We were lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the new album, Surrounded By Snakes. It's so fucking good. I realize that's quite the simple explanation, but it's the first thing that comes to mind after listening to this CD. Most bands could only hope to put out an album as good as ATG's previous full length Motor City Speed Rock. The fact that this band has followed that up with an even better album in just a year's time is amazing. Some of the songs on Surrounded By Snakes aren't quite as fast as other Against The Grain songs, but there's still enough speed-rock on the album to balance it out and keep the die hard ATG fans satisfied. Although some of the songs are slightly slower (for this band at least), many of them have chorus lines that crowds are bound to pile up for and shout along to, which is an added bonus. Every show will be even more of a party than they have been in the past.
Check out the music video for the title track "Surrounded By Snakes" and some footage we got of "Last Breath" during the Blowout.
In anticipation for this album and show we wanted to catch up with the band to get the inside scoop on the album, see what the band has been up to and what's next for these guys. Drummer Rob Nowak was nice enough to answer all of our questions. Here's what he had to say.
Hip In Detroit- How would you describe Against The Grain to someone who has never heard you before?
Rob- "Hey Christie, thanks for taking the time to ask us some stuff! ATG is a musical speed-ball of whiskey slammin' speed rock that delves into some sludgy-fuzzy-rock n roll every now and then."
Hip In Detroit- Tell us about the new album! Where did you record? How did you come up with the name? Where did you get some of your inspiration for this CD?
Rob- "The new album is a continuation of all things loud, heavy, and fast all based around rock and roll. It was written in 2 months, and recorded at The Tempermill in Ferndale with the talented Tony Hamera over 3 days. Drums and bass were recorded live (10 of the 12 tunes first take) on analog.
This album's music is a little more based around the song writing and less fast as shit all the time as our previous record. CD drops May 31st, record (out on Self Destructo Records) drops July 12th.
The album title comes from the selfishness you see when you're out on the road. These last two years we've been out on the road pretty much non-stop. We've met some of the greatest people in the world, but we've also seen a lot of backstabbing and selfishness by other bands. There are bands out there that are entirely about themselves, and won't do anything that doesn't benefit for themselves. We wrote the song after a stream of some bad run-ins. We are not about that. We are about community, friendship, and good times. One hand washes the other."
Against The Grain's release show on Friday is being presented by Black Iris Booking. Doors for this All Ages show open at 7 p.m. and it's only $6 to get in. The CD is only $4. So 10 bucks is getting you one of the best CDs put out this year and you get to see 6 kick ass bands. You can't really beat that! There will also be raffle tickets available at the door for $1 to win one of the 5 test presses of Surrounded By Snakes on vinyl.
Hip In Detroit- Who in the band writes the songs? Is it a group effort or is there a mastermind?
Rob- "Our songs are always started off by one person, then the rest finishes. Everyone in ATG writes at least 2 songs per album, but we all know what were good at writing. Chris and Kyle write most of the lyrics. It's very organic though. Every song, every person has a little bit of say, that's why our albums can have 12 songs, all written by 5 people. Usually starts with a riff."
Hip In Detroit- So, you recently shared the song "Last Breath" off the new album and said that Kyle wrote it about killing his step-dad. What's that all about? Or do we not want to know?
Rob- "You don't want to know."
Hip In Detroit- You guys are getting ready to head out on a pretty extensive tour. Where will you be heading? Any dates/towns you are especially looking forward to?
Rob- "We plan on playing every major city this year. We want to be road-dogs. No sense in staying here, or you'll all get sick of us! We're in this for the long haul.
I'm excited for our dates with The Swingin' Dicks, The Hookers, and Angry Samoans. It's always fun to tour with another band. Denver, Madison, Green Bay, Chicago, PA, SLC, So-Cal, TX. All always great to us. Excited to see a lot of our old friends too! Now it's to the point where every city we're looking forward to spending time with a few friends we've made. It's awesome."
Hip In Detroit- You booked the entire tour yourself which must have been quite the feat. Any advice or dos and don'ts for other bands working on booking tours?
Rob- "In the beginning it's about making friendships and long-standing business relationships with clubs, bands, and promoters. Be prepared to lose your ass and expect nothing to go as planned. It's a big ball to get rolling, hold in there and have fucking fun. Treat other bands with respect because in the beginning we all started because we're all music fans!"
Hip In Detroit- Are there any must have items that the ATG tour van has in it at all times? What's the one thing you guys can't live without while you are on the road?
Rob- "We're pretty fucking minimalistic actually. We don't have AC in the van (even out west!), no tablets or anything. Give us some good grub here and there and an iPod. We get REAL tour weird after a couple days haha. We shoot hoops and shit during days when we're bored. Go out to eat here and there. Good brews and friends. BBQs with friends are major moral boosters."
Hip In Detroit- Tell fans what to expect at the album release show on May 31st.
Rob- "Your hearing to be impaired."
Hip In Detroit- What's next for ATG?
Rob- "More releases and touring. Some exciting big tours we're currently working on. Vinyl!"
Hip In Detroit- What would be the ultimate goal for Against The Grain? Touring with someone? Getting signed to a certain label? World domination?
Rob- "To have a party sub back stage at every show waiting for us. 3 kinds of meat."
Speaking of winning... the ladies of Hip In Detroit and Black Iris Booking want to give you the chance to win your way into this amazing show. We are giving away one pair of tickets to get in on Friday. So, whether you are too broke to spring the $6 each to get in or if you just want to try your luck, here's what you have to do. Head on over and "share" the ATG poster that is on our Facebook page here. One lucky person will get in for free with a friend. We will be picking the winner Friday morning! Good luck!