We spoke to: Jesse Barnett (vocals)
EXPECT IT: Fall 2017
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: [Signing to Pure Noise Records] just seemed like the logical next step for us, just seeing how the relationship there was already built. The trust was already built between us and [label owner Jake Round] and also vice versa. I think he very much believes in what we do; he supports us and he definitely does his job better than most independent labels are doing nowadays. He’s managed to sell records in a time where people can’t sell records, so you know we’re looking forward to it. And Pure Noise is definitely known for more pop-punk type of bands and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do with this band. I think whenever we go into a record, we ask ourselves, “What are we trying to accomplish?” And I ask myself personally for lyrics, “What is it that I’m trying to say and how can I package it in a way that’s where I’m getting what I want to say across in an articulate way?” Also, musically, how can we do what we do and also sound like Stick To Your Guns and not just sound like the record we just released and how can we push the boundaries to give the listener something new. I think that seems to be generic and a little bit of a stock answer, but it’s definitely the truth. We put as much of ourselves in it as we possibly can; we care about the aspects from lyrics, music, artwork, merch. It’s all attention to detail.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE RECORD: I’m so in love with the world. There are a lot of people in it that I love that are from all over—different countries, places—and I get to see beautiful things all the time and I’m amazed that I get to live on planet Earth. Now, being the band that we are that has issues with certain social and political topics, I am finding myself actively searching for things that upset me because that’s what I want to talk about—and sometimes that gets emotionally exhausting. I’m in Ireland right now. Yeah, everything is great, it’s fantastic. I’m meeting people, I’m seeing insane things that are blowing my mind, and it’s inspiring. But you know, then you look at what’s happening in North Dakota with Standing Rock and all the people out there, the Sioux tribes who are having a pipeline go right through their lands and these oil companies and the American government not respecting the treaties of these people whose land we straight-up stole. And that will definitely be a topic of concern and something that I talk about. I want to be upset, I want to be angry at these things because when I can see something like that and I’m no longer upset, I feel like that’s when I’ve lost, that’s when I’ve lost my humanity and that’s when I stop existing as the person that I am now—which is not something that I want to do. I want to remain frustrated, but also, I want to give those feelings a direction and try to never normalize those things. And I feel like the biggest issue for me, the biggest challenge for me is trying not to completely lose my mind and succumb to bitterness or become like a nihilist, because it’s like, “Okay cool, I have to write a record, now let’s go look at the world and all the horrible shit that’s going on.” How do you not say at the end of the day, “Fuck it all! We’re all fucked! Who gives a shit?” I don’t want to become that person, and I think that’s the biggest challenge. Literally, I’m walking on a tightrope between “we can save the world” and “fuck it, we’re all doomed.” That is my biggest challenge.

IS IT MORE THE HOPE DIVISION OR DISOBEDIENTWell, when we did Disobedient that was kind of a thing where it was like, “Okay cool, we’re going with John Feldmann [Blink-182, 5 Seconds of Summer].” I think that got a lot of some people’s attention because a band like us kind of wouldn’t go to a guy like [him].There were a lot of mixed feelings about that experience—and I personally liked it. I think John made me a better musician. But for Disobedient, we strayed away a little bit from what we normally do in a way that we weren’t 100 percent comfortable with, so we released [the 2016 EP] Better Ash Than Dust as a kind of compensation for what we think we missed or left out of Disobedient. And so, I think that if I had to pick between The Hope Division and Disobedient, I’d say it’s going to be more along the lines of The Hope Division. But then again, who the fuck knows? [Laughs.] We could get into the studio and then pull something completely left field out of our asses. I’m excited to see. Every record we put out, I never know how we end up pulling it off, but we end up doing it. —Natasha Van Duser