EDITOR’S NOTE upsetmagazine.com Editor: Stephen Ackroyd (email@example.com) Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Assistant Editor: Ali Shutler (email@example.com) Contributors: Danny Randon, Christopher Jones, Emma Swann, Jade Esson, Jasleen Dhindsa, Heather McDaid, Sam Taylor, Sarah Louise Bennett, Steven Loftin All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Upset or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. P U B L I S H E D F RO M
THE BUNKER W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
IN THIS ISSUE... RIOT!
4 C RE E P E R
30 SLEIG H BELLS
8 T I G E RC U B
34 BALANCE & COMPOSURE
10 COUNTERPARTS 12 THE FRONT BOTTOMS 14 EMAROSA 15 U PS ET RE A D E RS P O L L 201
ABOUT TO BREAK
36 WATERPARKS 40 RAY TORO 42 ‘THE DEVIL AND GOD...’ IS TEN
RATED 44 FRANK IERO 45 ST EV E N BAT T E L L E
16 PETROL G IRLS
46 YO U B L E W I T !
48 T R A C K S O F T H E MONTH
19 ITOLDYOUI WOULDEATYOU
VS THE INTERNET
20 FRANK IERO
50 YOUNG GUNS
While working on this issue, news broke of a serious accident in Australia that left this month’s cover star Frank Iero and his band forced to cancel their live dates for the rest of the year. Besides the obvious personal trauma, it may have come at the worst possible point for Frank, right before the release of his new record - but you can be sure it won’t hold him back. After all, ‘Parachutes’ is one hell of an album. He’s not the only former MCR member active this month, either. Elsewhere this issue we chat with Ray Toro, who’s finally dropping his debut. Flip over the page and you can start to get excited about Creeper’s first fulllength too. Never a dull moment. x
RIOT ING IN ROCK E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N
“IT TOOK US FUCKING AGES.” ING. WILL GOULD EXPLAINS ALL. C R E E P E R ’ S D E B U T A L B U M I S F I N A L LY C O M WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
esterday, Creeper’s guitarist Ian Miles text Will Gould to let him know he’d got some of his lyrics tattooed on him. “I thought they’d be Creeper lyrics but they’re from [our old band] Our Time Down Here,” explains Will. “It’s a line that says: ‘To live this way despite all that they say, means more to me than anything’. Or something like that, it was written a long time ago. He got it on him because of adopting this way of life, focusing purely on what you want to be doing with your life and your dreams versus the crippling realities of the real world. That’s a big theme on this record alongside questions about belief, what you believe in and the choices that you make.” After months of hushed whispers, intrigue and a swelling mass of anticipation, Creeper have announced that their debut album ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is finished and will be with us early next year. To say we’re expecting great things is a gross understatement but if it feels like you’ve been waiting an age for it, it’s guaranteed Creeper have been waiting longer. Creeper, at their very core, are storytellers. They simply can’t help it and the tale of ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ has been amassing in the shadows for a while now. “We’ve been drip-feeding the story really slowly,” explains Will. Everything so far has been a way of setting up for an album. “I knew the sound needed to mature before we got to it, but I had the concept laid out in my head.” As soon as the band found out Roadrunner would definitely be taking the album, Will went for a drink with them to lay out his plan. Sat at Camden’s The Black Heart he pulled out three Disney Tsum Tsums (hamster sized soft toys) and put them on the table. First came Peter Pan to represent ‘The Callous Heart’ and its lost boys. Then came Tick Tock the Crocodile to represent ‘The Stranger’, before Will placed Captain Hook atop them both, creating a cuddly pyramid to explain exactly what he wanted to do with the album. “This is the story we’ve been creating.” “The themes for the record were really apparent at the point when we finished ‘The Stranger’,” starts Will. “We’re introducing the James Scythe
RIOT - Creeper have already started introducing us to the neon-noir new world that is ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’. “I was just trying to think of an exciting way to engage people. I can’t think of a better way to get everyone’s attention than by not saying anything at all, because everyone’s talking all the time.” It just carries on now.
“ Y O U WA N T I T character as the first human character and I thought that was a really good analogy for growing up. When you realise your mortality, when you start to worry about things and you fret about how you look in the mirror and being completely carefree because you’ve got to go to work, the idea of growing up and that disconnect creeps in.”
TO F E E L F RESH
As much as being in Creeper is brilliant, a dream come true, and a million other excitable, wonderful things, real world problems still exist. Family, bills and relationships are all sat at home as the band exists in their own weird, timeless bubble. It feels like a dream but every time a phone calls from back home, it brings reality crashing down around them. “We’re away for this period where you should be growing as a person. Your mid-tolate twenties, you grow so much.
is really short. We might not have another chance to make a record that’s going to be on this scale ever again. Who knows, the record might go down really badly so we decided to do it exactly how we wanted to do it and not rush anything. It took us fucking ages to make this record. It’s such a big project, the concept is the highest point we’ve taken any of these ideas.”
“All our friends are getting married, they have proper careers, are buying houses and having kids. We’re out here in some awesome place, don’t get me wrong I’m not ungrateful, but it’s very unsteady and unstable. The record was born out of some of the pressures of that and feeling human in this weird fantasy world. Those Peter Pan stories become more relevant than ever. It’s terrifying to think about growing older or entering the real world. When you see old pictures of your parents and you realise you look a bit like them now, that’s scary.” However, it also makes you realise: “The time you get to do this stuff for 6 upsetmagazine.com
AND FOR IT TO M E A N SOMETHING.”
Despite the success Creeper have earned so far they know a debut album is where everything changes, one way or another. “A lot of things have happened to this band in the past two years and they all feature on this record. It’s weird to think that people who come see this band in years to come probably won’t ever listen to those EPs. They’ll listen to this album and that’s it. We had to reintroduce all these characters, it’s like rebooting something while it’s still going.” Introducing the record with a social media blackout as well as physically disappearing - something that was “a fucking nightmare” and saw Sean have to dress in a costume to go to the Sunday of Leeds Festival, while Will put on a disguise to go to the shops
According to Creeper’s producer, before it seemed like they were a punk band that flirted with rock’n’roll. Now though, it’s starting to feel like a rock’n’roll band who flirt with punk rock. “The hope is that kids come to the show and hear something they’ve not heard before, something sincere. They feel something and it engages them. That’s what happened to me, that’s what happened to everyone. You hear a band and it changes everything.” That sense of discovery is what Creeper what to achieve with their debut as well. Acting as a time capsule, they want it to hold relevance and power years down the line. “It’s like Jumanji,” starts Will. “We want that music to have the same magic so when someone finds it, they open it up and that world comes pouring back out of it. You want it to feel fresh and for it to mean something. If that only happens to one person, the whole thing has been worth it regardless of whether we hear about it or not.” As engaged as people are in this chapter, “I feel like this record will be the last of this story,” says Will. “We’ll move onto something completely different after this because I don’t want to be repeating ourselves, y’know? The worst thing you can do when you’ve got a good thing going is keep going with it until it dies. End it with a bang and move on straight away. All the bests have done that. My Chemical Romance, David Bowie - they killed it at its peak and moved on to something new. We’ll move on too.” P Creeper’s debut album ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is out 24th March.
“ I WA S T R Y I N G TO PEEL BAC K T H E L AY E R S , T O TA L K A B O U T T H I N G S T H AT I ’ M S CA RE D TO S AY . ”
EASY, T I G E R!
igercub wanted their debut album to be great. They also wanted it to capture a moment in time. With the absolute state of things surrounding them, the Brighton trio had their work cut out but somehow, from out of the darkness, they’ve made a record not only to stand by but to stand for. ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’ is a beacon of light. Expanding on the world introduced by 2015’s ‘Repressed Semantics’ Tigercub’s debut sees a band that know what they want. From the destruction of ‘Burning Effigies’, through the purge of ‘Up In Smoke’ until the beautiful resolution of ‘Black Tide’ that washes it all away, ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’ is a complete revolution. “There’s a world you can get into now that’s been set up by the last EP,” explains guitarist Jamie Hall. “People that like it seem to really fucking love it and if you want to, you can totally immerse yourself in it.” The band’s music might not spit an allout political fire but Jimi Wheelwright,
B RI G HTO N TRI O TI G E R C U B H AV E A LOT O N TH E I R M I N D S. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER .
James Allix and Jamie have made sure there is enough literature and ‘zines that cover their political leanings, if you want to dig deeper and invest. Tigercub are already more than a band, there’s an ideology that’s bigger than the sound. “It’s all there for you to read and align yourself with, if you choose to. It’s whether people want to adapt with us because we’re constantly changing and trying to figure out where we’re going to go next. But the ideology is always going to stay the same; Karl Marx with a dash of nihilism.” As eternal as the album is, it’s also a knee-jerk reaction to the events defining today. Head and heart offering confrontation, comfort and contrast in perfect harmony. The band “went in with a plan of how we wanted to sound and stuff we wanted to say,” but they wanted to avoid the blatant. “It’s weird when bands come out wearing shit firmly on their sleeves. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but for me, it’s way to far. I don’t want to slap the interpretation on people and give it to them on a plate.
“My girlfriend writes a lot of stories and there’s this thing she always says, ‘You’ve got to show not tell’. That’s the right way to go about it. You can implant the message of the emotion further in peoples mind. It’s got more impact. It feels more rich.” That said, ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’ is Tigercub at their most upfront. Their most incendiary. “I was trying to peel back the layers, trying to talk about things that I’m a bit scared to say, more about myself than anything. I was trying to put things across lyrically a little bit clearer rather than trying to be a pretentious git about it constantly.” “It’s a hard thing to fit into a sentence without going off on one,” he continues. “I want it to feel cathartic and that it has come full circle. It’s done a full revolution. You end where you began.” You might finish back at the start but you’re no longer alone. “To be cliché, it’s going to take you on a journey. Or something like that.” P Tigercub’s debut album ‘Abstract Figures in the Dark’ is out 11th November.
HARD-TOUR C O U N T E R PA R T S , E X P I R E , K N O C K E D L O O S E A N D L A N D S CA P E S T E A M U P F O R O N E O F T H E H A R D C O R E TO U RS O F T H E Y E A R - A N D B OY A R E T H E Y L O O K I N G F O R WA R D T O I T . W O R D S : S A M T AY L O R .
anadian hardcore outfit Counterparts are heading to the UK later this month for a co-headline tour with soon-tobe-no-more Wisconsin band, Expire. It’s going to be a trip and a half, and they’re bringing a couple of their Pure Noise Records label mates along for the ride. “We all love Knocked Loose,” explains Counterparts frontman Brendan Murphy. “I love them like my little brothers... because they’re the same age as my little brother,” he laughs. “They’re one of the best heavy bands in music right now.” Along with Knocked Loose, they’ll be joined by an act who’s a little closer to home for us Brits, Somerset’s Landscapes. “We toured with Counterparts a few years back and hit it off with them so well,” says vocalist Shaun Milton. “I’m stoked to be out with Expire although sad that this will be their final European run,” he adds. “But as one door closes another one opens, so with it being Knocked Loose’s first European tour I think it’s gonna be pretty lit!”
“We first met Expire in Japan,” continues Brendan. “At the Tokyo airport. Over the next couple days we played a few shows together, and did a lot of tourist stuff as it was their first time in Japan as well. “Over the years we came to tour with them all over the world and they quickly became our boys. I’ve loved that band from the first time I heard them and I’m stoked to not only call them friends, but to be helping send Expire off after [new album] ’With Regret’. “I can’t wait to be on a bus with those freaks.” For both Counterparts and Knocked Loose, they’re excited to explore new places, and connect with new fans. “I’m very much looking forward to London and Glasgow,” says Knocked Loose vocalist Bryan Garris. “Honestly I’m looking forward to everything. “I don’t know much about the places we’re going to other than the typical history that everyone knows, so I’m just thrilled to be in a new environment with people who have done it several times so that they can show us around.
“The whole experience is exciting, something I never thought I’d be able to do.” “I love the UK and for some reason people over there love Counterparts so it’s a no brainer,” adds Brendan. “Some of the best shows we’ve ever played have been in the UK.” “If you’re on the fence about buying a ticket, I’d have to say at least see it for yourself,” finishes Bryan. “In my personal opinion I think that our music translates way better live, it’s a lot easier to get the point across through all the adrenaline and excitement of a live show. “And plus, this will be Expire’s last time in Europe. Can’t miss that.” P The dates: NOVEMBER 29 Southampton Talking Heads, 30 Plymouth, The Hub DECEMBER 01 Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach 02 Glasgow, Cathouse 03 Manchester, Sound Control 04 Huddersfield, The Parish 05 Norwich, Owl Sanctuary 06 London, Underworld
BOTTOMS U P!
hen their third full-length ‘Back On Top’ was released, The Front Bottoms didn’t quite realise the record they’d written would take their band to another level. “It was like the biggest thing production-wise we’d ever done,” explains frontman Brian Sella. “When we released our previous albums we had this punk rock attitude, like - this is as big as it can get. But it got bigger, and now more people are coming out to shows.
G E T R E A DY, T H E F R O N T BOT TO M S A RE A B O U T T O S TA G E A U K I N VA S I O N . WORDS: JADE ESSON .
“It’s been a really gradual growth for The Front Bottoms, it’s more about the long term plan of being able to make music forever. I think as a band we’ve all kinda matured, not only personally but as musicians, and I think definitely as artists.”
wacky like that,” says Brian. “GDP is a buddy too so it was cool to go on tour together, he did a lot of video stuff for us when he came out on the road too so it was fun.”
This album also saw the band experimenting with collaboration. Having released a split 7” for Record Store Day 2015 with New Jersey-based rapper GDP, they continued to work with him on ‘Back On Top’ where he provides a verse on ‘Historic Cemetery’ - the band even took him along during their UK tour in February, to perform the track.
“Our relationship with the UK is extremely positive,” he continues. “The first couple of tours were really DIY tours - playing in basements, sleeping on peoples floors. We went from playing in front of literally nobody in a foreign country to now being able to go back after years - probably about six years at this point - and being able to play in front of a substantial amount of people. It’s incredibly rewarding.”
“It’s good to do something a little bit
“It’s also getting to go and see a whole
on the guest list, so they follow the band but they are friends. “It’s weird - I never thought I would have friendships with totally random people just because they like to come see our band play. I couldn’t be happier about it, and I’m proud. We definitely have a weird appeal that brings people together. I couldn’t have planned it that way but it’s awesome. That really came together in the UK.”
“ W E H AV E A WEIRD APPEAL T H AT B R I N G S PEOPLE TO G ETH E R.” other family that I haven’t gotten to see in a couple of months. It’s something that’s grown each time we’ve gone over there. I’m very happy and proud about The Front Bottoms and the crew in the UK, and getting to come back and rock’n’roll and party with you guys.” The band even has a gang of dedicated fans who follow them throughout their time in the UK. “People that come to our shows, make friends there and come see our band together, I know them. They’re people I’ve met and put
They’re bringing some of their favourite British acts out on the road with them this November, in the form of Gnarwolves and Apologies, I Have None. “We’ve been friends with Gnarwolves for a while now, we’ve stayed at their house, just kinda being punk rock boys. We needed a place to sleep, someone told us there’s this band that has an apartment we should try to get in touch with them and next thing we’re sleeping there, hanging out and eating pizza,” Brian laughs. “We had this insane getting to know each other experience with Apologies, I Have None when we toured Australia with them and The Smith Street Band. We’re going for a good vibe on this tour!” The next tour is set to be bigger and better than any previous. “We always try to keep it funky. We’ve got a living room vibe on the current Brand New tour. We put a couch on stage and we’ll have a friend sit on the couch, and a bunch of
lamps set up on the stage. “The venues we’re playing with Brand New are so enormous it’s easy to get lost, so the whole kind of vibe we wanted was for it to feel like watching this band play in your parents’ living room with your friend sitting on the couch drinking a beer. So we’re trying to keep that style going on the next UK tour - but I may have a crazy dream and then I’ll have to bring five inflatable dancing guys with me. We’ll see what happens.” After the tour the band have some time off for Christmas before heading back to Australia for another string of live dates. Once they’re home, they’re going to be gearing up for album number four. “I feel pretty prepared in terms of material to start with. I have a lot of time on this tour so I got into the habit of writing little poems or playing some guitar so that when it does come time to actually put the stuff on tape, it won’t be a flustering experience. It’ll be smooth, like ‘Here’s my rock’n’roll hits!’” laughs Brian. There’s absolutely no stopping The Front Bottoms once they’ve set their minds to something, it seems. What else could they be up to? Brian modestly reveals that he’s also been working on a book. “I want to do more story based work. I’m gonna try and keep it creative so that all those things can be incorporated into The Front Bottoms. “I had my little sister edit it - check for spelling, that kinda thing. It was like 500 pages and she gives it back to me with 400 pages cut out! But it’s good to have good editors in your life. That should be the last thing I say - it’s important to have good creative editors in your life so that you don’t release a 500 page book about nothing.” P
The Front Bottoms will play... NOVEMBER 19 Dublin, Academy 20 Nottingham, Rock City 21 Glasgow, O2 ABC 22 Manchester, O2 Ritz 23 Birmingham, O2 Institute 25 Newcastle, Northumbria University 26 Leeds, Beckett SU 28 Bristol, Anson Rooms 29 Southampton, 1865
ON THE ROAD
W H A T D O B A N D S G E T U P T O O N T O U R , E X A C T LY ? E M A R O S A R E C E N T LY P O P P E D O V E R T O T H E U K F R O M T H E I R N AT I V E K E N T U C K Y F O R A F E W S H O W S ; T H E B A N D ’ S B R A D L E Y W A L D E N R E V E A L S W H AT W E N T D O W N .
We have a few days off just landing in London. I’ve been quite the tourist so far. Tower of London, Big Ben, etc. Taking advantage of all the sights. Beautiful city. The show was insane, first sold out show of my career and it was here in London. Will never forget that.
C A R D I F F, C LW B I FO R BAC H
Got a chance to hang out more before the show and meet a ton of our UK fans. Had such a good time, the show was fantastic. Starting to really get into the opening band Grumble Bee as well. Wish this tour was a bit longer.
MANCHESTER, SOUND CONTROL
I got lost today, didn’t have any phone service obviously and then it died. i didn’t have an adapter, I was out of luck. Eventually after about three conversations with people on the way, they helped guide me back to the hotel. Shows have been so 14 upsetmagazine.com
great, I’m thankful after this long that the fans are so anxious and excited for the performance. Loud crowd tonight for sure.
G L A S G O W, G 2
Only two shows left, it feels like we’re just getting the groove. Sykes is one of my favourite bands, love watching them play every night. Great people. I think we’ll definitely have to do this tour again down the road. I don’t want it to end. Show was great, as has been the status quo of this tour. So thankful. I will say I do miss American food a bit, what can you do?
BIRMING HAM, O2 INSTITUTE2
Last show, and I’m not ready. Really love this country and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. I’m looking forward to returning here. At this point I’m starting to get a vibe for the country and really enjoy myself here. Polite, honest, good music fans. I love it. Will never forget this trip and this opportunity. P
L O W E R T H A N AT L A N T I S A RE BAC K , A N D W I T H T H E I R N E W A L B U M T H E Y ’ R E T RY I N G S O M E T H I N G N E W.
“It’s been fun, it’s been a journey,” says frontman Mike Duce. “We’ve always mixed it up over each album, we’ve tried to something different which can either be really exciting for fans who are just fans of music or it can be really annoying to fans that only have one type of music. “I find it really strange when a band will just release a similar album over and over again, and I guess that’s what some people want but we’re fans of music, not just fans of punk music, I find that really fucking strange. It’s always changing with whatever we’re listening too. “To be honest we’re one of those bands who’s still going after all this time, so it must’ve worked.” P Lower Than Atlantis’ new album ‘Safe In Sound’ is out 3rd February 2017.
READERS POLL 2016
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TH E H OT TEST
NEW BANDS NEW MUSIC
Petrol Girls With their raucous, explosive and provocative debut, Petrol Girls have arrived. WORDS: HEATHER MCDAID.
o you want to or just appear to? Do you wanna be or be seen? Petrol Girls ask exactly that as their debut album draws to a close, and it’s what they have to ask themselves at each step as they make music while advocating for a smashing of the status quo, for a complete overhaul and change. They challenge the listener to ask the same of themselves. “That is something that I think about so much,” admits singer Ren Aldridge. “Especially trying to be politically active and play in a political punk band. How far am I doing, like actually doing, political action? And how far is it just performed? This is a question that all of us that are politically active in the social media age need to think about. It’s like looking both ways - this idea of looking inwards at yourself and what your motivations are as well as outwards at the bigger picture.” Their debut ‘Talk of Violence’ is on one hand performing feminism and politics - it in fact does so incredibly well. They’re aptly violent, raucous and taking no prisoners as they decry many issues of today’s society - but it goes far beyond a statement for statement’s sake. Take ‘Touch Me Again’ as an example. Tackling consent and sexual assault with a bloody fury, the song ends with Ren yelling – genuine throatshreddingly yelling – “Touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you” repeatedly, with no backing. It’s not an aggressive sound-bite for an album – it’s daring you to look away and try ignore the implications.“ When we began Petrol Girls, it was a critical moment amongst our small section of friends and the music community,” she explains. “I was personally experiencing a lot where I was finally talking about assault, sexual assaults that I’d experienced and people were listening and not telling me to shut up about it. “We started to speak more about consent on stage firstly to hope that we could put across this idea, ‘Look, don’t have sex with people when they’re unconscious’ and basic shit because, actually, no one teaches you that. That’s not explicitly taught in sex education. But it was also to reach out to people who had experience of that kind of stuff and say, ‘You’re not crazy, your experiences are true and we stand
“THERE’S C R A Z Y, CRAZY SHIT HAPPENING IN T H E W O R L D AT T H E M O M E N T. ”
with you’.” The album came to life surprisingly quickly. “It was pretty ambitious,” laughs Ren. “We just absolutely went for it, stuck the practices in really hard, wrote it in London and then we were still kind of finishing songs as we recorded it.” No time was wasted – many of the lyrics were improvised during recording and just worked. There was no pressure to be perfect. A lot of it came out on a subconscious level, and afterwards they could step back and take in exactly what the album was about. “I hold quite strong political beliefs that I wouldn’t be able to keep out of it even if I tried,” says Ren, on the influences and issues that seeped into their debut. “When we were writing, I’d just come back from spending quite a lot of time in Calais, and when we recorded it I’d just come back from a conference in Hamberg that was run by refugees. I think being involved in that and also looking at all the other crazy, crazy shit happening in the world at the moment… I’m not going to pretend to be super articulate or have any answers, but this was about expressing all of those thoughts, putting them together, being able to take a step back from it and look at it and realising, ‘Okay, these things do connect’.” And they do. ‘Talk of Violence’ is a game changer, a furious, targeted game changer. It’s the embodiment of the power art and music can have against a hell of a messed up world. “My idea of what a revolution is and can be has really changed a lot over the years,” says Ren. “I hope that this idea of national identity starts to dissolve because at the moment it’s solidifying and it’s literally part of what’s creating walls both metaphorical and physical all across the world. I always think some really cool stuff is happening in terms of the gender binary. It’s not
WSTR’S DEBUT WILL LAND IN JANUARY WSTR have pencilled in a release date for their debut album, ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ – it’s set to land on 20th January via No Sleep Records.
WEIRDS SIGN TO ALCOPOP There are two exciting bits of news from the Weirds camp: the first is that they’ve signed to Alcopop! Records; and the second is that they’ve new plans underfoot - watch this space.
VANT ANNOUNCE ALBUM FOR FEBRUARY Vant’s debut album ‘Dumb Blood’ is due on 17th February. Check out new track ‘Peace & Love’ now on upsetmagazine.com.
smashing – it would be great if it just smashed – but it is starting to blur and it is starting to dissolve, and the way that we’re thinking about masculinity and femininity is shifting. Ultimately, I want the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy to burn, but I think it’s going to be more of a dissolving…” In the course of revolution, the question of whether you do or appear to is never far off. Based on their debut, Petrol Girls aren’t a statement, they’re a fucking movement. P Petrol Girls’ album ‘Talk of Violence’ is out 18th November. 17
Nervus “I HOPE PEOPLE TA K E AWAY T H E F A C T T H AT T H I N G S CA N B E BETTER.” Nervus have arrived with debut album ‘Permanent Rainbow’, and it’s just the beginning. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
as it meant to have a positive message?” echoes Em Foster on Nervus’ debut album ‘Permanent Rainbow’. “No, not really. I’m going to be brutally honest here, I became fixated on the idea that I was going to write this album and then kill myself.” “I didn’t do that which is obviously great but it wasn’t meant to have a positive message at all,” they continue. Instead it was meant to explain: “’Okay, this is why I’ve been the way I’ve been. Bye.’ That’s how it felt when I was writing it, but thankfully I got help and things are good now. Everything’s nice. It’s not really a positive album in that respect, which is a shame because I’d like to listen back to it and smile but unfortunately, that’s where I was at the time. It makes me happy now that I can hear it though and other people might hear it too.” Written in their bedroom and soundtracked by Into It. Over It., Death Cab For Cutie and Sleater-Kinney, ‘Permanent Rainbow’ isn’t so much an exercise in trying to write songs like other people, instead it was 18 upsetmagazine.com
about “trying out different things and challenging myself.” That challenge increased when the band started to bring the songs together. Practicing until they occupied a zone where they were happy as a group, Nervus “were definitely a band before we went into the studio, rather then piecing the songs together in a studio and learning to play with each other afterwards. I think we sound like a band on the record,” offers Em. “It was a process. We recorded it once and I recorded it all myself.” Em has been in bands, mostly punk but with the occasional foray into “fun metalcore, not shit metalcore”, since they were 13, but “Nervus does feel different. It feels much more exciting. Everything else I’ve done where I’ve been writing the songs, I’ve had this jokey, comic element to it as a defence mechanism. Nervus is the most honest thing I’ve done and doing it with people who are my best friends, it feels exciting. And people actually care. Nervus, to be totally honest, is a project that has no reason to stop. Nervus started as my solo project where I was unhappy with presenting myself as a man, so I decided that if I presented myself as a band I wouldn’t need to explain that.” From the melancholy refrain of ‘Oh
Joy’, through the heartbeat of ‘Bones’ until the all-out-bombast of ‘Bend/ Break’, ‘Permanent Rainbow’ sounds empowering. There’s space to flourish and every moment of darkness is soon flooded with light. Positivity might have been the last thing on their mind but this record inspires. “That’s purely by accident but I’m glad that potentially people can take that away from it. I wouldn’t want it to be a doom and gloom thing really.” “It’s been totally self indulgent for me. Lyrically I’ve been sorting through all my shit and you can all listen but I hope people can take away from it what I did from the process itself. I hope it helps people who have been in a similar situation to me. I think there’s a lot you can take from it. You don’t have to be trans to take stuff away from the lyrics, you don’t need to have mental health issues to take stuff away from the record. I hope people take away the fact that things can be better and you can be honest with yourself. Obviously it’s not going to be the easiest thing in the world to be brutally honest with yourself, but it is one of the most rewarding.” P Nervus’ album ‘Permanent Rainbow’ is out now.
itoldyouiwouldeatyou Emo troupe itoldyouiwouldeatyou are a band that seems to be growing larger by the day.
WORDS: DANNY RANDON.
ven if your first band doesn’t make it past the college talent show, you’ll always share a bond with your first bandmates. For eight-headed London outfit itoldyouiwouldeatyou, those early collaborations between two of its members have paved the way to their most spirited project yet. “Josh [See, guitars] and I have played together in little pop-punk bands since I was 13 and he was 15,” says frontman Joey Ashworth, now 21. “I’ve never been in a band that Josh wasn’t in!” That foundation was the driving force of itoldyouiwouldeatyou’s melodically intense ‘Don’t Cheer Up’ EP, which was executed with a distinctly punk sense of urgency. Its follow-up, ‘I Am Not Your Fault’, may be a more patient and serene math-rock affair, but it’s far from being cold and calculated. For all the noodling intricacies, melancholic undertones and wistful lyricism, there are just as many poignant and air punch-worthy choruses.
“I think the difference between EPs was pretty much giving Josh free reign to compose most of the music,” says Joey, a charismatic frontman who brightens the stage with Morrissey-esque gesticulations. “Obviously we jammed it out and bits and pieces were changed, but Josh actually wrote this EP for his dissertation.” “This EP is definitely more coherent and cohesive than the last one,” Josh chimes in. “It was essentially what we call ‘The Appleseed Cast effect’, where we heard them and went, ‘Well they’re sick, let’s just do that!’’” There’s an adorable quality of impulsiveness to itoldyouiwouldeatyou. It’s a constantly evolving machine with components coming and going freely, completely disregarding a regimented structure for the better. It’s a colourful depiction of the boundary-smashing inclusiveness of the UK punk scene, a place that the band have come to feel at home in. “In the scene it’s more about what you care about rather than how you sound,” Joey reflects. “For me it’s also kind of about politics, but it’s
not as specific as a political party. It’s especially confusing right now because you don’t want to tie your flag to a particular party. Kids are being totally fucking marginalised at the moment, whether they’re trans kids or kids of colour, and I like to think that the punk scene is a safe space for those kids.” Josh nods along with Joey’s enthusiastic review of the scene. “It’s almost a form of expression. When you see the amount of bands coming through, it is just a way of expressing some sort of discomfort.” Having already shared stages with Cassels, Hindsights and The Xcerts, itoldyouiwouldeatyou will be taking on their biggest venues yet on a run of UK dates with slacker-punk northerners Beach Head. “We’re super excited to be going out on that tour,” Joey buzzes about his future touring pals. “We’re also writing a lot at the moment. Three of us just went through break-ups, so the emo writing is at its peak!” P itoldyouiwouldeatyou’s EP ‘I Am Not Your Fault’ is out now.
“KIDS ARE B E I N G T O T A L LY FUCKING MARGINALISED AT T H E M O M E N T. ”
H AV E
PATIENCE The second solo album from Frank Iero, ‘Parachutes’ is one of the best of 2016 - the product of a lengthy career that’s already had more high points than most could dream of. It’s a special time. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: EMMA SWANN
have no monogamy towards genres of music. I need to have variety. I need to have that change,” starts Frank Iero. He’s counting the tattooed marks on his wrist that commemorate every record he’s ever released. He might have no idea about the number of bands he’s been a part of but the eight lines keep track of the bodies of work. He’s two short though. Death Spells’ debut makes nine and his second solo album, ‘Parachutes’ is number ten. He stops for a moment and lets
that sink in before his face breaks out in a grin. “Isn’t that crazy,” he asks to no one in particular. When he was a young boy, Frank’s father told him to avoid music. “Please don’t do this. Do anything else,” he pleaded - but it was too late. Frank’s mind was made up. Growing up in a household with both his father and grandfather playing gigs, he didn’t stand a chance. “They were my gods and seeing them play, it’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t give a shit about sports, about anything else, I just wanted to be in a band. They had these huge date books that they would go through and talk about gigs they’d played, how they drove here and travelled there. It’s this secret society and it’s fucking awesome. It’s a unique thing. You ask anyone, they want to be in music because it’s so cool. People want to be backstage and backstage sucks, there’s nothing there but it’s unknown. The allure of it was too much for me. When I got to do it, when I got to be onstage and play music and see how it affected people, oh fuck. I got bit by that bug so quick, I was done. There’s no stopping it.” He’s been in pursuit ever since. Never standing still, never covering old ground, he’s slowly built a legacy of change across each and every project. It’s with The Patience, the second incarnation of his solo project, that he’s really come into his own though. “I didn’t think a record this important to me would come along right now and so,
I want to give it everything I’ve got because it’s important enough and deserves it.”
rank Iero is the sort of musician who describes songs as soul mates, who never throws away an idea and let’s the music rule by selfdetermination. Every song needs to tell a story and every record needs a beginning, middle and an end. Self-aware and conscience of those around him, he pours himself into everything he does. Not only does he know first hand how music can save, but he can see a photographer’s unspoken want to include a mannequin in a photo shoot [Don’t ask - Ed]. He’ll even go and get it himself. His commitment to a single genre might not exist but his adoration for music is absolute. “For a very long time I was convinced I had real life me and music and art was just something that I did. It took me a fucking long time to figure out that those things are so interconnected. Music and art is so embedded in my DNA that it’s not just something I do, it is who I am. I tried and I fought so hard against it. I clawed and fought against it because it’s terrible. It’s so gut-wrenching, heartbreakingly terrible and wonderful at the same time.” Frank lives for music and he’s pretty certain that, one day, it’s going to be the death of him.
“ M U S I C AND A RT IS EMBEDDED IN MY DNA; IT’S N OT J UST SOMETHING I
IT’S WHO I AM.”
Two years ago, Frank Iero released his debut solo record with The Cellabration. A shredded, voyeuristic album that was written in a basement, it saw Frank letting go and was never intended to be shared. The next few years saw Frank slowly grow into his new role as the frontman as the ball started rolling. Despite the pace, when he was asked if there was a future to it, he wasn’t sure. It all felt temporary, transient, almost reluctant. For ages it seemed that he might call time on music at any moment. Even as Frank was looking towards an album two backstage at 2015’s Reading Festival, it wasn’t a sure thing. It’s funny how things change. ‘Parachutes’ feels eternal. It sees Frank Iero embrace and accept. If it feels special, it’s because it is. “This is one of those records where you put so much into it, it drives you to the brink to actually make it,” explains Frank. “As soon as you’re done, you feel so depleted you’re not sure about what you just did.” Once the seventeen days recording with Ross Robinson were over, “I knew it could either be the greatest thing I’ve ever done or he could have just thrown it away. I didn’t know but at the same time I was fine with either because the process was so important for my growth as a human being.” Now he’s had space from his creation, he knows which side of the fence it falls. “Honestly, this sounds silly but this record might be the thing I’m most proud of that I ever made. Maybe you think that about every new thing you make but this feels different. It feels really special. I remember with My Chem, when we were making ‘Black Parade’, it felt like maybe we were making something really special. I didn’t know why or what it was but it felt like we were doing something really great. I don’t know why, but I have that feeling again.” There’s not really a set blueprint for what makes a Frank Iero album. He’s never been one to retread or rehash but despite a rich history of change, ‘Parachutes’ manages to make different feel different. And that’s a deliberate stance. “It has to be. There’s no way I could do ‘Stomachaches’ again. I’m not in that place anymore and it’s
such an entirely different animal. I was scared that there was a fine line between being different to ‘Stomachaches’ and being drastically, crazily different. I didn’t want it to be too jarring but at the same time, these songs, they needed that energy.” Every single one of the quote-unquote finalised songs from ‘Parachutes’ was at least ten BPMs slower before they were recorded. In the studio though, it just felt right with more intensity. “You have to just go with it. You can’t fight against it.” Despite the scale of the record putting Frank Iero and The Patience in the same sonic arenas as Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro et al, it’s never used to distract or hide. That honesty and the admission that came straight from his basement heart are dialled up just as proudly here. “I’ve never been part of a process where I’ve come out of it knowing I’m a different person now. There was a lot of personal growth and I’m extremely thankful for it. This record is very much about those experiences,” starts Frank. On it, world-altering (or destroying) conversations are happening in real time as outlooks are constantly challenged and reimagined. Even the sure-thing start of ‘World Destroyer’ changed. “As I was tracking the vocals I had the realisation that basically, the only things that you truly own are the things that you give to other people and how you interact with everyone. The things that happen to you are really happening for you. You’re not a slave to that. You’re better off because of it.” Alongside those experiences lay questions about “whether your weakness are really your strengths, and what is the definition of love versus manufactured love and is love and hate kinda the same emotion, just flipped on its head?” Those questions are still tapping at the twisting heart of the record. The confrontation and confusion is left ever present, “because it’s about the journey. The end result means nothing without the journey. If you just end up at the end, it’s fleeting. It’s not going to stick. There has to be a reason why you got to this point and what you had to go through to get there. It’s almost as
important as where you end up.” “Here’s the thing, and this goes back to Ross’ process, it’s impossible to be full of shit. He wont let you veil anything. He gets right to the core. If you don’t want to go deeper, he finds a way to open you up even more and in front of everyone. You become so fragile yet strong. It empowers you to be that honest. He calls it mental surgery and it truly is. We were there for 17 days, we did twelve songs in that time and every day was like this heart-wrenching fucking experience of finding out new things about yourself and the things that you’re writing. You’re crying and everyone around you is divulging these things that you never knew. Holy fuck. How can you not have an honest record after going through that? It’s fucking hard man, but if it were easy I guess everybody would do it.” “When I was younger,” starts Frank, before reassuring “this is related, trust me” - “When I was younger and in bands, I couldn’t be fucked to do vocal warm ups. That’s stupid. Later on, I found out that I had to do vocal warm ups, it’s just imperative. Hey, you want to get better? Do that, then. But you would feel embarrassed and you would hide. Now, I can do them in front of anyone and I don’t give a shit. This is what I do, this is my craft, fuck you if you think it’s weird. I’ll do it cabs, I’ll do them anywhere. It’s the same thing with opening up lyrically, at first you believe it’s stupid to care that much and then you start to really care. You want it to be honest and true and good. When you’re younger a line sounds cool but who cares what it means. Then you really want it to mean something, Then it gets to the point where you don’t want it to mean too much, you don’t want people to know too much about you - but eventually you get to the point where you realise, if I can’t be honest, how can I expect anyone else to be honest. You just try to do that without being cringe-worthy.”
rank Iero has always been in bands but each and every record that’s left its mark on his skin has seen him as sum of the part. ‘Parachutes’ sees him front, centre and driving.
There’s still a gang mentality drawing you into their secret society but you know who’s leading things forward. “This record feels more cohesive and more of a band than ‘Stomachaches’ did. There’s a life to it.” And that comes from guitarist Evan Nestor, drummer Matt Olsson and Frank spending the past few years glued together with The Cellabration. “I can hear those hours and hours and hours in the practice studio hashing those songs out on the record. You get that sense of camaraderie from people playing these songs and believing in what you’re doing.” It’s easier to invest in something when you know the story behind it, and that’s where Ross’ process helped once more. “Him cutting our brains open and making us share everything in front of each other was huge. When you do that, you have the other people in the band playing these songs with the notion of what it actually means and what it means to them. I’ve never done that before. In other bands, with other producers I’d play my part and then the vocalist would get in, go through what the song’s about and then sing it. I never knew what it was about beforehand. This just feels like, why wouldn’t you do that? Why wouldn’t you involve everyone in that process? It’s crazy but it didn’t click until we actually did it.” Knowing what he could do, and trusting the other members of the band to do the same, meant that Frank Iero could really drive ‘Parachutes’ into a totally different space. Working like a “fucking manic, I knew these songs were so important that I couldn’t relinquish it and be like, ‘That’s good enough’. I needed it to be perfect. When it clicks, when it finally feels right, you just know. It’s like when you meet someone, that feeling you meet your soul-mate, it’s the same thing with songs. You know when something’s wrong and you can’t force it, it’s like putting a square peg in a circle. “So, in the studio, I drove myself nuts.” The greatest thing about that was he wasn’t alone. “I felt like at any point, these other guys are going to tell me to go fuck myself.” But they didn’t. Every day the songs would change but The Patience
remained true. “It was so helpful to have them in the studio every day and really hash everything out. It allowed me to chase greatness. I’m forever indebted for that.” ‘Parachutes’ is littered with small epiphanies. Words and phrases that emerge from the expanse and guide you somewhere new are laying in wait around every twist. It’s ‘Dear Percocet, I Don’t Think We Should See Each Other Anymore’’s extended “This life is yours, if you want it” that really sums up the vision at play though. Once you know, you know. “That song’s about searching for a clarity in things and wanting to be conscious that you could slip into a pattern of self-medication and numbing yourself, whether that be through drugs or other means. It’s about hoping that you can be brave enough and have the strength to be truly present, care about the now and leave a scar on everything you love, basically. I mean that in a good way. Truly, make a mark. And not just sit there and wish you did. We do that so much, we sit behind a computer and we self-medicate. ‘I wish I could be remembered,’ we plead. ‘I wish I could do something worthwhile’.” Frank hasn’t got time for wishes. “I want to live for the moments and take advantage of the time that we’re here otherwise, what the fuck am I doing? It’s just all masturbation without it.” The call and response between loved ones at the close of ‘Viva Indifference’ is less steely eyed but there’s still self-acceptance a plenty as “I love myself and it’s all your fault, I love my life and it’s all your fault,” is spat with frustrated clarity, once again capturing studio conversations and heavy hearted realisations. “It started off with the feeling that wouldn’t it be easy if we just didn’t care about anything? Things would be so much easier. We wouldn’t experience loss, we wouldn’t experience pain and as the songs goes on, you have this couple realising that without caring, you’re missing out on the good stuff as well. The pain and the suffering is just as good as the love, the happiness and the bliss. Together, experiencing life, you realise I finally accept myself and who I am, my faults, and my positives and you
showed me that and that’s all your goddamn fault. Thanks so much, you fucking ruined it. I didn’t care about anything and now I care so much and I’m going to experience all the pain and everything. Thank you for that because now I actually get to experience life instead of being like the walking dead.” ‘Parachutes’ deals in finding the light from the darkness and for good reason. Frank Iero wasn’t sure there was going to be a second solo record until his grandfather got sick and passed away last September. “That’s when I knew I was going to do something else. That was a catalyst. It put me into a horrible hole of depression but it also, I don’t know, it made things more clear.” It’s a date that’s immortalised as the record’s closing track, a poignant, powerful and pointed ode. “That was just a song I needed to write. I didn’t ever think I was ever going to get through it, to be honest. That song, above all else, is a tribute to one of the best things I’ve ever experienced and also one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced.” After all the confusion, the rage, the fear and the struggle of ‘Parachutes’, ‘9-6-15’ is awash with peaceful serenity and counter-balance. “There’s a simplicity to the track that I really love and I think it needed that. To over complicate that would make it muddled. There’s a little section that gets leaked in ‘I Will Let You Down’ that actually happens in ‘September’ which was the realisation that tied a lot of things together. That song is one of those things, I needed to write it and I knew it was one of the most important songs on the record, if not the most important song on the record, but I don’t know how I’ll ever do it again. It’s really hard. There was never a time where I didn’t think I could put it out, it was more like I don’t know if I could do this. I didn’t know if I could finish it because I knew I wanted it so badly to be on the record, for him. I don’t know if I’ll be able to recreate that live. We’ve practiced it and it’s still so hard. I can’t get through it. I can’t read the lyrics in the booklet and not break down. It’s just one of the things.” There’s a battle raging between
“THIS RECORD MIGHT BE THE
I’M MOST P R O U D O F T H AT
I EVER MADE.”
“THE WORLD COULD E N D TO M O RROW BUT A S O F R I G H T N O W,
I’VE STILL G OT SO M E STU F F TO S AY . ”
past and present on ‘Parachutes’ but it’s a fight Frank’s getting better at winning. That slowly-improving victory is tied into the new band name. “With The Cellabration, back then I felt like I needed to bring along something that took away the attention from how bad I was at being the frontman. I needed to have this celebratory thing with me. This time around I need the virtue of patience, I need the ability to step back and enjoy the moment and really live for the now.” Highlighted and reinforced “once my kids were born, starting to come into their own and have their own little personalities - this month they want to be veterinarians - I realised being away, that’s just what I do. There’s no getting around that but when I am home, I want to be there. Fully aware and fully conscience of what’s happening. I don’t want to miss out on that stuff. It’s human nature to be preoccupied or to think about work or the grown up shit that everyone has to deal with and yeah, that shit has to get done but at the same time, to be present, to be conscience is priceless. Before you know it, all that cliché stuff? It’s cliché for a reason because it’s fucking true. It’s fleeting, these moments. If you don’t pay attention and you don’t latch onto them, it’s gone forever. Before you know it, there’s a million moments that you missed and that’s really all life is, this collection of moments. You want to live for that, not paying bills and bullshit like that.” That reach out and grab it attitude beams throughout ‘Parachutes’. It’s a deliberate light that’ll never go out but it might never shine as fiercely again. “I’m consumed with light versus dark, life versus death, good versus evil. For every negative, there has to be a positive. You can’t have life without it. We’re always on this teetering brink. I’m not just all doom and gloom, I think it’s a very positive record. The hope outweighs the negatives, probably more so than anything I’ve ever done. I never thought I could write happy songs but I think I got as positive as I could.” That’s not to say Frank doesn’t dwell on the future. The idea of legacy, of being remembered, comes out of the shadows on ‘Parachutes’. ‘Miss
Me Now’ sees “the sin of pride come in on things. You want what’s best for your kids and you want them to be happy but there’s a selfishness that comes in. I want to know. It’s like that weird fantasy you have, I wish I could be at my own funeral just to see. I don’t want my kids to ever experience any kind of pain but I hope I was good enough that I left a lasting impression. That’d be nice.” As for being forever known as the ex-guitarist from that one band, “I don’t think it matters if I care or not. It’s one of those things where it is what it is. All I can do is just keep doing what I do. We’ll see, you know what I mean? I think we’re getting to the point where the catalogue is now so vast, ‘Oh it’s that guy from all those bands’. We’re at that point now where the Wikipedia is just too fucking long.”
rank doesn’t know if he’ll ever run out of things to say with his music. Aware that some people are probably begging him to please stop, he’s not letting either side of the coin phase him. “Who knows?” he asks. For today, he’s focusing on today. “Maybe me doing this is my form of therapy and at the end of it I’ll realise I’m fine now, I’m done. That’s it. Who knows?” he repeats. “The world could end tomorrow but as of right now, I’ve still got some stuff to say. That’s what the cool thing about a solo career is, you’re never going to not be you. So, really no matter what I do, it’s a follow-up. It’s the follow-up to something. This is something that can continue and can take on different shapes,” he continues before musing on poetry and photography. “Maybe it doesn’t always have to be in the traditional band setting and the traditional record setting, maybe it can be anything else and that possibility is really inspiring.” Naming the record after a lifesaving device, Frank announced it by explaining: “The act of living can be random and strange, beautiful and ugly at the same time and the only thing that is undeniably certain is eventually we are all gonna hit the ground. Some of us plummet at an incredible rate and it’s over in a flash, but some of us get saved
and are able to enjoy the view for a little while. This album is one of my parachutes,” and maybe it can help other people from falling. “That was the thing right. Music started off for me in that way, it was other people’s music and other bands that saved me and kept me afloat. I lived for it. And then I realised, I want to do this. I lived for that, for making music. If, geez, if I could write songs that would help people, or uplift people or give them something that they truly cared about and cherished, that’s the ultimate. To be there for someone else, like those bands were for me, is amazing.” Frank Iero has a ten-deck career that’s seen him never push back or chase forward. Instead, he’s built a legacy of variation that’s never felt forced and that’s rare. Instead of running out of room, he’s opening more doors at every turn. There’s a list of things he still wants to achieve. “I don’t know what they are yet but I’m down for the challenge. I feel like, until I’ve got nothing left to say or I feel like I’m done or uninspired, I want to keep going. Very rarely do I hit a brick wall with things, and maybe that’s why I jump around so much with different bands and different genres. When I hit a writers block or a brick wall, I get so depressed I need to do something else entirely different, ultimately that opens the door to something else so I jump and I do that. By doing that it opens up the door that was closed before. I cant stand being stagnant, so I have to jump around.” “I’m just a fan of music of all genres. I’m not going to do the same record over and over because there’s no point, so if I’m going to do different stuff, it might as well be drastically different. I want to experience everything. If you enjoy those risks, you’ll enjoy the things I do. The one thing I will say, if you follow me on those journeys of risk, I will never be full of shit about it. I think people can appreciate that. Whether you love it or you hate what I make, it comes from the heart and you can’t deny that. You may think my heart sucks but it’s definitely from my heart.” P Frank Iero and The Patience’ album ‘Parachutes’ is out now.
Speedy Ortiz’ Sadie Dupuis is going it alone as Sad13, and it’s glorious. WORDS: SAM TAYLOR.
adie Dupuis might just be one of the best people in music. Not only does she make top notch tunes - both with her band Speedy Ortiz and her latest solo project, Sad13 - but she makes a difference. A driving force behind the current movement to make gigs safer, she’s one of the first in line to tackle social and political issues such as consent and domestic abuse through hard-hitting yet absurdly fun songs like ‘Get A Yes’. This month sees her release new album, ’Slugger’. Hey Sadie, how’s things? Heyyyy. Eating some noodle soup of my own culinary devising. Watching last week’s episode of Empire ft. Mariah Carey. It’s my first day off and at home in a while. You’ve recently embarked upon a new solo project, Sad13 - is it something you’ve been itching to do for a while? I love pop music and have always wanted to work on something that aligns closer to that genre. Even though my brand of pop was made in a lo-fi, DIY, guitar-oriented fashion (understandable, considering my musical background), these feel markedly different from the kinds of recordings Speedy Ortiz produces as a group. I’ve had some of these songs in my head for a long time - years, for many of them. So when I had some downtime early this year, it was a priority to get these songs written and recorded. Has Sad13 allowed you to explore anything new? Because I’m viewing this as a “pop” project I felt I could be a bit more straightforward in these songs, not
just lyrically but with regard to the chord progressions and arrangements. Also, even though I write the songs in Speedy, we view the songs as belonging to all of us. Because I play everything on Sad13, there’s no real question of authorship, and I was more comfortable expressing certain concepts and ideas knowing that I was the lone woman behind them. How have you dealt with every little thing being down to you? I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment with getting everything ready for tour, but I’m lucky to be touring with a band comprised of great musicians and people, so it doesn’t feel quite so lonely. Two of the members of my band - Jade Payne, who plays in one of my favourite rock bands Aye Nako, and Emily Reo, who performs under her own name and self-produces some really amazing pop songs - have been super helpful in figuring out how to present this record live. Playing with backing tracks - or even playing a synth live - are totally foreign to me and I’m so thankful to have friends who know what they’re doing! We’ve just started practices and I’m trying not to freak out which is no easy task for me. What was your absolute favourite thing about creating ’Slugger’? There’s this ascending synth part over a few measures in the coda of ‘Just A Friend’ that I effected pretty heavily and filtered and it gets louder and scarier as it goes on. It’s not really a proper scale and jumps back a few tones every once in a while and has this feeling that it’s endlessly getting higher and higher. I love to put really frightening moments in otherwise really pleasant-sounding songs so I was psyched when I added that part.
To what extent do you feel a responsibility to positively impact others with your music? Making art your profession is narcissistic by nature - your whole job is to convince other people to interact with something you’ve made. In that way it’s very much like marketing. So many people use music to convey a vacant or apathetic message, and to me it just feels like wasting the listener’s time or devaluing their intelligence. So yeah, it’s important to me to write lyrics I think will be impactful to some of my listeners - or songs that I think would’ve been impactful for me as I was growing. Are there any topics you’d especially like to explore in future that you haven’t yet? Hard to say at this point. Possibly dependent on how our election goes. I’ll just say “pizza” for now. Like maybe I’ll just write a full-on apathetic fun-rock album, like the shit I was complaining about above. What do you think is a really positive thing about music right now? Some of the best selling records in the past few years have been political records. That’s very heartening. It’s cool to see more people care about representation politics in music, too. Album release aside, do you have anything coming up that you’re especially excited about? My mom and I are planning to go to Texas around Christmas. That’s a way away, but she’s never been, and I’m excited to show her Austin - my favourite North American city. P Sad13’s album ‘Slugger’ is out 11th November.
WITH NEW ALBUM ‘JESSICA RABBIT’, BROOKLYN DUO SLEIGH BELLS PACK ONE HELL OF A PUNCH.
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
“IT’S GIVING A MIDDLE FINGER TO PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS OF US,” ALEXIS KRAUSS EXPLAINS.
leigh Bells’ first three records feel like an escape. Hyperactive, neon-soaked and desperately bounding forward before they could get caught, Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller covered a lot of ground and they covered it fast. Album four however, the disorientating and somewhat madcap ‘Jessica Rabbit’ feels like an embrace. Glittering with mini epiphanies and more still, more sure of itself, the record sees Sleigh Bells ringing out with renewed confidence. They’ve never popped so damn hard. Sure, ‘Jessica Rabbit’ might have taken longer to create than the first three Sleigh Bells albums combined but it never sounds like a band struggling for direction. In fact from the opening snarl of ‘It’s Just Us Now’ to the closing bratty gambit of ‘As If’, Alexis and Derek make the brash and daring declaration of anything being possible. The really exciting thing about ‘Jessica Rabbit’ isn’t where Sleigh Bells have been. It’s where they’re going now.
‘Jessica Rabbit’ hops freely without restraint. “It’s a more confident album,” admits Alexis, but it wasn’t always that way. There’s a battle in the lyrics and a near-constant tug-of-war happening amidst the shape-shifting sonic backdrop. “There was a lot of doubt and insecurity in the creative process, this idea that there’s this struggle, right? It’s never easy. I think that’s what makes interesting music though,” Alexis ventures. Walking away from two record labels (both on good terms) during the creation of ‘Jessica Rabbit’ meant that for the first time, Sleigh Bells had to consider how their vision was going to be released. They decided to go it alone. “Derek has described this album as being self-indulgent. It’s not necessarily the smart record but it’s a record that we really love
industry can be and really just trying to come to terms with how to release this music. The idea that something you poured your heart and soul into could possibly be taken away from you was really terrifying for both of us. This band is his life. It is for me as well but these things do have serious consequences for him.” At the core of ‘Jessica Rabbit’ is “the idea that you have to push through no matter what, because if you don’t then… yeah, the consequences could potentially be that serious.“ But despite all the struggle, the back and forth and the confrontation, ‘Jessica Rabbit’ has victory at every turn. “We’re pushing ourselves on this album and initially may have felt a little insecure with some of the decisions, but we lived with them. Ultimately we decided that we wanted to be bold on this album and not have any respect for genre or any respect for what we’d done in the past.” The vision for the record shifted heavily. “Going into it, we were playing by the rules. By the time we finished, we were breaking all of them.”
“GOING INTO IT, WE WERE PLAYING BY THE RULES. BY THE TIME WE FINISHED, WE WERE BREAKING ALL OF THEM.”
“It was unexpected how long it took to make this record but ultimately, it ended up being really beneficial,” explains Alexis. “There was never any space carved out for an intention break. We came off touring ‘Bitter Rivals’ and we went straight into ‘Jessica Rabbit’,” and that was that. “We spent more time on this record than we had on our past three and I think that shows. It’s a very strange, disorienting album but as a lover of music, and when I try and imagine myself in the shoes of a Sleigh Bells fan, I think it has a lot to offer them. It’s super creative and we explore a lot of new territory. It’s a stubborn album, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want a lot of people to listen to it.”
With the vocals breaking away on their own and ideas given room to breath, 32 upsetmagazine.com
and care passionately about. That’s why we’re putting it out on our own because it gives us the same autonomy that went into the creation of it.” The doubt has left its mark though. “The penalty for failure is death” flickers the very real warning on ‘It’s Just Us Now’. “For Derek, I say that because that’s a really personal statement for him, he’s pretty open about not being the lightest person on earth. He’s got demons, he has struggles and I think there was a period where it was feeling like this album was going to get lost, not because of our own failures but because of how crazy the music
‘Jessica Rabbit’ is an album that “hopefully allows people to go to that deep, dark place and emerge out of it a better person,” offers Alexis. “One of my favourite things about Derek’s lyrics and working with them is being able to develop these characters around them. There’s a lot of strangeness, absurdity and detachment. It’s abstract. I want people to go from feeling like it’s this otherworldly machine to something that’s very intimate and personal. “Through a lot of pain and melancholy and torment on this album, there’s also euphoria and positivity. I was trying to find that balance between songs that really make you feel and bring out that intense emotional quality but at the same time, make you really
want to just forget about the world and get totally lost in them. I love the juxtaposition of that pain and that triumph. It’s what my favourite songs do, like ‘What Becomes of The Broken Hearted’. That’s a devastating song yet if you close your eyes and just sing it, you want to throw your arms up and spin around in a circle. I like that idea. I hear that on songs like ‘I Can Only Stare’. It’s got a lot of pain, but hopefully it feels really good to people.” For all the sugar-charged adrenaline and gritted teeth aggression, there’s a peace to ‘Jessica Rabbit’. “Are you proud of yourself?”, asks ‘Rule Number One’. “Are you doubting yourself? Are you proud of yourself,” it repeats, begging the question that you can’t have one without the other. “It was a completely uninhibited album and really was about tackling head on everything
that we were both experiencing. It’s giving a middle finger to people’s expectations of us. That’s what independent music is supposed to do, right? It’s supposed to challenge and push and make people uncomfortable.” As hard as it was to get here, and despite all the space explored since the release of their debut in 2010, Sleigh Bells aren’t running out of places to go. “It’s more about opening doors than feeling like we are in any way trapped. Derek and I have never, knock on wood, finished an album and felt depleted or exhausted in the sense that we don’t want to continue making music. There have been times when we’ve needed a break but as far as feeling creatively like we’ve hit a wall? No.”
make perfect sense. “Speaking as someone who knows all the other songs we recorded for this album and didn’t use, I feel even more like that. There are at least ten-twelve songs that we didn’t use and, at one point, we loved those songs dearly. Even jumping of off where we left off in terms of the music we didn’t include, that in itself gives us a lot of different options. Maybe a couple of those songs will make the fifth record but I have a feeling most of it will be brand new. That’s not to say we have a vision for the next album but we have already started working on music. We just really enjoy it, that’s why we do it. I think we’ll do it until we don’t enjoy it anymore.” P
Instead, it seems like the band could do absolutely anything and it would
Sleigh Bells’ album ‘Jessica Rabbit’ is out 11th November.
Balance and Composure are back as you’ve never heard them before. WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN
t the end of the day it’s the same five people in the same room just getting together, jamming and writing.”
Balance and Composure’s Bailey Van Ellis is quick to get stuck into the discussion that’s swarming around his band’s latest evolution. Change is a pretty standard talking point for most new releases, but has caused a particular stir for ‘Light We Made’. “It’s kind of hard for me to notice but it seems a lot of people have recognised that,” he continues from Brooklyn. “It’s hard being so close to something and listening to it to see what it sounds like. When people ask me what we sound like, I have no idea what to say.” While this may be the view from the inside, elsewhere it’s slightly different - comments on YouTube for their ‘Postcard’ video read as you’d expect for a shift in sound: “This track is awesome, but I really hope the rest of the album isn’t like this,” and: “Am I the only one who thinks this track is garbage? Praying this a one-off...” People can be quick to deride the new or unexpected, but it’s what keeps things exciting - trying to please the masses is an endless task. “There has been a small amount of kids who are like, ‘I’m not feeling this’, but we expected that,” Bailey laughs. “I feel like a lot more listeners have open minds and are willing to take in something new, or something that they wouldn’t expect, and take the positive from it, see where we’re coming from.” In introducing this new development they had to go hard or go home. “We knew what we were doing, and wanted to put something out there that would kind of show people how far we’d
gone in the process of writing this new record,” he elaborates, “we’d put something weird out first [‘Postcard’] and then I think this second single [‘Afterparty’] was more towards our roots. “We could’ve played it safe and sounded like us, but we wanted to do something different and keep it fresh.” The band find themselves in new, refreshed territory and are discovering that it’s pushing them to further their
“ W E WA N T E D TO P USH O U R S E LV E S A N D C R E AT E SOMETHING N E W. ”
performance. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but with these shows coming up - it’s the best we’ve ever sounded. I think we’re all just better musicians and we’ve come up with cool ways to incorporate electronic elements into the set.” The excitement isn’t lost as Bailey explains what they’ve got prepared. “I think it’s really fucking cool, I’m excited for people to see how we do it.” The final product, if you hadn’t guessed by now, is different to any previous Balance and Composure record. It’s complex in its execution, straying toward shoegaze and involving layers of rich and striking melody. It may not have the immediate
and attacking presence of ‘Separation’ or ‘The Things We Think We’re Missing’, but it stands on its own. “It’s an album that you can sit down and listen to multiple times and kind of hear everything differently, or hear something new each time, you know?” The lush sound they’ve created truly works better as a whole, the record taking on the stance of being an experience, something you can get lost within, which Bailey knows can be a rarity. “It’s different to a lot of music that’s being released today in terms of how everything is released as a single,” he explains, “and not a lot of people take into consideration the form of an album. I think the album just has a vibe and fits well together.” Time has been spent studiously processing what the years prior brought them, including 2013’s car crash that saw the band having to cancel a tour and re-evaluate what they were doing. 2014’s ‘The Things We Think...’ approaches this subject, but on ‘Light We Made’ the band found a fresh perspective: “There was nothing forced, we spent three years in between albums, there was a lot of time to discover new things,” Bailey ponders. Certainly, a change of sound can be risky - but this album couldn’t have happened any other way. “As an artist you never want to stay stagnant and doing the same, or continuing to do what you know what you’re good at. I feel like coming from the five of us, and how we all knew that we wanted to push ourselves and create something new, something we haven’t tried before - that’s what this album was all about.” P Balance and Composure’s album ‘Light We Made’ is out now.
Waterparks &Recreation New band on the block Waterparks have friends in all the right places - but their debut album ‘Double Dare’ is decidedly their own. WORDS: DANNY RANDON. PHOTOS: JONATHAN WEINER & JAWN ROCHA
his time last year, Waterparks had barely played a show outside their home state of Texas. Fast forward to this summer, and they’re one of the hottest new names on Slam Dunk’s, Warped Tour’s and Reading & Leeds’ respective bills. The trio’s success in making waves at the transatlantic trinity of festivals has set a promising precedent for their debut album, ‘Double Dare’. That was mainly down to their syrupy-sweet pop-rock anthems, but in the case of Reading & Leeds and their recent jaunt opening for Good Charlotte, it was also hard to ignore the presence of a certain former bassist of My Chemical Romance by their side.
a benefit that Awsten, guitarist and vocalist Geoff Wigington and drummer Otto Wood have reaped with both enthusiasm and apprehension. Even as protégées of The Brothers Madden that have warmed up crowds for Aaron Carter, Never Shout Never and Sleeping With Sirens, Awsten stresses the importance of coming out on the band’s own merits with their first full-length record.
“IT’S ALMOST LIKE IF BRITNEY SPEARS HAD A BAND!”
“Having Mikey [Way] come and play bass on [Waterparks’ 2016 EP] ‘Cluster’ and then do those shows with us was great,” confesses the band’s bubblegum blue-haired singer, guitarist and programmer Awsten Knight. “We’ve always talked about different shows that he could come and do with us and we’ve both been like, ‘Yeah, that sounds sick!’, but we didn’t want to do it too soon.”
“We didn’t want it to seem like we were trying to use anyone’s popularity from other projects to forward ourselves,” says Awsten, speaking from the band’s rehearsal space back home in Houston. “That way the headlines, if there were ever to be one, would look like ‘Mikey Way plays with band’, as opposed to ‘Waterparks play with special guest Mikey Way’!
Having friends in high places is
“We didn’t want to do anything 37
where it would make it seem like we were trying to take advantage of cool people being into what we do.” Much like its depiction of a hand grenade painted blue and camouflaged amidst a punnet of grapes on its cover, ‘Double Dare’ is a vibrant, juicy explosion of choruses that are borderline annoying in their catchiness.
“OH MAN, WE’VE LEARNED N OTH I N G!”
The likes of ‘Take Her To The Moon’ and ‘Powerless’ blur the line between pop and rock beyond perceptibility, but at least there’s still more chutzpah in the hooks than some of Waterparks’ teenybopperpleasing peers. That said, ask avid pop fan Awsten whether he fronts a ‘pop band’ or a ‘rock band’, and you’ll find a usually-chatty man in a rare moment of head-scratching ambivalence. “It’s a good question. Looking at it, I want to say we’re a rock band. Out of three people, two of us play guitars and the other plays on drums, but the songs are written with major pop influence. I usually try and think of poppier things when I write songs, but seeing as we actually use our instruments, it translates into what Waterparks’ songs are. “If you moved the notes that Geoff and I play on guitar over to a keyboard, and you put Otto’s drum patterns onto a programming pad, they would sound like a legitimate pop song. It’s almost like as if Britney Spears had a band!” Awsten found himself able to appease his adorations for pop music even further with the personnel twiddling the knobs and faders for ‘Double Dare’’s inception: Courtney Ballard, who has recorded with the likes of 38 upsetmagazine.com
State Champs, All Time Low and 5 Seconds Of Summer, alongside one half of the band’s management, Benji Madden. He may have spearheaded the early-00s wave of punk with Good Charlotte, but he also coaches on the Australian version of TV talent cesspool The Voice, manages Jessie J and has written for Hilary Duff and Sean Kingston. For a three-piece who, much like any other band, recorded their early work in a friend’s garage, Waterparks couldn’t really have asked for a more esteemed duo to immortalise their kooky, cartoony imaginations. “With the first EPs [2012’s ‘Airplane Conversations’ and 2014’s ‘Black Light’], we didn’t actually get to do
any pre-production,” reflects Awsten, who formed the band when he was 19. “They were just written and then the parts were recorded almost on the spot. Now, we can actually listen to the record and hear ourselves being able to do something really fucking weird, as opposed to going, ‘Hey, guy in the garage! Let’s try to record these weird things that we can’t really explain!’” Despite ‘Double Dare’’s showroom-sheen production, Awsten was intent on keeping some things as close to home as he could, and therefore maintaining some personality to the cutting-edge bleeps and bloops that make Waterparks that little bit more special. “Pretty much all the sounds
that I make are done in my room, and those things like vocal cuts and programming actually make the album from the home demos. That’s really cool for me, I think that adds another dimension. “We always wanted to be one of those bands that throw in curveballs, but I think it took us until ‘Cluster’ to get good at them. You can throw weird twists in your music, but if it’s stupid or overdone or way too technical, it’s not going to be cool. “With the album, we wanted to make it to where you couldn’t just be like ‘this is a rock band’ or ‘this is a pop-punk band’. We tried that with the last EP and I think we did a pretty good job with it, but we just wanted to
“It sucks if you’re pissed all the time, but if it’s not completely honest, and you’re either always pissed off or you make an overly 100% happy pop album, then that also sucks.” The advent of ‘Double Dare’ marks a remarkable year for Waterparks, and a period of twelve months that anyone would consider a massive learning curve, unless you’ve got the same boisterous level of hubris as Awsten. “Oh man, we’ve learned nothing!” he jokes. “Actually, I don’t want to say ‘nothing’ because we worked really really hard for all the years that we were a band before this year, but we had never toured, we had never been in a real studio… We hadn’t done any of this stuff until this year, everything’s been new and weird, and we still take pictures of all the new shit we’re doing.
show that you can actually do multiple shit and you don’t have to be like ‘we’re this pop-punk band, here you go, another one!” “Everyone that’s already doing that out there is just fine, they don’t need our addition, or anyone’s addition really.” Speaking of curveballs, the first couple of teasers from ‘Double Dare’ (‘Stupid For You’ and ‘Hawaii (Stay Awake)’) are instantly gratifying and infectiously simple. However, the deeper cuts on the record are far less saccharine endeavours, and a far more exciting indication that Waterparks aren’t all sunshine and double rainbows. Describing the album as
Waterparks’ most personal work yet on a lyrical scale, Awsten finds himself confronting a postadolescent crisis on ‘Dizzy’ (“I don’t hear from my friends anymore / Everything slows down by 24”), but it’s ‘Little Violence’ that stands out as the most memorable moment on the record: not for any “whoa-oh” chorus lines or sugary melodies, but for its frantic diatribe against the modern music industry and the Xerox-of-a-Xerox bands that are abundant within it. With Awsten seething, “These copycats are getting feral now / We’re building sandcastles out from their ashes now,” are Waterparks more of a serious proposition than they’ve initially come across?
“I guess you can be like one of these one-dimensional things where you’re either an angry, pissed-off band or a happy, silly band, but I don’t think we could ever be like that,” says Awsten, his voice taking a more contemplative tone. “Everything we do or write or say online has got to be a multi-dimensional, human thing. “If you’re one of those bands where you come across as tough guys all the time, then that’s you, you’re a tough-guy band and you’re stuck in that box. If we come out and say something like ‘Fuck DJ Khaled’ or we put on dog costumes in our music videos, I don’t think that means that we also can’t be tired of things sometimes or have any negative thoughts.
“There’s always stuff that we’ve got hidden up our sleeves too. We wrote around 40 songs for this record, and some of them have styles and moods that we hadn’t even worked with before. There was tons of stuff that we didn’t get to do on the album that I eventually want to do but I think the album is probably great for now, especially seeing as there’s 13 fucking songs and that’s a lot for our first album!” As for Waterparks’ eventual return to the UK? Awsten hints little more than “definitely being back before you know it”. “Our fans in the UK should prepare for our shows by wearing a lot of socks, because it’s pretty cold over there. I miss dogs whenever I’m on tour, so they should also bring their dogs to the shows… as long as they’re wearing ear protection!” P Waterparks’ debut album ‘Double Dare’ is out now. 39
When Ray Toro started tentatively working on a few songs at home, he quickly ended up with an album too good to be kept under-wraps. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
ay back when My Chemical Romance started out, Ray Toro put their first website together. He’d never made one before but he taught himself how using Dreamweaver. It was the same when it came to t-shirts. He had no idea how to use Photoshop, but he got a book and taught himself how. It was the same when it came to recording their first demos and during work on the scrapped fifth MCR album, he started getting involved in engineering. While Ray’s debut solo album ‘Remember The Laughter’ packs a surprise around ever corner of its epic, winding journey, the fact he’s spent the past three and a half years teaching himself every aspect and every skill needed to create the cinematic escape is exactly what you’d expect from him. “I like pushing myself,” he explains from his home in California. “I like learning new things. I like trying new things. I feel like as I get older, if I don’t do things like that, I’ll become stagnant. A great way for people to stay young and to stay fresh is to keep absorbing the world around you.”
home and everything made sense when you take what the record’s about,” explains Ray. “The themes on the record are very family orientated so it makes sense that 90% of the record was done at home. I’d have my kid come in when I’m trying to track and he’d want to touch the knobs, so he’d adjust them for me and I had him play percussion on one of the songs. On ‘Lucky Ones’ there’s a shaker sound that’s one of his Jake and The Land Pirate toys that I grabbed. I had to have some of that on the record because it ties it all together. Doing it here, doing it myself, made it a family affair.” The end result is a broad record that never sits still but manages to create a peaceful serenity with its everadventuring hunger. It’s a record that’s aware of the darkness of the night but holds out hope for the morning. “The songs are pretty diverse because I really tried to show all sides of my personality and songwriting style on one record. Sometimes that can feel very haphazard and it wasn’t until the end of the record where I found a way to connect it all and make it all cohesive.”
But as for expectations, that’s pretty much where they stop playing by the rules. “When you see someone in a band, you only see them in one role, in one way. When you release a record on your own, you get to see more facets of them, more colours of their personality and I think that’s what the record shows of me.” Turns out there’s much more to Ray Toro than big hair and bigger guitar licks.
‘Hope For The World’ was the spark that made it all fall into place. “That track is a great encapsulation of the things I’m trying to say on the record. When I wrote that track, I realised this is more than just a few songs. There’s some meat here, there’s something more tangible than just a few pop rock tracks. When I wrote that song, it let me know, this is going to be a really cool record if I do it right.”
What started out as a toe in the water quickly morphed into something more immersive. “Music is part of me so I always knew I would continue doing it in some fashion, but I didn’t really expect to end up writing an entire record,” admits Ray. “It just kinda happened.” It started with a handful of song ideas three and a half years ago and then, little by little, the idea for the album took shape.
And it does right. The uplifting optimism of the record is a reflection of who Ray is as an individual as well as a musician. “I’ve always been a very positive person,” he smiles. “I’ll always look at the brighter side of things, sometimes to a fault. Sometimes I can annoy people with my positivity but I
Visiting his little home studio after his wife and son had gone to sleep, Ray would work on these ideas until the early hours of the morning. “After a couple of months, a body of work started shaping up,” from the ideas that stuck around and over the following months and years, it shifted, altered and eventually settled as ‘Remember The Laughter’. “I just love the idea of recording from
“I DIDN’T R E A L LY E X PECT TO E N D U P WRITING AN ENTIRE REC O RD.”
always look for the glimmer of light in the darkness.” The opening track ‘Isn’t That Something’ was written pretty soon after MCR broke up. “I feel like it was my own way of telling myself it’s okay, I can keep going, keep making music or keep doing whatever it is I want to do.” From there on out, it’s an encouragement he wanted to spread. “I feel like if other people, fans of the band or fans of me, can take that positive energy for themselves, I think that’s important. It’s just the side of songwriting I tend to lean on.” As joyous and uplifting as ‘Remember The Laughter’ is, there’s a sadness to that phrase. A sense of loss. “It’s very nostalgic,” offers Ray. “The record is very linked to family and the circle of life, one life starting while another life ends and where that lyric came from, it’s super morbid but it’s one of the things you think about when you become a parent. How do you comfort your kids when you’re going to pass on? That phrase just always stuck with me. I just feel like that’s what, when that day comes, I will tell my son. Remember the good times.” The record offers “a sense of hope and a belief in themselves that they can do anything. Those are things I want to instil in my kid and ultimately the album, especially songs like ‘Remember The Laughter’, they’re written for my son. Those are things I want to leave with him. To have that confidence to go out into the world, do what he feels he wants to do and make his mark on the world.” It’s a message for one and a message for all. “The best music is never written to make people happy or to make people feel a certain way. You can’t think about the aftermath,” offers Ray. “You just have to write what you feel and right now I’m treating this album as a one off. I have a bunch of other material though that, over the next month or two, I’ll go over and see if I can flesh out more. “I have to figure that out, but I think right now, the focus is on getting this record out, getting people to hear it, play some shows - as long as it can be done right - and see where it goes from there. You’ve just got to see where life takes you. If more music wants to be created, it will come out somehow.” P Ray Toro’s album ‘Remember The Laughter’ is out 18th November. 41
NOBODY KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON WITH BRAND NEW, BUT HEY, LET’S NOT WORRY ABOUT THAT...
he Devil and God…’ saved Brand New,” admitted Jesse Lacey back in 2012. With the band once again reflecting on its importance earlier this year as they pushed back their on again/off again fifth album, it’s tough to argue against its importance to the Long Island fourpiece. More than simply a personal milestone though, ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’ is one of the greatest albums of all time. Back in 2006, it was one of a kind and a decade later, we still haven’t seen anything else like it. Following the success of their second album ‘Deja Entendu’, the band disappeared for eighteen months to reconnect to their real lives. They went into the unknown with an album’s worth of songs already written, ready for their return, but they came back together in the autumn of 2005 changed men. The immediate follow up to ‘Deja’ was scrapped, and ‘TDAG’ took shape. Gone was the smirking poetry of old and in its place, an epic existential crisis in twelve parts. Bloodied, bruised and beaten down, ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’ tackles exactly what it says on the tin. The record questions right and wrong and looks at belief, loss and regret with agonising honesty and in microscopic detail. From the opening admission of ‘Sowing Season’, Brand New pull away from the expectation of relationships as they retreat into themselves in a bid preserve what little they have left. It’s a stark contrast to the Brand New of old who were obsessed with preserving their ties to others but as the
...IS TEN YEARS OLD! impending admissions of ‘Millstone’ take over, the band make it clear: “I used to care, I was being cared for / Made sure I showed it to those that I love.” As much as ‘TDAG’ pulls away from the world, it never breaks all bonds. In the dark and lonely spirals are glimmers of hope. ‘Jesus’ might focus on being a sinner and the fear of repeating the same mistakes, but there’s a peacefulness to it. There’s an optimism to ‘The Archer’s Bows Have Broken’ as well as the young lovers’ rage against those trying to break them down. For the most part though, ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’ focuses on the dark recesses of the soul. It’s an exploration of belief that holds nothing back. Frank and wide eyed, it asks questions that only you will ever be able to answer but it provides just enough humanity to offer a comfort in the search. ‘Deja’ may have helped shape a genre, but ‘TDAG’ does the same thing with people’s lives. While the lyrics may obsess with life and death, musically Brand New created a landscape of fire, rage and beauty. Quiet one moment, explosive the next (literally during ‘Limousine’), ‘TDAG’ is a record attacking from all angles. You don’t have to tear yourself apart to enjoy it either. The likes of ‘You Won’t Know’ and ‘Not The Sun’ are certified bangers, ‘Jesus’ is the song that the person with an acoustic guitar should always cover, and ‘Limousine (MS Rebridge’), written about the tragic death of car crash victim, 7-year-old Katie Flynn, channels such a raw intensity it’s hard not to be moved.
The band don’t even need words to channel emotion. ‘Untitled’ and ‘Welcome To Bangkok’ barely say anything but can still evoke like the best of them. Even the cover art, Untitled 44 from Nicolas Prior’s Age Of Man series, influenced by Freud’s writings on The Uncanny, and the idea that an adult cannot look back on childhood as a child, launches you down a road with many questions and few answers. ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’ established Brand New as the band we know today. Before this record, they were part of a pack. They may have been a big fish but they were sharing the pond. That changed with this record. It was also when they stopped playing by the rules. Fan theories about running order and meaning, instructions in the CD booklet to send a dollar to an address and unknown lyrics (hello ‘Degausser’), this album let Brand New play with layers for the first time and it’s a game they’re still enjoying to this day. The shenanigans they’ve been playing recently, they started here. It also opened up the idea that bands could sing about more. It’s hard to imagine a world where letlive. and The Wonder Years have evolved so fiercely and have a platform to speak about things bigger than themselves without the success and adoration towards Brand New’s ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’. It’s a record that captures a band on the very brink, tearing themselves apart to find something worth holding onto. In the darkness though, they found a light and ten years on, it’s still burning brightly. P
RATED FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE
rank Iero has found his voice and he wants everyone to know. From the opening rampage of ‘World Destroyer’, him and his band waste no time in showing just how far they’ve come over the past couple of years. Every step into the unknown and every calming breath can be seen as ‘Parachutes’ charges through new ground. Gnarled around the edges but moving as an unstoppable force, the twelve tracks see the band ask questions and find answers, whether they want to or not. ‘I’m A Mess’ is an anthem of self-acceptance, ‘Remedy’ is an ode to being saved while ‘Viva Indifference’ celebrates the power of pain. Facing the darkness but never doing it alone, Frank offers a helping hand at every step. Even the gut-wrenching tribute to his Grandfather ‘9-6-15’ puts inspiration before everything. The more he opens up, the deeper you fall and on ‘Parachutes’, Frank isn’t holding anything back. Despite the sonic scale of the record putting The Patience comfortably in arena territory, it’s never used 44 upsetmagazine.com
to hide behind. Instead it’s used as a benchmark to turn everything up by the same degree. The louder the song, the more passionately Frank wants to tell you his darkest secrets. There’s a confidence to the admissions. There’s no shame, only acceptance as ‘Parachutes’ finally establishes Frank Iero as an artist who can truly do anything. Sure, the rage and noise is more grand and commanding than Frank has dared dial up in the past but it’s songs like ‘Miss Me’, a country-infused track about the idea of legacy and the morbid desire to find out how his kids will remember him after he’s died, that show off Frank’s smirking ability as master of all. Despite the many faces he shows, it’s never jarring. The twelve sided die tumbling under one true voice. Despite everything he’s done before, it’s this record that is Frank Iero’s finest moment. ‘Parachutes’ looks at the darkest moments and finds a reason to smile in each and every one. Ali Shutler
COMA HAPPY EP
eeee Irish rock music has a lineage to uphold, and Fangclub aren’t about to let that slide. Though they may not cast lazy comparisons to some of their compatriots, they’re certainly keeping the standards up. Their second EP only furthers their signature, direct, scuzzy guitar pop’s cause. ‘Dreamcatcher’ matches riffs with melody, while ‘Follow’ keeps the bar rising higher. There’s little doubt that, if considering brute force and infectious tunes, Fangclub have what it takes to make an impact. A band who can play to the most basic of desires, they may not be the most nourishing food for the brain, but they’ll move you everywhere else. Christopher Jones
ABSTRACT FIGURES IN THE DARK
A debut record rarely ever acts as a totally new introduction to a band. Defying the expected norm, ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’ is like Tigercub have been reborn, not that they ever needed to be. A piece of art you don’t have to listen to in order to get its best picture, Tigercub excel in their ability to be menacingly heavy, soft and sensitive. Lyrically, the album is wise beyond its years, poetic both in lengthy terms or in the snappier tracks like ‘Serial Killer’, which is structured to perfection. ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’ is - in short - spellbinding. Jasleen Dhindsa
EXIT BRAIN LEFT
Suffer For My Art
It says a lot that Steven Battelle has a song named ‘Steven Battelle’ on his debut solo album; the former LostAlone frontman has always had a touch more belief than most. In the past there’s been more than a dash of selfindulgence to his music, but ‘Exit Brain Left’ is anything but. Over the top but with plenty of refrain, the songs dance on the right side of ridiculous. The majesty of the adventure shines through. Ali Shutler
H... Q&A WIT
MAN WHO S T E V E N B AT T L E I S A SIC; THE U M G N I AT E R C S E LOV TMAN E X - L O S TA L O N E F R O N YEAR T H A S S P E N T T H E PA S O HIS T N I F L E S THROWING HIM HICH W , D R O C E R O L O DEBUT S E IS NOW ON THE VERG OF RELEASE.
BALANCE & COMPOSURE
LIGHT WE MADE
Big Scary Monsters
The Balance And Composure that emerges on ‘Light We Made’, the band’s third record, is somewhat different to that which came before. Intense, atmospheric and understated, it’s a welcome shift, too. Lead single ‘Postcard’ shows it well - finding new ground in grooves and programmed beats. As an attempt to push their boundaries, it’s an undeniable success. Christopher Jones
Sleigh Bells come crashing back into view with the cutting electro jar of ‘It’s Just Us Now’. As reintroductions go, it’s full of intent and promise. What follows is the band at their weird and wonderful best as ‘Jessica Rabbit’, all bubblegum vengeance and neon dreams, sees the band letting go of all fear. Their confidence is all consuming and their conviction absolute as the duo throw their most outrageous party yet. Turns out you ain’t seen nothing yet. Ali Shutler
Hey Steven, what prompted you to start creating music solo? As soon as the decision was made to end the band a feeling of directionless fear overcame me. I booked a cheap flight to Geneva then took the train by the lake to Montreux (a trip I’ve now managed to do almost twenty times since 2008) and began what became this record. Many more trips alone either walking cities or sitting looking at mountains followed over this past year. How have you found it so far? Is there anything you’re especially enjoying? The main thing really is the lack of business interests to deal with. I LOVE this! The thing I miss is the camaraderie of getting in the bus and heading off on tour with the guys. You band mates and crew become a real family. Where did you look for inspiration for ‘Exit Brain Left’? I’m a relentless writer so songs were always being stockpiled for the record. I did however choose to make this record in a new way for me. I scheduled twelve individual weeks across 2015 with Dan Weller for recording and then took a trip the week before each recording week with the goal of writing the song which would be recorded
the following week. So other than Nine Miles of Light” and “the Jump” this is how I made the record. It’s fantastic to be able to associate a song with a specific week / trip. Was there a key moment when you felt the album was coming together? I very clearly remember sitting in the kitchen of a beautiful pink house in Hastings and myself and Dan Weller (producer) listening back to the song ‘Powers Of Denial’. It was a huge moment for me. Up until that point it was all in my head, I knew what I wanted to sound like but when I heard that song in its rough mix form I realised that I could make a record which would sound completely as I wanted and not just LostAlone part two. What are you most looking forward to about releasing this new album? I’ve really mixed feelings. Part of me feels sad that it will no longer be my thing, once it’s out that’s it it’s done for me and belongs to the listener. However I am really excited to get on recording my next record which I written and ready to go. I really hope the people listen to it on headphones in the dark and feel like they’re entering a world rather than just hearing music. P
YOU BLEW IT!
Big Scary Monsters
‘Abendrot’, translated from German into English, refers to that dreamy red sky effect that pleases shepherds and pisses off the sailors. It’s a pretty good comparison for the new album from the Florida five piece. Produced by Into It. Over It.’s Evan Weiss’, it’s a blissful soundscape of perfectly pitched emo. Packed with heart and soul, there’s an honesty right from opener ‘Epaulette’ that neither cloys nor outstays its welcome. Christopher Jones
! T I W E L B U YO H... Q&A WIT
U P S E T R U D E LY I N T E R R U P T S A N A F T E R N O O N O F F I F A
H A L F T I M E . ” ) S O Y O U B L E W I T ! ’ S TA N N E R J O N E S C A N
eeee Waterparks took a slip n’ slide straight to the heart of Slam Dunk and Warped Tour with the help of friends in high places. Managed by the Madden Brothers and sharing their spotlight with Mikey Way, the Texan three-piece had little more than a glimmer of potential to name their own. On their debut, however, they’ve dug a little deeper and taken a bullseye shot to your most indulgent tendencies. To call Waterparks a ‘rock band with pop sensitivities’ would downplay the brilliantly boisterous energies that make ‘Stupid For You’ and ‘Made In America’ so outrageously catchy. On the other side of that coin, calling them a ‘pop band with rock recklessness’ would serve as even more of an injustice to the arena-conquering bounce of ‘Gloom Boys’ and ‘Dizzy’. The trio admittedly aren’t a universe away from the cleanest cuts of a dirty cloth, but at least frontman Awsten Knight uses his guitar as much more than just a fashion accessory. He is undoubtedly the most vibrant and hyperactive of the bunch, and as he spits a venomously frank cynicism of his scene on ‘Little Violence’, that glimmer of potential shines much brighter than ever before. When it comes to stepping out of their famous friends’ shadows, Waterparks couldn’t have made much more of an awesome attempt than ‘Double Dare’. Danny Randon 46 upsetmagazine.com
1 7 ( “ W E ’ R E A L L T I E D U P AT 1 A L L A N D I T ’ S
SPILL THE BEANS ON THE BAND’S NEW ALBUM
Hey Tanner, how has 2016 been so far for you guys? Are you in a good place? 2016’s been pretty slow up until now, which I think has been good. We’ve all had time to decompress and really get our heads back on. Now that we’re getting back into the swing of things, we’re really excited to see the new record getting so much preliminary attention. Couldn’t imagine a better scenario. You’re soon to release ‘Abendrot’ in what ways do you see this as a transitionary record for the band? I think it holds that distinction for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one has got to be the sound. We took this opportunity to really explore other soundscapes and writing styles, and we’re very happy with the outcome — dare I say, proud. Which of the songs featured means the most to you? The song that I think means the most to me is the one I wrote to be fictional. It’s called ‘Arrowhead’. I wrote it from the perspective of an absent father to his daughter, but I didn’t realise until later that there are absolutely pieces of me that snuck in there. Epaulette is a very close second though. That one’s about my grandfather.
What was the most important thing you learnt - about yourself, being a musician or life in general - during the creation process? I’m not as strong as I thought I was, and that’s okay. Under the assumption that I could handle it, I allowed work, art, and perfectionism blend into one, all while touring incessantly. I ended up letting it overtake me and I dealt with it in very unhealthy ways. I realised there comes a point where you need to ask for help, and that there’s strength and solace in that. Do you think this record will allow you to connect with fans in a different way to you have previously? I’d really love that. Ultimately my high hope is that this record reaches out to someone in need. Would you say ‘Abendrot’ is the album you set out to make? You’re always going to want more out of a record, especially when collaborating with other musicians. There are always compromises to be made to keep everyone’s (slightly different) visions intact. But with that being said, this record absolutely accomplishes what we all hoped it would. We’re all very proud of it. P
Superstar Destroyer Records
TALK OF VIOLENCE
Petrol Girls are a sociopolitical feminist hardcore punk band that truly live and breathe their art. Math energy and agility swarms ‘Talk of Violence’, until the poppier ‘Touch Me Again’ with spitting vocals moulded against an unwavering tempo and spark that spurs into a whirring riff, not to mention vocalist Ren Aldridge’s shouting of “touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you”. ‘Talk of Violence’ is an album that pretty much does what it says on the tin: it’s on fire from start to finish. Jasleen Dhindsa
14 Bowls of Cereal
You’d be forgiven for thinking you knew where French fourpiece PÆRISH got their name. You’d be wrong, though (it’s inspired by the character Alan Parrish in the film Jumanji). That’s not the only delightful surprise in store with their debut full-length, either. Mixing an iconic Smashing Pumpkins / Silversun Pickups wave with elements of grungy pop, math rock and angular punk, it’s a rocky road of delights. Lead single ‘Undone’ sells it best - one of those gems that never feels obvious, but ear worms itself into the brain regardless. A hidden gem that won’t stay under wraps much longer. Stephen Ackroyd
Bringing in a dark mix of math, post, alt and any other kind of rock you can think of with complete aplomb, Young Legionnaire demand your full attention. ‘Zero Worship’ is the very definition of organised chaos, with atmospheric sounds from the industrial setting in which they recorded adding to the album’s domineering attitude. Not shy of a pleasing melody, it reflects upon both the personal and the political, reaching in and stirring ideas and feelings you didn’t realise you had. Steven Loftin
This debut selftitled album by Non Canon, AKA Oxygen Thief, AKA Barry Dolan, is far less complex than the lexicon of identities that sit on the surface. A vastly different musical vision to the day job, Non Canon deals instead with tuneful, acoustic vibes and strings. It’s a far more varied effort than such descriptions may suggest, though. ‘Memory Beta’ in particular stands out, slow burning but still brilliantly open and accessible - it’s a track that deserves attention. Christopher Jones
Some people horde all the talent. Sadie Dupuis isn’t content with her day job fronting the brilliant Speedy Ortiz. Her debut under the Sad13 guise, ‘Slugger’ is the kind of record which demands more than just a side-project label. Smart, sometimes wonky, always fantastic pop music - it pulls hints at 90s R&B, grunge, and a whole rainbow of other day-glo influences. Dealing with heavy themes with a perfectly weighted touch this is one ‘Slugger’ that only needs to throw a single punch. Stephen Ackroyd
BEANS ON TOAST
A SPANNER IN THE WORKS
TRACKS OF THE MONTH
REMEMBER THE LAUGHTER
Ray Toro’s debut is finally here. Nostalgic but not relying on the past, ‘Remember The Laughter’ is a fully-formed expression of self. There are moments that pop and moments that rock, but this album is so much more than that. Refusing to settle on one sound, it’s the complete story - and despite the dreamy escape offered, it’s very aware of reality’s trouble. Ray Toro knows how dark the world is, and it makes his ‘Hope For The World’ that much more poignant. Ali Shutler
2016 has been rubbish. Not in a musical sense, but - y’know - generally. Referendums, Bowie, Prince - it’s a diatribe against the bobbins of the year so far that starts off ‘A Spanner In The Works’. You can have that one for your ‘why aren’t artists more politicised’ list. Intimate, culturally aware bullets are fired off at will. At least someone is willing to tell it how it is. Christopher Jones
EMPIRE RECORDS EP
There’s a shimmer to Slotface’s ‘Empire Records’ EP. A light behind the eyes, a sparkle about the tongue as the band breaks into a smirk. It may be less intense than the rage of ‘Sponge State’ but it turns out Slotface still have plenty to say. Their hunger snarls and the frustrated energy that comes with it drives the band into a rainbow-doused landscape. The door’s wide open and Slotface can now go wherever they want. We’ll be sure to follow. Ali Shutler
How many bands tell you a record will be their last before even releasing it? That’s the move Enemies have taken with their third full-length. It’s brave, but it’s also pretty damn smart. With the pressure off, their final statement is given room to shine. Smart yet not too smart, their influences are varied. ‘For Karla’ draws from mathrock without ever being cold, while ‘itsallwaves’ soars with every move. Their invention only goes to make ‘Valuables’ feel all the more fresh. Enemies may be calling it a day, but it’s with a bang, not a whimper. Stephen Ackroyd
Stark, acoustic faire is Will Varley’s stock in trade and ‘Kingsdown Sundown’ plays that card perfectly. Haunting and selfaware, there’s a timeless quality to ‘When She Wakes Up’, spinning tales over winding, sparse guitar. ‘To Build A Wall’ deals with unnervingly present issues, without ever feeling preachy or obvious in its lyrical content, while ‘We Want Our Planet Back’ is more direct and to the point. An album for a specific place, in a certain mood - it may not start the party, but Will Varley will certainly make you think. Christopher Jones
We Are The In Crowd were always more pop than punk but SAINTE, the new project from the band’s Tay Jardine, takes that into sugary new realms. All fuzzy guitar, joyful keys and a fire confidence, the reintroduction of ‘Technicolor’ is a neon bright welcome to her new world. Already fully formed and at ease with their rainbowsoaked sound, there’s no time for gentle immersions. Not when you have a track that hits as hard as this. A kiss with a fist, SAINTE’s got us hooked with the first bite.
Taking a little sprinkle from their heart-on-the-sleeve past but cutting it with their own determined vision, ‘Suzanne’ sees Creeper reaching scary new heights all over again. Snarling and built for mass participation but doused in young romance and a touch of magic, the track walks all the lines but pays attention to none. From the “up and out the window before anybody hears” through the ask of “can music save your mortal soul?” and off into the cry of “let’s make a list of demands,” ‘Suzanne’ sees Creeper still born to run but they’re now aware of the footprints that followed them leave. It doesn’t matter though. That future? They want it now.
DEBUT ALBUM O U T 11 . 11 . 1 6
PRE-ORDER NOW FROM W W W. I L O V E A L C O P O P. C O M
GUS WOOD FROM YOUNG GUNS - VS -
THE INTERNET YO U G U Y S S U G G E S T E D S O M E Q U E S T I O N S F O R U S TO A S K O N TW I T T E R. W E A S K E D T H E M. H E R E A R E T H E A N S W E R S.
ARE THERE ANY SONGS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE RECORD THAT YOU WISH DID? Yes. After we finished the album, me and John [Taylor, guitar] spent some more time writing in LA and wrote five songs all of which I thought deserved to go on the album. It’s never bad to have more material in the back pocket though. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS, SINCE SOME OF YOU ARE VEGETARIAN/VEGAN? We’re nearly entirely vegan/
vegetarian, and most of our crew is too. One of our favourite restaurants in the world is Lombardis in Manhattan. It’s not even the best pizza ever it’s just become a nice tradition for us. Closer to home I love Mildreds in Soho, which is a nice little vegetarian restaurant with great cocktails. WHICH ONE BAND, PAST OR PRESENT, WOULD YOU LOVE TO TOUR WITH? It’s a boring answer but it would have to be Metallica. They were such
an important band to me growing up. I would be in awe of them, definitely would find it hard to keep my cool around James Hatfield. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE FREE TIME? I tend to read a lot, follow politics, I love to play piano, I’m a total gaming nerd... I like to cook and just relax and do all that stuff I guess. IF YOU COULD SWAP NOSES WITH ANYONE IN THE BAND, WHO
WOULD YOU SWAP WITH AND WHY? Simon has a good nose. Let’s go with that. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR MUSIC VIDEO IDEAS FROM? They usually are a devolved version of the original idea that I or we have as our ideas never factor budget into the equation! ‘Bulletproof’ for example - I have always wanted to be killed in various ways and I wanted it to be like that old school film Death Becomes Her, but it ended up in more of a noir-ish kind of vibe. P
Also available from TOPSHELF RECORDS:
Electric Soul Unity
NO JOY Drool Sucker
RATBOYS / DOWSING Split
FIELD MOUSE Episodic
7” / CASSETTE / DIGITAL - OUT NOW
7” / DIGITAL - SEPTEMBER 9, 2016
CD / LP / CASSETTE / DIGITAL - AUGUST 5, 2016
CD / LP / CASSETTE / DIGITAL - OUT NOW
New 2016 releases coming from Special Explosion, Mouse On the Keys, LITE, Bellows, Del Paxton, Enemies, Eerie Summer, Artie Tea & more.
Published on Nov 11, 2016