Melodic rock outfit Restless Streets hails from Albany, NY and just released their EP Together last month. I fell fast for their intensely person lyrics, their ambient sound, and the modern-day crooning of lead vocalist Logan Carpenter, who was kind enough to chat it up with me marathon style yesterday. Restless Streets started playing together at 14 years old, which isn’t so unusual unless you consider the fact they also recorded their first EP at the same age, then rocketed into the spotlight in a major way.
We actually won a competition to play Taste of Chaos in New Albany with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine and Bless The Fall and Atreyu. That was a massive experience for us that was like 7,000 people, sold out, at this arena in New Albany. We were only 14 at the time so that was crazy, but it kind of gave us the hope that we would be able to be at that level one day, full-time … so from there we’ve just been working and kind of crafting our sound ever since.
Carpenter talks about the progression of Restless Streets moving forward from that experience, and why he left the drumming behind to take his place as frontman.
I’ve always sang and I’ve always played guitar. I started playing music drumming; that’s what I first got into. I always loved singing while I was on the kit, so when Restless Streets first started I actually sang and played drums with an overhead mic. I played that first sold out Taste of Chaos show as the singer and drummer of Restless Streets. It didn’t really work out live because nobody knew that I was singing … we kept getting people just saying, “You guys are great, but who is singing?” We would go a whole set and people still wouldn’t figure out that it was me singing back there because I was so small behind the kit and the mic was back there just tucked away. So we knew we had to make a change. Writing lyrics, and writing in general, and singing has been something that I’ve always been super passionate about. I knew I wanted to be the singer and be writing the lyrics for this band. So I decided that we were going to get a drummer and that I’d pop up front to front the band …
A cursory listen to their newest EP Together reveals lyrics that are intentional and thought-provoking. Logan and I talked about the writing process for Together, and how important it is for him to produce songs that are personal and yet have universal appeal.
The music definitely reflects all of our lives as a collective. I wouldn’t say that’s why the CD is called Together, but it’s definitely part of it. I think I know all of [my band mates] very well, and I was able to kind of wrap all of our experiences and all of our feelings into the lyrics so that it’s not just about my life, but it’s definitely a combination of everyones’.
I spend so much time writing the lyrics and thinking about everything I’m saying. I’m really am a huge fan of words and the english language so I love to use them in inventive ways and I just love it. I love writing. It’s cool that people are appreciating that and I think a lot of people are catching on. People are really latching on to this new record in a totally different way than they have to any of our other music … they listen to the lyrics; the lyrics are very clear … we just made sure that the lyrics and the vocals are very prominent, and people are kind of taking it in as a piece of their own heart, a piece their own soul little bit.
I wrote the lyrics for all these songs in a way that I didn’t want them to be incredibly specific towards one situation, because I wanted the listener to be able to take the song in and then have their own experience that comes to their mind as they’re listening, and be able to relate each part of the song to something that they had actually experienced.
One of the more powerful tunes on Together is “Wrong Kids,” which, with its accompanying video, aims to bring light to the pain of losing someone to addiction. Logan talks about the friend who inspired the song, and how necessary it was for him to not only take part in the conversation, but also put his own demons to rest.
I felt obviously since that was such a huge part of my life and such a serious issue … that it was really important for me to talk to. And I kind of felt like I needed to because it was so difficult for me that I kind of like pushed it down, and kind of tried to avoid thinking for a long time. But it was almost too weird for me to just like ignore the fact that happened, and the only way I know how to really cope with things is to write music about it and document it, so I know that I I said my piece, and it’s out there for the world to experience, and brings awareness to the problem. I’m trying to do something more than just be sad and more than just complain or cry about it, but to tell people like, “Hey we can do something to try to fix this is instead of just being so sad about it all the time and letting it happen.”
So that song is definitely very specific and very straight from the heart and very literal for me but you know even in the little bridge we have when I say, “I wish we were both talking like we always did, because you made it easy to speak,” I feel like someone can hear that and it’s a very soft spoken line, very sincere, and they can plug it into any experience that they’ve had, whether they miss someone because of a romantic relationship ending or a parent that they no longer — even not living in their city anymore, or parents getting divorced or you know whatever it is, whatever it may be. It’s about connection and loss. I think I kept it to the point where it was obvious what the song was about for me, but people are easily able to take that and apply it to whatever they they’re dealing with whatever loss they’re dealing with.
In a moment of unbridled enthusiasm, Logan tells me how Restless Streets got narrowed down from nearly 800 bands, to the one local New Albany outfit opening tonight for the Poison Reunion Tour with Tesla. From the initial pool, iHeart selected ten bands and opened up voting to fans. Shortly thereafter, the top three bands were announced.
So now it’s three bands and we’re like, “Holy shit, this is insane,” and at that point we were just laughing because we couldn’t believe it was down to three … we’ve been so ready to do this kind of performance … we wrote the album to play in arenas. Songs like “Twin Flame” or even “Glow” and “Drive Fast are just massive songs … small venues don’t really do them justice … those kind of songs that are really spacey and, like, you just see lighters in the air waving back and forth …
The winner? Oh, they were hand-selected by none other than Bret Michaels himself, but not without a long drawn out radio teaser.
So basically nine o’clock rolls around and we’re all in our cars or our houses or whatever … Bret Michaels comes on, does a short interview, and then talks about all the shit that we’re going to have at the show like a green room, the full stage and the lights, and I’m like “We better have won this show right now, like he’d better say our name.” I’m yelling at the radio like, “Come on Bret Michaels, just spit it out.” And he does. “The winner is Restless Streets'” and then they ripped into “A Little More Us” and started playing the song on the radio … every one at the station is screaming, and I was screaming, and my phone started blowing up like crazy…
Restless Streets has a few exciting things coming up they can’t talk about yet, but while you’re waiting for their tour announcement, or standing in line to see them open for Poison tonight, click the play button below and listen to our chat detailing Logan’s path from ten-year old drummer to the guy about to sing to a sold out arena.
One of the biggest reasons that people get so attached to music, and the enormous reason why I write music, is to connect with people. Like the EP title, we’re all in this Together. We want to connect with people. We want people to support each other and feel as if there’s a sense of community in the world, and that no one is alone in what they’re going through. I think that’s a huge benefit to writing and also to listening to music.