MEB staffer Rebecca Kravetz recently caught up on tour with vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn and drummer Case Snedecor of the metalcore group Issues. They discuss the band’s upcoming acoustic EP Diamond Dreams, the previous drama between them and Woe, Is Me, being dedicated Beliebers, and much more.
So you guys got the band together last summer, how did that exactly happen and is it nice to be reunited with old faces? Tyler, Michael and Case, you guys worked together in A Path Less Traveled and of course Tyler and Michael, you guys were together in Woe, Is Me.
Michael: It was something waiting to happen.
Tyler: It’s cool. I mean business is one thing but having it all in the family, like with people you know and have grown up with, is cool because you know how to get under each other’s skin, and you know how to deal with each other, and you know how to lift each other up. Full circle, the obstacles are a lot easier with people that you just know. There’s comfort.
You incorporate a lot of electronic sounds into your music. How do you feel about the genre of metalcore moving in this direction?
Tyler: It’s interesting. It’s a challenge for people to be super-receptive to this kind of music. But it’s fun making and breaking boundaries and setting the bar for a lot of things. We just want to be original and everybody wants to be creative. I’m not going to say every band should be like us. That would suck. But I would definitely encourage bands to be…
Michael: To feel limitless. Think outside the bun.
Tyler: Think outside the bun! And be limitless with their music. Kids right now are so thirsty for something new and original. I’m sure all the bands are thirsty to write new music that’s not cookie cutter.
So you’ve recently been playing a new song on tour, “Hooligans.” With that new song out, should we expect anything else new in the near future?
Michael: Yeah, we did an acoustic album. I don’t think we have a date for that yet. But it should be out pretty shortly.
Tyler: We’re shooting a music video for “Hooligans” in L.A. It’s going to be sick. The song is about a bunch of kids that grew up together. They’re reckless. They’re crazy. They’re surfing. They’re doing their thing. Always just running around the town, but one guy gets signed basically and goes off and tours the world and does his thing. But you know while every band member can relate, all their friends back home are like “Wow man, you’re too cool, you’re too famous now. You never have time for us.” But it’s like, man, this is my job. This is my passion. Just let me live my life, but when I’m back home we’re going to fucking rule the world again, we’ll be hooligans, just as always. It was inspired by the Wyclef line, “Born again hooligan only to be king again.”
You guys are coming out with a new acoustic EP, Diamond Dreams, later this year that will consist of acoustic versions of your songs from the previous EP, Black Diamonds. It has been rumored that when you re-master “King of Amarillo,” it is going to be less dramatic and there may be some lyrical changes. Is there any specific reason why?
Tyler: Yeah, we completely rewrote the song.
Michael: We changed it to be about us instead of them [Woe, Is Me]. We used the song as a kind of hype to get the band started and now we just kind of turned it around.
I hate to bring it up, but there was known to be some bad blood between your band and Woe, Is Me. What is your relationship with them like now? How has it changed?
Michael: We just saw them yesterday.
Tyler: Yeah we just hung out with them yesterday. People move on and grow up and get over shit. It’s not like in the rap world where it’s like, “Oh you shot me. You shot me, so fuckin’ now we can never be homies.” It was just literally like a fall out and drama. Seriously, like nothing some high schoolers couldn’t resolve.
I’ve also noticed that your song “King of Amarillo” and Woe, Is Me’s song, “I’ve Told You Once” were released on the same day. Both of your bands are signed to Velocity Records, a branch of Rise Records. Do you think that Rise Records was purposely instigating conflict for commercial gain?
Tyler: That was a label idea. We were okay with it. We wrote the song as a diss and they got back at us with another diss. Really we just wrote the song because I never had a chance to respond to “Vengeance.” The label decided to make it like a battle and it was entertaining I guess. They definitely didn’t do it for commercial gain. They believe in both bands and we were just starting up.
Michael: Who wouldn’t want to see that, you know?
Tyler: Yeah it’s entertaining, like who’s going to have the last word? Who’s going to say what? But if anybody did it for commercial gain, it was us. And that’s why we rewrote the acoustic version because we wanted to apologize for using the drama with Woe, Is Me, and dissing on them, to kick-start our career. We’re rewriting the new song so that instead of making fun of them, we’re making fun of ourselves for being such turds.
I’m curious, your first EP was titled Black Diamonds and your new acoustic EP is to be titled Diamond Dreams. Is there any significance in your use of the word diamond?
Michael: It started out with Tyler and I riding along in the car one day and we were like, what can we do with diamonds?
Tyler: I mean diamonds and triangles and shit like that are so hot right now. But out of all of those generic or hipster things, diamonds are sick. Who doesn’t like diamonds? The relativity to it is, you know how they always say, “I’m a diamond in the rough.” I feel like the average, normal person is like “Yeah I’m a diamond in the rough,” “She’s a diamond in the rough,” whatever. But I feel like with us as a band and with our fan base, not just because it’s metal or because a lot of broken lives turn into hardcore music, but because our demographic in general is a little bit darker, a little bit edgier. That’s why we decided we’re black diamonds in the rough.
I love how you guys used a word search puzzle to announce that you’re joining the Warped Tour. Who’s idea was that?
Tyler: Our manager’s smart ass did that one.
What should we expect for Warped Tour? Anything you want to say to excite the fans?
Michael: Let’s get sweaty.
Tyler: Yeah let’s get crazy. We’re on a smaller stage but that does not mean we’re not going to get fucking wild. I really hope all of our fans find us, and however big the area is, just pack it out. Because even while in Woe, Is Me, there was a week on Warped Tour where we dedicated to Ernie Ball so we moved over to a smaller stage and it was a really small area, but kids still packed it out and congested the whole walkway. It was insane. So I hope our fans will still be that loyal.
One last question. You guys covered a Justin Bieber song for Punk Goes Pop 5 last November. Are you Beliebers?
Michael: Of course.
Tyler: Yeah, actually, before you got here, we took our Justin Bieber poster down. We actually have a Justin Bieber doll too that a fan gave us.
Michael: This is my pillowcase. (holds up Justin Bieber pillowcase)
Tyler: We have the Bieber movie, it’s really inspirational.
Do you watch it sometimes?
Tyler: Yeah we’ll watch that and then we’ll watch the Parkway Drive DVD and it’s really cool to see both different worlds and the different struggles.
Any last words for the fans?
Michael: Just keep on trucking. (Everyone laughs) That’s all I’ve got to say.