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We lost the guys in the music scene for about three years when they went on hiatus after several incredibly successful records but the band is back and here to stay for the long haul. With two records dropping since they returned from hiatus, they just finished an inspiring summer headlining the Warped Tour again and have a huge fall US tour featuring The Wonder Years and We Are The In Crowd opening! Over the past year we've had the excellent opportunity to steadily talk to Ryan Key of the band as well as famed violinist Sean Mackin about the come back they are currently having. Read on for my most recent exclusive with vocalist Key about the writing process for 'Southern Air', their future plans and advice to Warped newbies!
How long has the new record Southern Air been in the making?
We started writing in January. I mean we took the holidays off and it was a crazy process because there was such a deadline on it! We had Warped Tour, Warped Tour was booked. And it was early on in the process, there was the conversation of like 'Well, if we're not going to be done, we have to do it later' and we were like 'Hell no. It's not going to happen'. We're going to get it done so I think in the end, the pressure of getting it done and writing songs was really an ally and not an enemy. It was pushing us, driving us, inspiring us in a way. It was incredible! It was definitely probably the most painless writing project that I can recall. Everything was so fluid and our sort of camaraderie in the band was amazing. I don't remember a time where we all were so good working with each other on so many aspects of the record. You know we were all involved in every part of it. It was really great!
And then clearly this is the second record since coming off hiatus. That record is a very recent release. Was there a reason to put out these records so close together? Maybe because you were coming off hiatus after several years.
That has a little bit to do with it but really Warped Tour was the driving force behind that decision because we all desperately wanted to be part of this tour this summer. It's been five years since we've done the tour and to have the opportunity to do the whole tour this year, that was really important to us. If we had waited till after Warped Tour, we wouldn't be putting a record out till some time in 2013 and I think that in the end is just way too long. I mean five years from now, I hope we're still making records and then maybe we can take a couple years between albums but I think it is important that we keep putting out music for now because we did take some time off. We have no right to complain and say 'Oh we need rest!' because we had three years to rest. Everybody's really inspired us to keep going so we had the moment of like how are we going to do this. How are we going to accomplish writing a whole other record right now but then that moment passed and we said we write songs. That's what we do. We need to stop bitching and just get in to the studio and do work. We ended up writing the best ten or eleven songs we've ever written.
And then obviously, you're on the main stage with bands that have been around for years upon years like Taking Back Sunday, The Used, New Found Glory. How has that been being on the main stage and what advice maybe would you give to bands who are doing like their first Warped Tour?
It's really cool this year because-. Well, it's kind of bittersweet because NOFX and Bad Religion are not on this tour and New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday and Yellowcard, we all are. So there's this feeling of kind of taking the torch. Carrying the torch on. I saw Fat Mike from NOFX in San Francisco and he was like 'How does it feel? How are they treating you guys? Since we're not here!' It's like man we're getting old, we're moving on up there. So it's both things but I mean the friendships we have with the bands that we've been touring with, it's really amazing to be all sharing the main stage at Warped Tour. As young bands, this was such an important thing for us to do and it was such a big dream and a big goal to be on the Warped Tour. So for us to all sort of be a flagship band this year or whatever you want to call it is really special. I don't think any of us are taking it for granted at all. Don't realize how far we've come and how much it means for the tour to have all of these bands on. As far as the younger bands, it's just we wouldn't be there with out this tour and we've done it in a van with a trailer ourselves ten years ago and it was miserable but magical at the same time. So you've just got to deal with it and fight through it because if you can get your band to a place where the Warped Tour will have you regularly on the tour, it's really a great thing for your career. Not just the fact that you get to play for so many people but I mean it's a steady thing. It's a steady job to have in the summer every couple years to be on the Warped Tour. It's great! So it's worth the work!
Then obviously this record comes out in less then a month I believe August 14th. You've been touring pretty steadily since you've come back but are you just going to keep on going that way for now?
Yeah, Warped Tour ends on the 5th of August and we fly to Europe on the 8th so we're just getting right back on it. We'll be in Europe till the end of August and then in September we have a massive Southeast Asia thing planned. Something like 45, 000 kids we'll be playing to on that trip. Then when we come back, we're going to take the month of October off and then do our fall head line tour in November and then yeah, so! We'll take the holidays off and get back at it next year. I mean another thing about Warped Tour for us is that we knew that if we could do Warped Tour at the beginning of the album cycle, we might be able to get 18 months of touring in support of the record. You get an extra three at the start if you're doing Warped tour so you don't really have an album out to do Warped Tour. So we're hoping to be touring through December of next year.
Thank you so much, Ryan. I always appreciate you so much for taking the time.