It may not come as a surprise, but When I Was 12, is a band that is truly young at heart. We are not talking about a “Wiggles” singing group, but a group that keeps their music running freely and whimsically with contagious melodies and profound lyrics.
The New Jersey native group consists of front woman Adrianne Gold, guitarist and bassist, Dan Houwen, saxophonists and glockenspielist, Carolyn Hayes, and drummer Ryan Heupler. Their debut EP was recorded on the university’s campus and will drop on April 16th, Record Store Day and will be released through Bantic Media, which is a marketing company that is run by the students of Drexel University’s music industry program.
The EP is comprised of four tracks, “Bedroom Sighs,” “Brokenheartbruisedego,” “I Hate Books By Jack Jerouac” and “Tree Trunk of My Heart.” Lyrically centered around a theme of love, the fanciful and delicate sounds of the wide variety of instruments used on these songs, strengthen the charming qualities of When I Was 12.
The tracks do not always highlight the positive aspects of falling in love, but rather the heartbreak that comes with it. However with innocently light vocals and playful instruments, the calamity of love always seems to be hopeful with When I Was 12.
The quartet’s quirkiness is as authentic as they come. Their spunkiness cannot only be heard in their music, but their personalities as well. Lets keep the praise going. The band members of When I Was 12 are also extremely relateable to any average person smitten by love. Check out our interview with them and we are sure you will want to be best buddies with them by the end.
How and when did you guys meet and form When I Was 12?
Adrianne: I’d say last year, freshman year of college, is when it all began. Dan Houwen got me my first show in South Jersey and his dreamy guitar, bass playing, cute and awkward demeanor got him a spot in When I Was 12. I met Carolyn Haynes at Drexel University in my piano 101 class. She had adorable red hair, wore the cutest sweaters I’ve ever seen and had the most infectious smile and laughter; I knew she too would be perfect for this band. Ryan Heupler is a total sweetheart and he’s a really rad drummer. We’re so happy to have found him.
What’s the meaning behind the band name?
Adrianne: I chose the name “When I Was 12” because I enjoy nostalgia. It’s that time in your life when you want to be considered grown-up, but you’re still a bit naive. It’s that time in your life when your biggest concern is who broke your heart and who will be the next person to fix it for you.
What were you guys like as 12 year-olds?
Adrianne: Super nerdy! I had braces and I wore butterfly clips in my hair.
Carolyn: Boyfriendless. I was the tallest person in my class. I was nerdy too with the braces, glasses, and saxophone.
What type of music did you guys listen to when you were 12?
Carolyn: A lot of classic rock because my dad always had control of the radio. I really liked Avril Lavigne and Blink 182.
Adrianne: I also really liked Avril Lavigne.
Dan: I liked Green Day. A lot.
How has it been since you’ve been signed with Bantic Media?
Adrianne: It’s been really great. Since Bantic we’ve made a twitter account and we’re going to have our own website soon!
Your sound seems so delicate, quirky and unique. How would you describe your sound?
Adrianne: I like that you called us delicate. I suppose some of my lyrics make me seem fragile, though with matters of the heart most of us are. Everyone is always asking me what genre of music I make and I think I’ve finally found the answer, thanks to urbandictionary.com. A sub-genre of indie rock used to describe artists whole songs are exceeding sweet and/or emotional. These groups are often denoted as twee, but more specifically the songs evoke feelings of fuzziness, teddy bears, and warm glasses of milk before bed.
What is the story behind the track, “I Hate Books By Jack Jerouac?”
Adrianne: Jack Kerouac is so handsome but I’m not a huge fan of his writing. “I Hate Books By Jack Kerouac” is about a boy who lends a girl, I won’t say who, “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac. She couldn’t get past the first chapter but was too embarrassed to tell him so she kept the book until they stopped seeing each other. They tried to remain friends but that often hurts too much, so when it did she ripped out page 238 of the book and gave it back to him.
What instruments do you use to create the track, “Tree Trunk of My Heart?”
Adrianne: I’d say that in “Tree Trunk of My Heart” the instrument that single-handedly makes that song serene is the wurlitzer. If we had a huge vehicle or we were really strong and muscular we would totally want a wurlitzer. We also like glockenspiel, melodica, romantic guitar riffs and girly harmonies.
How would you categorize your band’s sound?
Adrianne: I think our music is best described as sugarcoated honesty. Love hurts but we don’t want it to sound that way. We use glockenspiel, cute guitar riffs and our sweet harmonies to hide the pain in our exploding or broken hearts!
What influences your music? Personal experiences? Love?
Adrianne: What influences my music the most are all the boys I’ve met, haven’t met, boys who have broken my heart, boys who I’ve broken their hearts, boys I’ve fallen in love with, boys I thought I fell in love with and boys and boys and boys.