Though the pop punk genre is typically associated with the youth, the guys in AMERICAN TELEVISION prove that even 30 year olds can rock just as hard and be just as posi. Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the young band recently released their debut EP, Let’s Play Two, featuring a couple energetic songs that will get you moving. The band has been busy writing and playing shows around the area, supporting other bands, and spreading their love for the Baltimore Orioles.

We spoke with vocalists/guitarists Steve Rovery and Matt Marinec, drummer Bryan Flowers, and bassist Edwin Wikfors about what keeps them motivated and what their band has in store.

In August, you released Let’s Play Two, which you recorded at Empty Bottle Records in Manassas, Va. Being from D.C., what attracted you to this studio in particular?

Bryan: Empty Bottle Records is the basement studio of an ex-member of the band. He’s got a lot of gear that is very well set up at his house. He was nice enough to record those two songs for us.

Steve: It was really awesome to record there. Joe is a really good guy. We both had kids around the same time, but her was cool enough to let us record at his place. We just wanted to get a release out there, and the familiarity with him having been in the band before made it convenient.

Now that we got that out, we are in the infant stages of talking about what we are going to do next in terms of recording. Nothing is really off the table quite yet. We’re aiming to release something new maybe in the first half of 2016.

On your drumhead it says, “This shit just got real.” Does that accurately describe your live performances?

Bryan: I like to think so (laughs). That’s been on there since I played in crappier bands. Really it’s more of a Hot Fuzz by way of Bad Boys II reference. It’s one of my favorite movies. I’d like to believe it describes our live show, but I don’t know if that is accurate or not (laughs).

You guys have been hitting the road quite hard playing around the DMV area and beyond, including a recent spot at Upstart Fest. In addition to D.C., where is your favorite place to play?

Steve: I have a friend base up in New York, so when we get up there that’s usually a good time. We’ve actually not traveled as much as AMERICAN TELEVISION out of the area, but independently, we’ve done a lot of stuff. I’m excited to get to New York because I think it’s going to be a fun time.

Speaking of favorite things, I saw on your Facebook page an article you posted about the Virginia-based record manufacturing company Furnace Manufacturing that recently started producing vinyl. Do you plan to work with them in the future?

Steve: We are definitely interested in doing vinyl. With the surge of that recently, a lot of the pressing plants are starting to get long waiting lists and even not accepting new customers, and as a young band, we would actually be a new customer. Furnace going and rescuing those presses is actually great news not just for local bands in the Virginia scene, but it contributes to the music scene as a whole. We haven’t planned anything out yet, but we are definitely interested in what they are doing. We are very interested in exploring working with them.

Matt: I think because they are local is going to be a big savings for bands to acquire the vinyl records. We can actually go pick it up at the plant, which is probably a huge cost removed. Our first choice with vinyl when we get there will probably be them. I talked to Alex recently, one of the guys who rescued the machines, and he was saying they still need to get them up and running. But they are planning for that and taking orders.

In addition to the three songs you have recorded, what song do you enjoy playing the most live?

Matt: We’ve had a few incarnations of recordings, including some we didn’t officially release (laughs). We are working on some new material that we are really excited to put out. I’m really happy we have such a staked lineup. This lineup just clicked so well, and to be writing together and have things come about so organically is a new and exciting creative direction for us. I think it is something Steve and i always wanted, and now we have had a chance to explore that. It feels good, so we’ll see what happens.

Steve: One of my older favorite songs to play is “Driving,” which is really about just getting out of town. I just get excited when we play it. It’s pretty simple so you can go off during it. Like Matt said, with the newer stuff we are kind of dipping our toes into a little bit of grunge, and it feels good. We are all in our 30s or close (laughs). It’s kind of nice to get our toes wet in that arena too.

What is your favorite song to cover?

Steve: There is only one song we cover with any regularity. It’s a DILLINGER FOUR song called “Gainesville.” We don’t play it at every show, or really that often, but it’s fun. We like DILLINGER FOUR a lot.

I really love you video for “Optimist.” Can you tell me what inspired the song and the concept for the video?

Steve: The inspiration for “Optimist” was a self-observation. I tend to be an optimist on the regular, and oftentimes it ends up being a letdown. In the world of the band I sometimes get super stoked about shows that we might have, and then they fall through. I get excited and watch things slip through my fingers. It seems like I never quite learn my lessons, and they keep getting repeated over and over.

Matt: I think of it as a celebration of optimism. I think it’s a fucking cool way to be, and the main message to me is to keep it up.

When you aren’t playing music, what is your second biggest passion?

Bryan: I would say my second biggest passion is the Baltimore Orioles (laughs). They play 162 games, and I bet you I’ve watched 150 of them on TV or in person. I was born in Baltimore so it’s kind of a part of me.

Edwin: Outside of music, my second biggest passion is writing music, journaling about my day, poems, stories, and reading up on philosophy and anthropology to pass the time.

Steve: I’m a graphic designer, and I’ve always held down a “9 to 5” while doing music stuff, but I’ve done a good portion of our flyers. I also like to help out other bands with their flyers and stuff like that. Flyers are cool because you can use something awesome and put some band names around it, and there’s no limit to it or regulations or boxes you have to live inside of. It’s fun to have the structure that I have to do in web design, and when I get my hands on a flyer for one of our shows or for somebody else, I get to wig out, have a couple beers, and design for five hours.

Just out of curiosity, has your band ever done any eating challenges together?

Matt: We had Mexican last week, and I finally had three tacos (laughs).

Bryan: No challenges but going back to the Orioles being my second favorite passion, I was lucky enough to marry a woman who let me go to Sarasota, Fla. on our honeymoon, which is the home of their spring training, and in one day, we went to two restaurants that were on “Man vs. Food.” Being in my 30s, it was not as awesome as it sounds to eat that much food in one day.

What is the next best thing that your band has coming up?

Steve: We are playing with WALK THE PLANK, which is the band our friend Alex from Furnace is in, BOARDROOM HEROES, HONAH LEE, who are friends of ours from New Jersey that are coming down, and ASPIGA on Friday, November 14 at The Pinch. That will be our next big local show. It’s going to be a four band show, half hardcore and half punk rock.

Matt: Our next record will hopefully come together sooner than later, but we are aiming for early next year. Also, our greatest merchandising achievement was foam middle fingers, and we’re pretty stoked about those.

For more updates on AMERICAN TELEVISION, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and check out Let’s Play Two on Bandcamp.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.