Elway has been churning out orgcore tunes for the better part of eight years. They recently released a new record titled Better Whenever on Red Scare this past July. Punknews editor Samantha Barrett sat down with frontman Tim Browne to chat about the new album and his favorite Fest moment.
You guys just released a new record called Better Whenever. What influenced this new album?
A lot of the songs are written about a period of time when I was living in Chicago, in the worst shitty basement bedroom I have ever lived in. I lived in conditions, where the headboard of my bed was the side of a washer and dryer. It was pretty foul, pretty punk but not all in a good way. I remember writing the songs on acoustic guitar. We kinda didn't write it together like we did our last few records.
Well, tell me how the songwriting process went?
All of the songs were written on acoustic guitar even before we got together to play them together. The way it worked was I wrote them (the songs) while living in that shitty bedroom in Chicago. Garrett and Brian were still in Colorado. I came back to Colorado last May, Garrett and I started putting all the songs together and Bryan started putting his parts together. Eventually we were sending demos back and forth to Joe who was living in Chicago. He put his stuff together and we all wrote and processed a couple of things before we finished. It wasn't a very collaborative writing process. It was piecemeal, it was incremented slowly and it wasnâ€™t all of us in the same room just churning out songs which is a different process for us.
We have been a band for eight years and itâ€™s kind of hard to completely reinvent ourselves or want to reinvent ourselves. Weâ€™re barely competent at one thing. I say the formula for the most part has not changed. it's really just the things we are experimenting with. We are doing something different within the bounds of our limited capabilities.
Tell me about the artwork for Better Whenever?
Our friend Lindee Zimmer did it. She lives across the street from me. She is a super-talented artist, illustrator and painter. She is a really good friend of our since we began this band. The band really liked her art so I kinda gave her an idea to go with and that is what she returned with. I think itâ€™s great. I am a really big fan of it.
Tell me about the progression of your music from Delusions to this record?
The songs from Delusions we hsf been playing for three years before that record came out. We were a lot more comfortable with those songs going in. It was kind of an interesting experience where we felt the most prepared we ever were to record a record. Leavetaking the songs were written in rapid succession. We were touring so much that we would have them down where we knew exactly what we needed to do. This record we were constantly trying to do a few different things to experiment and see what we were capable of. We recorded this record so slowly, over the course of six weeks. We timed it and messed around with it to make it our own a little bit. When we recorded Delusions and Leavetaking, we were regimented and strict about the recording schedule we were getting it done under the gun time wise. We didn't get enough time to really mold it to get it exactly where we wanted to be. That is what we did with this record. Over the years the music have maybe gotten a little bit more complicated, maybe? The songs have gotten more elaborate and closer to what we have in common music taste wise.
So, what do you guys have musically in common?
All of us are really big fans of Pedro the Lion , I wanted to be able to play music like that and I still canâ€™t. Trying to take late '90s and early 2000 alt-emo influences and mix it with dog shit four chords bearded punk that we clearly are adept at.
You guys have been putting out releases with Red Scare for a while now. How has the relationship evolved with Toby and Red Scare?
I think the reason why it works so well it that it hasn't evolved. I think Toby is a hardworking, straight shooting, consistent guy in running his label. He lets us do pretty much whatever we want within our means. There is no fuckery, it is a really simple honest relationship where we both get out of it what we want and it hasnâ€™t changed.
There are very clear expectations on both ends?
Yeah! Which is donâ€™t expect much.
I read somewhere you would â€œrather just let the songs speak for themselves." Do you feel like the songs actually speak for themselves?
Um, yeah, I do! I donâ€™t think the songs on this record particularly needs my flowery personal annotations. Just enjoy it. I do hope that some people might want to take the songs for what they will. I know what it means to me. I do hope that people enjoy them but if they donâ€™t or they don't understand that's not my problem.
Do you guys have any tour plans?
We'll be doing something sometime. I will leave it ambiguous.
You guy are playing The Fest again, What is your favorite Fest moment?
I really like when Steve-O from the Holy Mess jumped up in the Florida Theater, I think it was called the Venue back then, during The Menzingers and he just broke his knee. That was pretty cool.
What Fest was that?
That was Fest 8 or 9? I can't remember. To be honest they kind of all blur together. I do it every year and it pretty much all looks the same. I would remember the specific Fest moment fondly if it didn't seem like the same party.