Interview: Guitarist Andrew Whiting of Attack Attack! on the Band's Evolution and New Album, 'This Means War'
Attack Attack! -- the ever-evolving, electronica-influenced metalcore band from Westerville, Ohio -- have managed to withstand more lineup changes than there are current members, yet still write and produce a new album worthy of breaking the Billboard Top 200.
The current configuration of the band -- singer/keyboardist Caleb Shomo, guitarist Andrew Whiting, bassist John Holgado and drummer Andrew Wetzel -- recorded This Means War, which came out January 17 on Rise Records, amid a busy schedule that included extensive touring. The album was produced by Shomo at his home studio.
Whiting, a founding member of the band, recently braved the flu long enough to chat with Guitar World about the writing process on the new album and the band’s decision to seek -- and most certainly find -- a heavier sound.
GUITAR WORLD: Within a month of releasing This Means War, you guys managed to reach just outside of the Top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 charts. Did you think this album would be so successful?
We definitely didn’t expect it. We just went into Caleb’s studio and did our thing — whatever we felt was right at the time. Just to see that people are behind it and like it is great, you know what I mean?
With you being a founding member of Attack Attack!, can we assume you’re pretty excited about how far you’ve come between your first EP and TMW?
Absolutely. I never even imagined this at all. We’ve done Warped Tour the past three years. I remember my goal when I was like 14 was just to be on Warped Tour once. It’s just funny how that kind of stuff works.
A lot of fans will argue that you guys aren't the same Attack Attack! everyone remembers. What's your take on that?
[Laughs] We obviously are, because it’s the same people that have been in it the entire time, you know? They just have to understand that people change as they get older, and if you’re not gonna like it then go listen to something else. We’re not forcing you to listen to our shit. If you like our stuff, then that’s great, and we love you for it. If you don’t like the direction we’re going, then I don’t really care, because I like the direction we’re going and I like what we’ve got.
How has your writing process changed, if at all, since Johnny Franck’s departure?
Johnny did a lot of vocal stuff. He was obviously the singer, but he had a lot to do with everything lyrical on our self-titled album. He did all the words and crap like that, but Caleb has definitely stepped up since then and obviously the new record is a bit heavier and darker. Johnny was always just a fun and happy-go-lucky guy, and that kind of reflected in our music as well -- the dance element we had, which we still kind of do. He just brought his certain flavor to it, I guess. Now that we don’t have him, it’s a bit different, but I like it.
Would you say you’ve officially grown out of “crab core?”
[Laughs] I don’t know. Not necessarily. We still have some shirts and stuff. It’s funny -- more of a novelty kind of thing, you know?