Josh Snyder, vocalist and guitarist of pop-punk band Still Rings True talks about their upcoming show with Bane, their do-it-yourself ethics, and making a name for themselves in the upstate New York scene and the state of the genre in general.
MEB: What has the response been like for your newest album, Tear Down the Walls? How do you view it as a progression from I Wouldn’t Call This Living and Anger is a Gift? What was your process like for writing and recording the record?
Josh Snyder: The response for the new record has been absolutely awesome. We’ve got really good support behind us with Third Time Lucky Records, and kids have been really getting into what we’re doing. From our perspective, it’s been a natural progression in terms of songwriting and vibe. With our first record, we wanted to put out something really fast and catchy, and as we grew and got more comfortable, we started writing music that reflected the emotion of the lyrical content and the message we’re trying to promote more intensely. Anger is a Gift was us reaching in to the darker aspects of what we’re doing, and with the new record, we just put it all together and tried to take it to the next level. We’re extremely happy with how it came out and how it’s being received. The process of writing and recording was pretty chill and fun, we had a blast writing these songs, and we’re just stoked to record them and put them out. We worked with Matt Corey of Sidetracked Studios again, and he really nailed the dark, heavy sound we wanted to get.
You guys are primarily a do-it-yourself band when it comes to booking shows. Is it hard to keep a DIY mindset in the current music industry?
Honestly, it’s a situation where you get what you give. We’re not trying to function in the community that fosters the negative aspects of ‘the industry,’ as much as we’re trying to work with people and bands that are like-minded, and doing it for the right reasons. It’s been three years now that we’ve been doing tours and releasing music, so we’ve built ourselves a nice foundation of reliable, hard-working, awesome people and musicians. A lot of really great bands are getting attention right now in a bigger way, and they’re helping pave the way for DIY ideals to reach a higher platform. The bigger the network of people you have to work with, the bigger this movement can grow and the more people we can reach.
You guys are playing an August 10th show at the Lost Horizon in Syracuse with Bane. What expectations do you have for the show and what’s it like playing with a band that’s been around in the scene for so long?
We’re pumped on this show, and can’t wait to go hang out and play. It’s pretty crazy when you get to play shows with bands you’ve looked up to for so long, especially when it’s a band that has had such an impact on our musical community. We’re honored to play with Bane, and can’t wait to watch them do their thing.
You’re also playing Honor Bright’s farewell show on the 14th at the same venue. What do you expect from the show, and is it tough watching another local band break up?
This looks like it’s gonna be huge, and a lot of the other bands on the show are good friends of ours, so it’ll be an awesome night and I’m sure we’ll be creating some memories. Honor Bright are very close friends of ours, and it’s definitely a sad thing to see them part ways. I’d rather focus on the impact they made during their life as a band though, and celebrate that rather than focus on the fact that they’re breaking up. They made a tough decision, one I couldn’t imagine having to make, and I know that they’re doing it on their own terms, for their own reasons. We’re gonna have a fucking blast ripping punk rock with them one last time, that’s for sure.
What is the music scene like in upstate New York? What are your favorite venues to play?
The upstate scene is doing awesome right now, and growing with every show. Kids are really in to punk rock and hardcore up here, and for their own reasons, which definitely makes for a more open, inviting scene. The Dungeon, our hometown venue, is definitely one of our favorite places to play in NNY, as well as the Lost Horizon in syracuse. Both run by great people, and you play for great kids. We’re doing work up here, spread the word and come check it out!
How is it being signed to Third Time Lucky?
Fucking amazing. The dudes at TTLR are the realest, coolest, most badass dudes on the planet, and punk rock runs through their veins all day every day. They are backing us super hard, and they’ve pretty much been non-stop on the grind for us since the day we hooked up. These dudes will be coming up strong and putting out some powerful shit in the future, so keep your eyes on them and show your support. We’re super happy to be with such an amazing label, and really proud to be part of the family.
What can fans expect from Still Rings True for the rest of 2011?
We’re going to keep on doing what we do, playing shows and touring as much as possible, and spreading the word about who we are and what we’re about. We’re looking into options for a vinyl release, as well as booking shows with tons of great bands for the fall and winter. Keep updated on tours and shows, spread the word, and help us make this movement grow and thrive. Real passion and real music is coming back around, be a part of it and support it!
How do you make yourselves stand out in a pop-punk scene watered down by so many bands? What are your thoughts on the state of the genre?
We put every ounce of passion and heart we have into every single song we write. We’re extremely committed to what we’re saying, and what we’re doing, and we believe that it shows to those who are looking for something real. The impact we’ve made on those we’ve been able to play for and talk with is undeniable, and it just pushes us that much harder to see this through as far and as high as we can take it.
There is a very real and urgent need for sincerity and heart in punk rock and hardcore these days, and there’s a growing group of bands on the east coast doing everything they can to change that. Fads come and go, and the mediocrity that has permeated a lot of the current ‘pop punk’ scene will change with the seasons, like fads always do. Those who are true will still be standing, and carry the torch for the next generation to keep this shit alive. I have full faith in the underground community, and can’t wait to see where it takes my life in the future.
A big thanks to Josh and the rest of Still Rings True for the interview! Make sure to pick up Tear Down the Walls, on iTunes now.