Hailing from Fairfax in the heart of Northern Virginia, THIRTEEN TOWERS have been rocking stages since 2007; however, this seven-piece punk/ska band is finally getting the recognition that they deserve. Bringing a positive message about life, love and social equality with a twist of humor and sarcasm, bassist Edson Hinostrroza, who was a huge fan of 90’s punk and third wave ska, had a clear vision of what the band could sound like. Through a Craigslist ad, Edson recruited drummer Mike “Mikey” Yaary. The rest of the band includes vocalist Mike Tolbert, known for making girls swoon, guitarists Jeff Skinner and Xavier Pena, whom Edson also found through Craigslist, and Chis Tolbert on trumpet and Mike Dranove on trombone. We have the chance to talk to Edson about his band’s new record, their influences, as well as their pride in being from Northern Virginia.

One of our other contributors—Mike Schoeffel—recently wrote a review of your album Won’t Forget The Sound, and he said that the songs on your record were “rooted deeply in ‘90s pop-punk”. Is that something that you would agree with?

I would agree that we definitely have a ’90s influence. We are all in our mid-20’s and early 30’s, and we really identify with bands from that time.

Growing up, who were some of your primary influences in ska and punk rock?

For me personally, I was a big NOFX fan. I liked anything on Fat Wreck Chords. I was also really into BAD RELIGION, PENNYWISE, and RANCID back in those days.

This past year you had the chance to open for BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE. What was that experience like?

It was great because it was our first time playing with major label bands. They were also touring with RED CITY RADIO. It was an overall great experience. I have never met such nice guys.

In an email that you sent me, you said, “We pride ourselves in always representing that we are from NoVA, and not [saying we are from DC like] a lot of local VA bands do.” I think that is really awesome how well you represent your area.

I grew up in Arlington. I have seen a lot of bands from Virginia rep DC, and I don’t know why. KILL LINCOLN and SOJA are based out of Arlington, but they don’t claim it. Roots to me mean a lot. I love DC, but I’m a VA kid and thats how I wanna keep it.

One song that seems to stand out from the rest on Won’t Forget The Sound is “In Africa”. Tell me about this song and why you chose to include it on this album.

Having seven guys in a band you get a lot of different perspectives, and we all write songs. I wrote “In Africa”. I think I am much more aware of what is going on in the world, and I wanted to write the song because it is a topic that really bothers me. Africa is a continent with most resources, but its people are the poorest. Our songs are all about love and social equality, but I wanted it to be gritty and raw.

Another stand out track on your record is “Twisted”, which was seems to have a vibe similar to that of 311. Was that intentional?

“Twisted” was written by our vocalist Mike Tolbert, and he is a big 311 fan. Now that you mention it, it does sound really similar (laughs). It has a lot of similar elements.

Have you started writing your next record yet?

We are writing songs. We have a good six so far, but we are still ironing them out. We haven’t set a release date yet, but we are hoping for sooner rather than later. Our guitarist Jeff Skinner has a house studio in Silver Spring, and we doo all our recording there. It took us 13 months to record our last record, but hopefully the next one doesn’t take as long. We pride ourselves on being straight DIY from recording to booking. We are big believers in that.

Do you have any big announcements for the upcoming year?

Next week, we are playing at Empire in Springfield on February 8th with KILL LINCOLN, and February 21st, we are playing with THE TOASTERS at Blue Fox Billiards in Winchester.

For more updates on THIRTEEN TOWERS, be sure to like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and visit their website and Bandcamp page to hear their first full-length album Won’t Forget The Sound.

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