Updated: Feb 28
The American-British pop-punk/pop-rock band As It Is will release their fourth studio album this Friday. Once again, through their longtime label Fearless Records. Just shy of two days to the album's release, the band's frontman Patty Walters sat down with our own Mikey Jablonski via Zoom while on tour with Set It Off, Stand Atlantic, and No Love, to talk about their brand new album, I WENT TO HELL AND BACK. In addition to what initially led Patty into music, musical advice given to Patty in the past, and much, much more.
What first got you into music, Patty, and made you want to decide rock/pop-punk? Patty: Yeah, the long answer of what got me into music is undoubtedly my parents. I grew up in, you know, not a musical family, but a home where music was always playing. Like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys. My parents encouraged me to start learning piano when I was seven. I didn't love it, but I fell in love with guitar music, you know pop-rock bands and nu-metal. The bands with the music videos you see on TV in the early 2000s. Yeah, watching Blink-182, Green Day, and Sum 41 on TV. I wanted to be Tom DeLonge. I need to get a guitar. I need to play this thing. Start a band and tour the world. So ever since I was ten years old, this has been the only thing I wanted to do in my life. It was equal parts with music always playing in the house, but then I found my own identity through music, through punk rock. Your fourth studio record, I WENT TO HELL AND BACK, is coming out this week. Did you write all the lyrics, or did any of the other band members help out at all with the writing process, and how was the process like compared to past records? P: Yeah, writing has always been collaborative and democratic in the band. You know I don't write all the lyrics. I don't write all the songs or all the riffs. Everybody is contributing, and this is everybody's record as much as it's mine. Ronnie was heavily involved with lyrics, riffs, song structures, and influences on this record. I single out Ronnie specify because this is his first As It Is record. He was really present and heavy handing shaping it. Ali has been shaping records ever since our first debut album. Yeah, it's always been a diplomatic, equal process. That's awesome! I always like hearing about bands and artists and seeing how their process works. It's good that you guys are involved with the different structures and aspects of the record and have each band member involved with that. P: For sure, absolutely. The thing too is like you realize just as time goes on that when you're in a band, you are part of the team. You're trying to run a business, and everybody has to have strengths where somebody else is weak. You know somebody has to be good at the finances, somebody has to be good at the logistics. But at the end of the day, everybody starts a band cause we want to write songs and have fun. That's the thing when you start taking that away from people when it becomes one person's sort of passion project, or they sort of monopolize the creative process. You strip somebody on why we started a band in the first place, and that's sad. You know it works for some, but it doesn't work with this band.
On the song "IN THREES," you worked with Set It Off and JordyPurp. What was it like working with both of them on the track, and was it how you envisioned the song? P: Yeah! It's funny, so we had Cody from Set It Off coming through the studio and we expected and planned to write a really sort of upbeat, sort of pop leading song. That is not what "IN THREES" is at all. The song sort of wrote us that day, and that's just how it goes sometimes. It was really this sort of dark sort of, like this alt-pop song and with these gnarly sorts of guitar tones with this really ominous sub-bass roar. Not the song we expected to write. It was so much fun, we wrote it in a day. Had Cody present in the studio tracking everything. But it was while we were, you know, crafting the chorus and that line that titular line, "Tragedy comes in threes." Okay, this song really ultimately isn't complete without a third feature. JordyPurp came to mind. He already had been in two music videos with us. He's a good friend out in L.A. We're big fans of his music and his art. We thought he would bring something really cool, really affected and really different. Something that would really suit that sort of sombre tone in the song. He totally delivered. He didn't have much time, but he absolutely nailed it. Yeah, I'm hoping the L.A. date of this tour comes around. He can join us on stage. I'm hoping the three of us can come together and perform it together. Fingers crossed for that one. That would be pretty special.
Is there another artist or somebody you guys wanted to work with or tried to for this album that didn't work out for some reason?
P: You know, nobody comes to mind. You know we were very fortunate to get The Word Alive on the record as well. Their nobody we were reaching out to really work with, that it didn't line up. But our producer Zach Jones was collaborating really heavily. When you know you work with a producer, there they are essentially in the band for as long as you're in the studio with them. He was bringing so many new and fresh sort of sonic elements too, that was really fulfilling. So I mean, collaborating with him was just as exciting as collaborating with anybody else outside of the group. You guys probably have extra songs that never hit the record or wanted to put on it. Is there a plan to release them on a deluxe later in the year possibly? P: Yeah, there might be plans to release some b-sides, there certainly are. This is the longest As It Is album we have ever released. It's fourteen tracks deep. But it's probably the most we have written towards a record. There are songs that might see the light of day one day in the future, but you know that's the way it goes. Something about them didn't feel right or didn't feel done in time, but yeah, that just means they're just exciting plans for the future. That's never a bad thing.
Is there any song off the record you're excited to play live once you're able to when the album comes out? P: Yeah, absolutely! The upcoming single is called "I HATE ME TOO," and it's one of my favourites on the album. It has been since the day we wrote it. Like "IN THREES" and "I MISS 2003," it was one of the lasts we wrote towards the record. But I don't think it's one of my favourites because it's more recent, and they're more sort of emotionally charged...I think it's a really special sort of cocktail of what old As It Is and new As It Is is, where they come together, make something really special, and really memorable. I think it's that lyrical subject matter that's always been there. I think it's got one of the most soaring choruses on the record, and the bridge is so special. Yeah, I'm gushing about a song that's not out, but it's one of my favourites.
Of course, you're going to be touring the record. Are there any places you guys haven't yet or would like to tour and perform at all? P: Oh, yeah! I mean, there's nowhere on earth we would not enjoy playing a show. But we have never been to Central or South America. I would love to see Mexico and Brazil. We've been to two Asian countries. We've been to Japan and the Philippines, so I would love to see more of Asia. Yeah, we never have been to Scandinavia. I would love to do some shows up in Sweden, Norway, Finland. That would be pretty cool, and a lot of bands go to Hawaii and Alaska, and I have never been to Alaska or Hawaii. Those are two states I'm pretty desperate to tick off as well.
I didn't know a lot of bands actually go to Alaska. That's surprising. P: They do! There are shows in Anchorage, and there are shows in Hawaii. I'm assuming Honolulu. But you know, bands really make a week-long sort of trip out of it, you know. When you're in Hawaii, you need to make the most of it. That's what I would love to do.
Any bands, in particular, you would like to tour with that you haven't yet? P: Absolutely! You know we have been lucky enough to tour with some heroes of ours. Bands like Mayday Parade, Silverstein, Sum 41. Absolutely comes first to mind for me. Doing Canada most extensively with the Canadian heroes Sum 41, that was an experience I'm never going to forget. But to tour with some more bands that really inspire me to pick up an instrument in the first place bands like Blink-182, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World. Huge influence for me, you know. We shared the stage with them in terms of festivals. But to do some sort of cross country North American tour with Jimmy Eat World or in the UK for that matter, anywhere on Earth touring with Jimmy Eat World, we would say yes in a heartbeat.
If you can have your listeners and fans to remember one thing about yourself, Patty, what would you want them to remember you by? P: So firstly, I just hope the authenticity in the art is really at the forefront of what we do. You know this is never about fame nor money, it's just about self-expression. Finding some sort of home and community through, like art, alternative music...I think the other thing too is that we were the first UK band to sign with Fearless Records. British bands were not getting signed to American indie labels on the scale that they really commonly are these days. But I think I just hope people feel like we were. That sort of chance that the label took on us. Like that spot could belong to anybody. We were fortunate enough to have Fearless take a chance on us, roll the dice on us. I just hope people feel like we were worth that gamble. Cause it's not something we take lightly, we wanna work hard and make it count.
Yeah, for sure! Also, what's the best piece of advice that you've ever gotten, Patty, while doing music? P: Wow! That's a great question! You know, as a vocalist, this is sad and silly advice. But Joe from the band Transit, one of my favourite bands of all time. I just think they're the coolest band, should've been, you know, five times the size that they were at least. When you know I was touring, I was losing my voice. Firstly, I didn't really know how to sing really well. I wasn't really educated on the technique, the voice of the instrument. But he also just said something really simple, that was really true, it was just getting a lot of sleep, drink a lot of water. [Laughs]. That's my tip now as a vocalist. It's just to get a lot of sleep, drink a lot of water and if you lose your voice, then that's just, you know, the cards you were dealt. The other thing too is when we were touring with a band called Mayday Parade. Their guitarist Alex is one of the best guitarists I have ever toured with, personally. He was the musician practicing the hardest on the whole tour, the guy who had to practice the least. But I think that was something I picked up too. You can always be better even if you're the best at your craft, on the tour, in the industry. You can always be better, and you should always be pushing yourself. You know, this is a skill and a talent, and it's an instrument that you can exercise. I sing more when I'm at home now because that is not something he taught me through sitting down and teaching me but taught me by doing. It's something that had a huge effect on me as a vocalist and musician.
That's amazing! I always love hearing different advice from different musicians helping them out in different aspects. I'm happy that you got that and the best advice you can get. Finally, what are your guys' plans for the rest of 2022 and the latter half of the year? P: For sure! We got some shows announced. We're out on the road right now supporting Set It Off. The record comes out in two days. Could not be more excited, and later in the year we're supporting Mayday Parade in the UK, and we have more shows to be announced. Looking forward to just letting the world know where we're going to be and when. Yeah, just seeing people. It's been such a long time since we were face to face with our fans. You know, as hard as it was to be apart from one another in this band for two years being away from our fans, most of whom we know by name at this point. Sort of what city and what town they live in. That's been hard too, so I look forward to having that long-overdue reunion with the As It Is family and the extended family.
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