Stray From The Path have enjoyed a pretty sweet 2015, and 2016 already looks even bigger for the Long Island boys. With a new album still fresh in listener’s ears, we again spoke with guitarist Tom Williams as the band prepares to return to Australia, for their first headline shows, this January.
Unify’s approaching its second year now and it looks like it’s going to be a big ongoing thing for the local festival scene. You’re one of three international bands playing that’s higher on the bill, so from my perspective it’s the perfect set-up for a great show for you guys, I think.
Yeah, I cannot fucking wait, man. To know that we’re playing to a full house is kind of our specialty. Drew [York, vocals] works really well in big crowds, and coming off that Amity Affliction tour [last year], we’re really excited.
Good to hear dude. With playing festivals, do you try and tailor the set to your singles so anyone that’s unfamiliar can just go through your Youtube channel and hear those songs and get a feel for the band that way?
Exactly. Our set list will be different from Unify to our headlining shows. We’ll play all acceptable ones, the ones that the kids love. I love all of our songs, and I think that Subliminal Criminals is the first record of ours that got a proper release in Australia, so it’ll mostly be from that record.
That’s very true, that record outnumbers your old ones over here. Unify has definitely got a more varied line-up than last year’s installment, and on that, do you personally have varied listening tastes? As I take it you don’t just listen to hardcore music.
Oh god, no [laughs]. My listening to hardcore and punk has been dwindling as I don’t really like what a lot of bands are doing. Obviously, bands like Architects, Stick To Your Guns, Counterparts, and Northlane are bands I think that are doing it best. But my all time favourite band is Coldplay and I really enjoy softer music. I’m in another band called Trade Wind, which has a massive Deftones, Thrice feel to it. I own a record label with the singer of Stick To Your Guns [Jesse Barnett] called Other People Records and that’s all indie bands and softer stuff. I still have nothing but love for hardcore and metal, but I don’t think some bands are doing it that good as of late.
There’s definitely a lot of over-saturation for sure. Just on Coldplay, I find it interesting they are your favourite band. I saw on Instagram that you do not really like their new album, and my experience with that band is that a lot of people hide the fact they like them.
I think if someone says they don’t like Coldplay, [then they have] never actually listened to them. I think they are ashamed to say they like them because of that movie, The 40 Year Old Virgin, with the “You know how I know you’re gay” joke. Honestly, I don’t hide it, I’ve seen them seven or eight times now and they are unbelievable. I was very disappointed with the new album. There are some really good songs on it, but there are some songs that I just straight up deleted off my phone because they were so bad. Every record before that are my all time favourites.
I’ve been a fan for a while and I’ve always felt that ‘Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends’ and ‘Ghost Stories’ were their best records.
Ghost Stories is up there for me, but if I had to pick two, it would be Mylo Zyloto and A Rush Of Blood. Honestly, I could talk all day about their albums [laughs], and they’re all so different. If it’s 11am and you want something chill, you can put on Ghost Stories, but if it’s 2pm and you’re driving, you can have Mylo Zyloto or Viva La Vida. Every record is not quite the same as the one before it. It’s just the new direction is not something that I fuck with, and it’s last place for me so far.
I’ll be checking it out later on. Also, congrats man, I saw that Rock Sound put you in their top 50 albums of 2015, does the praise thrown your way ever inflate the band’s ego a bit? Or do you stay as humble as possible?
Oh, humble, for sure. We were number 16 or 17, which is pretty sick. We’ve never really had big magazine coverage as a lot of people want to stay away from the political music. And I don’t really care about getting in magazines, it’s obviously cool, but we don’t die for it or anything. When we get mentioned, it’s humbling as well don’t always seem to make their top album lists. It does give me hope that the people running those magazines listen to more than just Falling In Reverse, you know?
I have that hope too man [laughs]. I’m curious, do you read a lot of the reviews for your albums or not?
I think I’m the only one in the band who does, but what I actually look for is people on Twitter who are talking about Stray, but not directly to us. I look at what they are saying more so than a review, as we tend to get really good reviews, yet I’ve seen albums get great reviews and the kids don’t like it. So Twitter, Instagram, YouTube comments, I am all over that man. I think there’s a lot of feedback you can get from doing that. But the rest of my band doesn’t want to know.
No, that’s fair enough man. I saw a video a week or so ago where you guys covered Comeback Kid’s ‘Wake The Dead’, as they couldn’t make the show due to van troubles. I feel like they are the kind of band that you guys could pull off really well when covering.
Yeah man, and we learned that song literally a couple hours before the show. They had to pull out at 2pm, and at 4pm we were practicing the song. Honestly, that was the craziest moment of that tour, when we played it shit was going off. I’ll never forget that.
That song is their “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It just goes off.
Oh for sure, and I’ve always thought of it as being the best hardcore song ever written.
Definitely. I’m curious, have you guys ever thought about doing a covers album? Because the covers you’ve done, most recently being the ‘Back To School’ cover, all translate really well.
We have definitely thought about doing it, and we were thinking of doing it this Spring, but we’re now thinking of doing a live album, live DVD package. We always want to do new stuff, and I think our covers come out really well, and maybe in the future we will. Don’t rule it out though.
Sick, you should definitely release a cover of Wake The Dead, just saying. Earlier you mentioned Trade Wind, and I’m wondering if anything more will come out of it? As I really dug the first EP, I’m itching for more.
Well thanks man, I’m glad you liked it. We’ll be touring Europe with Stick To Your Guns in February, and Trade Wind will be doing some acoustic shows. That tour ends on the 27th, and on the 28th we are flying over to New Jersey and we’ll be doing a new EP with Will Putney.
Ah, awesome to hear man. I love the Deftones, mellow nature to Trade Wind’s music. I’m interested to see if you take it in a new direction.
If anything, it’ll be more like the song Fixed Blade, the bigger Deftones sounding song. There’s going to be a lot of Coldplay-esque stuff on it too.
Nice. Is Jesse a fan of Coldplay at all?
Oh yeah, he’s a massive fan. He and I are very like-minded when it comes to music.
I guess that’s why it works so well – you’re both on the same page. We’ll leave it there Tom, thank you for the chat today dude, it’s been awesome.
Yeah, same here man, and I’ll see you in January.
‘Subliminal Criminals’ is out now via UNFD.
Stray From The Path tour this January. Further details are available here.