Ahead of the release of their forthcoming album next week, I had a chance to catch up with the frontman of As It Is — Patty Walters to talk about the last cross country Warped Tour he and the band are currently on, his YouTube days and everything you need to know about The Great Depression.
Hey, how are you? How is Warped Tour so far?
Hey, I’m doing great! Yeah, Warped Tour has been fantastic! Today is the first day we’ve had off in 23 days so we’re all kind of relaxing and decompressing a little bit and doing a bit of laundry. It’s been really nice, it’s been a really good day.
How does it feel to be part of the final Warped Tour?
It’s very surreal, it’s very bittersweet. I mean even being such a small part of such an iconic and historical festival and part of the scene is really humbling as a band but I think the final date of the last ever cross-country Vans Warped Tour will kind of have a very sad but special feeling for everybody.
Okay and The Great Depression are fairly mood based album names, was this always planned or did it just happen that way?
I think there was always a small part of us that expected to write a trilogy of records, so we went from Never Happy, Ever After to okay. to The Great Depression and it’s all just a chronological journey through mine and our lyricist and guitarist Ben’s growth as people and how we’ve kind of evolved as a band and who we’re kind of gearing up to be for album four and I’m just so excited for people to hear this record — it’s definitely our biggest, bravest, most ambitious one we’ve ever done thus far.
As a band you’ve completely changed your look, adding eyeliner and black nail polish and dressing in all black. Can you explain a bit more about how that came about?
The record in itself is inherently more theatrical and embracing those kind of changes made a lot of sense to us but we were very consciously and very intentionally paying homage to post hardcore and emo bands of the mid 2000’s and were coming out of a wave of pop punk being kind of at the forefront of our scene and the thing that was so refreshing about pop punk was that you just kind of… dressed like yourself, you were yourself and it seems like it’s kind of coming full circle, where bands are bringing back a bit of theatricalism and a little bit of self expression in different kind of ways, more kind of outwardly and vocally so it just made a lot of sense to us to embrace this as a band.
Honestly, who doesn’t love a bit of theatrics? Some of the best live bands like Panic! At The Disco for example, always have more than just the concert going on.
Exactly! Ben and myself, in particular, have always been fans of bands like Panic! At The Disco, Paramore and Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance that really grow from record to record and really evolve aesthetically and musically from record to record. We always have been and never wanted to write the same album or the same era twice in a row to really embrace that kind of a change.
What was the process like in writing this record? In the song ‘The Truth I’ll Never Tell’ for example, it is incredibly relatable for many of us, including myself who struggle with mental health. Did it help you to overcome that feeling of isolation by letting people know through those lyrics how you were feeling?
Yeah, definitely. I feel like it doesn’t, well it does benefit the community to kind of progress that conversation, it’s just so helpful for me in particular in the sense that I don’t have to hide, I don’t have to feel ashamed of the things that I am feeling and the things that I am struggling with and there’s been within myself for that reason.
That’s fantastic to hear you can express yourself that way without worry, more power to you. Do you think you’ll bring The Great Depression to Australia in the near future?
Oh absolutely! I’m not exactly sure of when and which cities but with this record we’re so excited to be taking it sort of everywhere and anywhere so we can’t wait and Australia is one of our favourite markets in the sense that you guys always have so much energy and like I said, it’s such a theatrical record that it’s really for that kind of performance so we’re really excited to come back and share this record with you.
If you were a telemarketer for a day and you had just three words to sell your album, how would you describe it?
Oh wow… Oh okay I like that. I would say… Ambitious, dark, and polarising. Those are the three words that I would go with.
What do you hope that people who don’t understand mental health and the continuous battle and roller coaster of emotions that come with it will take away from both this record, and your epic Warped Tour message?
That is a very interesting question and something that is particularly prevalent and actively on my mind right now. I think it’s probably easy for people to kind of comprehend that art, music, culture — everything is subjective for the most part. We are all people but we’re all very different as far as our chemical balances and imbalances go and I believe there’s not one right answer for all people and if people can’t understand that there are infinite struggles with infinite solutions then they should remove themselves from the conversation until they can understand that because just because you can’t empathise because one or two answers aren’t right for you, doesn’t mean they’re not right for other people.
I just think we need to be far more empathetic, far more understanding and far better with words and that we have a lot of work to do but I’m glad the conversation is in the — I don’t know — it’s a focal in society than it has been because we’re certainly doing a better job than worse but we certainly have a lot better to do.
— Rowan misses Patty, Parx and dnp (@wonderlessphan) July 31, 2018
Video Credit to Rowan @wonderlessphan
We’ve certainly still got a long way to come since there are things out there that cause controversy like 13 Reasons Why — I think we’ve still got a long way to go for people to understand. I definitely think it’s a struggle every day to try and explain it to someone who just doesn’t get it, and doesn’t get why you’ve stayed in bed for three days and not wanted to leave the house. So it’s amazing that you’ve got that conversation started and you continue to keep it going all the time. So thank you for that.
You’re welcome, we’re all very passionate about it and we look forward to talking about it very vocally in the near and distant future.
You’ve said that with the release of this album, that you’ll be working with some charities, so do you have any in particular that you’re working with or have you not yet chosen?
Oh! so every morning on Warped Tour, I host a workshop with Hope For The Day which is a proactive suicide prevention charity and non-profit where we talk about my mental health, my friend Johnny’s mental health and we basically just have group therapy every morning. We also raise money for Bullies Out in the UK which is an anti-bullying charity and we’ve raised a little bit of money for Mind which is a mental health awareness non-profit, so those are the three that I can remember right now but we look forward to building so many amazing relationships and doing so much good with other non-profit organisations and if I’ve missed any out then I’m sorry, but those are the three that I can remember and I know we have worked with.
Well, you’re doing a fantastic job already with that so good on you. On a side note, I have to know, do you ever miss your YouTube days, and do you think you’d ever take up vlogging while you’re on tour?
It’s so interesting that you say that because it was a big thing for half of my life. I don’t know if I see myself in the YouTube community anymore because it has changed so much. It is still a very fond place for me and it definitely holds a really special place in my heart, but I don’t know if I would return in the same sort of way but we’ll see, I think if it’s right then it will definitely happen.
Big thanks to Patty Walters from As It Is for the chat. If you or anyone you know needs help with their own mental well-being call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or search for your local Crisis Support Hotline via Google.
Read our review of The Great Depression here
Interview by Heather McNab
The Great Depression is available on August 10th via Fearless Records
As It Is – The Great Depression tracklisting
Stage I: Denial
1. The Great Depression
2. The Wounded World
3. The Fire, The Dark
Stage II: Anger
4. The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)
5. The Handwritten Letter
6. The Question, The Answer
Stage III: Bargaining
7. The Reaper (ft. Aaron Gillespie)
8. The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation)
9. The Truth I’ll Never Tell
Stage IV: Acceptance
10. The Haunting
11. The Hurt, The Hope
12. The End.