On November 12th Less Than Jake will release a brand new record through Fat Wreck Chords and we caught up with drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello to learn a little bit more about it:
See the Light will be Less Than Jake’s first full-length record in 5 years. What inspired you to go for it instead of just releasing another EP?
I think with the EPs, they’re just quick bursts of creative energy and there’s no real thematic element, at least for us. When we were doing the EPs we were just kind of writing songs and we were just starting to record everything at Roger’s [LTJ bassist] studio. It was kind of an experiment to record everything ourselves and also we were writing songs just to get us back into the groove of making music in general. Eventually it was just time and it was something we discussed amongst ourselves. We were literally sitting at a round table with acoustic guitars when we were writing and we’d go ‘No, maybe not, maybe we could do that differently’ and slowly over a few months everything combined into this end product that becomes the record we’re going to release soon. This is the most natural, free flowing record we’ve done in awhile and we’re really excited to share it with people.
What would you say is the main thematic element on this record?
The thematic on it lyrically speaking anyway, it’s all about the light at the end of the tunnel and it's a pretty upbeat record. Tracks like “Al’s War” on Hello Rockview, there’s those dark cloud lyrics, but there’s also that happy, pumping, anthemic ska punk music or whatever you want to call it. We’ve always had those end of the tunnel songs and we wanted to do an album that sort of combined all those ideas together into something new.
It seems like this is being labelled as a back to the basics record.
We’re not referring to it like that.
I guess it’s mostly Fat Wreck Chords then.
Yeah, Less Than Jake has never really had the policy of just looking backwards, we’ve always been focused on what’s happening at the moment. Albums are always snapshots of what’s going on right now or what’s happened a little bit after. We’re not going to make Pezcore pt. 3 because that’s silly and regressive. It is upbeat and energetic, which I think some people are misunderstanding as back to the basics.
So you don’t really agree with that?
Well, I can see why people say it because it definitely is the most naturally upbeat record we’ve done in a really long time. I can see why people would think that’s what we’re trying to do, but we’re not trying to do that, we’re just trying to be Less Than Jake and write songs that we are passionate about.
After one listen it’s pretty obvious that there’s tons of horns on this record.
Yeah, it just kind of relates back to what I was saying about each album being a snapshot. Some of the songs that we’ve had, like on records like In With the Out Crowd, they are more rock based. That was kind of a divorce record as well, there was a lot of personal things happening at least in my life at that time. This time though we’re at a different point and yeah, there are a lot more horns on this release.
What are some of your stand-out tracks?
I would say “Give Me Something to Believe In, Inc.” and “Good Enough.” I also really like “American Idle.”
How did “American Idle” come together?
Just from our headspace in the last few years, that song’s kind of about looking around and seeing what you don’t have instead of what you have. As you get older you lose sight of what you were planning on when you were younger, you lose touch with friends and get lost inside your own head, which is what the song’s about and it’s autobiographical amongst the band in general. I try not to make anything too personal, because Chris [LTJ vocalist/guitarist] and Roger have to sing as well.
Was there any specific reason why you guys decided to not self-release this record?
As always we just went with what went good and what felt natural. We were playing some festivals in Europe with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes so we gave some stuff to Fat Mike and when he listened to it he said ‘Dude, I think this is some of the strongest material you’ve written, this is fucking awesome’ so we started writing the new record and now we’re going to release it through Fat. The thing about Paper + Plastick is it’s my thing and I do what I want with it. The thing with Less Than Jake is it’s five distinct personalities in the band and everyone has their say. I can’t really do what I do with Paper +Plastick and apply it to the band, they’re both on opposite sides on the wall. Sometimes they might intermingle a bit, but it makes much more sense to do it that way and keep it separate.
The Fat Tour will also be kicking off soon.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, we haven’t done a full U.S. tour in years. Since we had kids we’ve done a few weeks here or there so I’m really excited about heading out for longer. We’ve known Anti-Flag for a long time, we’ve done some shows with Masked Intruder and I haven’t met the Get Dead guys yet, but it’s really exciting to do such a huge tour.
For the United States this will mostly be it, at least for a certain period of time. Europe and Canada will have full tours we’ll announce down the road and it’s really fucking awesome. We want to make it to Australia sometime too.
I think I’m one of the only people on AbsolutePunk who cares, but are you coming to Winnipeg?
Yes, we’ll be coming next year for sure, it will be a full Canadian tour east to west. January and February is with Reel Big Fish in the U.K., we have some summer plans, we want to reschedule South America, and we’re talking about the fall of next year for Canada and Europe.
Who’s going to be playing with you?
I know, but I can’t say yet. We won’t be headlining, there’s someone above us headlining, but it’s a good one. I wish we could tour Canada more, some cities like Toronto and Montreal are easier to get to, but I wish we could play the whole country more. The shows are always great and energetic. I think that’s the difference between Europe, Canada and even the U.S. The United States is a little bit more, I don’t know if I want to say skeptical, but the punk shows are definitely less intense. Canada really loves punk shows, it’s always a great time and we’re stoked to finally come back.