In just a couple of weeks now, Rise Against return to Australia to plug their latest album ‘Endgame‘ which is available now. As you’d know, the band will be joined by Sick Of It All and Break Even as they travel around Australia and New Zealand. Recently Deborah Konopnicki caught up with Brandon from the band to chat about the new album and the upcoming tour. Click below to expand this post to take a read, and remind yourself of the tour dates, and grab ticketing details.
Hi, Brandon! How are you going?
Good! How are you?
I’m great! I’m pretty excited to be having a chat with you today so I really appreciate it, thanks!
Yeah, man! Thanks for the interview. We really appreciate it!
No problem at all! What’s the band up to at the moment?
Well, we’re in St.Louis, Missouri. We’re on tour with Bad Religion.
Ah, nice. How’s the tour going at the moment?
It’s going good, man! They’re good friends of ours. We’ve just done a whole US tour with them and we have three shows left. It’s going great! I’m stoked. My home-town in Denver, Colorado; those shows were really fun. We played Long Beach Area with Descendents and Bad Religion and that was epic! We’ve had some really amazing shows on this tour.
You released your amazing album ‘Endgame’ a couple of months a go now and it pretty much hasn’t left my car stereo cycle since I bought it; it’s just so damn great. How’s that record sitting with you and the rest of the band at the moment?
You know, we’re really happy with it. We went back to Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore back in Colorado and we wrote the biggest part of that record in the studio and it all came together. It’s one of my favorites. The true test is always the fans and they’ve been reacting really well to it. They love the new stuff live so life is good. We’re loving it.
I had a chat to Bill the day that he was going into the studio with you guys and he was incredibly excited which just me so damn excited. What kind of influence did he have on the production of the record? He’s just such a massive name in the punk scene!
Yeah! He sort of invented what we’re doing… in a way. Him and a lot of other people. He understands how we wanted the record to sound sonically and he likes our band; he likes our music so that’s just a comfortable situation to be in. Yeah, he’s huge! He’s like a member of the band at this point. We’ve done four of six records with him. We have a great partnership with Bill.
Your album has done really well done here chart wise, which was also the case with your previous few records. It’s also doing wonderful things over in the States at the moment. Obviously your rise in popularity here must be an incredibly rewarding thing to see over the years so is it something that you’ve now come to expect from album to album or does it still surprise you?
You know, we’re all extremely thankful to all of our Australian fans for the support. I don’t think that any of us would have thought that we would get as big down there as we are! We love going down there. The crowds are always crazy and we’re really thankful that it’s going well down there and we’re excited to go back down there with Sick Of It All! It’s going to be great! Hell yeah!
So you guys have said a few times that you wrote the majority of this album in the studio unlike previous times when you would pretty much have everything planned before the recording process began. What would you say was the major reason for approaching ‘Endgame’ differently?
Well, I don’t know. We did have some stuff ready before the studio too. I think that we tour a lot and I think that we just decided that before we go on another tour that we go to Colorado and just work on it there together. It just sort of happened that way. It wasn’t really a plan for the record but it just worked out that way. Whatever we did this time worked and we’re all really happy with the record. We do every record differently but the four of us always lock ourselves in a room and hash it out the old school way! It came out great, man.
It’s got such a polished feel to it. Everything still has that Rise Against feel to it but the production quality is sublime. Was it a conscious move to focus on the production side of things a little more this time around or was that just a product of the process?
You know, we wanted the record to sound as good as it could. We took two months with it. We wanted the drums and guitars to sound real and have this raw edge to it but at the same time we wanted it to sound great on the radio and stuff. When we heard the guitar tones and drum tones we were just all sort of pleased. We were like “Wow! These are the best! Sonically, these are the best that we have!” From there we kind of just put it all together and it sounded great.
Do you have any favorites?
I like “Help Is On The Way”, “Architects”. They’re my two favorites right now. I really like those two songs. They’ll no doubt change throughout the year (laughs). They are my two favorites of right now.
One song that I noticed immediately was “Make It Stop”. It has such a timely and important message that you don’t really see bands of your position and popularity write. If anything I think that it’s going to have a bigger impact because of that. How have you found the response to that specific song?
I think we’ve had a great response. We’re had so many letters and emails and kids coming up to us after the shows, thanking us for taking a risk and writing a song about that issue. It feels good. It feels good because of the whole kids being bullied in high school for being overly gay or being bullied for whatever reason, that whole thing. In America right now it’s a big deal and it’s a tragedy. Kids are going into school everyday and are in fear and that’s not how it should be. With us writing a song about it, yeah… I think that it’s good for kids and to let them know that they’re not alone.
I really love it. It’s a great song but I’m sure the lyrics can relate to anyone on any level. Another one that I really love is “Broken Mirrors” with one of the coolest Rise Against riffs ever. I love the bluesy edge that the song has. What in particular drove that song?
Joe, our bass player had that riff. He brought it in and then we made it into a song. That was cool to have like a bluesy swing to it. We haven’t played that live yet so maybe we’ll get that one ready for Australia! There’s some fun drum goodies on there too!
I feel like “Appeal To Reason” was an album that really thrust you into the limelight a little bit more down here with quite a few tracks getting airtime on the radio. Were similar things happening overseas with that record? Obviously you’ve got your core loyal fans who have always been around but there just seemed to be a lot of interest surrounding that record, and if so did it lead to any pressure when producing ‘Endgame’?
Yeah I think so. Our goal is always to make the next record sound better than the last one and that was a big record for us. Definitely going in you want to write a good record for yourself and for the fans. These are songs that you’re going to have to live with and play every night. I think that there was definitely pressure but I think that we work really well under pressure. I think that it’s good to write our record while on tour on when we’re on the road. We’re just constantly working. Whatever we did, it seemed to work out!
It was alluded to a couple of minutes ago but you’re coming down here oh-so-soon with the mighty Sick Of It All. How did the two bands come together for what is going to be an amazing tour!
Well they took us on a European tour in 2002 or 2003. We were a brand new band at the time and they took us to Europe and we were just forever thankful to them for introducing us to their fans over there and there also just good friends of ours; over the years we’ve become good friends. We just wanted to repay the favor and play with a good band every night. Thankfully they agreed to do it! We’re looking forward to it!
You’re definitely no strangers to Australia… I’ve been lucky enough to see you once at year for the past five or six years and in one instance last year twice in three days! Is there anything in particular about Australia that makes you keep on wanting to come back again and again to play shows?
Yeah! I think that first and foremost the shows are big and the fans are fucking great. It’s just fun! We usually come down there in the winter, which is your summer, so we get good weather! We love Australia! You guys have been so good to us for so long so thanks for that!
It’s a tiny bit cold at the moment so I’m not too sure how ‘good’ the weather is going to be when you get here in July!
Eh, that’s alright!
I just have a question about the title of the album. ‘Endgame’ is a pretty strong concept… does it suggest that it’s the end of everything that we know or the start of something new?
I think both. I think the loose concept of it is that a lot of things that are going on in the world whether it be environmental, financial or something else on of the ways that we’re living right now, we’re not going to continue living like this forever and I think that some things are going to have to change like our dependency on oil. The things that we’re doing to the environment; we’re not going to be able to do that much longer. ‘Endgame’ represents that maybe we’re going to have to change our lifestyles. For some people it might seem a bit scary but for some people it might be a good thing. It will be a fresh start and we can start to re-think the way that we’re treating the planet and the way that we’re treating each other.
I guess it’s kind of sad to think that when “Help Is On The Way” was released that there were so many things going on in the world that made that song just so much more relevant. It’s a totally great song and it has such a strong message that can pretty much mirror countless situations that are happening as we speak. I assume that there would be a lot of people making contact with you about the issues that you have addressed on the album?
Yeah, absolutely. We always try and keep in touch with the fans even though that can be hard at times. We get a lot of emails so we try to talk to kids and try to communicate with them anyway that we can. It seems that people are really getting it. People – with this record more than others – are really getting into the lyrical content as opposed to the music, like how fast or how punk the songs are. People are really getting into listening to the lyrics are really responding well to that. It makes the band so much more rewarding; to have something other than just the music. It’s been great. The reaction has been huge.
Would you say that ‘Endgame’ is the most important album that you’ve released? Musically and thematically.
I think so, yeah. Just considering what is going on in the world especially. I think that it’s more important. It’s reached more people than all of our other records.
Well now that this is another album under your belts it seems that your set lists are shows might have to be reserved for fan favorites off of previous records to make way for the newer tracks. How have you started working them into the set list? Are songs off albums like “Siren Song..” still important to the band?
Yeah you know, obviously we play the old material a lot more. It’s fun to play new songs because they’re new and they’re fresh. It’s also great to go back and play that you haven’t played for years… it’s just like an old friend. We try to balance it out. We try to give the fans a little bit from each record every night. I think that we just stick to the songs that the fans react to the most. We want to play the songs that they like so that they have a good time!
Just before I run out of time; what should Rise Against fans be expecting from you guys in July?
I think they can expect a high-energy great show. I mean we’re bringing Sick Of It All which is a hard act to follow up from… it’s insane. It’s going to be a great show. You’re got two great bands, we’re touring on a new record and… yeah! I think they can expect a typical Rise Against show.
The Frontier Touring Co. Triple J and Bombshellzine.com Present…
With Special Guests SICK OF IT ALL and BREAK EVEN
Thursday 14 July – Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland [All Ages]
Ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538
Saturday 16 July – Sydney Entertainment Centre [All Ages]
Ticketmaster.com.au 136 100
Monday 18 July – Brisbane Entertainment Centre [All Ages]
Thursday 21 July – Festival Hall, Melbourne [All Ages]
Ticketmaster.com.au 136 100
Friday 22 July – Adelaide Ent. Centre – The Theatre [All Ages]
Ticketek.com.au 132 849
Saturday 23 July – Challenge Stadium, Perth [All Ages]
Ticketmaster.com.au 136 100
For further information, please visit www.frontiertouring.com
Rise Against – ‘Endgame‘ instores now. Available on CD or Vinyl [Here]