Title Fight

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?
It’s really exciting, like the record came out in America two days ago. Those songs have been written and recorded for a while, so it’s 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, it’s exciting to see what everyone thinks and it’s given it new life, I think.

Shed was only released last year, how come you produced another record so quickly?
I don’t 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 doesn’t 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 we’re ready to play new songs. We just want to keep things moving and keep things progressing. Maybe after this record it’ll take a while to record another one or maybe we’ll feel inspired and have another one out a year from now, who knows? For us, I don’t 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 haven’t seen one negative review, how do you feel about that?
From what I can gather, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. It’s 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 it’s that a lot of kids who’ve 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 I’d always love a certain kind of band when I was young and then as I grow older, I’m 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 everyone’s lives. It’s exciting and we really appreciate people sticking by us, like we’ve 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.

You’re obviously very ‘90s-influenced - whether it’s your music, look, merchandise, videos, etc. What’s with your 90s worship?
I never really thought it was ‘90s worship’ until people started saying that, but I guess it kind of makes sense. To us, that’s 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 isn’t what’s happening right now, it’s what I was drawn to when I was first getting into music. ‘90s just has a cool aura about it, it feels very special and very much it’s 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 didn’t have time to find a fancy camera or find a crazy director to do it, we just did it ourselves. I think it’s 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 don’t need to nicest gear or equipment to make art. You can make art with anything. The quality doesn’t matter; it just depends on the effort and how you feel about it. To me, that’s what I hope to get across with all these videos. Like if you want to be in a band, you don’t 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 ‘90s resurgence, with bands taking on this more indie/emo rock sound, and even people’s fashion sense, like hardcore kids wearing their XXLs, why do you think that is?
Yeah, I don’t know. Like I said, we don’t really look to our peers, we’ve always liked what we liked. I think a lot of it has to do with where we come from; we’ve had a really good example set for us by the scene and community we’ve 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. We’re just drawn to the past in that way, I guess, and that leads us to buying old t-shirts of bands we like who aren’t around anymore. Ned will buy a Gorilla Biscuits shirt or something off some old guy who has it lying around his house and it’s just big, because they didn’t have as many sizes back then. Now it’s common to have girls’ 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 that’s maybe a reason why people are looking the way they’re looking, I don’t know. We never really put too much thought into our fashion.

Like you just mentioned, you just released the video for "Secret Society" and it’s 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 we’ve never had a narrative storyline in our videos, and doing videos has been something that’s really started to interest me lately. I just think it’s really cool to have another extension of the band that’s 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 couldn’t think of a storyline. I think I watched a video and there was blood on it somewhere and I thought it’d 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 Ned’s girlfriend helped direct and edit it, and it just kind of snowballed into what it is. I’m really happy with it, I think it’s interesting and definitely caught people off-guard.

You said you’ve 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 don’t blame them though, because tickets were crazy expensive and most of them were in arenas with barriers and it just wasn’t the right atmosphere to see us in. I totally understand people not wanting to go through that, because I don’t think I would want to either. I didn’t feel any backlash for doing that. I think a lot of people that know us personally know that we just do things, because I don’t know when I’m going to experience playing that again. That’s putting the band aside and what kids are going to think, because at the end of the day, we’re always thinking how we feel and it was just something we wanted to try out and we knew we’d never get a chance like that again. I’m 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 we’re 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. We’ll always be able to play a basement no matter what, but we’re not always going to be able to play an arena. If people talked shit on us, then I didn’t hear, because I don’t 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 we’ve constantly been doing well the past few years, and as a band, you can’t really ask for anything more. If no one was talking about us now or no one was hear to see us, then it’d be a different story. If people are still talking about us and we’re still a "hype" band or whatever, I don’t care. I’m having the most fun of my life and making some stuff I’m really proud of. It’s 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 we’re not any better than a lot of bands. We feel really lucky and fortunate to be in a position where we’re able to do exactly what we want and people are still sticking with us. We’ve been able to tour and go around the world, on our own terms too. We haven’t compromised on any of our music or art, and I think that’s important. I don’t 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 you’re in a straight edge youth crew band called Disengage - is there anything going on with Disengage at the minute?
That’s more Ned’s baby more than anything. He writes everything, I just kind of play live, because it’s fun. It’s 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 it’s 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 don’t 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 we’re loading in or sound checking, and just hang out with our friends and play, there’s no agenda and it’s just about playing music. Disengage isn’t really up to anything right now, I’m sure we’re going to play more shows and write more music, but we’ve been pretty focused on the Title Fight record, so we haven’t 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?
It’s so cool to be apart of it, especially traveling around the world, like we’ll go to Japan and kids will be wearing Dead End Path shirts and they don’t even speak English, but I’ll point to the shirt and they’ll know Dead End Path is from Wilkes-Barre and know what it is because of our friends. That’s crazy to me, because they’re my friends and we’re just a bunch of dumb kids who are in bands and try really hard to be creative, and people recognize that. It’s really awesome. There’s always new kids coming through and new bands starting out all the time, it’s really healthy for being such a small area. Everybody just kind of looks out for each other and I think it’s a really unique experience if you’ve never experienced something like that, but to us, it’s just home and normal. The venue helped out a lot, it actually got shut down recently, but we’re 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, there’s so many cool bands in the area, and it’s important to have that sense of community.

What’s next for Title Fight after this?
We’re going home and having a record release show in October, which should be pretty fun. Then we’re 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. We’re really excited to do it, because we haven’t 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 it’s really exciting. After that, it’s the holidays, so we don’t really have anything planned after that. I’m sure we’re 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 that’s stuck it out with us.