Strung Out is back with a new album and it is killer material. Another Fat Wreck band returning to the scene to prove their merits once more! So when the band came over for a European tour at Jera On Air festival in The Netherlands, it was time for RMP Magazine to have a quick chat with main guitar shredder Jake about the new record “Transmission Delta Alpha” and how it's been perceived so far. Find out all about the band that doesn't look back in anger.
- Congratulations with the new album, “Tranmission Delta Alpha”. It's been out for a couple of weeks now. How has the response been so far?
Thank you. Very good, all the shows have been really good. Everyone likes the new songs. We've been playing them live and they have been getting a good response. It feels good to have some new material out and have people really liking it.
We just did a big US tour for about a month and a half and we just got here and it's been about four shows and we're here for another month. We have about 25 shows total. Yesterday was a good turnout. It was a good turnout at the big Hurricane festival and a lot of people came by the stage when we played.
- The new album took six years to complete. Was it such an endurance to get this album out?
No, we were busy doing other things for most of that time. We did a greatest hits album, we did a boxset. We went out and played our two albums “Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues” and “Twisted By Design” back to back. Did a whole tour of that in America, went to Australia. So we've been doing lots of touring and about a year and a half ago we started writing for the new one. Got it all together, spend about six months on and off recording it. We took some time with it; we didn't want to rush it and make sure it was the right thing at the right time. Sometimes it's good to make people wait a little longer for something.
- For the new album you worked with Come Back Kid and New Found Glory producer, Kyle Black. How different was his influence on the album?
It was cool. Every time you work with a new producer they bring something else out of you. They try to get out of you that you're not doing already. He had a good ear for what we were trying to do, he knew where Strung Out comes from and he wanted to keep it a good Strung Out album.It was a very good experience.
- Strung Out started in the 90's as west coast skate punk, quickly evolving into more metal riffs and so. How do you see the bands evolution over the years?
Yeah, you always have to introduce new things into your sound I think. You can't just do the same thing every time. Sometimes by doing that you get closer to what you originally were after a while. You try some new things and you also stay true to what you were doing. We wanted to keep the energy up really high on this. Just keep it very uplifting and positive. We always liked metal parts and interesting technical types of riffs. We wanted to put the songs first and make sure it's good, a classic sounding Strung Out record.
- The band started out in the skate punk scene, some of the members still skateboard to this day. How do you see the connection between skating and punk rock?
A little bit, we skateboard to get to the store and so. I think it's still out there. Most of the skate videos these days don't use punk rock music anymore. It's all rap and stuff, so that's a shame.
As a kid growing up in California where we came from it's pretty much the soundtrack to it. Going to the skate competitions you'd always hear punk rock and have bands playing. I think that will always be a part of it. I don't know whatever the kids are into today, that's up to them. For us we always keep doing what we grew up being around, which was definitely skateboard-influenced and things like that. I think it works well with the fast pace.
- The album comes with beautiful artwork, there's also a painting for every song on the album by Jason aka ‘Amerikan Blackheart’. You also made an art print set as merch out of those. How is it to connect your music to visual art and hearing the response by the viewers/listeners?
It took him some time. He definitely spent some time on it. He worked his butt off for like six months to a year getting all that art together. We would change the titles of the song sometimes so he'd have to change the artwork again to fit the song. I think it really turned out really cool. And I think it's a special way to connect the album with you; just a way to make it a physical thing and not just some digital thing.
- You recently released a video for the track “Modern Drugs”, quite a visual work that has deeper connection with the lyrics of the song.
It turned pretty cool. The visuals are very interesting. All together it tied in very well. It's kind of an extreme song.
- Another thing that struck me in the video is Jake's guitar decoration, those beer tags or sticker of mostly Belgian Beers. Do I need to ask what your favourite beer is and where it comes from?
Many Belgian beers on there. Lot of my favourite beers on there. I drink a lot of those beers at home so I was saving all the labels and I was like ‘What should I do? Should I cover an amplifier, or just put them on a guitar?”. Some of them are wearing of now because I've been touring with the guitar now and the pick is scratching them off. So I need to drink some more beers and get some new ones. Chimay is on there, and Delirium; I like the strong beers.
- If you ever were to be strung out on something, what would it be?
I don't know, I smoke a lot of weed so I guess people would probably say I'm a stoner. That's probably it. Strung out can pertain anything. You can do too much of anything in your life. Too much work, too much this, you can be strung out on your girlfriend. You can be strung out on a job. It's what you make of it. For us it's wasn't always about a drug or something. It's more about being strung out on life. It's a punk rock thing, you can be strung out on all sorts of things.
- Any last words or plans you'd like to share with us?
Just keep touring supporting the record. We'll hopefully come back here somewhere next year and just thank you to everyone for coming out to the show and buying the record and listening to it.
– David Marote