Having just released their new album The Tropic Rot worldwide, Poison the Well are currently traipsing all across America. Bradley Grace, bassist for the Florida band, took some time out to answer a few questions about the new album, the shows, and his opinion on kebabs.
The Only Thing I Know For Sure: First of all, congratulations on the new album! How does it feel to see it done and in the public sphere?
Bradley Grace: Thanks! It feels pretty good actually. It’s been very well received and we couldn’t be happier with that initial reception. It’s been a long process during which time I think we all gained a few white hairs so to have it done, pressed and circulating is very gratifying not mention relieving. Think of holding in a fart for like 7 months! Haha! What the fuck kind of analogy is that?!
TOTIKFS: How was the process of putting it all together?
BG: The process of putting it together was relatively painless and quite organized. We finished up the versions tour cycle in the beginning of last June and then chilled out for a week or so then moved into our practice space/beat lab in west palm beach (a seedy, soul destroyingly [sic] hot and arguably haunted remnants of an old blues club mind you) and started writing the record. We met 5 to 6 days a week for upwards of 5 hours. We did this for the whole summer and part of the fall before going out to CA to record with Steve Evetts. We had initially slated production duties to J Robbins but due to a sudden family emergency he had to back out. Steve, who was always a neck and neck contender stepped in literally on the eleventh hour (enter white hairs) and saved the day. We tracked drums at the famous Castle Oaks studios in Callabassas, CA and then finished the rest off at Steve’s place in Orange County. Because of the situation with J and the logistical anomalies that created we ended up losing about 2 weeks of our slated recording time (more white hairs) leaving us with roughly a month to track the record but we did it and The Tropic Rot was born!
TOTIKFS: It’s titled The Tropic Rot. What kind of themes and narratives are being conveyed in the album?
BG: There isn’t really a defined theme per se but I think the feel is more of the darker persuasion. During the period of time in which we were writing the record some of us went through some shitty times. Life happens you know? Even if you live in sunny south FL where the general outside perception is that we hang out on the beach 24/7 and we haven’t a care in the world! It’s just like anywhere else in the world and that’s what we wanted to purvey. But again, this is in no way, shape or form a themed record. It’s just an honest sonic representation of a time and a place.
TOTIKFS: You seem to have experimented with more patient songwriting this time round, especially on the last few tracks. To what extent did you want to redefine the band’s sound?
BG: We were just very focused going into this record. We knew what we wanted and we were all on the same page so it naturally progressed and once we found our groove so to speak it all just became very clear to us that this kind of approach was the most efficient way to do it. So you’re right. Very patient approach I guess.
TOTIKFS: The album cover is a little bit different from your past few. What inspired that imagery for this new release?
BG: The inspiration for it stemmed from the same kind of idea that frameworked the feel of the record. For me there is something beautifully morose about old, kind of forgotten vacation photos. A last remnant of good times gone by. The pictures on the layout look as though they have been sitting in a box in an attic for 30 years and that to me strikes a chord and becomes very poignant in juxtaposition to the title and of course the songs themselves. An interesting side note, the girl on the cover is Jeff’s mother at 15 years old. The rest of the pictures are of his grandfather and uncles in Miami back in the 70’s.
TOTIKFS: Your lineup has changed and adapted consistently since you started. How do you feel about your current incarnation?
BG: This is the most focused the band has ever been I believe. We are a bona fide 5 piece and we are all highly collaborative. This band has been through more line up changes than a football team but this is definitely the best line up yet if I do say so myself! Haha!
TOTIKFS: You’re about to headline the ’10 for $10′ tour over in the US. What attracted you to the idea of playing these gigs with so many bands, for what seems like very little money?
BG: I think this tour is important for a few reasons. First and foremost it is as true a representation of what hardcore music has to offer. Every band on this bill has contributed something important in one way or another to the scene and the fact that you can see them all back to back for a mere $10 is amazing! That’s what hardcore is all about though. Its supposed to be accessible to anyone, it’s something tangible that is in no way above the people who are into it. This is one of those tours that can reignite in people what the scene actually means. So far almost every show has been sold out and I’m seeing kids come out and show their individuality in a scene that has been skewed so badly to the point that in some cases your hairstyle can define you. Fuck that man. I’m being pleasantly surprised every day. If this isn’t one of the most talked about summer tours this year I will be shocked. I wish we could do the whole world with this package.
TOTIKFS: The good news for UK fans is that you’re also planning on visiting us in November. Are you looking forward to coming over to England?
BG: We’re always excited to get over to the U.K! We have a great following over there and shows are always fun and exciting. I will say though if a hundred years passes before I see another fucking kebab it won’t be long enough!
TOTIKFS: Can we expect anything special from these shows?
BG: Well as always you can expect the same PTW as always. We’ll be jamming out some of the new stuff as well as the oldies. And as always we’ll be hanging out after the shows. I personally love getting to know fans over a good lager after a show. If you ever see me wandering aimlessly around a club (which I’m kind of famous for) before or after a show hit me up! Always down for a nice chat! Haha!
TOTIKFS: Finally, what are you guys listening to at the moment?
BG: I am currently listening to the latest Mastodon joint, Stevie Wonder, Level 42 (that’s right. Level 42!), and lots of older rock n roll stuff like Zepplin, CCR. I also recently dusted off Converge’s No Heroes and jam that heavily as loud as humanly possible in my headphones before we play. That’s about it. I’m no longer hip I guess, although I don’t think I ever was!
TOTIKFS: Thanks for your time Bradley, and best of luck with the tour.
BG: Thank you! It’s nice to have someone interested in knowing anything about your band! Much obliged! See you guys in November!