PropertyOfZack Interview : : Attack Attack!

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 22, 2012

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PropertyOfZack spoke with Andrew Wetzel of Attack Attack! just the other week for a great interview. Andrew and I discussed the band’s new album and that they have already written 22 new songs and recorded 10 new songs for another album that could be out fairly soon. Wetzel also confirmed that the band is no longer signed to Rise Records and will most likely release their next album on their own. Read the full interview below!

For the record, could you state your name and role in Attack Attack!?
I’m Wetzel from Attack Attack! and I play drums.

So you guys have kicked off 2012 pretty fast and strongly with the release of a new album and the tour in support of the album. Can you just discuss the first leg of the tour so far?
Yeah, the tour has been killer and the album’s been doing great. It landed at number 11 on Billboard. Every night of the tour has been sold out except for like two. You know, it’s pretty killer.

The Billboard thing was kind of huge. We’ve seen bands in this kind of scene or genre sell a nice amount of albums, but seeing the name Attack Attack! and Rise Record in the top 15 on the Billboard charts was shocking to a lot of people. Can you talk about the feeling that gave you guys?
We were really stoked. The only thing that was kind of a bummer about it was I think there was either 160 or 600, I don’t remember which one, but It was a couple hundred record difference between 11 and 10 and so we were super fucking close to being top 10. But whatever, we’ll take it, we’ll take what we can get. I mean just seeing that chart, seeing this record, this concept album that we just sort of took on, self-produced, did it in our own studio, totally just went out on a whim here and did our own thing. Seeing it be that successful and have that big of a response was insanely gratifying and we were very, very, very excited to see that happen. 

This album, like you mentioned, is a change for the band, and you guys did go about it a little differently from the norm. Can you talk about the decision to switch it up like that?
We’ve never really been ones to take the easy road, in any sense. We’re always constantly looking for new ways to continue to freshen our sound. We’re always doing what we can to make what it is we do better, or bigger, or cooler, or whatever. This whole situation with Caleb doing all the singing now and the screaming is really awesome because he has a much different voice than our other singer did. So it really gave us this whole new set of tools to just write all kinds of different types of music that we hadn’t been able to before yet. So it was like we were deciding, “How crazy do we want to get? How far do we want to go? How far do we want to reach?” And we ended up with This Means War.

Fans obviously bought it first week, but have they been stoked on the changes and progression?
Yeah, everything has continued to be amazing. The response has just stayed up, like the intensity of the sales; everything has been pretty consistently awesome. So we’re really excited, we think we’ve definitely got the green light on this one. 

With all those changes in terms of production and the concept, was it kind of like turning a new page for the band? The album certainly seems to be more mature and thought out. Was it kind of exciting and exhilarating to do that at the same time?
Yeah, definitely. It’s really nice to have this definite new chapter in our career as a band and to be accepted so warmly. It’s really nice to know that people are really stoked to see that we’re doing our best to push forward and maturing in our sound like what we want to write and all that stuff. It’s nice to that those two things are going hand in hand.
And are the new songs going over well live?
Yes, definitely. I think the response has been pretty insane. 

This is just the beginning of your busy touring cycle, and you guys are going to be on the road for at least the next four months now. Are you guys gearing up to have a monster first half of the year?
Yeah absolutely, I’m probably not going to be home for more than a week until at least June. 

Attack Attack! are one of the bigger bands for fans in this genre. Where do you guys want to go from here? In terms of how you evolve or in terms of how you act as a band and tour?
I don’t know. We just kind of live a day at a time. We never really plan anything out a whole lot. Although, we did make one exception to that rule. As soon as we finished This Means War, we flew out to LA and sat down with the producer John Feldmann and wrote like 22 more songs, 10 of which we tracked. So we already have another record sort of in the tubes right now; and we’re going to sort of tinker with it throughout the year. I think the only thing that is totally certain is that you can expect us to absolutely follow this release up with something very, very explosive. I think you are going to see a lot from us in the future. 

So that’s an interesting move. You guys produced this new record on your own, so why did you then decide to go in with Feldman?
Why not?

Were the songs written at the same time as This Means War?
Nope, we wrote everything for This Means War and then tracked it, and then as soon as we finished it we flew out there and started writing again. 

You said it sounds more explosive. Did it take a higher energy toll during the writing process for those tracks?
The cool thing about it was writing in that timeframe, already having a record finished and preparing to be released and waiting to go in the stores. We just sort of wrote whatever the hell we wanted, no consequences, reached as far as we wanted because at the end of the day, were not obligated to release any of that stuff by a certain time. You know obviously we need to follow up this record with that record release eventually, but for this one, it’s like: if we write all this stuff, sit on it, and then in June, circle back and listen to it again and start writing some more on it. And if we hate everything, we just throw it away. We’ve got the time to do that. More importantly, This Means War was our last record with Rise Records. We don’t have another record label or anything lined up and probably not planning on going to another one. So it’s like we’ve got this sitting around that we can do whatever the hell we want with whenever we want.

Even though it may not be immediately down the road, you’re preparing for the next iteration of Attack Attack!?
Definitely.

You just announced this tour with Escape the Fate and The Word Alive, which will be a pretty monstrous tour. Are you stoked to follow up This Means Tour with that?
Absolutely. The dudes from Escape… We are really good friends with them. We are pumped to be back on the road with them again, this time co-headlining instead of opening. We’re super pumped about it and their band; they are a fucking powerhouse.  We’re doing super well too. These rooms that we’re going to be playing in are going to be bigger than either one of our bands play normally. And having The Word Alive on there is just extra clout. That tour is going to be awesome. 

Do you plan to take any time over the summer to continue writing and recording that new material?
We have plans to take off either part of or all of the month of June, to just sort of chill and sit around and figure out what we’re going to do with all that stuff, write a little more, and figure out what lies in the future for Attack Attack!

So are you guys considering doing this next album on your own without an album? 
Yeah, that’s the plan as of right now. The music industry is pretty pathetic and the general business model of the record label doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore. It’s really important to make sure that your business is very liquid and that you can move and change very quickly and you can adapt and you can be in a position to set the trends instead of just chasing them forever. So we feel like it’s probably a better plan for us. You know, we really don’t like being told what to do, so it just kind of ultimately works out better. 

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