By Georgia Lundeen
Deal Casino is a small indie band from New Jersey. These guys have been playing together since middle school, but really broke out when they got their new manager Pegro Chris two years ago. The band consists of Joe Parella (vocals and guitar), Joe Cowell (vocal and guitar), Jon Rodney (bass), and Chris Donofrio (drums). They do not follow the typical sound you would expect from an alternative band and they definitely stand out in my music arsenal. Their sound from their self-titled breakout album is completely different than their new album LLC, which came out on November 16th. Each album has their own unique sound due to the band’s writing process. I encourage everyone to check Deal Casino out because they have a song to fit everyone’s music taste. I also encourage you to see them live if you ever get the chance; it’s an experience like no other.
Are you excited kicking your tour off in Portland?
Joe Parella: “Yes, we’ve never been anywhere near Portland. We got to Portland yesterday and I feel like we’ve been here a week. It’s very nice. Everyone here is very nice.”
Yeah that seems to be a common trend in Portland. What expectations do you have for the tour?
Joe Cowell: “This is like the craziest thing we’ve ever done. So, I don’t even know what to expect. We are riding in the bus with The Wrecks which is…”
Joe Parella: “Like skipping 18,000 steps.”
Joe Cowell: “Yeah it’s just crazy.”
Joe Parella: “Yeah we’re just going to do our best to play the best we can. We’re going to learn a lot. We are anticipating learning a lot.”
How did you decide on the name Deal Casino?
Joe Cowell: “Well it’s a long story because we all really into gambling way back. We went to Atlantic City a lot when we first turned 21. It was crazy and uh we got down there one day and we were drinking too much, and we were feeling it and then ahh.”
Jon Rodney: “It was in the era of idk us trying to create a new identity for the band and like Joe said we basically just roll the dice and take a gamble on you know playing music.”
Chris Donofrio: “Gambling and rock and roll are both throwing your life away, so we figured we’d name it after us.”
Joe Parella: “That’s a good one.”
How has music influenced your lives?
Joe Parella: “Oh. As a whole. I guess uh.”
Joe Cowell: “It brought us together.”
Joe Parella: “Yeah I guess we would know each other in some way; but you know maybe for not this long. It started so early that it’s hard to imagine an alternate universe alternate reality where you know I would be doing anything else. So, I can’t even imagine so that’s how we all met so it affected literally the very beginning of our lives.”
Joe Cowell: “The beginning of time.”
Joe Parella: “Yeah the beginning of time until now because we all grew up in Sparta, New Jersey. We all went to middle school and elementary school together so yeah.”
What has it been like writing your latest album?
Joe Parella: “Oh…different.”
Chris Donofiro: “Very quick! No yeah, we decided to make an album in September of last year and we recorded it in January. Then we sat on it for two or three months and um that was it. Very Quick! It was a new experience for us because everything before this album was very belabored this was not belabored at all. Half the album was recorded with no lyrics.”
Did you ever imagine that you would end up in the place that you are now musically?
Joe Parella: “Yes that’s all you imagine is wanting to do this and it never really happens ever and then it finally happens and your like ahh this is weird, and this was cool. This was the result of a lot of you know when people when you’re home for thanksgiving people in your family don’t really know what it’s like being in a band. So, they’re just like you should go on The Voice or America’s Got Talent; but they say this one thing like it’s all about who you know. You never know what guy is going to be at the club and see you. And you’re always like that’s not true but it’s kinda true in a sense that not that that guy is going to see you in the club; but I think it was Chris started talking to the drummer for The Wrecks probably about drums and became friends with each other doing that and then here we are its literally the whole reason we are here.”
Jon Rodney: “Yeah its true there not just someone who was like whoa we literally just talked to someone about drums. Drums got us here.”
Joe Parella: “Yeah so.”
Jon Rodney: “When in doubt drum it out.”
How do you approach writing a new song?
Joe Cowell: “There’s so many ways it’s like a blank slate you know endless opportunities endless possibilities… So like anyone can come up with a melody on a key board a vocal melody chord progression a drum groove its really like we create songs so many different ways sparked out of every possibility.”
Joe Parella: “The best ones usually take the shortest amount of time because there’s no thinking involved; and um the ones that you think are really good are usually not that great cause you spend so much time thinking about it; and you’re thinking oh this lyric is so good everyone is going to get the metaphor and it doesn’t really work. Usually we work better when none of us talk to each other in a basement.”
Jon Rodney: “It has to be a basement.”
Joe Parella: “But only uh we’ve played for like two hours three hours and not said a word yet and then we’ll get done and be like do we want to record that? And then you go back and kinda listen to what you did but those best moments are the ones that no one remembers doing or why they did it. So yeah that’s the best way when it’s just organic between the four of us trying our best.”
What is your favorite part about going on tour?
Joe Parella: “I’m just excited to see different things, and go different places cause I’ve never been anywhere.”
Jon Rodney: “Yeah this is like the first big tour we’ve ever done. Yeah, and I guess everything about it is going to be exciting until we find out what’s not.”
Chris Donofrio: “I’m having a panic attack so hopefully that subsides.”
Chris Donofrio: “No, I’m serious I’m having a complete fucking panic attack.”
Joe Parella: “Yeah, I had to get over my fear of flying to get here.”
Joe Parella: “There was no choice and we flew all the way from New Jersey, so I got to do this for six hours, but you know it was fine it was just take off and landing are the only two scary parts. Once you’re up there it’s like you’re on a bus. Honestly meeting people all over the place that like music we play in our home town and New York city and you do that for a while and you keep running into the same people and its awesome; but then you play somewhere new and it could be like five people its I’d rather play for five people that don’t know us that a million people that do so it’s really cool constantly meeting new people and playing for them.”
What was the inspiration for your new song ‘French Blonde’?
Joe Parella: “That was it started with that weird bass riff in the beginning that was just like a weird thing that I had never heard before, so it was kinda funny actually; and then I just walked around my room with a microphone trying to get the lyrics out. Instead of singing I started talking and I had never done that before so once that started it started a whole new there’s no rules for our songs anymore. So yeah, the lyrics are kinda just a lot of thing that I wrote down that I just am cynical about or something and just noticing little things here and there.”
What advice can you give to budding musicians?
Chris Donofrio: “Ummmmm be indispensable to your band be like be a band member whether it’s like playing obviously I think playing comes first but be a person in your band that your band could be without you like they would be fucked without you. Seriously that the best advice I can give. You know I know a lot of different guys who have been in a lot of different bands and there’s reasons why that is you know be important to your band be good at playing and playing comes first and it also comes last.”
Joe Parella: “It’s like the smallest part of being in a band.”
Chris Donofrio: “Probably be ok at playing your instrument and be a dynamite band member and get away with it forever you know most rock n roll drummers the most famous ones of all times aren’t the best drummers.”
Joe Parella: “And just have the most fun cause that’s what we did at the beginning its like you just show up and play and at some point, it just become that kind of a goal. You want people to like you and that sometimes messes with what you do like in the beginning in the garage when you like in second grade it’s just fun you know as long as it’s always there then your good.”
Have you ever been nervous about releasing new music?
Joe Parella: “Yeah.”
Jon Rodney: “Well I’ve always been excited.”
Joe Cowell: “We’ve been sitting on songs for so long every time we record it takes like two years to put it out so by the time we are putting out music I feel like were like oh that song exists.”
Joe Parella: “People call that a new song and we’ve been playing it for two years.”
Chris Donofrio: “Twwwooo years…we also get sick of ourselves really quickly and just change everything after every single time so it’s like a new thing every time.”
Jon Rodney: “It keeps it fun to go back to the last question.”
Chris Donofrio: “It means you don’t know what the next record may be it might be a country record it might be a hip hop record.”
Did you ever anticipate the influence your music would have?
Chris Donofrio: “Has it had any impact yet?”
Joe Cowell: “Ok well there are some people who reach out to us saying so.”
Joe Parella: “Yeah people reach out and go oh you know I didn’t like this song or they like this song that we didn’t think people would like. Which that’s cool, I guess. Yeah you know you imagine it cause we all love a lot of bands so imagining that someone like our band as much as we like radio head or something; like that it’s like that’s weird you know so we hope that can happen there’s no way to really try to make that happen you just have to do what you can do.”
Chris Donofrio: “Also this is such a shtick answer that every band has said that we got a message about the songs that just came out that the song isn’t remotely what it’s about but the guy is saying that the song means everything to him and that’s what’s it’s about and we’re like ok not sure if that’s what it’s about but if that’s what you think it is then cool.”