Original Writeup

HIGH PRAISE: Equipment Chase Sparkly Perfection on “Coat Tails”

by David Haynes

A FORWARD by LSPR head honcho Dean Tartaglia; it’s a pleasure that we are able to review this new track by Equipment, a band I was very close and involved with at their inception back in 2016. Equipment has grown leaps and bounds as a band, and Nick specifically as a cultural figure (“don’t emo-splain me kid”) since then, and they are definitely deserving of your time and attention, enjoy!

There’s something irresistible about the sheen and sparkle of Midwest emo. The melodies are sugary sweet, and the guitars are often that perfect combination of chiming and dirty. The new single from Equipment, “Coat Tails,” brings us a fresh twist on those unforgettable emo tropes.

Hailing from Toledo, OH, Equipment has released a handful of catchy singles and albums over the past four years. But, “Coat Tails” feels like their most mature offering to date. And while it’s not ‘easy listening’, there is nothing difficult about listening to this song. It’s a gorgeous, smooth ride from start to finish. 

Beginning with a powerful drum beat and subtle two chord riff, the song instantly feels like it has places to go. Vocalist Nick Zander comes in with almost a whisper, but the melody he sings will worm its way right into your brain. As the song grows, the band settles into a primal groove. Whispers become shouts. Subtle chords become monstrous, distorted beasts. It’s truly hard to write a song that takes the listener on a journey. But, the members of Equipment have crafted a near perfect song for driving down the highway with your friends. It’s a brilliant piece of pop songwriting, complete with all the trappings of great plains punk.

We were fortunate to ask Equipment a few questions. Check out the interview below, and keep an ear out for their new EP “All You Admire” out this Friday 11/13!

– There’s an openness to this new song that I don’t hear in your former work. “Coat Tails” feels huge. Does this new EP sound bigger to you? 

For sure, we went into the studio knowing that these songs would work best with more dynamics and a better use of negative space in sound. It’s not just overdriven power chords like most of our older stuff, even though we like writing songs like that too. I think the hugeness is a combination of us writing better parts and Chris Teti’s production chops. Tracking at Silver Bullet Studios was a healthy change of pace, and the cozy energy there inspired us to take our time on nuances we don’t usually think about.

– Y’all seem to perfectly walk that fine line between pop and punk. What’s the secret formula? 

Pop music can be dope. So many of my favorite artists play their “genre”, be it punk, rap, folk, or whatever, through a pop sheen with or without realizing it. For Equipment, most of my songwriting legwork goes towards finding the right melodies, lyrics, and vibe more than anything else. That stuff can be what turns a musically talented band into a great band, in some situations. I’ve gotten jealous seeing guitarists absolutely shred in internet videos or at a gig, but then I remember that guitar chops aren’t even present in some of my favorite bands. As for toeing the line between pop and punk, it pretty much boils down to us digging the sound of punk but wishing the big punk bands had hookier songs without sacrificing their grit. Also, I listened to too much blink-182 as a kid.

– What’s it like being a band from Toledo, OH? How do you like the scene there? 

Toledo is a cool scene, for the most part. Every city has scene in-fighting and dumb rivalries. There aren’t a ton of bands on our side of the emo-punk spectrum in Toledo, but I kind of like that. Some cities have nothing but emo band after emo band, and I think that’d be both grating and intimidating to me. I like being able to catch a gig with musicians who have been humbly doing their own thing for years. Everyone here is so good at music, it gives me a huge case of imposter syndrome.

– Was the recording process any different for this new EP? 

Pretty wildly different. In the past, we worked locally with our producer Steven Blake over the period of months, sometimes over a year, on a single release. When we went into the studio for this EP in March last year, we knew we only had a limited amount of time, which created a positive kind of pressure. We were laser-focused, fully submerged in the songs. We were practically snowed in, tracking the EP for 5 days straight with the exceptions of some movie and Smash Bros. nights. Chris helped us get some amazing drum and guitar tones, we tracked, we blinked, and we were already on the 11 hour drive home. We ran out of time at Silver Bullet so we tracked vocals at Jake’s house the following summer. We’ve since started recording projects in a shorter span of time with our hometown producer Steve; it usually results in a better final product to get it all done in one go.

– What’s next for Equipment? 

We have a few ideas for the future, including a full-length record, but we like doing whatever feels best at any moment. We’ve had a lot of fun doing 2 EPs in a row; we feel like EPs bear less pressure than an LP, and our listener base has grown substantially since our last one. Our label Chatterbot Records, run by our good friend Lexbot, is dissolving indefinitely pretty soon, so we’re just gonna see what happens after this EP. One thing that’s for sure is we’ll be continuing to put out music through our side projects Waving, Loser Camp, and My Own Desert Island. We’re in a constant state of creating at the moment and it feels great. I should also probably finish undergrad.

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