AN INTERVIEW WITH THE GREETING COMMITTEE’S ADDIE SARTINO
On November 20th of 2019, The Greeting Committee took the stage of the Catalyst Club as the opening act on Hippocampus’ most recent tour. What follows is an interview between resident DJ Parkour and Addie Sartino, an old friend of theirs and the lead singer of The Greeting Committee.
For those who are unable to hear the audio interview, I’ve provided a typed transcript of the conversation :)
Parkour: Okay, DJ Parkour here sitting with the lead singer of The Greeting Committee. They performed at Hippocampus on today, November 20th –
Addie: I think so.
A: Probably – You have such a nice radio voice!
P: Thank you, I appreciate that! You should listen to my show.
A: I will, I’ll-
P: Maybe I’ll play y’all because I have a show called Queer Ear, we play queer artists.
A: Hell yeah.
P: I was gonna play you actually but we didn’t do an indie set yet so we’ll figure it out.
A: Well now you’re going to.
P: Well that’s your decision.
P & A: [Laughter]
P: What is your name?
A: Addie, my name is Addie Sartino.
P: How old are you?
A: I’m twenty-one years old.
P: Twenty-one, fun!
P: And you are on tour with?
P: How exciting is that?
A: It’s really exciting, I love them.
P: That’s kind of crazy, that’s groundbreaking.
A: Yeah, yeah. So Jake, the lead singer, produced our most recent EP “I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry.” It’s been a good time, it’s been like hanging out with pals almost.
P: Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you personally realize that music was what you wanted to do with your life?
A: Weirdly enough, in first grade – y’know, you always get asked that question of what you wanna be when you grow up. I would always say a ninja or a rockstar, even though I had no idea that I was capable of even playing music. And then I think it just kind of stuck forever and I knew I would somehow end up doing it.
P: The ninja part?
A: Yeah, the ninja part.
P: Okay, just making sure.
A: Workin’ on the rockstar part still.
P: Makes sense. So how did you find yourself coming together with Pierce, Austin, Brandon, and all them?
A: Brandon’s mom and my mom tried to set us up, that clearly did not work out. Instead, we got something much better which was a friendship and from there stemmed The Greeting Committee because I knew instantly when I wanted to make a band, he would be my first phone call. So I got Brandon, our guitarist, and from there he got Pierce, our bass player, and Austin, our drummer.
P: So has it been smooth sailing since then?
A: I mean, when you make a band at fifteen – sixteen years old, there’s a lot of growing up to do and a lot of maturity growth spurts waiting to happen. I would say we’re just now finally hitting this phase where we can respect and appreciate each other more than ever before. And we’ve gotten a lot closer; you get close when you’re forming a business with somebody and being around them constantly at the same time.
P: Do you feel like there’s a direction you want to go in together?
A: I think you answered it in your question, just going anywhere together is – I think – our goal.
P: So, you did perform at Lollapalooza.
A: Yeah, I did.
P: Tell me about that.
A: That was wild, that was a while ago. Yeah, it was really cool.
P: It was not a while ago, it was two years ago maybe!
A: Yeah, yeah, it’s just been a lot that’s going on.
P: The music industry moves fast?
A: Yeah, that was absolutely insane. We were spoiled, they golf-cart you around everywhere.
P: Golf carts are a luxury vehicle!
A: They are, they are! It’s a luxury for sure. It was – you just felt really cool. That’s something where everyone knows the word Lollapalooza, I feel like, or knows what that music festival is. So that was a nice resume builder, I guess if you will. And our first time ever performing in front of a crowd of that size, I guess. Or doing a festival like that, so that was cool. I’d love to do that again.
P: So coming from Kansas and a generally smaller area when it comes to music, what did it feel like to branch out and go to Capitol, go to LA, and record and just realize that there’s so much more to the music industry than you had originally intended?
A: I get asked a lot if I’m going to move to New York or LA and I have no idea what the future holds but it’s not in my plans as of now. I think a big reason for that that I just love coming back to Kansas City. I always wanted to get out when I was in high school and now that I tour, you kind of see that – this is gonna sound so cheesy – but it’s not the place, it’s the people.
I would miss a lot of my dear friends and my family if I moved away and I love that I have this warm – not weatherwise warm – but this warm, loving place to return to. I think being in LA or New York would be rather difficult to have that many people in one area trying to accomplish what I’m trying to accomplish. I think that fuels a lot of people’s fires. For me, I think it kind of dulls mine in a sense and also, I don’t want to be egotistical. It’s kind of a fear of mine because I think I naturally can be. I feel like if I were in LA, my head might blow up.
P: Or you could make some connections, get in that vibe, y’know?
A: [Laughter] Yeah, I think – uh- nah, I’m good for now. [Laughter] I like being from Kansas City.
P: I support that, I love that. And I guess you can also stay connected to the members of your band, yeah?
A: Yeah, no. The awesome thing about that is that making connections are great and I love networking, all that fun business stuff. And also just connection as in human connection in general, but I have a really awesome manager who gets to do all that for me. Shout out Peyton Marek!
P: So, coming back to the growth of your band, being from childhood and all that stuff, you’re on a path where there’s an arc of growth that’s happening between you and your bandmates. Where do you feel like your inspiration from music and art comes from?
A: I would say it definitely changed throughout the years. I think now, moments that bring me back to being 14 or 15 years old in a crowd. I got to see The Killers in Madison Square Garden with my parents a year and a half ago – two years ago and I just reverted instantly back into the teenager in love with music. I think that finding those moments and that nostalgia just helps a lot with inspiration.
Other than that, inspiration comes from other forms of art, other people’s records, films, books, and also just life instances, y’know. For the boys, I think they can be creative in a room, locked away with a bunch of instruments and that works for them. For me, lyrically, I need a lot of life experience.
P: Yeah, we talked about how “Hands Down” was written in a very interesting way.
A: Yeah! Yeah, yeah.
P: It was not what I had expected.
A: No, it wasn’t, it’s not written about anybody. It was written by interviewing a bunch of different couples on their perspective of love and their relationships.
P: And you found that you can reach from there?
A: Yeah, yeah. And I love that about that because that song gets to be timeless and it gets to capture a bunch of different essences of love. It can be family love, friend love, or the obvious, which is romantic love.
P: So do you ever feel like… I mean, obviously, I love The Greeting Committee. I love all of y’all together. Do you see a phase of Addie alone or no?
A: I mean, I’m definitely interested in doing solo music. I don’t think it would reach as many people as The Greeting Committee does and I don’t think that I want that to overshadow The Greeting Committee. Not in the sense of success but in the sense of priority. But I would love to go do a solo EP. I have fairly rough plans of doing that in 2020, we’ll see what happens. I thought I’d do it in 2019 and, like I said, I’d rather always prioritize The Greeting Committee, especially with this phase that we’re in.
P: So this is a question I like to ask most artists when I interview them, if you had an opportunity to perform one time – whether it’s in a stadium full of 50,000 people or a living room with 10 with audience members you could choose, like icons, dead or alive – what’s your ideal situation of –
A: That’s a great question. Okay, I’ve always said that I want to sell out Midland Theater in Kansas City after a tour of doing venues of that similar size, which is like 3,000 capacity? So not humongous but definitely not easy to sell out – we’re not there yet. I’d love to play that venue, I’d invite – if I knew they’d show up – I’d invite The Killers, I’d invite Death Cab for Cutie, Daughter, Ingrid Michaelson. Who else? Lorde-
P: They don’t have to be alive.
A: Amy Winehouse.
P: There we go, I knew you were going to say that.
A: Yeah, yeah. Love Amy Winehouse. Yeah, Amy Winehouse. I mean, at that point, why wouldn’t you invite The Beatles and Prince and people that are – I say that like all The Beatles are dead. John Lennon.
P: My question next for you is, what would you say is the most significant part of communicating on tour with fans that you find impactful?
A: Hm. That’s difficult – I mean honestly, a lot of the really close connection come from Instagram messages that I get. People asking for advice or words of encouragement, or affirmation or whatever it may be. I would say that’s where – and not because of me but because they feel more comfortable opening up through that passageway and that’s great.
It’s also very difficult to have conversations with people on tour because there’s so much that goes into it. Whether it’s loading out, having to drive that night, a band fully playing after or before us, yeah. I’d say Instagram has proven to be a very useful tool for connection.
P: Totally. Are there ways that you or anyone else in your band exhibit your artistic passion? Or is it just music?
A: Pierce really enjoys writing. He was writing a Sci-Fi novel, I think he still is. And then… I mean, everyone kind of doodles a little but I know Brandon doodles a little more than the rest of us. Music is the common denominator. For me, my other passions – like I love putting together our video footage you see and I love doing that. That’s kind of my other artistic outlet, I guess, so to say.
P: So if you feel like music wasn’t your direction in life as it is right now, where else could you see yourself going – ideally – in life? If maybe you had another chance? If you did a different thing?
A: Yeah, I always wondered if I would just – no matter what – would end up in music. It’s a very bizarre – like I said, in first grade I just somehow knew. And from there, I remember being 15 years-old and driving with a friend and I was like, “I’m gonna get signed. It’s gonna happen. I’m gonna be an artist. I’m gonna be a rockstar.”
And I had no idea, it was just that mentality. I kind of feel like I’d end up at music no matter what. What I love outside of music is business. I love – I know, it’s bizarre.
P: I made a face.
A: Yeah, they made a face. I don’t know, I love the business side of everything. I mean, I could see myself doing that in this life. Where, after I don’t wanna tour anymore maybe, or if I have a family. Whatever it may be, I maybe dive into a part of the music industry that allows me to say in one place more so. I’d love to develop other artists and kind of share what I’ve learned, I guess. I say that as if I have, like, wisdom.
P: It’s there!
A: I’m hoping I acquire it.
P: There’s experience in these last four years since we’ve last seen each other.
A: No, undoubtedly, yeah.
P: So, I think this is super fun. I don’t know anything about it but are there any pre-show, post-show, during-show rituals that you have?
A: Yes, Austin and I write our poops-
A: That’s an Austin and I thing. And then we do this thing called Shakies, which comes from the boys’ marching band days where you shake your hands up and down. There’s this whole spiel to it. I won’t do it but-
P: Maybe if we find Austin, we can record and put it on the website.
A: That would be amazing.
P: If you can find him, I don’t know where he is.
A: Yes, if we can find him.
P: No, if you can find him, that’s not my job!
A: I’m not lookin’ for him!
P: But you-
P: You’re with him so-
A: Ugh, sometimes.
P: [Laughter] During your performances, that’s a good one.
A: Yeah, that’s really it.
P: Ok, well we’ll try to get that but it’s cute! Is there anything else?
A: I think that’s it. Oh! And we “1-2-3” and we usually yell “Dirt!”
P: Love that, I don’t really know what the context is-
A: Yummmm! I don’t really think I know either at this point.
P: That’s amazing. I would rather not know what it means and just think, “Yeah, dirt!”
A: Yeah, ambiguous. There we go.
P: Totally. One more question because we are 100% missing the whole show, we did this last time but it’s fine.
A: It’s amazing, it’s fine.
P: [Laughter] It’s fine. As someone who – Question, are you queer?
A: [Laughter] Yeah!
P: There you go! Just to clarify for the people listening. Is there something you’d like to say to not just queer youth, obviously, but people who feel like they don’t belong? People that are confused and uncomfortable and alone. What is something that you feel like you want to tell them to make them feel like it’s all going to be okay?
A: I think that the best bit of advice I grew up with – my dad gave it to me – first of all, you teach people how to treat you. No one can put you in a box if you don’t let them. And then, for as used as it is, it really does get better. Find people who encourage you, find people that love you, find people who push you and you’ll be great.
P: Beautiful. That’s all it is!
P: Alright well, it’s been DJ Parkour and I’m with-
A: Addie Sartino from The Greeting Committee.
P: I was gonna ask you where you’re from, you already got it!
A: Yeah, I gotchu! I gotchu!
P: Already on that marketing circuit! And look out for them – do you have any new works coming up?
A: I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry, our most recent EP, came out in October so check that out and we’ll be working on our second record.
P: And I’ll probably play them on my show second quarter. I already have my quarter scheduled, awkward, but next quarter!
A: Throw me in there!
P: I’ll find a way.
A: I appreciate it.
P: Alright, good night!
A: Good night!