Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with erase:rewind. Together we discussed how they came up with their name, magic lamps, dreams, their album “Chasing Down The Moonlight”, and so much more!

1. Mustard is thankful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today? 

J: Totally awesome! Super excited to be interviewed by mustard. Mustard is in my top 5 favorite condiments. 

2. Mustard wonders if there are any VHS tapes in which you used to erase and rewind. What were some of your favorite programs to record? 

Mike: I wish I could say I made a bunch of cool VHS compilations or even mix tapes but I didn’t. We both have a background in audio recording and have done a fair amount of recording on a Tascam 4 track recorder.

J: I definitely made a ton of mixtapes. As for VHS – I used to record music videos off of MTV and then record over them with newer ones. I also used to record movies that were on TV. I definitely had a New Kids on The Block concert recorded from TV- and I’m not ashamed of that either.

3. How did you come up with your name? When was erase:rewind formed?

J: So I used to be in a band called The Tea & Whiskey that had just ended our run in 2012. I still wanted to write songs and perform, so I decided to start an acoustic project. I obviously needed a name so I went to one of my favorite bands, The Cardigans, for inspiration. They were on heavy rotation for me at the time (and always) and I chose the song Erase/Rewind from their album Gran Turismo. I felt like the song symbolized that time of my life really well. It sounded really cool to me, too; and that’s always important in a band name I think. I decided to stylize the name with a colon separating the words and no spaces. I just thought it looked different and stood out and also differentiated from the way the song title was stylized.

Once I had a name, I recorded a few songs as a demo (which was our first release …of love, lust, and liquor…). I’ve known Mike since college and showed him some of the songs. He dug it and in 2013/2014 I invited him to get together to try and form a full band. I think we’ve had 5 or 6 different drummers…so we’re basically a duo. Although our new drummer, Canaan, is great and we are hoping he’s found his forever band with us. We found him through a craigslist ad and it’s been going really great so far.

4. Who or what influences erase:rewind?

Mike: I think we influence each other as songwriters. We definitely steal sounds and ideas from other bands to help shape the sound of the music we play, write and record. I listen to decades of pop music from the 50’s to today. I think it’s important to know where you come from and where you’re going to stay relevant in music.

J: I’m all over the place with my influences, everything from typical punk and emo to pop and latin music styles. I think one of my biggest influences in songwriting for erase:rewind, specifically has been Rainer Maria. I don’t think anyone would notice that but there are a bunch of subtle nods to them, they’re great. Lately, I’ve been really influenced by Beach Bunny. I don’t think I could ever write a song as good as theirs, but their lyrics, guitar tones and drum sounds are so energizing so I’ll keep trying.

5. What is erase:rewind’s creative process?

Mike: J or I will come up with an idea in the form of a guitar riff. We expand on the idea and arrange different sections of the song. Then we start adding instruments on top of that, experimenting with lap steel, keys and hand drums.

J: Most of the time I write words and music at the same time. I’ll have a melody idea or a guitar riff and then build it at the same time. The lyrics will come organically depending on what I’m feeling or thinking about during that time. Occasionally, the lyrics will stem from some great experience or story. With the latest batch of songs, they all started from guitar riffs. I’ll record a video on my phone of me playing the riff and then go back to it little by little trying to add parts to flesh it out. We have about 11 or so new instrumental demos ready to go. That’s a huge departure for me since I’ve never really had full demos without some vocal melody or lyrics in mind before. I think these new songs will be really fun to produce and put together.

6. How would you describe erase:rewind’s sound?

Mike: Indie emo experimental. We definitely have a sound we reference in our heads. What comes out is what makes it fun. As the bassist I aim for a sound like The Get Up Kids “On a Wire” album but stripped back with some bass power chords to add a dynamic to the music.

J: Yeah that works, haha. I basically say we’re a rock and roll band. I mean we definitely pull from indie, pop-punk, emo genres as a general sound reference. I love guitars and traditional “rock and roll” instruments (guitar, bass drums) so I feel that will always be a part of our sound in some way. But we love experimenting too, so we add all kinds of fun stuff when we can.

7. If magic lamps did exist how would erase:rewind use it?

J: Well you have to get some solid wishes in. I’d probably wish for some great show/band lineups. You know, like play with some of your favorite bands, maybe even get some that are broken up to get back together just to play with. I’d love to play with Braid, Texas is the Reason, the Cardigans and a ton of others. 

8. It is true that you did not want to be an astronaut but your human head is in the clouds. How did this happen? Could you elaborate more on this phrase?

J: I guess I, like a lot of humans, have always had my head in the proverbial clouds. You know, daydreaming and pondering life’s mysteries and whatnot. I guess I just figured that kind of made you seem like you weren’t present or on earth, so to speak. The phrase came from the idea of unintentionally being lost in thought and “in the clouds.” The song is about yearning for and working towards a better relationship and I imagined myself lost in reverie.

9. Could you share more about the process behind your album “Chasing Down The Moonlight?”

J: Most of those songs were either on the acoustic ep or written around the same time. I knew I wanted to start recording a full band sound shortly after the acoustic ep but finding a drummer took quite some time (6 years apparently). We met this guy Art through a craigslist ad (obviously a pattern) and it clicked. We started practicing the songs and moved to try and record as quickly as we could. As Mike said, we have a background in audio recording so I have a home studio and we made the whole record in my basement. Considering the challenges and constraints, I’m happy with the outcome. Technically it is only 6 songs, but when I uploaded everything to the streaming services I combined the acoustic ep as part of it. The official version is on our bandcamp page.

10. Mustard loves the cover art of your latest album “something worth dreaming of.” How did you come up with the concept for this album?

J: Thank you so much! An amazing artist, Sarah Bogosh who goes by @badponies.illustration made the amazing cover art for (among many others) the first two Hit Like A Girl records. And I freaking love those records. So I reached out and asked if they could come up with some album art. They made the cover and one of our logos and I couldn’t be happier. I basically sent them some of the songs and some of the inspiration, soundwise, for the new songs. From there they made it amazing. Everyone should go support them.

11. erase:rewind gets challenged to a battle rap. Who are you battling against? 

J: This is a phenomenal question. I love hip hop but would not be able to actually hold my own in battle. I think just for the experience I’d want to battle against some of my favs. Either Raekwon or Method Man from Wu Tang, or Big L (rip) or Guru from Gang Starr (rip). They would totally destroy me but at least I could say I was there.

12. What are some things erase:rewind believe are worth dreaming about? Did these dreams inspire this album?

Mike: We’re dads here so I think we can agree with a use it or lose it mentality. We love playing music and recording. As you get older life gets in the way. The band is our outlet for this creative energy. I look forward to passing on my experiences to my son and seeing where it takes him.

J: The album title comes from a line in The Ballad of Johnny No home – “everybody loves, everybody has something worth dreaming of…” I think dreaming of love, positivity, happiness, as cliche as it may sound, are all worth dreaming of. I think everyone is searching for some sense of closeness or identity in some ways. Anyway, those are some of the lyrical themes on the record and I felt that line really inspired me and felt like a strong title. I always liked naming albums from lines within the lyrics. It gives a sense of connectivity and theme to the whole thing.

13. Would erase:rewind play on interstate 55? How would you describe your live performance?

Mike: I’ll be honest. I have no idea what Missouri is like or where interstate 55 actually leads. I think it passes through St. Louis. The lyrics were written for a friend that basically gave up everything he had to pursue an old relationship and start a completely new life in a place he’d never been to. But back to the question, I could imagine shooting a music video cruising down the highway in a convertible caddy. Just singing and throwing stuff out the window.

J: I think we try to have a fun and chill vibe to our live show. We joke around and don’t take ourselves too seriously onstage. We try to engage with the audience a bit so we can all be having fun and joking together. I think that makes it more enjoyable for everyone.

14. What is next for erase:rewind?

Mike: New album in the works! Awesome new drummer learning the songs. Looking forward to playing some more shows this year. Always on the lookout for new sounds and instruments to help create the next sound. Looking to get on some more music comps and benefits.

J: Yeah totally, anyone with connections to comps please hook us up!  Hopefully having more opportunities to share our music with as many people as possible. Our new single, Watching Life Through Dirty Glasses, is available everywhere on 2/3/23! Go check it out and we hope you enjoy it.

15. Where can readers listen to your music?

All our songs and merch are available on bandcamp. We are on all streaming platforms, too. Go check us out at to find links to everything! 


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