Interview: Four Year Strong

Following their show in Newcastle on the Kerrang! Tour, Faye caught up with Joe Weiss (bass) and Josh Lyford (keyboards/vocals) from Four Year Strong, and this time round, their drunken ramblings included: ‘random surprise wake-ups’, bigoted Norwegian girls, partying like rock stars, camping with aliens, and a lot more!

Faye: How are you today in your drunken state?
Josh: I’m fucking good.
Joe: This tour’s been fun so far, everyone’s been pretty sweet.
Josh: Yeah, pretty much everyone likes to be maniacs with us. We haven’t gone to bed earlier than 4 o’clock in the morning yet.
Joe: It’s ridiculous, even I’ve tried a couple of times and it doesn’t pan out, because I’ll go in there and just sit and here everyone talking.
Josh: The only problem with that is the random surprise wake-up, you’re like, ‘I want to go to sleep, but everyone’s awake at 6am, so fuck it, I’m going to stay awake and hang out.’ Then in the morning at like 9 o’clock, we’ve got to get up for some random stupid reason.
Joe: When I was trying to sleep one time on this tour, the bus parked next to a field and I woke up at like 8am to these tribal drums, there was like a festival going on. I had such a headache. It was crazy.

Faye: The last time I interviewed you was in June, what have you been up to since then?
Joe: Oh man, that seems like an eternity ago.
Josh: Yeah, I was probably 25 back then.
Joe: We did Warped Tour over the summer that was an excellent time. We toured with Comeback Kid, The Wonder Years and Mountain Man, that was a really good tour as well.
Josh: We’ve toured with The Wonder Years so much and now we sleep next to them, it’s like our two vans became one shitty van.
Joe: It was sweet to tour with Comeback Kid because I had been listening to them for so long, and they are literally the chilliest people.

Faye: Yeah, I interviewed Jeremy from Comeback Kid in November.
Joe: He is hilarious! That guy is the man. He’s always so pumped no matter what the situation is. I want to hang out with them in Las Vegas, because Comeback Kid is putting on this party in Las Vegas and has invited whoever to just go, and I’m temped to, but I’m sure we’ll be on tour doing something.
Josh: There was like a punching thing that recorded how hard you punched it and watching Jeremy getting so stoked and bashing the shit out of it was awesome. Although, our merch man took it down and got the highest score.

Faye: Did you ever imagine yourselves touring with Good Charlotte?
Joe: No, I didn’t ever picture it and I’m so glad we’ve had the chance.
Josh: They’re really nice people.
Joe: And I guess, I never really thought about how many hits that band has, I didn’t think I’d know too many of their songs.
Josh: But you can’t listen to them four like 4-minutes straight without hearing something that you know.
Joe: Yeah, they have so many hits from what I had remembered, and they are the nicest dudes.
Josh: And we’re not just saying that, they really are, usually if someone asks and they’re not, we’re like, ‘Yeah, they’re ok.’ But they’re actually really fucking awesome, really fucking awesome.
Joe: Watching them on TV when you were a kid and now touring with them is hilarious, it was the same with New Found Glory and The Starting Line, it’s like, ‘Oh shit, this is kinda crazy.’

Faye: So, do you feel like rock stars touring with Good Charlotte?
Josh: If anything, I feel like less of a rock star because we’re in the presence of actual legitimate rock stars. I feel more poorly dressed, perhaps.

Faye: I heard you’ve been partying like rock stars, though. Didn’t Good Charlotte hire Lillie’s Bordello in Dublin for a night?
Josh: [laughs] Yeah, we clearly did not fit in. I think we were being chill as fuck, we were hanging with people and dancing, we were living it up, but I think the dress code included not wearing dirty t-shirts.
Joe: It was all guys in suits and women in dresses in stuff
Josh: That was where the Norwegian girl was, who I go into an argument with. She hated America, which is fine, plenty of people do, but I had an American flag patch and she grabbed it, and was like, “This means you’re ignorant!” I was saying, “Go on… I’m not saying I’m not ignorant, but continue…” and she was like, “I went to LA once for a weekend.” Ok. I remember like 10-people giving us the finger.
Joe: Yeah, that place sucked.

Faye: So, being on a massive tour like this and hearing the entire room sing back to you, do you feel like you’re getting somewhere?
Joe: It is weird, I would say.
Josh: To look at where we are now, it’s kind of been like the frog in the boiling water when you turn it up, you kind of don’t notice things changing, but if we look back now and the first tour I ever done with this band, this is insane, comparatively.
Joe: Just even coming over here or going out of the country to tour, minus Canada.
Josh: I never thought I’d not been able to not go to a not done Indonesian tour.
Joe: Say that one more time…
Josh: It was nice to know that we almost went there. Sorry, Indonesia, I wanted to be in you a lot.

Faye: You’re playing at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston in a few days and it sold out in 11-seconds, did you ever expect there to be a mass scramble?
Joe: It’s going to be insane, I think, and really, really sweaty. We’re gong to be playing Rise or Die Trying and there’s one song on that record, If He’s Here, Who’s Runnin’ Hell?, that we’ve only played one time ever, in 2006. It’s going to be fun.

Faye: Four Year Strong’s sound is pretty current, pop-punk with breakdowns, where do you see it going?
Joe: I don’t know, maybe a little more rock as well as the same thing we’re doing. In the way that Foo Fighters is rock. I don’t know, we’ll have to see, we’ll be recording soon.

Faye: Do you feel restricted with your sound, especially with the synth, just so Josh has something to do in the band?
Josh: [laughs] It keeps me awake at night.
Joe: No, I wouldn’t say that at all, it’s just like any instrument in the band, everything adds something to the band. We’re not going to force stuff, just like I wouldn’t force a bass solo into every song.
Josh: Although, I think we should. [laughs]

Faye: Josh, you’re also in a hardcore band called Foxfires too, what made you want to have a band on the side?
Josh: It wasn’t really to have a band on the side, it was just me and my friends playing, it wasn’t supposed to be anything crazy. We’ve only played one show at this point, it’s just when Four Year Strong isn’t touring, we’ll play a couple of shows now and again. It’s definitely a lot of fun and more serious.

Faye: So, you’re obviously into hardcore, who’s your favourite Boston or Massachusetts hardcore band of all-time?
Joe: That is a really hard question, but remembering old shows, I’d say either Bane or The Hope Conspiracy, Blood For Blood was also awesome.
Josh: I’ll say Last Lights, because they’re awesome, but going further back, I’d probably say The Suicide File or American Nightmare, that was a really awesome era.

Faye: Blood For Blood seem to have a mass appeal, even people who are straight edge love them, despite their lyrical content, what is it about them?
Josh: I think it’s just because they’re such a bang-your-head-like-a-wild-man band.
Joe: They’re a sick band.
Josh: It kind of makes me want to listen to them right now.

Faye: You’ve got a tour coming up with Rise Against and Bad Religion, do you think the punx will be into you?
Josh: I think there’s a good chance people will not be into us. Personally, I won’t give a shit, it’s Bad Religion. [laughs]
Joe: I honestly have no idea what to expect, I picture the Bad Religion fans being like, “What the fuck?!”
Josh: Yeah, I have a pretty good idea that the Bad Religion fans won’t be into it.
Joe: But we’re just going to do it, fuck it and choose songs carefully, we don’t have that long of a set anyway.
Josh: We’re just going to fucking hang out, put umbrellas in our drinks and just cruise.
Joe: Or we go camping.
Josh: Tell her the plan.
Joe: I’m a sci-fi movie guy, but one of my favourite movies is Fire In The Sky, it’s this random alien thing and they go camping in the woods, and now I sound like a ridiculous tool-nerd, so we’ll leave it there, but hopefully we’ll go on a camping trip with some aliens.
Josh: You don’t say that, because someone’s going to fuck with us in the woods and get murdered, but I guess that might be part of the experience.

Faye: You said you were going to be recording soon, so have you been doing some writing?
Joe: We’ve been doing a lot of touring, but definitely been doing some record stuff, we definitely still have a lot of work to do, so I think after this tour, we might get on it at some point.
Josh: Yeah, we have a lot to do, but it’s in the works, we’re greasing the gears.

Faye: Change The Record, who should we be listening to?
Josh: The new Mountain Man record when that comes out, so people should listen to that.
Joe: Title Fight just put up a new song, I’m very, very excited about their new record. Super, super pumped to hear that, that band’s so good.
Josh: The Foxfires 7” comes out pretty soon.
Joe: I Am The Avalanche is going to be putting some stuff out and A Loss For Words, besides that, I sort of just listen to the same stuff as always.

Faye: Is there anything else you want to say?
Joe: Watch the first season of The X-Files, do yourself a favour – great characters, great dialogue.

- Faye Turnbull.

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