Our local musicians are travelling further afield to try and attain success. In December pop punk outfit Foreign Affairs jetted off to Los Angeles for an experience they’re not likely to forget in a hurry. They kept a diary on their adventure and we are privileged to be able to share it with you now.
Day 1, First Impressions:
On Tuesday 8th December 2015, overwhelming excitement started to overcome us. The event that didn’t seem real when it was offered to us drew ever so close as we began our first journey of our trip to Los Angeles, California. It was in the early hours of the morning we arrived at Dublin Airport and excitement began to build and build, nobody was thinking about the twelve hour flight. The creativity and documentation of the trip had already begun. Ethan brought his Canon camera and would document every stage of the trip in aim to have a fantastic music video for an upcoming single of ours. Consumed in filming and good vibes we underestimated the travelling. Travelling to London for our connecting flight was fine, it was only one hour and it nearly flew by. However the flight from London to Los Angeles wasn’t the same… Eleven hours on a plane when you’re too excited to sleep can be tough! It’s all part of the experience however.
After eleven hours we got our first glimpse of a different world. A vast and seemingly endless desert could be seen from the plane window. Ethan in particular was very keen to see the desert, as excited as a child opening a christmas present. We landed in LAX airport at 1:53pm and the first thing we noticed when we set foot off the plane was the heat. It was indescribable compared to our most always miserable Northern Irish weather.
Everything in America is bigger! The size of their drinks, their airports, their buildings, all of it was on a much grander scale and it would be easy to get consumed by it all and feel lost. We made a pledge to make the most of every second we had in The City Of Angels as time was short and we didn’t know when we’d be back. With this in mind, after checking in we set off on our first ever Hollywood adventure! Not realising the scope of LA we learnt the hard way that taxis are not to be used unless necessary, especially during rush hour!
Hollywood was amazing! So much life and so much to do! After scoping out what to do when we would return in a few days we tested our luck at public transport. We didn’t know that every city within Los Angeles had the same street names and when we seen, ‘Colorado Blvd’ on the way home we jumped off! With unfamiliar surroundings around us we checked google maps! We were eleven miles from the hotel. The long walk began. After a few miles we bit the bullet and paid for a taxi.
It had been a day filled full of travelling, taking in surroundings and learning the hard lessons of transportation in LA.
Day 2, Permanent Memories:
We had heard amazing things about American breakfast. The stories are true, believe the hype! In our hotel we had complimentary breakfast and the ability to make your own waffles was life changing. Fed and watered we would plan our day. Not losing sight of why we were here, we all crowded round Matt and his guitar and listened and played our songs together. We had an amazing feeling for the Music Festival and we were prepared! We decided after this to see if Santa Monica and Venice Beach lived up to the hype.
With our new found knowledge on the LA transportation system, we embarked to Santa Monica Pier. Our first sight of the pier was amazing. So many people were out having fun and good vibes radiated the area. From arcades, to Bubba Gump Shrimp, we were caught in the radiance of the pier! There were all types of people here! From fortune tellers to street musicians all added to the experience. All of this was caught on film by each of us and hopefully will show just how amazing the pier is and hopefully it’ll demonstrate the vibes and good times had here!
We then embarked towards Venice beach and things began to get slightly weirder! A man dressed as Jesus smoking weed welcomed photos, a muslim man on roller-skates travelled up and down the beach playing heavy metal songs, it seemed like a trip. We engulfed ourselves amongst the madness and interacted with as many people as we could! We all got tattooed at the beach at, ‘Shogun Tattoo’! A tattoo parlour that Conor McGregor frequents! We now had an LA memory etched onto us forever!
LA so far had been everything we were expecting. A large sense of inspiration kept building in us.
Day 3, Amazing Sights:
Our daily routine then continued! Breakfast, play music then embark on an adventure! Today we would walk from Downtown LA into the mountains and to Griffith Observatory!
Navigating from downtown LA to the observatory couldn’t have happened without the wifi we leached from Dunkin Donuts, thank you. With a rough idea of where to go we set off on our expedition! The scenery of the mountains and the parks were phenomenal! It was so vast and a clear view of the city accompanied the whole trek. Eventually we arrived at the observatory and the view was indescribable! Most of Los Angeles was in our sights as well as the infamous Hollywood sign. A few band photos were taken and like always, the whole trek and experience was filmed. Inside and out the observatory was an amazing sight and it was overwhelming to realise that we were there taking it all in, and that was made possible by our music. We couldn’t take too much in for too long however as we were warned at night mountain lions venture up and down the mountain and we didn’t want to find out if that was lies or not.
We ventured back into Hollywood and took part in tourist activities and taking photos with Mexican Spider-Men.
Day 4, Gig Day:
Gig day had arrived! We were to play an amazing venue, ‘La Cuevita’. We didn’t do very much in the lead up to this as our primary focus was putting on the best show we could and remaining focused.
On the way to the gig we exited the train with a few people and we all walked together towards the same area, however we all had different intentions. The man beside us ripped down a car window and broke into the vehicle. The alarm went off and the man scurried away. LA was a different breed entirely compared to anywhere else.
We entered the venue and watched the bands perform and noticed that every artist had great energy and crowd interaction! This is something we had targeted and improved! Armed with a wireless guitar system to run about the venue and crowd interaction worked into our set, we were prepared! An overwhelming experience at the venue was that people were asking, ‘When are the Irish band on?’. Thousands of miles away from home, people were asking for us. That was a feeling we’ll never forget.
9.15 approached and it was time for us to take the stage! We launched into the opening song from our new E.P., ‘Heartline’ and there was an instant positive feeling. People were listening, clapping with us and most importantly having a good time!
Moving through the set each song went down very well. We were premiering a brand new song at the show! One we had never played before. With nerves of how it would go down, Matt announced that, ‘Pennies’ was about to make its debut and we launched into the song. Quite possibly the best reaction of any song of the set was received here. This filled us with so much pride. Our current music had brought us thousands of miles away, and where we’re going in the future has been met with an overwhelming response, it was just a surreal moment and filled us with positivity.
As our set came to a close we ended with, ‘Television’. The song that had gotten us there in the first place. It was an emotional experience and we give it everything we had! Enjoying every second of it. After the set we had our photos taken by YouBloom and had drinks with the other bands and just enjoyed the vibe and experience.
A special thank you is needed for, ‘Kittenhead’ who helped us out with a bass and electric guitar. Without you we may not have been able to play.
Day 5, YouBloom Conference:
We had the conference to attend now where we could interact with big music industry names and make connections.
The whole conference was amazing! Armed with a notepad and pen we documented so much valuable information. Attending talks from Tom Sturges, a man who signed The Smashing Pumpkins and has shook hands with The President Of The United States because of his musical achievements was surreal. We met with him directly and he was overly enthusiastic about us and music in general. A very inspiring man.
We were then interviewed by YouBloom and enjoyed that experience. Straight after that we attend a panel titled, ‘Making A Statement’. The panel was made up of; Joe Sib of Sideonedummies Records, Marko DeSantis of a band we look up to, ‘Sugarcult’ and Don Grierson who signed Celine Dion to name a few. Again we learnt so much and made direct contact with both Joe and Marko which was surreal in itself to meet these people and talk about our music.
The trip was worth it just for this alone.
Day 6, Road Trip:
This was our last day were we could do anything and what better way to get the full experience than a road trip? We hired a car and travelled over 800 miles in one day.
The first place we travelled to was Death Valley National Park. Of course on the way to Death Valley the sheer scope of the landscape was hard to comprehend. Straight roads that were over 70 miles long, vast desert for as far as you could see (which excited Ethan more than anything else within the trip) it was all extraordinary. However nothing could compare to Death Valley. The size of it all was hard to comprehend and we don’t think we’ll see anything that captures us in as much awe as the valley did.
We then continued our road trip this time heading for Hoover Dam. Earlier we mentioned that America does everything bigger, Hoover Dam is no Exception. Not for anyone who doesn’t like heights. It was amazing to see!
We then had our first experience of Las Vegas. That city literally never sleeps. As it gets darker, the more things happen. Water fountain shows, street performances, public drinking, legal prostitution, this place was crazy. As most of the people in the band were too young to enter most buildings, Martin was the only one who tried their luck at the slot machines and of course… He lost. Ethan got a new tattoo to solidify his Vegas experience and we headed off on our long drive back to LA.
All of this was filmed, we can’t wait to show it all.
Day 7, Coming Home And Reflection:
As fast as this amazing experience came about, it was just as quickly coming to a close. We got our bus to LAX airport and embarked on our journey home. Leaving behind somewhere that had been so accepting of us and somewhere where we had nothing but good times. However instead of being down about it, we felt and still do feel inspired. This could never have happened without our music. These amazing memories are just the start. We got from Matts bedroom to America because of our music. It has only given us a drive to push further and work harder than ever before. In everything we have done as a band this has been the best experience and the best decision we could ever have made as a band. We will be back. We have a plan for what’s going to happen in the coming year and further into the future and hopefully The City Of Angels is a trip to be made again sooner rather than later.