With The Punches: The Ancient Ways of MySpace, a New Class of Pop Punk and Tetris

Is it possible to marry an entire band? If so, I’m heading to Utah with With The Punches. They bring back to life the sound I loved growing up and an awkward fat kid and still yearn for as an even stranger, above average adult. If their ability to make you giggle doesn’t win you over, than their pop punk savvy ways will. So thank someone I was able to catch them before they head overseas because they all found time, yup, all of them, to talk about UK excitement, video games and the current state of pop punk.

Kendra: Back in the day you’d have to put an ad in a paper, but you guys were lucky enough to find a member on MySpace. Other than rounding out bands, how do you think technology has helped bands the most?

Sam: Outside of the obvious needs of social networking that bands MUST use today, the biggest and best tool a band can have is a good GPS. Who the fuck reads maps anymore?! That and isanyoneup.com. Other people’s scumminess keeping us all entertained

Shane: Also, the obvious fact of being able to share your music with so many people who you normally wouldn’t be able to without things like the internet.

Kendra: You’re hitting the air this week and heading to the UK. Do you all get a chance to be tourists when on tour?

Dustin: I’m not really sure how much time off we will have in the UK, I’m sure we’ll all get to do some looking around, mostly I think we’re all really stoked on getting to be in another country playing music to kids who have been listening to us for a while, but haven’t been able to see us live. Between that and Slam Dunk, getting to play the same show as Less Than Jake and The Starting Line, I don’t think any of us will be disappointed if we don’t get to look around as much as we might’ve liked to.

Shane: All I have to say is, I don’t care if I don’t see anything in England as long as I get to spend a small amount of time in a Chelsea FC bar. My life will = complete.

Vinny: Yeah what Shane said…I am just so excited to hang with the guys and play in front of new people and kids that have been following us for a while. Also super stoked on Slam Dunk!

Kendra: Other than touring your asses off, what’s going on musically with With The Punches?

Dustin: We’re starting to write again and are looking forward to getting back in the studio and making more records. This year we’re going to try to do a split or two possibly, and then start working on a full length.

Shane: What he said.

Kendra: This is just a quick question because I heard it as soon as I listened…Has anyone ever compared you guys vocally to Off By One?

Jesse: Nope, I’ve actually never heard any of their music before. However I think most consider my vocal styling to be more like a punk rock Celine Dion, except I’m not from Canada.

Shane: Or like Ke$ha without the autotune…ew.

Kendra: Okay, no that my mind has done its wandering let’s get back on track. If you had to compare your sound to a video game, which would it be? Not like the music of the game, but the all-around idea of the game. For example adventurous like Zelda, imaginative like Mario, fast like Sonic and so forth and so on.

Dustin: Contra for Nintendo, the game starts, you start shooting and you don’t stop until you’ve defeated the vile Red Falcon, that’s pretty much how we approach everything.

Jesse: Life Force for Nintendo. Get this, you fly a plane and shoot stuff. Sometimes you are inside the human body shooting blood cells. Other times you have to shoot the eyeballs out of a demonic skull… this is exactly what our band sounds like.

Sam: Fast like Sonic and brutal like the fighting in NHL 2011 (not that we are brutal in any sense but awesome, but god damn is that game good).

Shane: Conker’s Bad Fur Day for N64. What’s better than a cute little squirrel cursing, making sexual references, and killing the shit out of Nazis and zombies? Nothing. Just like our music.

VinnyMega Man…but not how we sound now. I believe me and Dustin will be making an 80’s trance record sometime soon.

Kendra: Speaking of, you all love my favorite game, Tetris, who in the band has the highest score?

Dustin: I do, I suppose, I’ve been playing Tetris on the same Game Boy for 20 years. Sam is really good too though; we play against each other in the van a lot.

Sam: First off, ❤ you Dustin. Second, unless you really want a WTP tattoo, or want to buy Dustin a Pirates fitted, don’t challenge Dustin to Tetris.

Kendra: Time to get a little serious, back when I was in younger it was all about Drive-Thru bands, then we shifted into what I call the “Pete Wentz” era and now it seems to be heading back to real music again like NFG and The Movielife, and bands such as yours, The Wonder Years, A Loss For Words, etc. are being noted as reviving pop punk. Do you feel that’s true?

Dustin: Right now is a really cool time for pop-punk, because not only are there a ton of great bands out, but everyone is friends or at least friendly with each other. It’s nice to know that no one is looking at this like a competition or a race. I would like to say however, that Fall Out Boy – Take This To Your Grave is one of the best pop-punk records ever made.

Shane: I agree, I love the fact that there are so many pop punk bands doing their thing now and a TON of them are all friends. It’s a great thing, I respect every one of those other bands and we all push each other to go farther and never quit. That’s how I always felt about the pop-punk scene when I was growing up, it was catchy, I could relate to the lyrics, and it brought me together with people who just liked the same shit that I did. That’s what all of our bands are doing now.

Kendra: You’re a fairly new band still. Is there any advice you’ve gotten from an “elder” you’d like to share with even newer bands?

Sam: My only advice to anyone, male or female, that wants to start a band is to do what you love and play music that you love. I bust balls with a lot of our friends who play in bands that sound semi-similar to the “big bands” around now, but it’s all out of love. But if you really want to hear some awesome shit, check out the Rufio cover of “In My Eyes” that the band Tonight Alive did. The music is spot on and god damn can that girl sing.

Shane: Like Sam said, play music that YOU like. Don’t do something because you think other people will like it. Never give up, no matter how shitty things get, DO NOT ever stop. I’ve been there several times and I have learned that this is where I belong, with these awesome dudes, playing music I love. Look what has happened…It’s a testament of perseverance.

Kendra: From advice to burns…What’s the best insult you guys dish out to one another?

Jesse: Dustin is a huge fan of the, “lets tell strangers that Jesse has an eating disorder” burn.

Dustin: The guys all enjoy a nice, “Dustin is super old” burn from time to time.

Shane: Everyone (mostly Sam) is a huge fan of the, “at least I’m not as retarded as Shane” burn.

Vinny: I have yet to get burned…I’m the new guy but I’m pretty sure soon I will be up there with Shane. Love ya buddy!

Kendra: And finally, after the UK, what’s the rest of 2011 look like for With The Punches?

Dustin: After the UK tour, we head to Japan for the Beyond The Blue Tour with Mayday Parade, Anarbor, and The Summer Set. At the end of July we leave for a full US tour with our good friends in Carridale.

Kendra: Okay, one more before you finish packing and board…You have a lot of the same influences and favorites that I had in high school, so if I asked With The Punches to make me a nostalgic mixtape of what the Top 5 songs they were into in high school, what would you send me?

Dustin: Bad Religion “Stranger Than Fiction
Jesse: Goldfinger “Superman
Sam: NOFX “The Decline”, just so my song is the longest on the mix tape LOL and its one of the best songs/records ever.
Shane: Relient K “The One I’m Waiting For
Vinny: Cannibal Corpse “Dead Human Collection” & Fenix Tx “Threesome“…ha I was very big into death metal and pop punk weird mix huh?

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