Anyone who thinks that rock n' roll dreams still can't come true apparently hasn't heard Settle's story. Although the four-piece rock act technically formed back in 2001, the last couple of years have been a whirlwind of career-defining events that have included record deals, a performance on MTV and, yes, scantily clad concertgoers. However before we get to all that, it's important to make it clear that this Easton, Pennsylvania act hasn't gotten to this point because of luck--although as is the case with most successful bands, that didn't hurt. Instead the band paid their dues by performing countless shows over the past seven years, releasing their own records and giving off the same energy and enthusiasm whether they are playing in front of 20 kids or 2,000 of them.
Formed in high school by frontman Nick Rose and his younger brother drummer Willie Rose, Settle underwent a series of member changes before solidifying their lineup with current guitarist Dave Goletz and bassist Chris Burcin--and once they found the perfect formula for their band they haven't looked back. Although the group only performed regionally during their nascent years due to the fact they weren't old enough to get into bars, Settle's unique brand of music instantly resonated with open-minded listeners--and the band's two out-of-print, self-released EPs have sold over 20,000 copies combined, an amazing feat for a band with no outside promotion to or label to help them out. Oh, and did we also mention that these workaholics have also penned almost 100 songs to date?
After building a cult-like following in the Midwest and East Coast, Settle got their big break when they unexpectedly won MTVU's Best Music On Campus Contest in 2006. "At first we didn't think much about the contest, but as we progressed and the band made the top five we all took a step back and were like 'what's going on here?'" Nick says. Ultimately Settle won the competition and were flown to Cancun to rub shoulders with Fat Joe and Fergie and perform their music for half-clad co-eds during spring break. While this wasn't a typical gig for a band that cut their teeth performing in dingy clubs and basements, the band's performance attracted the attention of Epitaph Records' owner Brett Gurewitz who enthusiastically signed the band to the label after hearing their latest batch of demos.
All of which brings us to the record you're currently holding in your hands, At Home We Are Tourists, the band's full-length debut which was recorded by Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo) in Los Angeles in the Fall of 2008. "I think it's got a little bit of everything on it," Nick says when asked to try to describe Settle's multi-faceted sound, adding that the members are influenced by everyone from Green Day to Neutral Milk Hotel. "It's noisy, it's catchy, it's energetic, it's fast and it's also slow when it needs to be," Nick explains. "I think it's kind of a slap in the face to just say, "Hey, we're a band and we're going to write songs that are loud and noisy, the way we think rock n' roll should sound."
Settle's unique brand of rock may be difficult to describe, but luckily it's far more satisfying to listen to the album than to try to analyze it. From the driving, upbeat rocker "Rite Of Passage" to masterfully arranged pop songs like "Sunday, Morning After" and the synthesizer-driven chaos of "Dance Rock Is The New Pasture," At Home We Are Tourists is the culmination of Settle's career--and although it isn't the typical Epitaph Records release, that's nothing new for the band. "The thing is, even locally, we've never really fit in," Nick explains. "One day we'd play with a metal band or the next day we'll play with a band that sounds like Cap'n Jazz and the next day we'd open up for a bar band," he continues. "We're more concerned with writing honest music than fitting into any one scene.
This type of sentiment isn't only refreshing, but it has also fueled Settle's entire career; in other words Settle aren't doing this for the stardom, they're simply making music because they have no other choice. "One of the best shows we ever played was at this place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, called Championship," Nick says when asked about some of the band's most memorable moments to date. "This place was packed with 400 kids and everyone was dancing," he explains. "To stand on a stage and see that is amazing because it reminds constantly reminds you 'Oh, this is why I do this, because that's amazing.' We just want to be able to experience that feeling over and over."