UTG INTERVIEW: Old Again Discuss Their Debut LP and Relationship With Fronz

Just like every band to come before them and every band after, Orlando, FL’s Old Again have come from the humblest of beginnings in house shows and small-cap venues. But there have been three huge things that have helped separate them from the rest: Their ambitious twist on modern pop-punk, their opportunistic mentality, and last but not least, their constant drive to tour as much as possible.

Most likely, you first heard of the group this past December when they were announced as the first signing to Stay Sick Records, an imprint launched by the controversial (but perhaps not all too bad?) Chris “Fronz” Fronzak of Attila. Things have come to a head since then, as the group have released their full-length debut, Grey Sky State of Mind, today.

UTG recently chatted with vocalist Josh Partridge to discuss the album, the crazy story of how he came to befriend Fronz, and what it’s like to witness a genre that’s become so worn-in, rise to new heights. Follow the jump to read our full interview.

Old Again’s been a band for nearly three years now. You’ve released an EP, a split, and a single prior to your signing to Stay Sick. How has your songwriting developed?

In the last three years we’ve had a couple member changes in the guitar department; that has had a big impact on the whole songwriting experience for the band. The person who wrote probably around 80 percent of the music for the three releases that you mentioned is no longer a part of the band. Now the writing is much more evenly spread throughout the band, although our guitar player Dom has somewhat usurped the role of head writer as far as the music goes. As for me personally, I think over time I have grown a lot as a lyricist and a vocalist with help from some friends, but I still have a ways to go to get on the level I’d like to be at.

Where were you in the process of releasing this album when you got signed?

If I’m being completely honest we were pretty much nowhere with it, we had a song idea and we decided to cough up some extra money to record at a nicer studio than usual, to hopefully catch the label’s attention. So we go into the studio and record one song, the whole time I am scrambling writing lyrics and trying to finish while the rest of the guys record. We did the whole song in one day. Basically we had no idea what to expect, no plans of a full-length or even an EP, but we got signed and had to pump out 11 more songs and we just had a few ideas at that point, nothing even close to a full song.

Speaking of Stay Sick, I’m going to ask everyone’s burning question: How did you come into contact with Fronz from Attila? I heard through the grapevine that this deal was something that you worked pretty hard on.

It’s kind of a funny story actually. Our bassist Pat used to work at Disney and one day, years ago, he saw Fronz tweet about wanting to get in and he hooked it up. Ever since then Fronz had kept in contact with him. Fast forward a couple years and Fronz moves down here to the Orlando area and needed some help moving in. I work at a moving company so Dom and I went over to help him out with one of our friends. A couple weeks later he came to one of our hometown shows and was stoked on us and how into our set everyone was. A couple weeks after that we were on tour – I remember we were in Delaware and we played a really weird show at a bar with our friends in Ampersand when Fronz called Pat and asked if we’d want to sign to Artery. So naturally we were all really stoked; the thought of being signed to a real label seemed so surreal. Then nothing happened, for like 7 months we hadn’t heard anything else about it. That’s when we decided to record that one song I mentioned before which was our first single, called “Never Been Better.” We sent it off and crossed our fingers, it ended up all working out. Fronz decided to create Stay Sick Recordings as a part of Artery Recordings and the rest is history.

How’s it been working with him, anyway?

Working with Fronz is really cool; he’s an incredibly nice and down to Earth guy. Most people seem to think he’s crazy, but the truth is he’s kind of a genius. He’s found a way to create a brand out of himself and make a lot of money doing it. Once you get to know him he’s just a big sweetheart. Bottom line is Fronz has done a lot for us and we love him.

You guys were one of the first bands, if not the first band to open up for Neck Deep here in the US. What was that like?

Yeah, that’s true. We were the first band to open up for Neck Deep in the US – actually for their first two shows. It was really insane, but in a really good way. The first show was in our old guitar player Mikey’s garage, we posted about it a couple days before and like 200 kids showed up. The garage was way too packed and way too hot. We could hardly play our set because of how crowded it was. A couple of those people drove 18 hours to see them from Indianapolis. Then we played the next day in Tampa with them which was another awesome experience with a ton of people. I ended up hanging with them a couple times while they were here and even got to go to Disney with them. We had a blast and I love those guys. Little known fact is that we actually had a short tour planned with them after that and it was halfway booked, but then their manager wouldn’t let them do it because they didn’t have the proper visas and whatnot. Hopefully one day we can go on a tour together; that would be sweet.

Obviously, before you became a touring artist, you were (and hopefully still are) a huge fan of this music. What’s been the most surprising realization since growing towards where you are now?

I think one of the things that has surprised me the most about this music is something that is just starting to happen. I’ve been seeing a lot of pop-punk bands doing really crazy and awesome things. Just the other day I saw that The Story So Far debuted a single on the radio out in California, then more recently Neck Deep had their new single played on BBC radio multiple times the day it came out. In the last year bands like Real Friends have toured with All Time Low and The Maine. State Champs is out with All Time Low right now, getting ready to tour with freaking 5 Seconds Of Summer. That’s insane to me, but at the same time it’s very encouraging seeing these bands take things to the next level. It gives us something to work towards, and a reason to set our bar even higher.

Grey Sky State of Mind is a rather interesting name for an album from a Florida band. Has anyone ever pointed that out? What prompted the decision?

A couple people have said something about it, but I think the irony is part of the reason we did it. Also if you’ve listened to our songs than you have probably noticed that I hate living in Florida. It’s a dream of mine to one day live in Seattle, or really anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. I have always found it beautiful and when we went there on tour last year I fell in love. I’ve always liked gloomy weather so that was the literal part in the decision of naming the album Grey Sky State Of Mind. The other part is more metaphorical. I’ve never been a super positive person so the title kind of fit my mentality. Though I will say recently I’ve been much happier and have been making an effort to be more positive. However, I’ll always prefer a rainy day to sunshine.

old again grey sky

Between all of the popular TV references thrown into your songs, such as Arrested Development and Community, are there any shows you and the guys can agree on?

I think we agree on most shows honestly. Pat and Morgan aren’t big TV guys so they don’t care as much. I know Pat likes Attack On Titan, which I’ve been meaning to watch, and Morgan likes Breaking Bad. We pretty much all agree that Better Call Saul and The Last Man On Earth are some amazing new shows; watch them. Also I think we all get down with The Walking Dead. Other than that Chris and I are the big TV buffs, with Dom being a pretty close third. We love The Office, Parks and Rec, and obviously Community and Arrested Development, along with many, many more.

A lot of what I’ve heard thus far from Grey Sky State of Mind has sounded very experimental in comparison to what’s coming from so many other pop-punk bands of your size. What’s your philosophy when it comes to writing music?

To put it simply, we just write whatever we want. I know that sounds like what probably every band says but it’s true. We’re not trying to be any other band, or even trying to fit into any genre. We are just trying to make music we love and are proud of. I think sometimes it confuses people because they don’t know what kind of band we are. All we can hope is that people dig the new album and enjoy the diversity on it. It took us a very long time to write and record and re-write and re-record, but we’re very happy with the final product.

Do you have anything else that you’d like to share?

I just want to thank everyone who’s been a part of this release: our families, friends, girlfriends, all the people who have supported us or will support us at some point, and all the cookouts along the way. If you’re reading this please check us out and listen to our new album, then buy like at least ten copies. Can’t wait to do this again!

Grey Sky State of Mind is available now, thanks to Stay Sick Records/Artery Recordings. See Old Again on their upcoming tour with Broadside.

Interview written and conducted by Adrian Garza (follow him on Twitter)

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