It seems like Student Rick came from out of nowhere right into the world of music. “Soundtrack for a generation” is their debut album which came out on Victory a few weeks ago. In almost every case the info sheet that comes with the newest release of a band talks about how great the band is, how unique their sound, the fame of the producer and with whom the band played with in the past. The info for Student Rick’s first full length starts with the words: “Have you ever heard a song that touched you in a way that you couldn’t explain?” Yes I have. The first time I listened to Bad Religion in 1989 gave me this feeling. The first time a friend of mine introduced me to Slayer’s music. Entombed’s album “Left hand path” had this effect as well as many songs by the Descendents as well as numerous other songs, no matter if it be hardcore, emo, death metal or whatever. Now ‘Please forgive me’, the fourth track on Student Rick’s album made me feel the same way. Before I could check out the record in its entity I felt compelled listening to this one track about five times in a row. Meanwhile I like the album very much, so I thought it would be a good thing to do an interview with Student Rick. Adam Reiter, who is playing guitar and singing for the band answered my questions only one day (!) after I sent them to him. Thanks Adam, also for ‘Please forgive me.’
I usually start e-mail interviews asking how the person answering my questions feels like at the moment…
Hello this is Adam Reiter of S*R, I play guitar/vocals. I am doing good, I am a little under the weather but I am doing good. Thank you for doing this interview.
The album is entitled ‘Soundtrack for a generation’. Now when I look at pictures from you guys I think you must still be pretty young. How old are you? Don't you think it's funny that "old people" like me (well, I'm not really that old, I'm 26) like the album so much even though they don't belong to your generation anymore ;-)?
We are very excited about the record as well. We are all between 19 and 20 so yeah we are still young. No I think it is wonderful [that “older” people are enjoying the album]. Honestly we get groups of 40 year olds coming out to our shows. We like to think of our music as being appealing to everyone.
Did you have a specific generation in mind you named the album after? How would you characterize your generation?
No, ‘Soundtrack For A Generation’ is for anyone who relates to our songs. If you can sit there and listen to the record and relate to it then you are part of this generation.
As I said in my review for that album it was recorded at the Blasting Room with Bill Stevenson from All/Descendents who is running this studio as well as Owned & Operated Records. How did you get him producing the record? I mean it must have been pretty impressive recording with a person who plays in such legendary bands, so how were your feelings when you first met him? How did you come along with him and the other people at the Blasting Room?
Our record company called them up and sent them a demo and they liked it so they decided to take on the project. The Descendents are the reason that I am here right now playing this music. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten into punk rock at all. So meeting them was a dream come true (I know what you mean, I kinda felt the same when I saw them play live in Germany in 1997, probably the best show I ever saw – Stefan). Now we are really good friends. It was an amazing experience, everyone the BR was amazing!
So do you think you will record future songs at the Blasting Room also or is there any other studio/producer you have in mind?
Yeah we will record there again. I am a fan of a lot of other producers but I think that they really made us partial to working with them. We want all of the BR staff to be a part of our next record as well.
Do you have a favourite song on the album? Were all songs finished when you entered the studio or did you change some parts while already being in the studio?
The song that I relate to the most is ‘Through The Window’. The words were written for me to be able to use it as a tool when I am away from everyone and everything. Yeah we wrote a lot of parts when we were in the studio. The record is basically one big experiment.
Now which influence did Bill Stevenson have? Was he "only" responsible for the sound of the record or did he also arrange some parts of the songs?
Bill was responsible for making sure that everything was the best it could be, and I personally think he did a great job of it (He sure did – Stefan).
How come Stephen Egerton from ALL played guitar on the songs‘Yesterday’?
Well, that is one of those things where he just kicks ass and it was a part that I didn’t have all the way down so Stephen took a few minutes out of his day and learned it.
The album shows many references to a vinyl release, for example the cover art, the CD itself that looks like a 7", or the cracking at the beginning of the CD. Who came up with this concept?
Me and Jason developed a lot of those ideas after I came up with the name of the record. We wanted to add things into this record that are familiar to all different generation's.
What did you have first, the title of the record or the single songs? I am asking because I'm curious because if the title came first, were the songs then written around it (musically as well as lyrically) or did you choose the title because it fits to the lyrics of the songs and is something like an overall theme of the record?
The songs came first. Well yeah, when listening to the songs on the record I found that they all had things that everyone could relate to, so something needed to fit the theme of all of the songs.
Talking about the thanx list (that I always love to look at): You thank God in the first place. So do you believe in God? What does God mean to you? I know this is a difficult question, but I am interested in your point of view concerning this. Is everyone in the band thinking the same about this issue or are there different opinions?
We all believe in God. God to me personally means the reason why I am here, my savior. I am sure that there are different opinions but me personally I am a big fan of God. However, I am not of any religion, just belief.
That’s cool. Although I could go on talking about this topic for hours I want to leave it just there, because I think everyone should make up their minds on their own.
So let’s talk about previous releases of Student Rick instead. Before this album you released an EP and supposedly a 7" (I'm not quite sure about the latter one). Please tell me everything about these releases, did you put them out on your own or were they released on a record label? How many copies were pressed and are they still available?
We never released a 7" but we did release an EP that is just demo tracks for our Victory Records release. It is still available, but not many are available. (I thought I read on your website that there was a single before the EP, but maybe I am wrong – Stefan)
All songs on the EP were re-recorded for ‘Soundtrack...’, right? Why that? Didn't you have more songs for the full length or did you think these songs were too good to just be released on a limited EP? Did you change the songs or parts of them while recording them for the full length?
The demos were what got us signed to Victory Records, and we believed in those songs strongly enough to alter them a little bit and put them on our full length.
I also heard that the EP contained an enhanced part featuring a video for the song ‘Anniversary’, is that correct? What about this song, it is not on the EP and not on the full length, so what song is this? Will you put that one out in the future?
Well, actually the company that did the EP for us put the wrong song on the EP, it is not ‘Anniversary’ even though it says it is. It was one of our first songs called ‘10:00’ and it was from our first batch of demos almost 2 years ago. We have tossed around altering ‘Anniversary’ and putting it on something. So who knows.
Let's talk about the history of Student Rick. I know, talking about a band's history is always a bit boring, but in your case I hope that's different, because you're a pretty young band, so many people might not be familiar with you. How did you guys meet, have there been any line-up changes so far?
Well, Student Rick was formed around 2 years ago by Brett and me and yes we have had line up changes. In the beginning we had a different drummer and bass player. We were all in different bands at one time and we became friends and when each of the bands began to fall apart separately including Student Rick we all joined forces to make this band last. Jason was in a band called Time Of Day, Zach was in a Chicago style hardcore band called Duncan, and Brett was in his basement writing songs that would eventually turn us on to writing together.
Do you still go to school? What about touring then? Isn't that a problem for you, because I hear you will tour extensively in the future?
No, we all Graduated high school and me and Jason tried college but we got signed and ended that in a hurry.
So things went pretty fast for Student Rick, after only one EP you're on Victory now, recorded an album with Bill Stevenson etc. Do you think this is crazy or what are your feelings about that?
Yeah, it all moved really fast. We weren’t even together us four for three months before Victory was knocking at our door, we signed in March, did our record in June-July and are just back from shooting our video with amazing Dun Dun DunDUN!! (make sounds like Horn) Darren Doane who is famous for Unwritten Law ‘Holiday’, Jimmy Eat World ‘Lucky Denver Mint’ and Blink 182 ‘Dammit, Josie’. So things went fast and very exciting.
How did you get in touch with Victory? What about the contract, for how many records did you sign? Do you think you fit to Victory, because most of the bands play a totally different kind of style? Some people might expect different music from a Victory band so do you think they wouldn't check out Student Rick just because of the fact that you're on Victory and they’re expecting a different type of music than that you are actually playing?
Victory was sent our demo by a fan. We are on for four records. We chose Victory because we saw the potential for full attention on us, and we are all attention starved brats so we needed this for once. Well, we have had mixed feelings from people. We have had kids come out in their Hatebreed, Blood For Blood shirts and not like us and we have had kids love us. It is just a label, I think sometimes kids take that a little to far.
I agree, so would you ever sign to a major label? Where do you see yourself as well as the band in ten years? Do you think you will go on making music (in Student Rick or in other bands) or do you think you will drop out of the music scene after a while?
I don’t know. Well, I see us all playing music. I will always be a part of it. I mean I have other things that I wish to accomplish in my life but I will always do this.
What are your "Movies for a generation"? You know, I really like all those high school movies a lot, what about you? What's your favourite movie in this genre?
Any John Cusack movie. That dude has made movies that kids will always relate to.
One questions that I am very curious about: I am a big Descendents fan, did you hear any new songs when you recorded at the Blasting Room? Which band do you prefer, ALL or the Descendents?
Yes, we heard new stuff. I prefer Descendents just because they started it all for me.
I guess we're at the end of this interview. Did you like it?
Yes, I had a good time.