Interview: As It Is (Slam Dunk Fest Preview)

Over the coming days and weeks, Already Heard will be previewing this years Slam Dunk Festival in detail through a range of interviews and features.

It’s been well documented that the past 18 months have been pretty extraordinary for Anglo-American pop punks As It Is. A top 40 album, numerous high profile tour support slots and a handful of notable festival spots. At the end of last year, we were under the impression that the quintet would take some time away and recharge the batteries. Although they did just that, we weren’t expecting them to return this soon. Nevertheless the first quarter has seen them deliver a deluxe edition of ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ along with a new number called ‘Winter’s Weather’. Whilst it’s no surprise they’re not ones to sit about at home. Having recently toured with Sleeping With Sirens, the Brighton based group head out on a headline run that will see them playing their debut LP and 2014s ‘This Mind of Mine’ in full.

The tour climaxes at the Slam Dunk Festival. 12 months removed from making their debut at the festival, As It Is return to play their favourite festival alongside a bunch of familiar faces.

Before they head out on the road once again, we caught up with guitarist Ben Biss to discuss keeping busy, the headline tour and their return to Slam Dunk.

AH: When we spoke to you in December, we got the impression you’d be taking some time off in 2016 but here we are on the eve of a headline UK tour with a handful of new songs already out there. I guess you’re a band who likes to keep busy?
Ben: We’re always busy. We came off of being on tour constantly all year, clocking in about 175 shows and went straight into the studio for three days to record ‘Winter’s Weather.’ We decided to take January off to clear our heads and reflect on the past year as everything got very intense very quick. That’s probably the longest in 5 years we’ve spent apart but we decided we needed to get some non-band life experiences because we didn’t want to write a record complaining about being on the road, we love being on tour more than anything despite how hard it can be sometimes. Since February, we’ve been living together again writing our second record only really taking breaks for the Sleeping With Sirens tour and this headline run. There’s never really time off in this band. We gave up everything to do this so we put everything into it.

AH: The response to the tour has been incredible and you’re going to playing both ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ and ‘This Mind of Mine’ in full. Do you have anything else lined up for these shows?
Ben: We’re extremely excited about this tour. I’m stoked to play a load of songs we haven’t ever played and some we haven’t played in quite a while. Recently we’ve been doing support tours in big rooms which is awesome, but we’re excited to play some intimate no-barrier shows and just let the songs speak for themselves.

AH: You’re going to be taking out With Confidence and Jule Vera for the tour. It’s going to be both their first time over here. What should our readers know about them?
Ben: That they’re both going to upstage us every night and we’re okay with that. We’ve toured together before and both bands have a completely contagious onstage energy. I’m excited to take Jule Vera out to our favourite bars as they aren’t old enough to drink in America but they are here, not that were bad influences or anything! Readers should know that both bands are going to be huge and we’re lucky enough to be the ones that get to bring them over for UK fans.

AH: The tour will be followed by an appearance at the Slam Dunk Festival. Did you expect to return to the festival so soon?
Ben: We hoped we would! We’ve been going to that festivals for five years. It’s cool to be playing a bigger stage and sharing the stage with The Starting Line! It’s my favourite weekend of any year so getting to play and have so many friends like Mayday, Real Friends and ROAM around to hang with is going to make for an amazing weekend!

AH: What do you remember from last years appearance and what lessons, if any, did you learn from it?
Ben: I remember completely being blown away by how many people were there to see our set, considering we were first on! I think a few of us learnt not to drink quite as much the night before playing at Midday! I say we learnt that but in reality we forgot about it pretty quick on Warped Tour.

AH: The festival always has a mix of established and new bands. What advice would you give to the bands playing it for the first time?
Ben: As a new band it’s easy to worry no one will show at a festival because there’s always going to be someone bigger on at the same time. No matter the size of the crowd, appreciate that those people chose to see you over anyone in that moment. Mostly just have fun, it’s three days of being with mates and having the opportunity to meet your idols.

AH: The line-up is packed with stellar names. Who are you hoping to see across the weekend?
Ben: The Starting Line! Did I mention The Starting Line? Them and Yellowcard are massive influences on us. I’m so excited to see Panic! too. I’ve loved that band for so damn long and to get the chance to see them three nights in a row because we’re playing the same festival is mind blowing to 14-year old me.

‘Never Happy, Ever After (Deluxe Edition)’ by As It Is is out now on Fearless Records.

As It Is will be playing on The Key Club stage:
Slam Dunk North (Leeds) – 4:00 – 4:35pm
Slam Dunk Midlands (Birmingham) – 4:15 – 4:50pm
Slam Dunk South (Hertfordshire) – 4:00 – 4:35pm

View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Slam Dunk Festival 2016 here.

As It Is links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)


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