British Pop Punk band, As It Is, have been steadily making their way in the music industry ever since signing to Fearless Records in 2014 and revving up the world with anticipation while on the edge of their seats for more music ever since the drop of their remarkable debut album, ‘Never Happy, Ever After’. Luckily, the guys just released their second studio album, ‘okay.’, and I had the pleasure of catching up with guitarist/vocalist, Ben Langford-Biss, to discuss the creative process behind the new album, upcoming tour plans, tattoos and more.
Congrats on the release of your new album, ‘okay.’. Tell us about the creative and recording process behind this release.
The main difference with this record is that we allowed ourselves a bit more creative freedom and we were able to expand a bit more.
Were you able to extend yourself lyrically through the songwriting process?
Definitely. We made a conscious effort to make sure that our personal lives were reflected more lyrically through this record.
A lot more vulnerable?
Yeah. Before we wrapped up the time in the studio, I saw my grandfather in the hospital and it was just one of those things that I felt like I needed to write about. Although most of the lyrics had already been written, I think there was a lot more of an urgency with these songs on the album. It felt like we needed to write about these certain issues.
Wow. Did you find it to be therapeutic to write about the experience you were encountering with your grandfather in the hospital?
You have toured the world throughout your time as a musician, and you are from England, therefore, I am curious as to what your perception is of the music industry in the states in comparison to what you have experienced in England?
That is an interesting question. I think the biggest difference that I have noticed is that the kids in America are way more willing to travel to shows and invest time. Ya know, in the states, road-tripping to a show becomes part of the experience. In the UK, a lot of the time the kids aren’t willing to travel very far. I really love seeing kids road trip hours and hours together and I’d say making CD mixes but it’s 2017.
Those were the days when we were making mixed CD’s and road tripping to shows around the country. The whole experience adds so much to the concert experience on a whole.
Definitely. And in the UK, we don’t do that. Our country is so small. There are a few people that do follow the whole tour and it’s incredible to see. And in America, it’s almost similar to what we do as the band; the whole road-tripping and touring the country.
Speaking of shows, do you have any upcoming tour plans or festival appearances that you can fill us in about?
We go to Japan and Australia. And we do Europe and UK with State Champs. We do have plans for America, but we can’t say it just yet. We have been hinting very much online and I think people know that we will be coming back and that we have some good plans.
We’re looking forward to it. So, how have your lives changed ever since being signed to Fearless Records?
Those beginning days were the days when life changed the most. Our manager said it best….”Welcome to a life of inconsistent income”
And that is true to an extent. It was literally from that moment that we were suddenly on tour all the time.
Was it an abrupt shift from a 9-5 lifestyle that morphed into a life of “Hey, you’re now touring the world, adjust your life accordingly”?!
Yeah. We quit our jobs so we could write our debut album. That was really nerve-wracking because, at that point, we didn’t know how it was going to go. We really gave it our all because we knew that it was not often that you get the opportunity that we had, so we wanted to devote literally all of our time to it. The tours just kept coming back to back once we were signed and we actually did almost 200 shows the year after we signed. It was a learning curve. It went from 0-10 really quickly. A lot of the things that we had to deal with and a lot of the things that we had to adjust to are definitely reflected in this new record. We didn’t want to write a record about what it was like being on the road. I find it unappreciative when a band does a second record that is moaning about being on tour. We love being on tour.
Totally. And yeah it can be tedious, and yes, it can be tiresome. But, would you rather be going to work every day and doing a job that you don’t enjoy?
Exactly. It just didn’t feel like the right thing to be doing. You know, moaning about this opportunity that you are incredibly grateful for; that just never sits right with me on a record.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the artists that brought them to life.
The majority of my tattoos now are actually from my wife who has been a tattoo artist for a little under a year now. Over the course of this past year, I have let her tattoo me. I was a guinea pig in the past, but now she just tattooed a tribute to The Early November for me that I think is amazing. I absolutely love getting tattooed by my wife.
How has social media helped the growth of the band?
We wouldn’t be where we are without it. I am personally quick to moan about social media, maybe because I am the one that deals with it the most and I am the one that is constantly updating the band pages, but I think that people really like to connect. And we love connecting to the fans and talking to them. I think that when I was growing up, I would never have even dreamed about being able to meet the bands at my favorite shows. But, times have changed and there’s an expectation that I don’t mind. I don’t think there should be a price on paying to meet someone. I think that being able to connect has helped fuel our band. It’s an important thing that people tend to remember forever. Whether it is on social media or in person, we tend to go out of our way to connect with people.
Absolutely. The fans are the core of a band. Last but certainly not least, ‘okay.’ is officially out and we know that you touched base on tour plans, but is there anything else that you can fill us in about pertaining to plans that As It Is has for 2017 and do you have any closing messages for your fans?
The majority of the year, we will be touring in a lot of places. Aside from touring, I am really excited for new music videos that will elaborate more on the course of the new album, ‘okay.’. And for the fans, thank you so much for allowing us to do this. Thank you for continuing to support us while being patient for the second record.