Long Island natives The Movielife recently reformed, having not been a band — aside from a very brief reunion in 2011 — since 2003. Hugely influential thanks to their signature combination of pop-punk hooks and hardcore punch, the quintet are rapidly selling out dates, both here and abroad. We caught up with frontman Vinnie Caruana from his home in Brooklyn before the quintet’s show tonight at Slim’s.
All Shook Down: Was it nerve-wracking the first time you got back into a practice space together as The Movielife?
Vinnie Caruana: I wasn’t nervous — I knew it was going to be good. Some guys didn’t know the songs as much as the other guys, but I’d say that Brandon [Reilly, bass], being Brandon, I don’t think he’s ever forgotten a single song that he’s ever played. He’s just this encyclopedia! He doesn’t forget stuff, everything comes back to him really quickly, so Brandon is the guy that helps if someone doesn’t know where to go.
[jump] Did the music fall back into place relatively quickly?
I mean, our first few practices weren’t anything that I’d want anyone to see, as we were re-learning the songs, but it immediately fell back into a vibe that felt totally normal. It felt like a familiar place. And a few weeks in, we really started to sound like The Movielife again. The last practice we did, we played the set all the way through, as if it was a show, and it went extremely well and everything sounded the way that it should. I remember taking my ear-plugs out at one point and it sounded really good and really big and really tight.
That’s got to be a relief.
Every day we practice I’m shocked – everyone’s putting really hard effort into it and making sure that it’s awesome. We’re playing songs I wasn’t expecting to play. Deeper cuts. Everyone has a lot of input and everyone’s being very enthusiastic and we’ve practiced a lot.
Obviously, you’ve been in I Am The Avalanche since 2004, and Brandon’s been in Nightmare Of You just as long, but what have the others been doing?
Evan is in business management and Danny owns a media company. Phil works two jobs – one for New York City Schools and one for New York City sanitation. I don’t even know how he has time to do Movielife! I think it really shows his dedication, that he’s happy enough to make the time.
Where does The Movielife reunion leave I Am The Avalanche?
Avalanche is kind of in resting mode. Avalanche has always been a one-year-on, one-year-off kind of deal – or sometimes four years off! It’s a project I started a long time ago. It’s still a passion project for me, but for us to do a record every year and tour every year is not… That hasn’t been the way we’ve done it. We always go in stages. Our record came out nine months ago, so everything’s fresh. The touring cycle is over, so we’re just kind of hanging.
What are the differences in the Movielife band dynamic now, versus when you first split?
The communication when we split was non-existent. It was like we’d be in the van and the band wasn’t talking to me, I wasn’t talking to the band. I mean… we completely just had a breakdown the last week that we existed and as soon as we decided we were going to break up, we had a week left of shows, so we didn’t tell anybody – and that week was the best week we had had because it took a load off everyone’s shoulders. Everyone was able to enjoy the last shows.
The communication is completely wide open now. And communication is more essential than ever now because logistically, we’re five grown men with different careers and a lot of life stuff. Just coordinating that with planning shows around the world is not easy. Everyone should start a band in their thirties! It works so much better.
After these dates, do you have any intention of touring in new places that The Movielife didn’t get to the first time?
As far as going to new places we’ve never been, those places would be last on our list — I won’t say that that won’t happen because new experiences are fun – but at this moment, we want to get started playing in big cities in rooms that are filled with people who love The Movielife. We can entertain other places after that, but right now, we’re sticking with what we know. But there’s gonna be way more shows. I see the frustration, especially in New York, that the shows sold out so quickly, so I’m not gonna let this die.
The Movielife plays Slim’s on Thursday, April 2nd, with Onelinedrawing and Zumo.