The one thing that stands out when listening to the two best metalcore records of 2019 is joy. Sure, neither Stray From The Path (SFTP) nor Counterparts traditionally traffic in a glass half-full mindset-either the world is fucked up beyond recognition, or full of immense and profound sadness. However, both Internal Atomics (out now via UNFD) and Nothing Left to Love (out now via Pure Noise) exude a confidence of style, and a true knowledge of who the bands are and how they go about their craft. Both bands have been given lazy admonishments before, but never before have they owned their identity so well. Internal Atomics is both the best SFTP record to date and the best Rage Against The Machine album since The Battle of Los Angeles (SFTP’s latest is actually better). Counterparts’ brand of shredding guitars and tears has never felt more assured.All that self-actualization leads to records that are brimming with assured energy and bolstered by a serious fun factor. That sense of joy is reflected in the interviews below. The bands’ clear comfort and closeness around each other has been honed over thousands of miles on the road together,and a shared desire to bring their vision to hungry audiences the world over. Rarely are friends able to ascend to these stylistic heights together. Even less common is the chance to let the lame narrator get out of the way, and let the bands talk shop and bullshit each other. – Nick Senior

Grab a print copy of our Stray From The Path / Counterparts cover issue with flexi included here.

VOCALIST TO VOCALIST

Drew Dijorio (Stray From The Path) and Brendan Murphy (Counterparts)

BM: I think my first question is gonna be a two-parter, and they’re both completely unrelated. The first question is, why are we friends? What the fuck are we doing? You know what I mean? Why do we like each other?

DD: Yeah, okay. Why are we friends? Well, I think it takes a certain type of person to do the things that we do, touring seven, eight months out of the year and being away from family, and all that kind of stuff. And I think…

BM: You have to be a dipshit.

DD: You have to be a complete psychopath. And I think that’s the answer, because every single one of us is psychotic in our own way.

BM: I agree with that. Second question, completely unrelated. Why did you bleach your hair?

DD: Well, I’ve been bleaching my hair since the seventh grade. My seventh-grade picture, I have blond hair and a choker on.

BM: Really? Oh, fuck, I actually didn’t know that.

DD: Yeah. I don’t know. I’ve been doing it for the past couple of years and, I don’t know, I just like the way it looked, especially when it’s grown in, like how it is on both of ours, when you get the roots.

BM: Dude, that’s the best. When I would bleach my shit, I wish I could go and get it to where there’s at least a little bit of root, ‘cause when it’s all white, people know I’m a fraud. You know what I mean? They look at me, and they’re like…

DD: But your eyebrows are dark.

BM: Yeah. They’re like, “Oh, brown eyebrows, red facial hair. Yeah, fucking right, buddy.” But, no, I wish that there was a way…

DD: Just do it that way.

BM: To just do it to where it’s like you got a little bit of root. It’s kinda trashy, it’s kinda hot. I don’t know, it’s mysterious. It’s kinda sick.

DD: I agree. You could always go to a salon and get the frosted tips, but nobody wants to pay that type of money for that.

BM: No. And that’s the thing, is there’s a very fine line between frosted tips and… I bleached my hair a month or two ago, and now the roots are coming in. You know what I mean?

DD: Yeah, it doesn’t have the same aesthetic, for sure.

BM: No. For me, I’ve done the thing where I’ve gotten haircuts and it looks like I have frosted tips. When I bleached my hair before a couple of years ago, I went and got my hair cut. I got home, and I realized it looked like I had frosted tips, and I immediately grabbed my trimmer that I shave my face with and shaved my head. ‘Cause I was like, “This is fucking embarrassing. I can’t deal with this.”

DD: Back to talking about when we were younger. I guess a question that a lot of people would wanna know is if there’s one band that you could say motivated you to take on starting Counterparts and following it, and continuing to do it. If there is a band, what band would that be? And why?

BM: Unrelated to sound, it had to have been like Slipknot or something. ‘Cause I remember getting this sampler for some college radio station in Hamilton, and it had “Heretic Anthem” on it. And I heard that and I was just like, “What the fuck is this? These guys are nuts, they’re not even singing. They’re fucking yelling.”

DD: “They’re screaming. What is this?”

BM: I was like, “That’s actually kinda cool.” And that sort of took me down the path of heavy music, getting into that, and then Marilyn Manson, and fucking Limp Bizkit, and Korn, and the nu-metal thing, and heavier shit. I think that’s what made me go, I wanna play music. I had a bunch of all failed bands before Counterparts. Counterparts is my first real, actual band. But I think that the band that made us wanna do Counterparts was… I’m trying to think, it was… we started in 2007, so you gotta think we were all listening to Parkway Drive, Killing with a Smile.

DD: Yeah, yeah, metalcore.

BM: And all that metalcore shit. It Dies Today and Misery Signals, and everything like that. When we started, the melodic element, I guess, was not so in the foreground. But the band that really made us hone into our specific sound now is Misery Signals, for sure.

DD: Of course. You have the connection of being Canadian, too.

BM: Of course, yeah. They were half Canadian-American, we’re half Canadian-American. I think that the line of really heavy and scary, and then super pretty at the same time, that was a big thing for us. You know what I mean? We heard that, and it was like, “Let’s give this something of a shot.”

DD: You guys have done it well, obviously.

BM: Thank you. Okay. Next question along the same lines, when did you first start doing vocals? Was it in your bedroom, like me, or what was it?

DD: Yeah, 100% in my bedroom. I don’t know if anybody else did this, but I used to get home from school and stuff, and I had one of those big stereo things and I would… No one was home. My mom would be at work, my brother would still be at school or at soccer, or whatever, and I’d be home alone, and I would just turn up as loud as possible, put on a bass or a guitar, and just pretend I was on the stage, in the band, and sing along to the songs and stuff. That’s when I first started singing, but first started screaming and stuff, I think after hearing bands like Glassjaw and Thrice, where they still have the melodic elements, but they’re screaming too, I think I was like, “Oh, I could do that, too. I know how to sing. Let me just try and do this form of aggressive music.” And then I just started doing it and I was like, “Oh, that sounds cool.” And I would… Like you said, Stray wasn’t the first band I was in. I played guitar in a lot of bands, and I did back-up screaming and vocals. That’s where it stemmed from, where I was like, “Oh, this sounds cool, I don’t sound like an idiot, so I’m gonna continue to do this.”

BM: Yeah, exactly. The first Counterparts, where it was me and Jesse back in the day, was… I wanna say Kenny was one of the fucking singers back in the day, and it was just so funny to go full circle with that. But we started a band called No Claim To Mercy, and I was playing guitar. And we had a guy singing, and I think he just stunk or some shit, or didn’t show up to practice or something. It was me and Jesse writing all the guitar stuff, and then that guy, we were like, “Fuck him.” And I was like, “Well, I could scream.” I’m like, “Oh, it’s not singing, it’s not hard. It’s not a… “

DD: It’s yelling.

BM: I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s definitely not a big fucking deal, you just yell. So, that was how I did it, too. Yeah, very similar, went from playing guitar, and then one day, I was like, “I think I could do that.” And then you do it, and then you fuck your voice up for three days, and your parents are like, “what the…?” The funniest thing, I think, is thinking about what the fuck our parents were thinking when they’re leaving their bedroom and walking downstairs to cook dinner…

DD: And you just hear this child yelling.

BM: And I’m in there, screaming, The Used songs and Slipknot, and all that bullshit, and they’re just going, “Where did I go wrong? Why can’t he be fucking normal? Why can’t he pick up a fuckin’ hockey stick? Why is my kid screaming at the top of his fuckin’ lungs?”

DD: Just the thought of that is so funny, I love it. I love it.

BM: Dude. Thinking about it now. Yeah, I was a kid, but thinking about my parents now… you know what I mean? Going back and being like, “Oh, great, my 13-year-old kid wants to fuckin’ be a screamer, fantastic.” But now they love it.

DD: Now they’re super proud. And they’re like, “Oh, look, my son gets to go all over the world with his idiot friends of Stray From The Path.”

BM: Exactly. When you first start, they’re like, “Oh, my God, I raised a fucking idiot. I raised a total moron.” But then I think once you do your first really far away tour, whether it’s Europe, or whatever, they start to go, “I’m gonna tell the boys and the ladies at work, my kid’s in fuckin’ Europe screaming his songs.”

DD: Let’s see. Favorite place to tour, and why?

BM: In terms of where I know that I’m gonna come home with enough money to live off for a couple of months, I’ll say the States. But the place I have the most fun? Japan, without question. Japan and Australia. I feel like it’s probably the same for you guys, right?

DD: Yeah, 100%.

BM: Same exact thing. For anybody reading this, or listening, without getting too into the behind the scenes crap, whenever we go to Japan, we get enough money for our flights and that’s it. We’re not going there for money. And that is the exact reason why we even do that is because we love it there so much. If somebody were to be like, “Oh, come to this fucking place that sucks and we’ll just cover your flights,” I’m like, “You’re dreaming. There’s no fucking chance.” But for Japan, I think every time since we went the first time, we’ve been paid the exact same amount of money, and it almost covers our flights to where we have to pay a couple hundred bucks on top of it.

DD: Yeah. But you just do it.

BM: And you do it, and you’re like, “I’m in the fucking coolest place on Earth, so I don’t care.” The 30 minutes or 40 minutes you spend on stage is… that is the work, that’s the trade-off. It’s like somebody being, like, “Hey, will you run on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day for a free vacation?” It’s like, “Yeah, of course, I would. What am I, fuckin’ made of stone? Yeah, of course, I’ll do that.” [laughter] Let’s see. Our bands, we’ve toured together all over, pretty much anywhere that you can. I think that we’re on the same page, where it’s like you are a band that does incredibly well in places like Europe and stuff like that, whereas we kind of struggle there a little bit in comparison to the States. For example, this tour, it’s a headliner for us, but if this same lineup were to happen in Europe, it would be you guys. And I think that that is a really cool dynamic, that we both have our market to where we can kind of… this tour is us being like, “We’re gonna bring our dumb fucking friends along that we love to death, and we hope people are gonna show up.” And I think that it would be the same for you guys in Europe.

DD: Hundred percent.

BM: So, I guess my question is, what do you think you gain in Europe that, I guess, you lack in the States?

DD: It’s a great question. Well, I think, the way North America is, it’s very up and down. It’s very flavor-of-the-week-ish. And what I mean by that is, kids tend to have this mentality of like, “Oh, this isn’t cool,” or like, “I have to like this because…” For whatever reason they convince themselves. And I’m not saying what they’re liking is bad, I’m just saying that’s the mentality, especially in America, is kids will jump ship left and right. Whereas, I think, in Europe it’s more appreciated when bands go, and when you do go and you continue to go, and you keep going back and you keep supporting tours, and then you go and headline, you have those fans for life. If you put out something that maybe they really didn’t like as much as the last record, they’re still coming out to the shows. They’re still supporting you.

BM: They’ll come out, and they’ll fucking tell you that to your fucking face that they didn’t like it.

DD: Yeah. That’s the European honesty right there.

BM: Exactly. Which I can take sometimes.

DD: Yeah. You catch me on a bad day, I’m not gonna like it.

BM: If we have a bad show, and someone comes up and says, “Your new record, I don’t like at all.” And for people listening, I know that sounds like an insane thing, but that is just something that will literally be told to my face by someone. They will come up to me and look at me in the fucking eyes, and say, “I don’t like your new record at all. The last one was better.” And it’s like 99% of the time, I can go, “Okay, then don’t fucking listen to it.”

DD: Or you go, “Oh, okay, thank you.”

BM: And laugh my ass off. But then it’s like, you catch me on the one day, maybe we have a really bad set, or something goes wrong, and I just… there’s been times where I stare at them and I just walk away, or I flip them off, or I’ll be like, “fuck off.” And I feel so bad, but at the same time, that is kind of fucking rude. I would never in a million years fucking do that.

DD: Yeah. It’s different cultures, man. Sometimes they don’t even think that they’re being rude in the certain sense.

BM: No, no. And that’s the thing. That’s why I always try to take it and be nice about it, because I think that if I were to have a little meltdown and tell them to eat shit or something, they would leave the show and be like, “Why was that guy mean to me?”

DD: Yeah. They wouldn’t comprehend it.

BM: Exactly. They are just more honest, whereas I feel like, for me, I don’t wanna hurt anyone’s feelings. And so, I would go up and be like, “Yeah, dude, I love You’re Not You Anymore. Nothing Left to Love, I just haven’t listened to it a lot, but I’m sure it’s cool. But You’re Not You Anymore fucking rocks.” If someone said that to me, I’d be like, “Dude, I don’t fucking care. That’s awesome.” But, the blunt delivery sometimes. Specifically in Germany, I think you get that and I just go, “Dude, I know you mean well, but please fucking don’t say that. Not today, buddy.”

DD: Yeah. America is just… it’s up and down. In Europe, like I said earlier, once you have them, you have them forever.

BM: I agree with that completely, and I think that the thing that Stray from the Path has on Counterparts in terms of Europe, not that it’s like a competition in any way, but I think that you guys have been touring for a little bit longer than us. When you go to Europe, it’s probably upwards of 20 something times. You guys have been there a lot. And I think that we are in a weird stage where we’ve gone enough to where people are just now starting to want to come back out, and they’re finally getting it. But it’s, like you said, the flavor-of-the-week thing is definitely a double-edged sword. For America, for us, it’s like that. When we came out of the gate, it was like, “This is really cool,” whatever, and everybody was really excited. When we started touring the States, it was like you had bands like us, and Hundredth, and Stick to Your Guns, and The Ghost Inside, and It Prevails, and all that stuff, and it was like that. And there was a bunch of other smaller bands, that I can’t even think of off the top of my head right now, that were doing really well. So, I think that it benefited us in terms of a breakout, to be like, “Hey, here we are. We showed up, honey. Let’s fucking do this.” [laughter]

DD: I like how you threw “honey” in there.

BM: But I think that that is something that we are kind of experiencing now, to where it’s like, our type of metalcore, there’s not really a lot of bands doing it anymore.

DD: No. Or not even a lot of bands that are doing it as well as you guys, because that’s another thing, too.

BM: Sure, sure. And thank you. But I think that the melodic thing, it’s kind of on the backburner right now, and I think that I’m feeling that burn a little bit more than I have ever in the past now. So now, I get what you’re saying. You know what I mean?

DD: Yeah. Have you felt like you were in danger at any point on any tour anywhere in the world?

BM: That’s a sick fucking question. Fuck. I definitely feel like we were in danger when we got the shit kicked out of us at that bar in Germany by the security guards. That was definitely in danger there, but I’m not getting into that story. You can put that in the thing, but I don’t want a lot of people to know the circumstances. But I’ll let you know that someone in my band deserved it, and I was trying to be a good friend, and now I have chipped front teeth.

DD: That’s what people wanna hear though, they like this…

BM: Honestly, I don’t ever feel like I’ve… maybe not danger. There’s definitely been times on tour where I’ve been like…

DD: Or even like the craziest place, you know what I mean? Something that’s so out of your element and your culture.

BM: I feel like, in Southeast Asia, not that I was worried about my personal safety, but I think… remember when we were at that fucking airport and we were trying to check our bags and they said, “If you want this on the plane, it’s gonna cost you $3000 American dollars per band.”

DD: Yeah. Just like being thrown in that situation where we have to go to this next city because we have to make it to the following city because that’s where our flights home are. So, being in that position of, “Fuck, what do we do? We’re fucked.”

BM: I think it was, what, flying from the Philippines to Indonesia, and we had 12 fucking hours before we had to be at the venue to load in and play and shit. So, it was like we’re standing there and we have someone working for this airline looking at me in the face and saying, “You either pay $3000 or you don’t get to put your shit on this plane,” And I was like, “Dude.”

DD: Yeah. I remember we all split half of it, and then the other guy paid half.

BM: That was for Indonesia to Singapore. But from Philippines to Indonesia, that happened, Tom and I looked at each other, and we all, all of us collectively, it was, what, 12 of us, I think? We said, “Okay, fuck it,” and we just flopped our bags on the floor and laid down. And we were like…

DD: At this point, we were so exhausted ‘cause there’s no days off. There was no…

BM: There was no time to sleep. Let alone a day off. I remember all of us just taking big green merch bags and just fucking laying down in front of the check-in counter, so all these other people trying to get on the flight, they couldn’t even check in to their fucking flight ‘cause we were making a stink. I remember we did that for so long, the manager came out and said, “What do you guys need done?” And Tom looks at him and goes, “How much money is it gonna cost me to put this stuff on the plane?” And the guy goes, whatever it was in the Filipino currency, and Tom goes, “No, no, no, I’m asking you. How much do I have to pay you personally to put these bags on the flight?” And the guy looked at him and he was like, “I don’t understand what you’re asking.” And Tom had to spell it out, like, “I’m trying to give you a bribe. I’m trying to bribe you into putting our fucking shit on this plane.” And we just… I think we just threw everybody for a loop to the point where eventually they just said, “Just give us $300 and you can put your shit on the plane,” and it worked out. And it fuckin’ worked out. We lived to tell the tale.

DD: It’s crazy because we get in these situations together, and if you guys weren’t there and if we weren’t there for you, we wouldn’t have been able to go through what we went through. It just became funny at that point.

BM: Fuck no. It’s funny, I think, for this series of interviews, Blake has a question for Tom about, like, “If that shit was going down in Southeast Asia, and we weren’t all surrounded by each other, would each of our bands break up?” And I’m like, “I probably would’ve just got on a flight and went home.” I probably would’ve just been like, “I’m fucking done. I don’t need this.” But the fact that that happens, and I look, and it’s like… It’s funny enough that my band is miserable, and then I look and I make eye contact with you, and you’re rolling your eyes and being like, “What the fuck’s going on?” I look at Tom, and he’s just like, “Dude, this is fucked, try and get some sleep. Mikey’s fucking… Mikey’s chilling, being like, “how the fuck do I get a blunt in my system.” [laughter] It was so fucking funny. But in terms of true personal danger, that’s fuckin’ rare, but we also haven’t really been anywhere scary, that has a reputation for being scary. OK, let’s say that you guys were to end tomorrow, or even, let’s say you book a final tour, when it’s all said and done, where is the last Stray From The Path show gonna be? Is it gonna be in Long Island? Or where do you think it’s gonna be the biggest fucking deal?

DD: London.

BM: London, England?

DD: London.

BM: Not Ontario?

DD: Not Ontario. [laughter] Actually, London, Ontario.

BM: Actually, London, Ontario kicks fucking ass for shows, by the way, which is crazy. But you think London, England would be the one?

DD: Yeah, man, because the U.K. has always showed up for Stray since day one, especially now.

BM: Dude, same with us. Why? Why do they have such faith in us? It doesn’t make sense.

DD: Because the U.K. is the fucking shit.

BM: Dude, I was thinking about this, too. I was like, fuck… I’m like, if we had to do one city, in my mind, I wanna believe that it would be Toronto or something, but at the same time, I’m like, “Well, if we gotta go based on numbers alone, I think our biggest headline shows to date have all been in the U.K., specifically in London.” You know what I mean?

DD: It’s one of those places where it would be a novelty thing, people would come from all over. And it helps, too, because even though Craig has only been in this band for four years now, it’s as much his band as it is ours. And him being from the U.K., it makes sense. It makes sense.

BM: Absolutely. And I think that the glaring omission that we’re not touching on is the fact that, for you guys, it’s a little bit less, but if we play a final show in London and we make all that money in pounds, we bring that back to Canada.

DD: It’s like double, fucking double.

BM: So, that’s like, oh, we play a final show and I guess I just buy a house or something, you know what I mean?

DD: Yeah, exactly.

BM: Hopefully, it doesn’t have to happen, but I guess maybe we can time our breakups. We’ll blow up both of our bands, and we’ll do one show.

DD: Yeah, we’ll do one tour, and then we’ll end in London, and then…

BM: We’ll play Alexander Palace and fucking… you know what I mean?

DD: Maybe half fill it.

BM: Yeah, half full. Maybe we can get Architects up to fucking play a quick little set or something.

DD: That’s so funny, I love that.

BM: No. I always wonder that, for this world and stuff, metalcore, heavy music in general, is your hometown your biggest market?

DD: Fuck no.

BM: Right?

DD: It’s crazy. And people don’t even understand that.

BM: Dude. And I feel like a lot of the time people will go, they’ll be like, “Oh, it must be fucking crazy when you guys play Toronto.” And it’s like, yeah, don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but…

DD: Plus, when you play home shows, man, you’re always so stressed out. ’Cause you have everyone blowing your phone up. You got people hitting you up that haven’t hit you up to get in for free.

BM: Dude, five minutes before your fucking set time, like, “I’m at the door, my name is not on it. Can you help me?” Spend 20 bucks, honey, and fucking buy a ticket. Piss off.

DD: It’s like a sensory overload.

BM: Yeah, totally. But I always think about that, where I’m like, in the grand scheme of things, your hometown should be your best market. But there is one thing that I think a lot of people don’t realize, is when you start playing shows in your hometown, and then you branch out, there’s a weird underlying animosity from all of the people that used to go see you play. When those people are, like, “Well, back when you did your first couple of shows, I was one of the ten fucking people in the room.” And then when you start branching out and succeeding, I would say a lot of people are on your side because they’re like, “That’s our fucking hometown.” But then you have this group of people that are mad that people from another city even know who you are, let alone like you. And I’m like, “Dude, what are you fucking selfish fucking Sally on the playground? What’s your fucking deal? Oh, you want us all to yourself?”

DD: That’s crazy.

BM: “Sorry. Yeah, we’ll still play your fucking wedding but…” You know what I mean? It’s fucking crazy. But no, I’m always curious to think that, because, dude, one of our last shows could be in fucking Jakarta, Indonesia, and it would probably be the biggest fucking show we’ve ever played.

DD: Yeah, there’s fucking 800 kids there for you, for the last time that we went. We ain’t pulling 800 kids in Long Island, that’s for fucking…

BM: Dude, fucking 700, 800 people in North America for us, are you fucking insane? But then Jakarta, suddenly, fucking, there’s 800 freaks that are like, “I wanna go see Stray and Counterparts.” Like, “What the fuck is that?”

DD: And they just show up.

BM: And they just show up.

DD: Alright, I guess this is a question for both of us, because it involves me, too. Why did we do this insane split 7” together with the cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream with our faces on it? Why did we do this, and why did you pick the song that you picked?

BM: I remember talking about doing something with Tom where I was like, “What if both of our records come out on the same day, and we do a VIP package? If we can get Unified and Pure Noise on board, to where they both sell both, and you get a little something extra.” So, Tom and I were fucking around with ideas of what the hell we’re gonna do. I can’t remember who brought it up, but somebody was like, “Do a fucking seven-inch with some covers on it.” And I’m like, “Okay, cool.” And I know “Movies” is your song. “Movies” by Alien Ant Farm, that is a fucking Stray song. As much as I would love to cover that, I feel like, if we were to be like, “No, we wanna do ‘Movies,’” you guys would be like, “Okay, we’re not friends anymore. It’s over. This friendship’s over. We’re breaking up.”

DD: “Private Room 2.0, over.”

BM: “It’s fucking done.” Like that. And the idea of doing a split together. That and this tour in itself, the whole thing, it’s just a manifestation of us realizing like, “Well, we’re fucking friends, and we can do whatever the fuck we want.” And we both have our own unique fan base, but I think that the Venn diagram, the crossover in the middle of people who like both of us is so apparent that we could do something like this, and we could put out a fucking split 7”, with both of our faces photoshopped on the Siamese Dream Kids, and the vinyl colors can literally be piss and shit. And I’m covering a song from the fucking Wedding Singer, and you guys are doing “Movies” by Alien Ant Farm, and people will buy it. You know what I mean?

DD: Yeah, if they fuck with it.

BM: And I think it’s both completely strange and unnerving that people will fucking pay money for that, but at the same time it also kicks fucking ass.

DD: Yeah. It’s literally the funniest, dumbest thing each of our bands have ever done.

BM: Yeah, totally, totally. And why I picked The Wedding Singer, we’re the fucking Wedding Singer band. I remember we had a couple other ideas of shit we were gonna cover. We were thinking about doing “Cold” by Crossfade, or “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors.

DD: Chumbawumba.

BM: Chumbawumba was up there. We didn’t do the cover when we were doing “Nothing Left to Love,” and then it was like, “Oh, shit, we need to do a cover for this fucking split.” And so we played Brooklyn Bazaar on the Pure Noise tour. I don’t remember the show, I was fuck hammered. And I’m thinking about, I’m like, “Okay, we gotta do this cover song,” and I’m like, “You know what, I need to do something that I can do myself and not have to bug the rest of the band.” So, I was like, “Well, somebody kill me, please. Fucking one guitar, it’s three notes.” And I know all the fucking words, I already know how to play it, so we played the show, we got back to the studio, don’t remember it. I remember walking in the studio, and being, “Give me a fucking guitar,” and fucking Steve goes, “Okay, here, take this.” And I just banged it out, went to bed, woke up, it was already done. This is a side note, but why is “Movies” such a song for you guys? I mean, aside from the fact that it kicks fucking ass.

DD: Yeah, the song fucking rules.

BM: Aside from the fact that it’s one of the best songs ever written.

DD: Yeah. I think just from Alien Ant Farm, just that era of music, and that song itself, it’s kind of out of the box for us to do it because it’s such a weird thing, but we just fuck with it. It’s a great song, it’s just a feel-good song, and just like this split is so outlandish, we wanted to do something outlandish too, where it’s completely out of our box, out of our element. People don’t expect it. If we did a Rage or a Deftones cover, it would be…

BM: Oh, yeah. People would be like, “Oh, fucking Rage.”

DD: It would be rare, of course, yeah.

BM: It’s like us being, “Oh, we’re gonna cover fucking ‘Five Years’ by Misery Signals, or a Poison the Well song.” It’s just like, “Dude, we get it.”

DD: Yeah. You guys like that stuff. So this is challenging. One, it’s challenging. And, two, it’s fun, and that’s what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be fun. It wasn’t supposed to be something so thought out. It was just like, “Let’s have some fun with this.” That’s why we fucking picked that.

BM: I think that the reason why I think all of us got into playing music in the first place was because it’s really fun. You know what I mean? And I know that when you do it for a long enough time, and you go through your ups and downs, and everything, you lose sight of that, and you take a back seat and you let the people working for you dictate your moves, and it’s like they’re controlling you, and they’re telling you which direction to go, which steps to take, and shit like that. And I think that that split, us putting our records out on the same day, this tour, everything, it’s bringing it back to the initial reasons why anybody picks up an instrument, or anybody starts a band, or anybody goes to a show. It is supposed to be fun. And a lot of the time I fall into the trap of, you could play a really good show and then it’s like, “Oh, well, we didn’t fucking sell any merch.” Or, “Our guarantee wasn’t good enough.” Like, “Oh, we’re fucking broke,” stuff like that. And I’m as guilty as anybody else for treating this as a business. Because when Counterparts started, it was never…

DD: It’s the furthest thing from a business, exactly.

BM: It’s a business now. Legally, it is a fucking incorporation, it is a business, but sometimes we lose sight of the reasons why we started doing things in the first place.

DD: I’m guilty of that, too.

BM: I think we all are. And I think that this tour and the split, and trying to pick the dumbest fucking song, having the stupidest cover, having the dumbest vinyl color selections on Earth, it takes it back to that, to where it’s like, “Hey, you know what, for everybody out there, you may not be excited about this, but I am.” And sometimes doing tours and doing shit, the excitement is gone, sometimes. There are some things that we do, and I’m sure that you guys do, that you take on and you go, “Well, this is gonna fucking stink, but the money is good,” or, “This isn’t gonna be any fucking fun, but it’s worth it for this reason.” And it’s like, “You know what, the fact that there’s other bands, the size that we are now, and the position we are in a position to do something that is truly just for personal gain.” And I think that that is why this came about, that’s why this thing shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s rare, and just the fact that it even happens still. Every time I see that fucking cover, it makes me smile, every time. When I walk by the merch table and I look at that picture, and I’m just like, “Goddammit, I got fucking sick friends, and we kick fucking ass. We all kick ass. This is great.” My last question for you is, we can both kinda sing, so what’s stopping us from getting out of this metalcore shit and making some real fucking bucks?

DD: It’s so funny ’cause it’s the same thing if your relative is here, it’s like, “Oh, it sounds good. I like the music, but I hate the screaming.”

BM: The screaming. “What’s he so… what’s he so angry about?”

DD: “What’s he saying? What’s he saying?” Especially with heavier music and stuff like that, it’s like you just found a home in it. When I joined Stray back in high school, when me and Tom were still in high school, it was the first group of people, the first person that was really serious about doing this with me, and what I wanted to do. It’s my dream, and we listened to all different types of music. I listened to fucking pop, hip-hop, alternative. I found my place in it. It’s just the one place where I feel like I belong. Doing it, being on stage and doing what we do, it’s all I know. It’s the only thing I’ve ever put 1000% of myself into. So, going back to saying like, “Oh, what’s stopping you from doing something else?” It’s like, you could go on and do side projects and do whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s like, “Why are you the way that you are, and why are you where you’re at in your life?”

BM: What made you? It’s this.

DD: Yeah, it’s this. And that’s where your heart is. Yeah, we could fucking sing like angels. Plus, it’s the culture, too. The people that are showing up to these shows, it’s just an amazing community. I think it’s different from a lot of other music scenes. It’s unlike anything else.

BM: Of course. I think that it’s very relative to just the sheer volume of people. When you have pop music, and you go to a pop concert, you’re not looking around, being like, “Oh, I recognize them from the last show. Oh, yeah, that guy is always around. Oh, she’s always here, she’s fun.” No one is doing that because it’s like, when you got 10,000, 20,000 people in a room, that’s not gonna happen, just because it’s overwhelming. But the reason why I found a place for myself within metalcore and hardcore and metal, and whatever. And I know I just said 10,000, and we literally played a show with Architects and there was 10,000 tickets, but I think that the initial thing is, metal and the heavy music subculture, in the grand scheme of things, it’s small scale. So, I think that it is much easier to be able to find a sense of community in that, and I think that that’s why, for me, and I feel like for you, too, it’s a little bit easier to carve out a place for yourself within something like heavy music, versus being a fucking pop song.

DD: And you feel like yourself in these situations.

BM: Imagine trying to be a pop star and going like, “Oh, I’m putting out a record on the same day as fucking Drake.” It’s like, “Oh, yeah, I’m gonna get somewhere near that.”

DD: Can you imagine? It’s fucking crazy.

BM: It’s like, “Dude, what?” And even with this new record, I’ve been doing more singing shit, and people are like, “You can sing, why don’t you do something else?” And it’s like, “I’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

DD: Yeah, I’ll worry about that when I need to. Yeah, exactly.

BM: I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. If Counterparts breaks up tomorrow, I might be like, “Yeah, I’ll probably start a new band.”

DD: Or just, “I’m gonna go work at Target.”

BM: Yeah, literally, or I’ll just go, “Fuck, I’ll go back to Sobie’s and ask them for my job back, stocking the fucking milk shelf.”

DD: Okay. For the people, for the readers, for this whole thing, what does Private Room mean? Just explain to everyone what this means to you.

BM: Private Room to me… as you know, we went to Japan, and we started doing private room karaoke, a lot. It does kick fucking ass. And karaoke is not a new concept, everyone does it. But in Japan, I think Japan, Korea, a lot of Asian countries, they don’t have karaoke bars where you go and fucking do it in front of people. It’s like, no, no, you rent a room with your friends, and you all get fucking hammered. Even if you don’t drink, whatever, it doesn’t matter, you’re in a room, you’re fucking singing with your friends and you’re having fun, and you’re just partying and having a good time, that’s a show.

DD: That’s it. Yeah.

BM: You know what I mean? For me, it’s like, we’re not showing up to these venues and paying money to play here, but it’s built into the deal. We’re technically more or less renting out these rooms to play music and sing songs together, and I’m surrounded by 29 of my closest fucking friends in the world on tour with me. And that’s what the Private Room is about. It’s not, I want to set up a thing to where we can differentiate between a Counterparts headliner and a Private Room tour, to where it’s like a Counterparts headliner is like, “Oh, we’re bringing out bands that sound different, and we don’t know them,” and stuff like that.

DD: Maybe they sold this amount of tickets in this market, and there’s a reason why they’re on the tour.

BM: Yeah. And they’re worth it, exactly. But, no, the Private Room is like, that’s my fucking friends. And that’s how it should be treated. It’s smaller venues, and no bullshit. It’s not a fucking giant production. It’s like, “No, you got us on stage for 45 minutes, we’re gonna fucking play. And all of my best friends are playing before us, and if you don’t like them, kiss my ass, ’cause those are my fucking friends. You gotta piss off.”

DD: I love it. I love it.

BM: You better fucking like them.

DD: It’s amazing.

BM: And that’s what it is to me.

GUITARIST TO GUITARIST


Tom Williams (Stray From The Path) and Blake Hardman (Counterparts)

TW: Okay. This is Thomas Williams.

BH: And I’m Blake Hardman.

TW: And we are the guitar players of Stray From The Path and Counterparts. [laughter]

BH: Did you piss your fucking pants when Rage Against the Machine announced shows?

TW: The best show I’ve ever seen in my entire life was Prophets of Rage, even though I think Prophets of Rage kinda stinks. But I saw Prophets of Rage at the Download Festival in France, and I was able to sneak on and watch by the monitor desk, and that was the best fucking thing I’ve ever seen. And I always said, “I can’t imagine what that would be like if Zack was there.” So, the fact that I get to go see Zack now is some fucked up shit for sure.

BH: Who sang in Prophets?

TW: It was B-Real from Cypress Hill and Chuck D from Public Enemy. And B-Real was sick, Chuck D, respect. The guy’s like 65.

BH: Yeah, for sure.

TW: Trying to do Zack de la Rocha, who’s like the best ever.

BH: Yeah, it’s like The Mummy, the movie. [laughter]

TW: So, you’ve been in a few bands. I guess we don’t really need to mention them. They ain’t on the fucking cover, you know? [laughter] You can leave that out in your notes or you can keep it, I don’t care. Anyway, so you’ve been in a few bands. What was it that clicked with you and Counterparts? Because, in my opinion, I always knew that you were a good guitar player, but you play some shit in Counterparts and you write some shit in Counterparts that’s fucked up and that I couldn’t play, and I think I’m sick as fuck with a guitar, so I don’t know how the fuck you do this shit. And I wonder, what did Counterparts bring out of you when you started doing like You’re Not You Anymore and with Nothing Left to Love?

BH: So obviously, since before I played in Counterpoints we had all been boys. Been boys with Counterparts, been boys with Stray and all the older bands I played in, and I guess all the older bands didn’t really call for the style of guitar playing that Counterparts has.

TW: True.

BH: So, more or less, I just had to lock myself in my fucking bedroom like a nerd virgin [laughter] and fucking relearn all my chops, and that’s all the shit that I loved as a kid. I love to shred, I love to cry baby shit, and [laughter] I like being pissed off whenever I need to be fucking angry.

TW: And shreddy and cry baby is literally what Counterparts is. [laughter]

BH: That is the fucking sub-genre: cry baby. So, alright, let’s do a little flashback. About a year ago, we did a fucking extensive run to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and southeast Asia. If our bands wouldn’t have been together for that tour, do you think that Stray would have broken up? ’Cause I’m telling you, Counterparts would have.

TW: Definitely. So there was an insane amount of shit where it’s like, we weren’t sleeping. First of all, we started with Japan, which was a mistake, because we put the bar as high as it could go. We were having fucking great shows, we were having an incredible time, so the bar was already high. Then we went from Japan to southeast Asia where shit hit the fan very fast. We weren’t sleeping. We were playing shows, going to sleep for two hours, then going to the airport, having to bribe people at the fucking desk to take our baggage, and then get on a plane. Show up, play a show, sleep for two hours, go to the airport, argue, make people cry. It was fucked up to the point where we were all losing our shit and then even when we got a chance to sleep…

BH: Dude, the one day in Indonesia when there was a fucking…

TW: …protest outside our window?

BH: Dude. Yeah, we had just gotten McDonalds. We get in our hotel, thank God, we’ve got four hours to sleep. No. There was a fucking protest going on.

TW: A guy literally screaming outside. We were like, “fucking hell.” We would have definitely broken up. But everything that was horrible and would have stressed us out was just funny, because then something would happen, and we would just look at each other and start laughing. So, that was definitely one of the top five experiences we’ve had with anyone, just because it was so fucking psychotic.

BH: We were in the thick.

TW: And then we went to, where was the last show? Oh, Singapore right to fucking Perth, and then right to play a show. I remember everyone getting off stage, just like, “dude…” I was seeing double. My guitar neck looked crazy. We were all so fucked.

BH: And I’m a fucking drunk and you don’t even do anything. God, Craig’s got a nice pack. [laughter] Sorry, New Noise. Anyway.

TW: Okay, so, we both record with Will Putney. This is your second record with Will, this is my fifth. What are your favorite things about Will and what are your least favorite things about Will? And it doesn’t have to be about Will personally, but it could be the studio, people that work there, the guys selling piss mattresses next door.

BH: Oh, I’ll make ’em all about Will [laughter]. Here we go. My favorite thing about Will is honestly his voice because, before I met him, I did not expect that voice to come out of him. At all.

TW: Yeah, so confusing…

BH: “Yeah, I’m on it.” Alright, my least favorite thing about Will, is his voice. [laughter] Because…

TW: That’s funny.

BH: We’ll be fucking hours into guitar tracking, and he’ll just turn around in his seat and just stare at your guitar and go, “Can we figure something else out for that?” [laughter] So in short, my favorite thing about Will Putney is his voice. My least favorite thing is his voice. So, when you write songs, do you have all your little fucking pedal tricks already figured out, or is that something that you and Will work on together in the studio?

TW: Sometimes both. I guess that’s probably the easiest answer ever, but there are certain things that when I figure them out, or honestly, if I see someone else do it, I’m just like, “I’m going to fucking do that, too.” But then there’s things where he just goes like, “Let’s do some… the weird stuff.” I remember at the end of “Actions Not Words,” it was basically almost like a drum solo with repeating rhythm guitar. And then in-between it, he’s like, “Let’s make it sound like you plugged in all of your pedals, turned them all on, and then threw them down the stairs.” I like that kinda stuff, and obviously it’s not a secret that I’m a fucking Tom Morello worshipper. I watched an interview with him ten years ago where he was like, “My mentality is, I like to buy everything from a guitar store, and then take the manuals and throw them out and just figure it out.” Fucking ten years ago, and I’m 21 years old. I was just trying some shit out and fucking doing that. Okay, so like we mentioned before, we’ve been friends for a long time. I mean, eight years now, probably.

BH: Longer than that.

TW: Longer than that? Nine years? What was that? I guess maybe we met… were you… no, Gideon. Gideon.

BH: Yeah, Gideon.

TW: So anyway, we’ve been friends for a long time, and who would have thought back then that we’d be on the cover of a magazine together? It’s pretty sick how far we’ve come. So, what are some other bucket list things that you wanna do with Counterparts or with your musical career? Because obviously, I feel like I can speak for both of us, being on the cover of a magazine is pretty cool. So, what are some other things that you hope to accomplish?

BH: So, with my music career, before I started touring full time, I learned how to do front-of-house engineering and I learned how to do recording and all that shit, so eventually, one day, I would like to actually be able to pursue that stuff full time. After my touring career is over, after Counterparts is over. And also, a bucket list thing is to fucking tour with Killswitch Engage.

TW: I feel like that’s so…

BH: It’s achievable.

TW: It’s there.

BH: It’s achievable, but fucking take us on tour, Killswitch Engage. Fucking read this magazine and take us on tour.

TW: That definitely should have happened.

BH: Yeah, it should have already. Long, long ago. So, let’s be real. It’s fucking hard to check out newer metalcore bands ’cause we’ve both been assaulted by fucking wildly mediocre bullshit.

TW: Yeah.

BH: For like, over a fucking decade.

TW: Yeah.

BH: So, what is one up and coming metalcore band that you fuck with heavily?

TW: One? One.

BH: Yeah, just one.

TW: Just one.

BH: Or a few. You can name a few.

TW: Give me a few. That’s not fair ’cause it’s…

BH: Yeah, yeah, alright. Alright, I’ll give you a few.

TW: I’ll name three. So, off the top of my head, I have been absolutely, completely taken aback by Chamber. I liked Chamber coming into this tour. I thought, “Oh, this band’s cool,” but I didn’t really understand it until I saw them play. Taylor is one of the hardest hitting, tightest fucking maniac drummers I’ve ever seen. Which I know sounds like, “Oh, that’s the craziest drummer I’ve ever seen.” He’s literally one of the best I’ve ever seen. And fucking Mike and Gabe on fucking guitar are excellent, so I can’t stress enough that people need to check out Chamber. Unity-TX is like my fucking favorite band of all time right now. Their fucking EP, called MADBOY EP, is one of my favorite things I’ve heard in a long time. And then, if I had to say one more, honestly, it’s a toss-up between Dying Wish and Loathe, but I’m gonna say Loathe to give some love to some internationals. Loathe is fucking insane. I think everyone needs to check out that band.

BH: Yep. Fucking straight like, Meshuggah fucking Deftones kind of shit, yep.

TW: Okay, so we’ve been able to do some cool shit like touring and doing festivals in Europe and whatnot. What’s the coolest motherfucker you met while on tour?

BH: Easily Bert McCracken. We did a one-off with The Used and it was just us and The Used on the show. So, we get there, we get out of this fucking shitty RV thing that we had been traveling in, we get out and Bert is sitting on their fucking fender, just blazing weed. I hit Brendan, I’m like, “Yo, look at who it is.” And we’re like, “Oh shit, fuck, fuck.” And then he starts walking over towards us, and we’re like, “No, he’s not coming over towards us. He’s gonna get back on the bus.” No, he’s fucking beelining straight towards us. Walks up, introduces himself, asks if he could do anything, asks me to smoke weed with him…

TW: Of course, you smoked…

BH: Of course I fucking smoked weed with Bert McCracken. And then eventually, fast forward, he asked Brendan to come up and sing “A Box of Sharp Objects.” He came to our merch table, bought every fucking piece of merch we had. We tried to give it to him, he wouldn’t let us, he paid for it.

TW: What a legend.

BH: Dude, he’s the best. So: marry one, fuck one, kill one. Drew [Dijorio, vocals], [Dragon] Neck [Altamura, bass], Craig [Reynolds, drums].

TW: I already know one answer. I’m marrying Dragon Neck.

BH: Yeah, of course.

TW: He is the greatest person I know out of anyone. He never gives me a hard time, he always makes me laugh. There’s nothing he does that annoys me. He is, no joke, the greatest person I know, over my fucking parents and my wife. Literally, this dude is, he’s the best, dude. So, I’m marrying him for sure because I want to be around him all the time.

BH: You’re killing Drew and you’re fucking Craig.

TW: Yeah, I guess I gotta. I mean, Drew is like my brother. We’ve been together since sixth grade, so like 21 years or something insane like that…

BH: Yeah. You guys could kill each other and it would be fine.

TW: He’s definitely killing me, too. He probably has the same list anyway. So, it’s always tough to answer the kill one, but it would probably have to be him because we just butt heads the most because we’ve been together forever. And yeah, I’d fuck Craig ’cause he’s definitely the hottest in the band anyway.

BH: Yeah, he’s super hot.

TW: So, I’m gonna toss you the same: marry, fuck, kill. Brendan [Murphy, vocals], Kyle [Brownlee, drums], Sweet Tea [Tyler Williams, bass]. And I feel like I know what this…

BH: Yeah, you already know the answer. So, I’m gonna marry Brendan because he’s…

TW: I thought you’d marry Sweet Tea.

BH: Nope. No, I’m killing that motherfucker. That motherfucker’s in the dirt. That guy is dying.

TW: I feel like ’cause Sweet Tea would be the, “Hey, what do you want for dinner today?” type.

BH: Oh no, absolutely not. He would go, “Hey, we got a pack of Ramen noodles, you wanna split it?” [laughter] “I’m stoned, I’m stoned, I’m not going out.”

TW: So you’re marrying Brendan, you’re fucking Kyle, and you’re killing Sweet Tea?

BH: Yeah, Kyle has the best eyebrows in Counterparts.

TW: I thought it would have been kill Brendan, marry Sweet Tea…

BH: No, no. Brendan brings the bread in, man. He’s the…

TW: He’s the bread bringer.

BH: He’s the bread bringer, man. He’s the bread bringer, he fucking takes care of all of us. Honestly, me and him never really butt heads. And if we do, it’s always just immediately squashed ’cause we both love each other and are gonna have sex eventually. [laughter] So I’ll marry him. I’m definitely lusting after Kyle, and Sweet Tea’s my little brother, I love him to death, but yeah, that motherfucker’s gotta go. Put him down. [laughter]

TW: Euthanize him. Alright, sick. Alright, good shit. There’s 50 minutes for you New Noise. Thank you.

BASSIST TO BASSIST


Anthony “Dragon Neck” Altamura (Stray From The Path) and Tyler “Sweet Tea” Williams (Counterparts)

TW: So, Anthony, what do you do when you’re not traveling the world rocking faces off?

AA: When I’m not rocking faces off, I’m hanging out with my girlfriend and my dog. My dog’s name is Chief. He’s the cutest dog in the world. I don’t care what anyone says. Other than that, I do a lot of music video work for other bands, and I try to work on my short films, mostly horror movies. Next question.

TW: What’s your favorite movie?

AA: My favorite movie of all time is easily Stand By Me. It’s the best movie ever.

TW: Why?

AA: I just never connected with any other movie more than that.

TW: What’s your favorite skateboard trick?

AA: My favorite skateboard trick is any trick that I see you doing outside near the trailer, especially when you fall down and get hurt.

TW: I like to skate.

AA: Yeah.

TW: Why are you called “Dragon Neck”?

AA: Because our original drummer thought I had a dragon tattooed on my neck, when it’s actually a bird. So, my first practice with the band, Tom, our guitar player, instantly called me Dragon Neck. [chuckle]

TW: Do you believe in ghosts? [laughter]

AA: Oh, my God. I guess I’d say I do, because I’ve had… I’ve seen some really weird, crazy shit and I can’t explain it. But I guess, the only way I could explain it is if there’s the possibility of ghosts existing, that’s what the fuck it would be. So, hey Tyler. Why do they call you Sweet Tea?

TW: Well, I used to work at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I was the server. And when you’re a server, you gotta make sweet tea, ’cause people are always drinking it. So, me as a server, I was making some sweet tea, and someone was like, “Hey, you’re always making that sweet tea. It’s always you. Why is no one else making it?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” There’s really not that much more to it.

AA: So that’s it?

TW: I made the best sweet tea at Buffalo Wild Wings.

AA: Nice. Alright, what do you do in your downtime from touring?

TW: I live in Nashville, and Nashville fucking rocks. So, when I’m home, I’m hanging out with friends, skateboarding, delivering food for Postmates, and playing video games.

AA: Nice. Alright, here’s a good one. What’s your favorite memory of touring with Stray From The Path?

TW: It’s gotta be the night in Japan, our last day on tour. Dragon Neck and I were roaming the streets of Japan with the band Lany at these crazy clubs. I don’t know what the fuck was going on, but we had so much fun. Me and Dragon Neck just talked for hours about movies, and it was awesome. And that was my favorite memory with Stray From The Path.

AA: Sick. Alright. What are the three albums that got you to start playing music?

TW: Fuck, I don’t know. I used to really like Green Day as a kid. So, I’d probably say Dookie. And then System of a Down, Toxicity, just moving down. And then probably… fuck, third album? Take A Look In the Mirror by Korn.

AA: Nice.

TW: They’re a fucking fourth rig. That was my shit. Let’s go.

AA: Sick. And here we go, the same question that you asked me. What’s your favorite movie of all time?

TW: My favorite movie is probably Road House, because it’s simple. You got Patrick Swayze just taking care of business, and that’s what it’s all about, baby.

DRUMMER TO DRUMMER

Craig Reynolds (Stray From The Path) and Kyle Brownlee (Counterparts)

CR: Did you learn the drums from Rock Band, or is that just a rumor?

KB: I got better at drums from Rock Band. I played drums beforehand, and then I had this OCD thing about getting perfect on all the Rock Band songs so I could get better at timing, and that’s what made me really tight for actual drums.

CR: Did I start the rumor that you got good at drums from Rock Band?

KB: No, I don’t think so, ’cause I still have people that come up and they’re like, “Oh, like, it’s crazy that you played Rock Band before you started playing drums!”

CR: I feel like I might’ve started that, though.

KB: Maybe. I don’t know, maybe.

CR: I tell everyone that…

KB: It is a better story if you say it like that.

CR: Yeah, for the record, Kyle learned drums from Rock Band. The answer is just, yes. [laughter]

KB: Okay. You have to either give up drums or going to the gym for the rest of your life. Which one do you give up, and why?

CR: It has to be the gym, because I wouldn’t have a career.

KB: Yeah, fair.

CR: Because I’m too fat to be a bodybuilder, but I’m too skinny to be a powerlifter. And I’m okay at the drums.

KB: Okay at the drums. [chuckle]

CR: But I would get… I would maybe not be a very nice person to be around.

KB: If you couldn’t do both?

CR: Yeah. I think maybe I would just attach weights to myself when I play the drums.

KB: Okay, that counts.

CR: This is like a hack. Right, I’ve got more questions. Let me go. Mine are rubbish. What’s your hardest song in the set, and what was the hardest song to track on the new album? So, that’s two different questions.

KB: Okay, hardest song in the set. Oh, God. I’m gonna have to say “Disconnect,” just ’cause it’s at the end. By then I’m already really shot, and it’s really fast, and then there’s that weird fast part that’s 5/4 and shit…

CR: And someone else wrote it?

KB: Yeah, oh yeah.

CR: All the old songs are my hardest ones…

KB: Yeah, there you go.

CR: They just… I’m like, “Why the fuck would you play that?”

KB: No, and it’s like, “Oh, okay, so I didn’t write this. It’s really fast and there’s a huge 5/4 part, and there’s no repeating parts, it’s just part, part, part, part,” so it’s like, I have to think about it the whole time.

CR: And it’s your biggest song, so you have to play it last.

KB: Yeah, exactly, we have to play it last and we can never not play it. So, I’ve really fucked myself there.

CR: Nice.

KB: What was the other one, hardest one to…

CR: In the studio?

KB: In the studio.

CR: With Will Putney, and his voice.

KB: Oh God. Okay, the two hardest ones I actually got out of the way, but they didn’t make the record. [chuckle]

CR: Oh!

KB: They’re gonna be B-sides, and they’re not on the record, but I practiced those the most and they were the hardest. But that made the rest of the record hard because I didn’t practice the others as much.

CR: Same thing happened to me. I practiced with this one demo, that was the hardest fucking one, and then, what happened was, we didn’t even use that song. And then one of the ones that was gonna be the biggest single, barely practiced it. I thought, “This is easy,” and it ended up I was learning it wrong anyway, and it took fucking forever.

KB: Yeah, it’s always how it goes.

CR: Is it me? No, it’s you.

KB: Yeah. Okay, what is the best and worst part about recording drums with Will Putney?

CR: Will’s getting so many shoutouts.

KB: Oh, yeah. [chuckle]

CR: The best part is honestly just all the people there.

KB: Yeah, I agree.

CR: At the studio, which you created on Fortnite absolutely accurately, ’cause you’re a strange man. And the worst part is tracking the drums.

KB: [chuckle] Yes.

CR: Because he’s such a perfectionist. He’s obsessed with chinas and snare drums at the same time, in the hardest fucking possible position, because he’s a guitarist by trade.

KB: Oh yeah.

CR: So yeah, the worst part is actually tracking the drums, and the best part is being in the presence of excellent people.

KB: I agree, seriously.

CR: What’s your favorite thing about Europe? ’Cause I’m from Europe and you’re not.

KB: We’ve been doing buses a lot in Europe now, and we split it with the other bands that we’re with, so it’s like, it makes Europe a lot easier. Not having to drive is great, and just being surrounded by people all the time, that you’re friends with, is really cool. The shows are cool. I don’t know, my favorite thing? I mean…

CR: You can say bus, bus can be a favorite thing.

KB: Yeah, I’d say bus. It’s like a luxury, it’s one of my favorites. Yeah.

CR: It’s not indicative of Europe, ’cause they do exist here. I was hoping more for, you know, “I like the Mona Lisa,” or…

KB: Oh, God.

CR: Is that even in Europe? I have no fucking idea. Sorry, we’re gonna talk louder now, because there is a sound check happening, we’ve got another question now.

KB: Okay, what is your go-to froyo flavour and go-to topping?

CR: My go-to froyo flavour is the pink berry coconut, dairy-free, that is my number one. However, if I’m in a sort of, just a random establishment, I will usually go with a cheesecake and then my topping is Butterfinger with peanut butter sauce.

KB: Oh my God. [laughter]

CR: Yeah, I’m disgusting, I’m a revolting person. Do you pluck those sweet eyebrows or do they grow that perfect naturally?

KB: No, I have to pluck them. If I don’t, I will have the most psycho unibrow in the entire world.

CR: They’re fantastic.

KB: They’re okay, they’re pretty good.

CR: No, I’m witnessing them right now. They look like…

KB: The middle is where I have to go in, like, daily. If I don’t…

CR: Look at it, it looks insane. There’s a perfect like, Ken Doll gap.

KB: There’s this little shape. I got a good little shape going on.

CR: It’s some fucking Zac Efron shit.

KB: Sometimes I gotta do the little sides over here, then it gets in my hair too, it’s fucking gross.

CR: Have you ever had them threaded?

KB: No, should I?

CR: It’s amazing. It hurts but afterwards, you look like a drag queen, and it’s unbelievable.

KB: I probably should. I have also never done a pedicure or a manicure. I feel like I should do all three on this tour, at once.

CR: I’ve never done that either. I’ll come with you.

KB: Alright, let’s do it.

CR: Right, last question, is it the last question?

KB: Yeah. Okay, what’s your favorite thing about the U.S.?

CR: The food, because you’re all fucking…

KB: …Gluttonous. [chuckle]

CR: Just gluttonous. I mean, that’s offensive. To put it into perspective, I expend a lot of energy playing the drums and going to the gym, so back home, trying to get quick calories in is quite hard. Today, I needed a quick 1000 calories, and I had two of these little protein shakes, and one Rice Krispies square from Bucky’s, and it was 980 calories, which is…

KB: That’s insane.

CR: Yeah, which is insane and I love it.

KB: The Rice Krispies square is the best Rice Krispies square I’ve ever had.

CR: I’ve had two today. So, I’ve had 900 calories just from Rice Krispies squares, and that is why I love America. I think that’s it now. Bye, thanks.

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