Issues Talk Self-Titled Album, Vans Warped Tour + Influences
Issues are a band you need to keep an eye on for 2014. The group issued their self-titled album earlier this year, featuring the singles ‘Stingray Affliction’ and ‘Never Lose Your Flames.’ Loudwire caught up with brothers Ty and Sky Acord, the band’s turntablist and bassist, repsectively, as well as guitarist AJ Rebollo ,and got the scoop on their breakout release. The three band members also spoke about the variety of influences that factor into their music and shared their thoughts on playing the Vans Warped Tour this summer. Check out the chat below:
Talk about the song ‘Stingray Affliction’ and its accompanying video …
Sky Acord: We chose that as our first single because it kind of — looking back, we could have shocked people a little more — but ‘Stingray Affliction’ kind of eases people into what we’re doing with the album. It definitely had all the elements people are familiar with from the EP, but on another level sort of.
As for the video, it was awesome because ‘Stingray Affliction,’ the hooks and stuff are kind of inspired by 90s R&B to the utmost extent. With the video we tried to do that even more so. So, Tyler has a mark under his left eye for “Left Eye” Lopes and the fact that it switches up in the middle of the video is totally old-school ’90s R&B. It’s a fun video, fun song. The song definitely means something but it’s still more lighthearted than some of the other songs on the album. It’s fun to play, people can just chill and do their thing.
What was it like the first time seeing the album as a complete product?
AJ Rebollo:I guess you could say [the EP] ‘Black Diamonds’ was a major release, but this is really the first major release that we’ve ever been a part of. I’ve never, even with any other little band I’ve been a part of, never had CDs or anything like that. So, just the fact that there’s a CD in my hand is incredible. But the fact that it’s doing well, I don’t know, it did a lot better than we expected. It’s a crazy feeling.
Now that you’re out there and playing songs live from the disc, what’s your favorite song to perform live?
Ty Acord: One of my favorite songs to play live off the new record is ‘The Settlement.’ It’s simply because A) it’s heavy and fun. In the very beginning, AJ lets me do this little guitar chug thing and I think it’s the most fun part of the whole set. I scratch the rhythm, he plays on the guitar on the record and most of the time, I’m improving. It’s one thing I have to nail every night, it’s fun for me. I love that song.
AJ Rebollo: How did that start?
Ty Acord: I think I said, “I won’t scratch that.” You’re like, “Do it.” I was like, “Wait, maybe I can” and I tried it. Then halfway through the tour I was brave enough to do it live.
AJ Rebollo: One of the first times he did it was our show in Mexico. That was sick. So every since then, I used to do it with him but then when I saw he was nailing it, we had talked about it. We didn’t really plan on actually expanding on it. But, when he did it in Mexico with me, it was so tight, i was like I’m gonna let him play that part. You can do it. That song is my favorite song.
Sky Acord: Same with me, ‘The Settlement.’ It’s designed to be intense live. It’s really technical so we have to get better at playing it, and playing tight and rocking out at the same time. You can’t really jump around and play super technical riffs right off the bat. Also it has a stupid breakdown at the end, which is awesome. Always fun live. I like watching people hurt themselves.
There’s a lot of energy with this band, and likewise in the crowd. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen?
Sky Acord: Every time we play [the festival] South By So What?, something happens. First time we played it, this festival in Dallas. Tyler almost died because he fell off the stage, which is super high festival stage. He fell in between the subwoofers and the stage. He’s there one second and gone the next. [laughs]
The second time, the set was fine but then I walked off stage immediately after and puked all over myself. It was awesome. The third time we were just falling all over ourselves because it was super rainy and we were one of the last bands to play that day. We always get good slots on that festival, so some of our biggest crowds we’ve ever played have been at that festival. So a lot of people have seen us screw up, which is awesome.
Can you talk about the energy when making that connection with the crowd?
Sky Acord: It’s super fun especially with — well with barricades it’s a little harder because there’s more disconnect. But smaller venues where the crowd is right up in your face, it doesn’t matter how far back it goes. You feel super connected to every person in the room because everyone is watching you, and you’re vibing off of everyone. Sometimes I have conversations with people in the front row, “Hey how ya coin!?,” in between songs. It’s fun because everyone is there on the same level. We’re not rock stars. We’re just playing for other fans of music.
You mentioned having conversations with fans in the front row. What’s one of your favorite experiences?
Ty Acord: I usually give people water and stuff. I remember yesterday, someone said, “Scout!” I was like, “What’s up?” They told me to tell AJ that pulp in orange juice is gross because he tweeted about it one time I guess. I was like, “Oh, OK. Cool.” then I went back to playing the set. It was a very important thing to tell me I guess.
You just came from a meet and greet. Talk about how the fans have come to embrace Issues.
AJ Rebollo: It’s cool man. The more and more we do the signings, the more we grow as a band. I just love seeing the different types of people, the demographic. I like seeing our demographic expand. It used to be kind of the typical kids you see at shows, middle school and high school girls. They like this type of stuff, which is funny because it’s like metal and screaming and stuff. Now it’s just different age groups and guys and everything. It becomes more and more diverse as we grow as a band. It’s cool to meet everyone that’s vibing out with the music.
My favorite thing is people’s stories jamming to our music. Someone told me today he’s a pizza delivery guy and the only thing that gets him through the day is our full length album. That’s sick, I can see him delivering pizza, rocking out to our jams. That’s dope.
From the music I’m hearing on this album, it seems you have quite a few influences. Talk a bit about what kind of music each of you grew up on.
Ty Acord: Both my brother and myself love Stevie Wonder. He’s probably one of the main influences in both of our lives. And then, I listen to a lot of Fatboy Slim, as far as the electronic side. Then I listen to a lot of Linkin Park, later got into Impending Doom and deathcore bands like that. The three main things that show up in our music are the heavy, the soulful stuff and then the electronic stuff. I guess those are the three main artists I like.
AJ Rebollo: I owe my entire musical career to the Jackson 5, actually. I played trumpet before guitar or drums or anything. J5 was the first group that ever made me want to perform on a stage like we’re doing now. That was in 5th grade I think. That’s when I was getting into Blink 182, Sum 41, New Found Glory. That’s when I got a lot more involved in guitar, then I started evolving into metal. Children of Bodom was one of my favorite bands, Cradle of Filth. It went from there. More of the core stuff, one of the first major core bands I listened to was Parkway Drive.
Favorite Stevie Wonder song?
Sky Acord: That’s hard. Maybe ‘Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away’ because my mom covered it when I was little. I heard it a lot. Maybe ‘Overjoyed’ and then ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ is probably my favorite. Best written song.
You’ve got Warped Tour coming up this summer. What are your memories of going to the festival as a kid?
AJ Rebollo: I remember first time I ever went to Warped Tour, I don’t even remember what year it was. All I remember was Coheed [and Cambria] was headlining that night. Me and my brother grew up in Washington so our venue was pretty cool. It was the Gorge Amphitheater, right on a cliff over the water, on the canyon.
I just remember thinking, “What the hell is going on?” There’s thousands of kids, everyone is in mosh pits and everyone is dying of heat exhaustion. But everyone is having a good ass time. I just remember seeing all the bands and wondering what it would be like to be on something like that. I ended up going back as I grew up more and more and then one day I was playing it. Mind blowing.
Looking forward to any of that extra curricular stuff?
Sky Acord: Last year we only did ten days of it, then we got on it after a very infamous nu-metal party. I am so incredibly bummed out I missed out on that nu-metal party. So I hope that happens again, I’ll paint my face and wear baggy cargo shorts, no shirt, maybe a wife-beater.
If you were to do your own nu-metal era cover…
Sky Acord: I think we’re working on one.
Let’s talk about the other big song from the new album, ‘Never Lose Your Flames.’
Ty Acord: It’s funny, Tyler [Carter] before Issues had a solo thing going on and he had wrote that song as a solo song. It kind of got buried under emails or whatever, got forgotten about with the creation of Issues. When we were doing the full length I told him it was a great song and we should revive it. He’s wasn’t sure, so we showed it to Chris our producer and he said we definitely had to do it. So, me and AJ sat down and we just took an a capella of Tyler singing it and just made the music, the riffs from scratch and it came out pretty sick.
It has some pop-punk parts, something we’ve never really done. It’s got a cool little synth solo, it just came out eclectic and fun. One of the lighter songs on the record for sure but I think one of the catchiest.
Anything on the horizon for you guys?
Are you tight with Bring Me the Horizon?
Ty Acord: We just met them on [our recent] tour, but I befriended Jordan [Fish]. He and I became friends off the bat both being keyboard electronic guys in the bands and one day I asked him for the stems, showed him the mix and we’re doing an official release. I’m stoked on it.
Watch Issues’ Video for ‘Stingray Affliction’