To say Stray From The Path rocked the boat towards the end of 2017 with the release of their current album Only Death Is Real would be an understatement. The Long Island group set the damn thing ablaze. Each tune on the record was a quiver loaded into a bow, and Stray From The Path didn’t waste a single shot.

Only Death Is Real is a hugely politically and socially activated record. Ushered in with lead single Goodnight Alt-Right – a scathing assessment of the political movement, the band quickly found themselves in the crosshairs of internet trolls the world over. Rather than backing down the band read this reaction differently – They’d hit a nerve.

Now Australian fans get to experience this weaponised album up close and personal, with Stray From The Path returning to our shows for the fourth time. This time, they’ll be with co-headliners and genre brothers Counterparts, making one of the biggest runs we’ve seen so far.

Ahead of their arrival, we caught up with guitarist Tom Williams.
 

 
The Neversphere: Reporting from the ground, there’s a lot of love for these shows. Are you guys feeling that response?
 
Tom: For sure. I posted a video the other day of us playing Unify Festival. We were playing the song so fast – we don’t play to a click, so you could hear how excited we were. We didn’t expect it to be like that. It was such a huge, overwhelming reaction. We’ve been dying to get back, we couldn’t get back last year so now we get to come by on a new record.

I’m also a big fan of that Lord Of The Fries place. It’s such a typical tourist spot but that’s something we’re looking forward to. We have a lot of friends that we’re excited to see. It sucks that we miss the summer, normally we just go swimming every day and jump off cliffs. This will be our fourth time there, and it seems like we never run out of cool things to do.
 
The Neversphere: It’s now been a few months since you guys dropped Only Death Is Real. It was a hugely volatile album on announcement. Now it’s had time to find it’s footing, I’m really interested to know…how did it go down?
 
Tom: Anyone who’s been keeping up saw that when it first came to life it was kind of intense, which is awesome. We weren’t really expecting that to get as big as it did. You have to understand, it’s just the four of us. Drew [Dijorio, vocalist] and I have been friends since 6th grade. We’ve always just felt like kids rocking out in a band. We never realised where our band was at…We did [Goodnight Alt-Right] and kicked the hornet’s nest. We expected to shake it a little, we didn’t expect to punt it down the field.

The reaction we got just showed us how right we were, and how much these people exist. They’re really starting to come out of their holes with the current political climate in America. People tried to intimidate us to stop doing what we’re doing, saying we shouldn’t do it. But, here we are – We just got off tour with Anti-Flag, one of the bands who taught us how to do it. We stood our ground and here we are touring the world, supporting it. We’re going to continue doing that – we have no anticipation of slowing down. The way things are going we’re not going to have a shortage of things to talk about.

We’re very proud of the record; the whole band is, so we’re excited to start thinking about the next record. It hasn’t even been a year yet but we’re always trying to push ourselves. It’s a fun time being in the band right now.
 
The Neversphere: Reaffirming feeling knowing that you’re gut feeling, your intuition on this topic, resonates with so many people. Is that something you took away from the response?
 
Tom: In reality, I wish the song came out and was a flop because we were wrong. If anything, it was surprising how right we were. I knew it existed – I wouldn’t say it’s a gut feeling, I’d say I knew for sure it was there. Maybe we could have been wrong, maybe it wasn’t as big an issue as we thought it was – maybe no one gave a shit – but we did what we did and it went fucking nuts. Some people would comment ‘Why are you even talking about this, it’s not a real thing’ Now we’re like ‘Well, scroll down, look at the comments, it clearly is.’
 

 
The Neversphere: I imagine a lot of your peers have wanted to address these topics before but never felt confident. What sort of feedback did you get from your peers, and other artists?
 
Tom: It’s kind of a touchy situation. We thought we’d have more of our friends having our back, and we really kind of didn’t. We had a handful of people that we respect, or consider friends, that did support us…Even just with a simple re-tweet. But, we got a lot of silence. The day that we dropped the video up until what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, it was relentless. Once Charlottesville happened, everyone jumped on board being against what we’re against.

Anti-Flag, for one; that brought us together. They loved it. They had our backs. Touring with those guys was awesome. We’re doing it again this summer in Europe.
 
The Neversphere: Where does this leave you for the next album…Has this experience encouraged you to go down a similar road thematically, or hell, are you keen to just do a party anthem album, songs about getting drunk and laid…
 
Tom: [Laughs] You know what, I have no idea. We’ll have to wait and see. We’re working on it musically, but lyrics we don’t get down to until the end. Even if I wrote a song today, whatever topics we want to talk about, we make sure we’re talking about what’s important to us. It hasn’t even been a year, we’re booked up until 2019 right now so we’ll see. We have no idea what the world is going to look like by then.

Maybe one day we’ll be able to write a song about driving a car with the top down. That’s the life we strive for, but that doesn’t look like it’ll happen any time in the near future. We’d love to write something different, but these people…

…They keep writing the songs for us…

 

Stray From The Path & Counterparts 2018 Australian Tour
Tickets available now

Friday, April 13
Amplifier Bar, Perth
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Saturday, April 14
Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Sunday, April 15
Phoenix Youth Centre, Melbourne
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Monday, April 16
Fowlers Live, Adelaide
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Wednesday, April 18
Factory Theatre, Melbourne
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Thursday, April 19
Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, April 20
Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Tickets: Destroy All Lines