I've been a Wind Walkers fan since I first heard "New England Palm Trees" a few years ago. I was instantly hooked from the first "c'mon c'mon"! Wind Walkers have a post-hardcore sound that's mixed with a hint of modern pop. The result is something familiar, but also fresh and unique. I had the opportunity to preview their next album recently, and I can't remember the last time I was this excited about an upcoming release! The five-piece from Massachusetts will release their next album, What If I Break?, on November 17th. What If I Break? was produced by Nick Matzkows (Attack Attack, Until I Wake, Conquer Divide) and Jon Eberhard (I Prevail, Skillet, The Ghost Inside). I recently got to chat with the band about the album, their creative process, and even some fun facts about the guys.
MSM: Your next album, What If I Break?, is due out Nov 17th. What can you share about the creative process behind the album? Do you have a favorite song or lyric from it?
TIM: This album was definitely created in a very unique way hahah. Being 100% honest, we initially had no intention of releasing an album at all. The plan in the beginning was to create a surplus of songs and just release a new single every two months or so. That way we could constantly be putting out new music for everyone to enjoy and keep our fans invested. And, so, we spent the better part of two years writing the best songs we could, each with a different vibe, mindset, and inspiration. I think what really changed that mentality was when started talking about it and realized that if we DID release an album, it would be one where each song was so strong and unique that the collective would really have an impact on people. That coupled with the fact that so many of our fans seemed to want a full album eventually made us decide to finally put one out! I'm sure we all have different favorites, but some of our top ones are "Feeding The Gods", "Almost Ecstacy", "The Bends", "Bodybag", and "Hangfire"!
MSM: How do you approach the songwriting process, and from where do you draw inspiration?
TIM: When we write a song we will typically all go out to the studio and sit down with our producers. Nick Matzkows and Jon Eberhard had a vital role in creating this album and we couldn't have done it without them. Before writing a song, we would all sit down and try to figure out what kind of vibe we wanted to go for. Heavy? Poppy? Fast or slow? A ballad? Do we want this one to sound like the intro to an anime series? Or the beginning of a Robotcop movie? Stuff like that hahah. Once we have that, we'll sit down and demo some stuff out instrumentally until we get a solid riff or chorus as a jumping off point. From there we mess with the structure and different elements until we have a song that is instrumentally impactful. Then we'll typically send it out to Trevor to write over for a few weeks. Once he has an idea, he flies out to the studio and we'll workshop the song until its perfect!
MSM: Your music defies easy categorization, blending elements of different genres and styles. How do you approach genre and style when creating a new song?
TIM: That is exactly what we're going for. We truly want to write music that is inspired from the multiple genres and art styles that we personally enjoy while trying to create a style and voice all our own. The benefit of having written alot of these songs over the span of two years is that we were able to approach each track in a different head space and mindset. Some studio sessions we would all be obsessed with a really great album from a band we all enjoy. Other times we would be into a video game or anime that had a really unique aesthetic we could riff off of. The last song on the track was inspired by a horror movie we all watched while in the studio hahah. The concept we had when Trevor joined the band was to just do something different and something we all enjoy. By incorporating so many different elements and genres, we hope there can be a little something for everyone and enough variety to keep fans guessing and enticed.
MSM: If you could collaborate with one artist in the world who is still living, and one who is no longer with us, who would they be?
TIM: I'm sure each member would have a different answer to this one, so that's tough, hahah. A few living ones would be James Hetfield, Bert McCracken, Oli Sykes, and Courtney LaPlante. Deceased would be Jimmy Hendrix, Lemmy Kilmister, and Keaton Pierce.
MSM: How do you keep your music fresh and relevant in an ever-changing industry?
TIM: I think its a fine balance of paying close attention to the scene while, at the same time, trying to not stress out too much about it and do what comes natural. Theres definitely a pressure to do whats in fashion or sound like the band that's big right now. You can certainly dissect and try to encapsulate those kinds of artists or sounds, but at the end of the day, if its not authentic, I think it shows. Not to mention that the reason your favorite band is so big is because they are taking risks with their sound while staying true to themselves. We have a saying in the studio that is: "Dare to suck." Essentially, it's a reminder that not everyone is gonna like what you do, and thats totally okay! But your favorite bands didn't get to where they are by playing it safe. By keeping that in mind, and by simply writing music that we enjoy, I think that's how we've gotten to where we are now. Or it's just dumb luck, which is cool, too, hahah.
MSM: What is your favorite song to perform currently?
TIM: Toss up between "Drowning Hymns" and "Bodybag". Complete opposites, I know, lol, but those tracks really translate well live.
MSM: What artists have you had on repeat lately?
TIM: Sleep Token probably won the year for most of us, honestly. Their newest album was incredible. Other than that, I've been really into the new Holding Absence, Thousand Below, and Dermot Kennedy lately.
MSM: You are mental health advocates. What advice would you give to someone who may be currently struggling?
TIM: Just to know that it's okay to reach out and ask for help. It's easy to get into a bad mindset and spiral, and think no one understands or cares, but I think that you'll find that once you open up and find the strength to talk about it, it will make a world of difference. Whether it's with a parent or friend or therapist or significant other, whoever, its important to realize that you're not alone and that people care about you, and are willing to hear you out and help you get through whatever you are struggling with. It's not weak to be open about these sorts of things, and while the vulnerability may feel uncomfortable, it's worth it in the long run.
MSM: What was the first concert that each of you attended?
CRAIG: The 1st show I attended was way back when I was a wee lad. July 6th, 2003, it was Metallica’s Summer Sanitarium Tour with Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Mudvayne, and Deftones at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA. Looking back, it’s pretty insane how stacked that show was. Metallica, still to this day, is my favorite band. They are single-handedly the reason I became obsessed with music in general. Seeing live music for the first time solidified my path as a musician. I went home that night and started pinching pennies. I bought my first bass guitar a couple of months later.
TREVOR: My first legit show was actually The Fray. Lol. I remember I was gifted the tickets right when I was losing interest in them, but even then, that experience was so worth it. It was a pretty big time production, and like every show after that, just as incredibly inspiring.
NEIL AND TIM: Our first show was actually the same one. It was back in 2007 and Trivium had recently released one of their first albums called Ascendancy. That CD was incredibly influential to us and helped us to discover the metalcore genre. I remember it was a Wednesday night so we had quite the time trying to convince our mom to let us go to a concert on a school night haha. Eventually, she caved and drove us to The Palladium out in Worcester. The concert began with a band called Zao and immediately kids began going crazy. It was like nothing we had ever seen before. The place lit up and I still remember the electric feeling it gave me. In Flames we’re up next. A band I had never really gotten into but I remember their guitar players were incredible. Finally, Trivium started playing and I remember thinking how I would give anything to do what they were doing. After the show, I went to the merch table and bought a drum head that was signed by the band (a piece of memorabilia I still have to this day haha.) That show definitely helped push us to start playing music and without it, I don’t think we’d be where we are today!
ETHAN: I actually played in the first show I ever attended lol. My first show was a townwide gathering in the town common. I was in 8th grade and was playing drums that weren’t mine. It was the first and only show for my first band, The Manhattan Project. We covered punk songs and played a few originals, mostly to parents. After we finished playing, we signed autographs for young kids like the rockstars we were. Of course, we sucked and sounded horrible, but it was the beginning of a beautiful part of my life.
MSM: Do you have a favorite Pokemon character?
NEIL AND TIM: Neils is definitely Arcanine! Tims is the whole Abra evolution line with Dragonite being a close second. (Both of these answers are funny considering Tim has a Squirtle tattoo lol)
MSM: What’s your favorite Final Fantasy game of all-time?
NEIL AND TIM: Tims is Final Fantasy 7 for sure. Loving the remakes, too! Very excited for the next installment. Neils is Final Fantasy 9. Amazing story line and that card mini-game is too damn addicting, hahah. These are amazing questions, btw, hahah.
MSM: Who is your favorite vocalist of all-time?
TIM: My favorite vocalist of all time has got to be Bert McCracken from The Used. That guy completely changed my perspective on what a vocalist is allowed to do. A lot of soul and emotion in the voice, tastefully sloppy at times, and making the vocals more of an instrument. It was unlike anything I had heard at the time.
MSM: Lastly, is there anything else that you’d like to share with your fans?
TIM: Just how truly grateful we are for everyones support. I know bands say that all the time, but we truly would be nothing without each and every one of you. We are an independent band, so every opportunity we get is directly because of the amazing amount of you who listen to our music, and show your friends, and come out to shows, and talk to us online, and buy merch. It's overwhelming in the best way possible, and we couldn't be more appreciative to you all.
You can check out the latest single from Wind Walkers here: