Good Old War haven't been a band for too long, but the four-piece has been stirring up quite a bit of buzz since the release of their debut album, Only Way to Be Alone. Punknews interviewer Zack Shapiro saw the band perform recently at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ where he had a chance to have a short chat with the band.
Coming off of The Only Way To Be Alone what are the plans for the next album?
Dan Swartz [Guitar, vocals]: The next album is going to be two EPs that are gonna come out. We havenât picked a release date yet but itâs all done, itâs all recorded. Itâs just a matter of finishing them up and getting ready to release them and figuring out what our plan is from there. Weâre really excited about the new stuff that weâve recorded right now.
Tim Arnold [Drums, accordion, vocals]: Itâs going to be part one and part two.
Dan: Theyâre going to come out separately throughout the year, hopefully early Summer and then early Winter and then hopefully next year weâll have another full length out.
And itâs still going to be on Sargent House Records?
Dan: Yep, same label.
Zack: Where do you draw the inspiration from for your music?
Dan: Our inspiration is definitely the places we are or whatever weâre thinking that day. I think itâs more of our lives than musical, as far as where the songs actually come from. Itâs not like "Oh, I heard a song like that, I want to write a song like that." Thereâs not a logical thought process to putting the feeling of a song down.
How did you decide to go with a three part harmony and the folk sound coming off of being in Days Away?
Tim: Originally it was supposed to be one guitar and vocals and it was supposed to just be real stripped down acoustic and thatâs where it started. But then we would do these cover shows and play bars and play all these cover songs and we all would just start singing together and we realized that it sounded good and we had a good blend going so weâre like, "Weâve gotta do this in the songs."
Dan: When Keith [Goodwin] and I first demoed stuff when Days Away had just gotten off tour, it wasnât really for a project necessarily, we started demoing some songs that we were writing separately and giving to each other and when we started putting the harmonies down we needed one more voice anyway so we started laying down three every time and it seemed to work out well that way. So Tim was able to do all the parts. We all have a very similar range. Every one of us has one place where they can go where the other person canât go.
So Keith is the highest?
Dan: Actually Keith is the middle, the lead singer right in the center. Iâm the highest and Tim, Tim has a pretty broad range but he generally sits on the lower parts.
Do you have titles at all for the new albums?
No, weâve been tossing them around. We had one but it didnât get agreed on. And thatâs definitely part of the process of getting it up and ready to go. I couldnât tell you how excited I am about the stuff that weâve done.
Is there going to be a vinyl release?
Dan: Yeah, definitely. Only Way To Be Alone is going to come out on vinyl and hopefully thatâs gonna somehow coincide with our EP release. Itâll be a full length vinyl. Thatâs part of what weâre trying to figure out. I canât really say exactly. The vinyl for Only Way To Be Alone will absolutely be coming out.
Whatâs your favorite place to play?
Tim: Baltimoreâs always fun, Chicago. Chicagoâs definitely fun.
What are you listening to right now?
Dan: We are listening to a very wide variety of things.
Tim: I just got this new Squarepusher [album] that I really like. Itâs badass. Itâs like space-disco. Alien disco.
Dan: What am I listening to? Iâm listening to The Hollies, Blood Sweat and Tears, The B-52âs, the new Animal Collective record. Lots of underground old stuff, it seems like. Iâm starting to discover a lot of those old bands that Iâve missed, like 10 years after, bands that were really cool but just got missed along the way and discovering that theyâre just amazing bands.
I can speak for Keith and say that he listens to a lot of Harry Nilsson and a lot of reggae. Those things are on in the van all the time.
Ever thought about doing a reggae song?
Dan: Yeah. We want to one day make a record thatâs us singing, like songs that we wrote, but have a real reggae group play all of the music. We love reggae and we love the feel of it.
[Dan at this point picked up his ukulele and played a few bars of some random reggae]