Alchemical Records: How did you guys get into music? Did anyone start out in musical theatre, or…?
Stephanie Hope: Um, well I started out on the piano, actually, and only sang occasionally. And then I discovered – when I was about 14 – that you could play and sing the piano at the same time. That was pretty much the end of classical music for me. [Laughs] So, yeah, from there I was in a band in high school. We mostly did covers and stuff… and we wrote some songs. We were called the Corduroys. I died of stage fright several times. In addition to, like, furnishing my confidence and being a really good experience with some really talented people, it also birthed my coming on 15 year love [affair] with Zombie, which I’ve now covered with every band I’ve been in, so that’s been a great success. So, that’s how I got into music. Dumb luck.
Sean Kelly: I’m from a musical family. So, it was just a matter of time.
AR: Anyone else?
Rob Francis: I started playing drums when I was 10. I haven’t not done that.
Stephanie: You’ve been making noise since!
AR: What kinds of bands were you guys in before this one?
Stephanie: Sean was in a metal band.
Sean: Mmhmm. At least one, yeah. Many years ag- almost a decade ago, actually.
Stephanie: His hair was much more impressive back then. It was very long. Yeah. Well, I was in [the Corduroys] and I did, just, some idle stuff in college. And then… no, I wasn’t in a band in DC. I grew up in this area. But I came back and I’ve been here for five years, and in that time this is the only type of music I’ve done.
AR: How’d you come up with the name?
Stephanie: That was-
Sean: An ordeal.
Stephanie: An ordeal. Yeah, we went through many back-and-forth sessions. I wanted something that was both, um, loving and aggressive at the same time. Because we tend to write a lot of music that, uh, is both…you know most pop songs are upbeat but a lot are about dark sh*t. Kinda like that. I liked the paradox, the contradiction, that something could be both a lingering sign of aggression…but also of affection. That’s where Bite Marks came from.
Sean: I wanted something short/snappy that conveyed all of that, basically. Weren’t you riding your bike when you just came up with that?
Stephanie: I commute to work, so I come up with a lot of ideas while biking. I think I came up with that while biking…along with a lot of worse stuff.
Sean: And a lot of good stuff that was taken.
Stephanie: That’s the hard part of being a 21st century band.
AR: Who writes the music?
Sean: Well, as a group we’re sort of figuring that out now because all of our, like, 20-song catalogue was written by just the two of us. And I basically did all the orchestration. Um, sometimes we’ll use a song that [Stephanie] had already written.
Stephanie: I can play the guitar badly. I can do chords. [Laughs] Most of the time…I mean, it works in a variety of ways. Sean will send me a sequence of musical parts and I’ll decide how I want to arrange them based on lyrics…or, very rarely, I’ll have a full set of lyrics done up and then Sean will write everything in a night. Or, um, a couple of times we’ve gone and we’ve had maybe a chorus or a phase, and come together and done that. The four of us wrote a song recently that was based out of a jam. I guess. Didn’t “take it back” happen that way?
Sean: No. That was an idea I’d been sitting on for two or-
Stephanie: Alright, but it was a riff. It was a very small idea and we made it a big one.
Sean: That was an example of us rehearsing and then I just came up with something, and she started singing it, and she said “are you recording that?”, I said “Yeah. Great. See ya later!” And I said “oh, this song is gonna be great”…and two years later we finally sat down, worked on it, and it was.
Stephanie: Yeah. We write in different ways. I do all the vocal parts. Sean will do harmonies, sometimes.