> Meet Clubhouse: Our 2017 Big Break Global Winner
Last month, we launched our fourth installment of Firefly’s Big Break Contest, which allows fans to directly vote on unsigned artists vying for a spot on the Firefly lineup. This year’s talented winner is Clubhouse, an addictive indie-pop band out of Columbus, Ohio. We got the chance to ask them a few questions about performing, spirit animals, and of course, what we can look forward to at Firefly this summer.
What is your favorite part about performing?
- “My favorite part would have to be watching the fans react to the music. It’s sort of surreal and exhilarating to watch people dance to the beat, or to see them singing along to the words we’ve written.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “My favorite part about performing is giving the audience a good time that they will remember for a while. We try to build our live shows up so that they are a very memorable experience.” – Ari Blumer (Lead Guitar)
- “Just the vibe of the audience, seeing people have fun and hopefully creating an experience that they’ll remember” –Ben Saulnier (Bass Guitar & Backup Vocals)
- “The rush. Nothing makes me feel as alive as performing does. Especially when we can feel the energy of the crowd, nothing motivates us more than that.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “I just love seeing the people enjoy themselves to our music. It feels great to be able to make people dance.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
Why are you excited to perform at Firefly?
- “The entire band actually camped out at Firefly 2015, and had an incredible experience. The atmosphere in The Woodlands is unlike anything else that I’ve ever been a part of, and I can’t wait to incorporate our music into that experience.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “I’m excited to be at Firefly, because it is one of the premier music festivals in the country. Every year I’m impressed with the Firefly lineup, and to be included in that list of incredible artists is a great feeling.” – Ari Blumer (Lead guitar)
- “Festivals have to be one of my favorite environments to see bands preform. Everyone at Firefly is coming because they love music and want to have the best time possible. The fact that we can be part of it, and play to people who may have never even heard of us is something special” –Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “Firefly was the first music festival I ever attended. The second I entered The Woodlands, I was overcome with the feeling of how awesome it would be to play there. To now be given the chance to fulfill this dream is truly incredible.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “Just two years ago, the whole band went to Firefly and I vividly remember all of us standing in the crowds just daydreaming about actually getting to play that festival, so it’s just gonna be a little surreal. I’m also just excited to get to play in front of some new people!” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
What’s the most memorable moment on stage you’ve ever had?
- “I think the most memorable moment on stage for me was when we supported HAIM at Express LIVE! in Columbus, OH. At one point in the set, we had the lighting engineer turn on the house lights while I took a picture from behind the drum kit of the roughly 2,000 people in attendance. Seeing all of those faces at once really resonated with me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “We played a winter showcase at Express Live and it was packed with people. I looked out into this giant crowd and then saw my parents watching from the balcony smiling and it was one of the best moments of my life” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “Before a lot of our first shows I would joke around and tell the guys, “I’m gonna crowd surf tonight, I’ve never done it before and today’s the day.” However, I wanted it to feel natural and not forced. After being “all talk” for a while, finally the right moment came during a show at Ohio University when we were playing an encore; the crowd was crazy that night and I made the decision to jump. Wow, what a feeling.” – Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “Supporting HAIM and seeing my friends and family in the sea of people supporting me was just the best feeling in the world.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
- “Personally, I just try to make sure I’m warmed up and ready to go before we walk out on stage. As a band, I think we try to get each other even more excited, so that our performance on stage energizes the audience as a result.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “Normally I like to go out and watch the other bands play, if we have any openers. Getting a view of the stage from the crowd’s perspective always helps before we perform.” – Ari Blumer (Lead guitar)
- “I usually just try to relax and joke around. Staying focused but just trying to get myself in a mindset to have fun on stage” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I always down a bottle of water before we go on, hydration is key!” – Michael
- “I can’t speak for myself having any pre-show rituals, but Mike has never played a show without a Corona Light beforehand.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
What is the most difficult thing about performing that your fans may not know about?
- “The most difficult aspect of a performance from a drummer’s perspective, I think, is to make sure you are simultaneously managing time and staying exactly on-tempo, while listening to the band and the audience to try to make the performance as cohesive as possible.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “I think the most difficult thing about performing would be in the case of something going wrong or not working right, and having to play through it and maintain a certain level of professionalism regardless of what’s happening.” – Ari blumer (Lead guitar)
- “I think it’s mostly just the little things that you can’t plan for. When you play on a smaller stage especially, it can get cramped and wires and cables can get unplugged. Keeping your cool and figuring out the problem in a live setting can be tense” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I think the most difficult thing that a lot of fans don’t realize is that we don’t hear what the audience is hearing. Getting the right mix in your monitor is super tough to do without a proper sound check. A lot of times when playing shows with multiple bands there is little to no time to sound check, this makes it super difficult to hear how we truly sound on stage.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “Technical difficulties happen all the time, especially when you’re a supporting act and you’re just throwing your stuff on stage quickly. So just being able to adapt to those sort of things.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
What other artist/band/performer on the Firefly lineup would you most likely go see?
- “I’m super excited to see Misterwives. I actually saw them a long, long time ago in Columbus, opening up for American Authors and The Royal Concept. Since then, they’ve just gotten better and better in my opinion, and I’d love to see them on stage at Firefly.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “Seeing A R I Z O N A would be awesome I think. I absolutely love their sound and have yet to see them live, so it would be a great experience.” – Ari Blumer (Lead guitar)
- “I’m really excited to see The Weeknd and Flume for sure. I also just saw Francis and the Lights at SXSW and was blown away. Definitely going to try and check out his set as well” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I’m super pumped to see Fickle Friends as I’ve been a big fan for a couple years and have been dying to see them. The Weeknd is also going to be awesome to see. It seems like he just releases hit after hit.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “I would love to see Chance & Flume especially but I’m so excited for so many of them.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
What’s your favorite thing about summer music festivals?
- “My favorite thing would have to be camping. I think that, when you are able to surround yourself in the festival environment, next to other festivalgoers, it’s a really unique experience.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “The environment hands down. Everyone there is in the same mindset. They want to see as many bands as possible and have the best time they can. Firefly was my first festival and I didn’t meet a single person who wasn’t friendly and stoked to be there” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “The vibe everyone gives off is so welcoming and friendly. Everyone just wants to have a good time enjoying the music and dancing together. I have made countless friends at music festivals and I feel this connection is something that just doesn’t happen at a regular concert.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
If you had to listen to one album only for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- “This one’s tough. I think, if I had to pick one, it’d be M83’s ‘Junk’. I really admire the way the album stayed true to the sound that which had been developing through previous albums, while also creating something totally new and infectious.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “That’s an intense question. I’d probably have to go with Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest. I’ve probably listened to it a million times already and it just never gets old” –Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I would definitely have to say Torches by Foster the People. It’s what made me fall in love with indie/alternative music. So many great memories rush back to me when I listen to those tracks.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “Probably Currents by Tame Impala or Empire of the Sun’s latest album.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
Who has been the greatest influence in your musical career?
- “Frank Ocean hands down. He just does and says exactly what he feels. You don’t listen to his records and think, ‘here’s a guy trying to write hits’. Not that there’s anything wrong with trying to make hits, but you can tell it’s just him saying what he wants to say in this beautifully different way. The first time I heard Blonde I was laying in a Hammock with my girlfriend at the end of summer and we just stayed there for hours listening to it over and over. It was the clearest ‘I want to do that; I want to be involved in making people feel the way I feel right now’ moment I’ve ever experienced.” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I would have to say my whole family. Most all of my relatives are musicians in some way shape or form. There is never a shortage of live music at family gatherings and I think seeing this as a kid really drove me to pick up instruments so that one day I could partake in the performances.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “This is always changing, but at the moment I would have to say Frank Ocean as well. His stuff is the most 2017 music there is, in the best way possible. He’s doing innovative stuff right now.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- “Everything bagels, for sure. Not even a slight question. I have an everything bagel tattooed on my leg for a reason!” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “Breakfast Burritos” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “Chicken Pot Pie for every meal.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “Mom’s sausage meatloaf” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
- “Probably George Martin. He was pretty inspiring to me not only because I love The Beatles, but also the way he kind of changed the game when it came to using the recording studio.” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “Bruno Mars. He just seems like the happiest guy on the planet, I think I could learn a lot from him. And it would be pretty funny to see the resemblance we have (or so people say) in person.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “Hmm, I would have to say Barack Obama.” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
What’s your favorite song of the moment?
- “My favorite song right now is probably ‘Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)’ by Matt Simons. I really dig the production, and I think the lyrics are really relaxing.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “Probably Celebrate by Anderson Paak. Just a great early morning, appreciate the day kind of song.” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- I’d have to go with the Classixx remix of Dark Days by Local Natives. It’s just such a relaxing yet groovy song.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
- “All We Need (low key) – LEO” – Max Reichert (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar)
Do you have any hidden talents?
- “I can kind of juggle, just please don’t ask me to juggle.” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I’m a mean moonwalker.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
What’s your favorite movie?
- “My favorite movie is The Game (1997). I actually found it randomly on Netflix, and I thought, for about the first 30 minutes of the movie, that I wasn’t going to like it. Right when I thought about turning the TV off, the entire plot turned around on itself. I’m pretty sure this movie alone got me into psychological thrillers.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “My brother and I grew up watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy together. They’ll always be some of my favorite movies.” – Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “The Austin Powers movies for sure. They have everything, action, comedy, romance, what else could you ask for in a movie!” – Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
What skill do you wish you had?
- “I wish I could dance, but, fortunately, I’m usually sitting behind a drum kit so I wouldn’t be able to anyway! Plus, Mike’s got the dancing covered, I think!” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “I wish I could sing a lot better than I can. I get by, and my voice isn’t necessarily bad, but I wish I belt Freddy Mercury style every now and again.” –Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “I wish I could skateboard, it just seems like such a cool and hip thing to be good at.” –Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
What’s your spirit animal?
- “A takin. Pretty dope animals if you ask me.” – Zak Blumer (Drums)
- “Otter” -Ben Saulnier (Bass & Backup Vocals)
- “Gazelle, they are so very graceful.” – Michael Berthold (Keys & Backup Vocals)
Learn more about Clubhouse here: