The band released the acclaimed This Is Our Revenge last year and will be touring with kindred spirits in Strike Anywhere and A Global Threat.
So what do you like to talk about most when it comes to the new record?
Jay- We, like to talk about the fact that it's different but our hearts are still in the same place. We just wanted to explore some new things and bring-out influences we had growing-up
Think this place is sitting well with everyone?
Jay- I think it's a little new to tell but so far we've had positive feedback
Jack- I think everybody in the band feels that this is probably the record we like the most and it's not easy to say that all the time. So yeah, for us I'd say it's been going pretty well
Jay- Yeah this is the first record that I haven't hated in two months
Jack- Yeah you always say we should have done this or that or we should have done that differently but no… I think it's 90% good in my mind (laughing)
Jay- I think we've found our style… I think we finally know where we wanna go. Whether or not people will like it...? is a different story but we're happy with it.
Through the album you see quoted quite a bit the title, that can be taken lots of different ways. In what context do you want it to be?
Jack- It definitely can be taken a few different ways… I guess it's up to your interpretation, especially with the artwork. But I think it was kind of our way of saying there's more alternate ways of enjoying your life besides just having a dead-end job and trying to use different media like art and film and writing and music obviously to enjoy your life.
Is, a lot of what you're explaining now… explain the pictures & artwork in the album; typewriter, the paints?
Jay- Yeah pretty much, man explaining himself outside of mainstream culture. I think it kind of dawned on me on tour and I just was realizing that hardcore was such a crazy subculture, that people don't understand. You can go out on the road and live in a van for months at a time and people will put you up and help you out, support you… and you meet a lot of friends. There's a lot of face to face interaction with people. Like people that you're playing with and people that you're playing for.
Jack- It's an intelligent music scene versus a mainstream scene which is almost like force fed music; whatever's on the radio you need to like. Two months later when it's gone, you don't even know it's gone because you're force fed another single or another hit or… So you get to like what you want to like…
Jay- To us 'This Is Our Revenge' didn't mean necessarily this is our revenge as a band but we meant this is everyone's revenge; this is the hardcore scene, this is the punk scene. The whole scenes revenge against doing what society wants you to do instead of being a faceless person that is unhappy everyday, kind of finding your little niche.
You quoted 'the human body can bare immeasurable pain and yet recover, wounds can heal but once your spirit is broken everything falls apart'…
Jack- You know- I think about my parents and how my dad has so many dreams of doing so many things but it's almost like he doesn't have the will to do it anymore. It's almost like if you have those dreams and you want to do something. You just have to find it in yourself and you just have to do it for the rest of your life versus maybe being miserable and unhappy. Something that you just need to get out, it has to do a lot with that.
In your CD booklet there's, lots of other quotes and writings throughout, do you guys get inspired a lot through reading?
Jack- You know? I am not much of a reader even though I really should…
Jay- I was actually an English major I majored in English Literature but I don't write any lyrics, Todd writes all the lyrics. The only thing I wrote was the lines you see in the CD briefly. It's weird because I was really into writing growing-up. I used to write fiction, I got my degree I went out got my job and I wasn't even applying what I had learned. I was actually just doing sales for a newspaper and that's when I left. I started pursuing music. So for me, it was kind of hard. For me, I have to put 100% into one thing so right now its music and hopefully in the future one day I'll be writing again.
On your first song, you clearly mention people complaining about what they don't have. Think this has become our modern-day plague…?
Jay- Yeah, I think a lot of people have a lot of excuses for why they can't do what they want to do. So I think what you have to do is just take whatever you have and run with it. That's what we're saying instead of just sitting around and wishing your life was different, go out and make something of it.
Jack- Really, if you want something work for it nothings technically impossible if you don't want it to be. It's easier to just sit around and complain about stuff but its getting off your ass and actually doing it… is what makes it different.
The song 'A New War' comes off different than other songs on the record… did you feel it had to be addressed?
Jay- Todd wrote that but… I know he took a trip to Washington, D.C because where we recorded was twenty minutes away.
Jack- Yeah he came back and obviously there's a war going on for awhile now and it's definitely something that affects all of us. Whether you're driving down the road looking at gas prices or friends that want to join the army, you worry for them. I think it's refreshing to get a song that's a little political and make kids think about something else aside from broken hearts and things like that. It's good to touch-base on everything that affects your life and that's definitely something that affects his life. I think that it's great that he wrote the song. Lyrically I think it's one of the best songs on the album.
In '20 Strong' why would; some may never understand why 20 kids in three vans will never be the same… spring 2005?
Jay- We had a couple crazy adventures but we were all sworn to secrecy
Jack- We made some pretty good friends in those weeks. I think the longest tour we've probably ever done is six weeks. It was just such a learning experience and we got really close to some people. Obviously, if you share your lives with twenty people over six weeks it leaves that impression on you.
And who were these bands?
Jay- Bane and Comeback Kid, we have a little dedication to them. It was an emotional kind of ending of the tour at the end.
Jack- And I think Todd was going through a lot… a lot of crap right before we left. Some pretty heavy stuff so I think that's why he will always remember that tour. Just the people that he was around that helped him get through it and everyday wasn't miserable cause we were playing shows all the time and your friends are always around you.
Jay- It's kind of a built-in support system.
Jack- It's like going to therapy everyday
Jay- Yeah right, hardcore therapy
Missing home, is it a constant struggle for both of you?
Jack- Depends on what's going on back home I guess. You know, when bills start stacking-up you definitely want to get-out of there quick
Jay- You wanna go where the creditors can't find you.
What's your next tour; Stretch Arm Strong?
Jay- Yeah we're going to the UK in January with Stretch Arm Strong
Jack- Scotland and Ireland
Did working with a producer for the first time on this record kind of throw you off since all the other times you had full control?
Jack- It was humbling I think…
Jay- Yeah it was a little stressful, honestly. Cause you get kind of like a hardhead about your music; this is my creation, this is my baby…
Jack- Not that we had to change everything, it was more working things out making them flow better. Transitions, just the simple stuff that we're like part to part to part, he made things flow a little better and obviously work a little better with Todd lyrically. Versus a whole mishmash of different things he definitely kind of strengthens us out on a few things.
Jay- I think he helped us out a lot in the end. I think this is our best record. He helped keep a theme through the songs without having a bunch of riffs thrown together. And a lot of things we'll write the music for without the vocals in mind per-say. So this time everything came together into solid songs instead of being a bunch of stuff.
Jack- Its weird having a third party look so much into your music
Jay- It was cool cause he was a hardcore dude, it wasn't like he was a producer that didn't know what we were going for. And he was in a band that we respected, he was in Battery. We were really into that band growing-up that helped.
Was doing a video something you'd really envisioned to do with 'With Honor'?
Jay- There's was a few times we were supposed to do a video but things just never worked out. It was something that we'd kind of hoped we'd get the chance to do. I think the best part about it was, there was this club we had grew-up going to shows in Connecticut and it closed down for a couple of years and it just re-opened. It's actually called Club Hypnotic now, it's a Hip Hop club and the guy just started allowing shows there every two weeks. When we asked him to do it, he was really excited 'oh yeah, a hardcore band doing a video, yeah definitely!' So it was really cool getting to go back to where we grew-up and do a video there.
Jack- It was nothing crazy obviously it was one day, we wanted something to be able to show that live performance feel, show people what we're about. Being that a live show is something that we do everyday on tour and it's a big part of the band. I think that the next video will probably have a little more going on. It was definitely awesome to do it.
What do you honor most about playing these hardcore tours?
Jay- The chance to share your music with people face to face, the studio is awesome but live is where you get your kicks. Meeting new people too, it's really important to make new friends.
Jack- It's music that we love playing, if we weren't on tour we'd probably be in a practice space playing it for nobody but now we have the chance to play it for two-hundred kids a night. We travel for free, I eat everyday…
Jay- We eat better on tour than we eat at home… (laughing)
Jack- It's stressful being on tour sometimes obviously because you do miss home, you're so close to five other people but we play hardcore music for a living… there's nothing like it
Jay- Even when we're scrapping by, it's still an awesome way to be scrapping by.
Any responsibilities in the band aside from your music, you'd never be willing to give-up?
Jack- I got a few that I want to give-up, somebody else working on the van every once in a while (laughing). It seems like I could never give-up trying to give some image to the band as far as design goes… trying to get something on a t-shirt to show who we are. Obviously it's really hard… I never want to have a pink shirt with purple writing cause that's just not us so it's a struggle to get imagery for the band.
Jay- Jack's pretty much designed all of our merch from day one. So as opposed to farming out people he's kept control of that aspect which is really cool.
Jack- You got the P.R job now…
Jay- Yeah I don't know how that happened… but somehow
Jack- I just stopped returning emails so I lost that job
Is it in your plans to play another 450 shows over the next few years?
Jay- Hopefully, if people will have us we'll keep playing.
Jack- If not we'll just play 450 practices for no one…
Jay- For our merch guy…
Jay- Contrary to popular belief none of us have women's jeans and none of us wear make-up. We've heard the wildest rumors about our band. People told me 'oh yeah those guys they wear women's jeans.' Really we're just a bunch of regular joe's wearing crappy baggy clothes playing hardcore music we grew-up on. There's a lot of misconceptions that is un-based that I truly think is hilarious.
Jack- We're probably the five most average dudes ever. You roll with the punches