The band released Ruiner last year, which made several of the year end lists of 2005, including a #3 spot on the overall Best of 2005 You can check it out by clicking Read More
I read that Ruiner was written mostly while on the road, because as a young band, you are constantly touring. If given the opportunity, would you rather have the chance to just sit down for a period of time to write an album, or does a lot of inspiration come from the road?
Trevor: It’s not easy writing on the road.
Nuno: I’d much rather have a block of time, you know? Trevor and I were just discussing—maybe last week—trying to figure out when we’re actually going to get a solid chunk of time to get home and practice together. That’s always how it’s been for us, since we were in high school playing songs. Every Monday or whatever, we had all day just to practice and work on shit. And it seems a lot easier than way than just having Trevor recording little pieces into his recorder. It’s a bit more organic I think if you can just jam stuff out a little bit.
T: We’ll do that on the next one. We’ll have more time at home because we’re going to have to. We’re going to have to top Ruiner. After a show, all I’m worried about is getting food, you know what I mean. I’m not worried about writing fucking guitar riffs.
Well with that, in your last press release you stated, "We wouldn't attempt another record if we didn't think it could blow the last one away." As good as Mute Print was, I think it’s safe to say that Ruiner has far exceeded it. My question is, where do you go from here? How will you top Ruiner?
N: Good setup dude! He’s setting you up Trev. Knock it down. He’s throwin’ you a curve, dude.
T: It’s going to be great, man. The new one’s going to be better than Ruiner. I can tell you right now, it’s going to be fucking way better, because if not, why even make another record.
T: I don’t want to put out something mediocre and then have to go out on the road and hear people say, “why don’t you play shit from the other records?” Fuck that! It just ain’t going to happen.
So, if you’re saying you wouldn’t put out another record if you didn’t think you could top the last; if you honestly felt you couldn’t put out a better record, would you just call it quits?
T: Probably, because the reason that we couldn’t come up with something better—and when I say better, I mean better for us. When we write songs, I’m not thinking about some kid that thinks I’m God’s gift to fucking songwriters because of a line off Ruiner. I’m not thinking of that kid. I’m thinking of the guys in my band. I’m trying to think of what we dig. Like, “Wow, look what we did. That’s fucking cool.” That’s what I like about writing songs. I thought of the way I was when I was younger and I would want a band to be a certain way, and if they weren’t that way on the next album, then I was bummed out. Then years later, I was like, “Wow, I’m fucking stupid,” “Dead You” was amazing. As a band you have to make yourselves happy. Critics and all that, it’s all fun and it’s all cool but it doesn’t keep me up at night.
Ruiner has been accepted very well critically. What kind of pressure does that put on you to keep performing at such a high level?
N: I don’t think we’ve ever written an album for critics. Whether it be good publicity or bad, we’ve never taken that into consideration. So, thanks a lot to everybody for the good reviews and everything, but we just want to put out and album that blows Ruiner out of the water.
You’ve toured with Rise Against, Strung Out, and The Lawrence Arms, and Reel Big Fish, and you’ve got an upcoming tour with punk vets Lagwagon. What is it like touring with some of these bands?
T: It’s pretty awesome, because Lagwagon and Strung Out, they were bands we’d go see and watching them play was a big deal, long before we started going out an getting fans of our own. So, it’s pretty surreal. I think the 17 year old versions of ourselves would be pretty happy.
N: Yeah, definitely.
Do you think you’ll record with Bill Stevenson again for the next album?
I’d like to have us be that band that just keeps putting out records and they're still good and still mean something to us and mean something when we listen to them. Not the band that kind of had a hit, and after that you can kind of tell by listening to their records that they really don’t care anymore
I’m also curious about how the departure of John influenced the band?
T: Now he’s our business manager. So, he’s still pretty much full time in the band. He just wasn’t feeling the touring anymore. It’s a different dynamic though. I think the next record will exploit Cobra’s talents and strengths he has over John. We just have to put everything together. It’s working out well so far. He just hasn’t really experienced the Trevor Reilly school of song writing yet.
N: He hasn’t caught Trevor’s full-blown ferocity quite yet.
T: He will.
N: Good luck Cobra.
You guys stand out as a band; musically, through the guitar, vocal style, and arrangement; physically through Nuno’s stage presence. Do you guys consciously try to separate yourselves from other bands through these kinds of things, or does it just come out that way?
T: I think when we write songs, we try to add as much stuff as possible so everybody is always doing something. There’s always something to listen to. You’re never going to find Nuno running around the stage for like a minute while I sing. It’s just corny to me so—we’re a live band.
So, no fillers basically?
N: Exactly. As long as it’s fun, I don’t think it’s something you necessarily have to plan.
T: I can really appreciate bands that have a lot of space in their music. I really like bands like that. I appreciate bands like that, but to play it is another thing. It’s a lot more fun for us to play things the way that we would like to hear them.
What is the ultimate purpose of A Wilhelm Scream?
T: I’d like to have us be that band that just keeps putting out records and their still good and still mean something to us and mean something when we listen to them. Not the band that kind of had a hit—
N: Had their moment in the sun—
T: and after that you can kind of tell by listening to their records that they really don’t care anymore
T: I don’t want to be that band.
N: I would love to be able to just go out an tour like we do now, for as long as we physically can. That’s one of the best aspects of playing with these guys. Not only do you get to play every day—have fun every day—but you get to see the world, you get to travel with each other, with 4 or 5 of your best friends. That aspect right there—I have buddies at home that are like, “you guys might not have a gold record or anything, but you got to go to Japan,” or the Lagwagon thing in Europe. That alone, is awesome. To be able to look back on these things that you’ve done with each other is so gratifying.
It think it’s hard to place A Wilhelm Scream into a smaller sub-genre within punk. Is this something you consciously go for, or does it just come out that way?
T: Not really. I don’t know if it’s a conscious thing. 3-chord pop-punk has been replaced by 2-chord fucking emo. They don’t even have a fucking third chord. Before a the big glut of that type of shit, some of that was pretty cool. I could dig a lot of that stuff. When you get bombarded with so much of it, it’s like wow, we’ve got to—let’s just make a whole record of blast beats. Just do the complete opposite, so at least we have something cool. But there’s so many bands doing good stuff. Like Propagandhi just put out an amazing record.
N: Given, it does have a lot of really fast, thrashy parts, but it’s got a lot of slowed down tempos and stuff.
T: It still kicks ass.
N: They didn’t write it, like, “oh shit guys, this is what the kids like.” Like, “we’ve got to write the mid-tempo shit or something.” Just write a good song.
T: I couldn’t really give a shit about that 14-15 year old kid, what he thinks of our band If he’s not into us, it doesn’t affect our lives, I’m only 26 years old. I could care less if you don’t like us right now. Give us 6 years, and then it’s like “yeah, come buy a t-shirt, thanks a lot.”
What bands provide an influence for you guys?
N: We mentioned Propagandhi. We’ve mentioned Propagandhi in every interview we’ve ever done.
T: I think they’re the best band in the world right now.
N: I think so too.
T: You can tell they don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck about anything. They don’t give a fuck about the lame shit anybody does that they’re associated with. They call out Fat Mike in their album. They stick by their beliefs. We’re not an overly political band by any means; it’s just never been our forte to write songs like that, but as far as personality, I think everybody should take a cue from them.
N: Yeah, everyone should take a hint from Propagandhi and stop caring so much about what everyone else is going to think. Just do it and do it good.
T: [don’t be] worried about merch sales—
N: Yeah, write a kick ass song first.
T: Cementing a place in time. It doesn’t matter how long your band’s together, it matters how much of an impact you make while you’re around.
N: Kid Dynamite wasn’t around for very long at all, or Operation Ivy wasn’t around for very long, but those to bands—
--People know who they are.
N: Exactly, people know what they get with those bands, and I can still go back to anything by either one of those bands and be completely blown away, you know what I mean?
On the other side of the coin, are there any current, up-and-coming bands you’d like to throw out there for your fans to check out?
T: No Trigger’s putting out a record on Nitro and we heard some of that. It’s going to be awesome. They did it at the Blasting Room too, so keep an eye out for them. There are some other ones like Much the Same. We’re in Chicago, we might as well go with Chicago bands. Much the Same and Swellers.
N: Lawrence Arms is actually recording their new album right now.
T: Full Blast from Canada. They’re really good.
N: There’s a bunch of really good music coming out. I think we’re finally starting to hit an more of an upward swing here. Good stuff’s coming back.
T: As long as people are talking about it—
N: There’s this band called Crooked Edge from Florida. They just released their album. It’s called “Deliver Us From Emo.” So, you should check that out. Strictly because it’s a hilarious album title. “Deliver Us From Emo.” I’ve only heard Myspace tracks, and I hate listening to music on the computer. It always sounds like ass to me.
If you a fan only had $1 to spend on your music. Which song would you tell them to download and why?
As a band you have to make yourselves happy. Critics and all that, it’s all fun and it’s all cool but it doesn’t keep me up at night.
T: “The Rip”
N: I’m going to go with a new one. I’m going to say “The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks
What are your favorite songs to play live?
T: “Me vs Morrissey.” “The Rip” is fun.
N: “King is Dead” has been fun. Hopefully, we’ll start working on playing some other songs. I really want to start playing “God Loves a Liar.” “Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks” of course, is another one. “The Rip” is always a fun one.
If I left the interview open, for you to give any message to your fans, what would it be?
T: I just want to say, thanks for continually—thanks for always coming out time and time again. The familiar faces, it’s good to see you guys. You guys keep us doing what we have to do.
N: Thanks a lot.