New Jersey pop-punk band All Systems Go takes us back down memory lane with nostalgic single "No Does HomeComing Like Us" produced by Man Overboard's Nik Bruzzese.
Sometimes ends are perfect beginnings. For the case of pop-punk newcomers All Systems Go, ending their high school band for college would return several years later. Sometimes we often don't come back to those dreams until we have reached a moment of clarity.
“In February of 2021, someone shared a post on our high school class’s Facebook group page and mentioned how our 10-year reunion was only two years away, and how they “couldn’t believe how successful everyone had become!”
At the time, I wasn’t feeling this way at all. This gave me such bad anxiety given everything I just mentioned. All of a sudden, my mind hit me with “Everyone else you know is getting engaged, buying a house or a car, working as an executive, etc.” and meanwhile, here I was feeling like I’d never get out of my bedroom. ”
That moment of clarity often hits us at the most inopportune times, but it is at those times we are most thankful that they happen. While it may have been a riff or a demo that set this band back in motion again, that moment would propel forward a full album Garden State Skies (2019) and EP The Waiting Room that same year. All Systems Go have since kicked their artistic drive into overdrive for their latest single, "No One Does Homecoming Like Us," produced by Nik Bruzzese of Man Overboard. A sound that takes us down memory lane with wispy energetic guitar stings, spry percussive delivery, and notes of pop-punk nostalgia strinkled sweetly onto the vocals, "No One Does Homecoming Like Us" shows this new band has a great future.
How did All Systems Go come to fruition? From living in New Jersey myself, I know the pop-punk scene is pretty massive and diverse here.
Matt: At the end of my sophomore year of high school (2011), Devin, and our two original members started our first band. We played a bunch of community events, open mics, birthday parties, and things like that. But with all of us going off to college, we couldn’t keep the band together. Even still at the end of that run, in 2013 it seemed like not many people we knew actually wanted to hear us play. In 2016, I had seen Devin for the first time in several years, and in our first conversation, the band was brought up. I had been playing guitar more consistently at the time and showed him a riff I made up on my phone. (one we haven’t used for a song yet).
Within a week, the band was back together, this time as All Systems Go, and we vowed to do everything “the right way” this time. We learned from our previous experiences to make this attempt at a band better. We’ve been super active in the NJ scene since 2017 without slowing down at all and every show we’ve played post-quarantine has been some of our best yet. I’d say we’re pretty good friends with around 15-20 bands, and that’s just within our local scene. Everyone supports each other and goes to each other's shows which makes this so much fun.
Devin: Aside from the phone riff, Matt showed me a basement demo of music that he had written with another band, which was the original arrangement of "London Lights." Joe was in that band too. It was more of a jam band though and from what they’ve told me it wasn’t as serious as trying to book shows and get consistent gigs. I think that first music conversation we had brought back a lot of nostalgia of being in a band in high school. So we wanted to try it again, but better this time.
What are your music influences? How did they make their way into your new single, "No One Does Homecoming Like Us?"
Matt: I’d say my biggest influences for writing this song, in particular, are The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball. There are different parts of each of these bands' styles that I was able to grab and put in the song. For example, the guitar-moving octave line in the chorus came about from me listening to a Modern Baseball song in my headphones and just kinda noodling over that chorus on my guitar. More importantly, I think The Wonder Years are the most poetic pop-punk band, lyrically speaking. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback so far about how "Homecoming’s" lyrics have a similar poetic vibe. I think given how much I listen to The Wonder Years, that totally makes sense.
Devin: In comparison to our previous releases, the new music has such a modern rock feel. I have been listening to more up-and-coming and local bands lately. I have been digging the array of styles and sounds that are clearly influenced by some of the household names in rock and pop-punk, but also unique in their own ways. I feel like those styles and sounds are starting to inspire me and make their way into my writing. Special shoutout to all of our local band friends from the South Jersey and Philly scene.
In what ways is this single different from the 2019 work The Waiting Room and your latest cover single, "Every Time I Look For You" instrumentally? You guys have this fiery nostalgic quality instrumentally that makes you guys fun to listen to. In what ways did you challenge yourself to expand a bit in ways you did not on those last two releases?
Dean: We definitely forced ourselves to keep our musical ideas more concise. This time we went into the studio with more attention to detail on every part of the song, including the original demo, which we took our time tracking and working through. In the studio, we were able to find a middle ground with this song, where we could simplify it but also keep it from being too boring if that makes sense. We weren’t going to make the song too complex-sounding just for the sake of that.
Joe: For me, it was the fact that I was working with a producer who is primarily a drummer. His input was a huge factor in how the drum parts came out, and in the end, we were able to come up with drum parts that made the song better and have way more energy than our previous releases. I wrote all the drum parts for The Waiting Room myself, so it was cool to have a second opinion.
Matt: “Every Time I Look for You” was a Blink 182 cover and is part of a DIY cover compilation of the 20th anniversary of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. That is the first song that I’ve ever recorded and mixed all the way through for a rock band. Shoutout to our friends in the band Out of Service who organized the comp and asked us to be a part of it.
What was the recording process like for this? You were working with Man Overboard's Nik Bruzzese. That's amazing.
Dean: Nik knew what we needed to do to make our songs the best they could be. There was not one single time when making a change or a suggestion that he hesitated either; he really has a great ear for that kind of thing. Recording this song (and others) happened all in the span of an extended weekend, and we got a ton of work done very efficiently because of his expertise.
Devin: Very educational for sure, working with him was like having a teacher in the studio with us. Also, the studio gave us the feeling of taking our next step toward our ultimate goal of taking over the world.
Joe: He really pushed us to get the best out of our performances. That made the final products even better.
Lyrically can we tap into "No One Does Homecoming Like Us" a bit? I know this lyrically stems from feeling stuck, feeling like we are behind when we should be ahead in many things in life. What was going on in your lives during the writing process of this track?
Matt: A few things inspired the song. I was taking online classes for grad school, two, in particular, that had me doing homework in my bedroom for literally 25 hours every week. I was also working full time, both in the office and at home, and my job was becoming entirely unfulfilling. Student loan debt was also really beating me down then. On top of that, quarantine was still going on, and being just an “online band” was less fun when we couldn’t play shows. I was probably spending way too much time by myself or only communicating with friends in group chats. In February of 2021, someone shared a post on our high school class’s Facebook group page and mentioned how our 10-year reunion was only two years away, and how they “couldn’t believe how successful everyone had become!”
At the time, I wasn’t feeling this way at all. This gave me such bad anxiety given everything I just mentioned. All of a sudden, my mind hit me with “Everyone else you know is getting engaged, buying a house or a car, working as an executive, etc.” and meanwhile, here I was feeling like I’d never get out of my bedroom. I had some lyrics already written about being bored with living at home. But once I saw this, I pretty much finished and structured the words that same night, and the song took on a bigger meaning. On this post, Facebook said around 100 people within the group saw it, but only two people liked it. I made sure to include this in the song: “But hardly anyone’s talking about it, maybe I’m not the only one who feels like a mess.”
Joe: I think our experience of keeping the band going during quarantine made its way into this song. We had to pause our plans and adapt, so it makes sense that Matt wrote this great song about feeling stuck once we got back to writing new material.
I know you guys are still growing into the scene, but what have you taken from your releases personally that you want your listeners to take from them as well?
Joe: We want the lyrics to be relatable. We’ve always written about stuff that’s happening in our lives. As our band grows and we grow as people, we hope that our listeners can relate to the lyrics. And if they are, that’s great.
Devin: I’ve found that my latest songs for the band have been significantly happier and more uplifting. A lot of our past work came from sorrow, and there is enough of that in the world. With our new music, we would like to lend a helping hand to those feeling down. Good vibes.
What's next for you guys?
All Systems Go: Big things coming soon!