The Outsiders Tour with co-headliners The Ready Set and Metro Station was spinning to an end, with the final show being at the House Of Blues in San Diego, California. The Downtown Fiction supplied direct support for the entire run, and undoubtedly gained a ton of new fans in the process. Their Fearless Records debut Losers & Kings is the pop punk album of the year, filled to the brim with wildly infectious anthems such as Somewhere Out There, No Generation, and Santa Cruz. Just prior to their set, we sat down backstage with the entire band to discuss some of the songs from the new album, their thoughts on this last night on the tour, messages for their West Coast fans, and other rockin’ topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Downtown Fiction and what’s your favorite song on the new album?
Cameron: My name is Cameron Leahy and I play guitar and sing and I think currently my favorite is “Big Mistakes.” It’s a song we close with on the set. It’s just a cool song for all of the different inspirations that blend. There’s a cool piano part that I really love, that’s very danceable. Then there’s this verse that’s very sonically empty and lets the vocals come up, but there’s still this rocking chorus. I really like that song. A lot of diverse elements.
Kyle: My name is Kyle Rodgers, I play the drums. My favorite song is “Don’t Count Me Out,” which is a nice rocky song. It’s got a rad riff in it and those are the two elements I like in rock songs.
Wes: My name is Wes Dimond, I play guitar in The Downtown Fiction. I’d have to say currently, my favorite is “No Generation.” It’s a real fun song, it’s got a cool jammy verse and it goes into a fun heavy chorus. I like playing it live.
David: I’m David Pavluk and I play bass and sing backup vocals and my favorite is probably “Kiss My Friends,” it has a sweet bass line, which I really enjoy playing live. It’s crazy hard, but fun. Then, the chorus is super powerful and rocky, fast and the song is pretty much over in a flash but it’s a kick in the face of rock.
So how has this tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Kyle: It’s been awesome so far. I think we’ve done a good job at reaching a lot of new fans, it’s been good for us monetarily. We’ve got some good merch out there, some new merch we’ve had designed. The shows have been really well attended, and a lot of fun. A lot of good music on this tour.
David: I think one of the highlights was playing a couple of nights ago near LA, in Anaheim and a lot of people came out. We had management come out and they got to see what we’ve been doing on the road for the last few weeks. We’re getting near the end of the tour, everything is really polished. House of Blues has a great sound.
The tour has been going on for about a month, just about over. What goes through your mind at this stage of the tour when everything is about to end?
Cameron: It’s a really good feeling, usually by the end of the tour you’re most prepared with the set and familiar with it. You just feel so comfortable at that point, it’s almost muscle memory. So, at this point it just feels like we’re a well polished machine. It’s always bittersweet because it’s also the end. You wish you could almost keep going, but we’ll be going more in the spring.
David: I’d say we’re definitely ready for a break but not too long of a break because this is what we like doing and we want to get back out as soon as possible. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that soon.
What does the title “Loser and Kings” mean to you guys?
Cameron: The record, a lot of it is about empathy for others through self-examination. You realize, oh, we’re all losers and kings in some ways. We’ve all been through these different strifes and troubles and all have come out on the other end of it. So, a lot of it too is about looking back at your childhood and saying, how the hell did I get here? It’s a loose theme, but I think it brings your perspective to a new level when you start to think about it in those terms, oh everybody’s going through the same thing.
What’s the story behind the song “Santa Cruz”?
Cameron: I wrote the song about my skateboard. I got a longboard on my birthday, I was born in Santa Monica. Moving back to LA was another part of what I think influenced the record a little bit. That childhood nostalgia, that reexamination of your life comes from revisiting a place you once were from. So we’re transplants, we’re not from – i can say I was born there but I’m not from LA, not really. I lived in Virginia. “Santa Cruz” is about – the skateboard is just this vessel for all of that examination. It was for me, it became a big part of my life where I was taking this Santa Cruz out all the time. Between us going surfing or something, it’d be a lot of cruising around. The area I lived in for a while had these really smooth hills and roads, I’d go out at night and it would just inspire the song. I thought it needed a song. It was very natural, though. Didn’t take much thought.
“No Generation” is almost a punk rock anthem. What inspired it?
Cameron: I wrote that one with Martin from Boys Like Girls. I had known him for a while. Yeah, its just a cool rock song. I always think of The Who in the title, it is a little Who inspired. Not musically, but the sentiment. I think it was just one of those songs that, again, it was very effortless.
David: That one is really fun to play live as well. I’m always mentioning our live show because that’s a big part of the band and a big part of how when we went to record this record. We had that in mind of how it’s going to sound live. We even have an outro, it’s pretty rockin’ for that song. We’re not playing it on this tour, unfortunately. We have in the past, you’ll hear it again soon.
If The Downtown Fiction could open for any band, either now or from the past. Who and why?
David: My answer is Weezer and Foo Fighters. They’ve done tours in the past together, but put The Downtown Fiction on that show. That’d be a sick rock show.
Wes: I think it’d be cool to open up for Queens of the Stone Age, actually. That’d be so rad, that’d be a real rocking tour. I feel like we could play and keep up. I think it’d be fun.
Kyle: I’ve said this before, but Led Zeppelin just because opening up and being able to watch them every night would be insane.
Cameron: Man, that’s a tough one because there are so many bands where you don’t feel as if your band would fit on the bill even though you’d love to open for them. But, because I’ve been obsessed with this band Deerhoof and I play them all the time, relentlessly but they’re so crazy and out there that i’ve gotten obsessed with them. But I don’t think we’d be able to fit with them very well. Another band that sort of fits the vein of “doesn’t fit with anyone at all” is Devo. I feel like they have their own, they’ve carved out their own terrain, they’re their own thing. That’s another thing I super admire, in Devo. Theyre so punk in the fact that they play like robots. They play – they’re so solid, such a solid band. There’s nothing more punk to me than a band that just is totally on, every beat is so punchy. They’re a huge inspiration.
How about a cover of “Girl You Want”?
Cameron: Kyle and I have jammed that song, we have a rehearsal cover but there’s another song called – not even going to reveal it, maybe we’ll do the other one I’m thinking of. But we’ve done “Girl You Want.”
Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Southern California area?
Cameron: Yeah! Come out to the shows and check out the new album. I think that – not that it’s not relatable to everyone, but I think there’s something even special for West Coast people to hear on the record, because we made it on the West Coast. It has this very open feeling that sort of makes me think of standing by the ocean. I don’t know what makes me think that it should be played by the ocean but – it has that feeling, that sentimentality from coming from being born there, I guess.
Kyle: I guess yeah, come to the show and thank you very much for following the band and checking out the new record and continuing to support us. We really appreciate it, we love you guys.
Wes: Thank you so much. I feel like we have an awesome following on the West Coast, it’s really fun seeing them out at shows because they’re so energetic and fun. I think there’s a totally type of energy when we come out here, I can feel it every time we play these West Coast shows. Including the show in Anaheim, I’m really excited for the show tonight here to finish off the tour, I think it’d be a good one.
David: I agree with everything everyone said, that was great. Come see the record live, we really enjoy playing it and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing it. So get ready for a rocking show and next time we tour. Thank you all again.
Be sure to catch The Downtown Fiction at The Mint on December 17th. This all acoustic show also features The Ready Set, Metro Station, Trevor Dahl, Up In The Clouds and a DJ set from Goldhouse!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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