Vans Warped Tour - Presented by Journeys
3OH!3, The Amity Affliction, As It Is, Assuming We Survive, August Burns Red, Broadside, Capstan, Chase Atlantic, Chelsea Grin, Crown The Empire, Dayseeker, Deez Nuts, Doll Skin, Don Broco, Every Time I Die, Farewell Winters, Four Year Strong, Grayscale, Ice Nine Kills, In Hearts Wake, The Interrupters, Issues, Knuckle Puck, Kublai Khan, Less Than Jake, Lighterburns, The Maine, Makeout, Mayday Parade, Motionless in White, Movements, Mychildren Mybride, Nekrogoblikon, Palaye Royale, Real Friends, Reel Big Fish, Sharptooth, Simple Plan, Sleep On It, State Champs, Story Untold, This Wild Life, Tonight Alive, Trash Boat, Twiztid, Unearth, Wage War, Waterparks, We the Kings, With Confidence
Sun, July 29, 2018
Doors: 11:00 am / Show: 11:00 am
Merriweather Post Pavilion
$39.00 - $55.00
This event is all ages
Please note- there is a 8 ticket limit for this show per person. No refunds or exchanges.
Attention: Parking at Merriweather for 2017 has Changed! All ticketholders NEED to pre-select parking (or decline parking) once tickets have been purchased. Once you’ve completed your ticket transaction, you’ll receive a confirmation email with link to select your FREE parking. Please do so in advance so you have a parking lot assignment and ticket when you arrive for the show.
Note to ridesharers, walkers, bussers, carpoolers and cyclists: If you have made other transportation arrangements, there is no need to select parking.
Click HERE to view parking options for this showhttps://www.impconcerts.com/event/1653701/
FREE PARENT TICKET IS BACK!
Over our 22 years on the road, the Vans Warped Tour has always tried to adapt and change with our fan base. We are now in the very unique position to be able to have fans as young as 13 and as old as 40-45 (shout out to the '95 vets!)
We have tried to strike the balance, but this year we admit, we tipped too far. So now we are re-working the Parent Program instead of eliminating it entirely.
1 ticket = 1 parent
(1) parent (age 28 and older) will be permitted to accompany a child (under the age of 16) with a PAID TICKET to the event for FREE. This is a
wristband; the tour reserves the right to deny entry.
To get the PARENT WRISTBAND the morning of the show, the PARENT must bring their photo ID, the child they are accompanying, and the PAID ticket to the yellow guest list tent by the main gates
NO EXCEPTIONS - if you do not have all 3 items listed above, we will not provide you with a wristband.
- No switching parents out halfway through the day
- No older siblings permitted to act as the accompanying adult
- If you have a non-parental appointed legal guardian, please bring any available documentation the day of the show and we will work with you!
ALREADY BOUGHT A TICKET? - If you are a parent that already bought a ticket and are unable to find another use for it (ie. your child's friend); please bring the paid ticket with you to the yellow guest list tent the morning of the show.
If you have specific questions or concerns, please email email@example.com
If we go back to the beginning, we can find Sean in his parents basement, clicking incessantly on his mouse for 'friend-requests' on 3OH!3's sparkling new MySpace page. Meanwhile, across town, Nat is working on earth-shattering beats, hunched over his computer, in what he charmingly referred to as his 'dungeon' apartment. There, in a pair of blown-out computer speakers, Nat brought to life what the world currently knows as 3OH!3. Those sounds and songs became the band's 2007 self-released album, which were handed off across the states until they fell through the mail slot at Photo Finish Records and into the hands of label president Matt Galle.
Blown away by Sean and Nat's visionary production and clever lyrics, Galle immediately flew the boys into scenic Beltsville, Maryland, to record with the brilliant producer Matt Squire. Feeling at home in the studio, Sean and Nat worked day and night, piecing together their 2008 success, Want. With the help of their furry little producer friend Benny Blanco, 3OH!3's first single, "Don't Trust Me," crawled slowly up the charts for 15 months to attain a No. 1 spot at pop radio, going double platinum and selling over 2.6 million tracks in the process.
3OH!3 hates to brag, but if they had to they would tell you that they were nominated for "Best New Artist" alongside Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, and Drake, at the 2009 Video Music Awards. Though they didn't bring home the moon man, Nat and Sean had just as much fun performing "Don't Trust Me" in Radio City's hallowed halls. Nat was actually happy 3OH!3 wasn't announced best new artist as he claims he would have peed his pants, having not been able to find a bathroom all night. "Drinks impair the ol' judgment," he says.
So what is it that has made people lose their mind over a heavy band that originated 6 years ago in a small town in Queensland, Australia? Well part of it is hard work, with the band being a mainstay of the touring circuit for their entire existence. They also understand small towns and make an effort to constantly tour places that many bands can't be bothered with.
But that's only part of the chemistry that made this band what it is today. The truth it's the stories and personalities of the members themselves that has set Amity apart from the pack and made them one of the most loved and respected acts in Australia.
Behind the cheeky song names and party atmosphere the guys carry around on tour, The Amity Affliction is a band with a message and a story. In a recent blog to fans Joel Birch explained a lot of the album – about the struggles of the past year in the lead up to it's release, and always delivering the positive message that no one is alone, and everything is fixable. The entire album is delivered in the same tone from the opening track "I Hate Hartley" and its gang chant of "I Won't Die Defeated" right down to the finale "Fuck the Yankees" – which Birch offers as a thank-‐you to his mother for all she's given him. The music and the message are both delivered with impact and experience – this is a band full of people who have fought for everything they have, and a band of people who are encouraging young people to do the same.
In a day and age where few heavy bands of any substance cross over to a greater audience, The Amity Affliction are using their voices to deliver a message as powerful as their music.
"I haven't found a way yet of wording how surreal and wonderful it feels, signing to one of my favorite record labels. Fearless and their artists have played a huge role in my life, inspiring me massively, giving me something to aspire to reach," states lead singer Patty Walters. "To be able to say something as immense as 'My band was the first UK band that ever signed to Fearless Records,' is mind-blowing to me."
Guitarist and vocalist Benjamin Biss adds, "One of the things I've always loved about Fearless is that they have a relatively small roster but I know every single one of those bands. Chances like this don't come around too often, especially for UK bands in a genre that is mainly dominated by American acts; so we want to help prove that the UK can hold their own in the scene."
Next week, the band will go into the studio with producer James Paul Wisner (Paramore, Dashboard Confessional) to record their Fearless debut, to release in 2015. The new album will follow their latest release This Mind Of Mine, which was funded completely through their loyal fanbase.
With the stage set for 2016, Assuming We Survive is poised to unleash a full length record that will take no prisoners as well as a March tour that will pave the way for their performances at both SXSW and the South By So What festival in Austin, Texas. On top of all of these big things happening for the band this year, there is still more they have yet to unveil such as playing the Journey's stage on all of Warped Tour 2016.
form; everything starts to take shape. The Constellations begin to bloom.
Just two years ago, Lancaster, PA's AUGUST BURNS RED were, to the naked eye, just another young band jockeying for position in the modern metal scene. Then came Messengers, the band's 2007 full-length release for Solid State Records, and a new frontrunner emerged. Without hype, devoid of any smoke and mirrors, the album debuted at #81 on the Billboard charts, going on to ever-so-quietly sell more than 80,000 copies. Fueled only by the honesty and dynamism of the music, fans multiplied exponentially, driving ABR's MySpace plays well past the 17 million mark and flocking to the band's 2008 headlining tour – which included sold-out venues across the country.
Meanwhile, AUGUST BURNS RED kept their heads down, conquering fans at Warped Tour, on the Take Action tour and at destinations from Dubai to Dallas, and increased their profile through placement of their beloved take on "Carol of the Bells" on the movie trailer for "The Spirit." The band also packed up their Phillies T-shirts and ever-present flip-flops and headed overseas for a tour of 12 countries throughout the UK and Europe. The star was shining bright. "It's extremely encouraging to see your band growing," says guitarist and primary songwriter JB Brubaker with characteristic modesty. "It helps keep you motivated and forces you to set the bar higher so that you can continue to grow and put out the best music you're capable of writing."
To that end – the band returned to the studio this past February to record its hotly anticipated follow-up with lauded producer Jason Suecof (SEVENDUST, ALL THAT REMAINS, TRIVIUM). Fans flocked to the band's in-studio Stickam site by the tens of thousands to observe the band recording the album in real time. The result was Constellations, the third full-length offering from AUGUST BURNS RED, set for release on July 14. A crushing metal tour de force, the album pushes ABR's trademark aural blitz into directions previously unexplored by the band. "We spread our creative wings a bit on Constellations," says JB. "But I can say for sure that this record will definitely be as unrelenting as our previous ones." Accenting the blistering guitar work and syncopated breakdowns that AUGUST BURNS RED fans have grown to love are dynamics previously unexplored by the band. Constellations features more diverse tempos and cohesive song compositions than on previous ABR records, as well as the band's maiden voyage to the land of guitar solos.
"We've managed to push ourselves as musicians, as lyricists and performers," says drummer Matt Greiner. "As a whole, I feel like we're expanding, reinterpreting and refining our sound." That kind of sonic wanderlust has pushed AUGUST BURNS RED since the members first united in 2003 while still in high school. Armed with fearless innovation, uncanny technical ability and an innate near-classical songwriting style, the band started turning heads immediately upon the release of its 2005 Solid State debut, Thrill Seeker. The band's 2007 sleeper hit, Messengers, minted ABR as one of the pacesetters of the next generation of metal bands. The band has already proven to be the type that gets kids to put down Guitar Hero and pick up an actual guitar – look no further than the number of bands on MySpace that list ABR as an influence. With Constellations, that swelling army of fans will make sure that there's a racket from day one. "I am probably as excited for Constellations to come out as our most diehard fans," Brubaker exclaims. "I'd like to think there is something for everyone on the new album."
Already one of the year's most anticipated metal albums, Constellations will make good on the promise of the past two years, and will serve as proof-positive that AUGUST BURNS RED's success is no mere solar flare-up. This supernova's here to stay.
Vocalist, Oliver Baxxter also made a special appearance on Alternative Press' Blog in 2015 under 'How To Look Pop-Punk: Style Essentials with Broadside's Ollie Baxxter.'
Oliver also has a clothing line called "Damaged Kids" that speaks up for anyone lost in their own regret, fear or anxiety… For the beaten, broken and bruised, for Damaged Kids. View clothing brand here.
Drummer, Andrew Dunton created custom coffee/tea mugs for the Alternative lifestyle named "Hard Luck Mugs." View Hard Luck Mugs here.
Armed with The Fallout, the band's recent full-length debut, Crown The Empire is bringing a high-energy, visually stimulating and thematically engaging side to post-hardcore, that's already created a massive buzz for the still-embryonic outfit. Set amid a charred post-apocalyptic landscape, listening to The Fallout is an unforgettable excursion into the imaginations of its makers.
"We wanted this music to constantly make you feel what we were feeling and what we were writing about, whether it's the softer or heavier songs," explains Andy Leo, "We were trying to make it the sound of what you should be feeling; if you were watching a movie, this would be the score."
Crown The Empire--which includes vocalists Andy Leo and David Escamilla, guitarists Brandon Hoover and Bennett Vogelman, drummer Brent Taddie and bassist Hayden Tree--formed in Dallas, Tex. in 2011, after Leo connected with Hoover and Tree, with the goal of starting a new project. Taddie and Vogelman--both discovered through videos of them playing covers on YouTube--joined later that year, and those early efforts led to the November 2011 EP Limitless. Then in March 2012 second vocalist Escamilla was added to the fold, solidifying the lineup as it currently exists, giving birth to the band's full-length debut, The Fallout, released November 2012. Over the past two years the band has toured both nationally and abroad, with slots on the recent Our Last Night run, the 2013 Take Action tour with The Used, select dates with Falling In Reverse, and a U.K. run with Pierce the Veil. Crown The Empire were also recently featured on the cover of Alternative Press' annual "Bands You Need To Know" issue.
Sequestered in Michigan with famed producer Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, We Came As Romans, Miss May I), the band spent August and September of 2012 laying down the intricate compositions that comprise The Fallout, recording well through the night on most evenings. A painstaking process by all accounts, Leo says he spent six weeks living in Sturgis' basement, subsisting on ramen noodles and microwave meals, but couldn't be happier with the results. Sturgis is known for both his sparkling sonic touch, as well as his knack for adding cinematic elements to the music, and both qualities help make The Fallout shine.
"Joey didn't change much song structure-wise; he mainly made it sound good," explains Leo. "We have a more defined approach of what we want an album to sound like, and Joey is the perfect producer for that. We wanted all this real sound, and he captured that."
"What would be left behind at the end of the world? Metal, gears...The bass booms on the record have explosions in them, and glass breaking, and gears turning over, sounding like a broken-down industrial park," says drummer Brent Taddie, regarding the album's end-of-world vibe. "There would be power grids, wires, steel left behind. All those explosions, the heavy parts, the aggressive vocals are breaking down the end of the world. The strings, the clean vocals are kind of the harmony coming through, but the guitar, the kick drum, the explosions--that's supposed to be the destruction...the end of the world."
The dark and cinematic soundscape that pervades The Fallout reflects the album's post-apocalyptic theme, which actually began as a metaphor for a failed relationship. Leo says the idea came about after a member had broken up with a girlfriend, later realizing the full impact of his decision. Using some poetic license, the split was transformed into a global doomsday-inducing event.
"Her friends kept saying, 'You ended her world,'" Leo remembers. "I was sitting around with a Brandon, telling him about it, and we decided, what if it did actually end the world with that breakup? From there, we started building this idea of the end of the world, and built a setting for it around this theme of being alone and faced against people. It all spawned out of a breakup, but it turned into this huge, massive world."
Perhaps no track on The Fallout conveys this central them more than "Memories Of A Broken Heart." Although one of the softer moments on the album, Leo says the lyrics are especially impactful in the record's overall context. "That song has the perfect syllogism for the end of the world and the breakup. It talks about both," says Leo. "I was outside and thought of the idea for the lyric 'I stand on the ash of all I've ever loved.' I was so stoked, because we'd already come up with the idea for the end of the world being a breakup. That line was about the ashes of a building, or the ashes of relationships."
To date the band has released two music videos to accompany the The Fallout's release: a two-part series for the tracks "Oh Catastrophe" and the title track. The visual story arc in the two videos conveys a tale of star-crossed lovers separated by differences in ideology, rather than being united by love.
"We came up with this idea of a weird Romeo and Juliet thing, with people not making the tough choices and arguing over things like religion, and all these things that at the end of the world wouldn't matter. Somebody's gonna be wrong," says Leo. "I was thinking of how stubborn someone could be to see the end of the world not ending the way their book said it would, and still trying to argue. In the video, there's this idea that love--this couple--could disband the army that was trying to keep them apart. They couldn't see the love that was in front of them."
With The Fallout still fresh, Crown The Empire have an extensive tour itinerary planned for the coming months, with a headlining run booked for spring and a slot on the Rise Records Tour (alongside labelmates Like Moths To Flames), then a full slate of dates on this summer's Vans Warped Tour. Leo says as the group continue to build momentum, they plan on making their live shows progressively more elaborate and cinematic, further bringing Crown The Empire's evocative brand of music to life.
"We're constantly talking about new backdrops, new cabinets, new gear...how we can sound better. Eventually we want to be talking about what kind of rigs can we build on stage, what kind of lighting can we bring, what sort of pyrotechnics. That's a huge part we love, that a lot of the bands have lost out on: the idea of a big festival for your eyes and not just your ears," says Leo. "I think the shows will take a whole new level in the future. They're always going to just get bigger."
Drums – Mike Karle
Guitar – Shawn Yates
Guitar – Gino Sgambelluri
Bass - Ramone Valerio
“Everything about this record was new,” Keith explains. “Normally I’m in a comfort zone when I write lyrics because I’m just holed up in my apartment but this time I was finding little corners of clubs in Europe with [side-project] the Damned Things trying to squeeze in a couple of hours of writing and I think that process really affected the way this album came together.”
Keith adds that although Every Time I Die’s party vibe has been well-documented in the past, Ex Lives saw the band approaching the album from a more serious perspective. “There’s no song like ‘We’rewolf’ on this album,” Keith explains. “I was pretty angry when we were writing these songs which isn’t a good spot for a human being but is good if you’re a guy singing in a band,” he continues with a laugh. “I was just really angry and disappointed with a lot of things in my life at the time and I think that definitely comes through on a lot of these songs; I was wondering if it was all karma because I was a horrible person in a past life and that’s where the album title came from.”
From the syncopated chaos of the opening salvo “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” to the progressive mosh anthem “A Wild, Shameless Plain” and relentless metal riffage of “The Low Road Has No Exits,” Ex Lives sees Every Time I Die further tempering their aggression while also implementing new instrumentation such as banjo (see the sinister intro of “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow”) and, yes, flute (see the end of “Indian Giver”) in order to recontextualize exactly what it means to be a heavy band, which is something that has endeared them to fans for thirteen years.
“I don’t think us doing anything different is a surprise to Every Time I Die fans because one of the main reasons why a lot of people have stuck by us for so long is because they know they can expect the unexpected with each release,” Keith explains, adding that if you listen close enough you’ll take note of plenty of sonic subtleties on Ex Lives. “There are a lot of little weird things that I think people will start noticing more as they listen to the album,” he elaborates. “I’d never added any keyboard or synthesizer elements to an Every Time I Die song before so it was a really cool opportunity to expand the sound on this disc.”
Similarly Ex Lives also sees Keith pushing his limits on songs like “I Suck (Blood),” which proves how versatile the band’s vocalist has become whether he’s cathartically screaming or crooning an upper register melody. “On albums like [2007's] The Big Dirty no one heard my vocals until the album was totally done but on this one everyone had their input on what I was doing vocally and they could give me suggestions to improve them,” Keith says, adding that this disc was more collaborative for the band. “I think I was also more energetic because I was nervous to sing in front of everyone.”
It’s impossible to deny that in an increasingly stagnant musical climate Every Time I Die are still pushing the limits of their own sound—and Ex Lives is aural evidence that after over a decade together they’re anything but complacent. “I had to prove myself 100 percent from the beginning like I did when we put out our first record to show the other guys in Every Time I Die as well as myself that I could do this and I couldn’t be happier with the end result,” Keith summarizes when asked to describe Ex Lives. “This feels like a new band in a way… it’s just its own thing and that feels really, really good.”
After a lineup change, sound change and some much needed personal time away from music F.Y.S has reemerged more driven and focused than ever.
The guys headed back into the studio with producer Machine (Enemy of the World/Explains It All) late this winter to start crafting new music that they're really proud of and that fans will be absolutely pumped on.
After a quick spring tour playing to mostly sell out crowds supporting Bayside, the band sets their sights on their FOURTH summer on the Vans Warped Tour.
You can be sure they'll bring their infectious energy back to the Warped stage playing crowd favorites like "Heroes Get Remember, Legends Never Die" and the summer sing a long "Wasting Time".
No matter what shifts or changes in the Four Year Strong universe you can expect one constant. F.Y.S will continue to RISE, OR DIE TRYING...
Derek Parker- Bass
Andrew Kyne- Guitar
Collin Walsh- Vocals
Dallas Molster- Guitar/Vocals
Nick Veno- Drums
The drive and dedication of Ice Nine Kills has made a lasting impression on fans the world over, which creates an electric energy at their live shows. "It's always an amazing feeling to show up in a place you have never played before like Dallas, TX or Orlando, FL and have kids scream your lyrics back to you," says vocalist Spencer Charnas. "We were absolutely blown away by the reaction we had from the kids at Vans Warped Tour and The All Stars Tour this past summer."
The Predator Becomes The Prey follows studio albums Last Chance to Make Amends (2006) and Safe Is Just a Shadow (2010).
A closely guarded secret, In Hearts Wake's third album Skydancer has been lying dormant for well over a year. Recorded alongside Earthwalker – In Hearts Wake's award-winning ARIA Top Five sophomore album – in Michigan with Josh Schroeder (The Color Morale, King 810) in late 2013, the album is both a stunningly assured heavy record in its own right as well as a companion to its predecessor. What frontman Jake Taylor, guitarists Ben Nairne and Eaven Dall, bassist Kyle Erich and drummer Caleb Burton have unveiled is nothing short of the most ambitious and heartfelt album of 2015.
"The tracks on Earthwalker were more focused, personal, emotional and subjective," says Taylor, "whereas the topics on Skydancer were written more from an eagle eye's point of view on the broader issues of the world. It's important to understand that both are very relative."
The existence of Skydancer makes perfect sense when placed next to 2014's Earthwalker – after all, with the earlier album focusing on the feminine beauty and unpredictable chaos of Mother Nature, the sometimes-dark masculine power of Father Sky brings everything into sharp contrast. The concept is drawn from the Native American creation myth that details the attraction and mutual dependence between the two. "Modern society currently treats the masculine and feminine worlds as very separate: from law to religion, social to political and from health to commerce," notes Taylor. "As a species, we cannot survive or reproduce in harmony without the union of both, and this is the same sacred cycle found within nature. Earthwalker (the feminine) and Skydancer (the masculine) illustrate both worlds, and aim to bridge the connection."
Hence the constant dialogue on Skydancer between the personal and the political, the intimate and the social. Our generation's decisions will impact the planet – both positively and negatively – more drastically than arguably any other before us, so the need for people to be conscious of the systems that control us and how they affect us on a human level is huge. These issues affect all of us, whether we like it or not. Our choice is whether or not to be conscious, whether or not to fight back.
This battle reached Taylor's own doorstep, as he recounts in 'Cottonmouth'. His grandmother was ill in a nursing home, but it wasn't clear what was causing her more pain – the illness, the neglect or the medication? "Twenty-odd pills a day to combat her rapidly deteriorating physical condition. Each pill produced a side effect that required a prescription by the other. Behind Western medicine there's a pharmaceutical war being waged by multi-billion dollar corporations, churning profit at the expense of others. I symbolised the pharmaceutical evil with the deadly Cottonmouth viper. It is said that the white lining of the snake's mouth is the last thing victims will see."
Lead single 'Breakaway' perfectly encapsulates the harsh realities of man's inhumanity to both man and planet, takes on those who seek to profit from mass murder on an industrial scale. "Compared to tracks on Earthwalker it's more rigid, punchier, faster, and aggressive, which for me sparked the need to speak about the harsh shadows of war and those that financially fuel it – a fragmented figment of the masculine psyche."
The genesis of the project came when the band collectively reached breaking point. Touring for the sake of touring wasn't enough, and something had to change. "We found ourselves asking the question, what is it all for?" remembers Taylor. "This was the turning point that we needed to create a real purpose to get out of bed for (or off the floor in the case of touring). At the source of it all, we just love feeling healthy and getting outdoors – it's exhilarating. So we wanted to create a side that would stand for what we loved and believed in. No longer were we spectators, we wanted to be a part of the bigger picture so that one day our children might (hopefully) enjoy the Earth as much as we did."
Any journey begins with a single step. In Hearts Wake might be idealists but they also know how to express those ideals in real terms; just as through the course of the 'Earthwalker' campaign they planted 1,379 trees and revitalised a small patch of the planet in the process, with Skydancer they're seeking to make even more of a difference.
By working with non-profit organisation Economics Of Happiness they are combating the creeping insidiousness of globalisation by working to promote local economies and produce. "There are over seven billion people out there, so at the end of the day we can only make a small difference to the bigger picture," smiles Taylor. "But hey – it's still a difference! If more and more people become aware of the real issues at hand rather than who won the latest talent quest, then the difference will start to grow on a much larger scale. We'd like to prove to both ourselves and the world, that if a bunch of average dudes from a tiny coastal town in the most isolated country in the world can make a difference, then anyone can."
Bound by their rebel spirit and deep love for 2 Tone, The Interrupters make super-high-energy ska-punk that's equal parts catchy and confrontational. Produced by Rancid's Tim Armstrong, the band's self-titled debut for Hellcat Records sees frontwoman Aimee Interrupter, guitarist Kevin Bivona, bassist Justin Bivona, and drummer Jesse Bivona spitting out lyrics that take on matters as thorny as martial law and Big Brotherism while churning out rocksteady rhythms and snarly guitar riffs.
After teaming up with Armstrong—whom Kevin got to know while taking over as touring keyboard player for The Transplants in 2005—The Interrupters and Tim wrote and recorded all of their debut in a matter of days. "Working with Tim, nothing ever gets overthought—it's like lightning in a bottle," says Kevin, adding that many of the songs on The Interrupters were captured in one take. Aimee also points out that the fast-and-loose approach was key to giving her a vocal performance the raw urgency that the lyrics demanded. "Recording the vocals, the most important thing was to be real and honest and if things weren't perfect, that was totally okay."
Having toured with Rancid in 2013—along with regularly playing with Armstrong as Tim Timebomb and Friends—The Interrupters have built their live act on unstoppable energy and a feeling of easy community that reflects their familial vibe. The Interrupters's shared commitment to "never taking ourselves too seriously" also goes a long way in offsetting the heavy subject matter at the heart of so many of their songs. "We have a lot of things that we're outraged about and we need to sing about those things, but we make sure to keep it fun," adds Aimee. "Sometimes it's good to be happily outraged."
'You'll never make it. You are worthless.'
Oh I remember, you're the conscience that I beat!"
We all face challenges. Often those challenges are coming directly from the mirror or from the people we trust to love and care about us the most. Many of us love and hate ourselves in equal measure. But through all of the adversity, struggle and hardship, there's a chosen few rise above to accept themselves and each other. We all have issues. We must identify them. We must overcome them.
It is with this in mind that the band ISSUES was born, united by the idea that self-doubt is the disease and music is the cure. Issues arrive on Rise Records with a bold mission statement, which is to be themselves. They aren't worried about fitting into any scene, nor bending their sound to the contrived conformity of other bands. Music industry politics haven't dictated what their songs sound like. Their talent is undeniable and their drive is equally unshakeable.
Even with his excellent R&B/pop solo work in development, Tyler Carter's fans knew that his voice wouldn't be absent from the modern metalcore scene for long and true to form, the former Woe, Is Me frontman has returned together with a career-defining new band.
Carter is a creative visionary who goes in hard with everything he does. Co-frontman Michael Bohn is the guy keeping everyone laughing with his good-natured vibe and good-humor, offering boundless creative energy and optimism as well. Bassist Cory Ferris is the most business-minded of the bunch and extremely levelheaded when it comes to any sort of crisis control within the group. Drummer Case Snedecor is intensely devoted to building new skills with his instrument and anchored by his Christian faith. Then there's guitarist AJ Rebollo, who spends endless hours communicating with the fans Issues have rapidly gathered in their short time as a band.
"We have learned more about communication and professionalism as a band," Carter explains, acknowledging the time and work they've put in paying dues with other bands and projects. "Everyone has a role. We stick to those roles and communicate together. Everything is open. We all know the system better now. We've got this on lock."
Issues have crafted a sound, a manifesto, a stage show and an image that is the proverbial "next level," filled with steady purpose and bursting at the seams with energized emotion. Issues put it all on the table: their own brokenness, their own doubt. They refashion those emotions into self-empowering weapons to help both themselves and others conquer their troubles and move forward with strength and positivity.
Issues debut EP, Black Diamonds, announces their arrival with confidence and power. Issues has made cautionary tales like "Princeton Ave." their stock and trade, detailing what can go wrong in someone's life when they suffer from abuse or isolation. "King of Amarillo" set the Internet ablaze when it was unleashed upon the public. "Love Sex Riot" (featuring Chris "Fronz" Fronzak from Attila) and the EP's title track are sure to become crowd-favorites, with bands singing along around the world.
Kids that mosh at Vans Warped Tour, metalheads who their heads at Rock Star Mayhem and mainstream acolytes who sing-a-long to Top 40 can all get behind Issues, whose sound incorporates seemingly disparate elements in a way that suddenly makes perfect sense together.
As a band, they put every ounce of their God-given energy into their music for the benefit of their fans. "We want to change lives and see the world as we're doing it," says Carter. "We want to be iconic."
With a "scene" that is increasingly overcrowded by bands with no clear vision or anything relevant to say to their audience, Issues are primed to breakthrough quickly thanks to their style, substance and forceful dedication to their craft. The guys in Issues are all Black Diamonds themselves. They can relate to the struggles their fans are facing, because they've faced them themselves.
A black diamond is mysterious, dark, edgy but also extremely beautiful; it's the perfect way to sum up Issues music and mission. "We are all Black Diamonds in the rough. Our fans are all Black Diamonds as well," Carter declares.
"But they never went anywhere," you protest. Well reader, in that sense you are correct. But this fall they're not only serving up their first full-length in five years, but--after more than two decades together--also embracing a total back to basics approach.
Throughout a career that has run the gamut from self-releases and small indie imprints to large independent labels and major music conglomerates, the band has always been more than the sum of its parts. Now more than ever, though, they espouse their stature as a DIY collective that works together--or at least in tandem with a few trusted allies--on every element of their creative output. Drummer Vinnie Fiorello recalls, "We started out very internal, and nowadays we handle a lot internally again. "
The result of their old school approach is the old school sound of See The Light, created without any external meddling from corporate lackeys. "Everyone had their alone time with chords and some quick structures; we all put our ideas down before we got together," says Vinnie. "Then we sat at an octagon table in our warehouse and went through: this is what we think about this song, maybe we should do it ska, maybe we should do it punk--true band songwriting in essence."
Not only was the songwriting a true group effort, but--like the three EPs the band have released since 2008's long-player GNV FLA--so was the actual recording of See The Light, which was tracked entirely at Gainesville's The Moathouse, owned by LTJ bassist Roger Lima, who took lead production duties with communal input and assistance from his four band mates and live sound engineer.
"Roger has been recording our demos since the beginning of the band and steadily has worked his way up learning about studios from everyone we've worked with in the past," says trombone player Buddy Schaub. With no ticking clock and no studio fees piling up, the band used their breathing room to create somewhat of a rarity in today's prefab music world: a full-length album that gels as a complete thought, lyrically and musically. Buddy adds, "I think this is one of the closest representations of our band to date. We're all really excited for this record to get out into the world and we can't wait to hear what people think!"
Like 2000's release Borders and Boundaries, the new record was mixed at the famed Blasting Room by punk rock legend Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) and Jason Livermore, but don't let that lead you to believe that there's anything same-ish about See The Light. "If you're expecting retreads and repeats, this record will disappoint," exclaims Roger. "It's all new songs and new vibes only recorded in our old school way."
While some other bands of a certain vintage are latching onto musical trends, you won't find any dubstep beats or vocoder distortion on See The Light--a title that nods to the band's history of marrying dark lyrical content (the tunnel) to bouncy musical arrangements (the light at the end). Less Than Jake aren't turning away from their roots, and echoing Mark Twain, Fiorello points out that the rumors regarding their genre's demise are greatly exaggerated: "Punk has been declared dead every year for 30+ years and it's still going stronger than ever. People like to declare things dead just because it's dead to them, but if bands are passionate about what they're doing, they'll attract fans who are passionate."
As fits a band born long enough ago to now be of legal drinking age, Less Than Jake pulls in a multi-generational audience, which Vinnie notes is often a family affair. "Our crowd now is 16 to 40, and I've met kids as young as eight or nine. Dads bring their sons and it's a weird rite of passage; moms bring kids in saying, 'We've watched you guys for 15 years.' But will the band stick around long enough to draw in a third generation of fans? "I don't know man. I think our guys on that would be NOFX and Bad Religion. When you see Fat Mike or Bad Religion hang it up, maybe: but like them, we're gonna ride that out."
With the momentum of their first release, The Maine dropped Black and White in the summer of 2010. It was instantly clear that what the group had was something special - it was this release that the fans and industry started to see their growth and maturity expand as creative artists and musicians.
When it came time to release their third album in 2011, Pioneer, it was clear that the record needed to be released independently without the input of anyone but the band members themselves. After making the decision to part ways with their major label, The Maine decided to film the experience and released the documentary Anthem For A Dying Breed.
On June 4th of 2013, The Maine released their fourth full-length album, Forever Halloween. The album was recorded live through analog tape without the use of computer editing techniques which have become the standard in modern recordings. This gave the album an energy that cannot be captured any other way than 5 people performing in a room together. "The tape machine was like having an older, wiser, intimidatingly glowing woman in the room" says frontman John O'Callaghan on the experience. "We were all meeting her for the first time, but she already knew everything there was to know about the five of us. In no single way judgmental, but she sniffed out the bullshit and wouldn't allow us to be anyone we are not. We are now better men for meeting that woman."!
Mayday Parade has come a long way since their landmark 2007 debut, A Lesson In Romantics which debuted at #8 on the Billboard Heatseeker's Chart, holding a chart position for seventy weeks and laying the framework for the band's path to success. To date, their album sales have exceeded 600,000 while track sales surpass 3,000,000. Their self-titled third album entered the Billboard Top 200 at #12 in 2011, and the band has been a standout on the Punk Goes... series. Having crossed the globe on countless tours, the band's impressive tour resume includes acts such as Plain White T's, Pierce The Veil, All Time Low, The Maine, We The Kings, We Are The In Crowd, and Set Your Goals. This Florida based five-some stand poised for the biggest and brightest chapter yet.
Emerging from an overwhelmingly homogenous musical climate, it would've been easy to follow. However, for Chris Motionless [vocals], Ricky Horror [guitar], Ryan Sitkowski [guitar], Balz [keys], Ghost [bass], and Brandon Richter [drums] joining the proverbial pack wasn't an option.
"We wanted to distance ourselves from any kind of scene," admits Chris. "This is different from what we've done in the past. There's more experimentation, and almost every kind of heavy music is involved. We wanted to explore what inspires us regardless of the genre of music. Lyrically, it's less rooted in fictional stories and more focused on real life events and things people can relate to. This is our view of the world, and this is what we were always meant to sound like."
In order to capture that distinct identity while recording in 2012, the band enlisted the production talents of both Jason Suecof [Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red] and Tim Skoeld [Marilyn Manson]. "They were both crucial to the record," Chris continues. "Tim really reinvented me as a musician, an artist, and a human being. Listening to him talk and share his unique take on art helped me realize a lot of what I live by and do."
His poetic perception takes the forefront on the irresistible single and active rock radio hit "AMERICA". Coupling an unshakable chant with an industrialized metal stomp, it's a powerful anthem. The story of excess gone wrong comes to life brutally and brilliantly in the music video by Slipknot mastermind M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan. Instantly, the clip racked up nearly 1 million views on YouTube/VEVO.
About the song, the vocalist reveals, "It's about the many things I see in this country I don't fully support - like saide idol, coked-out actresses and pop princesses that twelve-year-old girls are growing up idolizing. It's pathetic. The same song touches on the fast food industry, religion, politics, and many other various noteworthy topics that you experience living here day to day. For the video, 'Clown' knew exactly what I was talking about and wanted to accomplish. He took it to the next level with this freak show of characters I'm describing in the lyrics."
Motionless In White also assembled quite the cast of characters for the rest of the album. One of Chris's personal idols, Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through lends his inimitable scream to the piercing "If It's Dead, We'll Kill It", while Soilwork singer and metal legend Bjoern "Speed" Strid delivers a guttural cameo on "Puppets 2 (The Rain)". Meanwhile, an extra track on the Deluxe Edition of Infamous, "Sick From The Melt", features Trevor Friedrich of Combichrist and The Witch Was Right.
Chris goes on, "The collaborations really rounded out the record. It expands the sound further and allows fans to see who we're influenced by. It was great to have all of those guys involved. It really makes for an experience."
The group has been working towards creating that experience since their breakthrough 2010 full-length debut, Creatures. Since then, they continue reaching incredible milestones. Upon initial release, Infamous debuted at #53 on the Billboard Top 200, #19 on the Top Rock Albums Chart, #9 on the Top Independent Albums Chart, and #5 on the Top Hard Rock Albums Chart. They covered Outburn Magazine, have destroyed stages alongside the likes of Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides, and appeared at festivals with Guns N' Roses, Korn, Slipknot, Rammstein, Alice In Chains, and more. 2013 saw them ravage the countryside on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival alongside Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, and more.
However, Motionless In White have their sights set on much bigger things. "I want people to listen to our records and feel like I did about music when I was growing up," concludes the frontman. "It changed my life. Music really accentuates whatever you're going through. It still does that for me. We're going to continue creating what comes naturally. This is us."
There's no fear only art within Infamous.
Songwriters, performers, rockstars, co-producers, filmmakers, champions. Years ahead of their time, frontman Remington Leith, guitarist and organist Sebastian Danzig and drummer Emerson Barrett formed Palaye Royale in late 2011 and are now champions of MTV's "Musical March Madness," now in its fifth year. The history-making band is the first unsigned act ever to be fan-voted to compete in the NCAA-style music competition, pitting 64 bands against one another that ultimately saw Palaye Royale defeating Linkin Park in the championships. Palaye Royale can now call themselves victors beating out several major acts in the process including Vampire Weekend, Coldplay, Bastille, Tokio Hotel, We Are The In Crowd and finally Linkin Park.
A winning mentality has always been top-of-mind for the guys, whose last several months have been a whirlwind. Samsung Galaxy Note hand-picked Palaye Royale's "Get Higher" for a commercial that aired globally on digital billboards in London's Piccadilly Circus, Madrid, Spain and Singapore's Orchard Road in December 2013 - once again making history - as the first-ever unsigned act integrated into Samsung branding. In the illustrated and interactive ad spot, the trio's recent hit, the infectious retro "Get Higher" is the focal point with all members of Palaye Royale using Samsung products in their everyday routine - checking their Samsung watch for their tour schedule, drawing on the Note tablet, playing video and even walking down the legendary Abbey Road with devices in hand. Nearly closing in on 1 Million views on YouTube, the music video for "Get Higher" is quickly catching on with fans and brands as a favorite.
Palaye Royale kicked off their career with debut single "Morning Light" in early 2012, garnering 20 Million+ views on YouTube. The introspective, coming-of-age tune cemented the band's fan base, known as Soldiers of the Royal Council, which currently includes 75 fan groups globally, including Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, The Philippines, Brazil, UK and France. Palaye Royale's Soldiers of the Royal Council are part of a youth revolution and movement in music that is making history for the band, building via social media and powering their impressive view counts for their self-created music videos, which they call art films as well as attention around MTV's "Musical March Madness." Palaye Royale has also performed a string of successful sold-out west coast dates in California and Las Vegas.
"Palaye Royale are set apart by their artistry and integrity...'indie' in every sense of the word, completely 'hands-on' from their words and musical arrangements as well as directing and producing their own music videos to handling their own social media." -Pop Vulture
Based in Huntington Beach, CA, Reel Big Fish was originally a trio comprised of vocalist/guitarist Aaron Barrett, bassist Matt Wong, and drummer Andrew Gonzales. At that stage, the group was a conventional rock band with pop-metal leanings that covered both classic rock and Top 40 songs -- essentially, it was music designed for frat parties. After several months, the band discovered ska and decided to bolster its lineup with the addition of horn players. Reel Big Fish had a difficult time maintaining a stable horn section, and it took several years before their final lineup -- featuring Tavis Werts (trumpet), Scott Klopfenstein (trumpet, vocals), Grant Barry (trombone), and Dan Regan (trombone) -- fell into place.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
Admittedly, a lot has happened since the Montreal, Canada band--vocalist Pierre Bouvier, drummer Chuck Comeau, bassist David Desrosiers and guitarists Sebastien Lefebvre and Jeff Stinco--released No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls… in the spring of 2002. Aside from selling a couple of million albums, the group have shared the stage with everyone from Rancid to Aerosmith; made appearances on the Vans Warped Tour for three years running (two as Headliners), and been nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards--not bad for five kids who used to tour in their parents' station wagon.
"Songs about cars and partying do nothing for me," explains Comeau. "I like songs where I listen and it makes me shiver." That said, you may want to don a parka while listening to Still Not Getting Any…, because it's packed with shiver-worthy moments: "Crazy," chronicles the insecurities each of us go through on a daily basis (yes, even if you're a rock star), while "Perfect World," struggles to make sense out of loss. However, for a while, it looked like these songs would never come together.
"For us songwriting is a craft we really have to work hard at," admits Comeau. After the band wrapped their first U.S. headlining tour with MxPx last February, Comeau and Bouvier spent three months in Vancouver writing every single day for the new album, throwing away more ideas than they came away with. "At first we had trouble coming up with stuff we loved, so we just kept writing and writing… never giving up. After months of doing this and pushing each other, it just came together," Bouvier explains. 'Perfect World' was one of the first good songs that we got, and from there the songs just started coming out of us like a waterfall."
When it came time to record, the band enlisted famed producer Bob Rock (the man behind some of Metallica's, Mötley Crüe's and Bon Jovi's biggest records). The vision behind Still Not Getting Any… was simple… the band would not restrict themselves to the punk genre, which ironically seems to have more rules than one can keep track of these days.
"I think on the first record we just wanted to write a pure pop-punk record, and on this one we didn't care--we just wanted to write good songs," explains Comeau. Bouvier has a fitting analogy for the band's approach: "As an artist, why limit yourself to just doing certain things?" he asks aloud. "It's like being a painter; do you decide to only use seven or eight colors, or blend the colors together and make the most beautiful painting possible. From the deeply personal story behind the album's lead single "Welcome To My Life" to the insanely exhilarating guitar solo on "Promise", this illustrates the band's approach to songwriting.
Granted, Still Not Getting Any… isn't going to be in the trip-hop section of any record store, but there are some surprises, be it the subtle but powerful interludes in "Shut Up", the cool and yet intricate drum loop on "Perfect World", the beautiful string section and touching lyrics you can hear on "Untitled", or the epic string arrangement on "One." "Thank You" recalls the early 90's melodic punk bands who influenced Comeau and Bouvier's old hardcore band, Reset.
The record is a bit different from the first one, but it's still us," Lefebvre is quick to point out. However, although Simple Plan are open to experimenting with the formula that made them famous, their biggest concern is not letting down their fans, because, that's who this album is for. "The connection between us and our fans is the most important thing we have," explains Desrosiers. "They'll ultimately be the ones who make or break our album, not some music critic who's already made his or her mind up about us," Stinco adds. "Without them, I would probably be working a nine-to-five job that I hate."
In the end, the band speak best though their lyrics, and during "Shut Up" when Bouvier sings, "Nothing you say today will ever bring me down," it's not calculated rebellion--it's the truth. So, whose side are you on?
"You can only play alone for so long before you get the urge to collaborate and experiment with other musicians," says Tyler Szalkowski. "When you realize the limitless potential to what you can create with you and your friends musically, it's just like someone turned the lights on."
Since their start back in 2010, State Champs has been at the forefront of the pop punk revival, becoming a fan and critic favorite with their first official release, Overslept. Recorded at Getaway Studios in Massachusetts with Jay Maas of Defeater, Overslept is an EP that is catchy and fresh, and at the time, brought pop punk to a whole new relatable level.
After signing to Pure Noise Records and releasing Overslept, the band began touring the country with numerous bands such as New Found Glory, Cartel, A Loss For Words, Hit the Lights and more. With tons of recording and touring experience under their belts, the band was ready to get back in the studio and record their most important work to date.
State Champs' album, The Finer Things, was released on October 8th- a record that holds a very special place in the band's heart, and not only because it is their first full length. Written in a tiny dingy practice space back in January 2013, the experience was a new one because it was the first time the band had sat down and wrote together lyrically. After countless hours of writing, scraping lyrics, and rewriting, the band knew they had written the most honest record they had in them.
The Finer Things was first demoed at S&S Studios in Auburn, NY before the official recording of the album at The Panda Studios in Fremont, CA. Produced by Sam Pura (The Story So Far, Polar Bear Club, Misser) and Steve Klein of New Found Glory, The Finer Things debuted at #131 on the Billboard top 200 and is regarded as one of the greatest pop punk albums of the year.
"Working with Steve Klein and Sam Pura was incredible because they both have the experience that helped us make the best record we could," says Szalkowski.
With The Finer Things out in October and a big league tour with Bayside and Motion City Soundtrack lined up this fall, the band is happy to see their hard work paying off. And while it is obvious that State Champs are no strangers to hard work, they'll never forget their number one rule - make it fun.
"Our intentions are always to have fun and make music that we enjoy listening to. State Champs has always been about fun and that's what we'll continue doing as long as we can."
Oddly enough, both Kevin Jordan (Vocalist) and Anthony Del Grosso (Guitar) were raised as drummers from a very young age. Anthony moved out to Long Beach from his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to pursue a career in drums. After meeting Kevin and starting a pop punk band, they realized that their true talent laid in their acoustic renditions and performances. Between Kevin's melodic vocals and Anthony's beautiful fingerpicking, they discovered a sound that began to find it's way to fans worldwide through organic and viral promotion. Releasing two EP's and several singles independently, their fans have been instrumental in spreading the music and creating a buzz anticipating a full length record.
Listeners have identified with the band on an emotional and personal level, connecting with the self reflective and sincere lyrics touching on topics such as regret, unconditional love, being raised by a single parent, and hope in tough times. Without gimmicks or advertising, the band has been able to accrue tens of thousands of fans, millions of video views, and over 20,000 digital downloads to date. More impressive is the relationship they have built with their fans by constant interaction by means of social networks and touring. Making themselves constantly available to fans is something the band has taken pride in, and it shows in all of the platforms the band participates in.
Due to overwhelming support for the band, This Wild Life just entered the Vanguard Room in Lakeland, Florida to begin recording their debut full length with Aaron Marsh of Copeland. Enlisting Aaron was an important decision for the band as they aimed to create a record that captured the tone, color, and raw emotion of the new material the band has been creating. Coinciding with this release is an ambitious video effort to enhance the delivery and experience of each and every song, so be sure to keep up to date with the band by subscribing to their YouTube channel and Email List.
This Wild Life is a breath of fresh air to the scene, yet hearkens to familiar sounds of past acoustic songwriters. Aiming to up their tour schedule by the end of 2013, they are sure to find more and more support as they release new music and earn the respect and loyalty of fans far and wide.
In fact, Wage War IS that community, as Quistad explains, "A lot of the themes in our songs are about growing up to be a productive person, and dealing with the real things that can happen in life and coping with circumstances that could be problematic,"says Quested. "The first single we're releasing, 'Alive,' is an anthem to all the naysayers out there that are always talking about our generation being a bunch of losers."
Blueprints, the band's debut album co-produced by A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon along with Andrew Wade, resounds with all of the tension and ingenuity of its creation. The band delivers 11 tracks of uncompromising multi-dimensional metalcore, filled with high-intensity rhythms, battering drums and blazing guitars, tempered with tuneful vocal passages. Crushing breakdowns alongside a combination of roaring and melodic vocals prove powerful enough to level a small village. Yet, Wage War aren't focused solely on destruction.
"The goal of Blueprints was to establish a foundation," Quistad says. "It';s our first record and our first chance to show people what we're about. So we really went all out to deliver the best songs we could possibly write and play them to the best of our ability. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised."
"We're super excited to be signed to Equal Vision Records. We've all been listening to EVR bands since 8th and 9th grade so actually joining the label's roster is insane. We've always seen Equal Vision as a label that lets bands be as weird or experimental as they want to be, so we thought it was a great fit for us," says vocalist Awsten Knight. "Also, Say Anything is on this label, so now Max Bemis kinda has to be friends with us. Hi Max."
Waterparks performed as direct support to Good Charlotte on their recent reunion show in Los Angeles, CA at the Troubadour on November 19, where Billboard praised Waterparks on their "killer hooks and killer attitudes." The trio has also seen early support from MTV and BBC Radio One, and can even be seen making a cameo in Good Charlotte's new music video.
Waterparks will soon head out on their first full US tour, as the opener on Never Shout Never's upcoming headliner that will span from January 13 to February 27. All upcoming tour dates can be found HERE.
Waterparks lead single - "Crave" - debuted via a puppy-filled music video on Billboard.com, while their second song released from the album - "Mad All The Time" - premiered via AltPress.com.
Waterparks has also partnered with MDDN.co., which was founded by the Madden Brothers in 2014. MDDN specializes in management, publishing, and production. MDDN defines itself as being for artists, created by artists. Of the new partnership Joel Madden shares, "We are extremely excited to be working with Waterparks. One of the best young bands we've heard in years. They are talented musicians, prolific writers, and a great live band. We are excited for the future of this band, and proud to be a part of their team."
To date, Waterparks has released two EPs: Black Light (2014) and Airplane Conversations (2012). Waterparks is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Awsten Knight, guitarist/vocalist Geoff Wigington, and drummer/vocalist Otto Wood.
So says We the Kings frontman Travis Clark, explaining his band's new album, Somewhere Somehow -- a commercial and artistic triumph that marks, yes, a real creative change.
It's not like the band had to amend their ways. Since forming in high school in Bradenton, FL, We the Kings have rung up a string of top 10 rock albums (2007's We the Kings, 2009's Smile Kid and 2011's Sunshine State of Mind) and Gold/platinum singles ("Check Yes Juliet", "Say You Like Me"). Along the way, they toured the world several times over (including five stints on the Warped Tour) and earned an extraordinarily dedicated fanbase.
But the band -- Clark, Hunter Thomsen, Danny Duncan and (joining in 2011) Coley O'Toole and Charles Trippy -- decided to approach their fourth album differently. They went completely DIY.
"We wanted to make this record completely fan-based," explains Clark.
Which meant leaving their longtime record label. And raising the recording budget on their own.
To this end, the band turned to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, hoping to reach a modest budget goal within a month.
Thanks to those diehard fans, they got there. In one day.
"The Indiegogo campaign went way beyond what we imagined," happily admits Clark. And thanks to the fans' generous support, the group was able to fund a vinyl release, a physical CD and even offer up some creative rewards, including fan participation in the recording. (The fan-first approach certainly worked: Somewhere Somehow is already the highest charting record in We the Kings history, debuting in the Top 50 during the competitive Christmas season.)
Outside the numbers, Somewhere is also an artistic breakthrough. "This time out, we didn't have anyone breathing down our necks: we only had to impress ourselves," explains Clark. "It allowed us to do something really something different with the sound. If the first album was more guitar-based, the second about interesting instrumentation and the third really acoustic, this one was all about getting a rhythmic feel. There was no 'genre' we were shooting for."
Working with Metro Station's Blake Healy, multi-instrumentalist/producer Steve Shebby and Clark's own brother Taylor ("Bringing family into your career: such a cool thing" says Travis), Somewhere Somehow showcases the band at both their most ambitious and accessible. Piano and strings color tracks like "Queen of Hearts" and "Sad Song," while big harmonies abound on "See You in My Dreams" and "Find You There." It's a startling diverse record, with club bangers like "I Like It" rubbing up against the more punk-defiant chorus of "Any Other Way."
Lyrically, Clark reveals a more personal side, including the first single "Just Keep Breathing," which documents how the singer was bullied as a kid--and, ultimately, persevered. "It's a song about getting to see a better tomorrow," says Clark. "It's a song I wanted to hear as a kid, and I didn't have. I wanted to write that."
This increasingly personal side to We the Kings now extends off the record. Recently, several members of the band started video blogs, documenting their everyday life on YouTube. "It's so people understand why we write the songs we do," says the singer. Of particular note is bass player Charles Trippy, who chronicles his struggles (and triumphs) while battling brain cancer. "His mindset is 'I'm going to make it, and it's going to help inspire others,'" says Clark.
So We the Kings may have changed their style over the years. But their mission remains the same.
"That's been the goal of our band since day one, even from the first album: make the world a happier place," says Clark. "This album just takes it full circle."
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland, 21044