Interview: Guitarist Andrew Whiting of Attack Attack! on the Band's Evolution and New Album, 'This Means War'
What inspired you guys to do a concept album about World War II?
When you get older, you start to just think about the bigger picture, and we just wanted to put out a more serious album. None of our songs names have ever been the slightest bit serious. We just wanted to have an overall picture and direction of what we were trying to do and just go.
We just wanted something -- not necessarily easy to write about -- but a broad spectrum. World War II kind of came into it a bit later. It’s a metaphor. We feel like we’re fighting our own war within the music industry and with everybody -— kids, other bands, labels -— all that. All the bullshit, and we’re just trucking our way through it, and we’re trying to just do “us” and trying to just make it out, you know? That’s kind of where that whole thing came from. I think Caleb did a wonderful job of displaying our personal struggle, but also the metaphorically past-tense kind of thing.
How did recording This Means War in Caleb’s studio benefit you guys versus working with past producers such as Joey Sturgis or John Feldmann?
I think both of those guys are amazing, but what we were going for is just the core sound. The four we have right now, that have been in the band the entire time -- we just wanted to keep it that. It was literally us in the basement just writing songs and trying to put it down. That is literally the culmination of all of our inner-whatever-we’ve-been-feeling for the past three years.
Between all of the lineup changes, it’s always been us four that have been here and stuck it out. It’s really just what we wanted to do. I think it’s great that we just stayed with Caleb, because he did a great job, and I actually couldn’t be more pleased with it.
A lot of the guitar on TMW is militant and can even be a bit scary at times. How did you manage to capture the essence of songs such as “The Abduction” in which the content is really intense, lyrically speaking?
On most of the songs, we did instrumentals first, and then Caleb would come in and write. A couple were vocally based. I think “The Wretched” was kind of written around the vocals, but “The Abduction,” like you were saying—that song certainly is very aggressive. The chorus is pretty much just fast two-beat, and it goes into that sort of Rage Against the Machine-y riff. How did we capture the militant style? I guess it’s just what we were feeling. I like angry aggressive music, and I’m glad somebody else understands what we were trying to go for [laughs], you know what I mean?
What equipment did you use to record the album?
I’m not actually really sure. You’d have to ask Caleb. Live, I play out of a 5150. It’s nice. It’s like lime green. It’s pretty cool.
You guys already have another album written. Can you talk a little bit about that?
We actually recorded This Means War in October, and immediately after finishing that, we went out to California with John Feldmann, and through all of November we recorded another album. We probably wrote about 20 songs with Feldmann and came out with 10 or 12, I think. We actually still haven’t heard any of them. I mean, we heard while we were recording, but the finished -- Feldmannized -- product has not been revealed yet. That’s why it’s so hard to talk about. We haven’t gotten a taste yet, you know? We are definitely excited about it. It was definitely a good time.
Attack Attack! will be on tour in North America March 17 through May 16 with Escape the Fate, The Word Alive, Secrets and Mest. For information on the This World is Ours Tour, visit the Official Attack Attack! Facebook page.