I was really excited to see The Story So Far hit main stage this year on Warped Tour, the band has been working incredibly hard over the years. I got the opportunity to sit down and catch up with bassist Kelen Capener on a rainy afternoon to talk about the band's experience on the tour and what we can expect in the future.
How's it feel to be on the main stage here at Warped Tour?
It's cool, we see it as a gesture from Kevin. He likes what we're doing, and it's a great way to reach a new audience. We're appreciative that he would give us that chance.
What was it like to play in San Jose in front of your home town?
That was great, we closed out the stage. We always get a little nervous closing, you don't know how many kids you're going to retain, because it's hot or people have jobs in the morning. There was a bunch of people that stayed, it was one of the top 3 memorable shows I've ever played - our family and friends were there, it was our hometown. We get a good reception in our home town, but this was just unreal. I'm pretty speechless.
What bands have you been enjoyed seeing on the tour?
Saves The Day, Terror, Every Time I Die, Less Than Jake, Stray From The Path, Bad Rabbits...I need to get around to seeing more bands, but those are the bands that I've seen multiple times. I probably see Saves The Day any day that I can...Four Year Strong too, they're cool to watch.
What about a new band that you hadn't heard of before?
Well, I had heard of Bad Rabbits before, but everyone's like "Check em' out, check em' out, check em' out" and I finally did, glad I finally did.
What is your favorite song to play on this tour?
At this point, we've been playing these songs for so long, I'm not like "Oh, this song's next". I think at this point, I think it's about putting together a good set. We've been playing "Swords And Pens" which has been fun, because we haven't done it in a long time. Otherwise, I'm at a point where I'm looking forward to writing new songs - not that I'm tired or bored of the songs we're playing, but I've done it so many times where that favoritism is just kind of gone, you know what I mean?
If you had time to add one more song to the set, which one would it be?
I'm pretty happy with what we're playing, but I'd say "The Glass" but we play it now - sometimes we shuffle it out with "Stifled". Definitely when we don't play The Glass, I'm like "I wish we played 'The Glass'."
Brand new acoustic EP, Songs Of came out not too long ago. What inspired the idea to even do it?
Boredom. We're like "We have two months off. We can sit around and do nothing, or there's a studio 10 minutes from our house that our friends work at, let's drive 10 minutes and we can create something that people can enjoy. It'll be quick, painless, and relatively easy." It doesn't cost us anything to be there for two days, you know what I mean? Amidst everything else that we were doing, we figured it was a good investment of our time and figured that kids would enjoy it too. It's better than not doing anything for two months.
Why the Bob Marley cover in particular?
We were just sitting there - I can vividly remember us sitting on the couch, only because it was a couple months ago, tossing around a couple ideas "We could do a song by this artist or that artist..." That song "Waiting In Vain" Kevin started playing the bit, and we were thought it was really good, just kind of a floating song as part of what we've put together, and we just did it and there wasn't a big discussion about it.
There wasn't any other songs you guys were considering?
There was maybe a couple songs, probably other Bob Marley songs honestly - we always wanted to play one of his songs, and this was a good way to stay semi-true to the original song. We don't want to take a cover and bastardize it...
Don't want to "Punk Goes..." it?
Exactly, we're not going to take something and flip it. I just think if we're doing covers and those sort of things, if you're going to overhaul a song, it needs to be tasteful. We weren't looking to overhaul anything - doing a cover should just be putting your own flavor on a song, and not trying to rewrite or restructure another artist's work. It's kind of like an homage, as opposed to making something our own.
Well, that A Loss For Words cover worked out really well, and you turned "Wrightsville Beach" into a hardcore song...
The only reason we did that was because they're close friends of ours, and it was the easiest way for us to do it with the amount time we had. And we just had fun, right? Again, it was something in that moment where we're like "Let's just do it this way" and we were laughing to ourselves. I don't want to say it was a joke, but it was also fun for us to write something that was that crushing and heavy, that had those parts.
Yeah, it was fun. I liked the idea for the EP, it was a good time.
You just have to know within an opportunity what you can and can't get away with, and what is and what isn't appropriate. A Loss For Words are good friends of ours and would get a kick out of it, but with Bob Marley, we would never take a song of his and turn it into anything remotely punk or hardcore style.
What's your take on the Kerrang! Green Day American Idiot cover album?
I'd be lying if I said it wasn't garbage. I'll be honest, I haven't heard the whole thing. I'm not saying every cover on that album is bad, but it's like artists took songs off that album and make it something that it wasn't supposed to be. I'm not like "Oh, people shouldn't do that", but I'm not going to listen to it and be like "Oh, this is better than Green Day's version of this", you know what I mean? I'm not sure what they were trying to do with that, because you used to have punk bands keeping within the punk style, playing punk music, and they're taking something and trying to make it something else and market it to someone entirely different in a way that I guess it's self-serving to the artist, as not like "Hey, here's something that's paying homage to a band like Green Day".
So I mean, like I said I'm not gonna look at bands that did that and go "Oh, you shouldn't have done that" or "This is trash". When I put on music and I think of the quality of what I'm listening to, I'm not going to put that on and think "Oh, this is a really commendable thing, this is great music..." I'll just put on Green Day.
It's been about 15 months since What You Don't See came out and then obviously it leaked really early. What are you guys doing in terms of writing a new album? Are you guys coming home in the fall and writing a new album?
Just taking time off, like what we did What You Don't See. Trying to write an album and tour is just taxing. We'd like to take the time to do it, so after Warped Tour we're going to do what we have booked through the end of this year and a little bit into next, and we're going to take all that off time to write a new record. We've already started working on it, we're already demoing songs, but it's a long process and these things don't come quick. We haven't booked studio time next month or in two months, towards the beginning of next year that we'll start getting into the studio and have the songs done.
So maybe around a year from now it'll be out?
It'll hopefully come out before a year from today. It's going to be within the year's time frame that everything will be written, recorded, and released.
Who are you looking forward to working with on this next album? Sam?
I mean, it's the same cast of people without a producer. We're going back into a familiar environment. I dunno, if something comes up, like someone new gets added it would be that individual.
Like Chad Gilbert for instance...
If we decided to have a producer, that would be something we'd sit down and talk about. At this point we probably won't have a producer on the album - and if that's the case, it'll be just Sam [Pura] and us in the studio.
Can't really complain about that, you know?
For someone just getting into your band, what's the most important thing people know about The Story So Far?
That we're just a band. It's just so weird the way that music is digested today - people I guess miss the idea of an album and songs being something, as opposed to a front man. I'm not saying with respect to us, I go to Warped Tour and I see bands where there's like celebrity...
With signings and stuff like that...
No, it's not that sort of thing. It's just that there's kids that come because they know who one individual person is who fronts a band, and it's more just to see or meet or be close to that person and to really appreciate the songs they're producing. Last year you have your Kellin Quinn's and Matty Mullins's, and this year you have your Ronnie Radke's and whoever else. There's a whole band, there's music, there's other things beyond the characters. With our band we just don't want characters, we just want people to really enjoy the music and see that we put a lot into writing it, and that is the most important thing coming from us to another individual who's receiving the music. We're not sex symbols, we're not proponents of our own self-worth, we're not trying to cast the shadow on anyone. We're just trying to have people have an album that they can put on while they're on their way to work or school or whatever, and just say "That's a cool record, and that made me feel better" and have it kinda amount to that. We just want to mean something through our music and not the characters.