Riding on the much deserved praise and hype surrounding their newest record A Different Shade of Blue, Knocked Loose singer Bryan Garris still managed to find the time to talk with us about the record’s themes, their future, and the current state of the Hardcore world, amongst other issues.
With the rise of bands such as Knocked Loose, Code Orange, Jesus Piece and Turnstile (just to name a few), does this new wave of Hardcore feel like a genuine music movement to you, even if the bands come from different cities and states?
I think possibilities for heavy bands nowadays are way more than they used to be years ago like you have bands like Code Orange that play stadiums or have been nominated for a Grammy. Like you never start a heavy band saying yeah I will be playing stadiums because it’s not in your timeline, but it’s now a possibility and it’s awesome if you see that from a fan’s perspective. But bands like Code Orange are aggressive without really sacrificing anything, so it means that there is heavy music that’s just going at it because it can and it should!
The new album is easily one of the highlight Hardcore releases of last year! Was the making process of A Different Shade of Blue more enjoyable than the recording of previous releases? Did it feel, during the writing and recording, like you were putting together a milestone album for Knocked Loose?
Thank you! We never really talked about going into the making of A Different Shade Of Blue. We usually just get together and jam and write, and then whatever comes out, comes out. We wrote a lot of songs and most of them we didn’t even use as over the course of three years since Laugh Tracks came out, we’ve had a lot of different ideas. We were all on the same page and there was never really a conversation about how it was going to be like. At the end we decided we just had written a record that we like, hoping that people would like it too.
Will Putney is a household name at this point. What does he bring to the table that made you want to work with him again?
Will Putney, who is also the guitarist of Fit For An Autopsy, is a great friend of ours so that was one of our main reasons why we chose him again. We knew we didn’t get everything out of his studio in the past so we wanted to go back and I’m glad we did. It was like a promise we made ourselves!
Do you imagine the band following even more experimental paths and integrating broader influences in future music?
I don’t think we will ever sound too different but I do think we will dive deeper into the songwriting process. Like this one is musically in the same vein as the previous one, but it’s also different in some ways. I think certain songs have a much more uplifting vibe then the last one and some have darker vibes too but it feels like the next step in a bigger picture. We always consider it as growth rather than change.
Considering that the record touches upon emotionally heavy themes such as loss, does the live performance of the songs contribute to dealing with those emotions in a positive way, or do you try to not even think about it?
Exactly. It’s all about the word ‘blue’ and its different meanings, it can be used for different themes such as sadness or anger, it’s a play on our personal life. When I’m on stage I always try to stay focused on everything around me in that moment, I try not to think about anything else. I usually try to keep my personal life and music quit separate.
What has the reception of the new material been like on tour? Do you feel like the crowds at shows have gotten bigger thanks to all of the latest exposure the band has received?
It’s been amazing. We’ve been on this, like, path of growth which is absolutely incredible, and the new record just seemed to amplify that. We’re in Europe right now and it’s been crazier than it’s ever been, even though the record’s only been out for like 3 months. I’m so grateful.
Hardcore shows overall tend to feel like one big communal experience, but lately there’s been a trend of crowdkilling on the rise that has claimed a fair number of victims. Do you feel like that has any impact on the enjoyment of the show for everyone, and even for yourselves as a band?
Hardcore shows are always crazy. I heard some situations got too crazy and the band had to stop the set to make sure everything was okay. Of course this might ruin the day for the band as well because of course shows are made for fun and nobody should get hurt. Our fans always hard-core dance and jump towards the stage while screaming along with us. Stage diving usually happens and it doesn’t stop for the rest of the evening. I know if you see this from the outside and you can think it’s a dangerous situation but I know our fans are amazing and I hope they feel safe at our shows. I remember one show in Seattle where during the song “The Rain”, the crowd picked up a girl in a wheelchair and crowdsurfed her up to the stage and I helped her onto the stage. It was sick. They get crazy but they look out for each other.