INTERVIEW: Knuckle Puck on Pop Punk and Chocolate

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photo: Ally Newbold

If you don’t know Knuckle Puck by now, it’s time to get acquainted. This past year has been filled with non-stop touring for the Chicago natives. With a fall tour in direct support of Modern Baseball and the release of their new EP While I Stay Secluded, they are finishing off their busy year on a high note. There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Knuckle Puck. So far, they’ve only grazed the surface of their talent, and it will be fun to track their success over the next few years. We caught up with guitarist Kevin Maida to talk about the band’s fall tour, new EP and the excitement of the pop punk genre.

Substream Magazine: You guys recently toured with Senses Fail and this fall you’re heading out with Modern Baseball. These are two different bands with different fan bases. As far as set lists go, do you change anything up depending on your audience? Or do you approach each tour the same?

Kevin Maida: The Modern Baseball tour will be different from some of the other tours we’ve done just because we’ll be direct support, meaning our set time will be longer. So we’ll be playing more songs as well as some new songs off our new EP “While I Stay Secluded”.

SM: The pop punk genre has a very devout fan base. What is the best part about being involved in a genre that encourages fans to go absolutely nuts at shows?

KM: I think it’s really cool because when I first started going to shows, I fell in love with that concept immediately. And when we’re playing a show, that’s what we love to see. It is important to be mindful of other people’s safety though. So as long as everybody is safe at our shows, we’re happy.

SM: Have you ever had any crazy fan interactions during or after a show?

KM: No, nothing crazy or noteworthy that I can think of.

SM: You guys have released several EPs so far in your career. What is it about putting out only a few songs at a time? Is there less pressure? More creative freedom?

KM: One of the main reasons we have stuck with releasing EPs is so we can put out new music as soon as possible. If we planned on doing a full length instead of “While I Stay Secluded,” we wouldn’t have had new music out for much longer. We also don’t necessarily have the current resources to properly release a full length (i.e. being signed to a label).

SM: With that said, is there a full length album coming anytime soon?

KM: Not anytime soon, no.

SM: Tell us a little bit about While I Stay Secluded. What was the mentality going into the studio to record this group of songs?

KM: We typically have the same mentality with every release: let’s just write the best songs possible and try not to be bogged down by the restraints of a particular genre. I personally think that the songs off of WISS are some of the best we’ve written yet, so we’re very pleased with how everything turned out.

SM: A few of the titles are related to places that have obviously had an impact on you. What is it about these places that influenced you so much?

KM: A lot of the places we reference to in our songs hold some significant meaning to us, whether it brings up positive or negative memories of something in particular. Whether it’s “Oak Street” or “Alexander Pl.”, those places just seem noteworthy to write something about them.

SM: Which of the new songs are you most proud of/excited for people to hear?

KM: “Bedford Falls,” “But Why Would You Care?” and “Transparency.”

SM: Along with the new EP, you guys just announced that you are featured in the newest edition of Punk Goes Pop. What led you guys to cover The 1975’s “Chocolate”?

KM: We were given a list of songs to choose from and that one seemed like it would be the most fun to cover. Some of us are big fans of The 1975, so it just made sense as well to cover “Chocolate.”

SM: You guys have really grown a lot this year. Is there a certain moment you look back on and have to pinch yourself because it was so surreal?

KM: I think anytime we’re on tour and we play a crazy show or something like that. It is pretty surreal to see people who we don’t know at all care about our music so much, especially when we’re so far away from home.