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Our Most Anticipated alternative releases of 2017

December 09 2016, 2:55 PM EST By AltPress


ONE OK ROCK / AMBITIONS

We spoke to: Taka Moriuchi (vocals)
EXPECT IT: January 13, 2017
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: In the Japanese version, there [are] three different songs. The United States version, the lyrics [are all] English, and then [it has] three different songs [on] it. This time, this album is more international. Before, the album was more, you know, kind of still ONE OK ROCK sounds and then like, the future ONE OK ROCK. Actually, this is the first time [completely] recording it in the United States. Before, we couldn’t make good conversation with the producers, but this time we’re getting better [and] our English is improved. That’s the main difference this time. This is our first time releasing to the world at the same time as Japan. Before that, the album [was on] a timeline. This time, it’s totally the same time, worldwide. I want to reach the world’s fans, all the ONE OK ROCK  fans at the same time [and give them] our new music. I’m super-excited about it. This album is super-new ONE OK ROCK. It’s passionate and sounds awesome. The melodies, I think I’m super good, so it’s going to be great.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE RECORD: I was trying to be a producer. There were so many producers [and] I also produced the album with them as well.

IS IT MORE JINSEI X BOKU = OR 35XXXVI think it is somewhat similar to 35xxxv, but this time is ONE OK ROCK’s super new sounds. This album is the best though. —Rachel Campbell

CAN’T SWIM / FAIL YOU AGAIN

We spoke to: Chris LoPorto (vocals/guitar)
EXPECT IT: Late February/early March 2017
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: I wouldn’t say too much. In the very beginning of this band, it was just me messing around on my laptop—just writing songs for fun. Then, Danny [Rico], who’s the drummer of the band, is a producer/engineer kind of guy. I was like, “Hey man, I really like these demos. Why don’t you let me record them for real with real instruments in a real studio?” Then we did it just like that, just those five songs kind of just for fun, to pass the time. Then, all this stuff happened. We got the record deal [and] we had to find other guys to be in the band. I don’t think it was intentional to start a band or intentional to make records, but we kind of just did it as something to do after work, and then when it came time now to do the full-length, when—I use this term very loosely—we’re like a real band now, we had a lot of different options, like different producers or different crazy studios. Pure Noise is very adamant about getting the right things for their bands. They offered us many things and many different people to be involved with the project, but I think we all sat in the room and decided, if it’s not broken, why would we fix it? So, this record too, we just did completely by ourselves in our apartments and friends’ houses. We made it the way we made Death Deserves A Name [EP]—we just did it all ourselves. Danny even mixed the record, so in terms of how the record was recorded, it’s almost exactly the same as Death Deserves A Name. It was just us four goofing around and making songs. I guess musically, it’s pretty similar. I’d say I’d like to think it’s a little bit more spread out across the spectrum. There are some faster, more aggressive songs, and then there’s some even slower, quieter [ones] where I sing pretty softly and not so annoyingly loud. [Laughs.] I guess it’s just going farther down the path of trying to make different-sounding songs. Other than that, there are more songs on this one. [Laughs.] That’s the only difference.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE RECORD: I think there was a little sense of, “Okay, so I sat on my laptop in my bedroom sometimes half-naked and goofed off and made some songs for fun.” Then, this record label put them out and then a lot of people started to like the songs, and I think I had the fear of, “Well, I don’t know how to write another song. I just did this as a goof.” [Laughs.] I think that was the biggest fear : I wrote five songs, will I even be able to write a sixth one? I didn’t grow up playing guitar or singing or anything like that, so it was very daunting. It was obviously great and exciting that all this stuff started happening to the band in such a short time, but it was definitely a little nerve-wracking. Even in this interview, I think the headline is “2017 Most Anticipated,” so for me, I just did this for fun, and now people are wanting and expecting more songs. I guess to be honest, I never even thought about that until you just asked, but it definitely was like, “Oh man, am I going to be able to do this again? Can I write a song that someone likes again?” So, I would say that would be the biggest one. Because honestly, dude, other than that, doing it ourselves and the bandmates being so patient and supportive of me writing the songs, everything was a breeze. But it’s just like, ‘Oh no, am I going to fucking blow all of this now?’ All of this good stuff is happening, and I’m just going to go back to the label and be like, ‘Yeah, dude, I don’t have it. Can we just release the other songs?’ [Laughs.]

IS IT MORE DEATH DESERVES A NAME EP OR TOTALLY DIFFERENT? I think from a lyrical standpoint, [on] Death Deserves A Name, all five songs were pretty much about a very specific relationship and a very specific time in my life. On Fail You Again, that topic is definitely touched on, but I wrote about a lot of other stuff in my life that’s happened, like my relationship with some of my family members [and] a loss of a friend of mine, so lyrically, I think it’s maybe a little more spread out just in terms of what the songs are actually about. I think Death Deserves A Name is pretty kicking through the first four songs and then the last song kind of slows down, but on this record, I think the dynamics are a little bit more spread out where there’s some pretty sludgy, heavier songs and then some pretty soft, almost not even distorted songs, and then no yelling and then some singing. I just think it’s a little bit more diverse, I would say. I definitely think it sounds like the same band—I would say it’s pretty similar. —Rachel Campbell

AFIAFI (The Blood Album)

We spoke to: Jade Puget (guitarist, producer)
EXPECT IT: January 2017
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Some of the stuff I like to do, which started with Sing The Sorrow and was in Decemberunderground, is the electronic element and layers. In Crash Love, they went away, and they came back a little bit in Burials. I’ve brought those back and into a good balance with the guitars and vocals of AFI. I loved that stuff and I don’t know why it went away. I think that’s an important element to our music now. So that’s different. Burials was a very bleak and dark record from lyrical standpoint, and sonically because of what Davey was going through at the time. I think this one has a better balance of both sides of the coin: the bleakness and the darkness, plus more hopefulness and more joyful veins running through this album.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE RECORD: From a personal standpoint, the biggest challenge was the production side. I spent a year writing this record, which is a long time, and at that point I can just go in the studio and the producer does that part of it. On this record, I had to step up and be producer as well, so my work was just starting. It was a lot of work, but at the same time it was really rewarding.

IS IT MORE SING THE SORROW OR BURIALSIt kind of falls somewhere in between. I would say it’s a good combination of those two records. —Gen Handley

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