Podcast: As It Is Talks About “The Great Depression”

For our latest podcast episode, we caught up with Patty Walters and Benjamin Langford-Biss of As It Is at Warped Tour to discuss their upcoming album, The Great Depression. During the conversation, the two share their approach to discussing mental health and depression and how the subjectivity of art prevents it from offering firm answers. Instead, As It Is aims to have a more honest and open dialogue about the challenges of mental health and much more. The band also talks about their new look and sound and how they approached the writing process for their third album. Listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here.

What are your expectations for the new As It Is album? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

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Raise Your Voice: Warped Tour 2018 Review and Photo Gallery

Walking through the crowded grounds of Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana, on a hot July day, it’s nearly impossible not to reflect on Warped Tours past. It was here, nine years ago, where I baked in the sun watching bands like Saosin, Underoath, and Chiodos while screaming along to every word. A year prior in Cincinnati, I stood on the main stage watching Norma Jean bring down the house before singing along to The Academy Is, Anberlin, and Cobra Starship.

Over the years, the Vans Warped Tour is where I met some amazing friends, discovered some of my favorite bands, and truly felt part of a community for one of the first times in my life. As the longest-running touring music festival in North America comes to a close, I’ve felt it necessary to remember those experiences while acknowledging that the experiences have others have not always been so pleasant. For a myriad of reasons, it is time for Warped Tour to end.

There were things to feel good about and music to be excited about during this final trek, yet the staggering lack of gender and racial diversity across the lineup served as a reminder of why it must come to a close. With any luck, whatever takes its place will provide a more balanced and honest view of the underground music scene in years to come.

For now, we take a look at a few of the bands on the 2018 Vans Warped Tour that made some noise and made the tour’s final run worth the price of admission. Take a look below and feel free to share some of your favorites from the lineup in the replies!

Mayday Parade

For a band that made a name for itself by following Warped Tour around the country in 2006, selling CDs to those standing in line, it’s appropriate that Mayday Parade take part in the festival’s final journey. The band has come a long way since those early days, having just released their sixth studio album, Sunnyland, earlier this summer. Per usual, Derek Sanders bounded across the main stage singing fan favorites like “Jamie All Over” and “Jersey”, making for the perfect summer sing-a-long session.

Check out our podcast interview with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade!

Mayday Parade

As It Is

The band’s second stint on Warped Tour has brought a new sound and a new look. Making light of the obvious changes in between songs, vocalist Patty Walters introduces the band as “My Chemical Romance.” Even if As It Is haven’t quite hit the heights of the aforementioned emo legends, the early signs from upcoming album The Great Depression seem to be promising. From “The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)” to “The Wounded World”, these new tracks sound even better live than on tape.

As It Is

Doll Skin

While watching Phoenix, Arizona, rockers Doll Skin tear through their set, I was reminded of watching letlive. just a few years prior. The band harness the same amount of energy and passion in their performance, with vocalist Sydney Dolezal even climbing into the crowd mid-song to unleash her powerful scream. For as exciting as the band’s set was, it was disappointing to find it on a side stage. This is the kind of band deserving of the biggest platform available.

Doll Skin

Real Friends

Real Friends feels like our best current example of what it’s like to watch a band grow up on Warped Tour. Having just released their third full-length album, Composure, the band’s main stage set was one of the highlights of the day. Dan Lambton’s energy, even this late into the grueling tour, provided a spark for the crowd as he lit into “Get By” to kick off the band’s set. Having put together the best album of their career, it will be exciting to see where they go next.

Real Friends

Issues

Tyler Carter has the kind of voice that you have to hear to believe. Even when taking on an early set on a hot day late in the tour, Carter still manages to croon his way through eight songs at full tilt. The band, now a four piece, is in the process of putting together their third album, this time minus Michael Bohn. Nevertheless, Carter handled both sides of the vocals beautifully throughout the band’s set, with help from Adrian Rebollo.

Issues

Waterparks

It feels like the stock for Houston pop punk powerhouse Waterparks just keeps rising. With the release of Entertainment earlier this year, the band has cemented their stay as one of the genre’s hottest acts and have ascended to Warped Tour’s main stage. Awsten Knight carries the band’s vocal duties and helps wake up the morning crowd with performances of “Blonde”, “Take Her to the Moon”, and more.

Waterparks

This Wild Life

While standing at the front of the stage to shoot This Wild Life’s gentle set, I couldn’t help but feel good for the security guards, finally relieved of flying bodies and crowd surfers for 30 minutes. The Long Beach duo’s quiet set is the perfect intermission for a day of loud noises, especially as their catalogue of songs continues to grow. The band performs tracks from their new album, Petaluma, while still finding time to throw in some oldies like “History” and “Concrete”.

This Wild Life

Frank Turner

Yes, THAT Frank Turner took the stage for a few Warped Tour dates this year. Each year on the tour, there are always a few surprises on the lineup that should be labeled required viewing. The English folk singer took to the main stage for an eight-song set that felt all too short, while still providing plenty of moments for sing-a-longs and even a few laughs. His closing performance of “Get Better” proved to be one of the highlights of the day.

Frank Turner

Senses Fail

One final run of Warped Tour just wouldn’t feel right without one of the screamo scene’s old guard in tow, and Senses Fail make for the perfect choice. Over 15 years in, vocalist Buddy Nielsen is still a sight to behold on stage, whether he’s playing old standards like “Bite to Break Skin” and “Calling All Cars” or even a few cover songs. The band’s latest release, If There is Light, It Will Find You, is one of the most underrated albums so far in 2018, and the band’s Warped set proves to be a reminder that Senses Fail still have plenty of life left.

Senses Fail

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Podcast: Talking Warped Tour with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade

As Warped Tour makes its final run, perhaps no band epitomizes the opportunity the tour has provided to up-and-coming bands over the years like Mayday Parade. Kiel Hauck sat down backstage with lead vocalist Derek Sanders to discuss how the band got its start following the tour in 2006 and what it means to play on Warped’s final run. Sanders also discusses the creation of the band’s latest release, Sunnyland, and what he’s learned in over 10 years of being on the road in Mayday Parade. Listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here.

What are your must-see bands on this year’s Warped Tour? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Warped Tour Announces its Final Cross-Country Run in 2018

Vans Warped Tour, a summer staple for the scene, is preparing for its final cross-country trek in 2018. According to Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, “I have been a very lucky person to have traveled across the country and sometimes around the world as one of the founders and producers of the Vans Warped Tour, and today with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that the last full cross-country run will take place in 2018.”

Warped Tour has served as a springboard for bands into the spotlight throughout the years and provided a common ground for alternative music and culture, although recent years have revealed deep issues related to sexual harassment and abuse amongst certain bands on the tour. We’ll share more details as they come, but in the meantime, you can view 2018 dates here and read the full statement from Lyman below.

“I have been a very lucky person to have traveled across the country and sometimes around the world as one of the founders and producers of the Vans Warped Tour. Today, with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that next year will be the final, full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour. I sit here reflecting on the tour’s incredible history, what the final run means for our community, and look forward to what’s to come as we commemorate the tour’s historic 25th anniversary in 2019.

In 1995, I had already worked many years in the music business, including spending four summers on the Lollapalooza tour, and I thought, ‘for one summer I would like go out and put on my own show’ mixing music and action sports. With the support of so many people, I have now spent the last 23 summers bringing that show to a city near you. We have brought that show to over 11 million people around the world and watched that same world change while doing so.

I have been proud to work with so many artists who have grown to be some of the largest stars in the world. Countless bands have played in hot parking lots and through summer storms for you at some point.

Bands like Quicksand, Sublime, L7, No Use for A Name and No Doubt jumped on in the very first year.

Touring many summers with my friends and peers like – Pennywise, Social Distortion, NOFX, Bad Religion, The Descendents, Less Than Jake, Dropkick Murphy’s, The Bouncing Souls, Rancid, Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag and The Offspring are just some of my fondest memories. More include, having Blink-182 travel on my bus in 1997 when the world opened up to them and made them the superstars they are today.

The Vans Warped Tour was the platform to witness the rise of pop punk with Sum 41, Simple Plan, MXPX, New Found Glory and Good Charlotte.

The birth of Emo – with bands like Thrice, Thursday, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line, Motion City Soundtrack and Jimmy Eat World.

Fast-forward to the summer in 2005 when TRL and Warped Tour helped launch the careers of Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold.

I witnessed Warped alumni like The Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, No Doubt and even Kid Rock play the Super Bowl. I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing Green Day play the Rose Bowl.

More recently, I’ve watched bands start out on a small stage and work their way up to the main stages by meeting as many fans as possible and continuing to hone their craft while on the tour. Bands like Paramore, A Day To Remember, Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil, Echosmith, Motionless in White, Black Veil Brides, Every Time I Die, Neck Deep, Beartooth and so many more.

What has always made me proud was when I read that Warped was the most diverse show of the summer where you could find Eminem and Ice-T on the same stages as Sevendust, Pennywise, and 7 Seconds.

I am so grateful to have worked with more than 1,700 bands over the last 23 summers. I wish I could thank every band that has played the tour.

The Vans Warped Tour has become the community I had always hoped for. We have worked with over 90 non-profits each summer shining a light on new and growing groups giving our community the resources they need to connect with people who can help them, but also encourages our community to help each other. To Write Love on Her Arms, Music Saves Lives, Feed The Children Now, Keep a Breast, Hope For The Day, Canvas Foundation, Living The Dream and A Voice for the Innocent have built their organizations from the Warped Tour parking lots across the country. This even inspired me to start my own foundation Unite the United.

The work we do each summer on “give back days” has become part of our DNA. My brain is etched with the image of the church ladies after Katrina serving beans and rice to The Casualties with their upright mohawks, finding a common ground where no one was judging anyone. Then finding out the only working business in the county seemed to be the moonshine still and the locals showing up with a crate to share with the crew later that evening.

The long hot days that ended around a BBQ with food, drink and more music are some of the best times. Enjoying the days off, taking people jet boating, house boating, river rafting and sometimes even skydiving. I witnessed lifelong friendships being made, sparks of romance that led to ‘Warped weddings,’ and unfortunately now, more notices of passings where a proper good bye was not able to be said.

I want to thank my supportive family who has been through the highs and lows, Darryl Eaton at CAA, Steve Van Doren and Vans, Kate, Julie, Allison and Steph. My hard ass working crew who puts that show up and down each day, the sponsors which without them this tour would not happen, the bands and their crews, the promoters who took a risk on us at the beginning and continue to be supportive.

It will be bittersweet each morning when I see the sun rise and then watch it set knowing that this will be the last time I get to witness it from that exact spot.

Though the tour and the world have changed since ’95, the same feeling of having the ‘best summer ever’ will live on through the bands, the production teams, and the fans that come through at every stop.

The enduring spirit of the Vans Warped Tour remains as bright as ever, continuing to inspire creativity and ambition in new and exciting ways as we prepare for a 25th anniversary celebration in 2019.

I truly look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during this final cross country run, and getting to thank you for your support on this wild adventure. Until then, take care and be safe.” – Kevin Lyman (Founder of the Vans Warped Tour)

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Podcast: Backstage at Vans Warped Tour 2016

IAD_Podcast_Image

Summer is here – and so is the Vans Warped Tour. On this episode of the official It’s All Dead Podcast, Kiel Hauck catches up with bands backstage at this summer’s tour. Interviews include The Word Alive, State Champs and Against the Current. Get the inside details about the country’s longest running music festival and learn how bands survive on the road – listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here. What are you favorite bands on this summer’s Warped Tour? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Warped Tour 2016: Make Some Noise

against-the-current-warped-splash

Warped Tour can be an oppressive affair. Sweltering heat, oversized crowds and a fair amount of uncomfortable controversy all make for a cruel mixture. Yet for all of the obstacles, Warped Tour still offers a platform for up and coming bands and a meeting ground for music fans of all kinds. Now in its 22nd year of existence, the country’s largest traveling music festival is a well-oiled machine.

Per usual, this year’s trek offers up a variety of acts, both new and old, that span across multiple genres. Some bands are using the tour as a chance to say “goodbye,” while others are just making an introduction.

After attending Warped Tour’s recent stop in Indianapolis, we decided to highlight a few of the bands that are shining bright this summer. Whether you’re a fan of pop punk, metalcore, post-hardcore or pop, there’s no shortage of sets you won’t want to miss on this year’s tour. Take a look below!

Mayday Parade

Mayday Parade has come a long way since their days following Warped Tour in a van in 2006, handing out CDs to bystanders in line. The Tallahassee, Florida, outfit is a full-scale rock behemoth that once again finds itself gracing the main stage. With the release of last year’s Black Lines, Mayday Parade has fully transitioned from pop punk heroes to an alt-rock powerhouse. Even with an impressive new collection of songs at their disposal, the band still finds time to play fan favorites like “Black Cat”, “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over”

Mayday Parade

Mayday Parade

Against the Current

After signing with Fueled by Ramen and releasing their smash debut album In Our Bones, pop rockers Against the Current look primed to take over the scene. With the confident Chrissy Constanza behind the mic, the band deliver loads of melody perfect for summer sing-alongs. With a solid debut under their belt and a fan base growing larger by the day, don’t be surprised if Against the Current find themselves on the main stage in the very near future.

Against the Current

Against the Current

Yellowcard

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Sure, it’s devastating to consider Yellowcard’s upcoming disbandment following the release of their self-titled album in September, but at least fans are getting another chance to hear their favorite songs. This summer on Warped, Yellowcard reaches back, playing a variety of fan favorites, including four tracks from their smash album Ocean Avenue. Warped Tour won’t be the same without Yellowcard, but we’re thankful that we get to say goodbye.

Yellowcard

Yellowcard

The Word Alive

Even though Phoenix metalcore act The Word Alive are still a relatively young band, they’re now Warped veterans, spending their fourth summer on the tour. With Dark Matter, the band has evolved from their beginnings, offering a taste of experimental rock and even nu metal sounds. Their setlist is a wild ride, especially with Tyler “Telle” Smith on the mic, working the crowd into a frenzy.

The Word Alive

The Word Alive

Secrets

San Diego’s Secrets have had their fair share of re-birth, now enlisting their third vocalist in Wade Walters to handle screaming duties. Multiple changes behind the mic have done little to slow the band down, though, with last year’s Everything That Got Us Here being the band’s strongest work to date. Walters and clean vocalist and guitarist Richard Rogers are now one of the scene’s best one-two punches, providing fans with plenty of reason to jump around in the pit.

Secrets

Secrets

Sleeping with Sirens

Sleeping with Sirens have not only climbed the Warped ladder through the years, they’ve also covered a lot of sonic ground that has kept the band fresh in the eyes and ears of their fans. Last year’s Madness finds the band experimenting with pop elements in addition to ragers like “We Like it Loud” and “Kick Me”, which elicit excitement from the Warped Tour crowd.

Sleeping with Sirens

Sleeping with Sirens

Emarosa

Moments after the rest of Emarosa takes the stage for their set at Warped, vocalist Bradley Walden shoots into the crowd, performing “Miracle” from inside the pit. It’s the kind of energy that makes this summer tour such a blast for fans, especially when you consider the heart and soul poured into the band’s latest release, 131. Walden and company have taken their game to a whole new level, which is saying a lot for one of the most captivating bands in the post-hardcore scene.

Emarosa

Emarosa

Real Friends

Considering the clamor surrounding their debut, it’s still incredible to see how much Real Friends has upped the ante with their new release, The Home Inside My Head. The band continues to come into their own, now gracing the main stage for this summer’s Warped Tour. Dan Lambton bounds about the stage wailing with passion while the rest of the band drives their set forward, much to the crowd’s delight. Sometimes singing the saddest songs can still be a joyous affair.

Real Friends

Real Friends

I See Stars

It’s possible that Treehouse is the most criminally underrated album of 2016. The latest from electronicore act I See Stars finds Devin Oliver handling full vocal duty for the first time, and his stage presence at Warped is something to behold. The band still brings the house down with hits like “Murder Mitten” and “Filth Friends Unite”, but showcase newfound potential with new tracks like “Mobbin’ Out”. On their third full trek on the summer tour, I See Stars are sounding better than ever.

I See Stars

I See Stars

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Rewriting History: An Interview with Robert Ortiz of Escape the Fate

escape-the-fate

I believe [our new album] will transcend everything that Escape the Fate has ever been and everything that you’ve ever known Escape the Fate to be. Whatever old shit that fans want to always rehash, it will all go away. It will all be history. This will define Escape the Fate. – Robert Ortiz

A lot has changed since Escape the Fate’s first run on Warped Tour in 2006. Since their explosion on the scene, the band attained a major label record deal, underwent a few sonic reformations and weathered multiple major lineup changes, including the transition from one rock star vocalist to another. It’s been a long, fascinating road.

Whether the band was on the brink of rock radio stardom or reigning as kings in the post-hardcore scene, one thing Escape the Fate never could seem to shake was their bad boy image – one that was bolstered by inner-band strife and a constant stream of unsavory press. Now over a decade into their career and on the brink of what the band is calling their defining release, the focus appears much less blurry-eyed and hazy. Escape the Fate are ready to get serious.

When we caught up with Robert Ortiz at the Noblesville, Indiana, date of this year’s Warped Tour, the drummer had just finished a workout and excitedly spoke of the band’s forthcoming album and the chance for a new start. According to Ortiz, Escape the Fate is more determined than ever, and with the help of a certain star producer, has captured the true essence of the band for the very first time.

***

You’re on the last leg of Warped Tour – how has this summer been for you?

Warped’s been great, man. Every day has been interesting. We’re veterans now at this point – we’re one of the older bands, which is kind of weird. I don’t like that because I’m so fucking young. Some of the younger bands are older than us – it’s weird. But, you know, it’s been great. It’s been really cool to see how our band has stayed relevant over the years.

You can buy the band's 2013 album Ungrateful on iTunes.

You can buy the band’s 2013 album Ungrateful on iTunes.

Through all of the ups and downs that my band has had, a lot of people still love it. They’re very passionate about us and what we do, and they get that we’re very important to the entire scene and the entire movement and everything that Warped Tour stands for. We were a little worried when we first thought about doing Warped Tour again, because we haven’t done it in six years. We were a little worried that maybe we don’t fit in anymore – and fuck that. We hella do and we’re grabbing new fans; young fans that have never heard us. We’re also keeping our older fans that have been with us for a long time and the shows have been outstanding.

Every day is fun. We’re making a lot of friends, we’re hanging out. Yesterday, I hung out with Ashley [Purdy] from Black Veil Brides, and that night I hung out with New Years Day, who I hang out with every day anyway. It’s just a fun time out here and I’m really enjoying it, even though sometimes you’ve gotta deal with the weather, but it’s all good.

You mentioned new fans, and Escape the Fate is a band that has kind of evolved their sound. For a lot of bands to do some of the things that you guys have done, there’s a risk of losing that core fan base. But it seems like you’ve not only kept that, but have grown your fan base. Has it been intentional to bring new people in?

I mean, in terms of the music itself, no. The music itself really just comes down to whatever we’re into – whatever we’re feeling. If one of us had a friend who just passed away, we write a song about it. If one of us, you know, is into something really heavy and weird with bouncy rhythms, we write that type of sound. If one of us is love, we write a love song. We don’t think about it too much. The sounds evolve, new things happen, new things catch your ear.

For us it’s never about that. The way we go about promoting our band after we finish the music, that’s where the challenge is. We’ve taken many risks: we’ve done the rock radio tours, we’ve dealt with Godsmacks and the Seethers of the world, and it doesn’t always work. A lot of those fans aren’t receptive. Once you have a hit, they know who are, but unless you have a true hit, a lot of times they just don’t really care because they don’t have that kind of time. They just want something that they know is good and solid, they can believe in and they’ll go watch you and support you.

Whereas out here on Warped Tour, you have a lot of young fans who are taking chances. They want to hear something new. They’re going, “What do you got? Show me.” So you’ve got a completely different mentality. They’re both awesome and they both suck for different reasons, you know? As far as the music itself, though? We write it for us.

This spring, before Warped Tour, the word was that you guys were starting to work on a new album. Can you give any updates about where you’re at with that?

Yeah, absolutely! We’re so fucking excited about it, man. We truly poured our hearts into this. We have every single emotion that has ever been trapped inside of us. We basically spent our whole lives building up to this album. Every experience we’ve ever had, personally – with our hearts, with our minds and as musicians in our career – it’s all led up to this album.

We put it all together and I believe it will transcend everything that Escape the Fate has ever been and everything that you’ve ever known Escape the Fate to be. Whatever old shit that fans want to always rehash, it will all go away. It will all be history. This will define Escape the Fate. We worked on it for, like, seven months straight, just writing and writing and writing. We only recorded it in about three weeks, because it wasn’t about the production. It was about the songs.

At this point, we’re just about done. We’ve got the track listing, we’ve got all of this stuff, now we’re just working on how are we going to release it, how are we going to have the most impact. So we’re looking at probably an October release date. We just got the very first edit of our first music video that will be released, and I can tell you that it’s going to be a song that we’ve been playing on Warped Tour. So, you know, if you stick around for our late set tonight, you’ll hear it. It’s called “Just the Memory” and it’s a brutal song. We’re very excited about it – it should be out around October.

Did you guys work with a producer on this album?

Yes, we worked with Howard Benson – the great Howard Benson. It was amazing because when we started, we had some names, but we weren’t sure where our band would be. There were so many ups and downs that people don’t really want to take chances: “That band’s done. Who cares?” Then we slowly worked our way up to different producers that wanted to work with us and believed in what we want to do.

Howard Benson was one of my dream producers. I told our manger, “Dude, do you think we could ever work with this guy? I’ve always wanted to and he worked with My Chem.” That was a band, to me, that represented what we do, which is something that’s unique – a little raw, a little dirty. To make a great song, with their unique style, that’s what I want, because we’re unique, but we haven’t captured that song and those groups of songs in an album that really defines us.

He gave us a chance. Luckily, his daughter was fan and the planets aligned. He’s given us a chance and he taught us not how to write a song, but to just keep writing until you know in your heart you have the right songs. He lent us his ear and said, “This is a good one.” We may not have heard it at the time, so he would just teach us. He was like, “Who cares about this drum roll? Who cares if it’s not that fancy? The fucking song is there – the main part. What do people listen to? They listen to vocals and lyrics and melodies. That’s what your focus is, so work on that.”

So this album, I didn’t even give a fuck about drums and I’m the drummer! This time, we focused on vocals, melodies and lyrics – myself included. Everything else came out secondary to benefit that.

You guys have had a lot of different member transitions through the years. Is it different now when it comes to writing? What was it like this time around?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it; it was very different this time around. It’s the best experience of my life. I never wanted to leave the studio. I think I lost my mind while I was in there. I mean that sincerely – I genuinely lost my mind. I went fucking crazy, for one, because I was living in a hotel for months. When we weren’t completely dedicated and busy, you kind of sit around like, “What do I fucking do with my life?”

I didn’t want to leave, though. I was afraid to go home. I didn’t want to play this tour. I was in a writing zone – just so focused. You asked about differences – before, it was like a factory, like, “Here’s this riff, here’s this vocal, let’s record it and go back on tour and make some money.” That got so lame to me. It felt like we lost our heart. Now, we always worked very hard on it, but we truly lost what it meant to dig into a song and make it mean something. Like, what’s the point? Why are we making songs if we don’t need to make them?

These songs now, we’re desperately pouring our hearts and our souls out. It’s not like, “We need an album, guys.” It’s like, “No, our band is broken up – we’re done. So what are we going to do? I need to write a song, because that’s what I do. I’m a fucking artist.” This time around, there was so much creativity. We were throwing ideas back and forth and we all helped each other. We all let our guard down, which is hard for any artist to do because you’re so controlling of your own thing and you’re a little embarrassed to show people some of your ideas. You don’t always show them the good shit because you think it’s going to be lame or something.

This time, it’s just, “Every idea you’ve got – put it out there.” We didn’t take any offense if somebody didn’t like it, we just wanted each other to be the best we could be and it was a true bonding experience. I love my band mates more that ever. We’re brothers. We grew together because we actually opened our hearts to each other with this record and we got closer because of it.

You talked about being veterans in this scene. What do you feel has changed the most for you and the band during this time? Has it been maturity as songwriters and as people?

I think, I mean, you just said it – it’s maturity. Maturity on every single level. I used to walk around this tour just pissed off because of my band members always fucking up and people being stupid. I was always mad. I didn’t want to deal with people. I didn’t care. I assumed that everyone who was in rock and roll was a drug addict like my band mates. I was just an asshole.

As an artist, we thought we were the shit, but we were also very, very insecure at the same time. We thought everyone fucking hated us. Now, when you have a little bit of, not hindsight, but where you can take a step back and take a look at everything as a big picture, we’ve fucking been able to do something that most people dream of doing – and that’s to make money doing something that you love doing. And so, we’re just fucking content. We’re happy. We chill. We make friends with other bands and it’s a fucking good time.

One last question: You talked about a lot of younger bands being out here now – is there anyone that’s caught your eye this summer?

It’s Warped Tour – there’s a lot to like. What sucks is that most of the time when I’m hearing these bands, because we’re busy and there’s always something to do, I’ll just be walking around and be like, “What’s this sound? It’s fucking amazing. I love it!” So I’ll sit and watch the whole song but they don’t say their band name, but I’ve gotta leave, so…fuck. But one of the bands that I have recognized is a band called Palisades, who I love. There’s just so much energy. They’re just fucking unrelenting. They have some big choruses, too. Them and Our Last Night – I fucking love that band.

Writing our new album really made me fall in love with music again. I became so jaded and it became a job to me. Writing the record made me realize why I love music and why I’m so enthralled by it. Listening to all of the new bands and new sounds…I’m not that fucking jaded dude anymore. It used to be like, “Fuck all these kids. This music is fucking garbage! The old shit is better.” I grew up like that because I’m a metal head, so anything from the 80s was my shit, even though that was before my time. Now I’m just open to it. There are a lot of great artists out here. I can’t name them all – just look at the poster.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Warped Tour 2015: Searching for Hope in a Wounded Scene

blessthefall-splash1

Make no mistake – the conversation around Warped Tour is no longer framed as a discussion about the summer’s best music. That ship has sailed, and time will tell if the problems that plague this scene find resolution and if an answer is found to rectify the steady stream of sexual misconduct that continues to rear its ugly head. Until those answers come, it’s hard to care about much else.

At the same time, It’s All Dead was created with a purpose of finding light in the dark, spotlighting the music that makes our hearts full and our minds contemplative. Amidst the frustration surrounding this summer’s tour, we want to take a moment to highlight some of the good things – bands playing with passion and speaking life in a wounded scene.

Below is a collection of bands that we feel encapsulate that idea. Take a look at a few of our favorites from the tour’s recent stop in Noblesville, Indiana.

Palisades

Palisades want you to move. The band’s unique blend of danceable electronics and crunchy hardcore riffs are the perfect pairing for hot summer days on Warped Tour. Vocalists Louis Miceli and Brandon Sidney combine cool melodies with spastic screams for a light/dark combination that adds an array of emotion to their tracks. Holding down the Kevin Says stage, Palisades appear to be gaining followers by the day.

Palisades

Palisades

This Wild Life

Just one year ago, acoustic duo This Wild Life were one of the biggest buzz bands on Warped Tour. This year, they’re holding down the main stage like scene veterans. Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso’s calm, unflappable presence on stage matches the peaceful journey through pain found on their debut, Clouded. The band even finds time to slip in a quick cover of blink-182’s “First Date” for good measure.

This Wild Life

This Wild Life

The Amity Affliction

The Amity Affliction’s last run on Warped Tour in 2013 found lead vocalist Joel Birch hospitalized and near the end of his rope. This year, the band appears re-energized, fresh off of the release of Let the Ocean Take Me. Birch roars with confidence while Ahren Stringer provides clean vocals that soothe against the band’s pounding sonic background. A substantial crowd sings along passionately as the band rocks the Monster Energy stage, emphasis on the “energy.”

The Amity Affliction

The Amity Affliction

PVRIS

Another buzz band turned breakout, PVRIS are riding high on White Noise, their smash debut album. Lynn Gunn has become a staple in this scene behind the microphone in less than a year, belting out powerful anthems like “My House”, while also being capable of crooning softly on more mellow numbers like “Holy”. When the band opens with “Fire” on the Unicorn stage, the crowd jumps to the beat, becoming a welcome backup choir for Gunn.

PVRIS

PVRIS

The Wonder Years

If you can’t wait for the upcoming release of No Closer to Heaven, you’re not alone. The Wonder Years have already claimed the pop punk crown, but they’re not taking their foot of the gas pedal. Dan Campbell is as lively as ever, singing his heart out to new single “Cardinals” as the crowd shouts along. It’s a fast-paced set, but every minute is filled with poppy guitar riffs, passionate vocals and pumping fists.

The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years

Pierce the Veil

It’s been three long years since Pierce the Veil released Collide with the Sky, an album that propelled the band to new heights. Now, the post-hardcore act is back on Warped Tour with a new song, “The Divine Zero”, and a massive set filled with powerful tracks like “Caraphernalia” and “Hell Above”. Vic Fuentes sounds as good as ever, and it’s hard not to get excited about the band’s forthcoming album, whenever it arrives.

Pierce the Veil

Pierce the Veil

As It Is

As It Is are making the most of their first run on Warped Tour. The British pop punk group made their mark earlier this year with their debut album Never Happy, Ever After. Their songs are full of melody and spunk and lead vocalist Patty Walters is chaotic on the stage as he sings his heart out. Walters may be a blur, but he’s still able to hit the notes with ease. After starting their set with “Speak Soft”, the band never takes their foot off of the gas pedal.

As It Is

As It Is

blessthefall

Metalcore vets blessthefall are Warped Tour pros at this point. Holding down the final set of the day on the Shark Stage, a large turnout sticks around to watch Beau Bokan and company rage through a collection of songs. New track “Up in Flames” sounds like the band at their best, combining crushing breakdowns with melodic passages that mesh with ease. Eric Lambert shreds through each song as Bokan runs from side to side, belting out his notes. It’s hard not to appreciate the work ethic of this band, especially when they show no signs of slowing down.

blessthefall

blessthefall

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

A Decade of Summer Soundtracks

Summer is here, which means it’s time to roll the windows down, turn up the stereo and blast your favorite songs. I get nostalgic every year thinking about the albums I played on repeat in years past as I rode around, hung out with my friends and enjoyed the sunshine. It never seems to fail – when I think back on each summer of my life, there is always one album that seems to be playing in the background.

Therefore, I’ve decided to compile a list of the albums that served as my summer soundtrack for each of the past ten years. While this list is far from an overview of the best albums of each year, it does reflect a collection of fun records that seem to be perfect for warm summer days. Take a look below and share your favorite summer records in the replies!

underoath-tocs2004: Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety

This is actually my all time favorite summertime album. I still remember the day I bought it and how I drove around for weeks without taking it out of my car’s CD player. There’s something about the combination of heavy and light here that gives you the best of both worlds as the guitars transition between poppy and blistering. Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie’s trade-off vocals are perfect for sing-alongs, and the stellar production value makes this an instant classic.

anberlin_blueprints2005: Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal

This breakout album from Anberlin is full of catchy hooks and fast-paced, emo-tinged rock. On Never Take Friendship Personal, Anberlin came into their own, displaying their songwriting prowess with killer tracks like “Paperthin Hymn” and “The Runaways”. If you can listen to Stephen Christian cry out, “I thought you said forever, over and over / This sleepless night becomes bitter oblivion” and not belt out the notes right along with him, you may need to get your pulse checked.

underoath_david_goldman2006: Underoath – Define the Great Line

Two years after their breakout, Underoath returned with the crushing, genre-shifting Define the Great Line. While this isn’t your typical summer album, it’s impossible to deny the sheer magnitude of the record. The masterful time-signature changes, the eerie electronic sounds, and Spencer Chamberlain’s electrifying roar changed the game. Though there’s far less melody here than was present on They’re Only Chasing Safety, it’s full of powerful, moving tracks, perfect for summer nights.

2007: Paramore – Riot!

Paramore went from emo darlings full of potential to a powerhouse rock outfit seemingly overnight when they released Riot! in the summer of 2007. A wonderful mixture of pop punk and emo rock make this a huge release, with soaring choruses courtesy of Hayley Williams. Whether you’re singing along to the slick chorus of “crushcrushcrush” or head banging along to the fiery “Misery Business”, Riot! is a record made for summer hangouts and road trips.

all_time_low_7152008: All Time Low – So Wrong, It’s Right

Although the album released in the fall of 2007, a deluxe reissue the following year helped propel So Wrong, It’s Right to new heights. To this day, it’s hard to find another pop punk release so full of energy and melody. After the opening guitars of “This is How We Do”, Alex Gaskarth pleads, “Show us off to all your friends” – and we did. By the end of 2008, it seemed like everyone in the world knew the lyrics to “Dear Maria, Count Me In”.

a-day-to-remember2009: A Day to Remember – Homesick

Another breakout album – noticing a trend here? A Day to Remember broke big with Homesick, an album that captured the band’s “easycore” sound better than any other. From crushing breakdowns capped off with cries to “disrespect your surroundings” to soaring, melodic choruses that even your mom would love, Homesick has a little something for everyone. Is it pop punk? Is it metalcore? Does it matter? Homesick is fun as hell.

The-Devil-Wears-Prada-zombie2010: The Devil Wears Prada – Zombie EP

Since I just wrote a full length feature reflecting on this release, I’ll stay brief. The Zombie EP caught everyone off guard at the time of its release and inadvertently became career defining. The furious guitar work on these five songs is unbelievable and the piercing howls and shrieks of Mike Hranica are the sounds of your nightmares. Even still, it’s hard not to turn the volume up during this horror-filled romp.

the_wonder_years2011: The Wonder Years – Suburbia, I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing

The Wonder Years seem to get better with every release, but Suburbia made us all take notice. So far, it’s the definitive pop punk release of this new decade. A walk through a year in the life of lead singer Dan Campbell finds the band lamenting, celebrating and looking for answers – it’s a coming of age story that almost anyone can relate to. To top it off, Suburbia is so full of life through its twists and turns, it’s the perfect soundtrack for self-reflection on lonely summer nights.

pierce-the-veil-credit-adam-elmakias-650-4302012: Pierce the Veil – Collide with the Sky

While Collide with the Sky wasn’t the band’s breakout record, it certainly propelled them to a whole new level. Vic Fuentes’ duet with Kellin Quinn on “King for a Day” became Warped Tour’s song of the summer, as the two sing and scream their way through this furious track. The band is more technical than ever on this release, creating fast-paced post-hardcore numbers like “Hell Above” and calmer, brokenhearted tracks like “I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket”. From front to back, Collide with the Sky is a summer smash.

letlive2013: letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful

Another unexpected album on the list, The Blackest Beautiful just narrowly edged out The Greatest Generation thanks to Jason Butler’s impassioned vocal performance. This isn’t a lighthearted release, but it does keep you on your toes. We generally don’t want our summer albums to make us think too hard, but The Blackest Beautiful commands your attention, even as its sonic background tickles your ears. The band’s wild stint on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour only added to the excitement surrounding the release.

issues2014: Issues – Issues

How can you not love Tyler Carter? The man can sing and write one heck of a hook. Issues is a melting pot of sounds, full of breakdowns, poppy choruses, wild electronics, record scratches and sincere moments. When Carter and Michael Bohn trade off during “Mad at Myself”, it’s mildly reminiscent of the Underoath’s breakthrough a decade prior. It’s easy to imagine the members blasting They’re Only Chasing Safety during the summer of ’04, only to write their own summer anthem 10 years later.

2015: ???

While it’s still too early to tell what album will serve as the soundtrack to the summer of 2015, it’s easy to get excited about upcoming releases from The Wonder Years, blessthefall and Pierce the Veil. I also can’t rule out The Early November’s Imbue or Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion picking up steam. Whatever it is, I can’t wait for the memories it will provide.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

10 Bands You Can’t Miss on Warped Tour 2015

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The weather is warm, the sun is shining and school is out. You know what that means – it’s almost time for Vans Warped Tour. The longest running music festival in America returns once again and this year’s lineup is ready to hit the road. We already expressed why our excitement for the tour continues, but we figure it’s time to share a few bands to watch out for.

As usual, the festival is full of scene stars such as Pierce the Veil, The Wonder Years, blessthefall and Motion City Soundtrack. However, each summer presents the opportunity for new bands to break out and make their mark. Below are 10 bands to look for. Some are new, some have already begun their rise to stardom, but all are worth of your attention.

Be sure to share some of your favorite bands on this year’s tour in the replies!

as_it_isAs It Is

Pop punk newcomers As It Is hail from Brighton, England, and have burst onto the scene with their debut album, Never Happy, Ever After. The record is full of poppy jams and melodic choruses, courtesy of lead vocalist Patty Walters. With an energetic stage presence and ton of sing-alongs, it won’t be long before As It Is find their way to the main stage.

moose_bloodMoose Blood

Another act from across the pond, Moose Blood have quickly made a name for themselves with a throwback punk/emo hybrid that’s as catchy as anything you’ll hear this summer. Their debut, I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time, is a danceable affair full of fight. Their first appearance on Warped Tour is sure to be an enjoyable one.

PVRISPVRIS

Rise Records act PVRIS made their Warped debut last year, but are ready to take over after the release of their debut, White Noise. Vocalist Lynn Gunn is brings the house down over synth beats and dancy breakdowns. PVRIS have a knack for combining rock and electronic sounds into ear-pleasing tracks that sound radio ready.

this_wild_lifeThis Wild Life 

Hailing from Long Beach, California, This Wild Life made a name for themselves on last summer’s tour with heartfelt, acoustic tracks that anyone can relate to. The duo’s debut, Clouded, is a poignant affair full of delicate melodies. You have to hear Kevin Jordan’s vocal performance to believe it. There won’t be much moshing their set, but there will be plenty of back-up singers in the crowd.

hands_like_housesHands Like Houses

Australian rockers Hands Like Houses made their Warped debut back in 2013 after the release of Unimagine. With a new album on the horizon, the band makes their return with a new track titled “I Am”. Hands Like Houses put on one of the best live performances you’ll see, thanks in part to the stratospheric vocals of Trenton Woodley.

the_amity_afflictionThe Amity Affliction

Another Australian band, The Amity Affliction brought the house down with last year’s Let the Ocean Take Me. Now, the band makes their return to the Warped Scene with a ton of new tracks that are just as crushingly heavy in sound as they are in content. Be prepared to move – you can’t watch The Amity Affliction sitting still.

alive-like-meAlive Like Me

Rise Records newcomers Alive Like Me hit the ground running last year with their debut, Only Forever. Blending alt rock with a dash of post-hardcore, Alive Like Me are led by vocalist Jairus Kersey, whose vocals emulate scene stars like Kellin Quinn and Vic Fuentes.

Emarosa1Emarosa

Post-hardcore stars Emarosa make their first Warped appearance since 2010 this summer, this time with a new singer in Bradley Walden. Last year’s album, Versus, may have been the comeback record of the year. The band sounds better than ever and Walden can bring the house down with his dynamic range and bravado.

palisades_2015Palisades

The electronic hardcore act from New Jersey is ready for their close up. Palisades combine pulsing synthesizers with crunchy breakdowns as vocalist Lou Miceli sings and screams his way through each furious song. Their latest release, Mind Games, is full of accessible tracks that seem custom made for Warped Tour, including the incredibly catchy “Bad Girls”.

Youth_In_Revolt_-_2014Youth in Revolt

Youth in Revolt have only just begun to make their mark on the scene with their debut EP Love is a Liar’s Game. The band is full of energy and adds a fresh sound to the metalcore scene. Singer True Arahill is a performer at heart and appears ready to shine on the Warped stage.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.