Since their breakthrough EP, Imposter Syndrome was unleashed upon us last year in lockdown, pop punk three piece Drastic Park have swept the scene with their diehard, infectious anthems that sounds like your ticket back to the 2000s.
This year, Drastic Park are honing on their frustrations with the world around them and they’ve reached boiling point with their brand new single ‘Meltdown’. John Stokes, Chris Tannahill and Joe Larwood are sounding as tight a unit as ever — yeah, it’s still got that happy-go-lucky, pop punk energy about it. But this time, they’re balancing that out with even sadder lyrics and angst that shines a new light on the band’s vulnerability in their songwriting.
The single comes as part of a vinyl split release with punk rock icons Wishful Thinking, and I wish I could be more excited about the fact that the bands are heading out on tour together this year. Thanks but no thanks COVID, you party crasher. Anywho, we’re still pretty stoked about this new hook up and couldn’t think of a better match up made in Aussie pop punk heaven. So what better time than now to grab on the line vocalist John Stokes to have an extremely fun chat about the now-pending tour, vinyl and their latest “meltdown”…
Stokesy! How’ve you been? Have any of your memes gone viral on TikTok yet?
Hey! We’ve been great. It’s funny you say that, as we’ve literally just posted a video to TikTok that went viral. It has had about 50,000 views in 24 hours… but unfortunately it isn’t related to our music so not sure if it will help us much in the long run! It has given us the TikTok bug though!
I think we’re all caught up in the insane virality of this peculiar social media phenomenon! But congrats on your new single ‘Meltdown’!! About time you came out with a new bangin’ track! What’s this song about?
Why thank you! This song is basically about losing your cool with a particular toxic person or toxic environment (whether it be work, a relationship, school etc) to the point of things just boiling over. The structure kind of mimics the mindset of someone going through that – building and building before a big ‘meltdown’. It’s also a super happy sounding song, with really dark lyrics – so it’s kind of like that fake smile you put on to hide the heat building up inside when in one of these situations where you just feel trapped.
Last time we caught up, you’d just released your EP Imposter Syndrome, for which ‘Meltdown’ didn’t quite make the cut for. Why did now feel like the right time to release this track?
I wouldn’t say it didn’t make the cut to be honest! We had already written this song in our first session ever with our new drummer Joe and it hasn’t changed much since. When COVID hit we wanted to record it properly, so we left it on the back burner. Imposter Syndrome was really just us trying to practice recording and mixing, we never even expected to release that EP until someone told us we should. Luckily we did! Worked wonders for us!
Time passed and we ended up writing even bigger and better songs, so we decided to use what we learned during Imposter Syndrome, record this one ourselves, but send it off to be mixed and mastered by Nick Sjrogren (Thornhill) who produced our first EP “Last World”. That guy is a wizard and put our Imposter Syndrome mixes to shame! We really see ‘Meltdown’ as the proper follow up to “Last World”
Yeah, I can see the amount of Drastic Park fans has doubled or even tripled since you dropped that EP. You guys are making being a band throughout COVID look easy! So ‘Meltdown’ is one half of a vinyl split release with your friends Wishful Thinking. How did these boys make the cut to be your new partners in punk crime?
Yes! Love those guys! I think it’s more WE made the cut! They write happy songs with sad lyrics, so ‘Meltdown’ fits perfectly on the other side of this vinyl. We had already been locked in for a tour together. And since we already had released both EPs and a previous split through Anti Vinyl Vinyl Club, I just thought it would be sick to pitch to them their first ever ‘tour split’!
Split releases and hookups are always fun! How many dates did you all go on before you sealed the deal and decided to go on tour together?
Absolutely 0. We have never even met in person!! After we played our last gig before COVID first hit, we were just leaving the stage at The Corner Hotel before Sean from Antiskeptic came on and said we should hit up Wishful Thinking. Of course COVID ruined any chance of that, but fast forward over a year, on the back of our recent tour with Clay J Gladstone and Wolf & Chain, we signed on with Jayden from Yeah That Agency and the first thing he said was “I wanna put you guys on a tour with Wishful Thinking”. Don’t think we let him finish the sentence before we said yes!
So can we expect any Freaky Friday moments or any surprises up your sleeves in any of the band sets?
Jeez probably. Have you been to one of our gigs? We tend to make stuff up as we go. No two Drastic Park gigs are the same. We always get two responses after we play a show… either ‘that was awesome’ or ‘that was… interesting’.
The only surprise will be whoever ends up doing Cassie’s parts in other states. We love her but unfortunately she can’t fit into the overhead luggage compartments. I know Wishful Thinking have some tricks up their sleeves though! Unfortunately nobody will be swapping bodies with Lindsey Lohan 🙁
You know it’d be really punk of you all to write each other’s setlists! But I’m personally keen to see which band can throw in as many jumps as possible! Collectively, who do you reckon can do the most punk jumps on stage? You guys or WT?
Oh, 100% Alistair from Wishful Thinking is going to win that competition. Not just in quantity, but quality. I’m the youngest of all the band members and both bands, and I can’t do a punk jump without pulling every muscle in my body. Doesn’t stop me doing them though! It may not look pretty, but you gotta give me points for effort considering I need to somehow get 110kg off the ground…
Sadly, we’ll all have to wait a little longer for the fun to go ahead. With the tour being postponed until COVID has calmed down a bit, what kinda spanner has been thrown into your plans as of right now?
At this stage, while it is far from cancelled, the whole “postponed” word is still a hard one to swallow! But one thing we’ve learned with COVID is to stay positive and use this time to work even harder! If you’ve been through it once YOU CAN do it again… and there is no reason to have a “MELTDOWN” 😉
[Postponed due to COVID restrictions – new dates TBA]
Exactly! Optimism goes a long way. So following the split and tour with the Wishful Thinking boys, what else can we expect to come from the world of Drastic Park? A follow up EP to last year’s?
We have just been in the studio recording some absolute bangers and by far the best songs we have ever done. Each song is different, each song has something unexpected, and in each song we experimented in some way. We really wanted to do these songs right and in an old school kind of way.
Lastly, convince our readers in 40 characters or less why they should snap up tickets to see Drastic Park/Wishful Thinking live later this year?
1 ticket = 1 rescued puppy
Can’t leave the puppies homeless can we?! Any final words?
I’ll leave it on a cliff hanger… I’m pregnant. And Wall of Sound… it’s yours.
DUN DUN DUUUUN
*shifty eyes* I wonder what Tom Delonge has to say about that… anyways, it’s always an enlightening chat with you mate. We’ll see you on the other side of lockdown at the show (I hope!)
Interview by Tamara May @citylightstam
Get your hands on Drastic Park X Wishful Thinking’s Split Vinyl (via Anti Vinyl Vinyl Club) next Friday June 11 here
‘Meltdown’ is out now. Stream here