I had the opportunity to interview Andrew Deneef, who provides vocals and guitars, to Actual Villains. In this interview, we talk about his musical journey and their new music.
Rob: What bands inspired you to play music?
Andrew: JJ and I both grew up in the 90’s with great pop punk bands like Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, and MXPX to inspire us.
I was also a fan of a lot of 90’s alternative rock bands like the Gin blossoms, Third Eye Blind and Radiohead. Going into the 2000’s we both loved bands like The Used, Story of the Year, Saosin, and A Day to Remember.
Rob: At what age were you in your first band?
Andrew: I started my first band in middle school with my best friend Jason. I played guitar but quickly switched to bass to fill a need. Within a year I was replacing our drummer and learning that side of the stage as well.
Rob: What was the first concert you attended?
Andrew: It’s been so long and I’ve been to so many concerts now I can’t recall. I started by going to a TON of local shows. The first major concerts I remember seeing were Pantera, Slipknot, and System of a Down. (I grew up kind of a metal head.)
Rob: Where does your name come from?
Andrew: Our name was inspired while binge watching Batman the animated series. One of the common threads JJ and I share is an affinity for all things Batman.
Rob: What do you want fans to get from your new album?
Andrew: It’s our hope that listeners attach themselves to the emotional content of the songs. The tracks on our EP cover a wide range of topics from dealing with heartbreak, addiction, and overcoming doubt and struggles.
Rob: What is your favorite song?
Andrew: For me it’s a tie between “Wasted Youth” and “To Whom It May Concern.” Both tracks are immensely personal songs. Wasted Youth was an introspective look at my life when I realized I had a problem with alcohol and it was hurting my personal life, my performances and interactions with fans, etc. To Whom It May Concern’s lyrics were actually written while we were still touring as Close to Home. It was written as an open letter to my parents who never really encouraged or supported my dream of playing music. At the peak of my career they were pressuring me to quit. The song is about the irony of being told your whole life that you can be anything you want, until you decide you want to be an artist.
Rob: What is something about you or the band you would like fans to know about?
Andrew: We’re just normal guys who love tacos and beer.
Rob: What is your vision for the band’s future?
Andrew: We see our songs reaching a larger audience than we did as Close to Home. Although our music isn’t as positive messaged as our previous band we feel that it’s more honest now and can see it being even more relatable. It’s our vision to take Actual Villains to new heights and reach new parts of the world we haven’t yet been.