Doesn’t matter if you are into punk, pop, indie or surf, Asbury Park’s Dentist have got it all going on! Their new album “Ceilings” will be out next week via Little Dickman Records. Here’s an interview we did with guitarist Justin Bornemann about their music, the new album and dental hygiene.
PRT: At first I wanted to ask why you would name your band after something most people try to avoid as much as possible. But then I figured you probably get that question a lot. So how sick are you of being asked about your nearly ungoogleable band name?
Justin: Yes, we are not huge fans of that question. We always have terrible answers about why we chose the name Dentist. We usually say something like because we thought it was funny. Not sure why we thought it was funny, but you are correct about it being hard to google. Our music requires a savvy listener.
PRT: Can you give us the history of the band written in the form of a tweet?
Justin: I want to be witty with this answer badly, but I've got nothing. The answer should involve a hashtag and some abbreviation like YOLO. I guess as long as this is under 140 characters it will be ok, though. Am I over yet? Basically, Emily and I met and started playing music together and after one abandoned project, this is the band that ended up happening.
PRT: Every article I’ve read about you at some point mentions the words beach, surf, summer, ocean (not necessarily in that order). But your sound is equally poppy and punky as it is surf-y. Never worried about being pigeonholed?
Justin: Yeah, we don't neccessarily want to be thought of as a surf band since our sound involves other influences like you mentioned, but we also don't mind that much since we love surf music. We don't usually tell people we are a surf band, though, we just do the standard thing that bands do when asked to describe their music and say something like, I don't know it's hard to describe.
PRT: You recently played with Mrs Magician, another band that does pop, rock and surf really well. Just like their songs, yours are upbeat yet seem to come with an underlying sense of sadness as well. Why do you think those two things work so well together?
Justin: I guess music feels more real if it has some sadness to it. It's weird how something that's sad makes you happy, but I guess at the end of the day it's all about hooks. Definitely one of Mrs. Magicians selling points is awesome clever lyrics, but their songs are so good that they could probably get away with singing about anything.
PRT: “Ceilings” is the follow-up to 2014’s self-titled album, which I haven’t heard. How would you say you have changed/evolved as a band in those two years?
Justin: I would say our new album is definitely in the same ballpark as our last one, but this one had a little more thought put into it and the vocals are more upfront.
PRT: You’ll be on tour in a couple of weeks, but I saw in your Facebook bio that it said you only just began to branch out and extend your reach through touring. How come you didn’t tour before?
Justin: That might be and old bio on facebook that I need to change. We've been steadily getting outside of our area for a while now, but mostly we've been doing long weekends. We did our first long tour this past March, and this upcoming one will be our second long tour. We plan on keeping the touring as steady as possible from hear on out.
PRT: What’s up next for Dentist after that tour?
Justin: Someone posted something on one of our pages that our band name doesn't make sense unless one of us is a dentist or training to be a dentist. Maybe we should all become dentists? If that doesn't work out we will be continuing to play as much as possible and continue to tour until it's time to record again.
PRT: That makes about as much sense as saying that the Counting Crows should be ornithologists. Justin and Emily, the two of you are not just together in a band, you are married as well. When you have a discussion, does it tend to be more about things that have to do with the band or about who does the dishes?
Justin: We talk about band stuff a lot and it's assumed that I do the dishes.
PRT: Last question… where do you stand on flossing vs mouthwash?
Justin: Mouthwash is a waste of time, while flossing keeps your gums healthy. Mouthwash could help freshen your breath I guess, but it seems like toothpaste does a pretty good job of that. I guess if you wanted to get fresh breath, but didn't feel like brushing your teeth, then mouthwash could work out, like a mid day thing if you wanted to up your breath game.