the wonder years photo

 You can’t talk about the pop punk genre without bringing up The Wonder Years. Their last two releases have caused them to gain high ranks, and they think their third release is the best record they’ve ever written. With that release quickly approaching, The Wonder Years aren’t letting anything hold them back – including themselves.

SUBSTREAM

You guys released the first song, “Passing Through a Screen Door”, off your upcoming album, The Greatest Generation, just a few days ago, what kind of response have you been getting on it?

 

SOUPY

Overwhelmingly positive, which is really really nice. We crashed the site that it was posted on twice with 250K concurrent hits, and we also crashed MerchNow briefly with the preorders, and the Soundcloud that the song was hosted on. We really fucked the internet up. But the response has been positive, I’d say for every negative comment I’ve seen, I’ve probably seen three or four hundred positive comments. I’m a glutton for punishment so I spend a lot of time reading literally every comment to see if anyone does have anything bad to say about it just to, you know, punish my soul. So I feel like I have a pretty good read on how the song did, people seem to be really excited about it which makes me very happy.

 

SUBSTREAM

Do you think this song is a good representation of the album as a whole and that the full release will get a similar response?

 

SOUPY

I think it is. Every time you put out new stuff you’re going to get a little nervous. We were particularly nervous because we think that this is the best stuff we’ve ever done, and not even by a small margin. By a very large margin, we think this is significantly better than anything we’ve done in the past. So when you have that mindset and you’re putting a song out you’re like, “well if everyone hates it and we think it’s the best shit we’ve ever done then we REALLY fucked up,” you know? But getting such good response from the song makes us even more confident about the record because we don’t even think that’s the best song on the record. We think there are 5 or 6 better songs on the record, that was just the song we decided to show kids first. So yeah I’m confident the record will get a similar response. Which is really nice because you spend like, months and months just hoping like, please let them like it I just really love these songs, I really put my whole heart into this. The whole band is just so passionate about this and we’re just like, please let them like it.

 

SUBSTREAM

I think that if the rest of the album is even close to as good as this first song is then people are going to love it.

 

SOUPY

Yeah I talked about this in a different interview but, I compared it to Taco Bell. I said,  if you go to Taco Bell and they serve you a burger and say “Fuck you, we don’t make tacos anymore” you’re going to be pretty bummed because you went to Taco Bell for a taco. But if you keep going to T­aco Bell and they keep giving you the same taco you’re like, “Well I’m fucking tired of this taco now.” That’s where the Doritios Loco Taco comes in, because you went to taco bell and you wanted a taco but they just blew your fucking mind. That’s what we want to do. You come to The Wonder Years, you want a Wonder Years record. And we want to give you a Wonder Years record, but we want to give it to you in a fucking cheese Dorito shell. We want to give you the best possible Wonder Years record, that’s what we’re doing.

 

SUBSTREAM

So this will definitely sound like a The Wonder Years record, but at the same time I’m sure you’ve been growing as a band. Is there anything that stays the same album to album and things that maybe change?

 

SOUPY

The heart stays the same. The heart is always going to stay the same. The passion for playing is always going to stay the same. The whole reason we make music is always going to stay the same. The honesty and the candidness, that’s always going to be there, that’s what makes us us. As far as changing, we always want to be doing things that are more dynamic than the past and exploring different instrumentation. A lot of it this time is realizing that we provided these like, aural assaults almost, where the record was like “Here it is and we’re going to be fucking loud for fucking 30 minutes!” and you’re like “Ahh my ears!” So we wanted to kind of give some breaks and some reprieves and quieter parts that will make listening to the record a more pleasurable experience overall. But at the same time it still kicks your ass! But it does it in a couple different ways now, like in an up tempo punk song where you’re like “Oh, shit!” or it’s kicking your ass because of how fucking sad it is and you’re like “Oh, fuck.”

 

SUBSTREAM

There is a song on The Upsides called “Hey Thanks”. That song was kind of a wildcard in the sense that it doesn’t sound like any of your other songs. Is there going to be a song like that on this record?

 

SOUPY

What makes “Hey Thanks” a different song is that it’s different instrumentation wise. It’s still melodically a very Wonder Years song but you know, because it’s a ukulele and there’s a trombone on it and it’s got a little swing vibe to it, it stands out a little bit more. And there’s stuff on this record where we did some different instrumentation. Some piano stuff, some different guitar stuff. Slow songs can make the fast songs seem even faster in comparison. So there is some of that stuff in there, where we did some down tempo like ballad-y things that are some of my favorite songs on the record, and also enhance some of the other songs. Everything works together on this release.

 

 

SUBSTREAM

The first song you released off Suburbia was Local Man Ruins Everything, and that song really speaks to the fact that a lot of kids say that you pretty much saved them. Have you become more comfortable with that?

 

SOUPY

I’d say we handle that better now, we’re more tactful about it. We’re less stupefied, but it’s still a huge weight that’s being put on your shoulders every time someone tells you that. But at the same time, we’re happy to shoulder that burden. We’re glad we are able to help. But really, the answer we give when people say “Oh you saved me” is the reality of it is no, we didn’t. You saved yourself. Because you were able to pull yourself out of a bad spot, we just wrote some songs. That’s all we did.

 

SUBSTREAM

The title of this record, The Greatest Generation, is pretty bold, what meaning does it hold for you?

 

SOUPY

The actual greatest generation as been described by like Tom Brokaw as the generation that grew up during The Great Depression, the generation that fought in World War 2, the generation that rebuilt the country. They were seen as a generation that was selfless and determined and brave. And we are a generation that has been consistently told that we’re apathetic and we’re lazy and we’re self involved and we will never live up to, you know, that kind of ideal. I think the fact that we are okay calling another generation the greatest is kind of a white flag in and of itself. I want us to be the greatest generation; I think it’s inside of us. I think this record really speaks to the idea that I spent, and I think a lot of others spent, a long time battling themselves. Battling their internal issues, battling the world and where they fit into the world, and this is the record that says all of that needs to be put aside because I can’t keep fighting these battles. I need to start focusing on the man I want to be and helping to change the world for the better. The whole record speaks to the idea that at the end of all this, how are you going to be remembered? Will you be remembered as apathetic and self centered and unable to get past your own personal issues or are you going to be remembered as someone that changed something? Are you going to be remembered as someone that should be remembered, you know? Are people going to want to come to your funeral?

 

SUBSTREAM

That sounds almost sounds like a revelation, of sorts.

 

SOUPY

Yeah, I mean the last song on the record was actually the working title for a long time. It’s called I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral and that’s really the whole thing. You know, I don’t believe in an afterlife, when I’m dead I’m dead, that’s it, body in the ground. Though people say “what’s the point of living then?” The point of living is to have made the largest positive change in the world that you can with everything that you have. I want to make sure that I personally did everything that I could to live up to that potential, and so that’s kind of the whole crux of the record.

 

SUBSTREAM

You guys have said that this record is like the last of a trilogy, what makes this the ending?

 

SOUPY

The other records were kind of the battles and this is the movement into peace. Like I said, we battle with depression, we battle with anxiety, we battle with the world around us, we battle with how we fit into it. And now there’s this time of like, we need to be done. The fight needs to be over and we need to work on everything that comes next.

 

SUBSTREAM

After the record release, another exciting thing The Wonder Years has coming up is playing the main stage at Warped Tour. How are you feeling about that?

 

SOUPY

I feel pretty much exactly how you’d expect me to feel: nervous and excited is the only way to describe that. We’re incredibly excited and at the same time we’re anxious about it, because we are about everything. You know, there’s no like benchmark, there’s no like award you get that says “hey you guys crossed this number or this line and now you’re ready for the main stage at Warped Tour.” So how do you know if you’re ready? We try to stay confident but we’re the kind of people who are always like “Are we good enough? Can we do it well enough? Are we big enough?” That kind of thought process is always lingering in our brains. Obviously we’re super excited and super humbled and feel really lucky. It means a lot that Kevin (Lyman) has that faith in us to put us on the main stage, but at the same time there’s always that anxiety that comes with it.

 

SUBSTREAM

Do you expect this year on Warped to be different from when you were on it in 2011?

 

SOUPY

I don’t think so. We’ll still be there unloading every morning, we’ll still be at catering hanging out with everybody else. I can’t imagine what we’d be doing any differently. We’re walking to a different stage but we have the same stage manager, he got promoted, and same front house guy, he got promoted too. So we’ll be hanging out with Kenny and Brett every day anyway and Johnny, so it might literally be the exact same experience! But hopefully the crowds get bigger.

 

SUBSTREAM

Sounds like 2013 is going to be The Wonder Years’ biggest year yet.

 

SOUPY

We hope that every year is bigger than the year before that, and we take it one step at a time. That’s all we’re saying, one year bigger than the last. One foot in front of the other.

 

The Wonder Years

By Amanda Burd