In a recent interview with AbsolutePunk, vocalist & guitarist Dan O’Connor has revealed that Four Year Strong are currently not writing/recording songs, but will try to release music this summer, either an album, or some songs. You can read the interview below.
Four Year Strong are currently on tour with Bayside.
First off, welcome back to Portland, it’s definitely been quite awhile since you’ve been on tour. Why did it take so long to get back on the road? You mentioned on stage you had some family stuff to take care of…
Yeah, after Warped we did everything we had to do with our label. We owed them two records and we gave them two records, so we were free agents at the time and we didn’t owe anyone anything, so we figured it would be a good time to take a break. We toured pretty heavily for about 6 years non-stop – in that time I had gotten married, and Joe started a new business, and we thought it was it would be a good time to take a break and spend time with our families, our girlfriends, and wives. We pretty much all got dogs, so that was a really important part of the whole thing.
Did you do anything else? I know Alan did his side project.
Yeah, Alan did The Here and Now, Joe started a woodworking company, I did a lot of work to my house and I spent a lot of time with my wife – also, I’m having a kid right after this tour, so we spent a lot of time getting ready for that. My wife is giving birth in May.
You guys put out In Some Way, Shape or Form in late 2011. You guys got a different reaction than you did on your past two records. Is that why you’re only playing one song from it on this tour?
No, we just kind of wanted to play some song we haven’t played in awhile. The last tour that we did we played a lot of new songs, and there were a lot of songs off Enemy that we hadn’t played in awhile. So when we were getting ready for this tour we felt real excited to play some of them. We didn’t play a ton of Rise on this tour, I think we only played 2 songs. “One Step At A Time” we had only really played acoustic, for 3 or 4 years we’ve been wanting to play that one full-band. Some other songs like “Find My Way Back”, we haven’t played that one in a very long, long time.
Were you guys disappointed as to how In Some Way was received…
No, we knew we were going to get a bunch of backlash from some kids. But what’s funny is that a lot of the people who didn’t like the record were the people who were saying stuff online. But that record still had the best reception live out of any of our records. When we did Warped…our last probably 3 or 4 tours were our biggest tours to date, and kids received those songs really well live. I know a lot of people thought that the record was a failure and everything like that, but it still sold up there almost exactly what Enemy sold as well.
Why did you take this tour in particular with Bayside? Were you offered a couple other tours as well?
We were offered a couple other tours. We were getting ready to start doing some things again, Alan and I were writing some songs and everything. We got a couple of tour offers from a couple of bands, and they just didn’t seem right. Then we got a couple offers to headline. When Bayside hit us up, we’ve done a lot of touring with them, they’re really good friends of ours and they really wanted to take us out and do this tour for “old times sake”. Plus, they had a new record coming out. We wanted to do this tour where we weren’t headlining, because we didn’t want to deal with all the headlining stuff, you know what I mean? We just wanted to get out there and play shows. We wanted to do it in a van and save a bunch of money and do a light, leisurely tour. That’s why we chose to do this tour. Bayside are our buds, and it seemed like a cool tour.
You just got off stage here in Portland, and the crowd was for the most part reminiscent of what it’s been like in the past. Has that been true for the past few weeks on this tour? How has the level of enthusiasm been?
It’s been great! Yesterday in Seattle was probably the best show we’ve ever played there to date, it was crazy. There’s been a lot of shows that are up to par, if not better than we’ve ever done in some of these markets, and it’s really cool because we haven’t toured in so long. We expected for there to not be as many kids there for us and to not be as enthusiastic, but kids are so much more enthusiastic and so much more excited about the band, merch, and hearing songs than we had been expecting. It’s been fun for sure.
Are there any tours you’re doing after this Bayside tour wraps up?
We’re going to go back and do some more songs after this tour, doing some more writing and recording. I think we’re going to do something in the summer, that’s going to be in the U.S…people will find out about it in a little while…
Can you give any hints as to what the tour is going to be like? What kind of bands are on it?
I can’t really say much about it right now, but what’s today’s date, March 15th? So I guess you’ll find out about it in four days.
So you’re currently working on a new album. Do you have a rough estimate of when you’d like it to come out? Later on in the fall?
No, right now we don’t have a timeline. We aren’t really doing it like we did it in the past, just going in to write a record. We’re just writing some songs that we like, and we record them. We’re definitely going to release some music for the summertime, whether it’s a full album or just some songs that we’re going to give out for free, we’re not really sure. But we’re definitely going to have some new music out for the summertime in some way…shape or form! But yeah, after doing Enemy of The World and In Some Way, Shape or Form with a major label we’re kind of excited to do everything DIY. We don’t want to really do anything that’s typical, you know? We don’t just want to put out another full length, we want to do something cool with it and we don’t want to rush it. We’re not really in a rush, there’s nobody pushing us telling us “We need this record!” So we’re going to take our time and do what we want to do, and once we have something we want to put out, we’re going to release it.
With the stuff you’ve been writing lately, would you say it’s similar to In Some Way, Shape or Form, or is it similar to your first two records?
I would say it’s right in the middle. I think that some of the new stuff we’re saying if we wrote a record in between Enemy of The World and In Some Way, Shape or Form, it would definitely fall in there. It would definitely have some stuff from In Some Way, Shape or Form, it would have some stuff from Enemy, it would have some stuff that we’ve never done before. We’ve never been the type of band that has said “Let’s go in and write what our band sounds like”, we just kind of write songs and see where they come out. There could be songs on there that sound completely different from both of those records.
Some of the Instragram clips I’ve seen from you and Alan seem a little reminiscent of earlier material.
Well we’re doing a lot more riffing this time around, compared to In Some Way, Shape or Form. Actually, I think we’re playing more riffs than we did on Enemy, just because we’ve been in the mood where we’re listening to In Flames and crazy metal bands. We’re just pulling really weird riffs from bands like that. I think it definitely has a lot more of a riffage thing going on. But as far as songwriting goes, we’re definitely probably writing songs in a similar fashion than we did on In Some Way Shape or Form, just the way we do our melodies and our song writing itself. We’re not the type of band that gonna go backwards, you know what I mean?
Some people didn’t like our last record – a lot of people did, and lot of people didn’t. We’re not the kind of band that says “Let’s try and win back the people who didn’t like our last record!” we’re just going to keep putting out the records that we like. If people who didn’t like the last record like it, awesome; if people who liked the last record don’t like it, it’s kind of the way it is with our band. We’re just going to write music. We’re going to try and make music that we like, because if we write music that we don’t give a shit about, we’re not going to do the band.
That’s another reason why we took the past year and a half off, because we had toured ourselves crazy and we just needed to take some time off until we got the urge to tour and write some songs. That’s why we walked away for awhile and everyone went back to their own lives. Because we were definitely done with touring and there had been times where I hadn’t seen my parents in a year and a half to two years, and they live in the same town, it was just crazy. That was when we were like “Let’s stop what we’re doing, go back to normal life and if we ever feel like coming back and doing band stuff again, we’ll do it”, and we did.
Lyrically, what kind of stuff have you been writing lately?
It’s definitely still personal stuff. We’re definitely different people than we were when we wrote Rise or Die, Enemy, or even In Some Way, Shape or Form. It’s still pulling from personal experiences, but trying to lend in to the general public, something that kids can relate to, not making it too personal to my own life and leave things open ended, so kids can latch onto songs.
Let’s pretend like we’re at the end of 2014. If you were to look back, what things would have happened this year to make it your year?
We’re really just getting started. The fact that we got back together, started writing and recording again. The vibe in the band is awesome, we’re all getting along great. This tour has been great, we’re doing a tour in the summer and hopefully releasing new music, hopefully doing some new stuff in the fall, maybe even a smaller club tour. I’m having a kid right after this tour, so there’s a lot of cool personal stuff going on right now. We’re all really happy about where we’re at in life right now, and that’s another reason why we’re really excited where we’re at [as a band], because none of us feel the urge to push ourselves into craziness. Before, it used to be “we have to tour, we have to do this really fast”. We’re at the point in our lives where we do this because it’s what we love to do, we want to do it so we can keep supporting ourselves on it, playing music for a living. But we also want to make sure the other aspects in our lives don’t suffer because of it. We’re just taking each day as it comes and everything like that.