Aspiga has the passionate, raw punk sound associated with so many New Jersey acts, but the three-piece brings something new to the table as well. There are pieces of Japandroids here, and a fellow band has decribed Aspiga as “If time machines existed so that Jawbreaker could listen to The Weakerthans.” Fair and accurate enough, in our minds.
The two new songs streaming today do a good job of showing off parts of Aspiga’s more indie side, demonstrating their ability to focus on melodies. Kevin Day’s lyrics are aimed toward the younger generation and stray into self-depracting waters (“I’ve discovered I hate myself” on “Welcome To the Sympathy Party”).
November 20, 2012
Paper + Plastick Records
More about Aspiga:
When I was tasked with writing a bio for Aspiga, I was in a familiar situation. This is a new band for me, unchartered territory – I knew nothing about them. So as any bio writer does, I asked the band some questions. Unlike most band dudes, the enthusiastic trio of vocalist / guitarist Kevin Day, bassist Alec McVey and drummer Ray Slowij responded with a pretty well composed account of the band’s story-so-far. Instead of re-telling it, I figured I’d let you read it directly from them. So without further ado, here is the story of Aspiga, by Aspiga.
Kevin:“Aspiga started off as a side project in early 2006. I had an acoustic guitar, a four-track recorder and my bedroom. The purpose of this project was to mirror the bands that I had been listening to at the time. Bands like Hanalei, Fingers Cut Mega-Machine, and The New Amsterdams all released albums that varied from full band songs to stripped down acoustic performances. These bands wrote folk-pop tunes that were rooted in punk rock. It was refreshing to attempt writing in different ways and depending on just myself to have everything come together.
Although this started as a solo project, I had always wanted to be able to have my friends in and around New Jersey get involved. I thought it would be a great way to play with other musicians and no one would have to have any commitment struggles. Basically, it was a way to jam, record, and play shows, but the cast could change at any time. This is where Ray enters the picture.”
Ray:“I’ve known Kevin for about a solid decade. We met through our separate old bands, which at the time would often play shows together. This is when I was introduced to Kevin and his group of friends, many of whom have helped out Aspiga along our way.
In one of our conversations Kevin presented to me, ‘Hey – I’ve been working on some solo acoustic stuff, and I was wondering if I went into the studio with these songs, would you want to play drums to them?’ I agreed because I always loved doing projects, I enjoyed the company of this very good friend of mine, and I especially liked drumming to styles I was not very accustomed to. Now it’s many years later, and I can’t recall Kevin ever asking me to officially join the band. Remind me to bring that up with him.
Around this time is when I was saying goodbye to everyone and packing my bags to move to California. Over the span of the three years that I lived there, whenever I would come back to New Jersey to visit, Kevin managed to set up a couple of shows. He would play only acoustic in my absence. Every time I came back the amount of shows grew in numbers and eventually became tours. Overwhelmed with missing the East Coast and my friends, I moved back to New Jersey and we attacked Aspiga at full throttle.”
Kevin:“It’s strange to think that this band operated, did some touring, and recorded while one member was off in California, I was in school, and we didn’t have an official bassist. The music for Tensewas written in my bedroom and the lyrics during classes at Rowan University. I recorded demos on my phone and sent them to Ray. On one of his visits, we decided to record these songs. I think we practiced once or twice, went to our friend’s place, and recorded everything. We never intended for that album to really go anywhere further than being burned onto CDs for our friends. For whatever reason, Solidarity Recordings liked the album enough to want to release it. This is what really opened us to some new listeners. I’m still grateful that people liked it enough to want to hear it and come see us.
Two things really pushed me to make Aspiga a full time group: The release of Tense and my girlfriend dumping me. I had a lot of free time and wanted to throw myself into music. I think it was the best decision I’ve made in the last few years.
A few weeks after the release of Tenseand after our first tour behind it, we were without a bassist – there was a bit of a revolving door up to this point. Alec had just started interning with me at Jump Start Records and offered his services. Alec is just an incredible musician and really made Ray and I want to step up our game. He has a great ear and can really add the finishing touches to a song. The three of us played as much as we possibly could. The story for the last two years has been, play shows, write songs, play shows.
Our work has paid off, as we’ve been able to open for some bigger bands, go out on the road a little longer, and work with some great labels. Kat Kat Records has released two albums from us. We also got to work with Jump Start. I somehow convinced Brian from Hanalei that it would be a good idea to do a split with us, which was crazy because Hanalei is one of the reasons that I wanted to start writing acoustic songs.
Now it’s the end of 2012, we’ve played a bunch of great festivals and shows with bands that we’d never thought we’d play with, like Laura Stevenson & The Cans, the Smoking Popes, Crucial Dudes and others, and we have a new album called Every Last Piece coming out on Paper + Plastick in November. We’re already confirming more exciting shows, including a tour with our best friends, Broadcaster. We’re three friends that write songs that we hope will make you feel something.”
Kevin Day – Guitar/Vocals
Ray Solowij – Drums
Alec McVey – Bass
Aspiga (CD) – Phat N’ Phunky Records – May 2006
Tense (CD) – Solidarity Recordings – July 2010
How I’m Not Feeling (7”) – Kat Kat Records – June 2011
Aspiga/Hanalei Split (7”) – Jump Start Records – February 2012
Tense (LP) – Kat Kat Records – July 2012