“Going on tour with them is pretty mind-blowing”: Benjamin Biss of As It Is talks the AP TourOctober 13, 2015
Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn
It’s only been a year since As It Is signed with Fearless Records, but the U.K.-based pop-punks haven’t wasted a second of that time. On the verge of this year’s AP Tour, we tracked down guitarist Benjamin Biss in Australia — where the band are promoting debut full length Never Happy, Ever After — to see how the lads are holding it together after an impossibly busy 12 months.
So you guys are in Australia right now?
BENJAMIN BISS: Yeah, I just woke up in Adelaide. We had a nine-hour drive overnight. We play a show today, then do the same nine-hour drive back to where we came from to do another show there. I’m not going to see a bed for a while.We’re driving in a small van — we have a driver with us who knows the roads over here, but we’re quite crammed into a small van on this tour. [After the tour] it’s going to take us about 24 hours to get home. It took us 32 hours traveling to get to Japan, it’s 24 back, and it’ll be going back another five [to start the AP Tour]. I think over the next few days my body clock is about to get severely messed up.
I hope it’s been worth the haul! Have Australian audiences caught on to As It Is yet?
It seems to be going really well. We came, not with low expectations, but we never come into any tour with particularly high expectations, especially as a headliner. So it’s been really cool to see 100 to 200 kids a night turning up, even at the 18 plus shows. We played a sold-out 220-cap show in Tokyo, it was just mental. So it’s been a crazy few weeks. Being literally as far from home as we can be, and still playing to an amazing amount of fans.
Have you found some time between shows to see the sights?
In Japan, we had time to go and see stuff. I really didn’t want to leave Japan, I loved it so much. Just that nice mix — new cities, with all the temples that are thousands of years old. We got to go and have a good look around. Here, we spent a bit of time around Melbourne yesterday and around Sydney. The coffee’s good, which is often how we judge a city. When we do such long drives, we become a bit reliant on caffeine. That’s pretty much the first thing we ask when we get to a venue: the nearest place to get a decent cup of coffee.
Once you wrap up in Australia, you head out on the AP Tour supporting Mayday Parade. Have you had a chance to meet them yet?
I met Derek [Sanders] and Alex [Garcia] from Mayday at the APMAs, and got to chat briefly with them. That was the only run-in with them, apart from when I queued up to meet them at a Mayday Parade show, but I don’t think that really counts.
Did you really?
Yeah! I saw them live in 2010 for the first time, so I was only 17, 18 max. I went to see them three times on one tour in the U.K., and waited to meet them after the show. Before that, when I was 15, me and my best friend pretty much covered A Lesson In Romantics front-to-back on acoustic guitar. That album meant a lot to me growing up. So to be going on tour with them is pretty mind-blowing.
Following the AP Tour, you’re doing some U.K. dates with Lower Than Atlantis and Moose Blood. After all the international touring, are you excited to end your year at home?
Yeah, definitely. I feel like we haven’t played there in forever, to be honest. It’s going to be amazing, playing in these big, iconic venues that I grew up going to shows. It’s going to be the first time doing big, thousand-cap rooms in the U.K. So I’m excited to be playing some new places and to new people.
I imagine after all that what you’re looking forward to most is a chance to catch your breath.
Last year, we played 40 shows, in total. This year, we’ll have done almost 200 by the end of the year. We’ve got a little bit of time at the beginning of January just to kind of unwind after the year, because it’s been pretty full-on. Then it’s going to be a case of going into writing a second album. That’s going to be the priority. We wrote the last album over three months in a house. We’re not going to have the luxury to spend three months sitting in a room 24/7 together [this time], so we’re having to adapt at the moment, writing in bits and bobs on the road. We’re going to take the beginning of the year to collate all our ideas and see what we can create. I’m very ready to start writing again.