You really can’t ignore The Story So Far. Arguably one of the fastest rising pop punk bands of the current decade, these guys just keep on moving onto bigger and bigger things. Two weeks ago, the guys announced their return to Australia as part of the mammoth Soundwave 2014 lineup. Guitarist Will Levy took some time out to tell us all about their expectations for the festival and the band’s previous experiences touring the country in January this year.
You guys made your Australian debut with a headline tour at the beginning of this year. What was the experience like for you guys?
Oh man, it was great. Every show we played pretty much had a great response. It was really fun, we felt like we were right at home with you guys, just as if we were playing hometown shows in California.
Do you have any particular highlights you could share from it?
The Sydney show was pretty cool.The security walked out on us. They dropped a kid and we exchanged words, and they left. So, we handled the rest of the set ourselves. Thankfully, we only had one song left in our set, but that was a pretty cool experience. It was our first show of the tour as well, so it was a pretty wild way to start it off! That s**t was crazy!
What were the major differences you guys found touring to Australia to other places like Europe or the US?
It’s so much easier, holy s**t! It feels like you’re in paradise, man.
How do you mean?
You know, you stay in a hotel. Then you fly to your next city, you don’t sit a van for 12 f***ing hours, you get to fly there! And then you’re there, and there’s a beach there, and there’s some beer, and you know, fish and chips, and that’s just it, you know.
Sounds like it was a great time for you guys.
Oh, dude, it was great!
Since your visit earlier this year, you released your latest album, ‘What You Don’t See’ in March. How’ve you guys found the reception for that to be?
We can’t complain, my friend. It has been nothing short of amazing. It’s still going strong, even in late August, it still feels like it has just as much power as when we released it.
Do you feel there are any songs that have stuck out to your fanbase a lot?
The singles. Empty Space, Right Here. A lot of people like The Glass as well, because it’s a fun, fast song.
One of the notable things surrounding the release of the album was that it leaked almost a month early. What’s your take on the whole idea of albums leaking and music piracy?
What are you gonna do? (laughs) I mean, really, there’s nothing you can do. You just play it off, keep playing shows, and doing whatever you do. As long as kids are listening to us, who cares? We were literally driving to our first show of the tour, and our bass player Kelen, his dad called us and was like, “boys, the record’s leaked!” and we hadn’t even played a show on that tour yet, so we were all like, “oh s**t! I guess we’d better sort out some new songs to play now, hey. Cool!” We weren’t bummed at all. In fact, we were really excited. We just wanted people to hear the record. We hate having something and having to hold onto it, so really it just meant people got to hear it.
What were some artists that were key influences for the music on ‘What You Don’t See’? Are there any that you think people would be heaps surprised by?
On this album? I don’t really know, hey. To be honest, I can barely even remember what I was listening to back then (laughs). Yeah, that’s a bit hard to answer. We all listening to a lot of different stuff, and then we were on tour a lot, then the touring just stopped, and then we all went and started working jobs again, and back living with our parents, so there was a lot going on and we didn’t really process what we were listening to in that way I guess. I remember I was listening to a lot of Attack In Black and that type of stuff though.
You guys are headed back down under in just under six months time to play at Soundwave. How does it feel to be included on such a massive lineup?
It feels pretty good man. I’m excited to even watch some of these bands, let alone play on the same lineup.
How does this lineup compare to some of the other festivals you’ve been on?
Well, there’s a lot of f**king huge bands on there. (laughs) Like Korn. In my mind, Korn are one of the biggest bands in the world man. When MTV was f**king huge, and I was like, 11, and I was just thinking, “these guys are playing the biggest festivals ever, and they’re like, the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard!” It was awesome! And I didn’t even like Korn back then, you know? I didn’t get it. but I still knew who they were, and still knew how monumental they were. Even though I didn’t listen to them, it was still obvious they were a f**king huge band!
Are there any acts on the lineup that you’re particularly excited to see or to play alongside?
Yeah, AFI and Korn.
What major differences are you expecting with Soundwave as opposed to your headline tour earlier this year?
I’m assuming the atmosphere of the shows will be heaps different. Like, last time it was at clubs, and if I’m correct Soundwave is an outdoor festival right?
Right, in that case I feel like it might feel a little bit like Warped Tour in the states. And we liked Warped Tour, so I think we’re gonna enjoy it.
Do you guys have any great festival memories from previous ones that you’ve played?
Risefest! We played Risefest in Chicago last year. I think we were the youngest band there as far as age goes. Like, all of us are we’re 21, and we all got to drink free beer all weekend, and watch bands like The Descendents and Gwar, and Andrew W.K. It was a rad weekend and there was about 50,000 people there. It was very cool.
Do you guys have any plans to play any sideshows while you’re down here, or are there any other bands on the lineup you’d like to play some with?
I really wanna play with August Burns Red. We did Warped with them, and I became friends with one of the dudes in that band and they’re great guys. letlive. would be cool, I think playing with Trash Talk would be cool, because they’re a pretty crazy band. I dunno if we’re actually going to do sideshows or not. I’m somewhat out of the loop with that right now.
You guys have toured fairly extensively over your career. Is there any place that’s stuck out as your favourite?
That’s a bit hard to answer. Every place we go is awesome, just for different reasons, you know? I’d say Australia. I mean, it was just so beautiful and relaxing. It felt like a vacation. We just got to play shows, then go to the beach and relax. I think that was the most fun our band has had together.
What are your favourite songs to play live?
I really like playing ‘All Wrong.’ That’s one of our favourite songs to play. It may not be a crowd favourite, but I feel like we play it pretty well, and it’s one of the heavy ones. I really like playing ‘Right Here,’ as well.
Who is your favourite band to have toured with so far in your career?
It’s hard to play favourites man, but i gotta give a big what’s up to my boys in Man Overboard. We’ve toured with them pretty heavily for the past two years, and we did a lot of ‘firsts’ with them. Our first England tour, our first Warped Tour, our first headline tour, our first New found Glory show. It was cool, they showed us a lot, and we learned a lot from each other, and we built a great relationship with them
Like you said, you guys we’re lucky to play some shows with New Found Glory, who were obviously a massive influence on you guys, and on your genre as whole. Can you tell me a bit about what that was like for you?
It was rad, man. What else can I say? It was a dream come true. They were very nice to us, we all became friends. We bonded pretty well, hung out together, partied together, and you know, it was just really cool.
Is there any story that kinda sticks out as the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you as part of The Story So Far?
That’s a really hard question. You know what, since putting out our first full length two years ago, we’ve been on some crazy lineups. I think seeing who we’ll be playing with at Soundwave was pretty crazy though. Like, my aunt messaged me after it got announced and said “congratulations on touring with Green Day” and I was just like “f**k, even my aunt knows who Green Day is.” Really though, being able to grasp the friendship I’ve got with these four guys and continue playing music together with them and grow and learn from each other, that’s like, the coolest thing ever for us.
Any final words for your fans in Australia before we wrap up?
We’re excited to come back. I hope they heard that. (laughs)
The Story So Far play Soundwave 2014. Details here.