The latest offering of rollicking punk-rock to emerge from the Don Giovanni Records imprint belongs to the buzzed about and politically-driven five piece Worriers, who is set to collide with an Asbury Lanes congregation tonight (Thursday, Aug. 13) at 6:30 p.m.
SIMGE’s scribe Allyson Dwyer recently caught with Worriers axe-wielder and vocalist Lauren Denitzio to discuss the outfit’s latest full-length effort Imaginary Life, as well as working with New Brunswick’s most beloved record label, and creating this 28-minute monster of a collection with Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace at the helm.
Check out the full chat below and be sure to check out Worriers tonight when the band hits the Lanes with a stacked bill that includes Cayetana, Chumped, Think Lips, and burgeoning titans of the Garden State underground ROMP. Find more information and RSVP to the event here.
AD: Walk us through the story of how Laura Jane Grace came to produce “Imaginary Life.” What was it like to work with her?
LD: When we started talking about who would record the record, I was talking to Don Giovanni about the idea of having a producer. Against Me came up in conversation and I was reminded that Laura had produced a couple records recently, and I knew that I at least had to ask her. I’ve been a fan of her music for a long time and thought that having her involved would be exciting for a million reasons. I got in touch with her through friends and after talking about Worriers a bit and this record, she agreed to work with us. I sent her a lot of demos and we started running through the songs together when Worriers was on tour with Against Me in early February of this year. Working with both Laura and Marc Jacob Hudson, who recorded the album, was so much fun and I think a big learning experience for me personally. I felt really fortunate to have everyone focused on making the record for both the tour we were on and the couple weeks we were in the studio. I think Laura really understood what we wanted the final thing to sound like, and it was great to have her thoughts and suggestions throughout the process.
AD: You wrote the entire record, so you very much had a vision of the themes and direction of “Imaginary Life.” How much of your initial vision was maintained to the completed album? Was there a lot of new input from Laura?
LD: Laura definitely had a lot of input but I think the best part of that process was knowing that we were pushing the songs to be exactly what we wanted them to be, and exactly what I wanted them to sound like. I think working with Laura was exactly the kind of outside input we needed, and the kind of process that could on my songwriting along with the kinds of things my bandmates were trying to write.
AD: Worriers is inherently a very politically charged band. I find it frustrating when typical white-male-music-nerd types immediately dismiss today’s punk music and the issues Worriers write and sing about. What do you guys think of these kinds of reactions in the “punk world?”
LD: I know what you’re talking about, and I think that kind of dismissive reaction to political thought is unfortunate. I definitely take those kinds of opinions with a grain of salt. The reactions we’ve received in that regard have been generally positive and I think you can tell when someone just has their head in the sand about what’s going on in the world.
AD: Worriers fits right in with the spectrum of amazing punk artists and musicians on Don Giovanni. How has the record label’s community effected the band’s work?
LD: I think being on a label like Don Giovanni has let friends connect in a more direct way. I feel like I may have known or played shows with a lot of our labelmates but when we’re all involved with projects going through the label, I find myself in conversations with them a lot more. It creates a little community on its own, whether we realize it or not. I’ve been able to learn a lot that way and feel like bands are supporting each other more directly.
AD: You guys recently premiered your video for “Most Space” on Rookie Mag, which is generally an online magazine for teenagers. Why did you choose this online outlet for your premiere?
LD: I wish something like Rookie existed when I was growing up, so that was a big part of wanting to be involved with them in some way. I think music and culture in general is thrown at kids so fast and in such pre-packaged, mass-produced ways that when there’s a magazine working to deconstruct that for teen girls, it’s amazing. That was our first music video, we made it ourselves, and I was really excited to share it with a younger audience that might not see things like that all the time. I think the subject matter is definitely something I wish I had thought more about when I was a kid as well, just trying to be more confident in the face of people who don’t think you should be.
AD: What are some of your favorite records of 2015 so far? Or records you are looking forward to?
LD: I don’t think it’s possible to top Hop Along’s “Painted Shut”, in my mind, but I’m also really into the new records from Spraynard, Tenement, Vacation and Aye Nako. I’m looking forward to the new Adult Dude and Beach Slang records!
AD: How about live shows?
LD: Seeing the Sidekicks and Hop Along earlier this year was great. I’m glad we were able to see Against Me eight times in a row because that’s always awesome. Watching Caves and the folks who come to see them has also been one of my favorite things to see at a show. It’s the best.
AD: What does Donald Trump’s hair resemble to you?
LD: It’s like a failed Conan O’Brien?
AD: What kinds of YouTube videos do you generally turn to to waste time? (For me it’s either malfunctioning fireworks or baby bunnies)
LD: I love videos of baby goats jumping all over the place. I also regularly search to see if any new Tig Notaro videos. Her standup is my favorite thing right now.
AD: How do you take your coffee (or tea)?
LD: Almond milk, one sugar!
AD: What is one wish you all have for the future of indie, DIY music?
LD: That people find a model of making music and playing shows that makes it possible for my favorite bands to keep making music forever. I think there’s a real disconnect between what it takes to sustain a band and how people are able to support that. Indie and DIY scenes have the capacity to be really self sustaining when some thought goes into it and I think with so many things changing in the music industry, it’s a useful conversation or goal to have.