Los Angeles, CA based ska-punk band The Interrupters announced during a live performance at Back To The Beach Festival that their third studio album, Fight The Good Fight, would drop on June 29th, 2018 via Hellcat Records. Not only was I excited by the unexpected announcement, but I was scheduled to interview the group back at their trailer 30minutes following this live performance.
The band consists of brothers Kevin, Justin & Jesse Bivona who play guitar, bass & drums respectively with lead-vocalist Aimee Interrupter belting out her signature punk raspy vocals. They broke out onto the scene in 2014 under the guidance of Tim Armstrong of Rancid with Hellcat Records releasing their debut self-titled record, followed by 2016’s Say It Out Loud.
When I met the band, they were still reeling from their live-set as the brothers were in their full matching suits while Aimee was dressed in all black from head to toe. This was the Tuesday before “She’s Kerosene” single and music video came out. Additionally, the Mad Caddies had just announced that they were doing a ska-punk cover album titled Punk Rocksteady that features Aimee Interrupter on 2 songs. With about 15 minutes to talk, we did our best to touch on a number of topics and they were gracious with every request. [This is a condensed transcription of our discussion.]
Interview: The Interrupters
The Pier: So the new album, Fight The Good Fight, drops June 29th, how many songs are on the record?
The Pier: Are there any guest appearances for this one?
Kevin: OH YEAH! We have a song called “Got Each Other” featuring Rancid and we get a verse from each Rancid member. Tim Armstrong, Matt Freeman & Lars Frederiksen. It’s a really fun track. It’s a like a street-punk unity song.
Jesse: We were also able to sneak Rancid drummer Branden Steineckert in there on vocals, too.
Kevin: Yeah, he’s singing on the chorus with us, he counts us back in after a break. Yeah, so we got all of the members of Rancid on a track, so we’re stoked!
How would you describe this album in contrast to the previous two? How was the record recorded?
Aimee: That’s a good question…
Kevin: We are definitely keeping the ska going, but also trying to develop our songwriting a little bit. Tim Armstrong produced this record as well and it was all of us in the studio at all times. He brought a Studer 24-track tape machine in there.
Aimee: That was new, that was really exciting because it has a certain urgency and a lot of it is just 1 take! 1-take vocal, I’m singing live with the band, and produced old-school; It really captured some magic.
Kevin: There’s a certain discipline and anxiety that comes with that because you buy a reel of tape and there’s 30minutes on it. When you’re in Protools, you can play the song 10 times and be like “#8 was the best!” This one was like: “We played it twice. Alright, was the first one better or the second one?…. Uh, let’s do one more take” And they’re like: “Alright, which previous take do you want to record over?” And it’s like Wow, that’s keeping it real! [haha]
Justin: With the tape, if you keep going back and recording over it, the quality diminishes. So we’re trying to keep that tape fresh by nailing the takes on these songs.
The Pier: What’s Tim Armstrong like as a producer or mentor to the band?
Kevin: The cool thing about Tim producing all of our records, is he’s not just a great producer, he’s like a great band-dude who was in Operation Ivy, he’s in Rancid and these are bands that we love. So it’s like having another band member. He could be a band psychiatrist. He just knows the deal! So if we’re ever having any issues, he’s just like: “Well, this is kind of how I’m seeing it from over here, as a band-guy” and it’s really good to have that angle.
Aimee: Yeah, we call him the fifth Interrupter.
The Pier: So there are 12 songs, were there any songs that got cut from the record?
Aimee: Well we wrote like 30 or 40 songs…
Kevin: Yeah, we recorded 18 songs to tape and decided on 12 for the record. We like to keep stuff for later, you never know…
Aimee: And that’s what was different from our other records, was the amount of songs that we had to pick from.
Kevin: Yeah, it was competitive on the songs with this one, which makes it something that we’re really proud of.
The Pier: What studio was the album recorded out of?
Kevin: Shipwreck Recorders out of Los Angeles, CA.
The Pier: I was talking with Mad Caddies recently & there’s a lot of excitement regarding their ska-punk cover record “Punk Rocksteady” produced by NOFX’s Fat Mike. Aimee, I understand you’re on a couple of songs? How did that go down?
Aimee: I am! Mike said he was in the studio with Mad Caddies and I was like “Hey, if you need any vocals, I love Mad Caddies, I love you, and I’d love to do that.” So they hit me up and they had me come down. I didn’t know which songs I was doing, but ended up doing NOFX’s “She’s Gone” and Op Ivy’s “Sleep Long.”
The Pier: Yes! And the Op Ivy song includes Josh Waters Rudge from The Skints. It’s a fun discussion among us fans about the potential of The Interrupters & The Skints on a tour or studio collaboration, and to know that you are both on the “Sleep Long” cover — could that lead to a future collaboration or tour?
Aimee: We love The Skints. We hope so. I hope it can lead to a show or a cluster of shows. We have a band-crush on them.
Each band that we’ve interviewed lately, when we ask them about any up and coming ska-punk bands, the first name that comes up is The Interrupters. So we have to ask you the same question — who are some ska-punks bands that The Interrupters suggest?
Aimee: South Central Skankers – They’re not like new, but they’re awesome! [Haha]
Kevin: Then our friends from Oceanside, CA, Oceanside Sound System, they been around for a little bit, but they’re awesome!
Jesse: Los Angeles has a nice little ska scene, too. I like the Delierians – they just played Coachella.
Kevin: We’ve been lucky enough to play with all sorts of bands, all over the place. Punk & ska. Bet On Red from Boise, ID is another great band!
The Pier: Well thank you so much for the time — congrats on your new record, Fight The Good Fight, dropping June 29th via Hellcat Records and we look forward to talking again, soon!
Watch: The Interrupters – “She’s Kerosene”
Watch: The Interrupters – “Title Holder” (Lyrical Video)