How do you feel like you’ve changed as a lyric writer since first starting out?
“Just with the writing process in general, I used to just go for it, and whatever came out happened – that’s what it was. But with this record, I really worked on the lyrics to make them the best they could be at that point in time. Instead of being like, ‘Okay, this is what came out naturally so this is what it is,’ I really tried to focus on the best way to say things. If I was talking about a topic, I was really trying to consistently get my point across.”
What do you hope that people take away from this album? Is there any sort of underlying message in it?
“Not really – I just hope that people like it most importantly (laughs). I hope that people just see the honesty and genuine expression in it. I think the best form of art is when people are being honest with you and not trying to sell you anything, and I hope that people don’t think I’m trying to do that.”
Where did the title of the album come from? On your last album you had a title-track, but you don’t this time…
“The title of the record is actually a lyric from the song Guided By The Moon, and a bunch of different things play into it. I think the main thing is that people use the word ‘blue’ as a metaphor for being sad, like ‘feeling blue’. And Laugh Tracks was a very big record for us, and people heard a lot of things about us for the first time, and that was my first time really expressing all these personal things about myself. So this is just a different approach to that – it’s a different shade of blue. And, visually, the cover for Laugh Tracks is blue, the cover for this record is blue, things that we’ve been doing visually – like our music video for The Rain ended with a little hint with blue paint, and then the next music video for Mistakes Like Fractures was all about blue paint – we’ve just been hiding all these blue Easter eggs for a while now. It’s just fun stuff where people hopefully make the connection and they’re like, ‘Holy shit!’”
With such a thought-out vision, then, does it feel like your debut was almost like a test run – and now this is who Knocked Loose are?
“I know a lot of the time when people get to their second record they’re like, ‘Oh, we hate the first record and we can’t wait for this new record to come out.’ And that’s very much not the case here – we still really, really like Laugh Tracks. But I would say that we definitely didn’t have the band figured out yet. We were young and excited – and I mean young as a band, not in age – and everything was new and going extremely well, and we just wanted to write a bunch of songs and put them out so we could keep going. Then it caught on so much better than we thought. So it was like, ‘We’ve really got to step it up for this next one and now we have to figure out what the band is.’ I don’t want to say that we fully did that, because who knows? Things are always subject to change, and I don’t ever want to pigeonhole us to one thing and then throw a curveball down the road, but I think that we’re definitely more figured out on this record than we were on Laugh Tracks.”
Tell us about the album's two collaborations – Emma Boster and Keith Buckley…
“Emma sings for this band called Dying Wish, and I really, really like that band. They put out an EP last year, and we all really enjoyed that EP, which is pretty rare – we don’t often all agree on a band! They’re a newer, younger band that are doing really cool stuff, and they played a show that we did in Portland, Oregon, and I enjoyed their set and just hit her up and asked if she’d like to be on a song, and she said that she’d love to. The part ended up working really, really well. Everything worked out, and it’s also an opportunity for us to show our fans what we like – hopefully, when a song says ‘featuring Emma from Dying Wish’, they will be like, ‘Oh, this part is sick – I’m now gonna look up Dying Wish.’
“And with Keith, we toured with Every Time I Die a lot in 2017 – we played 67 shows with them. We toured America, Canada, Europe, the UK and did their Christmas shows, so we got really close with them. I’ve looked up to Every Time I Die for a very long time – and specifically Keith, being a vocalist and the lyricist that he is. I’m lucky enough now to call him my friend, so I just hit him up and was like, ‘Hey, do you wanna do a part on the new record?’ And he was like, ‘Absolutely!’ I gave him the song recorded all the way up until his part – I told him what the song was about and then let him write his own lyrics, which I think is a really cool way to collab with someone that I’ve looked up to for so long. And he killed it!”
You’re off on tour in the U.S. soon with A Day To Remember. Do you think it’s important to keep this mentality where you want to tour with all different bands – not just of a similar genre?
“Yeah, that was the goal before anybody cared about us – when we were playing house shows to, like, 15 people. We were like, ‘We’re going to play with whoever we can.’ We’ve just kept that mentality moving forward, and I don’t think that we’d be where we are if we weren’t willing to do those different kind of tours. I think it’s very important, and it keeps things exciting. We were just on tour with The Acacia Strain, then Kublai Khan, and then we’re going out with A Day To Remember, so all three things are very different.”
What are your plans for the rest of the year after that – will you be doing a full UK tour at some point?
“We’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up – I don’t want to give too much away. But we’re definitely coming back at some point, just because I love the UK!”