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Four Year Strong talks touring, leaks and new album

WASHINGTON — It’s been just over a month since the release of Four Year Strong’s latest album, Enemy of the World, but the band is already working tirelessly to promote the record.

The Worcester, Mass. five-piece is coming off of two nationwide tours with bands such as Strike Anywhere, Every Time I Die, Polar Bear Club and This Time Next Year, and plans to head to Europe to spread its sound internationally. Recently idobi sat down with Josh Lyford, Four Year Strong’s main keyboard/synth player and backup vocalist to discuss the tour in addition to what the band went through in order to bring its latest album to fruition.

According to Lyford, the release did not take shape like a traditional Four Year Strong record because all the band members had to start from scratch, with no demos to go off of as prototypes for an eventual track – a strategy they relied on with previous albums It’s Our Time and Rise or Die Trying. Instead, this time the band newly generated songs from spontaneous jam sessions and long days in the studio, and recorded them during what seemed to be the best stage of each track’s life.

Crafting the album this way had an impact on the band’s ability to perform them on tour, said Lyford.

“The writing took place a lot in the studio so we didn’t have a lot of time to play the songs out on the road until after the record came out. It was a totally different approach for us,” Lyford said.

But the added learning curve did not seem to have an effect on the album’s chart performance. Enemy of the World, which is Four Year Strong’s third full-length record, was number 47 on the billboard chart in the first week following its release with 13,000 copies sold in that time. The album’s respectable showing had a positive effect on the members of Four Year Strong, who openly welcomed the attention it received with a bit of guarded surprise.

“It is a big deal for us, and we’re just a bunch of weirdos from Massachusetts — the fact that things are working out means the world to us.”

That they are working out so well may also be attributable to Four Year Strong’s innovative marketing tactics, which include arranging to have the record’s song titles anonymously leaked onto the Internet before the album’s official release (the actual songs turned out to be pop hits from the 1990s instead of the happy hardcore expected from the five-piece). The band has a history of this, though it took considerably more risk in the past — Rise or Die Trying, music and all, was leaked nearly two months in advance of its release date, attracting a good deal of attention to the then-unknown group and stimulating sales.

Ever since the debut of Rise or Die Trying, the band has been drawing audiences eager to hear its pop-punk hardcore blend. As it prepares to embark on the international tour circuit, Lyford emphasized that the group is reaching a more mature point in its development, which he and Four Year Strong’s other members are embracing with aplomb.

“Now we’ve kind of gotten into the groove of things and we really enjoy playing them, we got into the swing of it and its really good now.”

Though Four Year Strong will be abroad for the first half of the summer, fans in the United States can still catch it there at other points in 2010. The band will be playing at Warped Tour on the Inflatable Stage, and it plans to end the year with a string of dates in its native Massachusetts.

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