While the band was driving to Spokane, I phoned up with Cobra Skulls frontman Devin Peralta to talk about their third full length that will be released this Tuesday through Fat Wreck Chords. It's also streaming on AbsolutePunk.net right now:
I was reading that you had a month to write this record and time was a little bit of a constraint.
It was kind of time constrained, but it’s not like we were forced to do anything, we just kind of put ourselves in that situation, you know? We toured, I hadn’t written all that much since we recorded the EP and when we were done touring we had six weeks to write and get ready to record. That was pretty much it. I had to write and shut everything out. Usually I write here and there and when stuff comes. This time I had to delve into the writing process and really just focus, which is kind of a good thing I think.
Fat Mike produced the EP that was released in January. How was the production handled this time around?
Fat Mike didn’t produce, he just came in for a few hours on the second day. We bounced some ideas around and played some songs on acoustic guitar. Then that was it, he was busy most of the time we were recording. And then he came in near the end of the recording to hear how everything turned out and then that was it. It was basically just us. If anyone would get producing credits it would be the engineer, he was there the whole time.
What’s the inspiration behind the title?
I thought of it as a good title for the whole album because I guess we’ve been pigeonholed as a political punk band and I had a lot of songs with personal lyrics and stuff. I was trying to think about how to describe the whole album without just describing a few songs. Agitations is a fitting title because a lot of songs are political or socially conscious and reflect issues that relate to the world at large. They’re things that agitate me I guess, but there are also songs from personal experiences, you know, friends, family and relationships. I guess all the songs are agitations in their different respects.
Is there any issue that comes up on this record that you’re passionate about in particular?
I think I write about a whole bunch of different things so it’s hard for me to say one thing in particular. If there’s an issue that a few songs relate to it would be the impact and relationship that human beings have with our planet and vice versa. That sounds kinda hippy, but yeah.
Kind of, yeah. I don’t want to brand us as eco-punks, but yeah if there is one issue I’m interested in that would be environmentalism. There are a lot of different issues, but I’d say there are three to four songs that relate to what I was saying on this record.
How would you say Agitations varies from American Rubicon?
American Rubicon was kind of, I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do. I think with this record I had more of an idea of what I wanted it to be like. I wanted this one to have shorter songs than American Rubicon because a lot of those were too long. I just wanted to write punk songs that were more like the older punk songs that got me into punk. They were short and concise songs that didn’t have big, drawn out unnecessary intros. These songs are more basic, I think maybe I got a little too experimental on American Rubicon.
And this is the first full length without Spanish as well?
Yeah, not one word of Spanish is on this album. I don’t know if I did that subconsciously or intentionally or what. But I mean, I never went ‘We’re a bilingual band’ either. I’m bilingual, but I never wanted to be branded as a bilingual band. I hope people aren’t too bummed if they wanted Spanish.
“Iron Lung” ended up being the first song people heard. Was there any reason why that song was chosen in particular?
We were just starting to mix and the label was asking for us to give a song to AMP for this compilation. They needed it for Friday and we were just starting to mix them so it was kind of like ‘Which one? Which one?’ We really had no idea which one. I think Fat Mike ended up saying it was his favourite song so we went with “Iron Lung” without knowing which song was our favourite. It was kind of a rush decision and in hindsight I don’t know if we would have picked that one or not.
So which song is your favourite then?
I don’t think “Iron Lung” was a bad choice, but I don’t know if I have a favourite because they’re all really different. I like playing “Six Degrees” and “Now You Know” but I don’t have a particular favourite.
“The Mockery” stood out to me as one of my personal favourites. Can you go into detail about why you wrote it?
Oh cool. I’ve kind of been bothered by the military industrial complex and at the same time how we have mercenary groups in the country like Blackwater, now called the Xe. The lyrics are kind of vague, I’m not talking about one particular situation regarding Blackwater. I just think it’s wrong, the whole way we allow the Blackwater or Xe to have more authority over our troops is just insane and gross. But at the same time, the way our military is structured now, it’s handled like a business, just a way to make money. I guess I have lots of issues with all that and I just tried to shove it all into a song.
You guys are currently on tour with Nothington. Do you have any plans after this?
No, we don’t have any plans after this tour, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out. Right now we’re just stoked to be out on tour and hope everything goes well. It’s great to tour with our friends in Nothington and their new album is awesome.
So everything is up in the air?
Well, we actually will be going to Europe in April I think. And there’s no official announcement yet but we’ll be going to Australia next year for the first time too.
Excellent, Deb. It was nice to get some insight after the review and compare. I also noticed that it was the first release without Spanish...and I'm glad he happened to mention American Rubicon too, haha.