Cute is What We Aim For celebrates 10 years in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 at 5:10 PM
Cute is What We Aim For celebrates 10 years in Pittsburgh by Kimberly Firestine
Photo: Kimberly Firestine

PITTSBURGH — Ten years ago, Buffalo natives Cute Is What We Aim For released their debut album “Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch.” This fall, they celebrated that release with a six-week tour spanning the U.S., including a stop in Pittsburgh on Oct. 22.

As for what sticks out most from the last 10 years, guitarist Jeff Czum said the best part is how quickly it all came together for the band.

“The fact that we kind of ‘blew up’ on a whim, none of that was ever supposed to happen,” Czum said. “I remember me and Shaant (Hacikyan, lead vocals) just wanted to be an established local band in Buffalo and we put a few songs up on MySpace and Pure Volume and literally overnight it just like blew up.”

Czum credited the band’s overnight success to another band’s street team. “The street team leader from Hawthorne Heights reposted it on MySpace,” Czum said. “Literally overnight we got like 10,000 fans on MySpace and started to get attention from labels.”

Czum continues, “this is crazy that we’re actually here, able to play this album 10 years later from just writing songs in Shaant’s bedroom and my garage.”

Like many other bands, Czum said that there was never a backup plan in case the band didn’t work out. “Will Smith says ‘never have a ‘Plan B,’ because that sets yourself up for failure,’” he said.

One of the unique aspects about this tour is that there was no official opener. Instead, Cute decided that they were going to showcase local artists at each stop.

“When we were talking to Chris Ring (CEO and founder) at Fanbassador, we thought it’d be just better to have us go out and have local support,” Czum said. “We knew Sleep On It (one of the openers) through our friend Johnny Minardi, who pretty much got us signed to Fueled By Ramen, and he wanted a favor,” he said. “It’s funny, because they were actually surprised we didn’t ask them to pay (to be on the tour). A lot of bands these days expect bands to pay to open up for them or buy onto a tour and that’s just complete bullshit. That’s not the way this scene’s supposed to work. That’s never how it was supposed to work at all, and we’re not going to buy into that, and we just thought it’d be a great chance to have locals in each city show off their stuff, do their thing.”

For this tour, Czum finds the best part is still having an audience to play to.

“The fact that people are still coming out after 10’s crazy. We haven’t played shows in two years, Tom (Falcone, drummer) and I haven’t played shows since 2013, so the fact that we have almost the original line-up is awesome,” he said. Plus, we have Christian (Adams) out here, tearing it up on the bass and vocals. Adams joined the band for the tour after a run-in with Hacikyan at a pizza place.

“The next day he called me and asked me if I wanted to play with these guys. I was like ‘yeah, man, for sure,’” Adams said.
“It feels really good to have a solid crew and be able to play these songs and have people actually know what we’re playing 10 years later,” Czum said.

While “Same Old Blood Rush” is considered a formative album for those who grew up in the early 2000s alternative scene, both Czum and Falcone have different albums they consider to have played big parts in their lives.“‘Futures’ by Jimmy Eat World,'” Czum said. “Hands down. Perfect tone, perfect melodies, perfect harmonies, perfect everything.”

“I’m going to say ‘Take Off Your Pants and Jacket’ by Blink (182). Actually, maybe ‘Enema of the State.’ Any Blink record,” Falcone said.

As for the future of Cute, Czum says they’d like to go abroad with their anniversary tour.

“We’re trying to do the UK, [so] hopefully it works out, and we’re just kind of writing new music and you can expect a new record at some point,” he said. “I don’t want to say when because then people are going to get pissed off — ‘well you said this and that’s not happening’ — so, we’ll see.”

According to Czum, the future of Cute Is What We Aim For looks bright, despite the fact that other bands from the same era as them have been calling it quits recently.

“We haven’t been distracted by what other people are doing,” he said. “Why start now?” 

Kimberly Firestine is The Arts Editor for The Spectator and can be reached at

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