Embarking on their debut UK tour, hardcore stalwarts KNOCKED LOOSE are still struggling to comprehend the initial explosion of their Pop Culture EP in 2014. Getting the chance to sit down with long time bassist Kevin Otten as well as guitarist Cole Crutchfied and drummer Pac Sun to talk about not only their debut album but also how it feels to finally be considered a touring band and whether or not the main objective of the band has shifted with this success.
The video that was released before Laugh Tracks had Bryan [Garris, vocals] explain that one of the main motivations for starting KNOCKED LOOSE was just to hold a piece of music you guys had made yourselves. That said, did you ever expect Pop Culture to get as popular as it did?
Pac Sun: Absolutely not. I Joined KNOCKED LOOSE a little later, on paper I’m their third drummer, so it was interesting to see cause I was a fan of the band beforehand. To watch it happen from ‘those kids in my hometown’ to actually becoming a part of it is mad.
Cole: I’m the same as Pac, I joined the band later but it was cool to see it blow up.
Kevin: It was pretty much just me, Bryan and Isaac [Hale, guitar], just in Isaac’s little studio room writing. We definitely didn’t expect it to do what it did.
Now that Laugh Tracks is out, how does it feel to get such widespread praise from it?
Pac Sun: It’s so weird now that we’re all actually a part of it now, like we all did it together. It’s very surprising; really mind blowing to watch it all happen in front of me.
Kevin: I couldn’t care less if I read a bad review; I like it more that it’s ours. Like this is ours, we don’t care if you don’t like it, we worked hard on this.
Cole: We all worked on it, it’s something that as a band we all had input on, not one member wrote a whole song. Every song is just a collaboration, like we’ll be driving and coming up with ideas with each other.
The whole album is incredibly dark, especially lyrically. Is there underlying theme running through the album or was it just an active effort to be as dark as possible?
Cole: We just wanted to write the heaviest music possible. The lyrics are all Bryan’s thing; he does all that, but music wise we actively try to make it dark and heavy as possible.
Kevin: We would always try and write dark songs. It would be like ‘lets write a dark song!” and we’d turn off all the lights.
Pac Sun: We didn’t have any candles so we’d just turn on the flashlights on our phones and turn off the lights in the garage. Sounds dumb, but it’s were most of the album came from!
Pop Culture and Laugh Tracks sound very similar both production and style wise, was having the continuity a goal for the band?
Kevin: Pop Culture was recorded by Isaac, he did everything for it. Engineering, mixing, recording, everything.
Pac Sun: yeah, how old was he when he did it all?
Kevin: oh! Like, 15, 16 or something like that. Yeah, we wanted it to sound huge, but not over processed. We wanted it to sound like a live show. We recorded with Will Putney and he hit it right on the head. He was like “I wanna record you guys live, cause that’s when you get your best reaction” and that’s exactly what we want.
Pac Sun: There is a little bit of progression in it though, which is nice. To move on from that 15 year old guitarist in his garage.
Was it weird moving into a professional studio?
Kevin: It was weird but also very cool. We lived thee for like two weeks, and everywhere you went you could hear music. It was just the sickest environment.
How does it feel to finally be an international band?
Pac-Sun: I’m geeking out, just walking around everywhere we go in disbelief that we’re here because of this band! It’s unreal.
Are there any places you’re starting to pin-point as possible tour locations?
Cole: Yeah, wanna go to Japan real bad….
Kevin: Oh yeah, Japan is the big one for me.
DS: Germany is always a good place to go, they love their hardcore…
Pac Sun: Yes, they do! We spent a couple days so far and it was insane. We went to this place and it was like a home show, just 300 kids losing their minds.
Was this your first opportunity to play the UK?
Kevin: No actually…what was the first one that we got…?
Pac Sun: …It was a tour we didn’t really feel comfortable taking because it didn’t feel like the right time. The around the time we got that offer we were on tour with COUNTERPARTS and EXPIRE in the states, and they brought it up and we were like of course we will! We would rather choose our friends over what we already got offered any day, just to test the waters!
Is the possibility of a headline tour starting to look like a reality based off the reception seen from this tour?
Kevin: I would love to do a headline tour, but I think it’s a little ways off. It’s a lot better touring over here with friends because they can just show you the ropes. They’ll let you know which shows will be sick, where the good food is, it’s a lot easier.
Has the objective of the band changed, now that everything is really starting to pick up?
Kevin: It’s still just to have fun and hangout…
Cole: …I think it’s nice that we can tour the world and have all these opportunities but when I joined the band it was just to tour cause I don’t wanna go to college.
Pac Sun: Yeah, when I joined my objective was to just get in a van for tour weeks and tour the states, like I would be happy with that. Now fast forward two years and I’m in Plymouth, it’s unbelievable and I wouldn’t expect it but we’re all having a good time!
Kevin: It’s all about having fun, like honestly that’s what every band should do.
Pac Sun: I just wanna be a millionaire and this is my outlet!
If you’re yet to check out KNOCKED LOOSE then it’s probably something you’ll want to rectify. The sheer passion and conviction the band puts behind their music is palpable and they hit harder than pretty much anyone on the scene currently. KNOCKED LOOSE are set to tour Australia after their UK run.
Laugh Tracks is out now via Pure Noise Records.
Like KNOCKED LOOSE on Facebook.