Few bands in this community truly need no introduction, Story Of The Year being one of them. Their guitar acrobatics, intense live shows…Sidewalks…the band is a well-documented part of scene folklore. Indeed, one of the most. Even 7 years without a new album wasn’t enough to diminish their street rep, as you can tell from the thunderous applause that met their brand new album, and first since 2011, Wolves.
Much like it’s namesake Wolves is savage, cunning in its approach, and at times nothing short of graceful; dynamic and confident…with the hungry, mindless indifference of nature in its eyes. A quick scan of any comments section and it’s clear the overwhelming majority of fans have already resonated strongly with the record. Which is great news for the band, who were unsure if the world even wanted it.
This May, it will be Australia’s turn to witness the glory of Wolves live. We caught up with vocalist Dan Marsala ahead of their arrival to look back on the record.
The Neversphere: I distinctly remember Taste Of Chaos 2005 in Sydney, you guys performed and that whole night opened my eyes to this world…I haven’t looked back since!
Dan Marsala: Yeah man, that was our first time in Australia! That was a crazy tour, right? The Used, Killswitch Engage, Rise Against, Funeral For A Friend. We had done a tour with Used and Thrice in the US just before that, so I get those tours confused…Then we did Taste Of Chaos in the US with Thrice and Deftones but yeah, that was such an amazing tour. Every time we come to Australia it ends up being some amazing adventure.
The Neversphere: Talking about all these amazing bands that made up the scene, do you ever feel as though you missed out being a fan because you were too busy being in one of the seminal acts for the community?
Dan: I’ve never thought about that, that’s weird. Because, yeah; I was a fan of a lot of the bands that came out before us. Thrice being one of them, Taking Back Sunday, The Used…There was even Glassjaw and Refused and those kinds of bands that started doing our kind of thing just before us…It would be amazing to be able to see your own band and experience it the way other people do but I guess that’s part of being in the band. But I’ve never thought about that…I missed out on Story Of The Year because I was in it…
The Neversphere: Well, yeah, I was going to say…You missed out, Story Of The Year are a really great band!
Dan: [Laughs] I can always listen! That’s the easy part, I can always go back and listen but it always has different meanings for me because I was there when It was written, I had different experiences with it. But this is a crazy thought, it’s cool.
The Neversphere: So, you do go back to the Page Avenues of your career and reminisce?
Dan: I always go back and listen to everything, periodically. I like hearing our music, it brings back so many memories no matter what. Going back to Page Avenue, I have so many memories of us being a young band, trying to come up, experiencing success and everything, there’s so many memories attached to that. The cool thing when we did the 10 year anniversary tour is we got to go back and break down all the songs, try out different things and dissect everything…that was quite a process but it’s cool.
I like to go back with every record – there’s always a couple of songs where I’m like ‘What the fuck were we doing? What was that?‘ but then there are some where I think ‘Whoa I can’t believe we pulled that off at that point!” It’s good and bad looking back but you learn from everything.
The Neversphere: You released Wolves last year and I have to say, the thing rips. Reading the room tells me I’m not the only one who thinks that. Now that you’ve had breathing space away from it, how do you think it all went down?
Dan: It’s been received surprising well – not surprisingly, but very well comparatively to some of the last couple of records; not a lot of negative stuff! There’s a few people like ‘Well, it’s not your heaviest record‘, which it’s not but I get that, some of our fans want us to be as heavy as possible all the time but we tend to get lost in the middle with some heavier songs and some not so heavier songs. We’re not scared to try anything.
There was definitely a point writing this record, it had been so long, we’d taken a gap in between The Constant and Wolves, where we didn’t know if people cared anymore or if anyone wanted us to put out a new record; a lot was up in the air. We knew we were going to try a lot of new stuff and basically not care about the rules at all, and make a record we wanted to make at this point. We knew it was a gamble; either people were going to love it or freak out. Luckily we did some sort of balancing act, keeping all the important aspects of what Story Of The Year is to everybody, but also made a progressive record that doesn’t sound like all of our others. We got lucky and balanced it out somehow, and it’s working.
The Neversphere: It was a gap of about 7 years between records. Was Wolves brewing in your bellies that whole time, or was it only towards the end of that period that you decided to write an album?
Dan: It was a little bit of both. We were intending to write a record and put it out for that whole time. We kept thinking ‘This next year we’ll get to work’ but I think it was necessary for us to step back and take some time off. We’d be touring non-stop for those first four records. We all have families, most of us had kids in the past 7/8 years so we all took a step back to focus on family life, and integrating back into being normal humans – not just living in vans and aeroplanes constantly. That was a great thing because you get so much inspiration from completely changing your environment, and learning how to rejoin society as a person who just lives in a city and doesn’t tour constantly.
There was a lot of inspiration and having children makes your brain go into a whole different mode of operation. The break was necessary for us to come up with the record that we did. It was more in the last year or two that we really started finding out where we were going with the record. It all happened pretty quickly once we knew what we wanted to do.
The Neversphere: What’s the game plan going forward, It’s clear we want you around. Do you think it’ll be another 7 years between records?
Dan: The plan is to definitely not wait that long again [Laughs]. I guess that wasn’t the plan last time. The cool thing about Wolves is we did it differently. It was a lot of demo sharing and writing separately. I have a studio in my basement and Ryan has a studio set up in his house so we can work in a different way now. Technology has changed so much in the past 10 years that we can be creative and put out records on our own. We have the means to create more music now and I think that creativity and mindset will continue.
We’re not going to do a crazy amount of touring. We’re going to focus on putting out more content and focus on being a band who keeps putting stuff out. Maybe you won’t see us live as often, but at least you’ll be getting a lot more from us. I think. That’s the plan that Ryan and I have been talking about. Why should we stop writing now that we’re in this groove? It’s pretty amazing so I’m pretty sure we’ll be putting stuff out as often as humanly possible.
The Neversphere: I suppose that means you’ll have to really blow our minds in May when you’re in town. I’d love to know what you’re the most excited about returning to once you get off that plane…
Dan: Oh man, recovering from that flight. We figured it out the other day – between layovers and flights it’s about 34-36 hours we’ll be traveling which is just insanity. We’ll either head straight to the bar and drink away any jetlag or we’ll go straight to sleep. I think we land at 2pm, so it’s going to be rough.
The Neversphere: Oh, 2pm? So it’s definitely straight to the bar then…
Dan: Well…Yeah, probably [laughs].
Story Of The Year 2018 Australian Tour
Tickets on sale 9am Tuesday, 6th February
Tuesday, May 1
Amplifier Capitol, Perth
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
Wednesday, May 2
The Triffid, Brisbane
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
Thursday, May 3
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
Sunday, May 6
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: Destroy All Lines