Local punk rockers Masters of the Universe! have been carving a name for themselves in Pittsburgh’s ska/punk/rock community since 2005, sharing the stage with acts like The Toasters, The Slackers, Mustard Plug, Weatus, and Hinder. It’s time for MOTU! to headline a stage of their own during their biggest gig to-date at the Altar Bar this Saturday, August 31st. They’re celebrating the release of their new album, titled, In A Galaxie Far Far Away, and are very excited to share their new songs with their supportive fans, which helped to fund their latest project via a very successful Kickstarter campaign. We had a chance to ask two bandmates, Chuck and AJ Veri, a few questions about their upcoming release and more about themselves, since they’re new to us. Get to know Masters of the Universe! before they blow up.
Kymbo Slice: How different is the band’s dynamic since its inception back in 2005 and after the lineup changes in 2012?
AJ Veri: Our dynamic as a band has changed a lot since the release of our first album, in both our writing style and musicianship. We’ve gone from being just a ska/punk band to being a band that infuses our style with elements of jazz R&B and straight up rock & roll. Our lineup change consisted of a new singer (Chuck) and the addition of Hannah on tenor sax. It’s been nothing but improvements for MOTU. Chuck added a whole new twist to our writing style, and Hannah is one of the most talented musicians we’ve ever known. I can assure you it’s going in the right direction.
KS: What improvements have you made with the release of this new album? Why did you let 3 years pass between your last release and the new one?
AJ: We recorded our first album in a bathroom, and boy was that smelly. With the new album we started from square one and built our own studio to fit our needs. There was such a long gap between albums mainly because of the lineup change. We were without a singer for a whole year, and we were in the process of building our studio.
KS: What is your relationship like with your label, The Atomic Family Records?
CV: We really couldn’t have done this album with out Erik Grieco at The Atomic Family. Kyle, our bari sax player, recorded the album and he did a great job, but Erik really took it and ran with it and brought it to a place we never thought possible. He’s been great to work with and we look forward to working with him again on the next one.
KS: Can you tell us a little about the smashing success of your Kickstarter campaign?
Both: The success of the Kickstarter campaign just blew us away! Our fans and supporters came out in droves and backed us wholeheartedly and pushed us to our goal and beyond. Their support is what really allowed us to put on this show at Altar Bar. We had all this extra money so we decided to throw a huge party in honor of our fans. Everyone in attendance receives free merch.
KS: What are you most looking forward to regarding your upcoming gig at Altar Bar?
Both: The stage! With eight of us we always have space issues. We’re pretty cramped at most of the smaller clubs. This will be the biggest club that MOTU has ever headlined, and we’re really excited to play.
KS: What’s next for the band?
Both: We have a lot of things already in the works. We’re playing a lot of shows this fall – some colleges, festivals, local club dates and some shows around the region. We’re also working on new material that we hope to begin recording later this year. Resting is not on the list of things to do.
One thing that should be on your to-do list is this show. It starts at 8PM Saturday, August 31 at Altar Bar. Tickets are $10 and they’ll be joined by their friends The Pressure and Hey Compadre. Peep the video they made for the occasion.