Story Of The Year On Tour With Knotfest
‘It was the most surreal and awesome forty five seconds of my life!’ exclaims Adam Russell, bassist of Story Of The Year from his basement back home, flanked by not one but two R2D2’s.
The cinematic theme is one that Russell holds dear as we speak about the bands upcoming album release Tear Me To Pieces, the six Australian shows as part of this countries inaugural Knotfest later this month and the way he approaches the music.
‘I’ve always felt that I’ve always been more of a visual artist. I’m technically a professional musician and have been for twenty five years but I’ve always been better at the visual side. Ryan Phillips and I edit our own DVDs and we’ve directed our own music videos. I’ve been studying screenwriting and film for twenty years so it easier for me in that way. Dan Marsala, he’s the most talented musician in our band and he can play every instrument, which works great for a singer but he also had this stretch for months on the last album where he would watch the whole catalogue of a director, take the vibes and make it part of the song. I think it works best that way. Some of the best songs in history tell stories.’
The new album is arguably the bands heaviest to date, with tracks such as War and Tear Me Pieces sitting side by side with feel good belters like 2005 and beautiful album closer Use Me. It’s also an album dealing with toxic relationships and some of life’s tougher moments which lends to the music however it’s not a concept album.
‘We were conscious of the whole album in terms of dynamics and checking all the boxes that we wanted, how it was shaping us as we went. We had this whiteboard with all the songs in the running as we were demoing with Colin the producer. We just kept looking at it going ‘I don’t know, we need one more, we’ve gotta get this kinda song.’
‘I was really pushing for a song in a 6/8 time signature, and Josh Willis loves that as well, so we would have a back and forth with Colin saying ‘6/8 sounds like this!’ We would reference our own albums and go ‘no it sounds like this and this is what makes up our style, a dynamic Story Of The Year set, an album’ and we really wanted to make sure we could take you on that journey. In this case a thirty three minute journey, you know to go everywhere we wanted to and what we felt is most relevant in 2023. Some were so magical we couldn’t not put it on the album. ‘2005’ and ‘Use Me’ were two song writing processes I was on my feet pacing around the room freaking out about ‘this is so going somewhere really special right now!’ It has a lot of vibes but also very focussed and intentional approach. It ended up by feel, turning into a story of an album.’
Story Of The Year are included in Knotfest and will also do three sideshows themselves on the East Coast of Australia. Something Russell is looking forward to despite the challenge of being on such a heavy bill.
‘An opportunity to play with Slipknot on their festival, a band I’ve listened to for twenty four years when that first album came out, to do that in a country we already have I feel like our most dedicated fan base to go and play to more people. It will be great to reach new fans and obviously get back to our fans. I’m interested to see how we fit into a bill with so many heavy bands. The dynamics of us being in the middle of all this heaviness is a good thing but I feel we should probably play some more heavy songs than usual. I’m interested how it all plays out.’
We are going to need to play certain songs for people to recognise us who are maybe not active fans of the band. Of course we are going to play ‘Until Til The Day We Die’, that’s a no brainer. But the first track on this album, the title track, hits hard as shit and that would be a great song to open with. It’s also got a nice upbeat chorus, that punk side of us, but you’re right that main riff hits harder than most things we done. So if we have a good mix of the new album, the hits from ‘Page Avenue’, and some heavy stuff from the second and third album, that’s a pretty good set right there.’
Naturally their sideshows will be a headline set with even more Story Of The Year music than you can shake a stick at but not too much.
‘We were just rehearsing our album release set and realising ‘damn if we take this song out there’s nothing from this album!’ We’re not the kind of band that plays for 2/2 and half hours. The energy of the show we do it’s not sustainable for two hours unless we put a full-blown chill section in the middle!! So we’re an hour forty five tops headliner. And I like that, cause even my favourite bands you cross than hour and half and I like damn, it’s almost bedtime. It’s tough man but that’s a long way to saying the main show is the one to go to if you’re a big Story Of The Year fan!’
If you’re still wondering what the most surreal and awesome forty five seconds of Adam Russell’s life was, it was meeting Obi Wan Kenobi. The cinematic world never far from Story Of The Year.
Interview By Iain McCallum
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