The pop-punk project Painted Young released his new EP ‘I’m Not Gonna Wait’ on April 12th. All seven tracks are packed with emotion, personal yet relatable stories, and plenty of pop-punk nostalgia.
Painted Young started as a cover band back in 2013 in New Jersey. They played songs from bands like Green Day, blink-182, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and more. In 2015, the band self-released their debut EP ‘Looking Forward to Never Looking Back’. They have played many venues around New Jersey including The Brighton Bar, The Stone Pony, The Stanhope House, and Starland Ballroom. The band has also opened for artists like Richie Ramone, Johnnie Guilbert, and SayWeCanFly. Despite numerous lineup changes, lead singer and songwriter Chris Santos never gave up.
Q: So, your EP ‘I’m Not Gonna Wait’ was released earlier this month. I was hoping you would be okay with walking through the EP song by song. How does that sound?
A: Sounds good! Thanks for having me!
Q: The first track of the EP is “Little Girl”. The sound reminds me of old-school Fall Out Boy. Is that what you were going for? What was the inspiration behind the song?
A: It’s funny because this song has been out for nearly 3 years and I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about this song extensively. For this song, I was definitely going for more of a bouncy, pop-punk song. I wouldn’t say Fall Out Boy was necessarily in my mind when I was writing the music for this song, but I can definitely hear the comparison in it and I appreciate that! As for the lyrics in the song, they date back to my senior year of high school. I remember having a conversation with this girl over text. Things weren’t necessarily going the way she planned out, and I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do in college after I graduated. We often talked about leaving our hometown and starting over. As we talked about it more and more, the idea of running away together as friends started to turn into an idea of running away together as lovers. There are actually a few lyrics that are direct quotes from her in our conversations. For example, “what is a princess without a prince” was one of her exact phrases that I used in the song. The reason why I used that is mainly for the idea of rescuing one another from certain circumstances. It can be used interchangeably; the princess can rescue the prince as the prince can rescue the princess. The lyric is just purely a quote from my friend.
Q: I like the energy of “Needle in a Haystack”. It is fun and upbeat. It seems like it might get a crowd moving around at a show. What is the story behind it?
A: I like that you said that because it’s actually my favorite one to play live. This song is a really simple song with easy chord progressions and simple melodies, but like you said, the energy and groove of it is what stands out to me most. The main inspiration behind the lyrics is the idea that two people are brought together in this world just by pure chance. In your life, you WILL fall in love. Fate just decides when it will happen and who will fall in love with each other. It’s not something you can put force into. It has to happen naturally for it to be magical. What are the odds that out of the billions of people in the world, the universe brings two specific people together? When you think of all the coincidences and little accidents that have led you to love someone, it gives you more reason to be grateful and to never take it for granted. This is, however, MY perspective on it all. You all can believe whatever you want. But that was my thought process and inspiration behind the lyrics.
Q: It only makes sense that “Charming Number 3” would be the third track on the EP. What made you decide to make this song more stripped down and simplistic?
A: This song was interesting to write because at the time, I had fallen head over heels for someone that I would have never guessed felt the same way for me. I felt like I was euphoric and just floating. I wanted to write a song that was high in spirits and just makes you want to smile. Initially, I thought it would be cool to just do the entire song acoustically. But after recording and listening to a demo version of it, I actually got bored of it pretty quickly. It was then I thought it would be cool for the song to first start off acoustically and then dive right into a full band sound. That was when I got excited for the song again because it had more energy and it was just fun. This song is much less complex, but it’s still a really fun one to perform live because I can just feel the energy in the groove and rhythm of the song.
Q: “The Madhouse” was the lead single from the release and has more of a rock feel. Is there any reason you chose this song to introduce the EP?
A: Well I say this a lot, but initially the first single was going to be “Needle in a Haystack.” However, after listening to the finished EP in full, the few people that listened to it with me (my manager Ryan, my recording engineer J.R., and my friend Chris) had all said that “The Madhouse” was one of the stronger songs. It had the highest energy and it got us the most excited. My main concern is that the song is definitely the heaviest song in my catalog. I was afraid that people would listen to it and then expect the rest of the EP to be just as heavy. Despite my strong desire to make “Needle” a single, I went with everyone else’s opinions and made “Madhouse” the single. The response to it was actually amazing and I thank god that I listened to my friends. I also think that one of the other reasons why I chose this song was because it wasn’t necessarily expected of Painted Young. This song shows growth and improvement from the previous EP, and I think that’s how the single represents this new EP.
Q: What is the story behind the title “Want Your Song? Here You Go.”?
A: This one’s actually a more personal story but I’ll try to make it as vague as I can. I was dating this girl for a little while and things actually seemed to go pretty well. Some time into our relationship, I ended up writing a song for her and I’d play it for her anytime she’d ask. She would always tell how excited she was to hear the final recorded product. As time went on, we were seeing less and less of each other. Eventually, she had suggested we break up. I’m still unsure why. A little bit later, I find out that she had gotten together with someone else and I immediately cut ties with her. It sounds harsh but there are details that I shouldn’t mention and I’d rather leave out. I was just furious and had so much to say, so I let it all out in this song. This song is another one that’s a touch heavier than my other songs. As for the song title, it’s pretty much a response to how she would always ask to hear her song that I wrote.
Q: “Summer Come Back” is a sweet song. Why was it chosen to be a ballad with an acoustic guitar?
A: I initially wrote it on an acoustic guitar, and in all honesty, I liked it the way it was. When I recorded it I just added some bells, strings, and slide guitar. All of which I felt was perfect for the song without adding too much. I really liked the simplicity of it and the mellow nature of it. I’m sure I could make it a full band song, however I feel like that would take away from the character of it. I also liked the idea of having a ballad on the EP just to give some variety to the album.
Q: Will you tell me about the inspiration for “All That I Want”?
A: The inspiration for the lyrics comes from this long distance friendship I had that had the potential to become a loving relationship. The lyrics are somewhat of a combination of hope and fear; hope that something special could come out of that friendship, but fear that the long distance could become an issue. In this case, it was harder to identify true feelings because it was very rare that we’d see each other in person. We really only communicated through a screen. To this day, we’re still friends, we’re still there for each other, and I’m grateful for that. As for the music, I wanted to make something from what I’m used to. I think that’s a running theme on this EP. I just wanted to try something new and write some kind of a 4-on-the-floor song. The momentum never falls out of place and the pulse keeps moving. I think this song is a very nice, light and upbeat song where the music matches the sentiment of the lyrics.
Q: Are there any lyrics from the album that stand out to you? If so, what are they, and why?
A: I think one lyric in the EP that stands out to me is from “Charming Number 3,” which says “Truthfully I have doubts but my hope’s still high and true.” It’s okay to be doubtful sometimes, as long as you never lose hope. Another favorite of mine is from “Needle in a Haystack,” which says “I know I don’t have much choice, but if I did I’d still choose you anyway.” There have been times where circumstances have left me to trust nobody except a few people, maybe even just one. But in those moments, I realized that was all I needed to begin with. Those are the moments that I’m grateful for because they taught me about quality over quantity.
Q: Do you have any shows coming up that are able to mention at this time?
A: I do have a few shows coming up! On Saturday April 27, I’ll be performing a set at Rutgers Day 2019. You can come see me at 3pm on the Big R Stage on the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick. Admission is free so everyone is invited! On Thursday May 16, I’ll be performing at Brighton Bar in Long Branch, opening for my friends in The Ones You Forgot, along with even more friends from This Year’s Comeback and Still Ghosts. I’m particularly excited for this show because I’m friends with ALL those bands and I can’t wait to see everyone there! Definitely contact me for $10 tickets! After that, on Saturday May 18, I’ll be performing at the Jersey Shore Festival in Seaside Heights. You can catch my set at 3:15pm at the Aztec. This one’s another free show so again, everyone’s invited! I hope to see a lot of people at these shows coming up! For more show updates you can follow all my social media pages!