Brighton, UK’s As It Is has announced the details for their highly-anticipated sophomore album Okay., to release Jan. 20. Pre-order Okay here:
“These are by far the most personal and honest songs we’ve ever written,” vocalist Patty Walters explains. “We made a conscious effort to truly push ourselves musically and lyrically, to create something that didn’t feel entirely safe or calculated. We wrote songs about our families, our personal lives, and our struggles more vulnerably than ever before, hoping to encapsulate sincere moments in our lives. We feel a huge sense of pride having created this record, and we’re immensely excited to share it with the world. We love and cherish you all for supporting us and giving us this opportunity.”
Okay. aims to bring a truly relatable and deeply personal story to the band’s audience — a conceptual world that puts listeners in the band’s shoes and conveys a common realization that it’s ‘okay’ to not be ‘okay.’ Working with producer Mike Green (Pierce The Veil, All Time Low), AS IT IS use the record to trek through intimate experiences surrounding their personal lives and everyday battles that they hope will resonate with fans in a unique way, leaving them with lasting encouragement and inspiration.
AS IT IS – The transatlantic pop-rock quintet hails from Brighton, UK consisting of Patty Walters (vocals), Benjamin Biss (vocals, guitar), Andy Westhead (guitar), Patrick Foley (drums), Alistair Testo (bass). As It Is has successfully established an ever-growing, devout fan following with their heart-on-sleeve, honest and relatable lyrics, charged with pop-rock melodies and has steadily built their reputation as one of UK’s brightest new names with the 2015 release of their debut album Never Happy, Ever After, which was noted by Rock Sound as “everything a modern pop-punk album should be,” and by Outburn Magazine as “an impressive first outing that sets the stage for As It Is’ bright future.” The band was noted as one of Alternative Press’ 100 Bands You Need To Know in 2015, voted Best British Newcomer by Rock Sound in their Reader’s Poll, and lead singer Patty Walters was featured on the cover of their New Music Issue. The band has criss-crossed the U.S. as a standout act on the Vans Warped Tour 2015, have shared the stage with Mayday Parade, Real Friends, and This Wild Life, among many others, and was nominated for Best International Band in the Alternative Press Awards 2016. With the release of their second, full-length album Okay, As It Is push themselves both musically and lyrically to craft their most personal and honest record to date, and stand poised for their biggest year yet.
Directed by Joshua Halling, the video is set in the conceptual world surrounding the album, a too-perfect bubble controlled by the fictional Happy Co. The video is an introduction to this world, where its inhabitants are sold on happiness but underlying tensions remain, no matter how much they are force fed said happiness.
Lead singer Patty Walters explains, “‘Pretty Little Distance‘ is a song about coping. The song is a cynical and sarcastic view on needing to escape real life for a more convenient reality. This song and the world we created for this record go hand in hand in that way. It’s my favourite video to date, and performing whilst a dance-off was happening in front of our eyes was something incredible, and something I wish would start happening at shows when we play that song. We’re incredibly excited to start showcasing the conceptual, metaphorical world that surrounds this record.”
So you have been busy this year writing and recording your new Album ‘Okay”. I have had it on repeat all day yesterday and am amazed at how you really opened up and wrote songs about your personal lives. How difficult was it to actually get your personal stories into a song?Hi Patty, great to have the chance to chat.
This is not the cool answer but an honest one, it was really difficult. I mean it is one thing to ride a vulnerable song about myself but it is another thing to write a vulnerable song about my sister or vulnerable song about my parentional dynamic or a vulnerable song about Ben’s granddad who is very very ill. Because you feel like you’re volunteering those people into the public eye a little bit. Or at least the people that listen to your songs. Because then those people know about the people that are close to us and important to us. Then at the very same time we are big fans of songs written away, very personal songs and we knew when writing this record how much more personal we wanted it to be. So going beyond our comfort zones was not only did we want to do but we had to do.
I prefer to listen to songs with meaning rather the crap that is on the radio these days.
I like the message that it is Okay not to Be Okay. Music can have such a powerful influence on teenagers who are susceptible to bullying and the world constantly telling them that they have to be skinnier, more beautiful etc. I think a lot of people will connect to this song and it’s message. I guess that was the point?
Yes, I guess at the end of the day we write songs for ourselves, if we personally aren’t fulfilled by our songs then we haven’t put the most important thing forward. With that being said we are writing songs for the people that support us and hopefully people that are yet to find us, our band and connect with what we say. But the message to us is, is very important. Not only does it represent us as people and our experiences growing up, I think it just is an important message that just should be said. It should be more loudly conveyed every once in awhile. I wasn’t OK when writing this record and earlier than that and I’m happy to be a person that people look to. To say of this person is not ok, or wasn’t okay at this point but is now maybe is. Music helped me a lot when I was growing up, it helps me get over a lot of issues and a lot of things that happened when I was younger and obviously the goal is to reciprocate that to the people that listen to my band. Whether or not that happens is not really up to us to decide. We are just writing the most honest songs that we can and hoping they can help people out there.
For teenagers to hear that bands that they look up to address these issues is far better than parents trying to get through to them. Do you feel a responsibility to encourage and inspire teens?
I guess. There are two ways of thinking. You could argue that there is no obligation to be a good role model to the people that look up to you. I am happy to be the best role model that I can, whether there is an obligation or not because I know that there are people looking to me for how they want to shape themselves, and that is a huge responsibility and I think that some of the choices I made with my life really positively affected me and I talk about these openly and I will always be the most positive version of myself that I can be. Some days that is more difficult than others but I really want kids to grow up to be confident in themselves and a lot of that stems from the choices that you make and the decisions that you make for your life and if I’m any help in that regardless if there is an obligation to be that role model or not. I will always openly and publicly try to be the best version of me that I can be. Publicly and privately.
Love the music video for ‘Pretty Little Distance” I mean the Back to the Future references are great! Was the music video as fun to make as it looked?
It really was, it was totally fun, we filmed a video for a song called ’Speak Soft’, we filmed that in Queensland, Australia when we were last touring there. I wouldn’t describe the as a fun video shoot because we got two hours sleep then we had to drag a lot of our equipment on the sand and that wasn’t necessarily a fun shoot, this shoot however was a very fun shoot for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think it was the song. We were not sick of the song by the time we were shooting. The novelty was still there. Secondly playing homage to the Back to the Future was super fun for us, we are big fans of that film. Thirdly the dance troupe that was there, The Brat Pack were phenomenal, we have not seen the choreography until they were performing it when we were playing. It was surreal but super fun. Lastly, we had about 20 or 30 some of our most hard-core fans there, fans that we recognize and see our shows regularly, many of whom we know by name. So that was super cool to have them there for part of the experience and I heard the song before everyone else. It was just all those things combined made it really special. As I said earlier not every music video feels fun or special. I think this totally comes across in our expressions in the video.
I connect most to the song ‘Curtains Close’ well one of many that I connect to off your album! Can you choose one and take us through the writing process and the meaning for you personally?
Sure I would love to take you through ‘Curtains Close’ actually.
We started writing that song, it was Ben, Andy and myself. We hit writers block and want to try it writing something differently, sometimes we write as a full band and sometimes we write individually. This time we wanted to do a singer-songwriter, an acoustic guitar and write lyrics from the get go. It is not usually something that we do. So we started writing the song, the music and lyrics that the same time. I think was Andy’s idea to write the song about his experience growing up. Ben then shared he’s experience with his parents getting divorced and my experience with my parents staying together but my dad travels a whole lot and so they didn’t see a lot of each other. it was a personal topic for all three of us. it is an amalgamation of our three experiences growing up. The song only got as far as we went that evening and so we didn’t plan on putting it on the record until we got to the studio. Our producer and cowriter Mike Green was going through our ideas, our barely thought ideas. Mike found the song and said “I love this idea and we need to do something with this!” We really worked on this track with Mike and it was not word for word what we had written but it was rephrased and organized and we put this song together in about two or three days. That was cool it was a totally new experience, we have not ever written before but also we have never written a song lyrically like that before. So ‘Curtains Close’ is a very special song to me. I really like how it turned out. it is so cool that so many people have heard this song and it resonated with them and I think that is what we were going for instead of writing something that was generic but a song that so many people relate to as it is just a common but heartbreaking experience. it is a really profound experience that is going to affect your childhood. We just thought it would be an interesting idea and it turned out to be a pretty strong song on the record.
I am really glad that you included it on the record!
I like the album cover, with the ok bomb in the bike basket. It is different! Was that a concept that you came up with all did you have a designer?
No it was totally something that we put together, it is deeply ingrained in the 1950s image, this sense of duality, and music is always very poppy and positive and our lyrics are sinister and pretty pessimistic so there is always been this duality with our band and we like to represent that in interesting ways and with the 1950s theme, the idea of this pinup girl riding her bike in a suburban street with an atomic bomb with okay written across it. It sounded so striking to us and just to see it so beautifully executed I am in love with it I think it turned out great. The album in lay in the pages of the lyric book there are all these other interpretations of that same reality by the same artists. I am in love with all of them I think they turned out so very striking. We have got so much positive feedback on that, we are excited that turned out awesome.
You have just finished an US tour with Sum 41, I have interviewed Derryck and Cone, and they were sweet guys, did you learn anything from your time with them?
The best thing is with the band not only that we grew up with, but a band that is so undeniably good each night on stage, I tried to learn everything as much as I could from them. Deryk is a phenomenal front man and so charismatic and talented. I was watching them close to every single night on that tour and I like to think that I have learned a few things from him. They are such nice guys, not only are they so talented you know musicians and songwriters that have affected us all very deeply, they are wonderful and very hospitable guys. So I am super thankful for that tour and I like to think that I have learnt a thing or two.
Thanks heaps for you time. Time is up. Thanks Patty.
Thanks Jen. Bye.