When you’re not from a particular state, it’s more than likely you know one Snapple-like fact about it and I’m 100% sure everyone from Rhode Island knows the same one about that state. I discussed that with a band that hails from the country’s tiniest state. So after this, you’ll know that and more about Another One Down! Like what it was like to play Warped Tour during its last cross country run, mental health in pop punk, what to expect from their new album ‘A Bitter Descent’ out this week, and much more!
Kendra: It’s hard for any current band in the pop punk/emo realm to not draw comparisons from the bands that dominated during the early and mid-’00s, but when I listen to your band I do hear something different. Growing up, my bands were like, “I’m sad and this is why.” While y’all are like, “I’m sad, and here’s how I’m going to handle it.” Do you think the awareness and conversations about mental health helped shift pop punk in that regard?
Marcus: I think mental health awareness has absolutely helped to shape newer pop punk. I think that a lot of people get the wrong idea about pop punk as a whole because so much of it in the ‘90s and ‘00s was based on immaturity and it could get very stale and repetitive. Because of that, a lot of people see it as a genre for kids and always say they “grew out of it.”
Sometimes I get offended when people act that way because so many modern pop punk bands like The Story So Far, Knuckle Puck, The Wonder Years, etc. take the classic tropes of the genre and build on it with more interesting instrumentals and more mature and diverse topics. Don’t get me wrong though, we’re influenced by a ton of those classic pop punk acts. We strive to take that nostalgic 2000’s melodic pop punk sound and blend it with the more raw and serious sounds of modern pop punk.
Kendra: This is sort of where you lay with “Headspace.” It’s all about feeling messed up in the head but navigating through those emotions. Was this song personal to each of you in its own way?
Marcus: It was the most personal to me because I wrote the lyrics about my own failed relationship and my struggle to accept and move on from the pain of it. But the other guys I think feel strongly about it too.
Alex: Absolutely. To me, it’s a constant internal struggle with myself. Trying to fight the need for validation from others. More specifically, significant others. Doing anything I can to get the year’s numbness out of my head. Avoiding destructive coping skills and pursuing healthy ones.
Dylan: For me, “Headspace” represents the isolation that one goes through so that they don’t burden others with their negative mental state. Even before covid, I was constantly canceling plans, barely reaching out to my friends, and struggling by myself throughout these emotions. For a long time, the space that I told myself I needed was making it worse, distorting old memories, and scapegoating others for the reason I feel this way. I’m happy to say I’m getting better, but “Headspace” for me represents those moments when I was at my lowest and most alone.
Brandon: To me it’s about getting over a relationship and trying your best not to let the pain and hurt feelings take over your mind.
Ryan: “Headspace” resonates with me on the level of needing space post-breakup, whether it be a breakup with a significant other or even cutting ties with someone who played a large role in my life. Whenever a situation occurred under these circumstances, I always ran to everyone around me and surrounded myself with as many people as possible because I was scared to be alone in my head. I never gave myself the time to heal from these situations properly, so whenever I revisited somewhere that would spark a memory with someone in my past, it stung that much more. I needed to learn how to give myself “space to clear my head” away from others and not rely on everyone around me as a crutch.
Kendra: Now y’all hail from Rhode Island. A state where most of us know ONE thing, and that is…it’s the smallest state in the US. So we’re going to get a little lesson today because I want you to compare ‘A Bitter Descent’ to a place in Rhode Island. Yup, if you had to compare your debut LP to a particular spot in your home state based on the style and sound of the record, where would it be and why?
Marcus: Wow, that’s tough. I want to say Exeter because it is my hometown and we have a song called “Exeter” on the record, but if it were Exeter we’d need more banjo on the album because it’s very much like FarmVille. In that case, I’m gonna be basic and say Providence. Mostly because we primarily play shows there and most of this record was written while I was attending college in Boston and Providence is like a mini Boston in a lot of ways. I spent a lot of time walking the city streets listening to the demos of these songs, so it’s very much a city album in my mind.
Kendra: Fans got another taste of ‘A Bitter Descent’ in October when you dropped “Deadweight” featuring Can’t Swim’s Christopher LoPorto. How’d you come to connect with him on this track?
Marcus: Honestly it was just us sending out an email and hoping it would work out. We were lucky enough to see Can’t Swim play one of their first shows with Four Year Strong right as ‘Death Deserves A Name’ dropped and then again a year later right as ‘Fail You Again’ dropped.
Instantly they became the soundtrack to my college experience, and I wanted any feature on the album to remind me of what I was listening to at the time I wrote it. So we had “Deadweight” done but I wanted the ending to be a big moment and I felt like it needed a grittier voice than mine. So I found Can’t Swim’s manager and emailed him and he got back to me almost immediately. Chris and their manager dug the track and within a week or two we had the guest spot done. We just shot our shot and it worked out and I’m super happy with how it came out.
Kendra: Also, was this song aimed at anyone in particular and if so, are they going to know they are in fact – the deadweight?
Marcus: The short answer is: Yes. But they’re probably not going to think it’s about them because they’re such a narcissist. Although I did have the idea for the song concept before meeting this person since a lot of my friends and I were having trouble finding reliable people to be in a band with all at the same time. It just so happened that this one particular person pissed me off so much that it got my ass in gear to finish the song.
Kendra: I do want to go back for a second to 2018 when Another One Down! got to play the final cross country Warped Tour. As a band I imagine you’re like, OMG we’re playing but as a fan you’re like, OMG…it’s over. With that, was it bittersweet?
Marcus: In the long term it was bittersweet, but man it sure was sweet for a while. Granted, we only got to play one date, but that one date meant everything to us because it was at the venue we grew up seeing every big band we knew at and it was in the amphitheater.
We sold insane amounts of merch, got to wander backstage, got to eat the catering sitting across from bands we grew up listening to, and got to go to the after-party and dance with those same band members and crew. Definitely one of the best days of our life.
I think the bitter set in more a year later when there was no MassachusettsWarped Tour date anymore and the summer felt empty. It didn’t feel real that it was over until then.
Kendra: That was then, but what about now? Any dates lined up now that live music can once again be a part of our lives?
Marcus: We’re announcing our EP release show soon too which has some incredible bands on it that we have yet to play with before.
Kendra: Any other plans you have as we head towards the end of this year and onto the next?
Marcus: Our big plan is to tour finally. Get to some new places outside of the Northeast. We also already have some ideas for our next release that I’m stoked about so who knows maybe we’ll release something else new.