13.09.2012 | Natasha | 2 CommentsKingston, Pennsylvania band Title Fight are just about to release the follow-up to their 2011 debut full-length, Shed. Kill Your Stereo caught up with guitarist and singer Jamie Rhoden to discuss the new record, Floral Green, as well as the band’s plans to return to Australia next year.
Overall, Title Fight just kind of reminds me of a band from the 90s, because that’s what I’m interested in, for the most part. So I just want to make music that I feel could have been released in the 90s. I guess I would describe the record that way as well. I think everyone in the band would have a different description for what our sound is, but if you ask me, I just kind of describe it as a 90s alternative band. Maybe I’d even say like a little bit of an emo, punk or grunge influence, depending on the record and the time when we wrote it. So stuff like that.
It’s a pretty common thing to happen, and I think it happened with Shed as well, but how do you feel about the fact that Floral Green has leaked?
I don’t mind, it just kind of always seems to happen with any music in general, so I’m always aware that it’s going to happen regardless, so I don’t mind at all.
The first song you released from Floral Green was ‘Head in the Ceiling Fan’, which is sonically pretty different from everything you’ve done in the past. What was the reason for releasing that track first?
It was one of our favourite songs on the record, and there are a few songs on there that are a little more similar to songs off of Shed, but we decided that we didn’t just want to ease people into the new record or anything like that. If they wanted to listen, we just wanted to put up a song that we wanted to put out first, and even though it was more unusual than the other material we’ve released in the past, we thought it was still a good way to be.
On the Making of Shed VHS, Ned described that album as having a coming of age theme. Would you say Floral Green has any particular theme?
Yeah, I think we actually realised that a lot of the songs, for some reason, have the lyrics relating to the word ‘feel’ or ‘feeling’ and I think this record more so than other records is about personal situations and internal conflicts, whereas the other record was more of an external conflict, if you will. On this one I think it’s more personal than the other one even.
When you’re writing for a record, do you set aside a certain period of time to write, or is it something you’re constantly doing?
We try and just constantly write whenever, but a lot of the time when we have time off at home, we have a storage unit that’s closed in the middle of the night, but the owner lets us in. He gave us the code, so in the middle of the night we get to practise in the storage unit for however long we’d like to. So we just write whenever by ourselves, but a lot of the time when we’re home, we’ll go to the storage unit in the middle of the night and collaborate.
Does everyone have a hand in the lyrics?
Yeah, actually, everyone does. Shane wrote the lyrics to ‘Head in the Ceiling Fan’ and Ned wrote the lyrics to ‘Secret Society’, which we just released. I wrote lyrics to a few songs on the record. Ben kinda does, but he doesn’t really pitch too many ideas. We take it for what it is when he does pitch, so it’s cool.
You’re probably not even thinking about it now, but is Floral Green an indication of where Title Fight’s heading musically, or do you think you’ll change it up again for the next record?
I’m not entirely sure yet, I haven’t thought too hard on it, but we’ve started writing a few songs for the new record already that kinda remind me a little bit of Floral Green. But I don’t want to stay in the same spot for the next record. I don’t want to write the same record twice, so I’m just going to try and branch out and make it something different, and hopefully still interesting, in my opinion.
You’ve toured with some huge bands, and earlier this year with Rise Against. What did you learn from them?
A good amount, they’re really cool dudes actually. They’re really nice, and they helped us out with a lot of things. But playing arenas was something I wasn’t really used to. A lot of the time we just play small clubs, and when we started playing arenas, it was kind of weird because it was very, very strict on time constraints. There were obviously people there who had no idea who we were and people there who didn’t care who we were, which wasn’t a real big deal to me, but I realised early on that whenever you stop, people start talking, and I didn’t really want to hear anyone talk, so in between basically every song, I just wrung out a chord the entire time we played.
(laughs) Okay, and is their level of success something you aspire to...?
Not really, I mean, it would be nice. I’ll take whatever comes our way, as long as I back it and can stand by it. It’s not really something I’m looking to get into, nor is it something I’d be against, but I mean to me, not to sound too generic or whatever – those shows are cool – but it wasn’t really as intimate as a show that I’d like to play. We played at This Is Hardcore Festival this summer, and that was probably my favourite show out of the last few months, because it wasn’t behind the barrier and everyone could just hang out and jump on the stage (laughs). So I dunno. It depends on where I’m at down the road I guess.
Overall, Title Fight has a very 90s vibe – not just musically, but with your music videos, you tend to use VHS and Super 8 cameras, and you included a VHS of the making of Shed with the pre-orders for that record. What’s the reason behind those things?
Well, we have a few reasons behind those things. First off, we wanted to make something different from what most people are making right now, and second off, we just thought the formats looked cooler than high-res formats. A lot of the time, the really detailed stuff just doesn’t look as cool or creative. I dunno, I like the graininess of VHS and Super 8 cameras and stuff like that more I think. I think it’s got a cooler vibe, more organic in my opinion. So that’s why we use that style of filming.
Whose idea was it to include a disposable camera with the deluxe Floral Green pre-orders, with the first photo taken by a member of the band?
I think that was Shane. We just thought it’d be cool, because we like disposable cameras and every once in a while we’d joke about how we wish anyone who came to take pictures at show would use a disposable camera, because those pictures come out more interesting generally. But anyway, I guess through all that talking and joking around, we just ended up getting onto the concept of making Title Fight cameras. So we started making them on Warped Tour with different artwork, but then we decided to make them again for the Floral Green pre-orders.
And did a member of Title Fight actually take the first photo on all those disposable cameras?
Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’ve taken a few. Shane’s taken a bunch. Ben has a bunch. We just carry around a backpack and a bag, and every time we take a picture we put it into the other bag. I think someone may have two pictures taken already (laughs). But yeah, we do take all the pictures.
The music video for ‘Secret Society’ is very... interesting! Who came up with the concept?
(laughs) Actually, once again, I think it was Shane. He texted all of us in this group message, and we heard this concept, and I feel like everyone just started laughing at him, just because of how silly it sounded on paper. Like, "Yeah, and this girl’s gonna cut off this dude’s face and wear it," and we all started thinking how funny that sounded. But Shane was right. It came out cool and kind of quirky and a little bit creepy. But that was with the help of our friend Hannah too, Ned’s girlfriend, who helped film it. But yeah, I think overall it was Shane’s idea to make that video how crazy it is (laughs).
Over the years, you guys have all been involved in various side projects. Do you have anything going on at the moment?
Yeah, actually, we all kind of have a bunch of different things going on. I think Ned just went up to Boston to go and do this other band that’s not officially out yet, and I’ve been working on this band with a few of my friends too. Shane is probably just doing his own thing that we don’t really know about, which is how it is (laughs). No, but he makes some cool stuff too. Ben, for the most part, just kind of chills out. I don’t think he’s in any side projects. If someone was like, "Hey Ben, would you drum on this?", he would definitely do it and he’d come up with really cool parts. Overall, I think for the most part, there’s only a few side projects going on, but they’re not officially out yet.
You guys are pretty much on tour for the rest of the year. What are your plans after that?
After that, I’m not entirely sure, but we want to go back to Australia next year, and Japan and more of Southeast Asia. Maybe, hopefully, sometime soon, South America, because we haven’t gotten to do that yet. Right now, we’re just doing Europe and headlining and I think we’re doing a few holiday shows, but that’s basically it for now. We’re trying to work out next year, and we want to go to Australia pretty soon actually.
Yeah, I was just about to ask whether or not you had plans to come back here, so that’s awesome.
Yeah, I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to come about, like who’s booking it or anything, but we wanted to do it a little differently from the way it was last time. And we want to try and get that rolling sometime soon. I think we’ll be back next year, hopefully early.
So when you say you’d like to do things differently, how do you mean?
We ended up playing this anarchy bookstore in Sydney last time, and it was so sick. Then in Perth, we played a show and there was no barrier and that was awesome. All the shows were so good, but all these kids would be like, "Hey man, it would have been great if you could have played here," and I’m like, "Yeah, it would have been great to play there too, I think!" We just didn’t have the time to. So we want to spend more time over there next time, and get to play more shows in more different venues. So that’s what we’d like to try and do next time.