The Vans Warped Tour 2018 Interviews: Patty Walters of As It Is
The Vans Warped Tour commenced its final cross country run at the Pomona Fairplex, officially starting off the summer of 2018 with a blast. One of the bands on the entire tour is As It Is, making their second trek on the iconic festival. Their new album The Great Depression will be released August 10th via Fearless Records – and the band is already playing The Wounded World and The Stigma: Boys Don’t Cry at their live shows. Highwire Daze Online caught up with As It It vocalist Patty Walters in the press area to discuss the making of The Great Depression, working with famed producer Machine on the new album, his thoughts on the Vans Warped Tour coming to an end, and a whole lot more. Read on…
What were your first impressions when you discovered that the Vans Warped Tour was coming to an end?
It’s bittersweet, isn’t it? I can understand in the current music industry, something as colossal as Warped Tour can’t thrive the way that it did 10 or 20 years ago. And you know – all good things come to an end. I feel so lucky to have been part of Warped Tour – even in a small way. This is our second one – and I feel so lucky to be here for the last ever one.
With this being your second Warped Tour, what advice would you give fans attending Warped this summer for the first time?
Stay hydrated. Stay very hydrated. And one of the most important things about Warped Tour that maybe gets lost in the present day, is ultimately this is about discovering your new favorite band. So if you don’t discover your favorite band on the day, do a bit of research – listen to bands you haven’t heard before – check them out on Spotify and Apple Music or their videos on YouTube. There’s a lot of great music and a lot of great up-and-coming bands on this tour that you should know about.
Let’s talk about your upcoming album. Is there any overall story or concept behind the title The Great Depression?
There is indeed. The record is a conversation about the societal glorification of mental illness – about depression – and discussing whether the scene does more harm than good. Are we comforting or are we perpetuating something disgusting to be a part of? And these were questions I had to ask myself being a part of this conversation. I think the result is a pretty profound record I’m very proud to have written.
How do you think The Great Depression compares to previous As It Is albums?
It’s certainly different. It’s a drastic departure from the sound we had on the two previous records, but at the end of the day, I think it still sounds very much like an As It Is album. We’re just embracing a different era of music – paying homage to some different bands but still being true to what this band represents.
The Wounded World – what was the overall idea regarding the lyrics.
The idea for the lyrics is about living in a time like 2018, where we have this certain President, and that the world is making certain choices that ultimately we’re all to blame for. We need to unite as one people – remember that we are all together in this fight. It’s okay to disagree, but it’s not okay to point fingers and to scream your opinion and to pretend they’re facts and then end the conversation there. It’s not how things get done.
Select any other song from The Great Depression and what inspired the lyrics.
There’s a song called The Stigma: Boys Don’t Cry that we released a video for yesterday. It’s not just about boys – it’s about gender expectation – toxic masculinity, tonic femininity and societal expectations. And it’s a song about rejecting conformity – it’s about rejecting labels and being yourself – and looking after yourself and your mental health.
What was it like working with Aaron Gillispie from Underoath on the song The Reaper?
More incredible than you know. He’s a hero of ours. That band has been so influential to us – even on our first record, it’s why we chose James Paul Wisner as our producer for Never Happy, Ever After, because of his work with Underoath. When Underoath signed to our label Fearless, we took that as an opportunity to reach out – not expecting a yes or a no – if you don’t ask, it doesn’t happen. We were very humbled that Aaron agreed, and we got to write the song with him in mind, which I think makes the feature even better.
You chose an interesting producer for this album, Machine. He’s done bands such as Lamb Of God and many others. What made you decide to reach out to Machine and what was it like working with him?
We went with Machine for the same reason Lamb Of God went with Machine – because it was different and it was going to create a braver, bolder record. Machine has worked with bands within our scene, but not for the last decade or so. We were interested in working with him because of his amazing abilities – his amazing vision. We got on a Skype call with him – talked about the visions of this record and he said yes before he heard a single demo. And he shared the vision. He was thinking outside the box more than we could ever ask for a producer. He was involved with the process and the production more than even we were. It was amazing.
What could one expect from a live As It Is show on Warped Tour this year?
Sweat. Sunburn. (Laughs) We’ve missed Warped Tour so much. This is our first Warped Tour in three years. I’ve missed everything about it – even the heat – even the sunburn – even the long days and the early set times. Our live set has always been about energy and fun – and just having a couple minutes where we can all get out the thoughts and the feelings that we have. This is our outlet, just like it is for any fan at Warped Tour.
Are you going to enjoy playing the older As It Is songs, and would you rather be playing the new stuff more?
I’m excited to release the new songs, but we still love all our old songs – and we’re playing quite a few off of Okay. And specifically we’re playing Dialtones off of Never Happy – and that’s always going to remain such an important song to us – the song that we’re so proud of that really opened the door for the band for a lot of incredible opportunities like this.
And do you have any messages for As It Is fans who are reading this right now?
Thank you so much for being such open minded and dedicated fans. That’s part of the reason why we felt so brave and limitless with embracing this direction. On Okay., we embraced darker and lighter genres, and people were so open minded and responsive. And yeah, we just want to thank you so very much. Thank you for sticking with this band through everything we’ve been through.
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photo by Jack Lue)