In case you didn’t know yet… The Interrupters have finished their new album and it will be out this Friday via Hellcat Records. It’s called “Say It Out Loud” and if you’re into ska or punk, then there is no way around it. You’re going to want to have this album in your collection. Read on to say what guitarist Kevin Bivona had to tell us about the new album, working with Tim Armstrong and the Warped Tour
PRT: First of all, how are you doing? What were you up to the five minutes prior to me interrupting your day with an interview?
Kevin: Doing great! I was just getting a coffee and a brownie from down the street.
PRT: Your new album is called “Say It Out Loud”. Do you think the world would be a better place if people said everything out loud?
Kevin: Haha! That’s a tricky question. I don’t know about saying EVERYTHING out loud. If that were case, life would be one long episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I think anytime you feel slighted it’s empowering to speak up, and not let people walk all over you. That being said, would the world be a better place? I can’t answer that with any certainty. I’m having flashes in my mind of a man I certainly DON’T agree with at a podium talking about “making America great again” and it’s upsetting. Freedom of speech is a great thing but so is my freedom to not listen to you if I don’t agree.
PRT: The new album marks the second time you’ve worked with Tim Armstrong. Seeing as you’re all huge Rancid fans, I can imagine it could have been quite intimidating to suddenly be working with him in the studio. Was that different this time around?
Kevin: We were all lucky enough to have done studio work with Tim on other projects before we started The Interrupters. It’s always a little intimidating working with one of your musical heroes, but every time we get in the studio with him the sessions are spontaneous and exciting. Tim helped us make sure we had room to grow musically on “Say It Out Loud” without completely abandoning what we had established with the first album. He definitely kept us in check when we were overthinking stuff!
PRT: I read in an older interview that you like imperfection and try not to overthink it in the studio. When and how do you decide a song is finished? Is it sometimes hard to know when to stop tinkering with something?
Kevin: Yes! It can be maddening sometimes working on a record. We all like to throw ideas out there and try everyone’s ideas when we are in the studio. Usually for us, a song is done when the tinkering isn’t helping anymore. Sometimes you can add too much candy and over-do it. I think you reach a point where the spirit of a song is captured and that’s when it’s time to take a step back and let it go.
PRT: An Interrupters song is always fun and upbeat, but at the same time you don’t shy away from addressing serious subjects. Do you hope people take something away from listening to your album or is it okay if people just have a good time?
Kevin: It is totally more than okay if people just want to listen and have a good time! For us, having fun is the primary goal in making music. Everything else is secondary. We like to write lyrics about things we’re passionate about but at the end of the day, the vessel is one big dance party!
PRT: Are songs like “She Got Arrested” and “Jenny Drinks” about people you know or do you prefer fictional stories?
Kevin: Those two songs address subjects very close to us. Inspired by real people and real events but the names have been changed to protect the guilty!
PRT: There’s a horn section that makes an appearance on “Phantom CIty”. Would you at some point like to add a permanent horn section to the band?
Kevin: When we make a record we add whatever the song is calling for. We have used horns and Hammond B3 a lot in the past on different songs. We haven’t talked seriously about adding these instruments to our touring line up. We’ve had horn players and a B3 player guest with us before and that’s always fun! But for the amount of touring we do, it’s easier to keep it just the 4 of us.
PRT: I noticed a reference to the Lion of Judah in your lyrics and then there’s the song “Babylon”, which - if I’m not mistaken - are common in the Rastafari belief. Is that something you believe in?
Kevin: We take a lot of influence musically and lyrically from Jamaican ska and early reggae. Sometimes we use Biblical terms and theology in our lyrics just like a lot of our favorite reggae and ska artists. We aren’t Rasta but we have a lot of respect for all beliefs!
PRT: Your first album came out two years ago. How would you say you have evolved in those two years? Both personally and as a band?
Kevin: I think as a band we have learned a lot from all the live shows we have played. Learning what works musically in a live setting and trying to make our performances as good as they can be. Evolving as a live band definitely played a big part in the songwriting and recording of this new album. We wrote it to play it live. Personally, we still have our faults but we always try to be respectful of each other on tour since we spend so much time together! Believe it or not, we actually get along really well!
PRT: You’ll be on the Warped Tour this summer. How high do you rate your chance of surviving the entire tour and what are three items you can’t go on tour without?
Kevin: One hundred percent chance of survival!!! We are looking forward to Warped! Aimee can’t tour without her electric heating blanket, the twins can’t tour without those Emergen-C packets, and we can’t do shows without these Golden Throat menthol lozenges. They totally save you from losing your voice! Other than that, if we stay hydrated, I’d say we’ll be alright!
PRT: Aimee has already sung and written with a whole bunch of people. If you could collaborate with any artist out there, who would it be and why?
Kevin: We would love to do a track with Joan Jett! I think her and Aimee going back and forth over a grimey ska track would be AWESOME! Somebody make this happen!