Technically, Chris Conley has only been in one band in his life—and what a band it is! In their 20-plus years as a band, Saves The Day has toured the world many times over, released nine studio albums, and made some deeply influential music that has helped define a genre. Before he was the lead singer, founding member, and bandleader of the band the world knows as Saves The Day, Conley was a teenager in Princeton, New Jersey who set aside his classical training in cello in favor of a guitar. While in middle school, Conley started a band known as Indifference, which was later called Sefler and, eventually Saves The Day.

Earlier this month, when Saves The Day was in Milwaukee as part of a tour with Joyce Manor, Conley took some time before the show to meet My First Band host Tyler Maas in the Turner Hall Ballroom balcony and revisit his long-running project’s interesting origin. There, the singer talked about playing with future emo and hardcore heavyweights in New Jersey’s then-unproven DIY scene, getting signed when he was still in high school, recording Through Being Cool over a 13-day span over his winter break in college, and being faced with the choice to either continue his education or seriously pursue music. Over the course of the conversation, Conley explains the importance Bane had on his band’s success and Maas makes exactly no effort to hide how much he loves Saves The Day.

My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing and is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Saves The Day (“1997” and “Suzuki”).