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I got the excellent opportunity to sit down with Nick from the band during their first real tour back with A Loss For Words, Such Gold, The Story So Far and Divided By Friday and I learned everything about the new record 'Invicta'. It's their first record in approximately three years as well as their first with acclaimed indie label Razor & Tie and we delved into what makes the record different! As well as talking about the record itself, the boys opened up a little bit about why this record was so long in the making and explained why they took such a break from the road! Catch them back in my town January 22nd and check out their website for all their upcoming dates!
A little soft one because obviously with all that's going on. You guys have been back on the road as of late being that you're headlining this tour. What are three things you must have while you're on the road?
Nick: Feel free to help me out, Dave!
Dave: What was the question?
Nick: Three things you must have while on the road! I actually always like to have a little bottle of whiskey or something. I like a little sweet before I go on.
Dave: It would be more like a big bottle of whiskey.
Nick: Just a little bit! Nothing crazy! Usually, I like to have my own little bottle of whiskey or something.
Dave: I think right now what I'm learning is clean socks are one of the most important things that you can have.
Nick: I think those should be of note.
Dave: I just happen to have some here in my hands. Just as you have the whiskey, I've got some clean socks!
Nick: Priorities! Yeah!
There you go!
Dave: Then of course your dog! Don't forget your dog.
Nick: iPhone for sure! That's basically what you have for entertainment for the next month and a half or whatever and for directions too! So yeah those are pretty good! Whiskey and iPhones and clean socks is pretty good!
Yeah, always good!
Then maybe you've put out the EP with the record obviously coming in 2012. How is it to like have that new full length coming out considering it has been a while? It's been about three years now.
Nick: Yeah, it's been a really long time! We went through a lot of crap trying to make the record so it's nice that it's finally coming out and that's a big reason why we had the EP. To release some of the songs early just because it's been so long and it's coming out in January so just getting it out and getting something out there a little sooner. I know kids would be stoked and from what we all hear, they are! But yeah, that's why we released the EP in the first place because it's been so long and it's just such a shitty wait (laughs). So hopefully it will all be worth it and then kids will be excited about it but I think they will. I know I'm proud of the record.
Has it changed a bit? Like sound wise?
Nick: Yeah I think it was a change. Like I said, the writing process for this record was really weird because we went through a couple labels and stuff and we saw kind of the major label side of things where we were writing with songwriters and stuff and I think the songs probably sound different because coming out of that I think we were all just kind of on an 'ego-loss' kind of thing. Especially when you're at a major label, where everyone's telling you what to do, what you need to do or otherwise you're going to fail and stuff and it's easy to lose a sense of who you are and why you're there in the first place. So I think that's why a lot of the songs on the record are kind of a revitalization of us kind of taking control again and doing what we want. So it is a little different but I don't think it was something where we were trying to be different. I think it's just something that happened out of all the drama and stuff that took place while we were making it. I think it's still Hit The Lights, I think it sounds like a Hit The Lights record through it but no one wants to make the same record twice. Especially after three years, we don't want to release another 'Skip School' it just wouldn't make sense. So yeah I think if it fits well with your sound, then it's good!
And did the songwriting change or how does it normally go?
Nick: The only thing that really changed is we have four songwriters in the band. Dave stepped it up a lot on this record with a couple songs that are just fucking great. Same with Kevin cranking out some amazing stuff and Omar and I write too so. All these songs, we brought in these ideas and everyone was collaborating and putting their two cents in. Everyone's got their own kind of sound you know to their songs so it was very collaborative and that goes along with the producers too because we used two different producers on this record. I think their sound of their parts of the record plays a very big part in shaping the songs and how they turned out.
Perfect and then you signed to Razor & Tie who obviously have a lot of independent feel bands like Saves The Day and that kind of thing and Kevin Devine. How did that come about signing to Razor & Tie?
Razor & Tie! After we were done with our deal with Triple Crown in 2009, we got off Warped Tour and started talking to new labels and stuff and Razor & Tie was one of the labels we talked to as well as Universal Republic who we were originally signed to. So coming out of it, we finally got released from our deal with Universal but Razor & Tie still laid the offer down and they kind of let us know that they were going to let us do the record we wanted and stuff so it was a really easy choice and so far, so good. Like everyone there has been amazing and actually gives a shit about the record! They call us and always stay on top of their stuff so it's been a really positive thing so far.
That's what I hear! They really let you be hands on and they don't control it all. Like you control things, I know Saves The Day told me the same.
Yeah which is absolutely fucking great and that's always a risk you take. For them to have that kind of faith I guess in us was another thing too. Like a really reassuring thing that we were just fucking ready to get in the studio as soon as possible. So being there and knowing we had a label behind us, backing us on all the ideas that we had was definitely inspirational and helps with the writing and stuff.
And then how has this tour been? I know you're headlining and you have A Loss For Words, The Story So Far and then Divided By Friday. How has it been so far, like being in the headlining spot?
It's been going great! We actually had a band called Such Gold on the beginning of the tour.
Yeah, great band! They were on the first leg of this. So really Divided by Friday is the only band that's been with us the full haul.
So, yeah! There were some rough dates in between. California's always great but I guess once we get over to the East Coast, things always pick up for us. We're definitely more of an East Coast band.
And so is A Loss For Words I mean these shows must have been pretty great!
Yeah, that was another thing too! I was so happy about that. We've known A Loss For Words for years and stuff so I'm glad we got to work this out and they get to be on the road with us. All good dudes and again, so far, especially all the East Coast shows have been fucking nuts. Kids have been going off so it's fun! I'm happy. I think we're all stoked to be back on the road and playing good shows!
Then what is coming up? Obviously you have the record coming out which is huge. Really start out the year with a bang having that out in January but are you going to keep on being on the road?
Yep! Right now, we're pretty much booked till Spring and I can't really talk about the tours yet and we're going to continue doing that and doing overseas stuff too. We've been off the road for like two years so we're ready to get the fuck out and just do it all again! More then ready!
Then how was it to be a band that was always consistently touring and playing shows, to be like at home for so long?
At first, it was really nice. We were home for a while so it was nice to be home and see your family and stuff. Dave and I have a house together and our dog stays with us. It's always nice to be home for a little bit. After a while though, it definitely starts to wear on you and especially when it got to the point where like we weren't touring because we were too busy trying to write these songs to be approved for the record. It just got to the point where it was like 'I'm going to kill myself!' You know! You're just stuck in Ohio! We used to live in like a backwoods Ohio town. It's very rural and there's nothing to do besides drink with your friends and stuff and after a while, you're just like I have to get out of here! And it wears on you for sure. So, yeah it wasn't fun!