We sat down with Laura Jane Grace (singer) and Atom Willard (drummer) at Osheaga to chat about playing to a different kind of crowd, really personal lyrics and the future of the band.
Shoeclack: It was an interesting crowd today, usually people wear black t-shirts at an Against Me! concert. It was really colourful at Osheaga. What was it like to be on stage and to see that?
Laura Jane Grace: I was wearing all white (laughs)!
Atom Willard: She’s trying to make the fans feel comfortable. Even if you are not wearing black like the rest of the band, she’s gonna be on the same page (laughs). It was pretty early in the day for us; it was almost like a breakfast show. That was the most different aspect. What the crowd was wearing, I gotta be honest, I can’t see that far with my glasses off so I can’t see anything.
L.J.G.: It’s just weird how high up you are on stage. It’s definitely different from a normal show, but that’s what it is, it’s a festival show, you know.
Shoeclack: I wanna talk about New Waves, your 2007’s album. On the song The Ocean, the lyrics are pretty metaphorical, more personal than the rest of the album and it seems like they predict your future. How were you feeling at that time when you wrote the lyrics: “If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman?”
L.J.G.: To be honest, we had a day off while touring Europe and I went to the beach, had an amazing diner at the hotel, smoked a joint, was sitting outside and the song just like came with the lyrics, the chords, completely there in like ten or fifteen minutes. I realised that the lyrics were like revealing myself basically, but I was like I don’t wanna change it because as a songwriter you wait for those moments where you absolutely don’t have to work for it. So it came and I introduced the song to the rest of the band and I was like does anyone thinks this is weird? And everyone was like no, that’s cool, go with it. And no one said anything about that, but you can’t really get less metaphorical than that!
Shoeclack: Maturity is an interesting concept with punk bands, a long time ago you wrote the song Baby I’m an Anarchist and now I was a Teenage Anarchist. How do you keep up with the rebel vibe as the years go by?
L.J.G.: I think a lot of people misinterpret I was a Teenage Anarchist by saying that it’s me wanting to reform the anarchist when it’s just really I’m in my thirties and I’m no longer a teenager, you know. But with punk rock I feel like as you get older you have to continue to reevaluate what it means to you and how it’s relevant to your life, because what was relevant to me about punk rock when I was fourteen years old is no longer relevant to me, you know, at thirty-three. It’s just about keeping it real, and like adapting, growing, changing your view and thinking. That’s what punk rock always taught me.
Shoeclack: What’s coming up for you guys now?
A.W.: We’ve been on tour basically now since January for Transgender Dysphoria Blues and we’re recording a live record so that’s what’s going on. We’ve been working on that the whole tour.
L.J.G.: Some of our songs have grown and changed so much since their release, because some are like ten years old, so it’s a chance to show the songs how they are now for people who aren’t able to make it to the shows.