For our second instalment of In the Pub With, we sat down in Amsterdam’s Dan Murphy’s Irish Pub with As It Is frontman Patty Walters and guitarist Benjamin Langford-Biss to discuss new album okay., touring with Neck Deep, the impact of changes in the industry and their plans for 2018.
Hey guys. How are you on this mild October day?
Patty: I’m great thanks!
So, you’ve just joined a tour with Neck Deep. How were the UK dates?
Patty: They were incredible! The shows were in some of the biggest rooms and venues that we’d ever played in, and we had some of the best reactions ever too. It’s extremely validating and amazing, but everything is still building and growing.
Ben: It was so nice to see a band who were on as major support being received so well, and the reaction being so great for us as well as Neck Deep. That was really affirming, because we’d been away from the UK for a few months. We’re always a bit nervous coming back.
Do you notice a considerable difference between the UK crowds and, say, America or Europe?
Patty: I think it’s one of those things that varies city to city. There are certain places in the UK and in America where the shows are always significantly better, but for the most part the UK in general is just overwhelmingly positive and energetic. The whole atmosphere at those shows was just electric, amazing and surreal.
It’s been a busy year for you guys, and you’ve got the record out now. How’s the album campaign panned out so far?
Patty: It’s been amazing! We just hit the ground running and left for Japan a week after the record went out, and then we went to Australia. Where did we go next?
Ben: Europe and the UK!
Patty: Oh yeah, we did Europe with State Champs, and then we went to the US and Canada. Festivals in the summer, and then we did an arena show All Time Low; and now we’re here! Back in the UK and Europe. I can’t say it’s been totally non-stop, though, as we also have a couple of months home soon to prepare for the next chapter of what we’re working on.
Ben: We’ve been at home, but it’s not like we stopped working.
Patty: Yeah, it’s been a pretty relentless year!
So you’ve already started on new music then?
How’s that sounding so far, and will we be hearing any of it soon?
Patty: Really exciting! I don’t think we’ll be sharing any of it soon, though; we’re mainly just piecing together some stuff and building something really special. We’re talking about what we’ll do when we get back into the studio again, and we’ve also been doing some writing on the road too. We’re constantly pushing ourselves creatively and making sure we’re engaged all the time.
You also announced the UK tour today. Have you got anything special lined up from a production point of view?
Patty: It’s gonna be our most ambitious live show that we’ve ever done, by miles. We’ve never done anything near as special as what we’ve got coming up.
Ben: The biggest headline show that we’ve ever played is the Underworld in Camden, which is just 500 people. When you play venues like that you don’t have a stage or any space to include a cool production or some lights. Doing a big KOKO venue with the big balconies is going to be fantastic.
For sure, and KOKO is also a good four or five times bigger than the Underworld.
Ben: Yeah! It’s a little nerve-wracking.
Patty: When we play that show, it’ll be almost two years to the day since we last stood on that stage. I think we’ve just improved so much as a band in that time, and we’ve also found ourselves and who we want to be now and in the future. Onstage, we try to make much more of a statement than before.
You’ll also be having Like Pacific and Grayscale out on these shows with you. Are there any other bands who have stood out to you this year?
Patty: I’m a big fan of Courage My Love, and I think that their record is incredible. It’s on the poppier side of the alternative scene, but they are a really special band.
Ben: I’m really bad at listening to new bands, so I tend to just listen to stuff from the 90s and early 00s, haha. I think that half the reason we take Grayscale on so many tours is because their new record is one which just totally hit me and made me feel something. I’m so stoked that we can bring Grayscale out to the UK for the first time ever.
Patty: We did an American tour earlier this year where we were able to handpick the bands we had out with us, and Grayscale were there as well as Sleep On It. By handpicking the bands we think it makes a tour so much more special.
And you’ve also got European dates planned!
Patty: Yeah, we’re also coming to Europe and it’s gonna be absolutely awesome!
Since you emerged as a band, have you noticed many major industry changes which have impacted you either directly or indirectly?
Ben: The changes have been huge. Right now, we’re on tour with a band who kicked open the doors for UK pop punk. When we started as a band, none of the UK groups we idolised, for example Save Your Breath and Me vs Hero, got to do anything international or go to places like America and tour the world. I think that Neck Deep really opened the doors for the scene in the UK, as they’ve enabled bands like us to just go all over the world. That wasn’t a thing in the past.
Patty: Yeah, and bands like us didn’t used to get signed to labels like Fearless. We were the first UK band to sign to Fearless, and Neck Deep were the first UK band to sign to Hopeless. When we started this band, it wasn’t something we’d considered in even our wildest dreams. For it to happen is surreal, but it’s equally as exciting as there’s always been pop punk and alternative bands from the UK that have gone unnoticed by the larger scene. You can even look at as far Australia for great pop punk bands, like Trophy Eyes and Between You And Me. There’s now this amazing international scene as opposed to only American bands. It’s insane.
Would you suggest that bands like Neck Deep have saved the pop punk scene from becoming irrelevant? People have spoken out in the past about how pop punk was on the verge of becoming a dying breed.
Ben: Yeah. You could call it the end of something or the start of something new, but I think that it’s nice to see bands like Neck Deep trying to push the boundaries further. It’s something that we definitely want to do for our next record, so I’d rather like to see it as the start of a fresh, new generation.
Patty: I think that’s the most exciting thing about the current chapter of pop punk, it’s become a much more serious genre. If you think about pop punk fifteen years ago, it was really jokey.
Ben: With bands like Blink-182 making dick jokes and stuff, for example.
Patty: But in this day and age, there’s some serious deep lyrical integrity. We’ve even got Hope For the Day out with us on this tour, which is all about suicide prevention and awareness. It’s actually doing something that we can all be open and proud of.
A great platform, basically.
Thanks a lot for your time, and good luck!
Patty: Thank you!
okay. is out now, and you can stream it below. You can catch As It Is at the Dynamo in Eindhoven on 7 March 2018 together with special guests WSTR, Courage My Love and Grayscale. Click here for more details.