Late last year Story of The Year released a sensational album on us. Wolves was loved by fans and critics alike, it is hailed a masterpiece and sees the band return after spending a few years out in the wilderness. We chat with vocalist Dan Marsala ahead of the bands upcoming Australian Tour.  

SCENEzine
How is 2018 going been so far?

Dan Marsala
It has been pretty good, perhaps a little slow we haven’t been doing too much yet but we do have a bunch of shows coming up including Australia which we are excited about.

SCENEzine
The response to Wolves has been tremendous, you were in my top 3 albums last year. Are you stoked with how it turned out?

Dan Marsala
Its great, when you are writing and recording a record you know whether or not you like it but you never know how people are going to react. It was a 2-3-year process of writing and recording and it’s like I hope this works and people think it is cool, for me I like writing songs for my own personal satisfaction and I write songs that I wanna hear I don’t worry too much about the response, but it is a great feeling when people like what you have done so we are psyched man it’s pretty amazing.

SCENEzine
For this album, you used pledge music, where did the idea for that come from?

Dan Marsala
We were sceptical at first if we should try that or not, the whole crowd funding thing, it works great for some bands and it doesn’t for other bands, so we weighed our options and we had a couple of label opportunities to maybe sign to another label but for us it really made sense at this point because our name is already established and people know who we are. It’s so much easier to put music out these days with people streaming and not really buying music in stores and we just figured that we could probably make it work this way and we got lucky.

The pledge campaign got filled in 2 days, we hit our goal and that felt super awesome, that gave us the strength to know it was worth putting a new record out and know that people want to hear this it was cool man. But we didn’t know how that process was going to go, it was a roll of the dice and we got lucky that it worked out. It was quite a lot of work and it was a lot harder than it seemed in the beginning but I think we made the right choice and now everything is independent we are doing it all on our own terms making for a more artistic and creative vibe.

SCENEzine
You mentioned a feeling of being independent, is it liberating not having to deal with a label?

Dan Marsala
It is cool but we have always had really good experiences with our labels. The first two records at Maverick Records were super cool although it was under Warner Brothers in the U.S. I guess there were different affiliates in Australia, then we signed Epitaph for the third and fourth record. Every experience we had was really great but our contracts were filled and we just didn’t really want to lockdown another one at this point in our career so our decision wasn’t over bad experiences or anything it was just was it worth it or not.

SCENEzine
You recorded the vocals at your home, did that make things easier?

Dan Marsala
Yeah, I have a little home studio and was cool to have Aaron Sprinkle who produced the record come up to St Louis where we lived, he stayed here for a couple of weeks, came over my place every day, and we would just record for 5 or 6 hours and hang out work on music and figure out the songs, making it a really comfortable process that gave me more freedom and time to figure out exactly what I wanted to be doing and it was awesome.

I think that is kind of the future for our band, it is doing it on a smaller level but taking time to make sure we get everything right and make sure we do it how we want it. It was cool, there is not a whole lot of need for these huge fancy studios anymore, I mean there is for certain things but the way we want to operate it’s cooler to be able to do stuff at home, create and do it on your own terms.

SCENEzine
The film clip for Bang Bang is awesome and intense, how was filming it and how much input in its direction did you guys put in?

Dan Marsala
Ryan our guitar player he is the one who filmed everything with the help of some friends from St Louis and it was all his artistic direction on the teaser videos on the Bang Bang video, everything, he just took control over all that and he had the visual ideas for the artwork on the record and everything. We wanted to tie it all in together with the artwork and the vibe of the songs and as well as the video content and that all went into naming the album, Wolves. We wanted to have something that was visual that we could work with and create another story outside of just the songs and the lyrics themselves, it was all very purposeful.

Ryan is killing it, he is doing awesome stuff with photography and video and we are very lucky to have that side and element in our band as well, it is a lot of free stuff we can use as for we have had a buddy that can pull that off as well.

 

SCENEzine
The album and artwork are a little Stranger Things inspired. Are you a massive fan of the show?

Dan Marsala
Yeah, that was definitely one of the ideas we threw around like we wanted to kind of have this throwback vibe like a Stranger Things type of thing. You know we are all in our middle thirties so that eighties period is when we grew up and all that stuff is very nostalgic for us and it gives us certain feelings and emotions so it was most definitely a nod to that and overall, we wanted it to be a cool visual and something that would give the album a different creepiness and coolness.

 

SCENEzine
When I listen to Wolves I feel an instantaneous connection to lyrics and can very much relate it to my relationships and my life, can you tell us about your writing style and your inspirations?

Dan Marsala
This record we pretty much wrote everything. Ryan would demo up some music, record it and send it to me. I would come up with some vocal ideas, sometimes melodies sometimes me just blabbering something, I would send that back and we would go back and forth like that until we had 20 to 30 song ideas to which we would narrow down and I would write full lyrics to later.

For me, this record is the deepest personal lyrically I have ever written and I just wanted to dig deep into every life experience whether it be love songs or loneliness, frustration over the way things turn out in careers or life, just everything. I just wanted to go deep and crazy even if it was uncomfortable at times to explore those ideas, I just wanted to go as far as I could. Also, over the last 7 years I have had children as well as a couple of the other guys in the band and we have this whole family aspect to our lives and that is inspirational on a whole different level and gives us so much stuff to write about, making it the deepest personal record I have ever been a part of and it is so much more fulfilling that way, and now it is something I am truly proud of and like you said I’m hoping those experiences connect with other people as well on their own level.

I don’t want to be to blatantly obvious what the songs are about all the time I try to make it deep for me but metaphorical to where it works for other people as well, and I think it is working so far and it has definitely been connecting with people on that level as well and that is my favourite thing lyrically about other bands. I can tell when a song really means something to the artist and at the same time I can relate it to my own life as well, that is the goal really.

SCENEzine
Rise Against released an album last year titled Wolves was there ever any need you felt to change your album title?

Dan Marsala
Yeah, we had gone through a few different titles and it was just a coincidence that a couple of months before Rise Against announced their album. We were like yeah let’s go with Wolves, we were settled on the name and how great it worked visually and the way it tied in with all the songs and then once we had a bunch of artwork down and things were kind of in place it’s like Oh shit, so I called Ryan and said I’m pretty sure the new Rise Against record is called Wolves and I was like damn it. But like, we have toured with them and they are friends of ours so we knew it wasn’t too big of a deal and I was ‘if nothing else it may help the record somehow’, but yeah it definitely was an afterthought of Oh no!

SCENEzine
Maybe you could get together and do the Wolves tour or in the future an anniversary tour.

Dan Marsala
I know, that would be pretty awesome and I’m sure those guys would be down for it.

SCENEzine
It’s not long until your back in Australia and you have been down here before playing on some of our biggest stages, you must be keen to get back down here and feel that vibe of an Aussie show?

Dan Marsala
We are definitely excited to be coming back Australia is one of our favourite places and one of our bigger markets over the years. It is consistent for us, everybody still shows up and it is amazing. Every city or country has its own charm and amazing thing about them everywhere you go but Australia is just beautiful and the crowds are so awesome and we have had some amazing shows there making us super excited to get back, the flight there is terrible lol, but other than that once we do get there it is all worth it.

SCENEzine
Will you be doing any VIP meet’n’greets for fans in Australia?

Dan Marsala
Yeah, we were just talking about that, we hope we can. We have been doing that for a lot of our US shows and it super fun and we love doing it as long as we can get it set up over there because it is super fun and we love doing it. We usually do some acoustic stuff and hang out with fans for a couple of hours it’s really fun and such a more personal experience for the fans and for us so I hope we can pull that off over there, just need to figure out how we can do the sale and how we can make it work. But yeah, I hope so.

SCENEzine
How was the experience of playing Travis Barkers Musink last year?

Dan Marsala
That show was super cool we have done it a couple of times. I remember we did one of the early ones as well and this last one was super awesome it’s just a big festival day seeing so many good bands play, it’s just a big crazy awesome festival and that stuff is always great. We just flew in and hung out with a lot of bands, those things tend to be like a reunion and that kind of stuff is great.

SCENEzine
Story of the Year fans are quite passionate. From getting band tattoos to attributing your songs helping them through dark times. Is that surreal to think how many lives around the world you’ve impacted?

Dan Marsala
Its crazy ya know to think that something like a lyric or an idea that pops into my head can really effect another person in a deep way. I know because music affects me in the same way from other bands and is one of the most amazing and important things in the world well to me especially, and it can change your attitude on anything. It can make you happy it can make you sad it can inspire you and pull you out of a lot of dark situations and I have heard that from a lot of fans and it blows my mind, and seeing people with lyric tattoos and stuff is amazing. I have band tattoos on my body so I totally get it and it’s just a part of life for me, it is a necessity like having an arm, it’s like having music you could live without, but you wouldn’t want to live without. It’s one of the reasons why we knew after having a little break we’d still be doing this because the people who do get that from our band really love it and are inspirational to us to want to keep doing it, it is amazing and I really love it.

SCENEzine
Lastly, we are all getting a bit older. You mentioned you guys are all in your mid-thirties now, can Australian fans still expect to see those amazing backflips on this tour?

Dan Marsala
(Laughs) absolutely yes, it hurts a little more now (lol), but we have not slowed down. Well maybe a little bit because we now focus on trying to play really good (lol). Expect a high energy, awesome show with all the craziness as usual, it is going to amazing and I am excited.

Interview by Chad 

 

 

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