Interview: Defeater

March 21, 2011

Having interviewed Defeater twice before, there’s one thing that I’ve learned: you’re in for one lengthy chat, and this interview was certainly no different, as I caught up with frontman Derek Archambault ahead of their recent headline show in London, where we got talking in-depth about the release of Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, the story behind ‘The Wave’,  and a ton more in this 4,500+ word mammoth.

Faye: So, how are you today?
Derek: I’m well, I’m a lot better than I was when I woke up. I slept in the van last night and I forgot to take my sleeping bag out, so I slept in 30F weather, so it was fucking freezing, but I’m good. We had a great meal here, some garlic tofu.

Faye: I last interviewed you in April last year, what has Defeater been up to since then?
Derek: We got home from that tour and then we took the whole summer off, and then Andy was gone with Green Vans for Warped Tour and then he came back, and Jay and him started thinking about the record and what we wanted to do with it. Andy was just recording drums at Jay’s studio and then Jay would kind of edit it down. We started the real recording process and then Jay had to go to Australia for a recording thing with Marty from Carpathian. We did a tour around the Fest and that was really, really awesome, it was with All Teeth, Living With Lions and Make Do and Mend, so that was just a fucking blast. It was cool touring with friends’ bands that have a lot of hype about them right now – we love them, so seeing all the amazing reactions they were getting was really awesome. Then we came home and I did lyrics and recorded, and then we started thinking of ideas for the layout and we came up with the idea to do the book with Chris – it’s not a full book, it’s just lyrics and pictures and explanations from my friend Michael who does photography. After we finished the record, it was kind of a waiting game to do this tour and then when we get home from this, we play our record release show and then we flight down to South By South West and do a few shows in Austin, Texas and from there we do Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, so it’s been a crazy few months, with all the crazy stuff going on with our personal lives and Jay having to record bands all over the country, and Andy doing Green Vans all over the country, me and my ex-fiancé breaking up and Mike’s always gone with Make Do and Mend, so it’s been a wild six months, but we’re all doing really, really well for the first time in the band, everybody is happy and healthy. A lot of the time when we’re away, someone just got dumped or someone was having family issues back home, but we’re at the most mentally stable place we’ve ever been, so that’s really great. Mike and I both met these amazing girls that we just fell for, totally unexpected. Just out of nowhere, these two girls walk into our lives, like I’ve been fucking up for the last five years and I meet someone who gets me, so that’s nice, and Jay’s getting married, so, yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing – touring, getting married, writing a new record. The responses so far have been really, really nice, like we played the Netherlands last night and kids knew lyrics to new songs that just got leaked the night before and that’s fucking wild. Like the first time you and I did an interview, like all the comparisons that you made, saying that kids are eventually going to see us in the same light as our friends’ bands, I was like, ‘Nah, that’s not going to happen, we’re just a bunch of nerds from Massachusetts that got lucky for a little while.’ But to actually be touring this much and having the response that we’ve gotten from the new record is, again, just so mind-blowing. We just try to make something that we would love, like back in our teenage years, and it’s crazy that we’ve gotten this far. It’s just wild that we can tour the way we do.

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Interview: Four Year Strong

February 23, 2011

Following their show in Newcastle on the Kerrang! Tour, Faye caught up with Joe Weiss (bass) and Josh Lyford (keyboards/vocals) from Four Year Strong, and this time round, their drunken ramblings included: ‘random surprise wake-ups’, bigoted Norwegian girls, partying like rock stars, camping with aliens, and a lot more!

Faye: How are you today in your drunken state?
Josh: I’m fucking good.
Joe: This tour’s been fun so far, everyone’s been pretty sweet.
Josh: Yeah, pretty much everyone likes to be maniacs with us. We haven’t gone to bed earlier than 4 o’clock in the morning yet.
Joe: It’s ridiculous, even I’ve tried a couple of times and it doesn’t pan out, because I’ll go in there and just sit and here everyone talking.
Josh: The only problem with that is the random surprise wake-up, you’re like, ‘I want to go to sleep, but everyone’s awake at 6am, so fuck it, I’m going to stay awake and hang out.’ Then in the morning at like 9 o’clock, we’ve got to get up for some random stupid reason.
Joe: When I was trying to sleep one time on this tour, the bus parked next to a field and I woke up at like 8am to these tribal drums, there was like a festival going on. I had such a headache. It was crazy.

Faye: The last time I interviewed you was in June, what have you been up to since then?
Joe: Oh man, that seems like an eternity ago.
Josh: Yeah, I was probably 25 back then.
Joe: We did Warped Tour over the summer that was an excellent time. We toured with Comeback Kid, The Wonder Years and Mountain Man, that was a really good tour as well.
Josh: We’ve toured with The Wonder Years so much and now we sleep next to them, it’s like our two vans became one shitty van.
Joe: It was sweet to tour with Comeback Kid because I had been listening to them for so long, and they are literally the chilliest people.

Faye: Yeah, I interviewed Jeremy from Comeback Kid in November.
Joe: He is hilarious! That guy is the man. He’s always so pumped no matter what the situation is. I want to hang out with them in Las Vegas, because Comeback Kid is putting on this party in Las Vegas and has invited whoever to just go, and I’m temped to, but I’m sure we’ll be on tour doing something.
Josh: There was like a punching thing that recorded how hard you punched it and watching Jeremy getting so stoked and bashing the shit out of it was awesome. Although, our merch man took it down and got the highest score.

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Interview: Twenty Twenty

February 13, 2011

Ahead of supporting The Saturdays in Newcastle, Faye caught up with lead vocalist/guitarist, Sam Halliday, of Twenty Twenty, grilling him on touring with one of the country’s biggest pop groups, aspirations to break the mainstream and their drama with Ten Second Epic!

Faye: We last interviewed you in January 2010, what have you been up to since then?
Sam: Flipping hell, we’ve been up to a lot, we did that Get Down Tour and then we did two kinda small-half tours for our single, Worlds Apart, released that, which got to number 72 in the charts and was one of the top indie singles that week, then we did an October headline tour to finish off the year and released a live DVD as well, that got to number 4 in the charts as well.

Faye: So, how’s this tour been going for you? It’s a bit of a weird one for you.
Sam: Yeah, and you know what? It’s been going really well, obviously, it’s a pop tour and it’s with a band where their fans probably won’t have heard of us, but it’s going really well. Honestly, we’ve been on stage every night and it’s really fun, and everyone seems up for it. They’re taking to the music really well, and before the tour, we weren’t really sure how well we’d be perceived, but everyone seems to really like us, so it’s great.

Faye: Have your own fans been coming out? Or did it sell out before they even had a chance?
Sam: It was really annoying, because we got told a few days before it was announced that we were doing it and, obviously, we’re not allowed to say anything, which I don’t think made a lot of difference, since a lot of it was already sold out. I think a few of our fans managed to get tickets, but we feel really bad, that’s why we’ve been doing meet and greets outside, because it’s only fair if we’re in their city, they can come and see us.

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Interview: Backtrack

January 30, 2011

On tour with hardcore heavyweights, Terror, Faye caught up with James Vitalo, frontman of New York’s Backtrack, following their set at The Underworld in Camden, London. The pair got talking about all sorts, including: gambling, making ends meet in-between tours, the infamous motorcycle mosh at Sound and Fury, and find out why they hate a man by the name of Thomas Smalley…

Faye: How are you today? How did you find your set?
James: It was cool. Right around the time we were about to play at 6.30pm, there were probably around 10-people inside and it started filling out during our second song, so I was excited. I know there was a lot of people out in line and they started opening doors late, so I was definitely very happy, it was cool. We’ve been playing first every night for the most part and sometimes they’ll advertise the doors opening at 8pm, but it really starts at 7pm, so people miss us a lot of the time, but it’s part of the game I guess.

Faye: Can you tell me a little bit of history about Backtrack?
James: We’ve been a band for little less than three years, we’ve put out a demo and a 7”. We’re working on an LP right now, it’s really overdue now, we just keep getting offered cool tours. We were supposed to write during the fall, but we got offered a tour with Cruel Hand, so we did that, because they’re one of our favourite bands and the same thing with this tour, we can’t turn down a tour with Terror, but once we get home we’re going to be working on the LP. We’ve been touring on our 7” for little over a year, we figured that’s a good way to get our name out there, so when our LP comes out, they’ll check it out.

Faye: When do you think the LP will be released?
James: Probably in the summer, hopefully. We’ll try get to back to Europe in the fall or this time next year, we’ll see.

Faye: The last time you were in the UK, things didn’t really go so well, can you tell us about that?
James: The shows here definitely did better than the mainland, but the dude who brought us over, Thomas Smalley, fucked us over real bad with money and stuff, but the shows were cool, I was excited. The shows in the mainland did well in terms of us getting paid enough to pay our driver and everything, but the reaction was definitely way better in the UK for the most part. We just played too many shows, we played 15 shows in the UK, I think, and that’s too many, because the UK is like the size of New York state, it’s pretty small. But he fucked us over pretty bad, we were supposed to go to Ireland and we didn’t, so I was kind of bummed out about that, but we went there last night and it was cool. I heard he hasn’t done anything since, we stayed at his house and we made it pretty uncomfortable for him. He basically went over with us in the mainland and got to drive with us for free, and then when we got over to the UK, he said he got in a fight with his girlfriend and couldn’t go, so he stayed at home and all the shows started falling through and he wouldn’t answer his phone to communicate with us, it was pretty fucked up, but it’s in the past, we’re over it. We took a gamble – we’re a gambling band – so, we took a gamble and I’m happy with the way it turned out, we met a lot of cool people, we just lost a lot of money, but I lose a lot of money gambling, so whatever. [laughs]

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Interview: The Skints

January 3, 2011

A year-and-a-half since we last spoke to them, it all seems to be falling into place for East London’s The Skints, as Faye caught up with Josh Waters Rudge [vocals/guitar] ahead of their recent Newcastle show, with a whole lot to talk about, including: the band’s highlights of 2010, finishing their second album, the story behind leaving Rebel Alliance, feeling like a ‘proper’ band, and much more!

Faye: You’re touring with your friends, Random Hand and Dirty Revolution, has it been fun so far?
Josh: Yeah, the tour’s been great, the city shows like London and Leeds absolutely blew us away by how many people came out. It’s just been real fun, good to tour with Random Hand again and hang with the Dirty Revolution guys and stuff. It’s been wicked, yeah.

Faye: So, what have you been up to this year? Can you give me a rundown?
Josh: Wow, so we started the year with the Rebel Alliance Tour, we done a lot of UK touring, we re-released our album ourselves, we done our first proper run festival season, we did our first European tour with The Slackers, we went to a bunch of other countries we’d never been before, we done Reading and Leeds festival, we got to play with Sublime, started selling out shows for the first time and we partied real hard. It’s been a really good year.

Faye: What were your highlights of 2010?
Josh: I’d say, this year as a whole has been wicked. There’s bee so many good gigs and tours. I think we’ve done nearly 150 gigs this year. The Sublime gigs were very special to me and recently did a couple of gigs with Gogol Bordello, who’re really cool, and obviously Reading and Leeds Festival. I really enjoyed Slam Dunk this year, that was fun to do. And we got to go on tour for a week with Bedouin Soundclash, which was amazing, because we love that band, I think that’s quite apparent in our music and they were like the nicest, nicest guys. They’re probably like the nicest band we’ve ever played underneath that didn’t know who we were at all, they completely too us under our wing.

Faye: Can I ask, what happened with the whole Rebel Alliance thing and you leaving?
Josh: You know what it is? There’s no bad blood at all between Sonic Boom Six and The Skints or anything, it’s just that the business end of it got a little bit sticky and we thought it’d be best just to keep doing it ourselves. The situation’s blown over by now, but we thought at that time when things weren’t going too great with the label that it’d be easier on everyone if we just stepped out and did it ourselves, because, unfortunately, within the music game, money does fall into a lot of things and can mess up a lot of things as well, so we thought it’d just be easier if we kept doing our own thing, but we’re still tight with the Sonic Boom Six guys and stuff, it ended well.

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Interview: The Menzingers

November 23, 2010

There’s something in the water of Scranton, PA, bringing us the likes of Tigers Jaw, Captain, We’re Sinking and, of course, The Menzingers who are over in the UK for the first time. So, ahead of their Newcastle show, Faye got talking to them about their local scene, the release of Chamberlain Waits and weed cookies.

Faye: Can you introduce yourselves?
Tom: Sure, I’m Tom, I play guitar and sing.
Greg: I’m Greg, I do the same, play guitar and sing.

Faye: How are you today?
Tom: Great, it’s not as cold as it was in Glasgow, that’s for sure, which is where we were yesterday, but there’s no Buckfast here.
Greg: That’s true, which is a good thing.
Tom: It’s this insane caffeinated spirit, it’s pretty intense.

Faye: Can you tell me a little bit of history about The Menzingers?
Tom: Well, we all played in separate bands when we were younger, they were ska bands. Then since we graduated high school and we kind of started that summer. Greg had played in a band with my brother, and Eric, Joe and I had played in a band together, and then we just kind of started jamming and took it from there.
Greg: We come from a town called Scranton, Pennsylvania and the scene is extremely small, so we all kind of played in the same kind of bands, so it just kind of went from there. Everyone knew each other because we always played shows together.

Faye: It still seems like a pretty good scene, with Tigers Jaw coming out of there too.
Greg: Yeah, the band I used to be in was with some of the guys from Tigers Jaws, and let me go on the record to say, I was the first member of Tigers Jaw. I didn’t play the first show, I quit, it was a battle of the bands thing, and I didn’t want to do it, so then Tom’s brother jumped in and played. They probably won’t say that, though. [laughs]

Faye: Aren’t Captain, We’re Sinking from there too?
Greg: Yeah, that’s my brother’s band too. Everybody has played in each other’s bands and dated each other’s girlfriends and everything. [laughs] It’s a very small scene.

Faye: Are there any other bands emerging from there?
Tom: I’d just say Captain, We’re Sinking, Tigers Jaw, and Title Fight who are from a little outside of Scranton, anyone else?
Greg: Yeah, those are probably the ones you’ll hear of, but there’s other bands in the States that are doing really well like The Holy Mess, Highlites and Dirty Tactics from Philly who are good friends of ours.

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Interview: Comeback Kid

November 9, 2010

As the Never Say Die Tour stopped off in Newcastle, Faye caught up with Jeremy Hiebert, guitarist of modern hardcore heroes Comeback Kid, where they got talking all about their new critically-acclaimed record Symptoms + Cures, being signed to Victory Records, veganism and a lot more!

Faye: How are you today?
Jeremy: I’m very well, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, but over-tiredness kind of puts me in a better mood for some reason, so I’m good. You’re lucky if you get a full night’s sleep on tour.

Faye: This is a bit of a weird tour for Comeback Kid, do you agree?
Jeremy: The funny thing is, we just got off from a full-on pop-punk tour with Four Year Strong and The Wonder Years, and now we’re doing the full-on metalcore tour. One thing about us is that we never want to just play with bands that sound just like us, I guess we kind of like the challenge of trying to win over a new audience. Every band on this bill is heavier than we are, so we have to go out there and really work for it, but it’s fun, though.

Faye: Are you into this kind of music?
Jeremy: Here’s the thing, I’ve toured with a lot of bands that I could never get into, but if the guy’s are cool, then I’ll find myself starting to like the band. I’m not going to name any names, but there’s already bands on this tour where I never really listened to them – I’m 34-years-old, I don’t really listen to a lot of new metalcore, so a lot of these bands are newer and you meet them, hang out, then you get it. Bands like Bleeding Through and Parkway Drive, we’ve been friends with them for a while, so we’ve been on other tours and shows with them. Metalcore isn’t my favourite style of music, but at the same time, I don’t hate it. There’s a lot of bands I can get into if they know what they’re doing and are bringing something unique, then that makes it kind of fresh and exciting.

Faye: The tour only started a few days ago, has it been going ok for you?
Jeremy: Yeah, it started in Germany on October 29th, and that was off the hook, France was off the hook as well. Yesterday was a little rougher, it was a large room, but it was still fun. It was definitely more of a metalcore crowd, though. We just put out a new record and wanted to do a CD release headliner around Europe, but then we got offered this slot. It’s not really the way we wanted to do it with the record coming out, but we’re going to be playing to a bunch of new faces, so why not? We’re going to come back and do a headliner next year.

Faye: You’ve been playing in large rooms with barriers, is that a downer for you?
Jeremy: I hate barriers, but at the same time, that’s just the way it is when you’re supporting on these bigger tours. It is what it is, I don’t know if you’ve seen us before, but we’re all about stage-dives and sing-a-longs, just people getting close and tripping over ourselves, but with a barrier, you’ve got to put on a different show. It’s still fun, but you don’t have that same intimate vibe that we like at a ‘legit’ Comeback Kid show. [laughs]

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