Before we headed down to Knuckle Puck‘s gig at Camden Underworld, as part of their widely sold out European headline run, we got the chance to have a brief chat with guitarist Kevin Maida about the music scene in Illinois, their latest album Copacetic, and what has proven to be quite a popular track among fans ‘Untitled’. Read the full scoop below.
MOSH: Last year you guys basically spent half the year in Europe with the amount of tours that you did – how does it feel to finally headline?
KM: It’s really cool, it’s kind of scary sometimes but it’s been awesome. A lot of the UK shows, almost all of them have sold out minus one or two maybe. It’s only day four, but it’s been great.
MOSH: I’m guessing it’s a lot more exciting picking out the setlist too?
KM: Yeah, so you have a lot more room to expand and play songs you normally wouldn’t play during a normal set.
MOSH: Are you finding that certain songs are being received better than others?
KM: When we play ‘Untitled’ a lot of people seem to like that song. It’s not really odd, but it has a lot of slow parts so it’s cool that people like that song.
MOSH: It’s not easy putting an eight minute track on an album and not a lot of bands are brave enough to do that. How did you come to the decision to do something like that this time around?
KM: We pretty much had the song before the outro written then Nick suggested to add on another five minutes of just a repeating line and throw stuff on top of it. We didn’t go into recording having that in mind, it was kind of something Nick just said one day while we were playing that song. We thought it would be really cool so we did that and we wrote that whole outro in the studio. It was a good experience, it was just like “Let’s throw this in!” “Let’s do that!”, just really collaborative and fun to do.
MOSH: You released a few EPs before the album, how has the process been different this time round? You obviously have a lot more space to try out different things.
KM: I guess it’s a little bit different. It’s kind of harder because you have to make sure all the songs fit in with each other and it’s cohesive. It can’t just be 11 songs that have been thrown on there, they all need to make sense with each other. I think that was one of the more difficult aspects of it, but once you get past that it’s a lot of fun. It was definitely one of our most favourable releases.
MOSH: The main line in the album “I’ll tell you everything is copacetic” brings across a really positive message, can you tell us a little about why you chose this theme for the album?
KM: Joe’s been saying this on stage most nights, but while we were writing Nick and Joe really didn’t want to be caught up in being filled with sorrow all the time because it’s a very easy thing to do. We didn’t want to make that shit seem like it was cool or anything like that and by doing so you have to realise that there are a lot of things that bum you out or drag you down, at the end of the day everything’s good.
MOSH: What was the scene like growing up in Illinois, there are quite a few great bands that come out of there – like Fall Out Boy and Alkaline Trio, or in recent years you guys, and Real Friends.
KM: On a grand scale, yeah, there bands like Fall Out Boy and Alkaline Trio and stuff like that. Where we’re from, we’re like southwest of the city, we kind of started the band because we didn’t have any local bands that we were really interested in. We started Knuckle Puck because there was nothing going on at the time.
MOSH: Why were you attracted to the pop-punk genre specifically? Was it Blink-182?
KM: For me, yes definitely. It was something we all grew up on and we were starting the band it was just what we all wanted to do because we were all so into it. It kind of made sense to do that. We were the most familiar with it.
MOSH: There seems to be a trend with pop-punk bands that with each release they seem to shift slightly away from the traditional pop-punk sound, bands like Citizen or Turnover. Copacetic also seems like your least pop-punk album – was it a conscious change or more of a natural one?
KM: It was definitely natural, if anything but I think now we’re trying to do it a little more consciously. In general, we just try to write the best songs that we can, regardless of what genre it fits into. I can only really see it go even more in the direction that Copacetic is in.
MOSH: For anybody that hasn’t seen your band live before, what can they expect?
KM: A lot of movement. I wouldn’t say it’s aggressive, I don’t want to use that word. I use to say aggressive a lot, but that’s not really the right term for it. It’s very energetic and fun. We like to keep things safe. We like it when people are very active.