Chicago natives, Belmont, have been subtly conquering the pop-punk and heavy music scene over the past summer. From their hit track “Overstepping” reaching 1.7 streams/views to breaking the Billboard Top 200 (landing at 146) with their debut album to recently announcing a US tour with Senses Fail and The Amity Affliction, Belmont already have laundry list of accolades. Brian Lada, the band’s drummer (and one of the primary songwriters), has actually been studying at Berklee for a few semesters! Getting the chance to interview Brian, we sat down with him and picked his brain on what some of these crazy experiences were like, and what advice he has for students who hope to tour while still studying.
Berklee Groove (BG): As a pop-punk band, Belmont’s sound draws from more than just its own genre, with heavy breakdowns and occasional ‘thrashy’ riffs. What non pop-punk bands do you consider a primary influence to Belmont’s sound?
Brian Lada (BL): Honestly, in the past it’s been pretty pop-punk, and now I just don’t want to put it under that blanket, but I also don’t know where to put it so I just say rock. I know that’s like a blanket term you can say about almost every genre, but I don’t consider us just pop-punk anymore. As far as influences go, when I’m writing for the band, I take from heavy music, progressive heavy music, there’s hip-hop and fusion in it - a lot of influences from different places. Collectively, the band really likes stuff like The Story So Far, which is some good old pop-punk, but we like some really heavy bands like Burials and Counterparts. We like really heavy bands and we listen to hip-hop, fusion, soul-funk, there’s a lot going on honestly, influences are coming from everywhere.
BG: Aside from the incredible highlights over the past year, what are some less obvious high points you experienced with Belmont’s recent success?
BL: I would say playing the Chain Reaction in Anaheim, CA. We headlined it twice over summer, and one of the shows sold out, and we just did really good there; the crowd was insane. It was a venue that I’ve personally always wanted to play, and just being able to headline there and bring a bunch of people out was really cool. That was a huge personal highlight for me. I guess because we were headlining a lot over the summer it was cool to watch how we grew over three tours. That was just like a pretty big highlight for us, just doing it and watching us grow.
BG: As an experienced touring artist, what’s some key advice you wish you knew before you guys started touring so much?
BL: There are going to be a lot of issues. Something to just know if you’re DIY is prepare to be disappointed kind of, and it’s a lot of hard work. You have to just keep going. Majority of the time you’re going to feel like you’re getting nowhere, and it sucks. You live with people so closely, and I would say a big tip is to have your very minute disciplines in check, and what I mean by that is like your cleanliness and weird personal habits you have like not being punctual, or being lazy when it comes to moving stuff, whatever it may be. Super minute things have to be in check, which really weren’t for us, so it caused a wide amount of issues. There’s a lot of moving parts to the whole scheme so you just got to make sure you’re watching over all of them, and you know like have fun, but try not to let it get in the way because a lot can go wrong. It’s awesome if you love doing it and believe in it, but expect that it might suck sometimes. It’s also really weird on your mental health, like touring all the time and coming back home for two weeks and then going back on tour. Also expect your relationships might get kind of wacky, whether that’s personal like a girlfriend or boyfriend or friends and family in general, those will get kind of wacky because you don’t see them, which might make things really hard, so you have to anticipate it. Probably the most important though is to just enjoy it.
BG: You guys just announced you’ll be supporting Senses Fail and The Amity Affliction on their upcoming Winter Tour? How freaking crazy must that feel?
BL: Dude it’s honestly insane! I’m kind of nervous about it to be honest because it’s a pretty big jump. We’ve been playing pretty nicely packed shows, but in small places, and these shows are pretty big. The caps are all around 3 to 5 thousand, and they’re expecting a lot of the shows to sell out because of Senses Fail and Amity with their new records and stuff like that. It’s the craziest thing, I’m definitely so happy about it, but it’s crazy and has just started hitting me now.