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Emerging Artist: Houston Calling

Houston Calls, self-described as a cross between Green Day, Motion City Soundtrack and pop, is soon to add its first full-length record to the pop-punk/power-pop/emo music scene. In 2004, the band independently released a five-song sampler, and in March, the band will enter Black Lodge Recording Studio in Eudora, Kan.

“It’s going to be awesome because it’s with producer Ed Rose, who has quite the reputation.” said band member Tom Keiger.

For Keiger and band mate Jarrett Seltzer, music is life. And both agree that life is treating them well.

“Life right now is awesome,” said Tom Keiger, 22, lead vocalist and guitarist of Houston Calls.

The five-piece pop-punk/power-pop/emo band from Rockaway, N.J. has toured with Action-Action, Hellogoodbye, Hidden in Plain View and Madison, among others, since the band’s debut in 2003. In December, the band signed with Rushmore Records, sister label to Drive-Thru Records. As the band prepares to enter Backlodge Recording Studio with producer Rose, the guys are taking a break from touring.

“Right now, when we’re not touring, life is like Saturday.” said bassist Seltzer, 22. “We get to sleep in, play video games, go to practice, come home, have fun and do it all again the next day.”

For both Seltzer and Keiger, Houston Calls intertwines everything that they love to do. The band gives them an opportunity to write and play music, meet masses of new people and do both alongside some of their best friends.

“We are all friends. When we’re not playing, we’re usually hanging out togethe,.” Seltzer said. “I love the idea of getting to tour with my friends for years, meet tons of fans and create great relationships,” he added.

The band believes that more than anything, the camaraderie among the five members of Houston Calls gives the band an advantage over others.

“A lot of bands break up because they really aren’t friends and don’t get along. I don’t feel like we have to worry about that.” said Seltzer.

In the band’s two years together, each member has come to realize that because they are doing what they love, band life never seems like a job.

“What work lets you hang out with your friends, jump around, be stupid, drink? It’s only work when the schedule gets really packed and you have no personal time,” said Seltzer.

“I’m loving having this as all of life,” Keiger said. “It never really feels like work for me. Watching people enjoy a show just makes it all worthwhile.”

Seltzer agrees.

“You can have the worst day in the world but then get on stage and see all these kids singing along,” Seltzer said. “How can that not make you feel better?”

He also said that playing live shows fuses everything that they each love to do as friends into an amazing experience and gives the band a chance to connect with fans.

“Simply put, it rules.” he said. “We’re energetic, fun and we hang out. Growing up and seeing bands, I would always love when the bands hung out. So I like to do the same. You will always see us in the venue, hanging out, meeting anyone who wants to meet and be our friends.”

For both Keiger and Seltzer, the music itself makes Houston Calls worthwhile.

“It’s basically a love like anything else – like baseball, like acting. It’s our passion. I want to be known as a band (that) livens up the music scene a bit,” Keiger said.

“Music can serve so many purposes. It can trigger any emotion possible. It can make you happy or sad; it can relax you or pump you up,” Seltzer added.

“Music is what we love,” said Keiger. “and if we can do that forever, that rules.”