Does your excitement come from an adrenaline rush or from the sense that this is where Man Overboard are right now, compared to the ground you covered on the previous record?
BRUZZESE: This past month is the longest our band has been home in four years. We’re all getting older, we’re always away from family and stuff and obviously that’s going to come out in our music. I feel like our shit is heavier, more mature… I’ve never been this excited for anything we’ve ever recorded.
WILDRICK: We got Joe [Talarico, drummer] literally the day before we went out on tour with Seahaven last year. It was a nerve-wracking decision to make and it ended up being the best thing we ever did. Writing songs with Joe brought everything to a whole new level. Working with Will [Yip, engineer] and recording on a Neve [mixing board], that whole experience of getting to hear how we really sound through a board like that, it picks and pulls out so many of your mistakes. We never experienced anything remotely like that, ever.
I feel like when we talk about who we listen to and the bands that inspire us, we love pop-punk bands, but we like bands like Weezer and Jimmy Eat World and those crossover rock bands. We want to make records that sound like that, too, that aren’t going to be pigeonholed—even though they probably will, anyway. In our hearts, we feel that [our new record] can stand on its own legs. We really wanted it to stand apart. Even bands like Title Fight and Balance And Composure and Touché Amoré who are coming up alongside us, they’re all leaving their mark, as well. I think bands are learning to create a unique vibe about themselves. Which is really difficult because everything on the internet is tossed around and has a genre thrown on top of it. You have to work twice as hard to avoid that whole [commentary like], “This band sounds like this, this and this.”
There is a problem where bands are coming up and they’re taking their influences from bands who are far less than 10 years old—which is how things get samey, quick. You get people making music who haven’t been on the planet long enough to experience life, other cultures, life on tour with their friends and sharing new experiences or other kinds of music altogether. Then you talk with someone like Coheed And Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez, who has so much pride and confidence in his band and the music they make, he sincerely wishes it was 1976 so he could hold his own in the rock ’n’ roll culture of that day. He’s one of the nicest people alive, so he’s obviously not coming from a place of arrogance. I think when a lot of bands adopt a similar kind of fearlessness, their art will change, accordingly.
WILDRICK: It is really interesting when kids come up to us and say, “Dude, you’re my favorite band!” That’s super-flattering, but it doesn’t hit you until you are listening to your favorite band and you think, “That kid listens to my band all the time and lives and dies by us the way we do for our favorite bands.” When kids are hearing our records for the first time, as opposed to the first time we heard Operation Ivy, I think when records started getting super-polished—there’s a feeling for that, as well—but I think it’s starting to change. When I see young kids wearing shirts of bands that are a little hard on the ears, you see the tide turning. Like seeing young kids listening to that new Title Fight record and really getting into it.
BRUZZESE: It’s not like Man Overboard are this crazy, huge band that have been together for, like, five years. We came up the same way these other kids are coming up. At the end of the day, you have to survive the touring thing. When you go out on tour for a while, you do find your own thing.
WILDRICK: I can see where Coheed are coming from: When they used to have six-minute Rush songs on the radio in the ’70s, [Coheed] could fit in there. But I still feel there’s a place for bands like that. Fuck the radio; there have always been bands that were awesome that were never on the radio. We listened to the new Coheed yesterday, and there are six- and seven-minute songs on there. I think it’s more important that they’re doing that kind of thing right now.
There were so many times [making Heart Attack] that we were like, “Are we going to do this?” “Are we going to stretch this one part out?” Fuck it: Why would you deny that [creative impulse]? That feeling has to come back harder than it ever was before. If people criticize the music business, [adopts gruff cynic voice] “It’s a dying industry.” Well, if that’s the case, treat it like it: Write your songs the way that you want to, and maybe it will return to [the mindset] of previous decades when people wanted to put a record on and listen, or go see a band play for two hours and not fucking sit on their cellphones the whole time. Treat it genuinely, and people will vibe on it.
That’s an optimistic version of it. As opposed to making a record that sounds like what’s hot now, and maybe you’ll sell 10 more shirts each night.
BRUZZESE: Exactly. We were sitting in the studio, thinking, “Okay, defend pop-punk. We get it. We’re not going to put one double-time song on this record.” We had that conversation: Is it stupid for us not to put a double-time song on this record? Are we supposed to do that? Fuck it: We have all these songs that we think are good that aren’t double-time. Are people going to be mad? Maybe. The last thing I want to do is come home from a long tour and worry about what people are going to think about my songs.
How much of the new album will you be playing live so we can hear shitty-quality cell phone footage on YouTube before Heart Attack’s release date?
BRUZZESE: Probably one or two. We don’t want to be that fucking band where it’s like, “Here’s a third new song from our new record you haven’t heard yet!” But on Warped Tour it will be a different story.
Last question: Does pop-punk still need defending at this point?
BRUZZESE: It always needs defending, man. We’re defending it from Pro Tools. alt