So where are you now?
I am in Burlington, chilling out, getting ready to go to practice
What has the band been up to the last few years?
After we did a tour with Strung out in 2005 we took time off, since then we've been working on the record. It took a while to write it and get it to a point where we could record it. The recording took three times as long as we thought it would. Then When we fnished it in August we found out it wouldn't be out until March. So we haven't really played shows since then, we layed low and waited for this to come out and then we did the Spill Canvas tour.
Things Couldn't be Better is a drastic step away from your previous material. What has the reaction to it been like?
The response has been really good for the most part. I think the people who don't like it aren't saying much. I think they don't like it, but it's not their thing. Before, people would say "this sucks," but nobody said it sucks this time. It's been good, we were worried for a bit, but people who like our band seemed to have moved along with us. And that's the thing, people who were into the more agressive stuff we were putting out, there's no way to please them. Some dude comes on your Myspace page and says he's not into the album, but then you go to his Myspace and his favorite band is Napalm Death, so there's no way to please him.
You began playing the songs for Things Couldn't Be Any Better on dates before the album came out. How did they stand up?
Great, we were doing half old songs and half new songs. We had also put some songs online. It's hard to mosh to our new music, and we are used to moshing. Now it's more dancing and hanging out. Still, people didn't have it and didn't know the words. When we put out the record we did all new songs at the shows with Mute Math. Nobody seems pissed about it. And when we do the Anberlin tour we are going to play new stuff.
Do you see Things... as a large departure from Ravenna?
Ravenna was all over the place. It was a collection of songs we had written, not an album. When it came time to do Ravenna we decided to take four new songs, take some from the EP and redo them and then write three more. But this time around we wanted to write a 12 song record where it all means the same thing but where individual songs still stand on their own.
With Ravenna, Smallman signed us and we weren't ready to do a full length. we were proud of it then and it was the best we could do then. We were going through luneup changes like crazy, we lost guys before the came out. But now everyone wants to do the band and everyone wants to be in it. Jeremy wasn't on Ravenna but he has been in the band since it came out.
How do you think the band arrived at this point?
We always had things we jammed with, but we would never let them become songs because we would say, 'oh, that was a reggae jam or a hip hop beat,' but it was fun to jam on or practice. But they would make us super pumped, even more so than the songs we were writing.
This time along we wanted to write what we wanted. Fuck it, if that's what makes it into a song, then that's what the song is. So we went up to a cottage for a week and hung out. We were taking a bunch of jams and putting them together. It made us feel different than the stuff we were working on before. Everyone was into it. We just said, 'Why don't we just do this? we're more stokes on it.' With the absence of screaming, I just don't want to scream anymore. This time around I'm not really pissed off about anything. It's hard to scream about stuff that you're not pissed off about.
At the same time, these songs, no matter how positive they are, they are the most personal stuff I've ever done lyrically. Every time I sing them I am letting stuff out. They aren't necessarily positive. There are some songs about negative stuff, but not "Oh this fucking sucks." It's more like "This sucks, but I am getting myself out of it." I've never been able to write about songs that never happened. Some people can write about events they weren't a part of. I can't do that - it has to be something that happened ot me.
It seems like the band has arrived at a pretty critical junction, as though if you're going to break through it's going to be now. Do you feel that way?
Pretty much. We don't think we could have done a better record. None of us have ever been 100% happy with something we've done, but every part of this is the best we can do. If we can do better, sweet, but if we dont... We didn't record 20 songs and have a bunch of b sides. We wrote every song to be a part of the album. We knew the first song would be the first and the last would be the last.
I just want to be able to do this and not have to work a shitty job when I am not on tour. We don't want to become the next Alexisonfire or Billy Talen, but if it happens, that's wicked. The whole point is that things couldn't be better. We are happy being in the band having this as a life focus. Some people go to school for five years - this is our degree.