By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Compared to modern-day pop-punk stalwarts like The Wonder Years and The Menzingers and classic 90’s rock predecessors such as R.E.M. and Weezer all at once, we introduce to you Longfriend Timefriend.
Last year, the independent South Philadelphia-based dropped their latest album ‘If Me Dies, Me Dies,’ which was produced by Kyle Pulley at The Headroom and mastered by Carl Saff.
Longfriend Timefriend are guitarist/vocalist Caleb Delph, bassist/vocalist Louie Fantini, guitarist Mike McMahon and drummer Pete Imbesi.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with the band about what they’ve been up to lately and more.
Music Bugle – How was the band name decided?
Louie Fantini – So, the name “Longfriend Timefriend” originated in the beautiful and definitely functional brain of Joe Biden. We got together in early 2020, right around when he had this gaffe during a campaign speech – he called Obama his “long-friend-time-friend” and we thought it was really funny. The four of us are also two pairs of longtime friends, so it felt appropriate.
Music Bugle – How would you describe South Philadelphia to someone who has never been there before?
Louie Fantini – Well, it’s the greatest neighborhood in the world. Super famous for great food, of course. You got so many great local spots for hoagies, crab gravy, cannoli, all the local delicacies – though please, spare yourself Pat’s and Geno’s – they both stink – and killer produce at the Italian Market. However, a lot of people don’t realize it’s a super diverse part of the city and totally miss out on some of the best Central American and Vietnamese food in Philly. Aside from just food, though, South Philly really is a neighborhood of actual communities. It’s always lively outside, there’s lots of festivals and stuff and people tend to know their neighbors and take pride in their block. We all like being involved in our community and participating in things like local election outreach and South Philly is a great place to be for that.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Caleb Delph – Band practice or walking my dog.
Louie Fantini – Probably to the gym. On summer break, I love going down the shore or going camping.
Pete Imbesi – Cuddle up with my cats and play video games until my eyes sting.
Mike McMahon – Long drives are my favorite way to refresh.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your album ‘If Me Dies, Me Dies’?
Louie Fantini – I think we really surprised ourselves with how naturally ‘If Me Dies, Me Dies’ happened. Pretty much right when we started making music together in early 2020, we launched into a really productive, collaborative and fun songwriting process. Once COVID lockdowns started in March, we obviously couldn’t play shows, so we eventually formed a little social bubble. We were all lucky enough to be working from home and wrote a bunch of tunes. We didn’t really intend to write ‘2020: The album,’ but the pandemic and uprisings for racial justice were obviously a part of our thinking and experiences while writing it. This record definitely was a kind of catharsis for a turbulent year and we’re really proud of the result.
Music Bugle – What has been your most memorable moment while onstage?
Louie Fantini – For some reason, we always bring a stuffed Kermit the Frog with us onstage. We usually park him on an amp and he inevitably takes a spill at some point, which usually causes our friends to scream and yell and ask if he’s okay. Honestly though, every show winds up having its own goofy bit. We just love having the opportunity to meet new friends and we feel super lucky to be here in Philly with so many talented local artists and awesome folks who put in so much work to keep live music thriving here.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Caleb Delph – Weirdly enough, songs about being unmotivated are inspiring. It’s like, “Well, this person wasn’t feeling it and still made a great song out of it, so I can too.” When the malaise sets in, we’ll throw on “My Exhausted Month Of May” by Pet Symmetry or “Buried” by Spraynard or “An Illustration Of Loneliness” by Courtney Barnett.
Pete Imbesi – It’s a simple one from Jeff Rosenstock’s old band, the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, “Everything Is Always Falling Apart, But I Can’t.” “Ordinary Life” by Ezra Furman is a big one for me. I think I feel similarly to Caleb – it really helps to know that something like ‘Perpetual Motion People’ got made by someone feeling totally at wit’s end, too.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Louie Fantini – Oof, tough one. The internet and computers have absolutely democratized music. You can make a record if you have access to a computer and a few pieces of hardware. There are entire ecosystems of music on the internet that would have been impossible a few decades ago and that rules. However, as long as social media platforms are run by for-profit companies, they’re always going to subsist on an economy of attention. They have the power to promote the most profitable “user-engagement.” Even though it’s invisible, their algorithms influence what we hear and see. The power is still in the hands of business and out of the hands of artists, whether it’s an old school sleazy record company or Facebook. On a smaller scale – aka our scale (Laughs), we love gassing up our friends on social media when they put out something new and it’s never been easier to set up shows, streams, collaborative projects and all that good stuff. Music’s all about community and social media is another place where that can happen. I think it’s possible to do that while also hoping that Mark Zuckerberg gets eaten by a shark. (Laughs)
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Caleb Delph – I try to balance who I listen to between local bands and bands that I would dream to play a show with, so locally, I listen to Riverby, Best Bear and the Tisburys. I would love to play a show with PUP, Jeff Rosenstock and/or Pet Symmetry.
Louie Fantini – I cosign Caleb’s picks. Also, huge shoutout to our homies in Spirit Flaw, Marinara, Naked Lake and Precious Little Life. They’re all dope. Listen to them.
Pete Imbesi – PUP, Jeff Rosenstock, Charly Bliss, Bruce Lee Band and Catbite have been getting a ton of play from me in the last year or so, but I am always looking for new music to get into.
Mike McMahon – I’ve been listening to a ton of Cheekface since their album came out a year ago and Bad Moves has been in heavy rotation since they released ‘Untenable.’
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Louie Fantini – The four of us have been really lucky to stay healthy and employed throughout the pandemic. Plenty of our family, friends and neighbors haven’t been so lucky, so we should probably preface this by saying a lot of people have died and continue to get sick and struggle due to pure governmental incompetence and it’s horseshit this country hasn’t done more to help keep people safe and help get them back on their feet. On a – less important – band level, though, it means we’ve written a shitload of music and only played a few shows, which is pretty weird. Everybody, go get your vaccine, so we can play more shows! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – What do you hope for as 2022 begins?
Louie Fantini – Damn, uh, a winning lottery ticket, universal healthcare, and a Spraynard reunion tour. Short of all that, we hope everybody gets vaccinated so we can play some more damn shows. (Laughs)
Pete Imbesi – A higher vaccination rate in the States. Vaccines save lives, but if we’re asking for reunion tours? I’d sell my blood for an Operation Ivy reunion.
Mike McMahon – Yeah, I think until COVID’s actually gone, it’s gonna be that one for me. Organizing shows that aren’t superspreader events would be nice.