Interview with singer Dan Campbell

By Natalee Coloman

There’s nothing better than the rush of excitement that fills your body as your favorite band starts to play your all-time favorite song live. From the first beat, you get butterflies as you prep to scream each lyric along with the vocalist – but what if you got to hear your favorite song twice in the same night? The Wonder Years is making this dream a reality as they embark on a full U.S. tour. The band will be playing both an acoustic and electric set nightly, in honor of their latest EP release, Burst & Decay Volume II, out now via Hopeless Records.

Burst & Decay Volume II is the second EP in what will soon be a series of revamped versions of fan-favorite tracks, such as “Washington Square Park.” Vocalist Dan Campbell notes that Burst & Decay Volume I inspired the band to create new and interesting versions of songs their fans already love, like “There, There,” and “Don’t Let Me Cave In.”

“This was a good chance to be creative without having to write new songs,” Campbell shares. “It also gives us an opportunity to play songs that don’t get played much anymore, and do them in a different light, letting us revisit them that way.”

With a full-time schedule as a new father, Campbell appreciates getting to utilize songs he already is passionate about.

“There are no rules here,” he says. “The absolute worst thing we can do is make a version of a song that people already like, and they might say, ‘I don’t like the new version, I’ll just go listen to the version I already do like. It let us explore a lot of things, so in [Burst & Decay Volume II], we knew we already had the space to create something we think is really interesting.”

As part of their creative take on this EP, The Wonder Years partnered with The Little Kruta String Quartet. The quartet’s musical director and cellist, Kristine Kruta, had introduced the band to her group during a live benefit performance on the Burst & Decay Volume I tour. 

“It’s just really cool to be in the room while they create,” Campbell says. “It was one of those things where you do one take and you’re like, ‘well, it was perfect. Should we get another take to have it?’”

Adding the string quartet is just one of the features on Burst & Decay Volume II. The song “We Look Like Lightning” also features guest vocalist Alex Maniak of the band Shortly, and The Wonder Years experiments throughout the EP with stripped-down versions of their classic hits.

To compliment the EP release, The Wonder Years kicked off their full-length dual-set tour on Feb. 20, playing more songs per set than the band has ever previously played live.

The shows will ultimately allow fans to spend a good portion of their night with the band. As always, the band has been in full-swing prepping to make this tour incredible.

“We are using so many inputs where we have to rent extra equipment and bring extra crew members, just to make sure we can have it all logistically and technically look and sound good, and do it justice,” Campbell shares. “There is a lot more prep, and we are going to start rehearsals a lot earlier than we normally would, to try to build back up the callouses – both physically and metaphorically.”

Besides a few festivals here and there, it’s been quite some time since The Wonder Years played a full tour in the U.S. Campbell says the band is excited for not only the shows, but also for being in some of their favorite cities throughout the country.

“Between 2010 and 2014, we were on tour approximately 200 days a year, so we hit the brakes really hard when my wife got pregnant. We haven’t hit these places in a really long time,” Campbell reflects.

While Campbell says he will miss his son and his wife, he’s excited to share the stage with supporting bands Pool Kids, Spanish Love Songs, and Free Throw, and ultimately pick up where the band left off on tour over a year ago.

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