Touring with New Found Glory seems like a dream come true for any up and coming pop punk band...especially one that takes its name from the closing track of Sticks and Stones, like California band The Story So Far does. The group just wrapped up a tour with NFG, where the pop punk vets played Sticks in Stones in its entirety.
We recently caught up with bassist Kelen Capener after the band checked out of a Las Vegas hotel to discuss touring with New Found Glory, the resurgence of pop punk, and what to expect from The Story So Far's next album.
Kelen Capener: It's a bit strange, obviously because we were really young when we listened to that band. You don't think you'll end up touring with this band, so it's surreal. They're our friends, so it's fun. We get to share a stage with them. It's a new experience seeing how they perform and how they operate. We're sort of taking notes and enjoying the tour. We're only five days in.
How did you guys first come into contact?
The first I heard of them even having any knowledge of our band was from our friend who interviewed Cyrus [Bolooki], their drummer and had asked what he'd been listening to recently and he mentioned our album. That was, I think about a year ago. Later, there was talk of the Sticks and Stones tour and we got the offer. I met Chad [Gilbert] and Steve [Klein] at Warped Tour, and they told us about how they pushed for us to be on it, so it was cool. They sort of knew about us, I don't know how, but they came across our band and they wanted us on their tour, so we're really appreciative of that.
I see that Steve Klein produced your forthcoming album. What was it like working with him?
It was nice. It's hard sometimes to step away from your songs when you're writing them, so he was kind of the sixth ear, he was outside of the songs, he could tell us if a song had too much of something or not enough. We'd go write, rewrite, or restructure songs based on his criticisms. It was definitely very conducive to the process, he definitely made the songs sound more mature and more refined, so we were glad to have him as a part of the project.
What can we expect from your new album?
I don't think it's too far from what we've already done. Like I said, I think it's a little more refined, but granted it has a lot of the same tones, it's got a different message. Musically, I think it's a little more refined. I don't think it loses touch from the music we've already put out. It has our sound. I don't know, it's kind of hard to describe audio, but I think people will enjoy it.
Is it a full length?
It is 11 songs. We finished recording it recently, so it's in the mixing process. Probably about a three month turnaround would be the soonest for having that album released.Pop punk seems to be in a Renaissance period. Would you say that now is a good time to play in a pop punk band?
Yeah, I've said that before. There's definitely a resurgence of it, it's interesting because when we play New Found shows, sometimes you can tell from the dynamic that these older fans, fans from when pop punk was a huge genre and [New Found Glory] was at the top of it, and their fans that they collected 10 years ago when they put out Sticks and Stones don't necessarily know that it's made a comeback. They're not familiar with our band and they're not familiar with other bands in that genre that are pioneering the resurgence of pop punk. It is I think making a comeback, but a lot of people are still unaware of what's going on.
Does your audience tend to be young?
It's mostly 18-24 year olds, I would say. It's typically a younger audience. Sometimes you get some older fans, but typically our music caters to teenagers and young adults. That's our primary audience. Kids have a little more energy, we get a lot of kids at shows who are stage diving. I don't think 30+ year olds really want to do that.
You guys seem to have just blown up all of a sudden. How did you get to where you are now?
We put out our music and I think our music sort of works for itself where if someone got the album and they shared it and enough people, [then] it spread and spread really, really fast. We're in a good spot now, we definitely have a lot more work ahead of us, but we really didn't market that album that heavily. It was really just the people who knew about us sharing it and then those people sharing it and sharing it, that's really how it works.
You guys have a pretty impressive tour history. Are there any bands you dream of touring with?
I don't know, because this is sort of the dream tour. Touring with New Found Glory...outside of that, there's a lot of bands that other bands that we love that we'd love to tour with that I can't think of off the top of my head because this is sort of the pinnacle band for us to want to tour with. Now that it's happening, I don't know, I haven't even thought ahead to other bands.
I read that some of you guys are putting school on hold to focus on the band. Did you try to do both for awhile?
We tried and the opportunity just heated up too much and so did school. For Ryan [Torf, drummer] and I, it was hard last year. We couldn't make the two happen because we finally were doing full US tours and you can't just take a month out of school. Now that we've had the time to sort of rearrange our plans, Ryan and I have been able to take school off to fully invest ourselves in this opportunity.
You guys have gotten some flack for the song "Daughters." Was it inspired by somebody you actually knew?
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That was just Parker [Cannon, vocals]'s experience in college, there was nothing personal against anybody. I know we get some flack for it, but we don't hate women. People would call us misogynists and things but I don't see what it's rooted in. It's just Parker's stuff, what he saw in college, and that's really it. I know it's kind of blunt, but we didn't mean any harm, I suppose.
The Story So Far is scheduled to perform Saturday, December 22, at The Underground in Mesa.