Stand Still: Gerry Windus Talks "In a Moment's Notice" + Paying Homage to Long Island Hardcore

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

The revival of the Long Island sound has been one of my favorite musical shifts to witness in recent times. There are so many newer bands doing the genre justice, with its unique blend of inspiration coming from hardcore, emo, pop punk, and more. Stand Still are a fine example of a band that’s carrying the torch and doing it well.

This past July, the band released their second EP, In A Moment’s Notice, via DAZE and Triple B Records. The EP features three new songs, as well as three live recordings of songs from their previous release, A Practice in Patience. With all the songs being written around the same time, fans of the band’s old material will enjoy the continuation between both EPs. Of all the bands involved with the melodic hardcore/emo revival, Stand Still tends to be the one that leans the heaviest. Punk and hardcore influences stay at the forefront of their sound, and while there's still a focus on catchiness - this EP is no exception.

Long Island is one of my favorite places, so, naturally, Gerry and I talked about it a good amount. We discussed what inspired him on In A Moment’s Notice, as well as his thoughts on the origins of the “Long Island sound,” radio and DJ culture in the area, some of his go-to spots around the Island, and more.

(Photo credit: Kayla Guilliams)

AA: Introduce yourself with your name, what you do in Stand Still,  and a fact about yourself.

GW: I’m Gerry, I sing in Stand Still. A fact about myself… I also make electronic music under the name Windus, but I don’t know how much crossover there is. I mean, I would hope that there’s at least a couple people who listen to my band and also fuck with Aphex Twin. [laughs] I feel like that’s kind of a thing people are into now.

AA: For sure. It’s the new long-overnight-drive-on-tour music for some reason. [laughs]

GW: [laughs] Yeah, everyone’s getting into drum and bass for their podcast intros!

AA: Who played your first hardcore show? What impact did that have on keeping you involved in hardcore?

GW: I was going to weird punk nights before I started going to true and blue hardcore shows. I guess the first notable one was a fest that used to happen on Long Island called Today’s Mixtape Fest. A few of the bands that played the day I went were Stray From the Path, On Broken Wings, Every Time I Die… Knocked Loose’s first show on Long Island in like, 2015, was at the fest… It was definitely pop punk bands and some smaller local bands, too. Another band that played that day was Commonwealth, a screamo band. I ended up getting super close with everyone in that band and they put me onto a lot of shit. 

In general, that kind of mixed bill thing is coming back in a big way now, even though that was always kind of a thing that happened on Long Island. But especially for us, we’ve been playing shows and touring with bands that are definitely a lot heavier than us, so that show definitely sparked an interest in me for mixed bill shows and hardcore shows in general. 

AA: What made you want to start a band that sounds like Stand Still?

GW: I’ve always been into the Long Island stuff, whether it be Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Glassjaw - maybe not Glassjaw - but I was listening that stuff a lot growing up. And then, as I started getting deeper into the Long Island lore, I was listening to a lot more Silent Majority, Crime in Stereo, shit like that. And then a friend of mine named Matt, he plays bass in Stand Still, asked me if I wanted to join [the band]. At that point, there was no name, I was the one who came up with the name, but they were all kind of like jamming. It was Matt, and then the 3 others, Brian, Steven, Andre, who were in a band called Discolor

They needed a vocalist. At first I said no, but then… [laughs] After a couple weeks thinking about it, I was like, you know what, I do really want to start a melodic band, something in that lane, and this was during the pandemic, so… there wasn't a lot we could do, but we could kinda safely get together and write music and shit. So that was where we started out! There was never really a moment where I was trying to start a melodic band, it just kinda happened. Coincidentally, around that time, a lot of bands were doing the melodic thing on Long Island, so it just happened to work out, I guess.

Album art

AA: How does being from the area influence you as a musician?

GW: I think that a lot of the reasons why people associate a certain sound with Long Island is because it’s a pretty unique place, and I think that inspires some of what people call the “Long Island sound,” in the way that there isn’t a lot of shit to do other than Long Island stuff. [laughs]  You can go to the beach, then go to a diner, walk around at a park, go to the city if you want… So, when it comes to bands like Silent Majority, a lot of their songwriting is influenced by going to the beach or going on a train, doing graffiti, you know? A lot of stuff that is very much New York and Long Island-specific. And then, being in proximity to so many bands with the specific style - that, in itself, will kind of influence the way that a band from here sounds. 

It’s not something super easy to explain, but there definitely is a correlation between that very melodic, fast, punky kind of hardcore sound and living on Long Island.  A lot of living here is just kind of driving everywhere - so, to that extent, you want to have music that is very stimulating. I think, in general, it can be defined by music that is super stimulating, makes you think, and is hook-y, you know?

AA: Music to drive to, for sure! [laughs] It’s funny, because, like… I feel like a lot of people unintentionally listen to a lot of Long Island music when they go on long drives. Taking Back Sunday, Koyo… It’s a good point.

GW: Yeah! I don’t know why it’s so much of a thing here, but I guess it’s just because it’s such a small place, but at the same time, if you want to do anything, you kinda have to drive 20 minutes to do it, and everyone’s super spread out. I have to drive a half hour to go to practice. 

I think that’s also why there’s so much radio culture on Long Island. There’s so much history in radio stations, DJs… My dad was involved in that scene a lot, so I think that kinda ties into it for me. 

You know, I haven’t really thought about this - but maybe the reason that melody and hooks are intertwined with hardcore on Long Island is because we all grow up listening to the radio, listening to a lot of poppy music. Even if it’s fuckin’ butt rock, you’re listening to hooks and melody all the time. That’s kind of interesting, actually, I’ve never thought about that!

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

AA: Before Stand Still, you used to be in a more straightforward hardcore band called Poor Choice - does either style come easier to you?

GW: For that band, I did a lot more songwriting-wise. I was pretty much the only one writing music for that band until my friends Danny and Steve Marra joined, and they started writing too. But, even when they were contributing song-wise, I still had an iron fucking grip on everything that happened.

With Stand Still, I don’t really do as much songwriting-wise. I’m still in the room, helping them, figuring out melodies and stuff, and obviously I write all the lyrics, but other than that… It’s a little bit less of a passion project for me. Even though I love it a lot and love that sound, a little bit less happens for me in terms of writing. I guess that’s the general answer, the meta answer, but digging deeper… 

Being able to write melodies and catchy lyrics is a little bit more enjoyable for me, even though I liked doing Poor Choice. I like writing melodies, and I always have. That’s something that was kind of missing in Poor Choice, because I was just screaming my fuckin’ head off. Obviously, I love the heavy shit too - that band was mostly influenced by Indecision.

So, I mean, there’s pros and cons to both, as far as me being able to output a lot of content lyrically. I guess the answer would be is that Stand Still is a little bit more fun, because I get to write hooks and catchy lyrics and actually sing.

AA: What kind of things inspired you on In a Moment’s Notice, musically and lyrically?

GW: All of our songs were written at sort of the same time, in the same session. So, at that point, I think I was helping out a little bit more for the new songs structure-wise, but… There’s a theme with all the songs. I think A Practice in Patience was more thematic, in terms of having a central concept - it was mostly about isolation, and the feelings brought up around that time.

In a Moment’s Notice is a little more fun, a little bit less introspective, but still has some pretty harsh storytelling and deep-rooted shit. The 3 songs were kinda grouped on accident, because those were the songs left over from A Practice in Patience - but they’re not B-sides, they’re still songs we’re really proud of. They’re just different in terms of being a little more melodic, a little more hook-y and poppy. For inspiration lyrically, I was listening to a lot of Saves the Day when we did “Loose Ends,” so I was trying to come up with something super catchy, but at the same time, I mean… The lyrics for that song are about navigating through bad situations in life, anxiety and shit like that. And, obviously “With All My Love” is about a familial situation. 

I would like to think that my lyrics are pretty transparent - like, you can listen to the song and kind of pick up what’s happening, then hopefully be able to draw something to relate to off of that. All of my lyrics are me trying to tell a story, but in a way that isn’t too preachy or specific to myself. Just throwing things out there that hopefully other people can relate to, pick up on, and vibe with.

AA: What’s your favorite song off the EP and why?

GW: It’s definitely “Loose Ends.” The minute that we wrote that, I was like… “This is the hit.” It’s, in my mind, the most “radio friendly,” and I love shit like that - especially being able to write shit like that and still call it hardcore. Which, a lot of people wouldn’t, and I understand completely why someone would listen to that and be like, “This is not hardcore, this is pop punk, you’re a loser…” [laughs] But coming from where I come from, and listening to the bands I listen to, there’s definitely justification for a person from Long Island to call this a hardcore song. I would like to think that song is the most catchy, the most fun to listen to, and for me, the most fun to play live. Love that song.

AA: I definitely feel like there’s been some weird genre arguments about the new wave of melodic bands coming out, and it’s interesting to see.

GW: Yeah. I’ve always said that you could take any band, put them out on the West Coast and the East Coast - the West would call them pop punk and the East Coast would call them emo. A lot of that just comes down to proximity and other bands in the area, and on Long Island, that kind of music is hardcore because… It always has been. This is something I talk about a lot in interviews, but the first Movielife tour was with Kill Your Idols, which is a super heavy hardcore punk band. And nobody not from Long Island would group those bands together, rightfully so. Our first tour was with fuckin’ Pain of Truth, so, you know… It comes down to marketing. You could take any band and market it to a certain demographic, and they would fall into that category. Not that we're trying to market ourselves as a hardcore band, because we’re not, but we come from a place where that stuff is hardcore.

(Photo credit: Kayla Guilliams)

AA: A Practice in Patience was released in June 2021, when shows were just starting to come back - how does it feel to release new music in a time where it’ll be easier to play shows off of it?

GW: It feels good! I think that the rollout for A Practice in Patience was as cool as it was because people weren’t going to shows then - they were just consuming music all the time, because that’s all they could do. I’ve said this before… If I was gonna start another band, I would do it exactly the same way. With us, we had to do it  a certain way because we couldn't play shows. A lot of bands will have a couple practices, write a couple songs, put out a demo, and play a show. For us, we had a year to write music and plan a proper release for it. 

So, in my mind, that's the “right way” a band should do it - we were just forced to, instead of the way we maybe would’ve done it if we had the chance to be more impulsive. With this release, it’s cool, because it’s songs from the same time period to us, because that’s when we wrote and recorded them all. However, this time we get to see it through a different lens - and by “we,” I mean people listening to it all for the first time, including myself, because this is also the first time I’m hearing it on vinyl.

AA: The impulsiveness is definitely a good point. I’m not saying there’s a certain amount of time you need to take before you play shows off anything you’ve written, but a lot of bands definitely speed-run the writing process into being able to play shows, so it’s interesting to see what can come of bands having to delay that part to take more time and write, you know?

GW: Yeah! Sometimes it's good to give yourself a deadline, because it makes you do shit faster, but that can also be detrimental if you're just rushing shit out because you want to play a show. Maybe for hardcore it’s different because shows are the thing that makes hardcore what it is, but sometimes, at least in my mind, [I think bands should] make sure they do the release right and then go play a show. It’s so much more rewarding when everyone knows the words and whatever - I think that’s definitely the way to do it.

(Photo credit: MG Productions)

AA: If someone who had never been to Long Island asked you for a few places to visit, what would be some of your picks? 

GW: I always tell people, if they have enough time while visiting, to go to Montauk, because it’s just fuckin’ crazy. At this point, I’ve traveled a good amount of the country, and still, in my mind, Montauk is a fuckin’ trip. You go there, and obviously there’s a big historical lighthouse. Usually, that’s what most people go see and then they’re like, “Alright, I’m done,” - but the cool part about Montauk, which is actually closed off right now but will hopefully be reopened by next year… You can go down to the beach and walk on these giant rocks and literally walk around the base of the lighthouse. There’s these giant fuckin’ waves crashing, it’s the craziest sound ever. And then, you go to this beach that has these huge 200 foot bluffs, and you can get to the top of them and look down - it’s insane. If anyone is on Long Island and has the time, it’s kind of a hike, but go to Montauk, spend the day there, hang out. The town is cool, the beaches are cool.

But in terms of other shit, Druthers is the spot. It’s a really good coffee place in Stony Brook, that’s where the DAZE popups happen, and they’re awesome people, great food, great coffee. Stony Brook is my favorite town on Long Island, definitely.

Amityville Music Hall - blurry photo by me, Angie Aristodemo

AA: Mine too!

GW: Awesome spot to go to, and there’s a beach right up the road. That's the thing, too - wherever you are on Long Island, you can drive in any direction and hit a beach. 

In terms of food, if you're not vegan, All American in Massapequa is a really good burger spot. If you are vegan, there’s That Pizza Place in Levittown, as well as 3 Brothers - those are pretty good for pizza. 

If you’re not vegan and want pizza, there’s a lot of spots I’d recommend, but I’m just gonna keep it to two. Umberto’s of New Hyde Park is classic, go there, get the grandma slice. If you’re more into Suffolk, Mozza Fiato in Centereach is really good, it’s a newer spot. If you’re in Montauk, you can go to Best Pizza and Dive Bar, which is the same thing as the Best Pizza in Williamsburg, and it’s fuckin’ awesome. There’s some record stores - Looney Tunes in Babylon is a good record store. 

I mean, yeah, there’s so much shit. If you're on Long Island, you should go to a show - that’s the first thing you should do. Specifically, at Amityville Music Hall or the Massapequa VFW - those are two awesome places.

AA: Any upcoming plans you’d like to talk about?

GW: We’re playing the Triple B/DAZE/Streets of Hate showcase in Brooklyn on September 23rd, which is gonna be awesome. We’re doing pre-pro for our first LP in October, which will be out next year, hopefully not too late.

AA: Anything else you’d like to add?

GW: Shoutout Triple B, Daze, NMZ, anyone who puts out a variant or is selling records for us. We’re playing in a good amount of new places this summer, so if anyone is seeing us for the first time, come say what’s up!

Thank you to Gerry for doing this interview! Make sure you keep up with Stand Still via the links below.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bandcamp

Listen to In a Moment’s Notice via Spotify:


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