When Particles Collide duo at Jimmie’s

By Justin Kreitzer

When Particles Collide is a garage-rock duo that calls Bangor, Maine, their home and who epitomize the DIY attitude of indie rock with their relentless touring schedule. Husband and wife, vocalist/guitarist Sasha Alcott and drummer Chris Viner formed the band in 2010. They have since released three albums and toured the country endlessly, living in their van for long stretches of time.

Their current tour – appropriately titled The Unstoppable Tour – began in June of 2017 and is scheduled to end in August of 2018. In true DIY spirit, the band launched a successful crowd-funding platform to help fund the tour in which fans sign up to help the band for a full year by giving monthly donations that the band uses toward gas, food and lodging. In exchange, their fans, dubbed The Unstoppable Tour Crew, get free downloads of all new music before anyone else, behind the scenes footage of life on the road and special merch perks.

The duo will bring their crowd-funded tour to Jimmie’s Ladder 11 on Friday, March 16 to showcase their raucous and energetic live show. The Dayton City Paper spoke with Sasha and Chris about the band’s formation and future, crowd-funding, and more.

The two of you met and formed the band in 2010 after performing together during a local production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. What made you want to start the band?

Chris Viner: After being in Hedwig together and realizing how much fun we had, we wanted to continue making music together. It wasn’t long after the musical finished that we decided to start playing some of Sasha’s old songs and shortly after that started writing new material.

Your music nods to 90s alternative rock and you have been compared to Green Day, Queens of The Stone Age, and Blondie, but there is more to your sound. Who are some of your less obvious influences?

Sasha Alcott: Bonnie Raitt, Carole King, and The Band are less obvious influences.

Chris: Dave Matthews Band, Rush, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Roy Haynes, John Mayer, Tony Royster Jr., Dennis Chambers, Steve Jordan, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and on and on!

You are currently touring in support of your most recent album, Ecotone, released in 2016. Do you have any plans to release another album soon?

Sasha: We have six tracks already recorded and mixed for our next studio album. We have been releasing those tracks slowly, about one every couple of months to our Unstoppable Tour Crew. We will likely record a few more tracks this spring. The eventual release date of a full-length album is yet to be determined.

With the saturation of the internet and the state the music industry is in, it’s becoming harder for musicians to get noticed and even harder for them to actually make money. With your crowd-funding platform, you engage your audience and allow them to help fund your tour. What does that mean to you as a band to have that kind of camaraderie with your fan base?

Sasha: I actually think in many ways it might be easier for bands to get out there and find fans since information about venues and bands is all readily available online. That said, there is a lot of noise on the internet, so it is hard to get noticed solely based on an online presence. It’s also impossible to make a viable living through streaming. We have decided that we can sustain our band and be full-time musicians by touring. We make money from performances, selling merch at live shows and as you mentioned through our Unstoppable Tour Crew.

Chris: To know that we have people who believe in us and are willing to share their hard-earned money to support us is an unbelievably good feeling. We wouldn’t be letting just ourselves down if we stopped touring and creating new music, we would be letting a group of people all over the world down. That is incredibly encouraging to keep working hard!

The explosive “Give Up Enough” from Ecotone, with its catchy, sing-along hook, sounds like a fun one to play live. What is your favorite song to play live and why?

Chris: We have a brand new song called ‘Best Friends’ that we have been playing live and because of the rocking riff that starts it off and the way the styles change, it’s a lot of fun to play. The only way to hear this one right now is to come out to a live show,
so do it!

After The Unstoppable Tour actually ends, what might the future hold for the band?

Sasha: Who knows? Hopefully somehow helping other folks figure out how to tour and have more music in their lives.

Chris: I want to get a job working at Disney or Universal in Florida. But that’s just a pipe dream. I’ve always wanted to work with teenagers and plan on doing that when we are done. I want to make sure that schools have their music, theater, and art departments. I participated in all three at mine, and if I hadn’t, who knows where I would be today.

When Particles Collide plays Friday, March 16, at Jimmie’s Ladder 11, 936 Brown St. in Dayton. Are They Above Us are also on the bill. Admission is $5 for patrons 18 and up. Show starts at 10 p.m. For more information, please visit whenparticlescollide.bandcamp.com or JLadder11.com

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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