Wisconsin band Schmoolio have honed the sound of early 2000s punk in a fun and catchy sound. The band, led by the engaging vocals of Dan Schmuhl, craft punk rock tracks that are sure to be stuck in your head for hours.
The Madison punk rockers began life as a covers band, before frontman Dan took his songs into an acoustic punk show that led to him bringing the band back together.
Schmoolio just released latest single $100 Bills, which epitomises their catchy punky sound. It opens up with a high-pitched guitars that lead into a funky little lick over big drums. That feeds into Dan’s vocals “I’ve got nothing left to say, I think it’s time we go our separate ways, And I know it might be the last time that I see your pretty face.” And it flows straight into a big catchy chorus “Tied me to the bed, You were dressed to kill, Paid the ransom off with $100 bills, And now I’m all alone, You forgot your rope, My heart’s still tied.”
Another verse and chorus follow, supported by big punky guitars. Then female vocals of former singer Anna Herman take over in a bridge that drops into lower versions of the chorus vocals, which continues into repeats of the chorus to bring the track to a lively ending. Check it out in the lyric video below:
The band previously released two EPs in 2017 and 2019’s Level Up, from which we love the sound of the catchy, more laid back Passing On. Give it a listen here:
We had a chat with frontman Dan Schmuhl to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Schmoolio?
DS: “Schmoolio, from Madison, WI, is me (Vocals, Guitar), Tyler Whatley (Guitar, Vocals), Andy Schultz (Bass, Vocals) and Dan Carlson (Drums). We initially met to start a pop-punk themed 90’s cover band with a few friends from work, but when our lead singer at that time got pregnant, she decided she had to quit the band.
“I started writing and recording demos in my basement and ended up getting offered an acoustic show with some friends in other local punk bands. After my set, I had a few people ask ‘what’s your band called?’ or ‘when is your full band playing next?’ and I told them I didn’t really have a band. One of the guys who played was like ‘damn, I was going to see if you guys wanted to play a show with us this fall’ and we got to talking, I ended up saying ‘when’s the show? I might be able to make it happen.'”
“He gave me a date about 2 months out and so I reached back out to Dan and Andy to see if they’d want to start writing and playing original music and we got the ball rolling. We ended up playing that show and getting a few more scheduled after that, so we kept going. When we started doing this, I wouldn’t have ever guessed that 3 years later we would still be playing, much less planning our 4th release. It’s been fun playing out and making music, so we’ll keep playing until it’s not fun anymore is how I feel about it.”
GR: You just released $100 Bills. What should people be expecting from the song?
DS: “$100 Bills is a song that Tyler brought to the table, he showed me a demo he had and I loved it! I started working through the song with him, making adjustments to make the lyrical storyline a little more comprehensive, modifying guitar parts here and there, and adding in some of those big harmonies. We also got the lead singer from our initial cover band, Anna Herman, to do a guest vocal during the bridge. It’s always fun when she comes into the studio, she’s a blast!
“When you’re listening to $100 Bills for the first time, it’s just got that positive energy vibe that a lot of the pop punk genre lives on, it’s big. With Schmoolio, expect big harmonies & catchy hooks, expect a fun and positive vibe. The sound is something new, but also something familiar.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
DS: “We’ve got that early 2000’s nostalgic pop-punk sound with some modern pop-punk stylings and chugging guitar parts. We grew up on Warped Tour style rock, playing in punk, hardcore, pop punk, and rock bands. We’ve been compared to New Found Glory quite a bit, likely based on the vocal styling. It’s the kind of music you turn up when you’re driving and you’re belting it out along with the song, the next thing you know the people in the car next to you are staring and laughing hysterically at you because they caught you jamming out. Dare I say ‘nerdy pop punk?'”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
DS: “We try to keep it real, try to keep it relatable. Our subject matter isn’t a specific theme, but just living life. When something happens in life and we need an outlet, it turns into lyrical content. I try to make it specific enough for me to utilize the creative outlet as a positive outlet for the situation in life that I’m writing about, but also keep it relatable so when you’re listening you get that feeling like ‘oh yeah, I’ve been there’ or ‘that’s totally me!’
“We don’t use a ton of hidden meanings or metaphors, but keep it pretty straightforward. Sometimes that’s hard, especially when you’re writing about a relationship or something, being transparent in some of those situations took some getting used to for me. In my previous band, I often times tried to code my lyrics because I wasn’t confident in how some of those stories, especially about exes, might be received.
“It’s weird when you aren’t married and you’re in the dating scene and someone hears your song and is like ‘you’re still not over her.’ I always feared that kind of questioning or reception, but now I take it head on.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
DS: “Oh there’s a lot. We were big fans of the Drive Thru records bands/era. New Found Glory, Starting Line, The Movielife, and Midtown. Those Midwest pop-punk bands like Mest, Fall Out Boy, Allister, and Motion City Soundtrack were all big and played the area quite a bit, so seeing those bands had its influence on playing/performing. Then of course, Blink 182 influenced the entire genre. Some that you might not expect as much are bands like Underoath, The Killers, Set Your Goals, Comeback Kid, and Four Letter Lie.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
DS: “2020 has been so tough! We had a big show scheduled at the Majestic Theater and about a week beforehand the show was cancelled due to Covid19. We had some festival shows this summer that were cancelled, and we were planning on releasing an EP this spring and using the summer and fall to promote the release.
“Since the future of live shows is still in question, we’ve been spending more time writing and recording. The EP keeps getting longer, so who knows, if we’re still quarantined and can’t play live for a while, it may turn into a full length. We’ve been working with Nick Diener (The Swellers) of Oneder Studios on some writing, production, and he’s mixing our songs. It’s been a lot of fun!
As of now, we released $100 Bills as a single off of the forthcoming album, we’ve got 6 songs completely done, and a few more in the works. If we’re not able to play shows soon, we’ll probably release another single or two prior to releasing the album itself. The album is going to be called Still Stoked and it’s pretty fitting for this time. The art is a zombie apocalypse where the world is in shambles, we’re (the band) zombies, but instead of falling victim to the surrounding apocalypse, we’re “still stoked” or happy go lucky. Hopefully the album gives people that same positive vibe in a time where the rest of the world can be so negative and heavy.”