“This one kid came up to me and was like, ‘just admit it, man. You guys totally wussed-out with this album so that you could get onto the radio. Admit it!'”
While he’s joking about it now, you can see the anger in Boysetsfire singer Nathan‘s eyes. He and his hardcore punk brethren have been dealing with this “sellout” bullshit for oh, XX years now.
“I was screwed,” he continues. “No matter what I said, I was screwed. If I told him the truth and said that this album was just a collection of songs that we wrote without any preconceived notions, he wouldn’t believe it because it didn’t sound like After The Eulogy. If I just said yes to get him off my back, he would have freaked out! I think I just walked away.”
“Every time this band makes a move, we get crucified for it,” adds guitarist Josh. “For crying out loud, when we made the move to Initial records, we were called sellouts. Initial! It’s like, a guy working out of his basement!”
See what happens when your albums get consistently more popular? Even if you don’t change your sound at all, it sparks some sort of controversy. This time around, Boysetsfire are contending with issues around their latest effort Tomorrow Come Today. Their first for a big label, it’s probably their best songwriting yet, but it’s easily their most accessible, hence the backlash.
“We’ve had two reactions to the album,” Josh says. “It’s consistent and it’s totally different. I guess those are pretty typical responses now that I say it though. Some people say Tomorrow Come Today is just After The Eulogy Part Two and some wish it was that. We think it’s different. The songwriting has improved drastically.”
“We took way longer with it too,” adds Nathan. “We’re known for our touring and we put that back a bit so that we could really work on this album. Everything from the melodies to the little passages between songs and the sequencing of the album was picked over again and again. Switching labels was a big part of that too. That puts a half-year lag on everything. They want to hear the songs as we’re writing them and so on. We wrote 30 songs but pared that down to the 13 on the album. Apparently those were the most controversial ones because they’re really getting a reaction,” he jests.
Regardless, this band is still striking some of the right chords with youth. Tomorrow Come Today is quickly on the path to becoming their best-selling effort, something the band feels is great not because it means more money, but because their intense political views may reach out to even more fresh ears.
“We’re one of few bands in the hardcore genre that are still dealing with issues it seems,” notes guitarist Chad. “While every other band is singing about how tough they are or whatever, we’re looking at the current political climate as well as dealing with personal issues.”
“That has its advantages and disadvantages,” concludes Nathan. “See, while we’re raising the consciousness of some people, it’s having this weird effect on us with other bands. They think that all we want to do is sit around and talk politics. We’re like the little brother,” he laughs. “C’mon guys, we wanna get drunk too! Let us get drunk and party too!'”