Scream It Like You Mean It, Story Of The Year
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Story Of The Year
Hard work, determination and success go hand and hand—and no one understands that better than STORY OF THE YEAR. In that spirit it should come as no surprise that these post-hardcore sensations decided to title their fourth full-length The Constant. However that doesn't mean that the band's latest disc isn't a logical progression for St. Louis' favorite breakout act. In fact in many ways The Constant is a fresh burst of energy for the band who exploded onto the scene in 2003 with their ubiquitous single "Until the Day I Die" and also marks the beginning of an exciting new musical chapter for this fearless fivesome. While the band have already released three studio full-lengths: 2003's Page Avenue, 2005's In The Wake Of Determination and 2008's The Black Swan, The Constant picks up where the band left off and proves that STORY OF YEAR sound more top of their game with each subsequent release.
Recorded with Elvis Baskette (who also co-produced The Black Swan) at his secluded studio in Virginia, The Constant was written and recorded in a scant three months—a fact that allowed the band to capture these songs' inherent urgency without getting bogged down in the process. "This was the fastest recording and writing experience for us ever and it was cool because we didn't overthink everything," explains the band's vocalist Dan Marsala—who alongside guitarists Ryan Phillips and Philip Sneed, bassist Adam "The Skull" Russell and drummer Josh Wills make up STORY OF THE YEAR. "Writing and recording The Black Swan was a long, grueling process and this time we wanted to do the opposite: just have fun, be spontaneous and make it exciting—and it worked out better," he continues. "Everyone is so happy with the end product and it was a great time."
While countless acts have come and gone since STORY OF THE YEAR formed over a decade ago, Marsala credits the band's success to their ability to form a unique niche in the punk community. "We have such a wide range of tastes and influences that we can continue to progress in any direction and stay relevant at all times, and we've always taken pride in having no boundaries or limits with the music we write" he adds—and STORY OF THE YEAR's unwavering relevance has never been as evident as it is on The Constant. From emotional rockers like "I'm Alive" to driving, post-hardcore masterpieces like "The Children Sing" and the heartfelt piano ballad "Holding On To You," The Constant sees STORY OF THE YEAR sonically stretching out to create their most varied and accomplished collection of songs to date.
"This was the first time musically that we wrote the entire record together," Marsala explains. "We tried not to over think it. We just got together every day and jammed until something caught our ears. Our only real goal was to make sure we were having fun during the entire process. That's why we started playing music in the first place, and I think we definitely achieved that goal. I had more fun writing and recording The Constant than any other record in our career." This relaxed environment allowed STORY OF THE YEAR to experiment with ideas that they hadn't pursued in the past as evidence on tracks like "Eye For An Eye," a one-take punk song that started as a joke at practice or "Holding On To You," which sees the band showcasing a more vulnerable side to their typically aggressive sound. "That's probably the lightest song on the record but I think it turned out better than I ever could have imagined," Marsala says about the aforementioned track. "Musically, The Constant ranges from fast hardcore punk to melodic piano ballads with everything in-between."
This newfound freedom of expression also extends to The Constant's lyrics, which see Marsala exploring his own psyche with remarkable clarity. "I dug a little deeper personally with what's going on in my head with the lyrics this time around," he says. "There are still four or five songs that are socially political and similar to what we did on The Black Swan, but I definitely think it's a progression for me." The album title also embodies the band's work ethic and commitment to both themselves and their fans. "Music is the constant thing in life for us," Marsala explains. "When I go to bed I think about music and when I wake up it's the first thing on my mind," he continues. "The Constant can mean anything; hopefully our band will go on forever and we want music to remain a constant thing in our lives no matter what."
Ultimately having already conquered the mainstream charts and converted countless cynics via their music and incendiary—and acrobatic—live performances, which are documented via their DVD Our Time Is Now (Two Years In The Life Of…) and CD/DVD Live In The Lou/Bassassins, at this point STORY OF THE YEAR are making music simply because they love it without any other outside influences creeping in to distract them. "We're not trying to be the biggest band in the world or write songs to be on the radio," Marsala acknowledges. "We just want to make music that we love and that people will come see live; it's not about making millions of dollars, it's about having a solid label that will release your stuff and help you deliver honest music," he summarizes with more than a hint of hope in his voice. "We plan on doing this until we're old men and The Constant is just the next step on our musical journey."