Wednesday 19 February 2014

We Are The In Crowd // Interview & Live Review

We Are The In Crowd have literally just released their long awaited and highly anticipated second album. ‘Weird Kids’, the follow up to 2011 debut marks a step up for the band. They have just wrapped on a UK tour and are currently getting set to embark on their first US headline run.

We headed down to the sold-out Manchester Academy 3 show to chat to the guys about touring and mom’s lasagne…

Hiya guys. So how’s the UK tour been going so far?
JORDAN [Eckes, guitar] - Yeah, it’s been going awesome, we’re stoked on it.

I guess it’s somewhat of a home from home over here for you guys
JORDAN- Absolutely.
MIKE [Ferri, bass] - Yeah, we don’t even play our home anymore. We’ve been to the UK seven times in the past year or so.

Guys, last time we saw you, you were saying how much you love the kebabs and you were a bit over Nandos?
MIKE - I don’t feel the same way about kebabs anymore [laughing].
JORDAN - I still love the donner and chips, garlic mayo, sweet chilli…
MIKE - I can’t eat that s**t anymore, it does terrible things to my stomach. It tastes good but it just does awful, awful things to me.

You guys are away travelling so much; is it nice going back home now and again?
MIKE- Totally.
JORDAN - We’ve been home for the last three months but it feels good to be back out and seeing the kids again.
MIKE - It’s funny because I have friends who go on vacation when they’re on leave from work and I’m like, I don’t go anywhere [laughing] - I stay at home and hang out with my cat and watch Netflix. That’s a vacation.

2011 was your debut; are you ready to get the new record out now?
JORDAN - Absolutely, it’s been a long time coming. We’re all stocked on it, it’s going to be a good time. Tonight is going to be great; it’s intimate and we’re playing five new songs so it’s going to be crazy.

Does it feel like 3 years since your debut, or has it gone so quickly because you’ve done so much?
MIKE- A lot of this time was learning, trial and elimination. Then in the last year and a half we figured out how to make things work internally, externally and just as a whole. I think the We Are The In Crowd machine is better than ever right now so it’s good to be back out on tour and it definitely won’t be three years until we put out the next album; two and a half [laughing].

Bands often have that difficult second album; was it nice having that time between albums so you weren’t under pressure?
MIKE- It was like; the first one, yeah we’re proud of it and happy with it, but it wasn’t focused. People weren’t really expecting anything, they were just expecting us to put something out. I feel expectations were almost kind of low and that freedom let us go in and do what we wanted this time around. And kids seem to like it so far, Jordan seems to like it [laughing].


Writing it, did you approach things differently?
MIKE- This was our first time working with someone as intense as John Feldman; he has a lot of ideas and he is none stop and expects us to work 24/7. That made us better at what we do; he definitely knew how to get what he needed to get out of every person and he would isolate things in teams, three things happening at the same time. It’s a weird process but it worked well for us.
JORDAN- We did it in 22 days which was pretty crazy…
MIKE- …Yeah, we thought we were going to run out of time but we ended up getting it done early. He’s a mad man.

We interviewed Blitz Kids who’ve also worked with him and they said he was like Uncle Buck…
JORDAN- [Laughing] That’s actually not a bad comparison.

Pop-punk is really thriving right now; does it feel good to be part of that scene and especially with the new album out?
JORDAN- Yeah, I’d say we were born from the pop-punk scene and we do have our moments, and yeah the scene is definitely thriving right now.
MIKE- We never really attached ourselves to a trend or musical movement too much, we never played our whole hand. We didn’t throw on neon yellow T-shirts or deep Vs so that we could capitalise, that’s not us. On this record we started to figure out who we were and that was one of our goals; giving the band an identity and the fans an identity because we’re just this big rag-tag group of idiots [laughing]. Now we’re a big organised rag-tag group of idiots, which is much more dangerous.


And finally, what else are you looking forward to this year?
JORDAN- We’ve got our first US headliner which will be weird.
MIKE- Yeah, we never play at home, it’s a treat. Ok, so it’s like you have a friend when you’re growing up and his mom makes badass lasagne and you go over and have the lasagne and you’re like, “This is f*****g incredible, my mom never makes lasagne”. Well now mom is making lasagne. We’re hoping it’s good, but we‘ve got some black pepper and grated cheese to cover up the taste if it’s bad. But yeah, we’re coming to dinner.

On that note…thanks guys!

And here's what happened when We Are The In Crowd took to the stage...

Tonight is all about We Are The In Crowd. The new album may have taken a few years to come out, but this evening is all about prepping for it; and if tonight is anything to go by then we are in for a treat. Manchester’s Academy 3 is brimming at the seams with people who are excited to see what the Poughkeepsie quintet have to offer, especially so close to the new album, ‘Weird Kids’, being released. The headline set kicks off in style; ‘The Best Thing (The Never Happened) ensures people are getting involved from the get go. ‘Manners’, the new single taken from the new album sets a different tone for both the evening and the band themselves, and it is no bad thing. Jordan Eckes takes more of a vocal lead and the song is more epic and percussive than anything we have previously heard. A more mature sound umbrellas the newer material and it is no wonder; the album has been three years in the making and the band has been on a wave of success since their debut. Tracks such as ‘Kiss Me Again’, with its uber catchy and soaring choruses capture what We Are The In Crowd do best.

Such a fun live band, they are the first ones to incite a bit of revelry in the evening’s festivities. An avid fan has offered the play bass on ‘Lights Out’ and Mike Ferri is happy to oblige. He crowd surfs himself out to join the crowd whilst the fan switches places and impressively plays the entire song up on stage with the rest of the band. The crowd are only too happy to cheer along both parties in their new roles. ‘For The Win’ played on an acoustic guitar acts as the perfect interlude and perfect introduction into new song ‘Windows In Heaven’. The slower and more mellow track is heartfelt and bodes well for the sound on the new record. The newer anthems such as ‘Long Live The Kids’ are equally well received, pitted against old favourites such as ‘Exits And Entrances’.

The crowd surfing and stage diving isn’t finished just yet as We Are The In Crowd round off the night with ‘Rumor Mill’; it is the perfect send off. Tonight stepped things up for the New York five-piece and the crowd leave looking more please and more sweaty than ever before. They don’t like to be branded as pop-punk, rock or pop, but whatever you call it, one thing is sure, they are on the way up and 2014 is set to be an exciting time for the band. 9/10

Photo credit: Danny Peart Photography. 
For more live and backstage shots-
CLICK HERE for the live photo set

'Weird Kids' is out now-