Bleeding Fractals

The Philadelphia-based band talks collaborating, future plans and more.

Bleeding Fractals | Abi Reimbold TTN
Bleeding Fractals | Abi Reimbold TTN

Lifetime, Grown Ups, Animal Collective, The Beach Boys and the Beatles.

Inspiration from all corners of the music spectrum is strung together into a West Philly-based project called the Bleeding Fractals.

“Everything is kind of Beatles-esque if it came after the ‘60s when you think about it,” front-man Joe Hoban said.

The punk emo band is composed of brothers Joe and Matt Hoban on guitar and bass, as well as Bryan Antell on guitar and bass, respectively, and Tom Anthony on drums.

The three-year-old band’s last record, “The Dim Orange Lights,” debuted in 2012, leaving many fans awaiting its next release.

THE TEMPLE NEWS: Can you describe the collaboration process for when you guys write songs?

JOE HOBAN: Usually one person just comes up with an idea or an old song, and then we’ll just flush it out. We don’t usually start a song until someone has a complete idea, and then we just fill everything in around it.

BRYAN ANTELL: [Anthony] usually writes every part for our songs.

TOM ANTHONY: I don’t write the drum parts. We all usually write. It works out that we all usually write songs and think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s going to be a Bleeding Fractals song.’

TTN: What struggles you have faced as a band?

BA: Being in too many other bands.

MATT HOBAN: That’s probably our biggest problem.

JH: We were actually just talking the other day about trying to play a show on New Year’s Eve, but then Matt told us he was going to be on tour, and I’m actually going to be playing a festival with my other band. We’re all in other bands or other projects.

TM: Most of them are with each other, though. We have another band that is me, Joe and [Antell] and some other kid playing the drums. So we’re all able to switch between instruments. I’m actually trying to get Matt to join that band, so it will be the Bleeding Fractals plus some other kid.

TTN: How about the name, the Bleeding Fractals – where did that come from?

JH: Fireworks. In 2010 on the Fourth of July, our friend was just looking at the fireworks and rambling. He started talking about how it looked like the sky was bleeding fractals and we all laughed about it. ‘Haha, that would be a funny name for the new band,’ and then we couldn’t think of anything better, so we stuck with it.

TTN: Tell us a little bit about your favorite show experience.

JH: We played at Penn State about two years ago. It was supposed to be a part of a tour, but the whole thing fell apart so we just played one show. It was at this place called House of Swords, which is a co-op kind of living situation. The gist that I got from it was that it was the one place in State College where the weirdoes, all the punks and hippies and all that stuff go. So we were playing there, and I guess when they have bands play, they always have a party theme that goes along with it. This theme was drag, so all of the guys there were dressed up in dresses.

BA: They went so hard. We knew about it too, but we just didn’t dress up. The other band we played with was pretty into it. Their bassist wore women’s underwear under his dress.

JH: And he kept doing a lot of kicks while he was playing, so you knew. But it was really fun. There were probably about 150 to 200 people there. None of them had heard of us before, but they still went crazy.

TM: I usually play with my head down, but at this show I looked up. You could see the entire crowd just swaying in one gigantic motion. It was really cool to play a floor of that many people.

TTN: Playing a basement show is a different kind of experience than playing an open venue. Can you describe that difference?

JH: I think it’s a lot more personal. There was one time we played a bar show at Millcreek Tavern, down southwest [Philly]. When we played, I guess we played first. My girlfriend at the time, our very good friend Theresa and our friend Brett, who was our roommate, sat in chairs in front of us. They were the only people there. There were people at the bar in the back, but that was pretty much it.

TM: It would be hard for us to fill a room at a venue at this point, and I think that’s just because our audience enjoys basement shows.

JH: I think we’ve committed ourselves to playing underground for eternity.

MH: I feel like our audience wants to drink and enjoy themselves at the show.

BA: And not all of them want to do that at a bar.

JH: I guess there was a time where I thought that you start playing basements for a while, then move onto bigger venues, but for us it’s just that we play basements all the time. People care more there anyway.

TM: Especially for music like ours, I don’t feel like we have a bar culture. A lot of the places around here that a band like us can book are places like North Star Bar. And that’s a place where not a lot of people want to hear loud music. They don’t like feelings and stuff, and that’s fine. That just means we shouldn’t play at those kinds of places.

JH: You either play basements or Union Transfer.

BA: We’ll settle for nothing else.

TTN: What are your plans for the future? Do you want to move the Bleeding Fractals to eventually play venues or stick to the basement scene?

BA: My plan is to mostly just not die.

JH: We’re going to record this record, and hopefully really do something with it. If it got to the point where someone was like, ‘Hey, you should play venues,’ I wouldn’t say no. But I don’t really think we need to set that as a goal for ourselves because it’s never been what we do, so playing basements is still a really good show. You can still play to hundreds of people.

MH: I think I prefer to play not on a stage anyway. When you play on the stage, everyone’s eyes are on you, so it’s a lot different.

JH: In a basement, everyone is the same height as you and they’re in your face.

BA: And I can just hide in the corner.

TM: The downfall is being the tall kid, and everyone gets mad at you for standing in the front.

TTN: Is it more about the music or the audience?

TM: Music. Especially right now it is, because we’re finishing up a new batch of songs. So definitely right now, the answer to that is music. But once the songs are there and we can put our stuff out and play a whole ton of shows, then it will be more about the audience. As of right now though, we’re focusing on the music until we’re done with this stuff.

JH: We give our music out to the people and hope they like it. One of my favorite things about this band is that we’ve never had a conversation where someone asked, ‘What’s the market we’re going for?’ or ‘What are the people going to like?’ We just play whatever we want and if people like it, that’s cool.

Brianna Spause can be reached at

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