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UnRated Magazine Review: Interview Conducted on February 20, 2009, First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, PA, USA
Band Interview
Attack Attack! Interview

Attack Attack! Interview

Interview Conducted on February 20, 2009, First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, PA, USA

By Kristin Biskup

Attack Attack! is a post-hardcore electronic band from Columbus, Ohio. The young six piece b consists of Nick Barham (Vocals), Johnny Franck (Vocals/Guitar), Andrew Whiting (Guitar), John Holgado (Bass), Caleb Shomo (Synth/Keys), and Andrew Wetzel (Drums). Their debut album 'Someday Came Suddenly,' out on Rise Records, encompasses a mixture of hardcore rifts with techno breakdowns. They are currently on tour with Escape the Fate and has one of the most energetic and indulging sets that no one could pass up witnessing.


Kristin: How did the band form and how did you decide on the band's name?

Whiting: We formed in August of 2007 which is when we got the full band line up that we have now. The band name doesn't really mean anything. It just sounded cool I guess. It was unanimous. It sounded like a band name so we just went for it. It has absolutely no meaning at all.

Kristin: How did you guys end up getting signed to Rise Records?

Wetzel: They came to us. After we got our management we got an offer right out of the gate from Rise Records. We got several other offers after that but we just went back to Rise because Craig had a lot to offer. It is a lot nicer to work with a label where you have only one person you need to talk to because if we have a problem there is only one person to go to not like having two companies owning part of a label. We went with him because he was real passionate about the band and was going to push us real hard and that is what he has done.

Kristin: What was the recording experience like with the debut album?

Whiting: It was awesome!

Wetzel: It was hot.

Whiting: Yeah it was really hot. It was in a two car garage. Corey Foundations studio which is basically a house's garage but it has sound proof rooms in there. There isn't that much to look at but what comes out of there is absolutely ridiculous. Joey is freaking mastermind. He is an awesome guy. He helped us grow and experiment a little bit and tell us what was going on since he had so much experience. Everyone in the band got a lot closer in the studio I think by just being around each other for a month straight living with each other. Before that we didn't really do that. We all live in the vicinity of a couple of miles from each other but it's not like we were around each other 24/7. It was definitely a good experience and that's one of my favorite parts of being in a band is recording the albums.

Wetzel: I feel that but it was mid July and it was super freaking hot. He had one window air conditioner and live room was pretty much a really insulated hot box.

Kristin: What do you want people to get out of listening to the record?

Whiting: Fun basically. When you listen to our album you can dance to it or rock out to it. We have heavy stuff and poppy stuff, you can bop your head to it or you can get into a metal stance scream on the top of your lungs. They can do anything and I want them to have fun with it. Our lyrics are extremely deep. It goes through a lot of life experiences and what us personally as a band has gone through and how it has changed our lives. I just want people to know where we are coming from.

Wetzel: I think I can speak for everyone when I say that band lyrics mean a lot to us. It's the kind of stuff that people get tattooed on their bodies to say something so the one thing we wanted our album to do was to speak to people and to what pertains to them.

Kristin: What has been the hardest part of being fairly young and in a national touring band thus far?

Whiting: It hasn't been that hard. With the members that are still in school, like John and Caleb, they do it online. They have online school and have internet cards that they use and they do the work on the road. It is important to keep the drive up for school because getting the highest level of education is the most important thing you can do. Also, being out and doing stuff everyday you kind of lose track of it. Most of the bands we tour with party a lot and it is pretty easy to get distracted. There have been a couple of times where we haven't been able to play a venue because there are some members of our band that aren't over 18. We have tried to play The Croc Rock here in Pennsylvania but we couldn't even play it because we weren't 18. It is weird because it is an all ages venue but you have to be 18 to actually play there. We didn't even get to play that night which was unfortunate.

Wetzel: We actually had to drop off that date on this tour and schedule another show somewhere else because of that previous issue. It is a local law apparently. If you're a band and play at a venue you are technically an employee of that venue since you are providing a service under the name of that venue. In that local area, if you want to work for a bar you have to be 18 if they sell liquor. We never had that problem anywhere else. I don't really get it but that is just what they told me.

Kristin: What are you opinions on the current state of the music industry?

Whiting: For a band like ACDC, back in the day when they didn't have internet, selling a million records was absolutely no problem. These days if you get up to 20,000 albums sold pretty much everyone around the country at least kind of knows who you are. 20,000 is the new 100,000 simply because of downloading music and everything. I don't know what the statistic is but it's around that every one album bought seven are downloaded.

Wetzel: That is probably a very conservative estimate because you just can't keep tabs on that. Personally I really don't care because for every bad thing there is a good thing that goes with it. One thing about today and the current music scene is that the internet is an unbelievably invaluable tool for marketing. Today viral marketing is the new television. Instead of buying a commercial spot or like a billboard you can throw together a thirty second YouTube video of you doing something really stupid and three million people are going to see it. Sure kids can download our album for free all over the place instead of buying it but at the same time we have the ability to reach anybody on the internet anywhere on the world just by posting a tour or studio update. It sucks though because 20,000 is the new 100,000 records and that is a lot of money that we could be using to buy a new van because ours is about to die. We can pull the key out of the ignition without turning the van off and the van will still be running. The whole drive tran on this thing is about to go along with the transmission and differential. The window is broken in the back but that is nothing now. Being able to move is a little higher on the priorities list.

Whiting: Before I was all 'Oh man the window is broken' but now I'm all 'our engine is about to fall out of our van.'

Wetzel: Actually we need to drop off the Ontario date of this tour because if our van breaks down in Canada we are triple screwed. I'm not trying to find a place for our van to get fixed in another country. It's not enjoyable for me. We are dropping off that date and doing a date in Pittsburg on the off day of this tour and then going from Pittsburg to home. We are actually wiring money to my dad and he is buying a new van for us, and getting it plated and insured. We have four hours for when we get to Columbus to get our new van. We have to get a new trailer too because it is falling apart but that is a story for another day. Then we need to take this van with us back to Michigan because it has a warrantee on it but we straight up do not have time to get a transmission and to have the differential and axels rebuilt. For a couple of shows we are going to be caravanning with two vans and two trailers up to Michigan. We have to make a 2pm is load-in in Cleveland on the 25 th which is the day we need to get our new van. We need to get the van, make it to the show, play the show, take both of our vans and trailers to Michigan, drop our current van off to get fixed, and then take the new one out for the rest of the tour.

Whiting: I think we actually strayed away from the actual question. (Laughs)

Wetzel: The fact is that if we had a 100,000 records sold, we would probably just stop some place and get a new van or bus or something.

Whiting: The way the music industry is today is that the underground scene is becoming mainstream which is freaking awesome. A band like us in the eighties would be nothing but since underground music is so big now it is crazy what is going on now.

Wetzel: You can be a band without a label and be super successful. You can buy your own online distribution, you can set up your own merch store online stock it and ship out your own stuff, and pretty much do the whole thing through the internet. Like Andrew said, the underground is the new mainstream because everything is so accessible. That's nice.

Kristin: This summer it will be your first Warped Tour. What are your expectations?

Whiting: To suck.

Wetzel: We are actually on every stage and that is not a lie. We are jumping around. We get our stage assignment each morning at 10am so one day we may be on the Hurley Stage, the next day maybe the SmartPunk, and then probably the Hurley.com, maybe Main stage and Ernie Ball. If somehow we make a really good impression on the stage manager of one stage, maybe we can stay on that stage so we don't have to load our stuff to a different stage every day which is going to be a pain.

Whiting: It's going to be good anyway. Warped Tour is another one of those extreme marketing things. Just having our name on Warped Tour is good like 'Oh they are on Warped Tour, they must be somewhat good.' I heard Warped Tour is a high school and everyone has their own cliques. I have been to Warped Tour before but it's not the same.

Wetzel: I have never been to Warped Tour. I missed my chance.

Kristin: If you could have anything in the world named after you what would it be?

Whiting: A dildo, I'm just kidding.

Wetzel: You know how there is happy hour at a bar? I would want that to be Wetzel hour except it will be a national thing. (Laughs)

Kristin: Wait, so cheap drinks?

Wetzel: No, no that's not what I mean, I just want an hour of the day to Wetzel hour. Alright, that one kind of sucked. Andrew, save the day.

Whiting: The United States be named Andrew Whiting is Fucking Awesome.

Wetzel: The United States of Andrew Whiting is Fucking Awesome. No one would ever mess with this country if it was named that.

Whiting: Our flag would be a picture of me ripped with bulging eye muscles. People will be like 'Dude that guy has bulging eye muscles we aren't going to fuck with that country.'

Wetzel: You will have metal bald eagles on either hand. They have bombs in their mouth, I don't even know.

Kristin: What is your craziest tour story thus far?

Wetzel: I'll start this one off. We are going to do this 24 style with a timeline. The first event happens between three and four in the morning. The van shuts off in the middle of Hickstown Swamp which is in the Florida's Panhandle. Where our van breaks down happens to be in the middle of a hundred miles of nothing.

Whiting: I am driving, it is three in the morning and I give it a little gas to get it up a hill and it dies so I pull to the side of the road and put the hazards on. I try starting it again and it doesn't start. It is pitch dark outside and I am afraid that alligators are going to eat me or something. We are sitting there and Nick calls triple A and the lady keeps saying his name wrong which is making me angry I don't know why but I get angry at dumb stuff. After a half hour of talking to her she tells us that she can get us a tow truck but the only problem is that it can only take two people when we had seven people on the tour. She told us that the rest had to find a way to get sixty miles to where this tow truck place is and she hangs up. We didn't know anyone that could be in that swamp area that could pick us up so were all sitting there freaking out because we had to find a taxi to bring us to the tow truck place. The tow truck doesn't end up getting here until 7:30 in the morning so we were stranded for four hours.

Wetzel: The whole time we were yelling and ranting about how much this sucks and John shot a firework off in the van. Actually Nick shot a bottle rocket and just missed me. We ended shooting bottle rockets out of our van trying to catch the attention of the alligators or whoever else on the planet that could possibly help us.

Whiting: We called a taxi service and it so happened that all the taxis have been taken. Yeah all taken at seven in the morning. The lady who owns the taxi company comes in her personal car. She was a real nice lady and we get into her car, a Honda Pilate or something, and she drives through a median up a hill on wet grass and we almost get stuck. She goes like a hundred and twenty down the highway with me, Nick, and Caleb in the car freaking out thinking we were going to fucking die. We didn't see the rest for a while.

Wetzel: While they are in the taxi almost being killed by this lady, Matt (tour manager) and I are in this tow truck with this guy that does not speak English. He is clearly an American and speaks English but he is so country that I couldn't understand him. A part of my family lives out in an area where the majority of people out there speak a very rough version of English so when it comes to country speak I am pretty good at figuring out what they are saying. This guy, nothing. He might as well of been speaking French to me because I just had no idea. He kept asking us a bunch of questions and I couldn't understand him. Somewhere in there he asked us if we were in a band, got me. We get to the freaking tow truck place and the guy drops it off and then disappears. We go to the office and they tell us that our battery is dead. Alright that is a start considering they had the lights on for six hours. Then they started checking it out and told us that a Denny's was down the road. We are all now sitting at Denny's talking about how much our situation sucks and all. We ended up hanging out in this so called town. It was truck stop with a couple of things around it but they called it a town and I let them have it. A few hours later they fixed the van and it ended up that our fuel tank died. I don't know why or how but it just decided to kick the bucket. It was like $800 to fix it.

Whiting: We bought a hotel so that we can sleep because we have been up since three in the morning and it is about five in the afternoon now. We are just hanging out knowing that we need to get to the next show. We had to cancel that night's show and now we have to catch up with the tour which is two dates in front of us at that point. We had to haul ass so we all got into the van and it reeks of gas. We pulled up to a gas station and Wetzel starts pumping gas while I am getting Burger King. Wetzel comes into Burger King and says that there is gas spraying out of the bottom of our van. I'm like 'What?' He said that he was putting it in but it was just falling out.

Wetzel: I was so pissed. We were five minutes out from the shop and I pull into the gas station that isn't even a tenth of a mile away and I try to pump gas and I hear liquid falling on the ground. Nick was like 'Dude you better turn that off, there is gas on the ground' and I look at it so I pumped some more in and watched it come out. I was like 'Uhhh son of a bitch.'

Whiting: I can literally see the tow truck place from the gas station where we are at so Wetzel calls the tow truck guy.

Wetzel: I call the mechanic up and I am like 'Hey man, it's us we just left your lot um yeah we are at the gas station and I am putting fuel in our van but it is just pouring out of the bottom.' His only response was 'Jesus Christ I will be right there.' I hang up my phone and the gas station attendant starts bitching at me for there being gas all over the ground. I was like 'I'm sorry, I will lick it up.' I go in to get Burger Kind and two minutes later this terrible looking Ford truck pulls up and this guy walks out with only three tools in his hand because that bastard knows exactly what he forgot to put back on. There is a small tube that goes from the side of the van into the fuel tank and he just completely forgot to bolt that back on. Yeah not a big deal, right? So he gets out there and I see him and tell him to do his thing while I get Burger King and to just let me know what happens. Five minutes later I am sitting at a table and the guy doesn't even come all the way through the doors and says 'Hey man, your good brother drive safe' and walks out. I was like you have to be kidding me. We all get in the van and it smells even more like gas now. We all smoke so we all thought we were going to blow up and die. The smell made you feel weird.

Whiting: I couldn't see well. I was looking at Wetzel and was like 'Dude, my vision is screwed up.'

Wetzel: We didn't have any other option. We were already thirty hours behind the tour and we can't miss anymore days because we just blew $1200 in one day and we need to make money now. We were hauling ass across the country hoping nothing else goes wrong and it always does. That was episode one. Episode two was Christmas Eve when our idler pulley exploded. Matt and I both are way into cars and mechanics and we never heard of it. It was Christmas Eve after an ice storm and we couldn't even get a tow truck.

Whiting: Funny story about the first time, I checked the gas tank and ended up getting herpes. Who knew?

Wetzel: Now the transmission is going. We have the worst luck with vehicles. We can probably leave our van unlocked in Detroit and nothing would get stolen but as soon as we get out of there the tire will fall off.

Whiting: We left John, a tire falls off and kills a baby, and then we get a law suit. Dammit, it never gets any better. (Laughs)

Wetzel: When it comes to vans and trailers we have the worst luck, everything else is fine.


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