Logan, how you been?

Oh, I’ve been good. A little sleepy. We’ve been in this van now for just over a month.

I can imagine. You guys are on tour right now?

Yeah, we’re on tour with this band called Bumpin Uglies. So it’s like a three-band-bill that we’re on. And I think we left January 10th and we should be home the beginning of next week. So, you know, it’s been a fun time. But I think we’re about ready to get back for a second.

Where are you guys at right now?

Right now we’re in Albuquerque. We played here last night. We have the day off because we have like a 10-hour drive to Dallas because we play there tomorrow. So, just lots of driving.

I hear you. So set the stage for us. Where am I talking to you from right now?

Um, so right now I’m looking at some pretty beautiful mountains here in Albuquerque. And we just stopped off or some breakfast, going to be stopping to to make a deposit at the bank. And then we’re just going to be in this car jammed together for the next 10- 11 hours. If we’re lucky.

What would you say are the biggest misconceptions of band life on the road?

You know, it’s really cool that we get to see all these different towns. Driving by car is the best way to see the country because you really just see the changing scenery and landscape and everything. But we do mostly just see the inside of like, truck stop bathrooms, you know, like club-sized venues. And if we’re lucky to have like, some days off…we just had some days off. That was pretty awesome. Because it is all driving, a lot of truck stop bathrooms. It’s a really interesting perspective on seeing the country.

For sure. So I want to get a visual of the van situation…so what’s the van like?

So the van is…this is home. We were just all laughing because we have so much touring lined up this year. I think we have three weeks home the first six months of the year total so we’re like, we don’t live in Florida anymore. We just vacation and we live in this van. So we have a 15-passenger van and it fits five comfortably when we’re living in here. We took the back bench out and Fabian and Chris built these awesome bunk beds. They’re actually so comfortable. And we did a pretty good job of like, you know, putting in inverters everywhere so we have power throughout the whole thing. Fabian got this little phone signal extender, so normally we have pretty good signal when we’re going to the mountains and everything. And yeah, normally it’s two people up front, somebody’s got to drive and somebody has to co-pilot to make sure that you know they’re not getting too sleepy. And then normally I’m laying across the front bench, somebody is laying across the second bench and somebody is asleep in the bed in the back. We just kind of all rotate through that.

So are you guys sleeping in the van after gigs and stuff like that?

No. The further along we go in this thing…fortunately the more money we do make — like we’re not making great money but we can afford to get ourselves a hotel. And then also our fans are awesome. We have on our merch store online where people can buy us gas, people can buy us hotels and people can buy us meals. It’s so great and like if we busted a tire we can throw a spare tire up on the site and people have been great that way. So we do always sleep in hotels unless we have like a super long drives and we’re not even going to be able to stop. But we do share one hotel. So we get two queen size beds and then we have two inflatable air mattresses and then somebody will sleep on like the pullout couch or somebody will sleep in one of the bunks in the in the van if it’s not too cold or too hot.

Nice. So still very economical.

Oh, very very economical. It really is a miracle that we can all like, kind of like be on top of one another like we are all the time. It’s pretty amazing.

Logan Rex
Photo: Sam Scarce

That’s big for sure. So we met a while before you joined the band. And honestly, I had no idea you sang or had any of these kind of aspirations or stuff like that. So tell me a little bit about like, when you started singing and how this even kind of came to be.

You know…(Pauses to talk to band)

Sorry we are about to go into Texas where they are so strict. People have been gifting us things that we have to get rid of before that.

Alright, take your time.

So I got really lucky. I grew up loving Patsy Cline and was really into country music when I was little. My parents gave me a karaoke machine and I would sing and watch myself in the reflection of the TV. You know, and I think I had a performer spirit when I was little. I sang in choir and stuff in school and in church. And, you know, guitar since I was in like seventh grade, and kind of singing for myself. And my good friend, Peter and I, when we lived together in college, we would make music together. And we formed a band, I guess, like five or six years ago called Eternal Boner. Just as like a fun thing to do, kind of like a way to get a free bar tab and play music for our friends.

And that’s…I just want to make sure I heard that right. That’s Eternal Boner?

Eternal Boner, that’s right. So, I have always revered all the rock gods and like, I’m a huge classic rock fan. I think that I was a big music nerd. I had a record store for a little bit. And just always took a real interest in music. I didn’t think ever really that it was within reach for me to be in a band that would do anything like I’m doing now. And then Artikal had always been…I mean, I remember seeing their write up in your magazine. Not too long ago, be- fore I was in the band and being like, wow, that band is just killing it. I could just tell there was something special, that these guys were taking things really seriously, and had higher ambitions than just gigging around town. And so I always really kind of respected them for that. I knew them sort of like in the periphery. We had a couple of mutual friends and Fabian, our bass player, had DMed me asking me to come write some tunes with them and that we should record a song together. And I was just like, way too nervous to come and play with these guys. Because I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. And I didn’t feel like I was good enough to come play. And then eventually, one day, I did take them up on it. And I started sitting in on some gigs with them. And it just felt like it was a great fit, like we all got along so well. And then, you know, it’s kind of like the next thing we knew we were just doing this thing.

Awesome. So I want to go back to like the first time you went over and played with the group. What was that like? And it’s funny to hear the nervous side of it, because when you perform, you just ooze this crazy confidence. So take me back to the first time you played with them. What was that like? And did you know then that there might be something there?

So, Fabian said they wanted to do a reggae cover of this song “Crave You” by Flight Facilities. It’s kind of like a dance tune. I was familiar with the song. And so I was like, okay, I’m gonna come over and do this. And we recorded it that day. So it’s really cool, because we kind of have this time capsule recording on our Spotify of the first time we ever played music together. And the boys are all just like, some of the sweetest people. I mean, they’re my best friends at this point, but they’re just really some of the sweetest and most welcoming people that I’ve ever met. So the nerves went away pretty quick. I mean, there was like, definitely some nerves recording, because that felt pretty foreign to me. But, um, yeah, they were just so sweet. They made it really easy. They made it just feel like a very low pressure situation. And I was really happy with the way my voice ended up coming out. And then as far as the confidence thing, I think that honestly, it’s like the special sauce that we have, like playing together. I feel so confident with the band behind me, because I just know that they’re such professionals, and that they’re always gonna make me sound good. And I always say, I feel like I can’t screw anything up while I’m on stage with them. Because they’ll always kind of catch my fall. They’re just top notch talented musicians. And I fell into a very lucky situation. And I think that’s what gives me confidence.

Artikal Sound System
Photo: Jakob Takos

So I noticed from the from the marketing side, you guys were one of the first local bands to really take social media and marketing seriously. Was that something that you guys had a conversation about or did it just kind of happen organically?

Well first of all, thank you so much for noticing that because we do work really hard at that. So the boys had been kind of doing some of that before I joined the band. And then I think social media has also evolved so much just even since I joined the band. Obviously things like reels and all of the editing programs that there are have made it a lot easier just in the past year or two. We work with this artist Will Trull who’s in this band Sacred Cream and I think that having him do the art for us has made our brand- ing as far as like our merch and our graphics. I think that’s really given us a cohesive feel. And then I think you know, we make a lot of funny videos. And I think that a bit more organically, we just want people to know who we are. We want people to know where the music’s coming from. And I think also people just want to root for you, if they know, if they feel like they know you. So it’s really cool. And we go all over the country, it feels like people will kind of make references to like, ‘Oh, I saw that video of you getting your toes done with Adam.’ Yeah, and then it just feels like there’s immediate family everywhere we’re going. We’re trying to stay on top of it. It’s such a great tool to stay connected to the people who we’re making music for.

Definitely. When did you guys first go out as a band? What was the response like?

So we went out with this band called The Hip Abduction, and those guys are actually out of St. Pete. They’re just stellar musicians. We had just started working with our management and that kind of plugged us into a bigger network of people. So that was helpful. But then also, on social media, we were following that band. And we were watching them get ready for another tour. And I think we DMed them saying something like ‘that guitar is beautiful.’ And they responded asking if we had any touring lined up. So the opportunity came about very organically. And it was just like a two week run through the Midwest and the South East. It was the perfect length tour. Those guys were super nice and welcoming to us. And we still had so much to learn about what we were doing. It was nice they were patient with us. The first tour you go out and you’re like, man, we’re gonna get drunk every night and get wild. You quickly realize that it’s not always sustainable and that you’re out here working and this is this is my job right now. And we also learned just how important merch is for us. We make some money with streaming, we make some money with the show guarantees. But we always joke that we’re basically a traveling T-shirt salesman who get to play music. So I think like after that tour, I really realized like, oh, man, we need more shirt designs, we need to really take setting up our little shop every night more seriously, because it makes a huge difference as far as being able to afford things out on the road.

So the full length album, Welcome to Florida, was just released. Tell me about what that process was like and how it feels to get that out.

So we started writing some of these songs as far back as maybe three years ago and we knew that we wanted a full length album out, but we just we didn’t really have the full vision for it together. And then again, we had so much touring planned before COVID hit that we really didn’t even know when we’re gonna have time to like, track an album with all of this. So as much as COVID was a bummer, it also ended up being an amazing opportunity for artists everywhere to just work on the art and not have to work on the business side as much.

So I had just moved to North Carolina. And the boys started kind of working on the instrumentals here in Florida. And we tracked a lot of this stuff with Dean Fishback, who is a member of the band the Resolvers. He’s got a studio down in Fort Lauderdale, and that’s where we normally go to track drum and bass at least, he’s got an awesome studio called Seven Hills. And so the boys started tracking instrumentals there and did some of the stuff at Chris Montague, our guitarist’s, home studio called Oceanside Audio. And they really did such an amazing job. Chris Montague did a lot of like the pre production, got all the tracks where we wanted them. I kept writing up in North Carolina and would come down to Florida to finish up the tracks with the boys. And then we found this producer that we wanted to work with, and he’s worked with Beck and The Elevators and The Movement and all these bands in our scene that we really respect. And so we kind of had our eye on him, and we scraped together the budget. Because this was before we knew we would have the label support.

And the boys let me go up to the studio just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. It was just me and this producer Danny Kalb and we spent four days just tracking vocals and adding some little instrumental bits to all the songs. And it was just awesome. I was in a really weird place, mentally and emotionally — being so far from the band and not having been able to make music for so long. And I felt like going and getting to record the vocals kind of added some color back in my life. So he mixed all the songs and we presented them to the label, which was an opportunity our manager got us, and they were stoked on it. And we were like alright, well what are we going to call this this thing? And we were kind of laughing about how at the time everyone was really upset with Florida. And we just really talked about how proud of being from Florida we are. It’s an awesome state, not having to do anything with politics but it’s just beautiful there and sunny and everybody always wants to rag on it but it’s still the place everybody wants to go vacation. So we decided we’re gonna call this album Welcome to Florida. Which also plays well because the acronym for the album is WTF.

For the album art, we went over to Briny Breezes and shot the cover. We tried to do all kind of stereotypical Florida characters. So Chris Montague was this pool guy, Fabian played the cabana boy bringing me a margarita, and Chris Cope and Adam are like the retired guys from the Northeast hanging out in their wife beaters by the pool.

What song on the album are you the most proud of?

Oh, man. They’re all so different and all feel so personal. The one that I’m really loving right now is this song called “Stayed.” I just really like the way it builds, I like how the lyrical content feels vulnerable. And then just instrumentally, I feel like the boys just crushed it. I just feel like it’s a banger. And we’ve just recently started playing it live and I just love it, it gets me so hyped.

For a second album, there’s always the stereotype of it being a lot harder. Because in theory you had your whole life to write the first one and now you only have X amount of time to write the second one. So how are you guys feeling about the second one?

I feel so inspired to write this next stuff. I don’t even think we’re writing with the intention of a second album, we just have this feeling of something striking us and wanting to write it right then. It was like a high putting music out. Hearing back from the fans what they like. Spotify has this thing, it’s like a ticker where you can see how many people are listening at once. I mean, it is like crack. I think that is real gas in the tank. So we’ve already been working on it and it doesn’t feel like there’s any sort of resistance there. And with this album, we all love reggae, but we all come from different musical backgrounds. So we kind of want to inject some other flavors into the sound. And I think the more we do that the more freedom it gives us genre-wise. So that feels like totally unexplored territory and really exciting. I think right now we have a really deep well we are pulling from. And my fingers are literally crossed as we speak that things keep heading in that direction.

So could you almost say that the second one is easier because you have that justification from the audience with the first album that maybe you didn’t have before?

Yeah, because I think there was a little bit of fear. We were put- ting instrumentals together and thinking it sounds awesome, but it feels really different from the EP we put out. So I was hoping it was something that the fans would still like. So now I feel a little braver to explore some other flavors.

Anyone who has seen you perform noticed how you can work a crowd. Where does that sit on the spectrum of what you enjoy the most and how important you think it is?

I mean I would not say I’m a great singer, first and foremost. I think I can sing and hope that I can keep singing, but I feel like what we have is just the whole combination with the band. Adam is an amazing drummer and has a super heavy foot. Fabian has an incredible bass tone and I think that is a nice juxtaposition with soft female vocals. Chris Montague is a shredding guitar player. Chris Cope, our keyboard player, is just like a mad scientist. And my favorite thing in the whole world is looking at people in the eyes from the stage and singing at them. And just getting to run around and be weird on stage, I feel like I get to creep into this alter-ego and express myself in a way that I’ve never been able to in any other platform in my life. I think I would like to keep doing this forever. Did that answer the question?

Definitely. As for the future, where do you see this going and for how long?

I think we all want to do this as long as our bodies will allow us. I don’t know if we’ll always be able to tour as hard as we have this year and in the past, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that this is all we want to do. I think the goal is to just make music for our lives. We all kind of have side hustles going to keep ourselves afloat and I don’t think any of us are materialistic fancy folks with a ton of needs. But it would be really nice to be sustain- ing our lives only making music. And then for the year, we just announced a tour with Collie Buddz, which will be huge for us. And then we have another big tour planned for the summer that we’re not allowed to announce yet, but I’ve never been more excited about anything. It should be really massive for us. So we have some really exciting things. It’s only been a week since the album has been out and we’ve gotten great feedback, so I’m really excited to continue to see the way that’s received. And then I think a big goal for all of us is that we would also love to start playing in some different markets. We want to go everywhere. We would love to tour internationally. So, we just want to go everywhere and play in front of everyone.


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