This album is everything we expected it to be - energetic, anthemic, and the perfect blend of punk rock and hardcore that they have been perfecting since the self-titled first album. They keep this one interesting with some heavy hitters like "Life Lessons" and "Heart of a Champion" to more punk rock sing-alongs and anthems like "Better Than I Was" and "Slow Down" of which Davin from Kingdom/Eaten Alive lends her talents.
We will be doing a full review in about a week after we've had a full chance to digest, but in the meantime here's "Duck Down Stay Down"!
We also had a chance to pass along a few questions to Richie regarding the new album, touring, and generic interview blarga.
SK Chris Richie, we've known each other from the scene for many years now. What would you say has changed the most about the underground music scene in those years, socially, musically and otherwise?
WIC Richie Socially, I’d say it’s still pretty similar to the way it’s always been. Regionally the relationships are a bit tighter I’d say. Musically, I think things have swung to the heavier sound. Much more metal influence nowadays than in the past I’d say. Any bands with any punk or melodic influences are becoming very rare.
SK Besides WIC, what's keeping you busy recently? Watching anything good on Netflix?
WIC Netflix, oh yea.. I dig Luke Cage, Bushmaster is my guy. I recently started rewatching True Blood, that’s great. Otherwise, just work and music.
SK What bands & albums are impressing you at the moment (all genres)?
WIC I keep it simple, I listen to the same old shit I always did. Guns n Roses, Black Sabbath, blah blah blah. As far as new stuff, the newest Vinnie Paz is my sort of hip hop, great lyrics, great beats. I’m feeling the new Madball, it’s Madball with a spin, very cool. I like the straight up Hardcore I’m hearing in Philly with bands like Done Deal and Please Die. The newest Body Count was dope.
SK The title of the album is true in the fact that nature is pretty hardcore in and of itself, survival is do or die. How separated from nature are we as humans?
WIC Well, I don’t think we are separated at all from nature. If a bird builds a nest, is the nest not nature? Whatever we create as humans, is essentially nature. As weird as it may seem, a high rise building in a city center is nature. We are certainly changing the course of how things would be if we didn’t exist, but that doesn’t make it unnatural. Just as a beavers dam can change the course of a stream, and the streams new route makes for a different landscape. In the end, it’s all natural.
SK Explain some of the themes of the other songs on the album.
WIC Some are story telling tracks, based loosely off real life situations and stories. Like Duck Down, or The Boy and the Cave. The song Halfway There is about Joes sister and what they went through together and how they would go separate ways. Better Than I Was is about anxiety and depression and overcoming those things. As far as topics, it’s all over the place. Joe wrote most of the lyrics, I helped and wrote a few things. I think he did a great job and was very clever with the lyrical approach.
SK Pick your favorite track from the album and explain why.
WIC For me, Halfway There. I had that song written musically for years. I had it in an acoustic guitar and I never thought I’d get to record it. It’s like fulfilling an old glam rock fantasy haha. I loved hearing all the other parts the guys wrote into it it. I love the bass line in the opening, and the guitar lead at the end. It was a lot of fun, and a chance to deviate from our normal sound a bit.
SK Let's go over the track we are premiering "Duck Down Stay Down" - can you let the readers know what inspired the title and lyrics as they deal with violence?
WIC It’s loosely based off of a true story about some people up this way. The title is just what was being screamed during this event. It was a very violent thing, sure. We aren’t glorying it at all, just telling a story. Musically, it’s straight up, maybe a bit more on the punk side of things.
SK WIC has always walked the tightrope between punk rock and hardcore - what was the musical influence for "Better Than I Was"? Seems to be quite anthem-like.
WIC That’s another song that I had written for awhile and just didn’t know what to do with it. By the time we took what I had and made it into a complete song, it took on more of a poppy punk rock vibe. Hopefully people dig.
SK Only two weeks away from release - how do you see the next year shaping up for the band? You're playing a few huge shows (namely This Is Hardcore Ieper 2018) in the near future but is a tour in the future to support the album?
WIC We will be in Europe for most of August pushing traffic this album, and then hopefully back in there in November. As far as the USA, I don’t expect to be able to play much.
SK Wawa or Sheetz?
WIC Both are great, and we are lucky as Pa. residents to have such options. However, I’ll always go with Wawa. Where we live, there is only Wawa, and there always was Wawa. Wawa is consistent, and we were raised on it.
SK After seven albums, explain the secret of the bands' longevity and success in the scene? Most good hardcore bands put out an album or two and break up, so this is pretty impressive. Somehow, you keep putting out albums with a variety of influence and feel to each song, what is the process like when you get together to start formulating an album?
WIC Well, we never pigeon holed ourselves with a certain sound. We have always put out whatever we wanted as long as we felt the songs were strong. Metal, Punk, HC, Oi, even a hip hop track with Slaine. Musically, I’ll show the guys a verse and a chorus riff, if they like it, we make a song out of it. Evan writes more complete songs, if we dig it, we will change a few things until everyone is happy, and take it from there. Our guitar player Mav writes some tracks here and there as well. Mostly though, he layers what we have, he gives the sounds a new vibe. Joe goes all out with the lyrics and the phrasing. I’ll throw him maybe a song title or a topic, and he will take it from there. We like writing, it’s fun. As far as longevity in the scene, just be cool to people, keep your word, don’t rip anyone off, show respect.
SK If you could travel back in time to enjoy another show you've played again, what would it be?
WIC Man, that’s really hard. Once a show passes, I forget about it. My memory is shot.
SK Obviously, PA will always have the wildest reaction for you guys - what state is next?
WIC That’s tough, he had some great ones in NY, RI, Mass, and Ohio.