By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Passionate pop-punksters Stage Moms recently premiered the music video for their upbeat, energetic new single “Sophomore Slump,” the first glimpse of their upcoming EP ‘Almost Heaven… Feels Like Hell.’
The EP was recorded with Nik Bruzzese (Man Overboard) and Ace Enders (The Early November) at the Lumberyard and is slated to drop on March 12, 2021.
Based out of Moundsville, W. Va., Stage Moms are vocalist Gage Vota (they/them), guitarist Grayson Prince (he/they), bassist Dahm Bobes (they/them) and drummer Drew Freeman (he/him).
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with Vota about “Sophomore Slump” and more.
Music Bugle – What inspired the band name?
Gage Vota – The band name came from me seeing the band name “Hockey Dad” on a flyer and I was like, “What’s going to be next, Dance Moms?” which is a reference to a TV show on like, TLC or something, but then I was like, “Wait! Stage Moms!” and everyone thought it was funny and fit.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together the music video for “Sophomore Slump”?
Gage Vota – It was very stressful due to making sure we did everything safe with the pandemic, but we shot it with a longtime close friend of mine, Tyler Cox of Farmbrook Media and it was super fun and easy once we figured out all the logistics of keeping everyone safe.
Music Bugle – What were some challenges you faced while making your upcoming EP?
Gage Vota – We lost our drummer in March and were having a really difficult time finding a new drummer, so Drew, our second guitarist, decided to switch to drums because he wrote a big chunk of the drums on the first EP. Also, we were supposed to record the EP in May, but due to the pandemic, it got pushed all the way back to the end of September.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt music?
Gage Vota – It 100 percent helps. Without social media, there would be, like, a one percent chance of “making it,” but with social media, it allows you to find a fanbase on your own instead of praying that some label is going to give you your “lucky break.”
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Gage Vota – I owned a venue called Thunderbird’s and it had to permanently close because of Covid, so I’ve felt super lost and depressed, which is basically what this new EP is about. The last song on it is called “231,” which the address for the venue was 231 Jefferson Avenue, so the song basically just expresses the feeling of losing something I put my blood, sweat, tears and wallet into and not knowing what to do with my life.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
Gage Vota – I have this same route I drive every time I need to get away from everything. The drive takes about an hour-and-a-half to two hours, so I put on a podcast and don’t really think about anything and just drive.
Music Bugle – What do you hope happens in 2021?
Gage Vota – It’s a long shot, but hopefully getting back on the road. Honestly, the only time I feel like I’m going in the right direction is when I’m on tour and playing shows.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Gage Vota – I’m super into the flint rap scene right now. Been listening to a lot of Rio Da Yung OG, Teejayx6, RMC Mike and BFB Da Packman. As far as bands, I’ve been listening to a lot of The Wonder Years, Turnover, Carly Cosgrove, Rarity, Lotus Kid, Adjust The Sails, The Overlooked, Kaonshi, Jesus Piece, Knocked Loose, Left Behind and American Football.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Gage Vota – Honestly, the community we all built with Thunderbird’s and it was so sick to see it grow from just a dream to a sober safe space for people of all ages to express themselves.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Gage Vota – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
*Photo credit – Christian West*