It definitely is the Story Of Year with band returning to Australia this May for a massive tour. Known for their spectacular live shows and rapacious anthemic songs, Story Of The Year have emerged from their self-imposed hiatus and the bands devoted Australian fans couldn’t be happier! It’s been seven years since the last Story Of The Year record. They’re stepping out of the shadows with more passion and energy than any time in the last decade. They are re-vitalized and absolutely intent on delivering the best record of their lives. Talking to a rejuvenated Ryan Phillips he couldn’t hide how excited they are to be returning to Australia to play this record.
Fantastic news that Story Of The Year are coming back to Australia this May?
It’s fantastic for us to! It’s one of our favourite places on the entire Earth to go. I’m sure all bands say that but it’s true, we love coming to Australia.
Congratulations on the album Wolves, fantastic!
Yeah, thanks! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Were you at any pint concerned that you wouldn’t get there given the length of time it took between albums?
Yeah, I think that’s what the biggest difference was compared to all of our records is that I didn’t know the entire time I was writing the music I thought that there was a ten percent chance that another human would ever hear it. I didn’t know if we would ever be a band again but I just kept writing because that’s what I do. It’s weird when you’re dedicating all these hours and all this mental energy to something you don’t know, I gave it a ten percent chance, maybe not ten percent but a small chance that anyone would ever hear it. It was a different process!
Not knowing where these songs would have gone could they have fit another project or a solo album?
No, that’s the thing that is cool is that we are no longer using the record label and we’ve changed everything about how we are doing business in moving forward. No record label, we’re doing everything ourselves and being a lot more calculated and strategic about touring and overhauled our entire business. The magic thing about this record, like I said most of it was written not knowing if anyone would ever hear it and enough time has passed to say fuck it I’m doing it like I did when I was sixteen other than I love it. I love making music and I love the creative process. This whole record was written like that and it sounds weird to say but it wasn’t even written for Story Of The Year fans.
It was just written because I can’t not make music and I didn’t go in to it thinking this would be a Story Of The Year song. I just wrote music that I thought was cool and our singer Dan just sung over it what he thought was cool. It wasn’t made for fans, it wasn’t made for a record label, it wasn’t made for a radio programmer. It was only made because we wanted to do and we felt we had it in us. That’s what makes this record super special that it is really organic, raw, real and pure and none of our records have been like that. They’ve all been written under a deadline and written for a record label, written knowing that it would see the light of day and fans would hear it. This record was none of that, we had no clue if anyone would ever hear it. The result was great.
Did you write the songs knowing how you wanted them to sound or do you see where the creative process takes you?
Yeah exactly, ninety percent of the stuff that I write would not work for Story Of The Year. Most of it is just stuff that I would play, record it and I go ok that won’t work for Story Of The Year, that won’t work for this but that’s just my process. I didn’t set out to write a Story Of The Year song but just me writing songs. It’s always kind of been like that. I record stuff and stuff that sounds like Story Of The Year I send to the band, the stuff that doesn’t I just keep it.
It must be great being able to go in to the studio with literally a blank canvas to work with and see what happens?
I’m writing all the time any way but the first song I sent to Story Of The Year was in 2012, so you’re talking four or five years sending songs not knowing if we would be a band again but they were written because that’s what we do. No pressure, no nothing, the ones that happened organically we would listen to and Dan would start singing a melody. The ones he felt that gravitated towards were the ones that went on the album. It was a really easy organic process.
Did you ever contemplate a solo record at any point during that time?
I’ve been contemplating that for ten years and I just haven‘t done it because I have to do so much for Story Of The Year. I do so much for that band, I had a second band for a long time, I just like I didn’t have enough hours in the day to do it. It’s on the list, I’m going to do it at some point. I have so much material siting on hard drives that it is ridiculous.
Looking back how important was it for the band to take a break?
It was really important, we spent ten years touring and being gone months at a time and making records. We needed to step back and just grow individually, this sounds weird but shit got real hard. We took a hiatus, money is super, super tight and I have to open about the money stuff and what it is like for most people in bands. Unless you’re in the top one percent you’re not making any money especially when you’re a rock band and you have to split it between four or five people. I started doing photography on the side to keep a roof over our heads and so much time passed this record feels like completely starting over.
It feels like a new band and that was the magic of going away, taking a break and taking a hiatus. I feel like I’m seventeen again, it feels so new and fresh and exciting again. That wouldn’t of happened if we just kept going and going and going and making whatever records. The record sounds the way that it does because we were in a certain mindset being away for a really long time. The only reason we are doing this honestly, is because we really genuinely love it and genuinely miss it and we felt we had something artist to say… that’s it! It’s like being seventeen again and just sat in your room playing music because you love it, not because anyone was telling you but because you love it – that’s where it’s at! It’s a cool place to be.
Was the Pledge Music campaign a cool thing for the band bringing the fans one step closer to the process?
The Pledge thing is probably one of the best things we have ever done because we went away, we weren’t the biggest band any more, you do wonder and we questioned it all the time whether we still have something to say, do people still care, do we still have enough fans out there to do this? You ask yourself all these questions, it has been years and years and years then we launched the Pledge campaign and we hit our goal within twenty-four hours. That was the best thing ever because they are your fans, they are voting for you, they are saying yes we want another record and to play more shows, we want you to be the band again. We set a really ambitious goal and hit it within one day. Now we’re at four hundred percent funded by people who believe in the band, they are our die-hard fans, that has been the coolest thing ever. Ok, there’s people out there who really give a shit about this band and that is so cool to me.
Can fans expect greatest hits and memories on this tour?
There’s going to be a lot from the new album and what we feel are the fan favourites. That’s what we are doing, we’ve already done a few shows for this album already. The cool thing about this album is that this is the most songs we have ever played off a new album live. The last album we played one or two songs tops, the one before may one song, for whatever reason a lot of the songs didn’t translate live or maybe if I’m being honest maybe those records weren’t good enough but this record those songs sound so cool live, so fun and interesting to play. We’re playing more than half the record live and it’s fucking amazing, so good! When making this album one of the first emails I sent was to our booking agent saying I have to go Australia and Japan. Even before booking stuff in our hometown and the States my first email was wanting to go to Australia. Besides the music and the band I just love to travel and I love Australia so much.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Story Of The Year on the following dates