Before the band's Winnipeg show, I got to sit down with Face to Face front man Trever Keith. Guitarist Chad Yaro also made some brief appearances throughout our interview.Thanks to the users who submitted some of the questions:
This will be the first Face to Face record since 2002. How would you say it varies from your previous records?
Trever: Well... thatís a good question. Chad?
Chad: I think that itís closer to the first couple of records than anything. I donít know if itís changed that much, we just went back to that sort of thing.
Trever: Definitely itís a more raw punk rock record. In a lot of ways, thereís a simplicity to it that allows people to get a bit of instant gratification. You donít have to listen to it 10 times to finally understand it. But then again, after you have listened multiple times there are layers to the record. There is a complexity there too. But itís much more similar to our earlier records.
What are your thoughts on Donít Turn Away after all these years?
Trever: I still like it a lot. Every one of our records is one of our babies, one of our children and Iíll look at them in a different way, but they still mean something special in their own way. Weíre still playing songs from Donít Turn Away and we will be tonight and for the rest of the tour. Itís held up over time and itís a record that we still enjoy.
Do you think Ignorance is Bliss is better received now? Do you plan to play any of those songs live?
Trever: No, weíre not playing songs from it. And yes, it is better received than when we first made it. That is one of those records that has taken not only several plays, but just the test of time for people to peel away the layers and get into what we really were trying to communicate with that album. I think itís much more appreciated now than it was when we first put it out. It was really misunderstood. But ultimately, playing your live show and recording your album is two really different things. Now that we have a catalogue where Ignorance is Bliss is sitting more in the middle, instead of being our latest record, it just feels a little bit better to skip over those tracks and leave them out of the live show. Thereís really a different mood to that album and itís different enough that when you are making a playlist for a live show, that the mood is just too much of a contrast for the rest of the set. We really havenít figured out a way to make those songs work. But that said, I donít think we play songs from every record anyway. I donít think we have a song from Reactionary in the set right now either. I donít believe, doesnít mean it wonít pop up at some point.
Moving back, what was your biggest challenge recording Laugh Now, Laugh Later?
Trever: Well, we try and do something a little different with each record. Just to change our circumstances or situation. Just make some boundaries or constraints that allow us to form the record into something unique and give it some sound. We didnít work with Chad Blinman who we had worked with for the past 3 or 4 albums, so this is the first time we hadnít worked with him. We recorded with someone new, Joby Ford has a cool little studio in LA. And it was really a punk rock record, the studio was kind of grungy, he had great gear in there, but itís not a fancy, high dollar studio. Itís more of a project studio, itís gritty and cool. I think that gave the record a good vibe as well. Actually, the biggest challenge was probably getting the record mixed. It took us little while to find the proper mixer for the album, dealing with peopleís schedules and availability. Weíre really stoked on how it came out.
This is also your 20th anniversary and other veteran bands seem to say they never thought theyíd be able to play for so long. Do you agree with that? Why do you think punk rock has had the lasting power it appears to have?
Trever: I really didnít give it a second thought, but I wouldnít have imagined it if you told me 20 years ago that Iíd be in my 40ís and weíd still be out touring as Face to Face. I donít know, I think itís the fans that keep punk rock alive. As long as thereís music that is relevant to people, even if itís nostalgic, and they have an opportunity to experience some of those memories again or just see something positive about some form of entertainment that inspires or motivates them. The ability to continue to do that is pretty cool. Things donít last forever and once you get a little older you get nostalgic for the music of your past. And if you have the ability to relive that again, people are really excited and open to it so I think weíre seeing that happen with us and other bands that have been around as long as us. Another thing too is new music doesnít really, thereís not a lot of new music being created now that has the same spirit or truth or authenticity as the 90ís punk rock that us and so many bands came out of. At the time, the word sell-out was flying around like nobodyís business, but the truth is that kind of music still sounds a heck of a lot more authentic than the popular mainstream music thatís out today.
Do you follow the newer bands? They're not really new, but I know youíre doing a split with Rise Against, who are a little younger than you guys.
Trever: Barely. But yeah, of course, Rise Against is one of the good ones. I wouldnít really consider them a young band anymore, but yeah. We donít really follow new bands. Do we care?
Chad: Honestly, not at all.
Trever: Yeah, I have to make an effort to go find new, young bands. Every now and then Iíll find a band I really like, but theyíre few and far between. It might have something to do with being older and slightly jaded. I never seem to be at the beginning of any cool new bands. I always find myself buying records from bands that have been around forever and discovering music I should have already been a part of back in the day. So I guess Iím just kind of slow to that in general. When we do find new, cool bands we try to package them on our tours. The Darlings I think are a good example of a band like that. Blitzkid too. So we donít completely ignore it, but Iím not actively searching the way I might have a couple of decades ago.
Last question. Whatís your favourite song on your new record and why?
Trever: I donít know, I keep on going back and forth between my favourites. ďShould Anything Go WrongĒ is probably one of my top favourites because weíve never really done a song like that before. And it just seems like a song we should have, it just fits so well with the band and itís different enough that I donít feel it retreads any old territory. And itís really, really fun to play. And itís almost immediately accepted by the crowd, which is great. As a matter of fact, last night, our record doesnít come out until May 17, but a few of our songs are streaming here and there. And we have that song on our Facebook page right now and last night was the first night the audience started singing the words back and it felt really good. Theyíre already getting the songs and participating.
Awesome. The show is sold out tonight I believe so it looks like youíve been getting a good response all the way around.
Trever: Yeah, the Canadian shows and the people up here have been so supportive, itís been great. All the shows have been sell-out shows, if not beforehand, usually the night of for sure. Itís a really great boost for us starting this tour off, weíre stoked. A little tired maybe, weíre trying to get our tour legs back because itís been awhile. We did the Warped Tour last summer, but you only have to play half an hour and you spend the rest of the day goofing around. This one is business. We got to play an hour and a half, weíve got to be on our game, so itís taken a slight toll. Usually this is the time of day we wind down a bit before going on at 10:30 or 11 for the show. So sorry if Iím being overly mellow with my tea in hand.