In what ended up being a very spur of the moment day, I sat down with Title Fight guitarist Shane Moran to talk about the band's inclusion in Warped Tour, their involvement with the Redwood Art Space and their decision to make backpacks for this tour.
You guys are currently on Warped Tour. The punk and hardcore scene has always had some place on this tour but youíre arguably the more prominent bands of the scene on this yearís version, can you talk about how itís been going?
Itís good. Honestly, going into it we didnít really know what to expect. We thought weíd be a little out of place just because from like the previous yearís lineup. But itís been great, thereís lots of friendsí bands on it that are like-minded and weíve toured with them in the past. Itís been really easy to have friends around. And some of the bands we wouldnít expect to get along with weíve been getting along with. Everyone is friendly. Itís definitely exceeded our expectations.
Thereís definitely been a crossover with the community youíre a part of this year. Can you talk a bit about that with the bands and labels that are out here this year?
I canít really explain it, but itís weird seeing the lineup for Warped Tour and a lot of my friendsí bands are on it. Just getting an issue of Alternative Press and every other page is someone Iím friends with. Itís weird because it doesnít feel like any of our bands are at that level where we should be in magazines and on Warped Tour, but if you take a step back from it thatís the reality. That scene is coming up all at the same time. Itís cool to be a part of that. I feel like it would be weird if the bands didnít really deserve it but I feel like the bands getting recognition and gaining momentum are really good bands that write good songs and care about their music. Itís cool to see that presence especially at a place like Warped Tour where there are so many kids that are pretty impressionable and donít really know what they like yet. They just like music and they come to Warped Tour, so itís nice to have some bands with some real substance that itís okay to like music like this. You can like music with breakdowns or bands that wear makeup, thatís cool. But thereís also bands like Polar Bear Club and Make Do and Mend that are bands. Itís cool to put that in front of kids just so they know that thereís that stuff out there, and that these bands deserve to do just as well as these bands do.
Thereís always been a message passed along at Warped whether it be from bands or from the non-profits that are here. How does being in a band from the background of music help bring things full-spectrum for you or perhaps for someone who maybe hasnít heard of your band and is seeing Title Fight for the first time?
Seeing all the non-profits and stuff, it kind of makes me a little bit more excited to be a part of it. Itís not just a festival about energy drinks and stuff like that. Itís cool to see that such a big business, thereís tons of money coming in every day, itís cool to see that non-profits are out there and there are food drives. It makes me realize that although itís punk and thereís this big legacy thing that tons of kids come out to, it has its roots in just what weíre used to doing. Like you could bring a can of food and get in for a couple bucks cheaper, stuff like that. Itís nice to see those values still there, because if they werenít weíd feel pretty weird about it. Itís comforting to see that kind of stuff. Weíve come from a world where if somebody needs help, weíre the people to turn to to do a show to raise money for someone if they run into problems or anything like that. Itís cool to see that on a large scale.
You guys were part of an auction to help raise money for local art space and venue...
Redwood Art Space.
I wanted to say Redwood, anyways, how did you get involved with that project and what did being a part of that mean to the band?
Thereís a venue in our hometown of Wilkes-Barre called Cafe Metropolis that we all went to, even when we were little kids. I started going there when I was twelve, and the guys in Title Fight, before I joined the band, they played one of their first shows there. They were 12 and 13, but throughout the years that was the spot to go to. All-ages club. Perfect size, perfect venue, perfect stage. Just a really good environment. Thatís where I grew up and thatís where we spent a lot of our time in our formative years. I saw my first show there. Seeing bands there throughout the years was a huge influence in why Iím in a band to being with. When it shut down a couple years back, it was pretty devastating seeing something from your youth disappear because Iím not sure of the reasons... Iím sure itís because rent costs a lot. Insurance costs a lot. Itís hard to keep it going especially if youíre just trying to book bands for fun. The city that weíre from is kind of blind to the youth I feel in a way. And it was pretty discouraging to see that they couldnít help out in any way. Every other town we go to in the world has a skate park or a venue or something that the community is involved in. Not everywhere but almost every place. So it was kind of sad to see it was gone and no one could do anything about it. But it was a huge part of our lives, and there was no place for kids to see all-ages shows. The only place you could see music in our town was at a bar. We decided, us and our friends, to take full responsibility because if no one else is going to make a venue then it just wasnít going to happen. So Title Fight has been on the road a lot so we helped out whenever we could, but we put a ton of money towards building the stage, remodeling the space, getting a sound system with the help of a lot of our friends back home. Paying the rent and everything. We kind of helped get it off the ground with the funds and then our friends took it from there and booked shows. Made it nice, kept it clean. Respected the neighbors. It was awesome. I think it was over a year it lasted, we played a few times there. Anti-Flag played there which was pretty cool. A couple things would pop up and kids would come out. It was cool to have a hand in that because if I didnít have that when I was younger, I wouldnít know where Iíd be. Again, the city strikes the hammer down and it was kind of hard to keep it going. Stupid stuff happened with the zoning and it just wasnít working out in that location that we spent a lot of time on. So our friends decided to find a new space where rent is a lot more expensive. But, itís necessary to have a space like that to us and to the kids back home. We donated a bunch of records and got a bunch of bands to donate stuff instead of doing a Kickstarter. With using Big Cartel, all the money is going straight into the venueís pocket to get it off the ground and keep it going. Iím pretty sure itís still going to be called Redwood Art Space, but itíll be in downtown Wilkes-Barre instead of on the outskirts of it.
Another thing you guys did recently was something with L.L. Bean on Facebook, and it sort of carried over into you guys selling backpacks for Warped. Can you tell us a bit about your enjoyment for the outdoors and what the L.L. Bean photo promotion meant to you?
The L.L. Bean photo thing, it was National Park Week, they were doing a fundraiser online where if you post a picture of yourself at a national park during that week, any comments or likes on it theyíll donate a dollar to this foundation that tries to get young kids from unprivileged families out on trips to see those kinds of things. It was cool for us to be able to help. Coincidentally, the day before that, we were at the Grand Canyon. We didnít even know, we just wanted to go. But whenever we have off days on tour, if there is something like that nearby, we try to do that. You often donít get to see... like Warped Tour youíre in a parking lot. You really donít get to see everything. We definitely make it a point to do stuff like that. And we saw that and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do that. Iíve been talking with some of the people at L.L. Bean trying to get something going and that seemed like the perfect opportunity to help out. I really respect their company. Their whole aesthetic matches up pretty well with stuff I like. When it comes to merch, the outdoors matches up a lot with what we do. Itís awesome on a small scale to support them. The backpacks... this company called Drifter that Iím a fan of. We just wanted to make a cool item for Warped, something that people would remember. I wanted it for myself more than anything, and so we made them. Kids have been into them. Itís a good company, made in America as well, which is important to us. Weíre into outdoorsy shit when it comes to the aesthetic of our merch, but when weíre home... Iím so bummed weíre not home this summer. We usually go camping and to swimming holes and barbecues. Thatís what we like to do for fun.
Iíve heard youíve pretty much sold them out.
Pretty much. I mean, we only got a small amount because itís a pretty high cost to get them made because itís made here and has a lifetime warranty. I saw it in Japan and I took a picture of it because itís made here so I checked it out at home. Itís kind of expensive, but we donít make much on them. We did get a few more though.
Itís not just a piece of merch either, thereís a reason you went with this backpack.
Yeah, when we had the idea for backpacks we got a bunch of samples including cheap backpacks made in like... god knows where. We could have gotten them cheaper and sold them cheaper but they would have fallen apart and who knows the ethics behind them being made. Made in America... we know thereís people getting paid right. Theyíre getting benefits and itís a good quality product that was cared for. Thatís why they are so much. Itís like writing a song. You want that attention to detail, you donít just want something thrown together. That philosophy speaks across every angle of our band.
Anything else youíd like to add?
I said this earlier but thanks to the kids who have stuck around. Weíve done some weirder tours out of our comfort zone. So itís cool to see kids come see us like when we toured with Rise Against where itís in arenas and with barriers, tickets were like 40 bucks. I understand that sucks if youíre trying to see our band, but for us itís a really cool experience that we donít know if weíll ever get to have again. So thanks to everyone that has supported us through that, and weíll be back in clubs no matter what.