Long Island, New York's alternative hardcore hub Stray From The Path will be releasing their new studio album, titled Subliminal Criminals, on August 14 through Sumerian Records. Today, we're exclusively streaming “D.I.E.P.I.G.” from Criminals, a scathing call-out of musicians who have “used their fortunate positions to take advantage of young females.” You can listen and read our full Q+A with guitarist Thomas Williams below.
You specifically wanted “D.I.E.P.I.G.” to reach the AP audience. Out of all the songs, why did you choose it to resonate with our readers?
That's a hard question to answer without generalizing the AP audience, which is not the intention here at all. Having said that, I think this song applies to a good amount of the bands within the genre of music that AP often covers. The song premiering on AP is hitting an audience that I don't think we can reach as greatly and easily elsewhere.
What's “D.I.E.P.I.G.” about in your own words and what were you seeing that led to the need for a song like this?
To me, there is nothing more sacred than a person who supports music. When you come to see a Stray From The Path show at, let's say, the Gramercy Theater in NYC, and you purchase a record, a ticket, a t-shirt, a beer and check your coat. Whatever it may be, that stimulates the industry. That means that my band makes more records which gives vinyl and CD plants more work, gives our producer and engineers more work, gives our record label more work, gives a PR company more work. It means that my band goes on tour, which gives a promoter work, our booking agent more work, a venue work, security more work, our merch guy is working, our sound guy is working, our merch company is working, all the way down to the bartenders and the coat check. That's a huge chain reaction stemming from one person thinking “I love this band” and it gives a lot of people very special to us a life doing what they love to do.
When you fuck with that, you fuck with Stray. There are quite a few people that took it all for granted, and used their fortunate positions to take advantage of young females. I think this all came to light with us when Ian Watkins of Lostprophets committed unbelievable acts on infants.
If you can be a musician for a living, that's the lottery. I think that when you take advantage of the people that support the music, you should lose your privilege to play. People can apologize (or not even apologize if you're Front Porch Step) and to me, that is a step in the right direction. However, you should lose your privilege to have this life that people would literally kill for. I appreciate all supporters of music, even if it's a person who hates Stray, but loves Mastodon or Silverstein or whatever, and those bands are playing El Corazon in Seattle, a venue that Stray loves, you are important to us also. It is all connected.
If people want to accept you and bring you back, fine, it wouldn't be the first time. But you will always be on the team with people who do not deserve being back in fortunate lifestyles, captained by Michael Vick and Jonny Craig.
You're always outspoken—are Stray's lyrics and stances a collaborative effort between the band?
Yeah, for sure. Some songs are more meaningful to certain people in the band, but it's always something that's collectively agreed upon, and lyrically written together. “D.I.E.P.I.G” was written by all four of us and our producer (Will Putney) sitting in a room together, and the first word was created with all of us present in the room. It was fun to write this one, because a lot of songs we want to make sure that we aren't completely going all out. When we wrote “Badge & A Bullet Pt. II,” we wanted to make sure it was about the cops that abuse authority, murder people and escape charges because of their occupation and not every single police officer. This one was completely “fuck this guy, and fuck everyone like this guy.”
What else truly pisses you off about the world that is covered on Subliminal Criminals?
The album touches things like nature, our food and water supply, slavery by debt, glorification of war, business of the medical industry, government spying on their own citizens, sexual predators in the music scene, current state of law enforcement and the ending of one of my best friends' six year relationship. It's a wide array of topics, much like every other Stray record, we write about whats happening in our lives and the things that we see. We keep things pissed off and angry within our songs and I think it helps us level out everywhere else. Always be serious, but try not to take yourself so seriously. Musically and lyrically, the record is exciting and I can't wait for everyone to hear it on August 14 (or whenever some penis guy leaks the fuckin' thing).