Before Joyce Manor’s last date of their headline Europe/UK tour, I caught up with Matt Ebert [Bassis/back-up vocalist] and Chase Knobbe [Guitarist] in Bristol to discuss their latest release, the shows they’ve played, and movies they would write a soundtrack for.
How’s the tour been going so far?
Matt: It’s been really good, this is the last night, we’re going home tomorrow morning. This is the fifteenth show I think.
How does the UK compare to other places you’ve toured?
Matt: It’s good, it’s the second time we’ve been over here in two years, so obviously we haven’t toured over here nearly as much as we have at home. It’s been really good, especially the UK shows; they’ve been much bigger than the last time we came over here, it’s been really fun.
What’s the worst tour or gig you’ve played?
Chase: On this tour we were setting up to play in Dusseldorf, like right before we were about to play we realised that the cab was broken and then nobody had a spare cab and we were all sharing gear. So Barry had to just sing and not play guitar, that was rough. One time, Barry had strep throat in Adelaide, Australia, that was definitely the weirdest show…
Matt: That was the worst show, that was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been playing a show in this band. It was like, Barry couldn’t sing, we had to just sing the parts we knew, we played like four songs. And like you know at home it’s one thing but we were at the opposite end of the world from where we live.
Chase: We may never go back there, that sucked.
What was it like to release an album through Epitaph compared to the smaller labels you were on before? Does it feel different?
Matt: It’s cool! Yeah it does feel different, it feels more official, you know, they have a much bigger PR machine backing them and all that stuff, we were able to get our record out to a lot more people. There were bus ads for our record for a few weeks, that was really surreal. I think we all grew up loving Epitaph bands, we were all really into Rancid when we were younger. It was definitely a really cool experience to be able to do that.
You did two music videos for this album, why did you choose those songs?
Chase: I feel like Catalina Fight Song is kind of similar to what the stuff before that we’ve have sounds like.
Matt: It’s a good bridge.
Chase: And then I feel like The Jerk we were just really genuinely proud of that song. So whether or not that one was like the most catchy or whatever on the record, I feel like that was just one we were super proud of.
Matt: We were like halfway through recording the record I started to feel like The Jerk really was a single, really feels like the one.
I thought the video for Catalina Fight Song was interesting, it’s sort of morbid but funny at the same time
Chase: It was really fun, our friend – Matt’s roommate Adam – filmed that for us, and we just went to like a ju-jitsu studio in a weird town in California and yeah it was great, it was really fun but scary.
Matt: We kinda wanted to get far out of our comfort zone for that, it was fun.
You’ve kept your sound pretty well which is cool, but one of the things I’ve noticed is that the drums and the guitar are a lot cleaner on the new album – is that a result of a change in your style of song writing or just a progression as a band?
Chase: Barry and I wrote a lot… well not a lot… we wrote like most of it together, like music-wise, Barry does all the lyrics and stuff, but we actually went to a studio that had a really good drum room, it was the nicest experience we’ve had recording.
Matt: We had way longer too, we had over twice as long to spend on this record than we had in the past.
Chase: And in the past we’ve also been kind of into having like a more like rougher sounding record, but I feel like this was the one time where we feel like we could try to make a high-fidelity record, just hearing everything, I feel like we worked really hard on the parts.
Matt: I think the aim was to capture our live sound as well as possible, but to have a really good kind of polished but not overdone studio sound.
Do you have plans for anything new?
Matt: We’re doing a split 7” with a band called Toys That Kill, and then a little West coast tour with them, and then that’ll be it for a while, take a little break.
If you could do a split with any band, who would you do one with?
Matt: It’s funny because for a long time we would’ve said Toys That Kill, it’s been really great that that’s worked out.
If you could rewrite a movie soundtrack, what movie would you choose?
Chase: I guess I like the soundtrack… I don’t know… that’s a hard question.
Matt: This is a good question.
Chase: Maybe we should start with a soundtrack we like, and then I dunno…
Matt: We were watching There’s Something About Mary last night and that movie has a fantastic soundtrack but we wouldn’t wanna touch that, something like that or something with a really good soundtrack. But then if it’s a really bad soundtrack… what’s a good movie with a bad soundtrack?
Chase: It’s hard to say…
Or how about a movie without a soundtrack that you think you could write one for?
Matt: Ooh like a silent film? Nosferatu or some s***.
Chase: I always thought that would be fun, I like John Carpenter movies, well I mean I like a couple of them, and he does all his own soundtracks and it sounds super s**tty, I feel like doing something like that would be fun, just a crappy movie where you could do it all on one keyboard with presets and stuff, that seems like it’d be cool.
Matt: Or like a John Hughes movie like Home Alone.
Do you have a best moment as a band or a funniest tour moment?
Matt: At least for me, one of our best moments was just going to Japan, that was kind of a personal goal for me when we started, and once we finally did it that was like a pinnacle.
Chase: Yeah I’d have to agree with that. Playing our record release show in LA was really fun too. We don’t play in LA that often and a lot happened this last year with recording the record and we signed to Epitaph and stuff so it just felt good to play at home again.
Matt: It felt like a victory moment
What’re you listening to on tour?
Matt: We’ve gotten collectively really into this new Mitski record, she’s kind of a singer/songwriter from New York, she just made this new record that’s really fuzzed out, dreamy pop but not too effect-heavy and it’s super super good. We were just listening to Kate Bush upstairs.
Chase: We’ve all been listening to a lot of that lately.
Matt: Love Kate Bush.
Chase: We’re in the car with Cheap Girls so a lot of it is like listening to old punk records that we used to love and realising that some of it’s good, some of it’s so f***ing embarrassing, so that’s fun too. When you’re on tour you get kind of bored listening to real music that you actually like.
Matt: Pretty much everyone on this tour used to be into ska bands so we were listening to some old ska that doesn’t hold up at all.
You’ve toured with Cheap Girls before, were you guys friend before or did you become friends through the tour?
Matt: We became friends through the bands, and then we kinda got closer with them in Australia, and now on this tour we’ve been sharing a van and spending every day together.
Chase: Yeah it’s been great, it’s gonna be weird not seeing them every day.
Some people don’t really care about genres but I think a lot of people classify you guys as pop-punk, what do you think of that?
Chase: I think we are a pop-punk band
Matt: Yeah I won’t dispute it too much but I think that we’re kind of almost more of a pop band.
Chase: Yeah I do understand why a lot of people see commonalities in us and more circle pit-y pop-punk bands. None of us listen to pop-punk, even though our songs kinda come out that way, I feel like as far as instrumentation and stuff goes we draw from a bunch of different influences, not necessarily pop-punk.
Matt: We grew up listening to punk music and now we’re just like all kinda trying to play pop music, and that’s just the way it comes up. I wouldn’t dispute the tag, it doesn’t bother me.
Chase: We’re literally pop punk.
Do you main musical influences that you all share as a band?
Matt: Guided By Voices for sure, Weezer, kinda always go to those two. Algernon Cadwallader, they’re really good.
Last question; if you had to chose between playing a show at the bottom of the ocean or in space, what would you choose?
Matt and Chase: Space.
Chase: Bottom of the ocean is f***ed up.
Matt: I don’t really know why but space.