By Eric Wendt
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Jeff Schneeweis and Trevor Sellers were both part of Number One Gun, a solid pop-punk outfit that got signed to Tooth & Nail Records. In 2006 Number One Gun dissolved while the members of the band moved on to different projects (The North Pole Project, Armed for Apocalypse, Surrogate). While all this was happening, a Number One Gun fan and insanely talented athlete named Aaron Rodgers was following his trajectory to become the quarterback for one of the most storied franchises in American football: the Green Bay Packers. Around the same time that Schneeweis began writing a batch of dance-y, upbeat songs, Rodgers was becoming Super Bowl champion and MVP. While Schneeweis was reaching out to Sellers and Sarah Ann (of the band See You Soon) to round out the group, Rodgers was looking to start a new venture very close to his heart: a record label. So as The Make was born, so was Suspended Sunrise Recordings. The stars aligned and now the arguably most popular athlete in the country is pushing a group of musical veterans toward the spotlight. Is the band feeling the pressure? According to Schneeweis, the answer is “not at all.” Now that The Make has released their debut EP, This Box, things are moving into high gear. Lead vocalist Jeff Schneeweis was nice enough to chat with Synthesis about the band’s formation, their new EP, and the insanity that comes with being pushed by the current Super Bowl champ.
How did The Make come together?
After I had written some random songs about seven months ago, Trevor and I decided that we wanted to play music together again. And in the midst of starting everything, we asked Sarah Ann to join the band with us.
Tell me about This Box.
This Box is about all of our friends breaking out of the small town mentality. For the last 10 years we have all supported and stuck by each other. We seriously have the best group of friends in the world. And it’s because of this that we get to all do what we love.
What was the process like as far as songwriting?
I actually wrote mostly everything on the EP. The songs were almost done even before we were a band. Then we added Trevor’s bass and Sarah’s vocals into the mix at the end of the writing process.
Listening to This Box, each song sounds ready for radio. It’s a big departure from some of the more abrasive, punk-inspired songs you’ve written in the past. Do you think your songwriting has changed and matured along with you? How does what you want to get across musically change as you grow up? Is this question just way too long?
Well, I do feel I have matured as a songwriter. But at the same time, this is the first time I’ve really gotten to write exactly the style I love! Because I had no idea this was going to turn into a band. So I was just at liberty to do whatever felt great without label people or industry people telling me what to do.
How did the band hook up with Suspended Sunrise Recordings?
We have known Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Zachary for a long time. And the timing for both of us was great. The best part is that we both do not want to do this the traditional way. We want to find new ways and better ways to go about the music industry.
How important has social media been for the band? It seems like you’ve been tailor-made for the Facebook age.
Social media is the best thing that has ever happened to the music industry and we are taking full advantage of all the resources out there. It’s amazing to me that with a click of a button, we can have our first show ever, online! And have over 1,000 people watching from wherever they are at. We love social media.
People can find the record on Amazon and iTunes, but are there any plans for a physical copy?
There are plans in the works about physical copies, but the main focus is digital.
How strange has this all been? I mean, it’s almost like things are working in reverse for you. Most groups don’t get name dropped on Jimmy Kimmel this early on.
Ha, yes, this is pretty crazy, how fast things are moving. It’s definitely a different process than the other bands we have been in. It’s pretty exciting because everything is very fast-paced with this band and we are staying busy.
It feels like there’s a lot of momentum for the band right now. What’s the next step?
Our next step is recording a full-length in August and planning on touring and releasing the full-length in the fall.
Pick up The Make’s This Box on Amazon or iTunes. Head to www.themakemusic.com for more info, as well as the band’s debut video.