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Knuckle Puck & The Threat Of ‘Losing What We Love’

[Photo via: Press]

Knuckle Puck are just about to release their fourth full-length album Losing What We Love. Set for release on October 20 via Pure Noise Records, it is an album that represents a shift for the band. For one, it is pitch black in its approach. Compared to the sun-stained thrills of their previous material, Losing What We Love takes on the harder parts of life head-on. Love, loss, longing and loneliness wrapped themselves around you, reminding you that there will be hardships in this life. Though it’s not all doom and gloom, as these subjects are approached with an honesty and openness that feels more comforting than fearful.

It is also a record that represents the start of a new chapter for Knuckle Puck. After celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band recently, this new decade feels like a chance to innovate as much as celebrate. That’s in full force here, with the likes of “The Tower“, “Act Accordingly”, and “Worlds Apart” representing some of the most diverse but undeniably brilliant songs the band have ever produced.

Read more: blink-182 Reveal ‘ONE MORE TIME…’ Album Artwork

To find out more about how the album came together and what it means to the band, idobi caught up with vocalist Joe Taylor. A candid and honest conversation about expectation and communication, you can check it out in full below!

It feels like Knuckle Puck as a band have travelled a long way since the release of 20/20 three years ago. How do you feel looking back on that period of time and how your focus has shifted, creatively and emotionally, to where it is now?

When we were writing and recording 20/20, the world was fine. COVID wasn’t a thing that was on our tongues. So when we started rolling the record out, it became a thing. We had got to this place where we had tried to make positive music and be positive ourselves. With 20/20, we decided to go 100% good stuff, but then the world started crashing all over that idea. That album didn’t get the exposure we wanted, so I felt a bit disheartened. We were trying to make this really accessible Knuckle Puck record for people to hear. Then, when we figure out how to do that, it feels like we can’t let it be because we can’t tour on it. We took this shot and made what I feel is an incredible album, and we can’t do anything with it.

From there, I was trying to figure out what I fell in love with about this band in the first place. That brought on Disposable Life, which felt a little left field for us. With this album, it makes so much more sense now because we chose to make the best Knuckle Puck record we could and not worry about anything else. Having fun with all of us as a band was the focus. That led us back to the core sound that we have had, one that I feel we haven’t had in a while. Since Copacetic, maybe.

It’s only when you’re forced to reflect that you can see just how far you have travelled, for better or for worse. It’s then up to you all to then speak about whether you want to take some steps back or go off on a different path again. So, what were the things that you shared that you wanted to cover with this record?

We went back to how we used to do things between Nick and me, lyrically and vocally. Instead of just one person having an idea for a vision or a song, we went back to how we worked on the EPs. I would have a couple of lines, and Nick would have a couple of lines, and we would throw them out and discover what the song was about together. That allowed us to think, ‘Oh, that’s a really cool concept that I wouldn’t have thought up on my own’. So, bringing things back to the beginning played a big part.

I didn’t personally have a big vision for what I wanted any of this to be. I had some lyrics, and by expressing and sharing them, the group things were able to evolve. Even John would be in the back of the room and offer up his own line, and it would work or it wouldn’t. It was a lot more collaborative, and it made the songs better. At no point was anyone like, ‘This song is my baby’. Everybody was free to do the thing, and we were all down to try.

Because of that, you’re able to be more in touch with what the whole record represents rather than the little bits and pieces along the way. Because this is a much darker record than what you would usually make, but that doesn’t mean it is something that you shouldn’t be doing as a band…

I was working on some guitar parts and remember saying, ‘I don’t know if this sounds like Knuckle Puck’. John stopped me and said, ‘Dude, anything that we do in a room together is Knuckle Puck’. I was like, ‘Oh, true’. The band is the baby, not the songs. It’s all about us as a unit and what we make.

The sentiment of Losing What We Love is not just in terms of things that happen to us in life, but also your own relationship with the band. Because you could very easily have lost all this, and things could have been very different…

I think subconsciously, we did feel like we could lose it. After 20/20, it was that feeling of being disheartened. We took this shot to make something awesome and accessible, and I was convinced it was going to take us to that next level. Not that it didn’t help and that people don’t love the songs! But I definitely felt a lack of drive. Something where I knew I had to circle back and consider what I loved about this.

How those thoughts turned into Disposable Life, you finished that EP with a cover of “Here’s Your Letter” by blink-182. That wasn’t just a means of doing something cool. It also feels like a representation of those things that you love. Of the bands that have allowed you to get to where you are. Being able to pay tribute in such a way reminds you of why you wanted to do all of this in the first place…

Absolutely! When we were starting out, I listened to No Trigger and Such Gold all the time. Such Gold know how much I love them and I’ve told them. We wouldn’t exist without them and what they did. We played a festival last weekend where No Trigger played. They don’t do too much anymore, but I had to go and give them their roses whilst I could. We wouldn’t be the band we are without them. I try to do that as much as possible.

What would you say is the main thing you have taken away from this experience? What has this period taught you about yourself and the rest of the band?

It has been very revealing to the fact that we are all great friends. We know a lot of bands that start when they are young, and they’re all friends, but there’s the one guy who is not as in there. We’ve seen it within so many different bands, and every band operates differently. But we are all truly friends. It took us so long to start the band because we were looking for people that we could actually hang out with. We jammed with so many people who were awesome at guitar, but it wasn’t the vibe when we hung out. I’m so glad we did that because now, when you’re in the mix of everything, at some point, you look around and say, ‘You’re my friends, but you’re also people I work with’. That’s a strange place to be.

Doing this record just made me so grateful to be the great friends that we are. Because of that, we’re going to be putting Knuckle Puck records out into our fifties. I’m sure of that. Let’s do more and see how far we can go.

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