In a year of anticipated releases from a host of favourites, Off With Their Heads forged their way back into the punk rock scene with their latest album, ‘Home‘. On the eve of its release, we sat down with bassist Robbie Swartwood to talk about the latest offering, creating a cathartic experience and what ‘Home’ means to the band.
By Hannah Sebestjanowicz
So you have a new record coming out in March which must be pretty exciting, what was the recording process like? Were there any particular influences?
Well, we slept and lived in the studio the whole time so it was pretty cool to be able to immerse ourselves in the project like that. It was a bit like going to school too, except for something that you actually give a fuck about. Which was awesome because I’ve always hated school.
Your last record ‘In Desolation‘ was pretty depressing, have things lightened up at all for ‘Home’?
Nope, it’s probably darker than the last one, actually. But I’d like to think it’s in an honest, cathartic way, and not necessarily a “take a huge bong rip off of your tailpipe” kind of way.
Do you have any particular favourites on the new record?
It’s hard to pick a favourite because it works really well as a whole. Stylistically, it shows every side of the band and there are even some songs on this one that are more straight forward rock songs. We’ve been talking about doing the whole new record front to back at shows, that would be awesome.
You’ve already released two music videos for the new album, they look like you had a lot of fun doing them. Is it important for you guys to release music videos?
It’s a great chance for us to be able to act like the idiots we are and hang out with our friends. Ryan is usually good at coming up with some weird, off the wall concepts, so it’s always a good time.
Sum up the new record in 5 words.
I can do it in two – focused desperation.
You have a pretty big discography, is releasing the physical product [ie vinyl] important to you as a band?
It’s important because that’s how we started out, putting out 7″s and split records with our friends. So there’s always that cool feeling about making your own record. But for me personally, I’ve worked as a mover for a bit, so now every time I see someone with a huge record collection I instantly want to bludgeon them to death with a moving dolly.
What are your opinions on music sites like Spotify and Bandcamp, do you think they help bands like yourselves?
I like and use them a lot, it remains to be seen though if bands can actually survive off of streaming music sites though. For me, music has always been my whole life so I just wish there was a better way to support bands other than going to shows and buying t-shirts.
Are there any records that came out last year that you particularly like and are there any bands you’re particularly digging right now?
Two of my favourites from last year were The Sidekicks “Awkward Breeds” and The Fake Boys “Pig Factory”. They’re two pretty underrated bands I think. Four Letter Word is always in rotation and the new Pure Love record is really good.
Being in a band and touring must have its fair share of ups and downs have their been any particular stand out moments for you as a band and have there been any really low points?
Going to Australia with Against Me! last year was one of the high points for sure. One of those surreal times where it’s like, really? As far as low points go, my was bag stolen from a friends house we were staying at a couple of years ago. It had literally everything I owned in it. There’s nothing quite like having a “friend” steal the few things you own while you’ve already been homeless for five years. I literally only had the clothes on my back and my bass gear for awhile.
If you could play a show with any 3 bands or artists dead or alive who would they be?
Wow, that’s a tough one. We’ve been lucky enough already to play with some of our favourite bands. Playing with Nirvana or the Foo Fighters would be amazing. Dave Grohl seems like he might possibly be the coolest guy to ever hang out with. I’d have to say the Clash too, obviously. The list is long.
When you’re not touring or recording what do you like to do to chill out?
I go to a lot of movies. I’m into everything, comedies, terrible low budget horror movies, rom-coms, dramas, I love it all, I’m not a snob about it. It would be cool to somehow be involved in all of that one day. Maybe some day I could be the next D.J. Qualls, fingers crossed.
What are your plans for 2013 and any plans for a UK tour?
We’re going to be pretty busy all year with the new record and everything, we usually make it over there about once a year. So we should be seeing you guys soon hopefully.
Many thanks to Robbie for taking the time to chat to us. You can check out the new album, as well as find upcoming tour dates for the band at: http://www.epitaph.com/artists/artist/275/Off_With_Their_Heads