The Crazy Wonderful Hijinks of the 131ers

THE 131ers; press photo

THE 131ers; press photo

The 131ers have been creating quite the stir lately. Known for mixing genres and distilling it into their own unique sound, the origin of their name comes from an unlikely source as well. The name itself is an obscure reference to early MP3 tagging technology.

But why reference this to begin with? According to vocalist/guitarist Kaleb Davies, “Actually, I came up with the name when I was like…. eleven years old, because I decided I wanted to be in a band called the 131ers someday.”

“And that day came sooner than he thought!” adds bassist Chris Graue.

“And then I started making music with that name a long time ago,” Davies explains. “And it just stuck throughout every form of the band, until this one which is kind of now the real form. So, I guess the weirdest thing about that is that it’s very old. The name has been around for ten years.

THE 131ers; press photo

THE 131ers; press photo

“Ryan (Dawson, drums) and I met in high school and started making music then. We were the original two members of the 131ers; and we decided… there was some weird college stuff, dropping out stuff….it was decided we were going to do this band as a duo cuz it was easiest at the time. And Chris got involved by making the music videos. And then he started filling in on some shows, and then kind of just told us he was in the band.”

“I kind of shoehorned my way in,” Graue admitted. “To be fair, they just kept making me play gigs, and then eventually I just said, ‘I am either in this band or…no, I am just in this band cuz you keep calling me’.”

Davies further describes how the drummer came to be in the band as well, “We met Greg (Wilmot, guitar) through a YouTube show that he used to host, and we hit it off. I think the story there is we saw him at a show months later in Anaheim where he lives. I was really, really drunk and he said something like, ‘Are you going to let me play guitar for you?’ and I responded like, ‘Yea, of course!!!’ and now he is our guitar player.”

“Pretty much if you want to be in the 131ers, just show up and tell people you are in the 131ers,” jokes Graue.

What influences a band is often quite diverse, and often rather unexpected.

“I listen to a lot of ska and punk, so I don’t know how much that comes through,” points out Graue. “It probably doesn’t. Especially as a bass player, I’ve always just listened to so much ska growing up. I’m basically just playing ska basslines at different rhythms, no matter what I’m doing.”

THE 131ers; press photo

THE 131ers; press photo

When it comes to playing live shows, Graue remarks, “I like the drink tickets. Those are pretty cool. I like the people that come to them, like the people at the shows, and like hanging out with them afterwards. I like a lot of tension, so I want everyone to look at me for thirty minutes, and then talk to me afterwards personally.”

Davies gives his take on the live experience as well, “I like playing live shows. We were doing another interview and they asked, ‘Why do you play music, what inspires you?’ And my response has always been being able to play live. It feels like the most important thing and I feel creatively I get the best buzz off of that. I don’t think I can pinpoint why but think it just has something to do with the mutual, one-on-one thing you get with somebody when they are liking your band, or you’re watching a band and know what they are going through. Yea, there’s nothing like it.”

The 131ers also love the studio environment, albeit for much different reasons.

“I like it a lot,” Dawson said. “I feel that it’s cool because you learn a lot about the song you’re recording while recording it. You think you might know the song cuz you have played it so many times live, but once you get it down on paper so to speak, there are so many things you can manipulate and do with it. On the other hand, it might change the song completely.”

“You can be way more ambitious too,” adds Graue. “When you’re playing it live, you have to sort of play it the simplest way that you can, to make sure you don’t screw it up.”

“Every show I have ever played, I started playing shows when I was fifteen or whatever, I always have a red bandana tied around my microphone stand,” Davies recalls. “I don’t know why, sometimes I wipe my face with it, but usually I don’t even touch it. But if I don’t have it, I like flip out. We have even had people buy one and bring it to the show.”

“We tried playing without it once and it was like the worst show ever, so he swore he wouldn’t ever do it again,” Dawson chimes in.

Catch the wild antics and intense tension of the 131ers via their upcoming album Nothing’s As It Should Be and catch them live at Los Angeles Ale Works Jun 15 and Pop Obscure Records Jun 16.