The Deli's Featured Artist(s) Poll Winners: The Day Life
- by The Deli Staff
Founding members of The Day Life, Alex Markovitz and Jason Oller might have met during little league, but their journey to adulthood certainly veered off in different directions as many childhood friendships tend to do. But after years of isolation and dreams of rock stardom, the two found each other once again (without the help of Facebook), and began a new journey that lead to the duo becoming a trio with the addition of learned drummer Carl Bahner. Their demos eventually managed to grab the attention of Grammy Award winner Scot Sax, who produced their latest EP Pick Me Up. Well, good fortune continues to shine on the fledgling band with their recent victory in our Featured Artist(s) Poll, and we had chance to catch up with The Day Life’s Alex Markovitz to get to know the up-and-coming band a little better.
The Deli: How did the band start?
Alex Markovitz: Jason and I were childhood friends. We met playing little league baseball and have been close ever since. As kids, the two of us shared a love of music, but never really wrote songs together. We just hung out and caused mischief in our small suburban neighborhood. After high school, we parted ways. I went to a small conservative business school in Boston and Jason stayed back in the suburbs figuring out life on his own terms. We were in two completely different places during our years of maturation, but both had similar experiences regarding our own self-realization. I felt isolated as a lone artist in a cut-throat business school, but steered clear of the golden ticket in hopes of becoming a rock star. Jason found himself living a nomadic lifestyle attributed to the aftermath of his broken home. With no real parents, he lived in 4 different houses, on couches and floors, funneling his uncertainty and loneliness into his art.
The stars aligned and it all came together during the summer following my college graduation. We reunited for the first time in years and decided to try something we never tried before: collaboration. Writing together came so naturally to us, that it was scary at first. It’s almost as if Jay’s verses were meant for my choruses. We went on a writing binge, recorded a demo, and soon realized we had something special.
Needing a drummer to play live gigs, I put out an ad and within days an over-qualified drummer by the name of Carl Bahner came to the rescue. Carl has just about every endorsement and degree possible for a drummer, but being a musician, he needed the cash to pay rent. The deal was Carl would charge us $20 per practice and $50 per gig. Jay and I knew we couldn't afford it, but thought we could schmooze him over. With high hopes and two Hamiltons in our hands we won him over. It was love at first jam.
Carl became a permanent member and eventually started dropping other projects on his drum calendar to focus his time on us. Our demo eventually caught the ear of famed Philly songwriter and producer Scot Sax who recorded our release “Pick Me Up.” The rough mixes caught the ears of Larry Gold’s Studio in Philadelphia and offered to mix and master our work at a rate we couldn't refuse.
Now exactly one month after completing “Pick Me Up”, we're here, being featured on the front page of The Deli Magazine. It’s pretty unbelievable.
TD: Where did the band name The Day Life come from?
AM: Jay sounds like John, but likes Paul better. I sound like Paul, but like John better. Our favorite Beatles song is “A Day in the Life,” so we shortened it.
TD: What are your biggest musical influences?
AM: We are all pretty huge Beatles fans. They have the most direct influence on our songwriting. People also tell us we sound like Dr. Dog and Weezer, both of which we’re big fans of. We’re fine with the comparisons.
TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
AM: Locally, our favorite band right now is called Cheers Elephant. Their songs are catchy as hell, and their live show is one to be reckoned with. On top of it they are all great guys. It’s kind of cool when your friends’ band is one you’re a legitimate fan of.
Nationally, we’re all big Guster fans. I interned for them in Boston and try hard to replicate what they’ve done. They are great guys and loyal to their fan base.
We also like the Fleet Foxes, Wilco, MGMT, The Flaming Lips and the Shins.
TD: What’s the first concert that you ever attended and first album you ever bought?
AM: Carl’s first albums were simultaneous Christmas presents: Boyz II Men’s II and Celine Dion’s These Are Special Times (the one with the Titanic theme on it). His first show was Aerosmith.
My first show was Phantom Planet at the Electric Factory, and Jay’s was Alkaline Trio in Jersey.
TD: What do you love about Philly?
AM: The food. Living in Boston, I had to settle for a “steak and cheese” and wanted to punch every restaurant in the face.
Jay loves the proximity of the parks in the Philadelphia area. He’s pretty obsessed with animals and hiking. He’s a volunteer at an animal conservatory so is always showing off pictures of himself holding a falcons and owls. It makes us jealous.
Carl loves the music scene. He basically knows EVERYBODY who plays music in Philly. Every time I go to a show I meet 3 people that play with Carl. He gets around.
TD: What do you hate about Philly?
AM: Hate is such a strong word, but the parking police suck. We hate them, strongly. We have lost so much money parking during recording and gigging. It always puts a huge damper on the night when you are all high after a gig and come back to a $75 parking ticket on your windshield.
TD: What are your plans for 2011?
AM: One of our best friends is a videographer named Ian Gillies. He has all this top of the line equipment and plans on making a series of music videos and “webisodes” with us. Our friends are always telling us we should have our own TV show based on our daily shenanigans, so we're just going to roll with it.
We also just released our tunes online about a month ago and are putting together a small tour to promote it. We plan on exposure however we can, approaching local coffee shops and record stores to sell our CDs. Some people we have been working with have close ties to Philly radio, and others we meet online, like this DJ from Clemson University that tweeted at me about playing our jams on her show.
TD: What was your most memorable live show?
AM: We like to judge shows on the difference between the security guard's general attitude towards us before and after our set. Based on this criteria and this criteria alone, our most memorable show was definitely the Chameleon Club in Lancaster.
As we were walking into the club, these sketchy religious teenagers kept trying to aggressively preach to us while we were unpacking our gear. I was walking away from them with my piano rolling behind me and knocked over these flowers baskets behind the club. Then the security guard pushed me and was like “Those were my flowers bro!?” I explained, and then he shouted that I had to walk all the way around the club to unpack gear since I smoldered his tiger lillies.
After our set he was the first one to come up to us and was like “Your sound is unreal!” You know you killed it when a 6 foot 8 amateur horticulturalist with a small temper is your new best friend after your set. Mongo, if you're reading this, what’s up man??
TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?
AM: Jay rarely eats meat so he’d probably get some cabbage patch concoction. I dig turkey bacon anything. Carl eats chicken.