Welcome to the table,
Music has always been around me but never something I was able to master. I have friends who are accomplished singers, globally touring performers, and everything in between. I enjoy music for sure but I just never mastered the artistry of it. I for sure know what I like but I could not for the life of me tell you why I like it other than how it makes me feel or what vibes it evokes. So when I get a chance to talk to musicians about their craft it’s always a bright spot for me because I’m coming in as a blank slate with no technical knowledge or sense of authority. I’m just a guy, happy to hear songs and sounds that make me smile, and excited to talk about it with the people who are out there making the magic.
I recently got a chance to talk to Marcus Simonini of Another One Down!, a newly signed group to Big Picture Media. This band has really proven themselves to be a bit of an unstoppable force within the New England music scene. Touting 3 EPs and a full-length record under their belt, they’ve established a name for themselves within the pop-punk community, touring all over the east coast and Midwest and racking up well over 1,000,000 Spotify streams.
With a new label behind them and poised to make even more big moves, I was stoked to get a chance to chat with Marcus Simonini about the band’s sound for a bit.
Anton Kromoff: Hey Marcus, before we dive too deep, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Marcus Simonini: We’re Another One Down! a pop-punk band originating in Rhode Island (although most of us live in Massachusetts now). We’ve spent the last few years touring around the east coast, releasing a few EPs, and opening for a lot of notable bands like nothing, nowhere. Meet Me @ The Altar, Four Year Strong, and more. We’ve got a deluxe edition of our debut record A Bitter Descent dropping on May 26th via Open Your Ears Records.
Kromoff: One of my favorite things is learning how bands came up with their names. I can’t tell you the hours spent after we shut down the comic shop where we would sit and listen to random stories of how people’s favorite bands, least favorite bands, or just random bands they had a story for finally landed on the name that stuck. So please, give me another story to add to my arsenal.
Simonini: I really wish we had a better story for how I came up with our band name, in fact sometimes I make up a more interesting story to mess with people or just say it comes from the Kenderick Lamar song Swimming Pools (Drank). But the real story is that I was in a “band” around 2013 and we were trying to figure out what to name ourselves but kept coming up short. I say “band” in quotations because we practiced maybe 4 times total and we were just barely able to cover “Break Your Little Heart” by All Time Low.
But regardless, our original band name was Reverse Theory, but once we realized we somehow overlooked the very well known band Rev Theory we started pitching new band names left and right. Our drummer pitched Another One Down and I loved it from the second I heard it. I think it just pleased my brain because most of my favorite bands started with the letter A, it was a three word common phrase, and it just sounded like a pop-punk band name to me.
Soon after that our drummer decided she didn’t like the name anymore and we somehow settled on Infest The Living and shortly after broke up, but I kept it written down in my notes app and when it came time to start my own pop-punk project, I had my cousin whip me up a logo and thus the band was born. I’m not really sure why I decided to add the exclamation point part but I’m kind of glad I added it because Another One Down by itself just looks boring to me. And to top off the story, that drummer did end up calling me out on Facebook saying I stole the name when I announced I had started a new band. But hey, we never technically used it so I’d say that’s fair game.
Kromoff: You added the exclamation point, that magic was all you. So you guys are from New England. I love New England. I used to live in Haverhill, work in Salem, and have friends who own comic shops in New Hampshire, the whole area has more good memories than bad for me. How did you all cross paths and decide to form “Another One Down!”
Simonini: It’s definitely been a long journey creating the lineup that is currently Another One Down!. So the band was originally started by me in 2014 with a few of my high school classmates and the drummer from a metal band I was in previously. We recorded two EPs with that lineup but around 2017 things started to get more complicated with the personal lives of my former bandmates and it felt like the project was falling apart. Luckily I had recently met two people who were looking for new projects, our now drummer Ryan Beck, who was at the time in a metalcore band called Regime but was itching to play more pop-punk, and our lead guitarist Brandon Teh who was in a pop-punk band that was on the verge of breaking up called Silence The Radio.
Once those two joined, it gave a whole new life to the band and brought us a ton of opportunities like playing the Massachusetts date of the 2018 Warped Tour. For a while, we were a 4 piece with me on vocals and guitar, but I always wanted to move to just vocals so I could bring more stage presence to our shows. We struggled to find the right person to join on rhythm guitar until 2019 when we met Alex Thetonia. Alex had played in a pop-punk band for a long time called Crushing Grief and we were sharing a practice space with him and his metalcore band Spiral Fixation.
When they broke up, we spent a lot more time together hanging at the practice space and realized he was exactly the type of player and person we wanted in our band, so we asked him to join. Finally, during the covid lockdown, our original bassist left the band and similarly to Alex, we really wanted someone who was not only a great player but someone who meshed well with us on a personal level. I met Dylan Walsh in college and we played together in a short-lived pop-punk band called The Summer Ends.
I asked Dylan to join and sure enough they came to practice to audition and not only did we sound tighter than we ever had but they immediately gelled with the rest of the band like they had always been a member. I knew there was something special about this lineup when we started playing shows again once quarantine was over and I had peers of mine come up to me in disbelief at how tight we sounded in comparison to before covid.
Kromoff: That’s rad! Now you have a deluxe album coming out later this month, can you tell us what we can expect with that? Are there any new elements or themes we can expect?
Simonini: I think most of the new elements I like to think of as a celebration of the record. We spent all of quarantine working on making A Bitter Descent and we really think it represents who we are as a band better than anything we released in the past. The extra content of the record all surrounds that mentality.
The newest track “Betray A Friend” just barely didn’t make the record, but we really loved the song and wanted to attach it to this record cycle to show our growth as a band. We re-recorded our 2017 track “Good Grief!” as well for this deluxe edition because we not only wanted to show the differences in how we play it live now with our current lineup but also because that song shaped the sound we strived for on the full length. It only made sense to attach it to the record both as a throwback for our old fans and an introduction to our previous work for the new fans. Then we have two acoustic versions of tracks from the record, “Stuck In The Wake” and “Headspace” which we decided to do because we did a few acoustic sessions and really loved the vibe of the songs in that style.
Kromoff: Are there any particular tracks on the deluxe album that hold personal meaning to you all? Anything that would be unexpected?
Simonini: I think that’s one special thing about this record is every song has a special meaning to me. None of the songs were phoned in that’s for sure. They all come from personal experiences with depression, heartbreak, self reflection, and just overall trying to overcome your emotions. I would say the songs that really hold the most personal meaning to me are some of the deeper cuts though like “Erase Your Existence” and “High” because they were songs that I wrote at my lowest. Sometimes they’re hard to listen to for that reason.
Kromoff: A lot of times in conversation I’m trying to explain to people who a band is, or what their sound feels like, so when I have a chance to ask the band themselves it’s one of my favorite things. If you had to choose one song that you think represents your sound, what is it and why?
Simonini: That’s actually a tough question for us because I feel like our whole mission statement as a band is we don’t subscribe to one particular vibe, especially on this record there’s some really intense moments and some really laid back moments. So I would probably pick a song that had a little bit of everything like “Empty (Without Me)”. But that being said I usually show people “Stuck In The Wake” first because I just think that’s by far our best chorus and it’s a song that transcends the genre it’s in in terms of likeability.
Kromoff: Are there any specific artists or bands that have influenced your musical style or creative process?
Simonini: There are a ton. I would say the major ones are Knuckle Puck, The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, and Four Year Strong. But lately those have started to blend with more alternative rock bands and singer songwriters. I got really into Death Cab For Cutie, American Football, and Phoebe Bridgers going into this record and I think you can tell by the instrumentation and lyrical styles at times.
Kromoff: Are there any non-musical influences that help you shape your sound or set a tone for you as you are playing and thinking about song craft?
Simonini: Dylan and I are big movie watchers, I think we take influence from movies we love like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Everything Everywhere All At Once in terms of tone setting and overall flow. We strive to create a beautiful piece of art that stands on its own through and through like a lot of our favorite films do.
Kromoff: Oh man, I recently watched Everything Everywhere All At Once and the part with the rocks wrecked me in the best possible way. Now do you have any tours coming up soon? Where are you going to be heading?
Simonini: We have a tour coming up in June that I’m pretty excited about. We’re hitting PA, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, NJ, CT, and then home in RI. We’ve got a few different bands joining us as well, Dear Spring from DC, MENU from GA, and Sunday Morning from CT. It’s gonna be a great time with great friends.
Kromoff: Do you have a favorite part about performing live?
Simonini: I think the best part is just letting loose with your friends up there. It’s sweaty and exhilarating and you get to make a lot of noise, what could be better than that? I think my other favorite part is just the feeling you get as the performer when the crowd is into it. It’s truly unmatched to see people yell words you wrote in your bedroom back to you.
Kromoff: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you try and stick to? A restaurant you have to grab food at? A track you have to listen to? Someone, you have to cover in duct tape?
Simonini: We have a special ritual where we all get one beer too drunk and then try to figure out why the bass rig isn’t working again while we’re on stage and everyone is staring. It’s super fun. I highly recommend it.
Kromoff: HA! I think I know that one. Okay, as we wrap up I want to take a second and thank you for talking to me. Before we go, what message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from your music?
Simonini: I really hope people can listen and feel a little less alone. Those are the types of songs that got me through the hardest times in my life, listening to someone put into words how I’m feeling and feeling like there’s some hope for the future. I hope that I can do that for someone.
If you want to check out more from Another One Down! you can follow them on all the socials (I’ll drop links below) and stay tuned to this space for more music news and updates along with all your other normal pop culture nonsense-ry.
Another One Down! Socials
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok
Until next time, I’ve heard “Betray A Friend” and I think you all will be super glad it did not get dropped from the record.
Welcome to the table, Music has always been around me but never something I was able to master. I haveCOMICONRead More