Restorations are a band from Philadelphia, whose style is tough to pin down. Their roots are in punk, but their sound draws not just from punk but indie, classic rock, folk, post-hardcore, and more. Since forming they’ve released three full lengths, and received plenty of critical acclaim. We sent them some questions after their show in Norwich in July, but a number of things delayed the interview from being completed until late December, when we got some answers from Jon Loudon.
First off, who does what in Restorations, and has anyone in the group got any other projects?
Jon – Guitar/main vocals
Dave – Lead guitar/backup vocals
Ben – Guitar/backup vocals/keyboards
Jeff – Drums
Dan – Bass/backup vocals
Dave performs solo as Manhattan Side Project. Jeff also drums for Ma Jolie and Belgrade. Ben occasionally plays keyboards in Palmas. Dan was previously in Dirty Tactics, Highlites, and The Riot Before.
How did the band form?
Our old bands had run out of steam and we were looking to do a low-key local project in our downtime. Thanks to the internet, we’re now a full-time touring band.
How and why would you say the band’s sound has changed, as you’ve moved from record to record? A lot of elements present on the first EP are still there in the third record, but there’s also been a gradual evolution.
Originally, we didn’t really have any clear direction, just a few main influences. Over time, we’ve found what actually works from that combination and started trying new things with the formula. Trying to make this one continual thought over a couple of albums.
How do the lyrics get written? What influences them, in terms of other writers, and events or stories that inspire them?
Though most of the band is collaborative, I do all of the lyric writing. I do lots of quick/short lyric writing over the course of the album-writing process and then start to put them together thematically as I notice patterns coming together.
These songs are mainly about the experiences of watching the city you were born in change over time.
Other lyric writers that I love are Bill Callahan, John K. Samson, Mark Kozelek, and John Darnielle.
What’s ‘Civil Inattention’ about exactly? Or to put it differently, what caused it to be written?
That song is about the commute to work at an early hour and the time a guy OD’d in front of my old house.
What’s it like playing in Philadelphia right now? There seems to be a lot of cool stuff going on out there.
Philly’s wonderful at the moment. It’s a very supportive and social scene. Seems like everybody’s got a project at the moment and everyone’s pitching in to make sure they don’t blow it. Great energy all around.
And how was playing Norwich? Watching you sure was good.
Norwich was one of our favorite shows from that tour. Just a great room and the staff and crowd were all exactly what you want from a punk show. One of the more positive experiences we’ve had overseas for sure. It’s a surreal experience rolling into a town for the first time and it feels like home.
Finally, what has the band got planned for the future?
We did a good 5 months of touring since LP3 came out. Time to chill out, take 5, and go back to the practice space for a bit and work on #4.
[Interview conducted by Ned Samuel over summer and autumn 2015, originally published in No More Gigs issue 10, March 2016]