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When you're playing to audiences that really haven't heard of you before on tours that most fans wouldn't expect to see you on, it can be difficult and in Ace's words 'It's weird because I'm forced to be a young band once again'. He's been known as an independent artist and we talked about his musical journey which includes him getting to a point in age and career where it's about doing his job and doing what he feels he's good at along with balancing the challenges of having an incredibly young son! Read on for our exclusive interview where we talked about it all and look for the new Mess record in early spring!
So you played all of Warped Tour this past summer! How did it end up going for you?
I'll say, I'll use football terms here. There was a lot of off the field ups and downs this summer at Warped tour. The shows themselves were pretty good you know. It's weird because I'm forced to be a young band once again. Like a starting over band and if I was truly in that position I would have walked away from it being like 'Ooh my god that was the greatest thing ever! Rahhh!' but being that I've already been on that roller coaster. It's not frustrating it's just like you know I'm not nineteen, twenty, twenty one, twenty two or twenty three, twenty four any more. So it's like, you know, it is what it is. I came off the tour being like business wise I think it all helps down the line. You know I think it will be a positive tour. At the time of doing it, it's one of those that's like, you know, difficult things just because it's difficult. It's Warped Tour. You're not looking at it like I'm having fun, I'm partying you know. I'm not going on it for that reason. I'm going on it to grow but it was good. It was positive overall.
Obviously you've been doing this music thing for so long starting with The Early November, Ace Enders and A Million People up until this with I Can Make A Mess. So how has it been playing to these kids that probably a lot of them haven't heard of you before?
I think at these shows it's a benefit of them never hearing of you because they have nothing to expect at all. You know and it's like I can approach every night a little bit different. Like I can still use every night to learn off of and go to the next night. As though there is nothing I have to live up to because honestly maybe there's like ten people in the entire crowd who have heard (of me). Who know what it is and it's like in that respect, it's easier for me to go out there and to be a turd if I want on stage. I could be, you know, like a cool dude. I could be a jerk. It doesn't matter. I'm totally new to them every night. So it's like just basically just using your emotions and having nothing to live up to. I mean in that way it's like playing it out, seeing what works for them. I don't think I'll ever truly connect on that level but it's been a learning process. A great tour so far.
I can see you're getting along with everyone really well.
Yeah everyone's awesome.
Then maybe what's like the strangest thing you've seen at one of your shows?
The strangest? I'd say like a week ago I saw two thirteen year old girls get in a fist fight right at the front of the barricade. That was the strangest thing I've ever seen in my life. You really don't see that every day.
Not, I mean you can if you go to a school and it's sort of like a bad school. These were thirteen year old girls wearing like fuzzy weird hats and like you know blonde hair. You know shirts that were hand made. It's not like what you would expect.
Perfect! Obviously you've done a lot of touring in the past and if you could maybe go out with any three bands you've toured with in the past not necessarily a dream tour, who would they be?
Copeland. I'll definitely say them. I've done a few tours with them. Definitely Copeland probably number one. Steel Train are up there too. How many bands did you say?
You can do three.
Three? Okay so Steel Train, Copeland and I'm going to go back. I'm going to dig up aways to another band that I enjoyed very much touring with and I'm going to go..I had a great time touring with Maylae.
That is taking it back!
Definitely that's taking it back yeah. There's so many really nice guys you know. Limbeck! Let me add both of those. I want to add both of those bands.
We'll do a five band.
Yeah five band bill. Maylae, Limbeck, Steel Train, Copeland. I'll just go to the show and watch. It doesn't matter.
Perfect and then I know you put out an acoustic record which was like all requests.
Yeah it was all requests.
That's awesome! How did that idea come about?
You know it came from Warped tour actually. I did acoustic sets every day and I did all requests. I just played whatever anybody wanted to hear and everybody had such a good time. Those were actually my favorite sets at Warped tour because it's like playing in a tent that was packed with people every day just yelling and it was fun. So when I came home, I was on twitter, as awesome as that is, and was just like 'How about I do a all requests album?' and everybody seemed to be really into it. That's pretty much why I did it.
And then this is actually quite a different question. Along with self producing, there are a few bands that you have produced as well including a band from here View From An Airplane.
Oh yeah! That was good. I did a song with them.
So I don't know how you went about it in the past but I know you self produce your records now. How was it to be like on both sides of it?
I mean that's just how I've always known it. So it's like for me, it's weird. Like I'm just learning now how to produce myself you know and it took me-. I've been doing this for what eleven years, going on twelve years and now I'm finally learning how to produce myself. As far as other bands when they come in like (snaps his fingers) I can almost instantly hear something and be like you know and go have a direction. For myself, it's like there's so many strings attached to each thing. It's like, you know, now I'm finally learning how to do that. I feel like when we get home we're recording another record and I'm really, you know, excited about that because I know that, well I think I have a good grasp on it for this record. For the first time ever.
So when you say that, you mean that's for the new record?
So I know the last one came out a few months ago now. How has this one been different if you're already working on the next one?
This one actually the response was really overwhelming at first. It was great. It was really nice to see like the amount of people that still remembered it and it was something special to them. You know other than the Copeland tour we haven't really done tours that we sort of catered to but it was really overwhelming and really nice to see it. It really felt good to have like the amount of people that supported us and it just really felt good. It was cool.
And then where's like the strangest place you've been inspired? Like you were sitting somewhere or someone said something and you got like a flash of inspiration.
You know it's funny that it happens when I'm driving through the night most of the time. It's like I'm in a weird place driving and everybody's sleeping and I'll pick up my phone and I'll be like hummm, da da, da humm. I know that was a song right there. You know that song that goes like? I forget what that is but like that will happen and it will be like I'll have a whole song in my head. Like the lyrics and you know melodies and what instruments would be played. Seriously like listening back to it like this is where the drums would be 'la puka puka pa ratata' you know. Like doing all the instruments but it's like that's definitely like you know just driving in a weird place. You can't really stop and you have nothing to record with it. Doing it in my silly phone.
And then obviously this has probably changed over the years. I'm sure you've written a million songs and they're not the same way every time but like does it change every time, does it depend on where you are? Does that work for you being like 'I'm going to sit down and write a song right now'?
Sometimes. It all depends. Like anything really works. It's like really the only thing I've ever been able to do. I don't want to say like that's all I'm good at and I'm not saying I'm good or better than anyone else you know what I'm saying? It's the only thing that I've felt comfortable putting myself out there at and it's like if I just sit down and think I'm going to write a song right now like knock on head I'll write a song.
Then what would you say is maybe your favorite song, off this latest record, to play live?
'Old Man'. Yeah. That's my favorite song to play ever. I think it's my favorite song I've ever made for sure.
Yeah I feel it's my best.
Perfect then this is kind of a different question for you. I know that for a bit of the time you're able to have your son on tour with you and your wife which is great because I know he's so young but how has that helped you maybe? Like having your family out with you because most people don't have that chance?
It's kind of amazing for me in every way. As much as it would like be difficult, it helps and it's really difficult and it's really awesome at the same time. It's like, it's like reality at it's finest you know. It turns into I'm not here to tour. I'm not here to be friends. I'm not here to do band stuff. I'm here to work. I'm here to-
This is your job.
Yeah I mean it brings that into it as much as you possibly can have it. I don't look to have fun, I look to see how tomorrow I can be in a better place and along with that. Along with the pretty much twenty four hour check because you know like I mean everyone looks at you like you're doing something completely irresponsible but it's not.
It's not! You're working.
To provide for my family. I'm able to like when he was out here on this tour, we went to Disneyland then we had a day off in Santa Monica then we had a day off at like these beautiful gardens in Dallas. He took his first steps in Disney World. It's really great like he's already traveled pretty much every where in the country. He's been on a few tours, he's been in almost every state and it's like we have pictures of him in almost every state with some type of landmark. You know it's neat and it's tough being away and it's tough thinking about the stability factor but the thing is if we do this much longer, he's going to start to realize he's in different places and he's going to start to take pieces of these places with him for the rest of his life. I think it's going to have in his young adult life, it will be like something that he can really use to his advantage and to build off of. I try and look at it like that other than you know the fact that it's hard. Sleeping in a different hotel room every night you know.
It will be a good experience for him to look back on.
Yeah and if things work out, if we achieve ultimate what we want to achieve then hopefully it will be a win situation. If not, it's just a good time.
Then obviously like I was going to ask since you've been doing this for a really long time, you've had different projects and you're sticking with I Can Make A Mess right now but what are your like-. Obviously your family is probably a big inspiration now but when you were first starting, what were your big inspirations to keep on going despite everything?
I think it's like the same thing for everybody. When you're growing up for me it's like I'm so off the wall for where I'm from. I had such an off the wall thing that I wanted to do. Everyone was like 'You can't do it. You're never going to do what you're going for. You just don't have it.' and that was what inspired me to be like 'No. Like I can do it'. I hate to narrow it down to something like that and I can glorify it as much as I possibly want. Like what you do when you're in your mid twenties. You glorify things that you did and then you get to your late twenties and you're like you know I'm not sugar coating it. What drove me was just proving that you don't have to have a small mind and you don't need a college education. All you need is heart and that's what drove me pretty much.
And then you said you're going to work on the new album. Do you think you're going to take a break from the road? You've been pretty steady with touring lately. What's going to be going on for you?
You know, I'm actually really excited. We've got a lot of ideas for the spring so not too much of a break. We'll take off like December. You know we're doing a few shows in December some holiday shows. We'll take off December, January. In February, the record will come out and then we'll probably pick up again in March.
I think that's the good thing about doing it independently because you can put it out much quicker.
That's been the greatest thing. Like I said, the only thing that I feel like I've ever been at all decent at is writing music and to be able to just do it at my leisure. It's like I'm not in a rush to get a new label. I'm paying my bills, I'm saving a little bit of money. You know I'm doing things that normal twenty eight year olds do so it's like I'm happy. You know, I'm excited to do that.
I think that's all I have. I really appreciate it.