Sophomore albums are notorious for being cursed, but hard work pays off. Having pushed themselves even further this time around to evolve their sound, the members of the band WSTR are here to debunk the sophomore slump myth with their upcoming release, Identity Crisis (out August 31st). Additionally, they’ve somewhat recently signed with Hopeless Records and are preparing to be support on Neck Deep’s upcoming tour, so it’s safe to say that WSTR is just getting started. They spoke with us here at GID about their bold new album, pushing themselves without losing themselves and the beauty of subjective interpretation when it comes to music.
GID: Your second full-length album titled Identity Crisis (which many are eagerly awaiting, including us!) comes out at the end of August 31st and you have dropped a video for your single “Bad to the Bone” which a lot of your fans love. Some of my favorite lines from that song come in the second verse where it says “I’m trying to paint a pretty picture in front of everyone/ But it ain’t so fun/ Cos with one mad rush/ Yeah they’ll take my brush/ And make God damn sure that the colours run”. How was it pulling from your personal experiences this time around to push the songwriting process?
WSTR: Everything I write lyrically comes from my own personal experiences usually. I can’t seem to write any other way yet. Bad to the bone comes from nasty rumours and people talking about you. This seems to come more and more when people start to know who you are even if it is just through social media. It happens a lot now a days though and social media can be a dangerous place.
GID: So, just what was the inspiration behind naming your album Identity Crisis? Your last album was titled Red, Green or Inbetween, am I sensing a pattern here?
WSTR: I see what you’re saying there but the inbetween to me is about being lost in a different way. ‘Identity Crisis’ came from the demos being all different genres and us being in fear of it turning into a shit show. I do encourage as many different meanings as possible though. It’s all conspiracy.
GID: Were there any challenges that you all faced while trying to complete this album?
WSTR: Yeah we really pushed ourselves on this album to prove that we can write “proper” songs so to speak. Not to take away anything from our old stuff but we stripped it back a lot and edited it all a lot less this time whereas last time we just threw as many guitar layers, drum fills, and tightened it up as much as we could. This record seems a lot more slick and real I feel.
GID: I also want to give a shout out to the album artwork for Identity Crisis because, it’s so clean and bold. Sometimes, as a fan, it’s easy to forget and appreciate just how important album artwork designs can be. Where did the design and overall retro feel for this album stem from?
WSTR: I watched a lot of 80’s movies at the time and really got into the culture. Personally I feel that the whole record has that bold almost cheesy feel with the solos etc. I’m glad you noticed that because I love that about it.
GID: You all recently got signed to Hopeless Records (which is a huge deal by the way, congratulations!). Was it an easy decision for you guys to decide to join the Hopeless family? How has that experience been so far?
WSTR: Thank you! Yeah we have been talking to Hopeless for a long time so it was no sudden thing. We signed a long time ago so we’ve known about it a lot longer than the public. It’s great though yeah. Both labels have been great I can’t fault either of them.
GID: Has signing with Hopeless in particular had an effect on the evolution of your sound? Can fans expect to hear their impact throughout Identity Crisis?
WSTR: No I don’t think so. One of the reasons Hopeless are so great is that they trust you to come up with the music and don’t get too involved with that side of things. Well they didn’t with us anyway. They gave opinions and tips and stuff, but it wasn’t mandatory that we stuck to them. We progressed naturally and whatever label we were on or even if we weren’t on a label this album would’ve come out the same.
GID: You’re also about to be heading out as support for Neck Deep alongside some other great bands on a pretty large tour. Having just formed back in 2015 and being where you’re at now, it’s apparent that you’re putting a lot of work into what you do. I imagine that although you’re doing something you love it has to get stressful at times as with most things. Do you have any tips for how you find a healthy balance between the band and self-care?
WSTR: Haha! I wish I did. If you find anybody who does have tips on that, hit me up
GID: Speaking of visiting the U.S. on tour, this is going to be your first time in the states! Where are you most excited to visit and what are you most excited to experience? (Not that I’m trying to sway your answer or anything, but I’m a California native just FYI and it’s not too shabby here)
WSTR: I’ve been to Cali a fair few times myself so I am looking forward to getting back there. Tbh though I’m excited for all of it. Like you said we’ve never been before as a band so I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of new things and gain some experience.
GID: I know you guys have cited American bands like Blink 182 and New Found Glory as influences for your band, but are there any more recent bands that you have been pulling inspiration from for Identity Crisis?
WSTR: There’s so much stuff that influences us and it isn’t just bands. Like I mentioned before TV and film has influenced us a lot recently, but musically we took our old sound and added some rocky stuff in there such as Oasis and Artic Monkeys. Also a little bit of MCR. You might not be able to hear it but it helped.
GID: Finally, here at GenreIsDead! we like to look at the positive impact and influence that not only music, but artists themselves, can have on fans. What are you hoping that your fans will ultimately take away from Identity Crisis?
WSTR: I just hope people relate and get high off the melodies. When I was a kid I’d get goosebumps off certain lyrics and melodies so the thought that it’s a possibility for me to maybe give that back an have that effect is crazy to me. I don’t usually like talking about lyric meanings because, I want anybody who listens to the music to take that lyric and automatically think that it’s about them. So basically, it can all mean whatever you want it to mean. Every song is about you.