After opening for Twenty One Pilots in front of a sold-out crowd, you would think the California band Finish Ticket would be ready to call it a night and go to bed. Instead, you walk through the exit of the packed Festival Pier venue and see a group of five music lovers, goofing off next to an ice cream truck, who are excited to meet and take pictures with their fans. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect this from every band, but after having the chance to sit down and talk with the guys of Finish Ticket, I could tell that playing music for their fans is their whole life. I asked if this had been their dream growing up and in unison, all five members of the band smiled, nodded and said “yes.”
Finish Ticket is made up of: Alex DiDonato, the guitarist; Brendan Hoye, the singer; Gabe Stein, the drummer; Michael Hoye, the bassist; and Nick Stein, the keyboardist. The band started at age 12 with Brendan and his “twin brother” Michael, who transitioned from clarinet to bass. Brendan said “I wrote my first song right away and said ‘I’m starting a band!” From there, it’s been history. Finish Ticket has been around since 2008 and has seen a plethora of different band members, but the current lineup has been around for about 2 years.
In 2013, the band released a debut LP entitled “Tears You Apart.” “[The writing] was all over the place for that one,” Brendon recalled.
“A lot of it started when we were in college. After high school we all separated and went to college. Like, ‘Bring the Rain’ is about college. It’s about starting a new life and not really wanting to and this whole life I wasn’t ready for. I felt like this whole wall was coming down in front of me. The one lyric ‘A hunt for your place in this world you know, it birthed you, it molds you, it tears you apart’ is talking about finding your place in this world, feeling super lost and not knowing where you sit in this world. There’s this feeling and you’re basically torn apart by it. That’s one of my favorite lyrics on the last record,” he said.
After the band expressed their agreement, Brendan continued, “We play to a lot of colleges and it’s funny because they’re all going through this thing. They’re all experiencing this right now.” All in all, the band said they were happy with how the first record came out and wouldn’t make any changes to it. “It was really genuine, it was who we were without any pressure. That’s just who we were,” he said.
On September 4 of this year, the band released a new EP, “When Night Becomes Day.” “[We’ve been] working on it a while.” the band said. “We didn’t have time to finish it because we started a european tour. We went home after that tour and we had to redo a lot of it in the bay area. It was a really long process.” We talked about the title track on the EP, where the band acknowledges it went through a lot of changes before sounding how it does now. “The plan is to do a record soon. We don’t know the exact timeline but we have a window after this tour, which means we all have to be creative on the road, which is tough. We’ll see what happens.”
So how has the writing process been different from the first album? The band said that “the process has been crazier because with ‘Tears You Apart’ there were no standards or time frame. We were kids and we literally left [college] to do it. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we knew we wanted to do music. We ended up putting a record together and loving it.” Brendan added, “Now we know there are people who have expectations and are waiting to hear new stuff.”
After a successful debut LP and fantastic follow-up EP, I asked the guys what their secret formula was. “I tell everyone, if you think you have a good thing going, get in front of everyone you possibly can. Any show you’re offered, just go after it. Get yourself out there. You have to create a demand,” Brendan said.
To finish the interview, I asked the guys why readers of The Triangle should check them out. “We try to write about stuff that’s generally relatable and not just about love, but what people our age go through. We find a different way to be relatable and find a cool way to relate to our fans. Another thing is, we pride ourselves on our live shows. So check out our music, come see us and then judge for yourself.”