We caught up with So Cal punks Moonraker to take a deep dive into the band’s new album, ‘The Forest,’ out today on Tiny Dragon Music, Bearded Punk Records, Bypolar Records and No Time Records. Featuring best friends Nick Schambra (bass) and David Green (drums, vocals), along with guitarist Matt, Moonraker follow the tradition of Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms and the likes, striking the right balance of melody self-depreciation and humor, all the while introspectively tackling the woes of everyday life.
DAVID - I was watching the season 4 finale of Better Call Saul as it aired and in it he gives this monologue about people already having their minds made up and not giving you a fair chance so to get what you want you have to not give up, but also not play by the rules sometimes. It super resonated with me. We hadn’t even talked about starting to work on a new record yet, but after that monologue I paused the TV and was like, “I think the next album needs to start with that clip.” I told Matt I was thinking something like how “Overture” goes into “Sinister Rouge” at the beginning of ‘The Empire Strikes First” by Bad Religion or how Iron Chic’s ‘The Constant One’ starts with “The End” into “Bogus Journey”, but with that clip playing over it and he came back with exactly what I was hearing in my head.
NICK - I’m not sure what I think about intro tracks. There’s so few to me that standout. So I was apprehensive about including one. Matt sent this idea to me and I remember thinking it works but how will this setup the album other than naming the track intro? I still needed to hear the full context of the music with the Saul sound clip. Once I did, (and I know this sounds super corny) I got chills listening to it. It’s a super simple track musically but that lets you focus on the narrator who is explaining that you didn’t get it because everyone has already defined who you are and what you can do and what you can do for them, so you never even had a chance. The response to that feeling of being left out is basically the mission statement of this band we started years ago: screw you, we’re gonna do it anyway. We’re gonna write songs, play shows, and travel everywhere we can because expressing these feelings and thoughts through music is all we know. This is the track I purposely wanted to record on the spot because it was the first time Matt Sampson, who had joined the band in late 2019 just before that thing happened, was bringing in something new as opposed to building on something we had already started establishing. Being that Matt had joined the band just before 2020 hit and cancelled everyone’s plans, we didn’t get the chance to play shows together to feel each other out musically. It was important to me that Matt felt accepted and could bring his own songs and ideas in because we also really wanted to hear them. The music may be simple but it always packs an emotional punch for me. I think this track really helps set the tone of the album.
MATT - I wrote these guitar parts in my 450 sq ft apartment in Ventura. I tried to come up with something interesting that would let the BCS clip shine. My hope was it would compliment and echo the overall sentiment of the record. This was one of my first contributions to the band and I was very happy to have it land. We were talking about ideas for the intro and how the record should start. Once I sent over the riffs (very haphazardly recorded over the clip) and they were met with a positive reaction I was so relieved! Eventually we were in a room together finalized it all, which was also cool for me as the new person. I’ll never forget the first day we recorded in Vegas. Nick and I sat there on the couch watching David plow through every song flawlessly (starting with this one), and that basically set the tone for tracking the rest of the record. We were all very prepared and ready to do our thing, but that definitely set the bar.
MY FIRST RODEO
DAVID - We were pretty far along in the writing of the record but we didn’t have a “first song” yet. We had the Better Call Saul clip, but we didn’t have the song it was gonna lead into yet. I like these records to sort of have a mission statement to them, like a thesis. With ‘Fail Better’ it was the line, “I wish I was actually good at the one thing I’m actually good at.” With ‘Lanterns’ it was, “Maybe I like it in the well.” I had been going through a pretty intense emotional wringer in my personal life. I was second guessing everything about myself, losing touch with close friends, weirdness with family members, etc. I had this phrase I had written on the whiteboard next to my desk for a few months to help keep me grounded/focussed when I would start spiraling: “The only way out is through.” One day I looked over and realized it had been there in front of me the whole time. So I took that line and the ‘Saul’ clip and used that to inform the vibe of the song and everything clicked into place from there.
NICK - David Green had a relatively clear vision for his song when he sent me the initial demo. This song takes the advice from Incendium and basically runs with it. The anxieties we face all the time can feel exponentially more massive when you’re alone with them. We all faced that over last couple years. Isolation was different for everyone in the height of the pandemic and it took its toll on us but we did what we always did and continued on. It’s not like we were gonna stop. We figured out our own way. This song to me is also us still holding onto things we’ve done before song-wise. It’s the last time we play a song that could have possibly been on one of our older records. I feel like The Forest has drawn a new line in the sand for us. A new standard that we set for ourselves in songwriting.
MATT - This song encapsulates why I love Moonraker. When I first heard the demos I knew the “I’ve got, I’ve got” part was gonna be super fun. The drum fill at the beginning of the song will never not make me mutter "sheesh" to myself.
MOUTH FULL OF RUST
DAVID - The aforementioned wringer. We had gotten back from tour and I had started a new job and was super burnt out. I had pinched a nerve in my shoulder and was in a lot of pain pretty consistently. I’d come home exhausted from working mornings/nights/extra hours/whatever and hit people up to see if they’d want to get a drink or go to a movie or just hang, but my wife was also really tired from her job. My friends were either too busy with their own stuff or too tired also, or for whatever reason, just not responding. I didn’t want my life to be just 1. Go to work or 2. Be too tired from work to do anything else. I felt like I was making an effort and no one else was and it hurt. I ended up going to a lot of shows by myself. Yeah, I knew I’d run into people I knew there, but the idea that they’d be there with other people they knew and see me walk in by myself made me feel weird. For some reason it made me think of when David Blaine used to do those endurance stunts. Bury himself underwater in a glass coffin for like a week while a huge crowd watched. Lots of people there to see him, lots of people watching on TV to see a bunch of people there to see him. People all around, still just him by himself though. Inevitably, I’d run into my friends at a party or something and catch up with them and hear them talking about what they’d been up to and get super jealous or upset. Like, “Ah man, I hit you up to get lunch last week and you said you couldn’t, but the next day you went to some bar with some other person who asked if you wanted to hang out?” Again, people all around, super alone.
NICK - This song is interesting because of the many different forms it took. I think we had 2-3 different versions of this song demoed out on guitar. When I was finally demoing everything out to the drum tracks Green had sent me (as we were still doing almost everything remotely), I just didn’t like the feel of the song. So I decided to quickly rewrite the music on acoustic guitar and sent Matt and Green my new demo. I did cheat a little bit by using some music from a song I wrote that wasn’t allowed on the album and an old Cobra Skulls song I sort of buried in there. The chorus had more of a hook and I felt it did it a bit more justice to the song as a whole. We all liked this newer version and it ended up being one of our collective favorites on the record. The song from the start is fighting with itself. Your anxieties are screaming at you, giving you questions and answers you already know. It what it’s like to sit alone with your thoughts and wonder if what you are feeling is real or are you manifesting this yourself. Everyone around you doesn’t see where the problem is because you’re always laughing and having fun, right? It’s always weird to experience claustrophobia in a room full of friends.
MATT - Love how the vocals turned out on this one and overall one of my favorite songs. Nick’s bass line in the beginning of the second verse following the vocals is just so cool to me.
DAVID - This was the last one I brought in to show Nick. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted it on the record. In fact, it was more of a ‘I really like this song “Fireman” (a B-side that ended up not making the record), but I’m a little on the fence and I’m not sure if we necessarily have enough songs written to leave it off. Let me write one more so we can leave THAT one off and Fireman can be on the record’-type of thing. But I was super wrong. Thematically, this song IS the record. It really ties the whole thing together. We actually sorta named the record after it. The opening line is based off the idea that you can only run halfway into a forest, cause any more than halfway and you’re running OUT of the forest. To me the song and the record are about that journey, the quest for the center of the forest so that you can finally say that you’re one your way out of it. It’s about losing track of time along the way though, and the further you get into the forest, the further you get into your own thoughts and start thinking about some other stuff that you had forgotten about when all you wanted to do was get out of your own head, to get out of the forest.
NICK - Vanishing Act was a super fun song to record on bass. I had everything written and liked the way the bass gets to bounce around in the background for a lot of the song. I believe this is also the first song Matt wrote a sick ass guitar solo for which made me realize oh shit Matt is really good at guitar. The layering of guitars in the outro gives it a bit of a triumphant feel. The drumming is killer throughout this whole song and just sounds big and epic in the choruses thanks to David Green’s skills as a drummer but also the way our producer for life Chris Collier was able to capture the drums and mix them incredibly.
MATT - this was one of the first solos I had written for this record. I remember playing it in Nick’s backyard on our acoustics and being stoked about it sounding cool and them both liking it. One of the things I'm most proud of is the level of musicianship that we all brought without ever getting in eachother's way. I think this song is indicative of that. The riffs are super fun to play and I love where this song falls in the sequence of the record.
THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR
DAVID - I was working for a food delivery app and not loving it. On a particularly low day I went to a hotel to deliver a sandwich to someone staying there. I’m sure it was a perfect storm of me not liking that this was what I was STILL doing for work, me texting some people about something and not getting a response back, me needing to book some tour dates and not getting an email back and feeling like that window was closing, and probably like six other things, but when I got into the lobby I felt like my chest weighed easily a thousand pounds. I seriously felt like at any second, if I heard the slightest pin drop that I was going to explode, literally. I kept whispering to myself, “Just keep it together until you get to the elevator.” And as soon as I got in the elevator and the doors closed I fell to the floor and just started sobbing and breathing really heavily. Eventually I put myself together and stood up to press the button and that’s when I realized that the elevator was entirely see-through and everyone sitting in the lobby and bar area of the hotel could see me the whole time which at that point just made me laugh. When I finally got to the guy’s room he was so excited to see I had his food that he said, “Oh man, you’re my favorite person in the world right now!” For whatever reason, hearing that made me feel amazing. But almost instantly, it made me feel way worse. “Why am I THIS guy’s favorite person in the world? Why am I not any of the people I want to think that of me’s favorite person?” “Why is this stranger who was just being polite and making a joke the thing that makes me feel better about myself?” I got back into the elevator, crying again, having forgotten that it was made of glass. I wiped my eyes and turned to press the button again and saw my reflection in the brushed steel doors and it looked like a reflection always looks in a brushed steel door: blurry, hard to make out, not quite looking like the thing its supposed to and thought, “Well, it’s a little on the nose, but that’s exactly how I feel right now.”
NICK - Going into recording I was already coming up with sequencing ideas in my head. Before we went into the studio I wasn’t sure if this song would make the cut. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, it was just missing something. When we got the first mixes back. We knew we had to add something because we realized we accidentally wrote a Menzingers song. Luckily no lawsuits need to be filed because we ended up heading back to the studio for edits and tracking a few extra things. I knew I wanted to have some sort of driving lead to change the feel of the song but I didn’t know what that was yet. So Matt being Matt started trying different riff ideas (each one was pretty rad) to the rhythm track until we found something we liked. Matt refined it a bit and all of a sudden the Menzo’s song we thought we heard was completely gone. Which really speaks to the power of dynamics is music and why it’s fun to try and find a way to make opposing musical forces work together. The drumming is so cool in certain sections that sounds like the hardest thing to do but now I see Green playing it one handed which is ridiculous.
MATT - one of my favorite songs on the record. This one really came together when it was being tracked. Zero chance it comes out this cool without Chris Collier. He’s just a total pro. In addition to letting a rando into his house, he was incredibly nice, supportive, and encouraging to me throughout tracking guitars. This song is a direct benefactor (at least on my part) of Chris being the shit. Also, this chorus ended up being pretty huge once this was tracked.
DAVID - Nick is absolutely on fire in this song. His bass parts in the verses, his vocals throughout the whole thing, unbelievable. The way everything came together with the layered vocals at the end and the violin part, I teared up a little bit when we heard the finished playback in the studio. I had a close friend that I felt I was drifting apart from. For no discernible reason. To this day I’m still not really sure what happened. I had brought it up to them and it didn’t seem to register. Months later I went to their house to pick them up to go to a show, fully intending to talk to them about how uncomfortable I was with the whole situation: how I was going through so much heavy stuff in my life but the thing that was the hardest for me was that we weren’t really talking or seeing each other any more. When I got there, there were a lot of people there, kind of in the middle of a party that I wasn’t invited to. I sort of just sat there and sank into the couch and into my own head til we left for the show. They were so pumped from the party and for the show that I couldn’t bring myself to say anything I had wanted to. I named the song “Autumn” cause I felt like I was sinking and it was raining and with the violin part, I wanted to name it after one of the songs the band on the Titanic was playing as it sank. I googled around to find out and came across the story of one of the passengers who was asked what they played and he said, “Autumn” in reference to a waltz called “Song d’Automne” and it felt like it fit pretty perfectly.
NICK - So this song…This song ended up coming out really well. I’m not that good of a bass player but I’ve always wanted to keep improving and challenging myself. One thing I’ve said or thought for every record before this was that I wish I had more time to write and prepare. While the pandemic was and is terrible the one thing it gave me was time. Like a lot of people I was let go from my longtime job and suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. So with that extra time and once we had everything demoed, I wrote all of the song titles down in my practice space and spent about 6+ hours each day working on writing for one individual song each day. Only one song, all day. At the end of day after recording notes on my phone for all the bass parts of the song, I would cross out that song from the list. I’m not sure if I recommend that to anyone. It’s probably easier to just, I don’t know, take guitar lessons or something. But this is what I did which led me to trying to add as much as I could to every available spot. Not in a masturbatory guitar center look at me kind of way because that’s super lame. This was a way to always keep it fun for me. I like lots of energy in a bass line and this song has a lot of that. It also forces me to get better to be able to pull these songs off live. They’re not incredibly difficult by any stretch. They are just all about quick repetition. When the song kicks into gear, I kind of just hold on and hope my fingers are moving fast enough to keep up. For the vocals, I really had a feel for what I wanted to do with the song from before we even demoed it. I wanted my emotion to cut through and hopefully it did. From the demoing process I had this idea for the ending with just being very reflective. The way you sometimes drive alone at night lost in thought replaying the day or a conversation and thinking about all the right things you could have said and all the things you should have said differently until you realize you’ve been driving in silence for 55 miles and you’re not sure how you got home. Or is that just me?
MATT - once again, Chris killed it on this song in being able to manifest Nick and David’s ideas for the song. The drum and bass parts just rip throughout. Couldn’t think of a better way for the first half of the record to come to a close.
DAVID - This one, man. All of us, all of the cylinders. Just a straight up banger. Matt is RIPPING it up. He came in with some ideas for the leads, but was very willing to pivot on a dime and super receptive to our notes, which were and are usually: “make it more like “Modern Man” by Bad Religion,” haha. Nick plays this bass fill in the intro that he had wrote and recorded sitting down, so when we play it now live or at practice when he’s standing up, he does this quick little move where he synches his bass up while playing it just for that part and then drops it when he’s done and it looks so cool. I love in the second verse when it drops out and the piano comes in, reminds me of the bridge in “The Walking Wounded” by Bayside. The song is sorta based on how after our gear was stolen, a lot of people asked if we were gonna do a Go Fund Me or something, but we were super reluctant to since we were already so low from all of our instruments and stuff being gone that the thought of asking for a specific amount of money, and people being able to see that and potentially not donating anything and people being able to see THAT, was too much to bare. We had always talked way too much shit privately and publicly about crowdsourcing that we would’ve felt like hypocrites. It felt like a lot to ask. And at the same time, seeing how easy something like that is for other people to do while you’re struggling doesn’t make for a great time. Seriously, if you can avoid ever having everything you own stolen from you while simultaneously feeling abandoned by everyone you’re close to and thinking everyone who does the same thing as you does it better than you, I highly recommend you keep doing that. It ain’t fun.
NICK - I’ve wanted to write a song like this for a long time but it never came out exactly as I envisioned. I’ve always wanted a song that opens with a crazy guitar lead. So we had this song all mapped out and with places where we wanted to embellish and add more leads to eventually. During the pandemic Matt moved from living 15 minutes from my house in Oxnard California to New Orleans, which was uh..more than 15 minutes from my house. So before heading into the studio we had to resort to sharing ideas via emailed audio files. We as a band have never been the best with recording ourselves for demos but one of the reasons Matt fit so well into the band was that he was also not the best at recording himself. So when Matt sent me his initial take on the idea for a lead, it was a very rough, clipping, distorted mp3. I could really only make out a few of the notes but it literally convinced me that I don’t need to worry about these leads at all because Matt’s got this. It really helped me be able to focus more on writing bass parts and vocal ideas. I had a lot of aggression I wanted to get out with my vocals, I don’t know if it comes across or I succeeded but I was definitely in a different head space when recording these vocals as opposed to others. I also knew immediately that this was the song I wanted to release first when we would eventually announce the record.
MATT - I still maintain this song should have been released later as a B side or something.
DAVID - We recorded the intro and outro ourselves, which was kind of a cool little project. Our friend Luke Gunn helped me write the intro. I pecked out the melody on a keyboard and sent it to him and he wrote the “left hand” part and sent it back for me to learn. Then my boss let me go into our warehouse at work and record it on an instrument called a key glock, which is like a piano, but instead of strings, the hammers hit metal glockenspiel bars. Chris recorded me twisting a socket wrench at the beginning of it to give it that “wind-up music box” vibe. Then the outro is our friend Tyler Colton recording keys from his house in Seattle, Luke on trumpet in North Carolina, Nick on an upright bass (again at the warehouse at my job. Thanks Dan!) and me using brushes in my garage. I didn’t have one of those cool jazz rides with rivets in it to get that “sizzle” sound I wanted, but my grandpa had recently passed away and I had inherited a pocket watch that his father had given to him that he apparently had on him when he came to America on the boat and HIS father had given it to HIM, etc. Anyway, I took the chain from that pocket watch and put it on my ride cymbal to get that “speakeasy” sound. Thought that would be an interesting way to honor my family a little. Me and Nick smashed bottles in my garage and recorded him peeling out in his car. Nick recorded all the running and breathing and stuff and mixed it all together and we brought it to Chris who made it all listenable and recorded us drinking and talking over it. I wanted it to represent us inside a bar having a good time, blissfully unaware that outside our car with all our gear inside is being broken into and stolen.
NICK - We all have very similar overlapping influences so we can easily tell each other the kind of vibe we’re going for with any new song we’re writing. We started with a very simple Alkaline Trio type progression and the song kind of morphed into its own thing (as they almost always do). Green had this idea for an intro from the beginning that he recorded himself at the percussion business he works at. It’s a good pause in the record for air before heading back into all the commotion. I think this chorus is the most fun for me to play out of the songs we recorded. And at the end of a song we cut to a fun night out. With help from some of our best friends Luke Gunn and Tyler Colton, we tacked on a fun recreation of a night out we had in Tijuana. I recorded a lot of Foley for this and hid a few easter eggs for myself in the sound files. And I think it makes the cut into the next song that much more jarring and catches you off guard that you’re already heading into a super rad song.
MATT - to me, this song is the crux of what this record is about. David talked about it having to do with overthinking, and trying to lower the volume on all of that. I think this song represents a sort of dialogue you might have with yourself as you're getting older and still trying to tune out all of the noise. It really resonated with me.
I REALLY WANTED TO
DAVID - I was really going through it and it was all coming to a head. I was seeing a chiropractor for my pinched nerve, I was trying to deal with some health scares that were putting me in more of a negative place, I started regularly seeing a therapist, and it felt like everyone I knew was jumping ship, the ship being me. A lot of my friends ended up moving away around the same time. Luke had been playing with us for a while but had recently moved back to North Carolina, my brother who had been living with us seemed like he was avoiding me, things were super tense between my family and my wife’s family for some reason, I was feeling super abandoned by my close friends. My brother-in-law, who had also been living with us, who had recently asked to stay a little longer, which I was really excited about since I felt like everyone else was leaving and he wanted to stay and we kept sort of similar weird hours and were into a lot of similar stuff, abruptly moved out a couple days later, further making me feel more abandoned and raising our rent slightly in the process. I’d reach out to people and again, for whatever reason, not get a text or call or DM or email back. At a certain point I figured that my phone must be broken since there was no way that every single person wasn’t interested in a response of some kind. I must just not be receiving the notifications. I was watching a lot of Mr. Robot and they do a lot of stuff like “get in this Faraday cage so your phone won’t be able to work while we do cool hacking crimes and stuff.” It kind of felt like that, but without the cool hacking crimes and stuff.
NICK - This is another song that was rewritten in the 11th hour. We had a few ideas but we kept rewriting because we would go to practice it and we just weren’t feeling it. I rewrote this one on acoustic and sent the demo out with not that much time before we were gearing up to hit the studio. When writing or practicing, I usually imagine how this would sound in a loud room and how much fun can I have while playing this. This song came out sounding pretty close to what I had in mind. It’s fast, a couple cool bass leads, and just in case you thought we weren’t kicking down enough doors and being yelled at to stop walking across the bar because it’s not built for that and why did you park your car on the sidewalk on top of that fire hydrant and why do you keep saying lets go to Sheetz when you’re currently in Albuquerque and that’s a regional east coast gas station, we also threw in a crazy guitar lead before we close it out.
MATT - the interlude before the song really turned out cool considering it was merely an idea that different people in different cities helped create. Nick’s intro bass lead is a good example of how well prepared he was to track. While the rest of us watched Wandavision and horror movies at night when we were done, Nick was just going to town on his acoustic bass. We had a limited amount of time to be able to track so we were all super prepared, but he really took it to another level with writing killer bass parts. It’s all over the record, but the beginning of this song is a pretty good indication of that.
DAVID - Chris Collier was moving to Nashville. Chris has always been a huge part of this band. He’s recorded all of our albums and honestly, no one is better at what he does. He’s our secret weapon, our fifth Beatle, our older brother. We absolutely wouldn’t and couldn’t sound as good as we do without Chris. So when he told us he was moving from right up the street from me all the way across the country to Nashville, there wasn’t really a second thought about it: this was gonna be the album that Moonraker went to Nashville to record. I went out and bought a new notebook with the intention that every word I’d write in it would have to be good enough to warrant us going all the way to Tennessee to record them. So I worked and I worked and I toiled and I toiled. Chris ended up moving to Vegas instead, which was logistically much easier, but the ball was already in motion. Regardless, we would have to leave the state for at least a week to record and everything in the notebook had to reflect that. So I toiled and toiled some more and eventually that notebook with all my lyrics in it was stolen with everything else while we were on tour. So I went out and bought another new notebook and toiled some more trying to remember what I had written in the last one, and toiled some more to write some new stuff. I know a lyric is good if Chris stops us while recording to turn in his chair and look at me and say, “Really?!” And after all of that, all of that toiling and planning and remembering the line to transfer it into a new notebook, it was all worth it to see Chris give me that unimpressed but obviously approving side-eye when Nick sang the line, “Like a Wachowski with a sledgehammer, I came to break ground.”
NICK - In Confidence has always been a love song to me. Not romantic or in the sense of what you would normally expect when you hear that phrase but possibly as close as we usually come to it. The bass line in the chorus even has my attempts at a slight Modern English reference. Lots of unresolved conflict until realizing if you’ve done everything you can in whatever type of relationship be it a partner, a family member, or friend, its ok to move on.
MATT - If you play in punk bands, I don't care who you are, you want a drummer who can play like this. It is an honor and a privledge to play in a band with someone who comes up with melodies, interesting lyrics, AND makes us all go musically. I'm realizing these write ups are all kinda just me kind of being a fanboy, but it's not something I take lightly and I'm super proud of it all.
THE BETTER MAN
DAVID - The big culmination. The penultimate song. My best friend was getting married. My best friend who hadn’t talked to me in months. My best friend who had been the best man at my wedding. My best friend who had been engaged for over a year and hadn’t even asked me to be a part of his wedding yet. A wedding that I was afraid to go to since it was at the hight of the pre-vaccine pandemic. A wedding I was afraid to go to since everyone would see me not standing next to him the way he had stood next to me at my wedding. A wedding I was afraid to go to because I wasn’t sure how I fit into the lives of the bride or groom anymore. I had thought about a few years before. His wife, also a good friend of mine, had this picture collage frame in her apartment. It was like 15 individual pictures in one frame. After years of us hanging out there regularly, my wife and I realized it was a bunch of pictures of her and older friends of hers we hadn’t really seen her hang out with and decided there should be some pictures of us there too, so we printed out a few one day and while she was in the other room, we taped the pictures of us on the top of the frame. Eventually she replaced the old pictures with the ones we had taped. But now here I was at their wedding, seeing them surrounded by new people that they saw much more regularly than they saw me anymore, wondering if their pictures were taped on top of me in that frame. Wondering if I was the stock photo that comes with the frame you buy just to put a picture of someone better on top of it or in place of. I thought for a really long time of what I’d write here during this. Should I be vague? Should I talk about the production instead? Would this make anyone mad? I don’t know. All I know is it felt better to write about it then and it feels better now. I honestly still don’t understand what happened. I hope they’re happy though.
NICK - One of the first songs we demoed completely. Green had borrowed an electric drum kit to be able to more easily record drum tracks and send them to me to add everything else. This was a total proof of concept for us. In reality the demos probably sound really bad but we are both able to cut through the rough demo mixes and hear the potential for the final version. This also has some fun, jumpy bass lines. The main line I had shown Green on an acoustic bass just before we started writing that day and he recommended dropping it into the interludes which really helped give the song a central vibe and make it super fun to play for me. The background vocals that Green added for the outro really take the song up another level. Plus we got to make a cool video for this song which you should check out.
MATT - I can't wait to play this one at shows. Pretty sure this was the first song I heard as the new songs were being written. I remember one day before practice hearing them playing the bridge and really loving it. Nick’s bass part under the “to take back this weighted vest” is some of the coolest shit there is.
DAVID - The whole record to me is a walk through a forest and a walk through your darkest thoughts. It’s trying to address something that you can’t quite put into words. It’s being afraid to speak up. This song to me is finally finding your voice in the chaos and being able to say something. To say what you actually feel. Is it going to fix the problem? Maybe, maybe not. But saying something after months, years of keeping it inside makes you feel lighter. It makes you feel like at least you tried. Regardless if you got what you wanted, at least you don’t feel as bad as you were feeling before, which is ultimately what you wanted anyway: just a little relief. There’s a recurring theme throughout the record of voices talking over each other. Not the easiest to make out what they’re saying since we recorded all three of us talking at the same time a few times. It happens in Autumn, in Fogdancing, in Soot. To me, these are your thoughts. Too much all at once. Too much weighing you down. The way the outro just builds and builds and keeps adding layer and layer of guitars, gang vocals, backing vocals, the overwhelming feeling that you can’t take it anymore until eventually you find the words to say, the strength to turn off all the voices inside your head and actually hear the one you have in your throat. The strength to speak up for and stand up for yourself and finally find your way out of the forest.
NICK - There is a completely different version of this song in my head that I think would make this song be less of an outlier for the album but this is what we managed to record. This song is hard to sing and not for any physical reasons but because it’s a bit emotionally draining for me. The lyrics are reminders of how I can be a difficult person to be around when you’ve known me long enough. How I can fall short of friend’s expectations and how you can sometimes not hear how you sound even if you’re the loudest in the room. I wasn’t sure I wanted to record this song not just because it felt so different from its original vision but that it just felt like I was screaming at myself and wishing I had not let things go unsaid. The last line “I fuckin’ told you so” always feels like a twist of the knife that I twisted myself.