“I’m not a fan of the barrier at the fests but there’s nothing like seeing thousands of people circle pit.” Candace Kucsulain seeing thousands of people circle pit. I love them both and I am grateful that this is a part of our lives.”
How do audiences compare between the US and Europe?
It seems that over the years your sound has become more refined and sophisticated without losing any of its brute force. Have you become better musicians or do you have more in the budget that allows for this?
“We’ve mostly toured Europe because it’s much easier to travel and the shows are always amazing. Since we are trying to balance home life we prefer to be on the road no longer than two weeks at a time. There are little differences but not much and both scenes have a lot of heart.”
“Probably both. We did the first two records in Mike’s studio before it was a real studio and those got done in two days so having an actual budget and time definitely changed things and for the better I would say. You can only hope that as time goes by and experience happens that you learn and grow and become better at what you love.”
You must be very proud of the record. What was the recording like?
Are you surprised with your longevity and continued success?
“Pre-production only took a couple months and the recording itself took around five weeks. Both were amazing experiences. During pre-production I was going through a lot of personal things and I needed to be surrounded by music and using my emotions for good and constructive things. So it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Recording as we did with Ben at Spider Studio, we all had to take turns going because we had real life stuff like family and jobs to work around. I got to bring my daughter with me and that’s something that will always stick in my mind when thinking about this record. It’s always a great experience with Ben. He knows what we like, what we need and can sound like and he treats us like family.”
“Every day I am grateful that this band is still in my life. There were times I took it for granted and didn’t know what I had. We have a great team and people who care about us. That’s what helps us keep going. The scene never stops caring and we never stop caring about it.”
You never seem to let your audience down live or on record. Are you conscious that the hardcore scene can be a fickle one? “Can’t any scene be? What’s important is that you stay true to who you are and just keep doing what you love. We love to play live, we still love playing the songs we do and we are even more excited for the new ones. We are a give-it-hell kind of band. You put all you got on that stage or you don’t sleep well that night. I’m not sure exactly what it is that we all have in common that drives us to be this way but we just do. We do it with and for each other and we love it otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it.”
How important to you personally are the more melodic moments that have peppered your body of work? “I believe you are talking about the mellow songs. I love that we are able to do a song like this on every record. Music is what we like to do and we are gonna do it anyway we want to! I have always loved to sing and so it’s kind of a dream come true to be able to record the nicer stuff and have it in the world. Music is about connection and I want to do that any way I can.”
DOWN FOR LIFE
It’s natural that members will come and go in a band that’s been around for as long as you have but you have had the same line-up for a while now with a decent number of original members. Does this current line-up feel like the most exciting line up the band has had? “We have had the same guys since early 2000. Mike, Aaron and I are originals. Chris came in around 1999-2000 and Distin not long after. Chris is full time touring with Stick To Your Guns so we recently added a sixth member, Bobby, to the band.”
How has motherhood changed things for you in terms of your approach to WOJ? Must make things more challenging logistically? “It doesn’t make things challenging but only because I don’t want to spend time away from her, so we try to find balance and had to learn to say no. We don’t do long tours, nothing more than two weeks unless it makes sense to. This summer will be a touch over two weeks and it will be the longest in four years. Having her was the best thing that ever happened to me. She has helped me love and appreciate life on a whole new level.”
As with many bands you use impersonal pronouns in your lyrics when you talk about ‘we’ and ‘us’... Is there a scene or class of people that you are referring to specifically or a group that you identify with in particular perhaps? “The Scene! Anyone who will listen or can relate!! A united front is much stronger than one standing on their own. But if you must stand on your own than that’s what you do.”
Do you enjoy interviews? “I appreciate them for sure. Right now I’m trying to get this done in a timely manner and I can be a procrastinator but I don’t mean to be. I love when I get a question I’ve never heard.”
What inspires your work outside music? “Lifting does! I am part of an organisation called Relentless. They raise money for kids with cancer and other life threatening illness. I’m lucky enough to lift at the meets and raise money for these amazing kids and their families. But that also inspires me musically. We wrote ‘Relentless’ from the new record for these kids.” ‘NO ONE CAN SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF’ IS OUT NOW ON NAPALM RECORDS