New Jersey. When we think of the New Jersey music scene, specifically in regards to the punk/emo genre, what bands come to mind? We perhaps go back a bit to the band Lifetime. Then there’s Saves the Day, who for a lot of people were a huge influence and a forever favorite. Then we have bands like Man Overboard who came a bit later but have also helped to shape this particular genre. But now let’s think about the kids growing up listening to these bands and then in turn started down their own musical path. Now grown up, where have some of them landed musically? What have they created growing up with such influences? For On this journey, we head to South Jersey. There we find the band called Pointless and with some of their influences being Lifetime, Crucial Dudes and Title Fight, there is no doubt they are yet another East Coast gem that’s about to shine through.
The four-piece outfit formed back in 2017 after members, Justin Monturano (guitar/lead vocals) and Noah McCarson (drums), decided to continue down the pop-punk path after being in their first band together known as “Hot Trash”. After taking a few years off to reset after Hot Trash disbanded, they put together a full line up and it seemed to be game on. The gents would then start to gather together at their practice space, a storage unit in Blackwood, New Jersey. There they would practice, write and just enjoy the elements of what being in a band brings. They would then venture to Hammonton, NJ to work with Nik Bruzzese (Man Overboard/Casa Loma) to record their first EP “Dust”. Dust opens with its title track and we are instantly pulled in by its energy, the band’s incredibly unique sound, and of course those melancholic, yet consoling, lyrics we get with all Pointless tracks. In 2018 they release their sophomore EP “Glow”. And let’s just say, with this one, I guess this is growing up. It seems we enter a shift lyrically, accompanied by a more matured sound. They give us another 2 singles in 2019, “No Chances” and “Half Empty”. Even while facing challenges during 2020 the band still delivered their current single, “Make & Model”. We again see more growth from the band and the track seems to follow a lyrical storyline of previous Pointless tracks.
I recently got to sit down virtually with Justin, the band’s lead singer, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions pertaining to the bands’ history, their future, and more!
- What made you and Noah want to continue creating after Hot Trash disbanded?
- Justin: We had taken a couple of years off from an organized music outlet. We had played a ton of shows in hot trash and at the end of it we were kind of just burnt out and unfortunately disbanded after releasing Nude. Noah and I picked things back up together after we had some time to recharge and live life without that extra responsibility of being in a band, ultimately realizing we missed it, both the harmony and headache it creates. But life is all about balance.
- How did the storage unit practice space come to be?
- Justin: Funny because we just closed up shop at the storage unit. The unit became a thing before hot trash even came together. My friends started renting out a storage unit to have a place to jam and I thought it was remarkable. It later turned into the ideal practice space because you could go whenever you wanted and play as loud and as long as you wanted to without anybody bothering you. In total, we had a storage unit for about 7 years, between both bands.
- You guys have released 2 EPs and 3 singles. One being your newest, Make & Model. Any plans for a full length in the near future?
- Justin: Full length is always the ultimate goal. Just don’t think we’re there yet. We want to work diligently on reaching more people and getting our singles and EPs out there so there’s a reason to drop an entire LP for people to listen to. Full length is a lot of time and work. We want to do things the right way and make sure the music that comes out of us happens naturally. It’s been tough keeping a steady flow of creativity and hammering down ideas. A band of late 20s early 30s guys have a ton of things going on trying to make it in the world and trying to keep our passions afloat as well.
- Now I know Make & Model is your newest single, but let’s take it back to the one before, Half Empty. Now this track, in my opinion, has a sound reminiscent of your first EP “Dust”. Just more matured. Can you give us a synopsis of what Half Empty is about and were you pulling from personal experiences when writing it? Justin: The writing I do is almost always pulled from personal experience. It’s not that I try to do that on purpose, it’s just what happens when my brain starts to write. Half Empty is definitely about personal experience and just feeling completely trapped by your emotions and dependent upon others for our happiness. We all do it some way or another. It’s questioning doing the same thing over and over again looking for a different result but already knowing the outcome will be the same, maybe just being afraid to break completely free of something that once made you happy but doesn’t anymore. I wrote the music video idea of that song completely by accident and then realized just how much the song and video go together. That was a part of my life where I felt I was holding my breath under water, trying to find something I lost so I could breathe again. Sometimes it’s part of yourself you lose and when you realize that, and start to care for yourself again, that’s when you come back to the surface.
- With 2020 being what it was, did you guys make the most of the time off to focus on creating and writing new music? Did you yourself work on anything new or even start side projects?
- Justin: The last year was very tough for us. It was definitely an obstacle but also nice to have some of the pressure taken off of us from everything. Music certainly took a back seat as life kicked into high gear, not to mention, needing to keep everyone’s safety and health as well as their loved ones as first priority. At this time, the entire band has other side projects or life commitments they are fulfilling, whether it’s music, marriage, career path, fitness, etc. I can at least say everybody is working at their own pace to keep their bodies healthy and their minds sound. Everybody is doing what makes them happy and I am proud to say that. I believe in these guys so much just as people. The fact that they are all gifted musicians as well is mind blowing and they deserve the world. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to be on my team.
- And now for a fun one… if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be and why? Justin: So assuming this is the question they will ask me when robots or extra terrestrials take over the world and enslave the human race, as a form of torture only giving me one album to listen to for the rest of my life, I guess I will just pick one that means a lot to me. I could pick hundreds if not thousands that have so much meaning in my life. But if I only get one I guess I better pick a long one. Maybe the Beatles white album. At least I get 30 songs and they capture so many different moods. It’s also the album I listened to most traveling through England with my dad when I was 20. It takes me back to that trip which will always be one of my favorite chapters of my life. My dad is the guy who had always given me the gift of music in my life in some way or another. So picking an album that reminds me of taking on the world in a foreign land with him somehow feels most appropriate.
It seems the sky’s the limit for these South Jersey gents. Age does not stop creativity or art and in this case it has not stopped this talented group of gentlemen from doing what they love and creating at their own pace. Stoked to see what they have in store for us in the future. Until then, be sure to keep an eye on their journey, give them a listen, a follow, share their content and enjoy! You won’t let yourself down by letting this band into your daily rotation.
Article by Kristen Hernandez