, we like to think of them as doomy. My vocal style has morphed into a more morbid operatic feel so thats where the first part comes from. In all we are a pop band, we write pop songs with choruses, doom pop!
PPJ: You guys are still unsigned, so you're putting out your debut alone. What has that been like?
Justin: It has been alot of hard work, we developed everything on our own, did all of our own marketing, all our own promotion, the last two months before the release were insanely difficult and busy especially for me, but to have a final product in our hands is an outstanding feeling.
PPJ: Is there promise of a signing announcement anytime soon?
Justin: There is no promise of that sorts, we made up our own label though, C. Walrus.
PPJ: 2*Sweet has a heavy presence on all kinds of social networking sites. How much time do you guys spend on those pages? Do you think it makes your fanbase tighter?
Justin: We spend a good deal of time promoting, networking and communicating on the internet, it's awesome to us that people want to reach out to us like that, we spend as much time as we need to, doing our own promotion has been a very personal process for us. I absolutely believe it helps to make the fanbase tighter, we are a very hands on, extremely accessible band, I believe that it is very important to do so. We have a brand new video upload feed on our myspace, we post and respond to messages daily, on tour it gets slow but we make it work.
PPJ: You've got a relentless touring schedule with The Appreciation Post this summer. What are you most looking forward to on this tour?
Justin: We are on tour with The Appreciation Post right now, we get along with these dudes so well, I am most looking forward to grilling as much as possible this summer, grilling and swimming, that is summer!
PPJ: Tell us one thing about each 2*Sweet band member that people probably don't know.
Justin: I am a vegan. Dave is straightedge. Pete is a shredlord. Andy is a beat maker. Dan is a wolf enthusiast.
PPJ: What are your plans after your summer tour is over?
Justin: More tours, demoing new songs, more tours, more tours, more songs, more tours, working on a dvd, working on a cartoon, more touring and repeat.
PPJ: Finally, tell us three bands you think we should be listening to.
Justin: Three bands you should be listening to; two of which we are touring with this summer: Fireworks (from Michigan), This Time Next Year (from Cali), Debello (from Chicago). Also listen to Down.