Interview: Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls on New Album

“Like everybody else, we were trying to think of something to do during COVID, just to keep ourselves connected and busy and make some money.” The Bouncing Souls’ new album, Ten Stories High, is out now via Pure Noise Records, but as guitarist Pete Steinkopf explains, the tracks that would go on to become the record didn’t start out the way songs normally do.

“So we turned to Patreon, and we offered 10 people the thing where we would get together with them on Zoom and have a conversation with them to talk about their lives and then we would write a song for them, about them,” Steinkopf adds.

“And we would do it individually—Bryan and I would get together and write some music, and Greg would put some words to it, George had a drum studio in his house too—So we did it all COVID style. And at first we thought it would just be a couple of little 30-second ditties, to send to people, and they’d get their own one-off seven-inch.”

But as it turned out, what Steinkopf and the rest of The Bouncing Souls—vocalist Greg Attonito, bassist Bryan Kienlen, and drummer George Rebelo—had created were much more than 30-second ditties. “So it ended up we wrote these songs and were like well these are really good, we should do more of these or explore them at least. And so we sent the whole thing to Will (Yip, producer) and we’re like, is there a record here? And he was super excited about it,” Steinkopf says.

Ten Stories High was the band’s third record with Yip at the helm, and it probably won’t be the last, as Steinkopf admits, “every time it just gets better and better.”

“He loved all the songs. He said come in; we’ll do it together and figure out which ones work and which ones don’t. And then we wrote a couple of new ones in the studio.”

The recording process for the new record was also a new experience for the Souls, and helped sculpt each track into its own story.

“We would record a whole song in a day, which is different to how we’ve ever done it before,” Steinkopf adds. “Usually we would just do the drums for a week and do this and that. But this was a really fun way to work. And we also let Will pick which songs we’re going to do, in the order that he liked them. That was cool, too, because we had no idea what we were gonna do next, so it kept it super fresh.

It wasn’t just the different recording style that gave the album a fresh feel, “We were writing about other people, and other people’s stories,” Steinkopf says. “We’ve spent 30 years writing songs about ourselves, so it was cool to do it from a different angle.”

“It gave us a different perspective, a glimpse into other people’s lives, and a freshness that we haven’t had in a long time. We had a couple of records that were kind of regurgitating concepts, because there’s not so many things to write about when you’re living in the same body and brain.

“It definitely made me want to think about different things to write songs about or different angles to approach the same kind of thing, because we’re all just living life and trying to do our best.  There’s a couple of examples on this record of things that I would never have thought about approaching like that. So it’s definitely opening new avenues.”

While the band have used this album to experiment with new writing and recording techniques, the outcome is 100% Bouncing Souls: 10 tracks of anthemic punk rock, with danceability and heart in equal measure.

The Souls also managed to enlist the legendary Kevin Seconds as the only guest on the album, with track “Vin and Casey” calling out for the collab, after the fan who inspired the track shared their love for both bands. “The song was inspired by (7 Seconds) musically, with the guitar riff and the fast drumming,” tells Steinkopf. “We love 7 Seconds so much, and we’ve been friends with (Kevin) for a long time. We were like, ‘How cool would it be to get Kevin to sing a verse on this?’ and he did. It turned out great.”

To celebrate the release of the album, the band are embarking on their biggest tour since the before-times, a two-legged North American run spanning April through May and October through December. Along for the ride are Anti-Flag, A Wilhelm Scream, Samiam, Swingin’ Utters, and more.

“We’ve been kind of dabbling in the past year; we’ve done some cool trips, and it’s been really, really great,” admits Steinkopf. “But it’s the first time going on a bigger tour, so that’s really exciting, especially to go out there with our good, old friends, Anti-Flag. We’ve been playing shows together for over 25 years, so it’ll be really fun to all hang together.”

“I just appreciate it way more than I ever have,” Steinkopf says of his feelings towards touring 30-something years into band-life. “I’ve always appreciated being able to do what we do, but it’s on a whole new level now we were forced to deal with the reality that it might not happen again for a really long time.”

“It just changes the way that you see it and the way that you appreciate it. We love going on tour because we’ve found a way that works for us, and so every time we go away, everyone is happy to be there. There’s no long trips where people are getting burnt out. As you get older, you just figure out the way to do things to keep it fun because everyone will have a good show every night. People want to come and have a good time, and there’s nothing worse than having a bad show.”

The Bouncing Souls might have just cracked the code when it comes to sustaining a band relationship for all these years, as Steinkopf reveals: “When we started the band, we’d do everything and anything we could to just have anyone pay attention to us at all, because it took us a long time for anyone to care.”

“And then you get to a point where you start getting a little bit of popularity maybe, and you can go on tour, and you can sustain yourself and you can even start making money at it. But then it kind of became like a race, to always be busy or always be more popular. It felt like we were competing all the time.”

Fans will be happy to hear there’s no sign of The Bouncing Souls throwing in the towel just yet:

“We got to a point where we were just really happy that we could do this at all. We have an awesome, loyal fan base, we love hanging out together. And so going on tour for us was like a holiday with your best friends, and the perk was that you got to also do what you love to do while on your holiday with your best mates, and make a living doing it. So it kind of turned into a thing that we really appreciate and cherish. We figured out how to do that. We can do this as long as we can walk, because we’re happy.”

Photo courtesy of Nick Zimmer

Stay Connected

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

 Learn more