Dead End Lane's Erin And Tyler Maltese

By Jay Oakley

I'm sitting here with Tyler and Erin from Dead End Lane and you have a new record out, Bring Out Your Knives. Tell us about it.

Tyler Maltese: So, the album came out in June. It was about a year in the process. It's our first full length. It's probably more on the punk/hardcore side of things even though we do have a touch of 50s and horror punk. It's definitely more aggressive then the first one. We had this lineup for about two years so we've been playing the songs for a while and things really worked out pretty well and everyone really put their best effort forward. We're pretty happy about it and we just got back from a little tour and we're going to keep pushing it out for labels, reviews and cool interviews like this.

Erin Maltese: Shout out to Anthony (Rios, drums) who couldn't be here and Colin (Norris) who did bass and also Josh (Douglas) who is now our bassist.

You said that this is your first full length record but for people who are listening to it or have just recently gotten into the band is there other music they'd be able to from the band? Have you put out other things?

Tyler: Oh yeah definitely. We put out an EP about three and a half years ago. It's got about seven songs on it and it's called Domestically Dead and you can find this pretty much anywhere, iTunes, Amazon, but the old album's been out for a little bit. There's probably four or five songs I really liked off of that one but for us it was more of a collection of songs. We were trying to come up with a good mix of songs to send, if you wanted send stuff out to get attention for some things. At that time we really didn't push it as much as we wanted to. We had some things going on were members changed but after about a year and a half we got back on track and started doing this record.

Erin: I think the old EP was definitely more melodic and we tried to keep some of that in Bring Out Your Knives but I got tired of waiting to put out an album so that's why I scream so much on this one.

When it comes to writing music, how do you design the songs you write, the lyrics you write?

Erin: I think it varies and it's always a work in progress. I think it depends on each track. Tyler's always writing. He's does a really good job with writing. He comes up with a ton of riffs and sometimes he'll bring the riffs to practice and we'll put drums down first. Sometimes he'll show them to me and I'll get an idea for a vocal melody. I always write vocal melodies before I put down any lyrics. It just comes easier to me that way and then we'll take it to the rest of the band. So, it just really depends on the type of song that it is and if I'm motivated by it or if Anthony can come up with an idea for it. I'm driven off of the drums too so he comes up with a lot of awesome drum parts that help me to write vocals too.

Tyler: It's probably half and half for me. A lot of times I'll have a song mapped out but I'm not married to it. Other times I'll just have a whole bunch of riffs. Either a riff or parts and I'll tell people, "What do you guys think? What do you want?" and for "Lorelei" Anthony agreed that we needed a hardcore song that was intense but it had to be one minute. It's got to be fast, it's got to be in your face and that was it. The one thing that I think is, kind of, unique is how we write is like what Erin was talking about. How we write is we have to, sort of, hear it in our head first. I'll sit there and jam out some riffs and I'll think that I really like that or this is cool or this but for at least half of them it's, kind of, in my head. It's as I'm doing something, as I'm thinking about something. If I'm writing lyrics which I don't ever do anymore but just for me I'm always hearing something in my head. Erin does the same thing with the vocals where she doesn't really spit the words out. It's like, "I've got this melody now I'm going to fill it with what I'm thinking." and Anthony does the same thing. He'll jam out some beats with us but then for the other half or three quarters of the song he'll be like, "I'm going to take this home and this weekend I'm going to listen to this, jam on it and then I'll come back." and he's got a fill or a part and irons it out.

Erin: Both Colin and Anthony are insanely creative and Colin came up with amazing bass riffs and just things I've never even heard. Ultimate compliment to him and Anthony too.

Tyler: Colin is like the mad scientist. He'll hear it and he'll be like, "OK, I'll do this, it's in this key, blah, blah, blah." and in practice he's still doing it. So, we'd be jamming out and he'd be like, "Hold on, hold on, hold on..." and he'll be strumming and it could be five or ten minutes and we totally forget what the hell is going on and he's still sitting there and then he's like, "Almost! Almost! Almost!" [Laughs] and he just fucking nails it.

When it comes to the lyrical writing, Erin do you write the majority of the lyrics for the songs or is it a group effort?

Erin: I write a majority of it but I will take it back to everyone and see if anyone has any other ideas. Colin came up with changing "get drunk" to "get fucked" at the end of "Duckface" which I thought was pretty funny and we kept that so that was Colin's creativity coming out again. Anthony came up with a vocal melody part in one of the songs in "Cat Fight" at the breakdown part which I thought was really cool so we put that on the album. I feel like I'm stronger at writing melodies then lyrics so it's always up for grabs if people want to help with lyrics. [Laughs]

So, I do want to clarify, for the people that will be coming out and seeing you live especially as you push this album is that Colin is the bass player on the album be he is not the current bass player in the band. The current bass player is Josh.

Erin: Correct.

Tyler: So, Colin's like my best friend. I've known him for thirty years this August which is pretty scary. He played with us for two years and had his last show with us in February. He's going to be on the CD release show playing bass.

Erin: But, Josh will be with us playing rhythm guitar.

Tyler: Colin also sings in Pandas which is this, sort of, post-hardcore/noisecore band that's split between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore. So, he's been with then for eight years. Everyone knows Josh but he also does Hand in Hand and Josh D's So Called Acoustic Act.

For people coming out to see you, how would you describe a Dead End Lane set?

Erin: What was that?! That's how I would describe it.

Tyler: [Laughs] When we played with Goolsby, Poison Anthem and Safe Word in Raleigh, there and one other show, I think it was in St. Augustine, we had two people say this which I really like and they said that we reminded them of three punks with Rosie the Riveter singing and I thought was pretty cool.

Erin: I thought it was cool too and I thought it was even cooler that the compliment wasn't, "You know who you remind me of? It's Gwen Stefani!" So, I was excited to hear something else. A pleasant surprise.

Tyler: Other then that, we just try to hit people with our melodic punk and I really like the aggressive hardcore mixture. Always trying to keep it up with high energy, not really writing the same song twice. We always try to jump around. Colin was always active and Josh is like a fricking springboard so it's, kind of, like a moon bounce when you're watching us.

So, what do you have coming up this year?

Erin: We have the CD release show which is on September 30th at The Sidebar and then after that we have a benefit show which is for the Children's Center for Johns Hopkins. It's a benefit show with proceeds benefiting the Johns Hopkins Children's Network for Cancer and it is the first Saturday night of December (3rd.) It's at Lithuanian Hall and it's actually an Elvis tribute night. So, all Elvis tribute artists come out from all over the country and they give their time and their talents to collecting donations and money to benefit that great cause.

Tyler: Yeah, it's call the Night of 100 Elvises and it'll be their twenty-third year. Like Erin said, they get all these people from all over the world to come in and they not only come in but they do their acts so there's tribute artists and there's bands in the ballroom and upstairs in the Jungle Room. It'll be our second year doing it and all the proceeds go to cancer research and it's also a good deal is you go. I think it's like sixty bucks and it's all you can drink beer.

Erin: Yeah, it's all you can drink beer but there's also an additional cash bar so if beer's not your thing you've got additional stuff. Also food's there, that's included in the price. There's a lot of talent.

Tyler: You'll see a lot of really cool shit. There's a lot of different age groups.

Erin: It's like Halloween, everyone dresses up so it's pretty cool.

Tyler: People dressing like Elvis. My Father's friend always wears this black ape suit. Everyone knows him as The Gorilla. You see all sorts of shit every year, there's something new. It's progressing, everyone's having more fun and they're trying to get more young people to go and it's pretty cool. Not a lot of people know about it but it always sells out. It's more mainstream, it's definitely not a punk show even though we will put our own punk rock spin to the Elvis songs.

Erin: And we're also trying to schedule a show right around Halloween with Some Kind of Nightmare because we had the opportunity to meet them in June right before we went on our tour and they're incredibly kind people and really, really love their music.

Tyler: They're from San Diego. They're like a Distillers punk band. She's (Molly Mess) also a cancer survivor. That was, sort of, a big deal and their new album's all about that and they're a really awesome band. A three-piece but extremely nice. So we're trying to get a Baltimore show with them and we're going to try to get a DC show with them a week or two later.

Being that you both are the founders and original members of Dead End Lane, what does Dead End Lane mean to you?

Erin: Well, it's something I like to do for fun. I do have a full-time job but I have made really great friendships with this band and, to me, it's really about having a good time. One of the things I thought was awesome was, one of the people I met, she goes by Tuesday, she came to see us at a show recently and she remembered the lyrics from before and had mentioned that one of the lines in "Natural Born Sinners" was empowering to her. Talking about not needing a ring to define what you have so that was awesome. It's also cool when kids are into it and like it. We were at a show recently and we were really fortunate because there were two kids there that were really into what we were doing and I got a chance to meet with them afterwards and that was really sweet because one of them had mentioned to me that they hadn't really seen a lot of females get up there and do that and they didn't think a girl could do that. So, that was cool. Also, I really like doing the charity shows, that's always fun for me. Those are some of my favorites just to try and give back.

Tyler: For me, same thing, part time. I definitely push the touring, everyone agrees. So, I figure for us, try to get out there and maximize what we can in the time that we can actually go out and try to expand our self. In my opinion, do ourselves as much effort as we're putting in and get a bit more contacts, a bit more recognition, a bit more fun and at the same time, try to find the cool local bands that are always coming up or staying around and just having good shows and just trying to push the album. As far as music, there's a lot of people that are always trying to get in something new so if you can show someone else then you can meet people that are like-minded and that's what it's all about. So, everyone likes to hang out with people with similar interests and I feel music is a big part of that as far as personalities and stuff like that. I started the band so, for me, it's a bit more personal but it's fun forus. But, while this is fun we do want to make sure we always give our best effort so we don't want to be screwing around and as much time as we put into this even though it is for fun we have people that drive pretty far to practice and we're a combination of do-ers, artists, music people, business people so we always want to make sure that everything we're putting out there is our best effort and we're not half-assing it. We feel we're a good band even though we aren't going to be touring the world we still want to go out there and give everyone 1000%. Even if there's five people in the crowd we're going to be out there, acting stupid, screaming and jumping around.

Erin: That's what we're best at.

Where did the name come from?

Erin: Can I just say one thing real quick? The name thing for me, everyone thinks I'm saying Dead N Lame.

Tyler: It's happened twice.

Erin: It's happened much more then that. I think it's my accent and they say, "That's a really cool punk name!" and I correct them and they say nothing.

Tyler: I was always trying to come up with a name and I wrote a song called "Dead End Lane" and, for me, Dead End Lane is when you die it's like your judgement. You're either a demon or an angel, you either go to heaven or you go to hell, all depending on what you believe in and all depending how you live your life. You can't really cheat Judgement Day. So, you might want to go to purgatory, you might want to go to heaven, you might want to go to hell but then you true spirit and honesty form and takes flight. So, you either go where you want to go or you get your head fucking taken off arch angel-style, that's what the sickle is (logo.) So, you can say it's spiritual, you can say it's religious, it's really not it's just how I see the world. I feel like you're judged based upon your actions.

Where can everyone find you?

Tyler: Our stuff's on Facebook. Just type in Dead End Lane. You can go to Reverbnation and get all of our songs which is We're on Bandcamp, we're on Twitter, CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, Slacker, we're probably on about fifty outlets. We can be found.

Tyler, Erin thank you so much for taking some time to talk and good luck with the new album and we look forward to seeing you when you're out and about.

Tyler: Thank you, man.

Erin: Thank you for a very fun interview.

Tyler: Everyone, check out his site. Which is...