When did you guys first get noticed by Fiddler Records?
We got noticed by Fiddler Records through this chain of events that just kind of fell into place. We started off when we released our demo/EP as something to sell at shows, and the girl who was kind enough to put it out was trying to start a record label which never got off the ground. She gave it to her friends in the band Midtown, whose guitar tech at the time and tour manager was Jay Parkinson. When they would play it in their van Jay was like "Who's is this band? Are they signed? What’s the deal?" Basically our mutual friends kind of connected us with Midtown and Jay Parkinson. We played a show with Midtown and it kind of went from there. We built a relationship after that night. It worked for what we wanted to do, which was to have a project and we really wanted to take a band from ground zero, which was pretty much where we were. We had done some local shows to get us going and that's pretty much what happened.
Was Darren the first choice to replace Mike on bass?
Darren was in another band at the time and he kind of filled in. We didn't really know what we wanted out of a bass player at the time. Mike was compromising too much showmanship for actually playing bass parts while we were doing a lot bigger tours and the rooms were getting bigger. It was becoming more apparent that our live shows were lacking a lot of flow because the bass player wasn't playing bass half the time. We had some talks with him and all that stuff and he just wasn't getting it. When we asked Mike to leave and have someone fill in and go to Europe with us, we kind of knew that wasn't the right feel, we just kind of had to feel it out and we talked to Darren who was a friend of ours. We needed a bass player in a pinch and he was a really good guitar player and could pick up all the parts quickly. This was all from him learning the songs over the course of 4 or 5 practices. He kept trying to be a bass player when he wasn't a bass player, but he just kind of had a knack for it. Once he left after that tour we were like "okay." We were all comfortable playing with Darren and we held that as a standard. We didn't want just anybody because anybody can learn the guitar parts on bass and play those notes. We needed somebody who felt like a bass player and someone who can connect with Mike on drums and just kind of have the same vibe. We knew that Darren was the standard for us. We asked him to do another tour with us and he felt really comfortable with us. We took him on The Used tour and we kind of let him know that if he wanted it, the position was available and that we were using him as the standard for what we would accept as a bass player. It would just be amazing because we were already good friends with him there would be no comfort issues or anything like that, or getting to know you kind of issues. He had done a tour with us and we got along really well. Everything just fell into place and we got really lucky with him.
What was it like for you guys to be part of the Tony Hawk soundtrack?
It was awesome. That's one of the things that really sticks out in that game. In the earlier games the songs would always get stuck in your head. I don't even truthfully play the game that much these days, don't play video games that much at all these days. That was something that stuck out to me about the game is the soundtrack was really good. It wasn't like a lot of games where you want to mute while playing and listen to your stereo. It was cool just to be a part of that and just to be on a video game at all is something we never thought we'd do as a band. It's an honor especially a game the magnitude of Tony Hawk that tries to grow a little at a time. They try to keep that genre of video game thrashing. It's just cool to be a part of that and to have anything to do with that sport.
A while ago in Alternative Press you said Found in the Flood was based on a general concept you come up with. Was Pass the Flask also based on a similar central idea?
Found in the Flood was kind of just based on the mood we wanted to create when you heard the record, which is impossible to do essentially, but it created the mood for us and hopefully other people will get it. With Pass the Flask it was an entirely different writing process because there wasn't an allotted amount of time for us to sit down and write a fluent record. It was like we were writing songs to deal with and play when we were starting out. The songs we wrote to play live just kind of became Pass the Flask and we put it all together. It wasn't a thought-out project, where with Found in the Flood we were trying to write a complete record. We had a month to write 8 songs and we wanted to the best we could with the short amount of time. To make a long story short, Pass the Flask wasn't really based on one unifying idea or a concept or anything like that. It was just 10 songs put together by kids who didn't really know what they were doing at the time and got lucky.
What are your touring plans for this year?
For sure we'll be touring. There are no concrete ideas - we're talking about a few different tours and if any of them go through it'll be awesome. It's just right now we're working on having the record out, then kind of tour after that. Right now we're just concentrating on the record. We'll definitely be touring as soon as the record’s done, we'll be right back on the road. Probably starting in April, I know we're doing Bamboozle and probably some summer festival or another headlining tour for the record. When the record comes out we'll definitely be on the road.
Do you feel the progression from Found in the Flood to the new album was as easy as the progression from Pass the Flask to Found in the Flood?
Not really. It's hard to say because it's never a conscious effort. It's just who you are at the time and I think that's the most important thing about writing a record is representing what you want, who you are and what you're going through at the time. You can’t be worrying about is it going to be leaps and bounds different from the last record, or if it is going to be a huge change, or if it is going to be more of the same. You kind of have to strip it down to 5 people sitting in a practice space writing music together and what comes out is what comes out. So yeah, it's not a conscious effort, it's just hopefully its better and we're growing. It's such a weird thing to kind of put it on the same sort of scale of progression and growth and stuff. You're just in the middle of it. You usually don't recognize growth or the progression itself until you sat on the record after its out and you know what you've done. You kind of look at it a few months later, once you start the next writing process to say like "Okay, what would I do differently?" and all of that stuff. Then it just gets all clouded and basically you just have to sit down and write what comes out of you and just kind of embrace it at the time and do the best you can.
Was Vagrant Records your first choice of labels to sign with?
There was a couple of labels we were talking to, but Vagrant was on board right away and they were ready to go for it, so things just kind of spiraled as soon as we left Fiddler for Vagrant Records. Our booking agent books a lot of bands that are on Vagrant and he had a pretty close relationship with Rich from Vagrant. He let Rich know right after we left Fiddler that we were available. Rich just jumped on it and really worked his magic and persuaded us.
How far are you into the writing process for the new album?
Musically about 10 songs. Vocally about 6 and a half, which is good for us. We've been taking our time writing. With the last record we only had a month to write it, but we've been given 5 months to write this record, so we've been taking our time on the songs and kind of cleaning them up as we go along - we're sort of doing it all at the end. It's been a slower process this time but we're getting there. We usually come up with a song every couple of weeks or we finish a song every couple of weeks, and we keep the process going. We've been really picky this time.
Will Pass the Flask ever be re-released?
Pass the Flask is being re-released with 11 extra songs or something ridiculous like that, and some new artwork. When we left Fiddler, the label started to kind of fold and our record wasn't in stores. Basically we just want to get back out there and make it available for people and also kind of show people where we were before we did Pass the Flask with older stuff. It should be out - the last date I remember was March, I believe, is when the re-release comes out.
When will you be entering the studio?
At the beginning of March we start recording our new record. So about 5 weeks left of writing then we drive up to Baltimore to record.
Is there a tentative release date for it
There isn't a release date. Those things take time - it just depends on how quickly things get put together, how fast we'll get the artwork, how much time the label needs to promote the record and all that stuff. I think it will come out around late summer or early fall, probably around the last time the last record came out which was like August 23rd or something like that. So around there - August or July hopefully.
What made you guys decide to go with Brian McTernan to produce this album? Was it some of his previous work that you really liked, and if so what albums of his influenced your decision?
McTernan is a producer we love and respected and hes done a lot of great records that we all agree on. Of course, those Thrice records are great and it's also a matter of his reputation from other bands that we know that have recorded with him have been nothing but "you guys will have a great time" and "you'll connect with him" and "you'll be able to make a good record together" - that's basically what a bunch of other bands said. We trust their opinions and trust their experience with Brian. That was a big factor in wanting to record with him too. It's just what they all have gone through with him and what they've had to say about him and his work ethic. All of that was really attractive to us. As far as producers go our first choice was actually Terry Day and that was going to happen but it ended up falling through due to schedule conflicts. Brian was just our next choice right away. That’s what we wanted and our manager got a hold of him and locked it down. It worked out and we're definitely excited. I think he did a really good job on the new FATA record, and I think he did a great job on Senses Fail. I think his newer releases are his better records and that's another thing that weighed on our decision was the fact that he’s someone that progresses as a producer. It’s very noticeable. You hear it from release to release. You can listen to a record like The Illusion of Safety by Thrice and at the time it was fresh and it sounded good. He gets a little bit better with each time you kind of find him with the way he does records. The Circa Survive sounds spacey and progressive, that's another album that really influenced us. I think its going to be a good record.
Whats a normal day like for you in the studio?
Well, I don't have any experience recording with McTernan of course, but In the past it's been different every time. We did our EP/demo with Bob Rock up in Phoenix. So that was just on a budget where we would drive up and stay with a friend who lived in Phoenix for 2-3 days to try and get the record done all at once. We had to be mixing and everything to get it done, and we recorded with Bob twice. That was just us not knowing what we're doing, not knowing if we're playing the parts perfectly, or anything like that. We weren’t really worrying about anything else but trying to get out 4-5 songs as fast as we can. With Pass the Flask we lived in Newport Beach at a hotel and we were about 15 minutes away from Beau’s (who did the record) about 15 minutes away from his house where we recorded. We would go in early in the morning at like ten-ish I guess…it was early to me. We'd work till like 11 or 12 at night and just get as much done as we can. With Found in the Flood, it was an entirely different experience where we lived in our own house out there and we'd wake up and the studio time was really limited. We had from like 11 until 10 pm or something like that. It wasn't a long amount of time to record. Everything kind of felt rushed. That whole recording/writing process was constantly starting and stopping - we got behind, and I think to this day it suffered because of it. With this, the experience is going to be different because Brian has a guest house we can live in at the studio. You’re sleeping at the studio - it’s the kind of thing where Fran from FATA was telling me that while he was doing his vocal tracks that Brian would leave the studio open overnight and Fran would be able to record his vocals at his own time. They would go through it in the morning and kind of weed through what they did and didn't like. That's going to be really comfortable. We're the kind of guys that appreciate our time and space when we need to take stuff apart and put it back together over and over. If we have that kind of time and leisure to do what we need to do I think its going to be the most comfortable recording process for us. I'm very optimistic about all of it.
i find that Pass the Flask pulled me in right away. But with Found in the flood, it took sometime to grow on me.
Putting that aside....i luv both of those albums an i'm super exited about this new record!