Yellowcard aren’t like the other bands. They may have headlined this year’s Warped tour, but they’re pretty adamant about their individuality. They hate being lumped in with the Good Charlottes and the Simple Plans of the world and they don’t want to be labeled as pop-punk, emo or anything other than “Yellowcard.”
“We hate being the ‘punk-pop heavyweights’ or whatever,” says band guitarist Benjamin Harper. (No, not that Ben Harper.) ChartAttack recently spoke with Ben regarding the band’s upcoming DVD, their place in the current scene and what it is that separates Yellowcard from their Warped Tour contemporaries.
The band’s DVD, Beyond Ocean Avenue, contains a full live set from their performance at the Electric Ballroom in Philadelphia this past May. Also included in the package is a half-hour documentary that spans three and a half years of Yellowcard history. Don’t expect any decadent rock star cliches, though. They’re nice guys… for the most part.
“We’re probably less rock star-esque than you think we are,” Harper says. “There’s a lot of us talking, lots of our humour and a bunch of references to how much we drink. We do like to party. You learn a lot about us and it was mind-blowing for me to see even though I’m in the band.”
The documentary showcases the band as normal guys, which is why they believe their fans connect with the songs so well. “We take a lot of pride in our songwriting and we try to have a lot of variety,” the shaggy, blonde-haired guitarist persists. “You won’t find too many cliches in our songs. We deal with topics that other bands don’t really touch on, and even the trite things that [other bands] talk about, we take them on in different ways. We have a more realistic approach and it’s a bit deeper. They’re real and I think people connect with that.”
With more bands moving towards more emo-ish territory, namely poster-punks Good Charlotte, the Florida quintet remain confident in the strength of their songwriting talents – and, no, they don’t think the presence of classically-trained violinist Sean Mackin is there for mere decoration.
“The violin has always been a part of Yellowcard since day one,” Harper sighs, clearly tired of all the violin-related questions. “He adds a lot of layers to our songs and does 50 per cent of the vocals onstage. He’ll be more prevalent on the next record. More layers, more violin solos…” And a more “emo” sound?
“I don’t even get the emo thing, man,” he laughs. “We already have our own hard songs and fast songs. You’re not going to see any screaming in our songs and we’re not going to rapidly change our sound. We won’t be going off the deep end at all because we already have so many different kinds of songs. We hate being compared to other bands and I think in the next few years we’ll be separated from the rest, we’ll just be Yellowcard.”
As for where they stand in the pop-punk scene?
“[Our songs] are strong songs, and it’s more than just a fad,” Harper says with firm confidence. “We aren’t the same as the other bands in our ‘scene’ and I think our next album will prove that. We’re not here to impress people, we’re here to write Yellowcard songs.”
Beyond Ocean Avenue will be available November 2.