As It Is are touring Australia in support of their third studio album The Great Depression, and are almost at the end of the album cycle. But before it all ends, Patty Walters, the energetic and charismatic frontman of one of England’s best pop punk bands, chatted with Wall of Sound while relaxing in Adelaide before the bands first show in Australia in three years.
Hey Patty! You touched down in Australia yesterday, how’s the jetlag treating you?
It’s going okay actually! We’ve been in Japan for the last week, so we had some time there to get it wrong and figure it all out. My body feels pretty good today. Coming from winter to summer makes everything easier so feeling great thank you.
Are you glad to be back Down Under?
We’re SO glad to be back! It’s been three years and we’re so excited to be back in your beautiful country. It’s such a good time when we come here.
It’s a little bit different coming back this time because Ben (Langford-Biss) isn’t with you, are you adjusting to him not being in the band and on tour?
We’re adjusting. The three shows we did in Japan last week were the first shows without Ben on stage with us. It’s very strange, it’s very bittersweet. The shows were incredible and we’re having an amazing time. We’re still figuring it out together, and Ben’s still one of our closest friends, we love him. We’re so glad he looked after himself and did what he had to do. It’s the end of an era, it’s the end of The Great Depression, it’s the end of our time with Ben in the band and we’re just having the best time that we can out here.
Do you guys get much of a chance to explore while you’re here, or is it pretty much just show, show, show then fly out again?
We’ve had an awesome time in Adelaide, it’s out bassist Ali’s birthday today so we were meeting up over coffee and breakfast. We’re going to keep on exploring and probably have far too late of an evening celebrating. Thus far we’ve done a pretty good job of exploring and sightseeing, found some cool coffee spots, the beach. That’s one of my favourite things about touring, getting lost in unfamiliar and familiar places.
I’m pretty sure it was Ali’s birthday last time you guys were here as well!
*laughs* It’s so bizarre! It was in Adelaide three years ago, and here we are, back in Adelaide, back to Ali’s birthday. It’s been three years and he’s looking better than ever.
How does the coffee compare here to back home?
It was amazing, it was really strong. I had a latte AND a double espresso and I’m vibrating.
It’s Valentines Day on Friday when you play in Brisbane, is it hard being away from your loved ones and significant others on days like that?
It is super hard, yeah. Luckily my girlfriend and I have only ever been together while I’ve been touring, always and forever, sort of thing. We’ve gotten very good at being away from each other. It’s always hard though you know, on days like Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries, it’s so hard being away. It’s one of the few downsides of what we do. What we do is a pretty amazing opportunity, but it’s so hard to be away from loved ones. It’s gonna be a great time though on Valentines Day, everybody in that room is going to be having an extra good time because it’s where we all chose to be.
Do you have a favourite city in Australia?
I don’t know if I do to be honest, I feel like I’m going to upset a lot of people. *laughs* I really liked Brisbane the last time we were there. Brisbane has awesome food. I’m excited to come back, it’s been three years and I’m looking forward to trying new places. I thought Brisbane was pretty sick last time we were there.
Is there much of a difference between Australian As It Is fans, and As It Is fans in other parts of the world?
Oh yeah! You feel it in the energy of the people here, everyone is so excited and friendly. It translates into the shows for sure, just the Australian culture and everything. The shows are just wild. We’re coming from Japan and there was still crowd surfers and stage diving, but culturally it’s very different. In between songs people are very quiet and very respectful and then that all just goes out the window over here. *laughs* Sometimes people are louder in between songs than when were playing, it’s just a crazy juxtaposition coming here from Japan. It’s going to be so much fun, these are the heaviest, loudest songs we’ve even written so I think it’s going to be the wildest tour we’ve ever brought to Australia.
Is there a particular song in the set that you get really pumped for when you know it’s coming?
I love playing ‘The Wounded World’. No matter where we play this song everything turns into a party from when it starts to when it ends.
You asked the fans what they wanted to hear on tour. When you’re planning the setlist, what’s that process like?
We’ve been crafting this setlist from releasing The Great Depression, and we’ve had the last 18 months to work out what works, what to tweak, and what’s the best set from start to finish. This is the best set that we’ve crafted over the last year and a half of getting it right and getting it wrong. We’re very proud of this set and I’m very excited for everybody to experience it for the first time.
Do you feel like your fans are growing up with you?
It’s so wild. The band’s been going for almost 8 years now, and it’s crazy to think how much we’ve grown up and how much everyone has grown up with us. Even when we play huge shows, you look out and you know almost everyone who’s there by name. It’s wild that you get to know people who listen to you and where they’re from. There’s a lot for us to catch up on, everyone has lived a lot of life in the last three years.
For fans that maybe missed your last tour, or who might have just started getting into your music, what can they expect from an As It Is show?
Well we look really different now! I had white or silvery hair last time I was here, and Ben took 80% of the hair when he left *laughs* because everyone else is bald! We’re still the same band and we have a really good time doing what we do and we hope everyone else does too.
Does that mean you take the longest to get ready?
Yeah probably, well no, Ronnie probably takes the longest. Ronnie is very meticulous. When we were ordering breakfast this morning it took him a good 12 minutes up at the til saying ‘I want this, want that, like this, like that.’ Whereas I should probably spend more time doing things like that.
What do you guys listen to backstage to pump yourselves up before you go on?
We’re listening to a lot of pop, Ronnie listens to a lot of hip hop. 90s boy bands and girl groups before the last show. That gets the vibe up really high and gets everyone psyched up.
Have you been listening to any Aussie artists?
That’s such a great question. Australia has some of the best heavy music right now. There’s some heavy bands on SharpTone that I’m listening to a lot. Australia is representing heavy music better than anyone else right now and that’s what I’ve been listening to the most.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home from tour?
The first thing I’m going to do is probably shower, kiss my girlfriend, walk the dog and then try to stay awake! The jet lag last time was the worst I’ve ever experienced, so it’s basically stay awake at all costs and try to sleep like a normal human being if I can. A river of coffee as well.
You should just bathe in coffee!
That would be such a good idea! If Lush haven’t already made that they should because I would bathe in that every day. I would buy all the coffee products in Lush if I could!
Interview by Kelsey Trevan @Kelsey_139
As It Is – Australia Tour 2020
February 12th @ Lions Art Factory, Adelaide (AA)
February 13th @ Crowbar, Sydney (18+)
February 14th @ The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
February 15th @ Stay Gold, Melbourne (18+)