In terms of your sound, it feels like there’s a bit of evolution on this record, ‘When You Lose, I Lose As Well,’ for example, stretches the boundaries of what the band does. I feel post-hardcore has always tried to do that, but it seems bands of your era, it used to be all heavy all the time, but as you’ve aged, there’s been a softening, and it’s interesting to hear. How much perspective do you have on your style and your own catalog?
I sort of suppose that we sit down and we try to think about what we’re going to do. Not so much like we’re going to have this style song or that style song. For The Tropic Rot we were like, ‘We want somewhat of a progressive record with a bunch of songs that don’t sound exactly the same, and we don’t want there to be any boundaries on what we can do, but we still want to write good songs.’ We’re not trying to be a band like Dillinger Escape Plan where they have what they do. They have their sound and they evolve with it, but they only go so far. With their sound, they can only go so far. So with Miss Machine and Ire Works, they’re branching off with more pop-rock structures which I think is great, they’re starting to encompass everything.
Certain bands can only do certain things, and it’s not because they’re completely incapable of doing it. I think a lot of bands get worried about taking risks, because if you start doing really well, that might challenge and change a lifestyle that you might become somewhat dependent upon. If you’re making really good money, it’s kind of like, ‘Well, if you pop out a record like the last one you did, you can make everybody happy.’ Still sell the same amount of records, still have the same amount of kids come to your shows. A lot of people become really afraid to change and grow and do different things. For some reason, we don’t care, we just kind of do what we do because we’ve always sort of done it that way, and whether it’s worked for us or against us—and I think it’s possibly done both—at the end of the day, when everybody’s gone and the only thing you have to look at is your catalog and what you did, and I’m proud to say that from the beginning to where we are now, there’s definitely an evolution as songwriters and as players, just as a band. That’s something a lot of musicians want and something to be really proud of.
You don’t want to threaten your livelihood by making an artistic statement I suppose. It is difficult to balance those two urges, between trying to please your fanbase but also try to do something that you feel is different and expand your boundaries a bit.
I think it’s finding a healthy balance, and that’s what we always try to do. We try to find it. I’m not saying that necessarily we actually find it, but we always attempt to. Making ourselves happy but also maintaining our sound and what kids like our band for, still have some of those elements there, but still change. Add the spaghetti western-Americana vibe on Versions that’s very heavy and somewhat still on The Tropic Rot as well, so it becomes a common sound in our music where we can evolve.
Poison The Well perform at Terminal 5 on July 10 and Starland Ballroom on Aug. 8 as part of the 10 Bands For $10 Tour. The Tropic Rot is in stores July 7. For more, visit poisonthewell.com.