We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of Toronto, ON punk rock outfit We Outspoken’s new album All The Right Pieces (listen below), which will officially be released tomorrow (Friday, September 16th). You can purchase the album on iTunes.
We talked briefly with We Outspoken vocalist/guitarist Anthony Mascarin about their unique way of recording the album, the artist they commissioned to do the artwork, and more. You can read the interview below the stream.
You recorded at Metal Work Studios as a teaching project for students. How did it feel initially, having students watch you record?
Good question. Yeah, it was strange at first. The studio is a very sacred environment. We were reluctant in the beginning but having the students, as well as two awesome producers, put the pressure on for us to play our best. Having all those eyes and ears on you is tough, but we have played enough shows that it was second nature. Too be honest, you forget that anyone is even there, especially when you are recording your parts. You are completely in the moment, it doesn’t matter who is in the room.
Did you know the Metal Work Studios producers Joel Kazmi and Blair Robb prior to getting an email about working together on this album?
We didn’t know them personally but heard of them throughout the years, and their works. Joel for instance, worked with Jerry Finn on Sum 41’s All Killer No Filler, so it was common ground for us, coming from the punk rock scene. Blair we got to know more as we worked with him. Both Joel and Blair are from different musical backgrounds, so it was great hearing what both had to say and offer. Both those guys are extremely talented. This was our first time working with producers. As the sessions continued, we became close friends, and became really comfortable around them. We will work with them again in the future. Our guitarist Joe was the middle man in making all of this happen. Joe’s friend’s band was supposed to do this one of a kind project, but it didn’t work out, so he asked Joe. We won the lottery basically.
The album artwork was done by Winston Smith, the man behind Dead Kennedys’ logo and Green Day’s Insomniac album cover. Did you give him much direction when he came on board to do the artwork for All The Right Pieces, or did you give him free reign to do whatever?
There is an amazing story here between Winston Smith, Green Day and We Outspoken. Without getting into too much detail Green Day’s Insomniac was the first album that I bought. When I was younger, I use to go into record stores with our drummer, my brother Alex, and look at the artwork. Insomiac caught my eye immediately, the artwork blew me away and I asked my mom to buy it for me. I remember spending hours looking at the front and back cover of that record, eventually I listened to the music and that is what changed everything for me. I wanted to start a band. This was my “a ha” moment where I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Fast forward 15 years later, we finished our record at Metal Works and wanted to figure out artwork. I revisited the Insomniac artwork, and noticed on the 8 ball picture, there was a name, Winston Smith 1995, I decided to look him up and contact him. I told Winston the story and he was blown away. I asked him if he would be interested in doing some artwork for us. He agreed. We sent him some music and let him run with any ideas or feelings that he had. Winston is a master at Surrealist collage art, so we wanted him to take it in any direction that he felt was right. Nothing was forced. Check out this video of Winston talking about the record here (watch below). It was a dream come true to be able to work with Winston, he watched the birth of Punk Rock happen, in fact he showed us the exact club in San Francisco where it all began.
There seem to be themes of both optimism and self-loathing intertwined in the songs on All The Right Pieces. What life events or reoccurring thoughts are the cause for this back & forth?
Life is very much like this – the ups and down, highs and lows. These themes come from the need to keep going and the strength needed. We always put ourselves down, we self-sabotage. Our language is ingrained with this. The idea is to write songs that go beyond the self-doubt. The hope is that you want to do more with your life and have the courage to take risks and chances.
What are things in life you feel help focus on the optimistic side?
I think having goals is important. We are all driven by something.
What’s the significance of April 1st in the title track, mentioning both 1999 and 2009? Is there something real there, or is it an April Fool’s joke?
Yes there is. I am glad you asked this question. The date is not exactly April 1st ( I had to write something that flowed with the melody), but the year is correct. 1999 was when Blink 182 released Enema of the State. Everyone wanted to start a band because of those guys. They were the push that we needed at the time to get our music game on.
Who are you referring to in the last song when you say “we would do anything for you”?
This is another story, one that has carved the way for us. We recorded this song down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At Estudio Superfuzz with our friends in the band Zander. They offered to record a song for us when we toured down there in 2015. The point is that we book our shows through handshakes and emails. All of our tours have been booked on the backs of hardworking bands and promoters who took a chance on us and who continue to work with us. We would do anything for them and they for us. We are basically saying thank you. Anytime you want to come our way, we will take care of you. That was some of the most fun we had in a studio. You can hear us at the end of track laughing, yelling, and being ridiculous after doing some gang vocals for the last chorus. What a blast!