Interview with project mastermind Steve Austin
By Addison Herron-Wheeler
Near-death experiences often come with a new lease on life, and two near-death experiences make for a completely renewed look at the human condition. That’s the phenomenon present on the new Today is the Day record, No Good to Anyone, out on Feb. 28, 2020, via BMG.
Steve Austin is Today is the Day, and is also one of the men responsible for giving the American South such a gritty, raw reputation when it comes to sludge and noise rock. He recently suffered major life scares, from Lyme’s Disease and a bus crash, and the grim reaper followed him onto this new record.
“I think a lot of what comes out on this record is facing the possibility of death in a slow, excruciating way with a lot of question marks,” Austin says. “While this was going on, I still had to live, and I still had to create things and do things. Your life doesn’t really stop, or change, or alter to work with you when something like this happens. The lyrical themes on this album are a lot of daydreaming of mine, trying to come to terms with things and understand my own life, and what it would be like for it to end.”
As he structured the record, Austin leaned into classic, crunchy sounds to make the music more surreal and psychedelic, and built the songs around the story he was trying to tell with his lyrics.
“The records I make are like movies,” he says. “A chorus is a scene, and the whole thing is a collection of scenes that creates an album, which creates a movie. Usually, the way things come together, you don’t really know what you’re doing, but then you look at it and it all fits.”
As he built this record and put together the music, all kinds of elements came through, and Austin didn’t resist experimenting with genres more than ever before.
“On some parts of the record, you can hear some of the darkest, hardest stuff I’ve made,” he says. “Then there’s a part that almost sounds like a fairy tale, with acoustic guitars and ice bells, and delicate sounds and acoustics, and things that are really fragile and tender. There’s light, airy vocal delivery just as much as there’s me screaming my brains out. It was a freeing experience, and it’s kind of crazy, because it takes having the grim reaper in front of you saying, ‘if you don’t say it now, you’re never gonna get a chance to say it.’”
As parting words, Austin has some uncharacteristic advice for fans and readers.
“I’m just really excited, and I think the message is, it doesn’t matter how face down in shit you’ve ever been. Just push through. Just keep going.”
Be sure to catch Today is the Day as they play across the U.S. in support of the new album. See all confirmed dates below: