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Life on the Road: an Interview with senses about Touring in an RV

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Hi! My name is Amanda (A)! I’m a concert photographer based in Atlanta, and I had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with senses, an LA-based pop-punk trio, before their show at The Vinyl. I got to meet up with singer Madison Taylor (M), drummer Nick Sampson (N), and guitarist Josh Bissell (J), who together are currently supporting Carlie Hanson on her headlining U.S. tour. They welcomed me with open arms into their world as we sat down and talked life on the road, influences, new music, learning experiences, and more. 

Your bio on Spotify says that you guys met on Craigslist. Can you give us a little storytime of how that happened? 

M: I mean, not a whole, huge story. I just put out an ad; I tried a couple of different websites and Craigslist was just randomly the one that worked and stuck. So yeah I threw some influences up and they both dug my influences and so he [Nick] reached out first and then a couple of months later Josh reached out. 

A: Was it something like, you knew it was meant to be?

M: “It was more slow-progressing than that, we clicked really well but it took a while to kind of get the pieces in place… but now that we say we met on Craigslist it seems like in hindsight that it all, like, fell together.

Are you guys all from the LA-area?

M: No, none of us are from LA, I’m from Wisconsin originally but I’ve lived in LA for like eleven years. So yeah he [Nick] is the only California boy!

A: What part of California are you from?

N: Fresno! Middle of California.

A: And Josh where are you from?

J: I grew up in Maine on a dairy farm!

A: Maine!!! Wow, so you guys really are all from different places.

N: Yeah, but we all live in LA.

M: We’re based in LA and we’ve lived in LA for many years.

J: We met in LA and all of that good stuff.

So I really want to know, how has tour life been treating you guys and if you’ve had any memorable moments so far.

M: I think the most memorable for me is the fun of everything that breaks simultaneously (laughs) … that’s honestly the funniest part! 

N: (Laughs) Yeah, the RV breaks every day.

M: Different things just start not working…

J: Sometimes you just feel like you’re in a movie; we just get one thing fixed and the next day something else will break and then you’re like “I’m scared to fix anything else because what if something that breaks next is even more needed than what we just fixed?”

M: I think the funniest as of late was that we had just had to fix something one morning because we couldn’t leave New York and we were almost stuck… We were finally able to leave and down the highway, as we’re driving a wasp appeared inside the RV out of nowhere and started flying around and Nick and I were like doing parkour trying to kill this thing and Josh was just like:

J: (reenacting the scene) “What’s going on? What’s going on? You gotta tell me where it is! Where is it?!?!?”

What are your thoughts on RV life?

N: It’s fine, I honestly like it.

J: I think it’s better than living out of a van for sure, it affords a lot of comforts. You can’t go through the drive-thru, so you’ve gotta kind of plan your food accordingly, but we also can cook food for ourselves. We’ve got a fridge for leftovers, and we’ve been very efficient.

M: Yeah that has been really nice, just to have everything you need at arms reach.

A: It’s also so cost-saving.

M: Yeah and people think it’s the opposite but it honestly was the cheapest option for the tours we want to do.

J: And as nice as it is to go into hotels, you have to put all of your stuff in the hotel and pack it all back up and bring it back down and pack it all in again. (With the RV) Everything is just always there.

N: It’s also like you don’t really know what you’re getting into in that hotel, you could walk in and there’s a murder scene! In the RV I know what my little bed is gonna be like so that’s nice.

If you had to pick a favorite, go-to album that you’ve been listening to on tour, what would it be? What’s been getting you through?

M: You know what’s funny I haven’t really listened to a lot of music, to be honest. I think it’s not the new Muna album but the other Muna album… I’ve listened to that a couple of times. Honestly, I’ve been watching the new season of Outerbanks, that’s my thing

J: I’ve been catching up on Drive to Survive on Netflix and listening to Finch’s “What It Is to Burn” album.

N: I’ve been listening to the new Muna album

M: The new one???

N: The newest one, I love Muna and I love that album.

M: I’ve got “Stayaway” on repeat… I just can’t stop listening to that one. 

How do you guys like to rotate turns driving?

N: (Jokingly) Glad you asked!

M: Nick is the official co-pilot, he lives in the co-pilot chair.

N: I’m too scared to drive the RV… it’s massive. 

M: At first, Josh pretty much drove it for the first few days, and then I started driving, so now we kind of switch off and we take turns.

N: Josh did the West Coast, and then Mad jumped it- then it started becoming more them… I rooted them on. I grab them chips! You need water? I got you.

I’ve been hearing that you guys have been working on your new EP. How has that process been and is it expected to be released this year?

N: Yeah! It’s all done; it just needs to be polished up.

J: We finished it right before we left actually.

M: We had the full EP done, like, the third week of January, which was a surprise. We were planning on working on it after the tour was done but our producers had some openings! We’re ahead of schedule which is amazing.

N: We have a song coming out in a week actually! A week from today!

A: Oh really! What’s it called?

M: It’s called “novocain!”

J: Yeah we’re super excited about it!

A: That’s awesome! Looking forward to it!

Who would you each say are your major influences?

J: Blink-182 and honestly NSYNC for harmonies and stuff. I feel like we really just love to create things with big-sounding hooks. So either if it’s a slow song, a ballad, or more upbeat; when the hook hits and it sounds big, then we’re like okay, this is our thing.

A: I definitely got that from listening to you guys. It was like a punch almost, it was cool.

M: Mine are No Doubt and Fleetwood Mac, those are my two biggest ones… and Paramore for sure. Those are definitely my trifecta.

N: Mine are Mötley Crüe, Evanescence, Lady Gaga, Korn, P!nk, Avril…

(Everyone collectively agrees on Avril Lavigne)

J: She’s a queen for sure.

Is there anything, either collectively or individually, have learned as an experience from this tour? 

N: I feel like collectively, we have learned that it’s really hard to get content by yourselves when you’re doing everything else. Genuinely, everything is a full-time job, and we’re doing it all by ourselves. So when we do have downtime it’s just like, “let’s just go to bed.”

M: I think we’ve learned that if we had the option, we would do a driver next time. 

N: A driver would be key.

M: Because the problem is even if we wanted to do something together, one of us is always driving, you know? So that would definitely be a huge help, but overall, I’ve learned I could be gone and on the road for four months and be totally fine; I think that’s cool. It’s my first tour ever, so one week in, I was like, “Oh my God. There’s four weeks left” but now that there is one week left I’m like, “Oh my God… there’s only one week left.” It flew by, but yeah I’ve learned I could do something I’ve never done before! … Even the crazy obstacles we run into, we get over it and we continue on.

J: If you just keep a good attitude with everybody, it goes a long way. When you’re on the road, it’s not just yourselves, you’ve got the other bands on the tour. If you can just find a way to make it a positive experience for them every day, then they’ll start looking forward to seeing you and you can build those relationships more. 

I was wondering about your all’s sleep schedules. I know driving and the “burden” of navigating, all of that must add up.

N: You know, I have to stay awake…

J: This is true.

A: Does Nick keep you guys company while you’re driving?

M: We kind of do everything in solidarity honestly, it’s kind of hard to sleep even if you’re not driving. It’s either really bumpy or it’s just like you’re in this tube barrelling down the highway.

J: You constantly feel like at any moment you’re going to be ejected from your seat across to the other wall.

M: So we kind of all have the same sleep schedule: after the show, we try to get to wherever we’re gonna park for the night and usually that’s at about 12-12:30 (AM). We try to sleep as fast as we can, it just depends. We get up early when we need to, but hopefully, we can just sleep in.

A: Is it hard driving after shows?

J & N: Yes.

J: I’ll drink like two Red Bulls…

M: Some nights it’s difficult, but I feel like I have so much energy after the show that I feel like I can drive for a couple of hours if I wanted. Then we’re all collectively just like… “let’s go to bed.”

A: I feel like it could go either way, either you’re really tired or really pumped up off the energy.

M: Yeah, especially since all shows are different, like the energy the crowd gives you. Everything all kind of adds to the decision.

Anything else that you guys would like to add?

M: Stay tuned for our EP!

N: “novocain” comes out April 4th! 

Show Date: 03.27.23 | Atlanta, GA @ The Vinyl | Life on the Road with senses

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