AUSSIE FEATURE: With Confidence

I’m not gonna lie to you, I was never a huge fan of With Confidence. I mean, I never hated them or detested them. As far as I was concerned they just didn’t offer me anything that I didn’t already have on my iPod or give it to me in such a way that I felt compelled to listen to them in an active way. Even after I caught them with Neck Deep back in January they didn’t really stick for me. They played extremely well and I had an absolute blast seeing them yet outside of the live setting, but I felt them lacklustre and underwhelming at times. They were good but they were also just another pop-punk band. There were just simply better bands I could spend my time listening to.

I’ll save my breath and anymore needless exposition for contrast and just go right ahead and say it: I fucking love this band now.

What was once just another pop-punk band has now become the band that I hold high above as the example of pop-punk done right in 2016. The reason for this sudden shift was the chance to spin their debut record ‘Better Weather’ ahead of its June 17th release date. From the very first note of ‘Voldemort to the gentle fade out on closer ‘Waterfalls’ there was something so captivating and charismatic about ‘Better Weather’ that felt almost ineffable in comparison to my initial feelings for this band. The songs were bigger, louder, tighter, catchier and all just all round better than on their previous EPs. It was the sign that this band was tapping into every ounce of potential they had and letting it all out on this record. So when the chance came up to chat with vocalist/bass player Jayden Seeley, I jumped at the opportunity.

When I talk with Seeley, he’s holed up in the Hopeless Records offices in L.A, off the back of a UK support slot with As It Is and Slam Dunk Festival. It’s in the middle of a very busy schedule for the band as they also prepare for Warped Tour 2016 as Seeley outlines the past few months of his life for me.

“Yeah so what happened was we did our Australian headline tour,” he begins, “and from that, went straight to Japan and played with The Wonder Years and ROAM.” He pauses for a moment, reflecting on that experience. “That was messed up.” It’s an apt an understandable statement for a young band such as With Confidence to be performing in such a foreign and unfamiliar country.

“It really was! Playing to two three hundred people a night and seeing The Wonder Years playing these smaller club shows in another country. They are one of my favourite fucking bands so that was anything but insane.” Seeley and I take a moment to swoon over our mutual love for the Philly pop-punkers before he continues on with the adventure.

“So [after Japan] we flew to the UK and played the As It Is tour and then we did Slam Dunk festival which was just fucked up.” His voices dropped down quietly as he utters the last words. “It still trips me the fuck out to see kids singing our songs on the other side of the world. The last Slam Dunk show we played in London, they stopped letting people into the room because there were too many people in there. Like, how messed up is that, man?” Seeley laughs as if it were a joke he was trying to get the punchline too.

It was then that I realised it wasn’t a rhetorical question. “Like we’re overseas fucking packing out rooms and everyone’s fucking singing along – we had circle pit in the slow songs! It was just fucked up.” Once again Seeley drops down to a softer and gentler level. It was then that I realise the sheer amount of disbelief this 223-year-oldhas about the fact his dreams are happening before him before the band’s debut record is even out in the hands of the public. And now he’s about to play the whole of Vans fucking Warped Tour alongside New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Sum 41 and Good Charlotte, among many others.

“The line-up this year is absolutely insane. To actually be a part of it…what the fuck?” Seeley is in even more disbelief about the touring festival which kicks off in under three weeks in Dallas, Texas.

It’s a whole lot to take in for a few early twenty year old from Sydney so it begs the question; are they even processing all of it?

“Not really,” a soft chuckle escapes him. “I’m just going along for the ride you know. There are some things the human brain wasn’t meant to comprehend and this is one of them. I keep trying to step back from whatever situation we’re in and just like, appreciate what’s happening but it’s just so much to take in. Playing all these shows all over the world. We haven’t even released our first album. This is everything I’ve ever wanted to do. Not really taking it in but loving it at the same time.”

This is the first time in his life Seeley has touched down on American soil and as much as he’s excited to see the country, it’s not exactly something that can be assured.

“I hope we can see the country but from what a lot of people are telling me, most of Warped Tour is just car parks. Just lots and lots of car parks. On the days you have off, you just see parking lots apparently. Which is alright, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Texas car park or a New York car park. But it’d be nice to see some of the other stuff as well.”

Either way, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and one that the band aren’t taking lightly. But with the band set to come home early September, it’s a hard not to feel the slightest bit homesick

“I am in a way missing home. We’ve been away for two and a half months already and I’ve never been away from home for this long in my whole life. Now we’ve got another two months overseas.” A daunting and looming statement if there ever was one. “I’m keen to get home but at the same time we’ve got things to do over here,” he says with assertion and affirmation.

Better Weather’ is set to drop from Hopeless this coming week and with the success of its promotional singles and releases, the record is poised to do well among older fans and newcomers to the band.Recorded in Sydney with Stevie Knight, ‘Better Weather’ is the band’s most polished and refined sounding release to date. The album is sonically cohesive and tight throughout and this is in no small part to Kyle Black’s mixing credit – and why shouldn’t it sound great? Black has artists such as Paramore, New Found Glory and State Champs on his resume.

“I think he really cleaned the whole thing up,” Seeley comments on Black’s contribution to the records sound.

I make a comment in passing here about my affinity for authentic and powerful drum tones and their ability to make or break a record.  This turned out to be something that Seeley and I share quite deeply.

“We fucking hate doing digital drums and samples and all of that stuff,” he almost spits the words out. “We always take the real drum   sounds and what’s been recorded  and work at EQing and mixing it to get it sounding perfect. Once you start adding samples and all    this digital shit to drums it can just sound like a robot and I fucking hate that. And we didn’t want that. You take away the emotion from the song when you fuck with the drums too much and so we did it all live and made them as  punchy and as powerful as  possible.”


‘Better Weather’s Artwork

To round off our chat, I mention to the Seeley how a press release about the band says they are “poised to be the [Hopeless Records’ next All Time Low], something  that Seeley was not aware of. What a weight to carry, aye? Yet it’s a comparison often made to the band  along with other ones such as New Found Glory, Yellowcard5  Seconds of Summer and every other pop-punk band that has  ever existed. In spite of all of this, Seeley hopes that the band will have their own sound and image  and  presence that people will recognise instantly as theirs.

“As our musical career progresses, I want people to understand better what With Confidence is. Be able to recognise our sound and  know what we’re about and who we  are as people. Hopefully, in the next ten years, you’re talking to someone else on the phone and  telling them how they’re labelled ‘the next With Confidence.’”

Speaking from my new found affection for the Aussie four-piece, it’s a sentiment I think will ring true. If this new record is anything to go off, this band will be seeing no shortage of love and attention in the coming years. Even if it may not be your cup of tea, rest assured that it will be plenty of others poison of choice.

In closing of this Aussie Feature, I’ll leave you with the story behind the creation of my personal favourite from the record, ‘Waterfalls’, as told by Seeley himself.

“I actually wrote that song on the toilet when I got up in the morning. I had this idea for the song and just grabbed my acoustic and did this big old shit and wrote it right then and there. From there I took it to the band, they liked it and now it’s on the album! The first thing Luke said when I took it to him, was ‘This is the album closer’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I guess that makes sense.’”

Just wait till you hear it! You’ll be…shitting yourself when that mother of all choruses kicks in.

‘Better Weather’ is out June 17th through Hopeless records.

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