Placeholder Finding the Sweet Spot with ‘Nothing Is Pure’

placeholder620x400The Maryland/Pennsylvania-based band Placeholder has put out an EP, a full-length and managed to rack up at least one potential lawsuit. Not bad, for a band that’s been together for just over a year.

The punk rock/post-hardcore four-piece have managed to find that sweet balance between teeth-rattling guitar chords and melody, bringing to mind everyone from Hot Water Music to Polar Bear Club.

With the release of their debut full-length Nothing Is Pure on Better Days Records and with summer vacation coming up, expect to find the band at a club near you. And if frontman Brandon Gepfer gets his way, you may even see a flaming guitar. No promises though; we’re still in a shitty economy.

Innocent Words: Let’s start out with how the band first got together.

Brandon Gepfer:  Marco [Florey] and I had been in a band together previously, and we liked each other so much that we quit that band to get to be together on a more intimate level.  Evan [Braswell] played guitar pretty well, and Noah [Krepps] had a bass guitar. I don’t remember us really wanting to do anything other than writing, but it eventually turned into playing shows, recording, touring and making millions of dollars.

IW: You changed your band name recently. Was someone threatening to sue?

Gepfer:  Yeah, we used to be called Coastal.  There are literally 10,000 bands with that name or something related to Coastal.  Another band called Coastal is on some label from Utah. Their label contacted us and said that we are violating a trademark, or whatever it was. To avoid any conflict that potentially could’ve happened, we just decided that we’d change our name.  It’s really dumb, I liked being Coastal.  Time moves on and life happens.

IW: Tell me a little bit about the new record?

Gepfer:  The record is titled Nothing is Pure because Everything Sucks was already taken.  Lyrically, the record is about a person in my life, myself and a certain spiritual being that may or may not exist above us.  Every song is about one or all of them interacting with each other. The record isn’t about hating yourself or hating others… In all honesty, it’s about finally realizing, for me, that no one is going to be on your side forever, and since that bums me out I wrote about it. A little back story on that is that I used to be in love with a person that really wanted me to find God, and needed me to find him fast so that she could see herself with me.  That doesn’t work, I am not pure, I can never be pure. You feel?

IW: I feel. How did this recording experience compare to the EP?

Gepfer:  Much better. We knew what we wanted to sound like and how we wanted the general flow to be. The EP was our first time in the studio together and we felt rushed to get things done, and I believe that had a huge impact on how the songs turned out.  Generally, I was a lot more anxious to record these songs.  The music was better and I felt more confident about them. I think the rest of the guys feel the same way about them.

IW:  How did you end up connecting with your label Better Days?

Gepfer:  Cassidy [Myers] put out a Handguns record that Marco was a part of, so I think that was probably a big factor.

IW: The album’s just come out, so what’s next for the band?

Gepfer:  Touring for a lot of the summer, while the youngsters have off school. We’ll be all over the U.S. from May to August; it’ll be pretty neat.  Hopefully, our van doesn’t blow up. We will be recording some new songs in April for a 7-inch to be released sometime in 2012. What I really want to do though, is to set my guitar on fire at a show. I’ve just been watching videos of that, and I think it’d be really fun. I don’t care what anyone thinks, a flame-engulfed guitar rules.