Sometimes you dig a band the first moment you see them playing at a show or hear some songs of them. The first time I saw Another Breath at Ieperfest 2005 they blew my mind and they have done that eversince. When my ipod- on random- started blasting Another Breath through my speakers, I wondered how things were going with them. Luckily I got the chance to interview them and found out what’s up. Ted Winkworth was kind enough to answer my questions.
Can you introduce yourself and the band? Who is in the band, is anyone involved in other bands/hardcore related stuff?
I’m Ted and I sing for Another Breath. Jon and Scotty play guitar, Mayo plays bass, and Steve plays drums. We’ve all done side projects and other bands but none of them have ever really done anything outside of Syracuse. Another Breath is our main focus.
How are things going for AB at the moment? Any plans for touring/recording/…
Things are going great! We actually just finished a two week tour of the Northeast and Midwest United States. We got out just to remind kids that we’re still around and get the word out about a new record we’re working on called The God Complex. We’re probably going to start recording that in November and by Spring of 2009 we should have a pretty serious tour schedule in the works. We’re really excited about this one and want to make sure that it gets heard. We’ll definitely be going to Europe on this one and we’ll definitely be bringing it on the road in the US. We’re also hoping to get to Japan and Australia but we still have to figure out how that’s going to work. So yeah, expect a lot from us in 2009.
What was the biggest influence for starting this band? Are there any goals in particular you want to achieve?
When we started this band we just wanted to have a good band. In high school we would have shows and they were a lot of fun but all of the bands sucked. It was just something to do. We all did bands that were decent for where we were at but when we grew out of it we all came together because we all wanted to do something that we were proud of and that people could look at and say, ‘That’s good. I like that.’ Now what keeps us going is the desire to grow musically, challenge ourselves and each other, and have an excuse to leave town for months at a time.
Who writes the lyrics, what are they about? Is there a particular message you want to spread? I write almost all of the lyrics. Except for a few lines here and there it’s all me. I never know what I’m writing about until it’s done. I know that I feel a certain way and want to commit it to paper but nothing really makes complete sense to me until I let it sit and look back on it. It’s kind of depressing to look back on those lyrics because the central theme to more than 80% of those songs seems to focus on struggling to find reasons not to kill myself. I look at those and think, ‘Wow, these songs are a reflection of who I am and,as it turns out, who I am is a person who struggles daily with suicide.’ On a deeper level though, they are just about feeling like I don’t know where I belong and wondering if I actually belong anywhere and finding ways of escaping it. So, uh, yeah I guess I just write songs about my day to day life and struggles. The only message I have at this point is that I’m 25 and I’m a mess and that’s ok.
Are or were there any bands that had an influence on Another Breath, both music and lyric wise? Which bands would be on your favorite mixtape?
That list is very long and varied. I think we all started off listening to epitaph/fat records pop punk and evolved from there (with the exception of Mayo who is more into crazy fantasy metal). At this point I couldn’t tell you what we are influenced by with any sort of certainty. I know that we can usually all agree on Johnny Cash, The Smashing Pumpkins, Isis, Coliseum, Tragedy, Immortal Technique, Rancid, NoFX, Achilles, Bob Seager, Kid Dynamite, Victims, and Green Day when we’re making playlists in the van but we’re for the most part all over the place with regard to what we’re into musically at the moment.
Do you think there’s a noticable evolution music-wise if you compare Not Now, Not Ever to Mill City? In what direction will your next release be going?
Yeah. There was definitely an evolution both in sound and in mentality. We wrote our first record to be short, fast, and loud. We didn’t know if we were ever going to be able to release it so we wanted to insure that our live show would have a lot of energy. When we sat down to write Mill City we decided that we wanted to push our boundaries a little bit. We were writing a full length and wanted whoever was listening to it to be constantly re-engaged and have new things going on instead of just 30 minutes of double time and sing-alongs. So the songs got more dynamic. We slowed the tempo and experimented at some points and at other points we got a little more thrashy. The only way I can describe the next record is that we grew some balls and took some chances. It’s 95% written and to be honest I don’t think it has a whole lot in common with our last two records. The new record is a testament to the fact that we’re all bored with what hardcore has been producing lately. So we’ve been getting our music in other places and it’s been rubbing off on our writing. I really can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s going to be a love it or
hate it type of thing I think.
How would you describe your sound to anybody who has never heard your band.
We write rock and roll songs and try to pass them off as hardcore… or maybe I have that backwards. Either way it gets the point across.
What is your least favorite part about playing in a hardcore band? And what do you enjoy the most?
I hate that I can’t do this without blowing my voice out and being miserable. I hate that there are so many subdivisions between the ‘thrash kids’ and the ‘metal kids’ and the ‘old school kids’ and that so many kids have their image tied into what kind of music they listen to. I love getting to live like a bum with my friends for months at a time, meeting new people on the road, having those couple of kids that reach out every once in a while and let us know that what we’re doing means something to them, challenging ourselves to create something that we’re proud of. Basically I really like what it is. I just don’t like the bullshit that seems to attach itself to it.
What’s the most sketchy show you have played yet? I have to pick just one? Hardcore tours are sketchy by definition. We had one tour that we had nicknamed ‘the razorwire tour’ by the end because no matter where we showed up to play there was razorwire on ornear the building. Basically, we were in sketchy places every night. We’ve had a couple of shows where we had to keep an eye on our van because we were being threatened by dudes I had pissed off in one wayor another. We’ve been stiffed at the door or paid 5 bucks once or twice. Hardcore. Sketchy business in general.
If you look back at the European tours, is there a difference between European hardcore punk kids and those in Canada and the USA?
A world of difference. Europeans seem to appreciate shows and bands coming through SO MUCH MORE than kids in the states. You don’t get fed in the states the way you do in Europe. Having places to stay is usually up in the air here where it’s planned for every night there. I don’t want to generalize, especially since this last tour we did in the US was awesome and we were taken care of and we met so many great kids, but it just seems like Americans have more of a stuck up attitude toward going to shows. There are cool bands and there are uncool bands and you have to back the right ones. In Europe I get the vibe that kids will go nuts for anything they think is good. There’s not so much bullshit and posturing. It’s just bands playing and kids having fun. I enjoy that.
What can we expect from AB in the near future?
We’ll be in the studio at the end of next month and have a record out by spring. After that we’re going to tour as much as we possibly can. 2009 is going to be a big year for us and then we’ll probably go back into hiding for a while.
I’m out of questions, any last words?
Thanks for the interview. If you’re interested in what we’re doing with this new record I’ve been blogging about it at ABGodComplex.blogspot.com I have lyrics there with explanations and basically daily thoughts going into the writing process. I’ve been writing in it for close to a year as a kind of supplemental reader for the record. If you want to know what’s up with us, check it out there.
Interview by Gilles Smeyers for Never Go Inside. Thanks go out to Gilles, Ted and Another Breath and everyone who’s pictures I borrowed. Credits go out to their respective owners.
Another Breath’s Mill City is out now on Rivalry Records.