Near the beginning portion of this year's Vans Warped Tour, I sat down with members of Massachusetts' own A Loss for Words to talk a little bit about the bumps in the road just past releasing their latest full-length No Sanctuary, their inclusion on the Acoustic Basement and wrestling.
Photos by Brittani Ericksen
Just for the record can you state your name and what you do in A Loss for Words?
Matty: Matty and I sing.
Chris: I’m Chris and I play the drums.
Mike: I’m Mike and I play bass and sing backing vocals.
You guys played pretty early on the Tilly’s Stage today, how was the crowd?
Matty: You know, it wasn’t bad considering we played against some of our best friends in Four Year Strong who are also from Boston and play, well, not the exact same kind of music as us but same genre. It was good, there was a good few hundred kids and it was fun.
Mike: Everybody has to have their turn playing early and close, so it’s luck of the draw, but considering it was that early and kids were still just getting there, it was a pretty good turnout.
Going back to the beginning of this album cycle back in December, you were supposed to tour with Dance Gavin Dance and it kind of put a bit of a stunt in the album cycle. Can you tell us a bit about what that did to your psyche as a band with releasing a new record and wanting to get on road?
Matty: Yeah, that was definitely a bum out. Obviously the reason it happened, people know and I don’t want to get into it is because it’s personal to someone else and not myself. But that was definitely a bummer because we were releasing a brand new album on a brand new label. Our first big tour and it got cancelled. Luckily our friends in Hit the Lights saved our asses and we did a tour with them, Divided by Friday and The Story So Far. It was awesome. It was only nine shows, but we’re lucky enough to have good friends that when they found out the news that they asked us, ‘You got a new record out, what are you gonna do?’, but it definitely kind of messed with our psyche because we didn’t do another full-U.S. tour until the Glamour Kills Tour, which was what another four months after the record had come out?
Mike: Yeah, something like that.
Matty: So it put a damper on things but we got good reviews and people were really liking the record.
Mike: We were excited to play to a whole new crowd too. But, I think everything happens for a reason. We did that tour with Hit the Lights and we’ve ended up on some really good tours since then.
Matty: We don’t let anything bother us and take what we can and move forward.
You spoke a bit about No Sanctuary, there’s been a lot of positive things said about it. What’s one thing that stands out on this record as an example as you guys progressing with this record?
Mike: I feel like the musicianship is a step up from our last record, The Kids Can’t Lose. We’ve all grown as songwriters and it came together a lot smoother than the first record. We’re just getting used to writing with each other and putting our ideas in and I think it shows on the record.
Matty: We made a diverse record this time around as well. If you listen to the record from front to back, you’ll hear songs like “Jetsetter” and “Finite” and “Pirouette” that are slower songs, song that you can tour with like Mayday Parade or whoever, then you have songs like “JMR” or “Honeymoon Eyes” and we could go on tour with Bouncing Souls or Rise Against, more punky bands. There’s a little something for everybody, we tried not to segregate any kids who would listen to our band. We do what we like and sculpt it into one record.
How would you say doing that Motown covers record played into your writing style and progressing a bit?
Matty: I think it was a good thing. Kids always want to hear like The Temptations or “My Girl”. I think it also brought together kids that don’t necessarily share the same interests as their parents. I always get stuff on the internet like, ‘Dude my mom loves listening to that record. She hates everything else I listen to, but every time I put that record in she knows the songs.’ Everybody does cover records, but I don’t think anyone’s done a Motown cover record.
Mike: At least in our genre.
Matty: It was cool to show people that we’re not just influenced by New Found Glory and Saves the Day, we’re actually also into like old Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and stuff like that.
Mike: We did our best to make them sound like A Loss for Words doing our version of it. We re-structured some of the songs and it was a lot of fun. Practice for rewriting the structures of those songs was like practice for writing our own songs, you know?
People always talk about what Warped is about, how do you guys feel you help define what Warped is about this year?
Matty: I think Warped has always changed. As kids get older, they change and get into different things. It started off more as a punk, hardcore thing, but not it’s kind of like pop and metal are kind of running the scene right now. But it’s cool, we have bands like All Time Low and bands like The Ghost Inside, both bands that are great I think, but back in the day you might have seen The Bouncing Souls and Pennywise. It’s just a different feel. But Kevin Lyman has an awesome thing and we’re stoked to be a part of it, and we get to play twice a day. We meet a bunch of new kids and bands and people, just people running the tents, non-profits and clothing companies. It’s like a summer camp, you make a lot of cool friends. We’re thankful to be a part of it.
You mentioned playing twice a day, you’re also a part of the Acoustic Basement. What does it mean to be able to show your songs in a little bit different light?
Matty: I think it’s awesome. Our friend Brian Marquis, he used to be in a band called Therefore I Am, one of our good friends. Therefore I Am parted ways, but Brian was always very passionate about music and got with Kevin and started the Acoustic Basement stage. He has amazing acts. Kris from The Ataris, Mike from MxPx, Chuck Ragan. He has bands of our generation as well, Transit, Man Overboard, Vinnie from I Am The Avalanche and Movielife. It’s always packed. We released an acoustic EP a few years back called Webster Lake and now we have a new one called Return to Webster Lake. We just like playing different stuff, we did the Motown covers, the acoustic stuff, the full band stuff.
Mike: It’s cool because we get to play songs during the acoustic set that we’re not playing during the full band set. It gives the kids an opportunity to see more songs from us.
Matty: And like today since we played against Four Year Strong, maybe some kids that want to see us will trickle into the acoustic tent. Like they missed us and saw Four Year, but it’s cool because you have two opportunities to give us a chance.
And with what you mentioned, Return to Webster Lake, you’re are continuing to give people a different side of you guys.
Matty: The one thing that we got a lot of feedback on like Twitter and Instagram and stuff like that, we had our friend Tay from We Are the In Crowd sing on one of the songs and I got a lot of feedback like, ‘I’ve never heard you guys before, but Tay sang on one of your songs and I actually really like your acoustic stuff.’ We’re so stuck in one scene with us and Fireworks and Title Fight and so we’ve been exposed as much as we can in this scene. It was cool to take a step out and take a chance with some kids who have never heard of us or any of our friends’ bands before. They’re more into stuff like We the Kings and All Time Low, and they’re stepping into our world and it’s something they’ve been digging. I’m happy with the response. We just have fun. We don’t try to impress anybody. We just do what we like and hope kids like it.
As far as the Acoustic Basement, if people aren’t going to stop by and catch your set, is there a particular artist you recommend people check out?
Matty: Anthony Raneri, Vinnie just left.
Matty: Koji, Transit. Into It. Over It. Brian Marquis. We’re all friends. Literally whenever anybody walks in that tent, like whoever is playing there’s always shoutouts. It’s very low key. Very DIY. It’s a basement feel. It’s an opportunity to meet them as well. If you like Anthony or Koji or Evan, go say what’s up. There’s no rockstars in the tent, just good people playing good songs.
What are you guys thinking after Warped in terms of touring and what not?
Mike: We’re gonna be home for like a month and a half, and then we’re gonna go and try to start creating for a new record. Then we’re going over to the UK to do Warped over there and do some touring there and Germany and Russia. Us, this band Decade, this band Save Your Breath and our friends in LYU.
Matty: Light It Up. Light You Up. I’m still getting used to that. But we’re stoked, there’s a few little off shows we’ll be announcing like college shows and what not, but then we have the UK and hopefully some US tours lined up. We haven’t done a full-U.S. tour, obviously Warped is a little different, but I’d like to do one more full-U.S. tour before we go back and record a new record.
Have you guys tossed around maybe an acoustic based tour?
Matty: It always falls through. Like last year we did some shows with Koji and Brian Marquis and Jamie from Bright and Early. I’m hoping this year we can do something like that around the holidays, maybe some Northeast dates, but we’re always down.
Anything you’d like to add?
Mike: Pro wrestling is fake. Just kidding.
Matty: He thinks he is a professional wrestler.
Mike: I’m gonna be a wrestler.
See you should hook up with the kids in Code Orange Kids. They know wrestling.
Matty: See I know old-school, he knows the new school.
I met Mick Foley once.
Mike: Me too, he was awesome. I asked him who kicked his ass the most and he said either Vader or Stone Cold.
No mention of being thrown off a cage in that Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker?
Matty: I respect that dude a lot.
Mike: Wrestling is the best.
Matty: I’ll just say go Bruins, go Red Sox, go Patriots, go Celtics. Boston year, always. 2013, it’s coming down.