Punknews' recent review for Title Fight's newest release Floral Green claimed their, "constant growth and reinvention has seen them become one of those unique bands that are hard to define, and musically and lyrically, they're right where they should be." There's no doubt that their dynamism has made them worthy of the following they've received over the last few years. Punknews.org interviewer Faye Turnbull sat with guitarist Shane Moran ahead of their show with La Dispute, Make Do and Mend and Into It. Over It. in London to talk about the new record, obscure tours, and their '90s love.
How is life in Title Fight lately?
Itâs really exciting, like the record came out in America two days ago. Those songs have been written and recorded for a while, so itâs very exciting to have that out in the world, because it kind of refreshes the whole album to me. Not that I got sick or bored of it, but now that the public is hearing it, itâs exciting to see what everyone thinks and itâs given it new life, I think.
Shed was only released last year, how come you produced another record so quickly?
I donât know, I think we just wanted to keep things moving and we did a lot of touring off of Shed, and we were writing new music and had a flat where we could record and make it all happen. We just did it because we like writing and we like recording. Just because Shed came out not that long ago, it doesnât mean there has to be time limit or anything. We were just ready and excited to do it. It just happened to work out. It was for the best, because if we were on this tour, still touring on Shed and playing those songs, it would have been fun, but weâre ready to play new songs. We just want to keep things moving and keep things progressing. Maybe after this record itâll take a while to record another one or maybe weâll feel inspired and have another one out a year from now, who knows? For us, I donât work anymore, Title Fight is what we do fulltime and writing music to keep it going is an exciting thing.
So, you just released Floral Green and I havenât seen one negative review, how do you feel about that?
From what I can gather, itâs been overwhelmingly positive. Itâs weird, because I was expecting a lot of people to be turned off by the new record and I was accepting of that and kind of prepared for it. Especially, when we released the video for "Head In The Ceiling Fan," the first song off the record, we really stuck our necks out on the line, and people ended up really liking it a lot, which I was surprised about. I think itâs that a lot of kids whoâve liked us over the years, are sort of growing up with us in a way with their musical tastes. I know for me, growing up Iâd always love a certain kind of band when I was young and then as I grow older, Iâm listening to new music and discovering new stuff. I think being that band that is growing up with our peers is part of the reason why everyone has such an open mind about us releasing new music that sounds different, because change is happening in everyoneâs lives. Itâs exciting and we really appreciate people sticking by us, like weâve done a lot of weirder tours in the past and stuff that was out of our comfort zone, so it really means a lot to us.
Youâre obviously very â90s-influenced - whether itâs your music, look, merchandise, videos, etc. Whatâs with your 90s worship?
I never really thought it was â90s worshipâ until people started saying that, but I guess it kind of makes sense. To us, thatâs what I identify with when it comes to bands I think are cool, like a cool sound, merch, all that kind of stuff. Our frame of reference isnât whatâs happening right now, itâs what I was drawn to when I was first getting into music. â90s just has a cool aura about it, it feels very special and very much itâs own thing. Stuff with even like our videos, I think a lot of it is just a product of us. Like the last video for Secret Society, we filmed it on VHS, not just because we were familiar with that, but also because we really needed to get it done really quickly. We had four days to get it done, and we didnât have time to find a fancy camera or find a crazy director to do it, we just did it ourselves. I think itâs cool if that encourages a kid to use something they found lying around their house, like an old video camera or old guitar, to prove you donât need to nicest gear or equipment to make art. You can make art with anything. The quality doesnât matter; it just depends on the effort and how you feel about it. To me, thatâs what I hope to get across with all these videos. Like if you want to be in a band, you donât have to save up a ton of money to buy the nicest amp or anything like that. Anything you want to do is at your fingertips.
There definitely seems to be a â90s resurgence, with bands taking on this more indie/emo rock sound, and even peopleâs fashion sense, like hardcore kids wearing their XXLs, why do you think that is?
Yeah, I donât know. Like I said, we donât really look to our peers, weâve always liked what we liked. I think a lot of it has to do with where we come from; weâve had a really good example set for us by the scene and community weâve come from. Things have been past down from old records to t-shirts and the way we discover bands are from the older guys that have been around in the 90s. Weâre just drawn to the past in that way, I guess, and that leads us to buying old t-shirts of bands we like who arenât around anymore. Ned will buy a Gorilla Biscuits shirt or something off some old guy who has it lying around his house and itâs just big, because they didnât have as many sizes back then. Now itâs common to have girlsâ sizes and youth large, which is really nice, but from what I can gather in the 90s, it was like L and XL when it came to hardcore bands and stuff like that. I think thatâs maybe a reason why people are looking the way theyâre looking, I donât know. We never really put too much thought into our fashion.
Like you just mentioned, you just released the video for "Secret Society" and itâs pretty grim, where did that idea come from?
I hate being that guy who takes credit, but I guess it was my idea. We knew we wanted to do a video and we knew we wanted to do something different, and weâve never had a narrative storyline in our videos, and doing videos has been something thatâs really started to interest me lately. I just think itâs really cool to have another extension of the band thatâs an artistic outlet, which is totally different to making music. When we had the idea to make a new video, I was just watching older videos to see if anything struck me and a lot of the visual aesthetic I liked, but I couldnât think of a storyline. I think I watched a video and there was blood on it somewhere and I thought itâd be cool to do something really over-the-top, but almost in a funny way. Something that was a cute storyline, but also gruesome and crude, and I thought that would be a really interesting route to take. I told everyone my idea and I think they were pretty weirded out, but we started speaking about it and Nedâs girlfriend helped direct and edit it, and it just kind of snowballed into what it is. Iâm really happy with it, I think itâs interesting and definitely caught people off-guard.
You said youâve been on some weird tours - one that springs to mind is your recent tour with Rise Against and A Day To Remember, which was pretty unorthodox for you, did anyone give you shit?
No one gave us shit to our faces, but I think it reflected on a lot of kids not coming to the shows that would have normally come. I really donât blame them though, because tickets were crazy expensive and most of them were in arenas with barriers and it just wasnât the right atmosphere to see us in. I totally understand people not wanting to go through that, because I donât think I would want to either. I didnât feel any backlash for doing that. I think a lot of people that know us personally know that we just do things, because I donât know when Iâm going to experience playing that again. Thatâs putting the band aside and what kids are going to think, because at the end of the day, weâre always thinking how we feel and it was just something we wanted to try out and we knew weâd never get a chance like that again. Iâm glad we did it, because despite no one caring we were playing, we met some really awesome people and it was cool to see that sort of professional side of touring and have videos and pictures to show our kids when weâre older. It was a really special thing and I was glad to do it with the rest of the guys in the band, because it was a learning experience for everybody. Weâll always be able to play a basement no matter what, but weâre not always going to be able to play an arena. If people talked shit on us, then I didnât hear, because I donât pay attention to anyone except my friends.
I remember interviewing you back in 2010 and there was a load of hype around you, and two-and-a-half years on, there still seems to be this massive buzz about you.
It feels good to know that people are talking about our band and care about us. We quit school in order to pursue the band as a career, not only to devote our lives to creating art, but also we dropped everything we were doing to see if we could do it as a career. I feel like weâve constantly been doing well the past few years, and as a band, you canât really ask for anything more. If no one was talking about us now or no one was hear to see us, then itâd be a different story. If people are still talking about us and weâre still a "hype" band or whatever, I donât care. Iâm having the most fun of my life and making some stuff Iâm really proud of. Itâs crazy. I feel like we got really lucky, because I think there are a lot more bands that deserve to be more recognized, and I feel like weâre not any better than a lot of bands. We feel really lucky and fortunate to be in a position where weâre able to do exactly what we want and people are still sticking with us. Weâve been able to tour and go around the world, on our own terms too. We havenât compromised on any of our music or art, and I think thatâs important. I donât know what it is, but hopefully, it keeps up.
Even though your sound in Title Fight has digressed, you still remain true to your hardcore roots, as youâre in a straight edge youth crew band called Disengage - is there anything going on with Disengage at the minute?
Thatâs more Nedâs baby more than anything. He writes everything, I just kind of play live, because itâs fun. Itâs just like a casual thing we do on the side when we have time from Title Fight. Those shows are where all our friends are at and itâs cool to go back to that after doing a tour like this on a bigger scale. Doing Disengage kind of brings us back down to earth and we donât get to worry about the little inconveniences that Title Fight shows sometime bring up, because the more we tour, the more professional it gets, which is cool, but to not worry about what time weâre loading in or sound checking, and just hang out with our friends and play, thereâs no agenda and itâs just about playing music. Disengage isnât really up to anything right now, Iâm sure weâre going to play more shows and write more music, but weâve been pretty focused on the Title Fight record, so we havenât had time.
I interviewed Uriah from Dead End Path earlier this year and he said the Wilkes-Barre scene was at a low point a couple of years ago, but then you got a venue and it really flourished. How do you feel about the Wilkes-Barre scene?
Itâs so cool to be apart of it, especially traveling around the world, like weâll go to Japan and kids will be wearing Dead End Path shirts and they donât even speak English, but Iâll point to the shirt and theyâll know Dead End Path is from Wilkes-Barre and know what it is because of our friends. Thatâs crazy to me, because theyâre my friends and weâre just a bunch of dumb kids who are in bands and try really hard to be creative, and people recognize that. Itâs really awesome. Thereâs always new kids coming through and new bands starting out all the time, itâs really healthy for being such a small area. Everybody just kind of looks out for each other and I think itâs a really unique experience if youâve never experienced something like that, but to us, itâs just home and normal. The venue helped out a lot, it actually got shut down recently, but weâre reopening one in October, hopefully. It gives us a common ground and we play there whenever we can - us, Dead End Path, United Youth, The Menzingers, Tigers Jaw, thereâs so many cool bands in the area, and itâs important to have that sense of community.
Whatâs next for Title Fight after this?
Weâre going home and having a record release show in October, which should be pretty fun. Then weâre doing a headline tour in the States with Pianos Become The Teeth and a band from Canada called Single Mothers. Tigers Jaw is playing a couple of shows, Powertrip is playing a couple of shows, and Face Reality. Weâre really excited to do it, because we havenât headlined in America in a while, and the new record will have been out for a couple of months and we get to tour with the bands we got to pick, so itâs really exciting. After that, itâs the holidays, so we donât really have anything planned after that. Iâm sure weâre going to tour a lot on this record and try to get as many people as we can to listen to it.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Thanks for the interview and thanks for anyone who supports our band, especially in spite of weird tours or anything like that, that is kind of questionable as of late. I totally appreciate people still coming out and listening to the music. I just want to thank anybody thatâs stuck it out with us.