What do you get when you combine the grunge of Dave Grohl, a bunch of tacos, and four guys that have an affinity for 90’s punk and stoner rock? None other than BRICK TOP. Initially formed at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., the band includes guitarist and lead vocalist Chris Issa, drummer Rob Seaver, bassist Matt Carrier, and guitarist Chris Baker. In nearly two years, three-quarters of the band have moved to their home base in the Washington, D.C. metro area, while Baker remains rooted in Richmond. Despite the distance, their friendship and love for music keeps them connected.

On Black Friday 2015, the band released their first official EP Bored As Hell, and they are very excited about the opportunities to come, including playing more house shows anywhere they can find a good basement and a taco truck nearby.

It’s been about a year-and-half since you guys broke out on the scene with your self-titled demo, and since then you have gotten your name out there through collaborations with other bands and labels. How does it feel to finally have your own legitimate release?

Rob: Personally, I didn’t really think about it until we were getting the artwork together and we were finalizing everything that I realized we would be calling this our first EP. We released our demo, which was kind of an EP, but I am pretty stoked to think of it as our first EP because it’s like a fresh start.

Even though it’s not a full-length, it’s cooler than already having something out.

Baker: Musically, this is one of my proudest accomplishments, thus far, that I’ve done to date. Compared to everything else that we’ve done, along with everything I’ve done before really, this really has felt the most legitimate.

It carries some weight to it.

Matt: This was one of the first things we’ve recorded in a really cool setting with an extremely professional, talented guy, Mike Bardzik, recording us. He did a great job recording us, and the production on it really helped us a lot.

Plus, it’s very cool we have ownership on this release. and we were able to take our time with it.

Why did you guys decide to record the new EP at Noisy Little Critter Recordings?

Rob: My good friend and ex-band mate Chris Carreon recently joined SUNDIALS, and they were in D.C. the day after recording a couple songs with Mike for a split. He told us that he was the best dude and we needed to record with him, and we looked into Mike’s work and liked what he had done. So we set a date and made it up there to Pennsylvania. It was so sick. It was a great experience.

Other than making the record, what in particular made it a great experience for you guys?

Baker: One thing that stood out for me was the setting of it, being up in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. He has a chicken coop with four chickens running around in there, and he lives off everything from his home. He has a little farm with fruits and vegetables growing. It was a really cool, laid back place to be, a lot different from Richmond and Northern Virginia.

Issa: Another aspect was the fact that since we all don’t live so close together, it’s rare when we get to spend a whole weekend together in very close-knit living quarters on the side of the studio. We even went to a show with Mike that weekend, which was great. It was a really fun experience hanging out.

The blog Funeral Sounds have compared your sound to TURNOVER’s first record, which was also self-titled. Is that something you would agree with? If not, where do you draw your inspiration from?

Rob: I’m actually guilty of never listening to that band. We all draw influences from different areas , but we also all enjoy the same kinds of music. We all like JAWBREAKER and stuff like that, and having never listened to TURNOVER, I can only assume they also listened to JAWBREAKER or were influenced by that whole 90’s era. As a drummer, I really try to be like what Dave Grohl did in NIRVANA.

Other than early 90’s pop punk and grunge, what are some of your more obscure inspirations?

Rob: I listen to a lot of weird shit, like TELEVISION and other 70’s bands. I even listen to music like PAVEMENT, but we don’t sound at all like that band. You’ll find little things, even in different genres of music , that you can be influenced by. I also really like the cymbal work of some jazz drummers, the way in rings out. I go through a lot of different phases musically, and I think when we were recording I was listening to a lot of stoner metal.

Baker: I don’t know if it has come out in our music, but I listen to a lot of random stuff as well. I’ve been finding over the past two years now that I’ve expanded on what influences me, and part of that comes from being in this band. I’ve been finding new bands like CHEAP GIRLS or SMOKING POPES, random things like that. Also, DINOSAUR JR. I probably would have never gotten into them if I hadn’t started to draw influence toward this band. I also like more instrumentally complex music along the lines of metal.

The food truck on the album cover, Tacos “El Chilango,” what’s that about?

Matt: Rob and I both live in Arlington, within walking distance from one another, and that food truck is in between our two apartments. We go there constantly because it’s incredible. I can’t possibly speak highly enough of how good their food is and how nice they are as people. The idea came out of “it would be kind of funny if…” and we ended up rolling with it.

Issa: Baker and I also worked on the Boka Taco Truck in Richmond together the summer the band was recording the demo, and we came together in that was as well.

Having members living in both Richmond and D.C., where do you enjoy playing the most?

Rob: Anywhere that’s got a good basement or house. In general, if we were to take a house show in either city, I can’t speak for everyone, but I would say Richmond. I love playing Richmond.

Baker: Richmond is fun and convenient, and it definitely has its high points with having house shows more frequently. But the last few times we have tried to play down here, there have been a few strange instances that prevented us from playing, including cops showing up and a fight that broke out in the middle of our set.

Richmond can be rowdy, but D.C. is also cool because of the smaller venues that people run themselves.

Can you tell us about the small, DIY venues in D.C. you enjoy playing?

Rob: The Lab is really fucking cool. They do all-ages shows always, and they get a lot of local acts and bring through bigger bands like SPRAYNARD and a bunch of other bands. It’s a really cool place, and all the people that work to make it happen are totally dedicated. Dan ABH works his ass off to keep it open and provides a positive environment for anyone who wants to come through and play, and for all the kids who want to come out and watch.

Baker: The Pinch was a cool place to play. We haven’t spent too much time around there yet, but it was one of the few places we’ve been thus far that has been really cool. I just like the setting of it.

Matt: The also play at this house on 14th Street NE a lot called The Commune, and there’s also a bunch of others in row houses in Northeast as well. They are always so rad, which is one thing I love about the D.C. scene. It’s so varied, which is really cool, and the basement shows have all kinds of different music. There’s a cool noise rock/drone scene in D.C. and a ton of other subcultures, which I think is really rad.

Other than playing in Richmond and D.C., is touring on the horizon yet for you guys?

Rob: We all pretty much work full-time so touring long-term would be difficult, but we’ll definitely do a weekend tour anywhere. I would be willing take some vacation time for a couple weeks from work to do a tour, but again I don’t know if I speak for everyone. We’re not gonna go out and do something two months straight unless it was the craziest opportunity in the world where we could quit our jobs, but obviously that’s not going to happen.

Matt: Over the past year and a half, we’ve done a lot of weekend tours. I love doing that kind of stuff. It’s a nice way to break up the routine.

Do you have any upcoming shows you would like to announce?

Matt: We are playing Breakin’ Even Fest on March 5, 2016, in Arlington, and we are in the process of getting a date down for our album release show probably somewhere in D.C. within the next couple months. We’ll have more dates poppin’ up soon.

What do each of you want for Christmas?

Issa: If anyone is taking notes in the band, I would love an XBox One (laughs), and probably Battlefield and Black Ops as well if you guys want to add on to that.

Baker: Wow, he doesn’t even ask for Fallout…

Rob: I want the taco truck to hit us up and offer to give us free tacos for a whole year for the advertising we are doing for them. It’s a humble request, but I just want free tacos.

Baker: The one thing I want the most has gotta be a really nice kitchen knife set.

Matt: I could really use some nice spoons (laughs). I missed the shipment in Nova of all the Hardywood Gingerbread Stouts, so I want a shitload of that. I’m actually paranoid I’m not going to be able to find any.

What do you hope to accomplish in 2016?

Matt: Like Baker said earlier, I’m so proud of this record, and I want as many people as possible to hear it. I want to play as many shows and get it out to as many people as we can.

Rob: I also just want to play a lot of shows, write some more, and hopefully record something. There’s a ton of bands in D.C. we all would love to play with and haven’t had a chance to yet, and I’m sure there are even more we haven’t heard of that would be rad to play with. Hopefully, we can make that happen next year.

Issa: Last year, after we recorded the demo, I moved back to D.C., and at the time, it seemed like we had taken our focus off the band. it was never intentional, but we hadn’t played as many shows. Now ewith the EP out, we feel like this is a clean slate, and we’re excited to play as much as we can and meet new bands. We want to be a part of the scene in D.C. as much as possible.

For more updates on BRICK TOP, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and download Bored As Hell 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.