Man Overboard are one of the fastest rising bands in pop punk right now. Last year they released their debut album "Real Talk", which was one of the best records released that year, and have been touring with the likes of Senses Fail, H2O, Rufio, The Ghost Inside and Transit ever since, and announced their signing with Rise Records. We caught up with the band’s guitarist Justin to discuss the signing, the band’s new compilation LP, their next studio album, and the possibility of an Australian tour.
Start off by stating your name, your role in Man Overboard and your favourite place you have visited on tour?
My name’s Justin, I play guitar and Portugal is one of the coolest places I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to tour to.
Since I last spoke to you, the band released your debut album “Real Talk”, and has toured fairly consistently, with every tour getting bigger than the last. What was the second half of last year like for the band?
We did a short east coast tour with H2O, went to Japan with Rufio and then toured Europe with Transit and All Or Nothing. We chilled for January and then toured the UK and US with Senses Fail. Oh and there was a week with The Wonder Years and Handguns mixed in there! Trying to stay busy, you know?
Real Talk was my personal favourite release of 2010, and I have seen nothing but positive reviews for it overall, were you expecting to receive this kind of praise for the record?
You can always hope for great reviews but we try not to think about it.
In December you shocked a few people by announcing that you had signed a deal with Rise Records. What attracted you guys to sign with Rise?
They are all really smart and on the ball people, which is one of the most important things you need at a label.
Rise is mainly known for the heavy bands on their roster, but lately has signed the likes of Transit, Sharks, A Loss For Words and yourselves. Were you worried some fans wouldn’t be very receptive to the singing? And do you think the days of them being classified as a just heavy label are over?
We were kind of worried that some of our fans would be a little put of by us signing to the label but in the end everyone was really supportive. I mean there will always be haters, like the Attack Attack fans that were pissed Rise was signing "some pussy shit" but our fans are smart and know that just because we signed to a label with crabcore bands that we aren’t going to make some lame record. We have great fans.
A few weeks ago you released a new 7”, “The Absolute Worst”, through the label, how would you compare these two songs to the tracks on the album?
Behemoth is a b-side from Real Ralk and The Absolute Worst single is just a fun, fast little pop punk song.
Was the writing process any different for them? Did you have much input with the guitar tracks?
Yeah, of course but those songs and the songs that are going to be on the Human Highlight Reel record got recorded really quickly in the time we were home between Japan and Europe.
What was the reasoning behind putting another recording of “I Saw Behemoth And It Ruled” on the record?
It’s one of the Rise guy’s favorite songs and we needed a b-side, so we just went for it. Its’ got some new harmonies and some more backup vocals and stuff. It’s a little beefed up!
In the space of a few months, you toured Europe and the UK twice, first with label mates Transit, and second with Senses Fail. Did you notice a difference between the two trips there?
Well the Transit tour was a headliner, so it was smaller shows with kids that were there to see us and Transit, while the Senses Fail tour was primarily people there to see them. A lot of crazy sing alongs and stage dives on the Transit tour, but both were equally fun and great for reaching new fans.
You also did a few headlining shows on the most recent tour, how would you compare them with shows back at home?
They were awesome – nothing ever compares to Philadelphia. We love playing all over the world but nothing steps to playing the First Unitarian Church in Philly. We grew up going to shows there.
The band will soon be releasing a live tape “Live In Leeds” from your first trip over there, was that show one of the highlights of that tour?
Yes, that show was awesome. That show, Kingston, Glasgow and Manchester were all shows that I would label as "insane" – luckily we got a record of that one.
You also made the trip to Japan for a few dates last year, what was your favourite part about those shows?
It was kind of funny because that was the first time we were asked to play a set longer than 30 minutes. We had to practice a ton of songs because our set was like 45 minutes each night. That was a first haha. It was also great to just see the country of Japan and experience a new culture.
You’ve just kicked off a lengthy tour with Senses Fail, The Ghost Inside and Transit, what are you looking forward to the most about this tour?
The tour was awesome. It was great to be part of a bill that had so many different kinds of bands on it. One of my favorite tours we have ever done. We all grew up listening to Senses Fail so it that was awesome to tour with them (twice).
Do you think the tour having such a mixed bill will work to the band’s advantage?
I think it does because most kinds don’t just listen to hardcore or pop punk. Most people have a wider palate that just one genre.
Run For Cover will soon be releasing a compilation titled “The Human Highlight Reel”, can you tell us a bit about what is going to be on this release?
Noise From Upstairs EP, Dahlia EP, Real Talk B-Sides (including full band Love Your Friends), few other random b-sides, two new songs and a Promise Ring cover.
Will you still be working with Run For Cover at all now that you have signed with Rise?
Yes! We are doing the Human Highlight Reel and who knows what else! Jeff (from RFC) is our bud through and through.
Back in September you announced that Wayne was leaving the band, and that you were making the change from drums to guitar. How has the change been for you so far? Do you miss playing drums in the band at all?
Guitar is my main instrument so moving to that was natural and fun!
You’ve announced previously that the band is aiming to release another new album in the second half of 2011, how many tracks do you have written for it so far?
I am sitting in the studio right now as we are doing demo recordings for 16 songs. There’s other songs that are already demoed out – well have a lot to choose from when we go to record in June. Check out the album on shelves in September (hopefully).
2011 is shaping up to be a massive year for pop punk, what releases in particular are you looking forward to hearing?
I am most excited for I Wish I Could Stay Here by Basement coming out this summer on Run For Cover. Apart from that there will be new releases by our buds in Handguns, The Wonder Years, This Time Next Year and New Found Glory. Some solid bands so I am expecting solid recordings.
Do you have any goals that you would like to achieve with this band?
Yes, I want to use my status as a member of Man Overboard to one day meet the entire cast of Harry Potter. And I want to play some shows in Africa.
What is it like knowing that many people now have Man Overboard tattoos?
It’s crazy – I saw a kid with a real talk hand tattoo the other day – that’s nuts.
The band’s tumblr page seems to be filled with people asking when the band is coming to Australia. Are you any closer to making this happen?
If it goes our way then well be there before 2011 comes to an end.
Thanks for doing the interview; any last words out shout outs?
RR / RFC / LTC / BSMT