Posted in Arts

As It Is doesn’t care about how fucking cool you think you are

The band stopped in Vancouver promoting an upcoming release and opened for Sum 41

A train runs along the Evergreen line earlier this week in preparation of opening today.
A train runs along the Evergreen line earlier this week in preparation of opening today.

“We realize, that on this tour, the large majority of people have never heard of us.”

At least that’s how As It Is front man Patty Walters described opening for Sum 41 and Senses Fail on the Don’t Call It A Sum-Back Tour at the Commodore Ballroom. They wasted no time during their half-hour set, playing songs from both their forthcoming album Okay, and their debut album Never Happy, Ever After, which was released in April of last year.

“I always give everything I have live,” said Walters, and it showed when he sang song after song whilst jumping off anything that he could. One of his more impressive feats was jumping off the drum kit and still managing to stay in perfect pitch.

As It Is knows the importance of getting the crowd pumped, getting everyone to clap to the beat and start a mosh pit front and centre, because nothing makes a pop-punk concert more pop-punk than a mosh pit. They also know that coolness is overrated, as Walters shouted to the crowd, “I don’t care how fucking cool you think you are, I want to see everyone jump up and down!”

After the show, I got to chat with Walters in the alleyway behind the venue. In a world where musicians can act like entitled pricks and get away with it, Walters’ humble attitude was refreshing: “It’s a very careful balance between being confident and being arrogant. You can’t come off as, like, a dick.”

Since late 2014, the band has been signed to pop-punk powerhouse Fearless Records. This has been a change from being independent, but not in a bad way. “[Fearless] doesn’t ask us to change a whole lot of anything. The writing, the integrity of our band isn’t any different. It feels better because we have so many more opportunities now,” reflected Walters. They feel especially lucky to be able to work with producers they admire and to go on amazing tours.

The first two singles off Okay, “Pretty Little Distance” and “Okay,” sound incredibly happy at first, but once you listen a few times, you realize that they are quite introverted and sad. Walters calls this “the As It Is special.” Growing up, these were the types of songs that the band listened to, especially from bands like Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab For Cutie. This was the theme on their debut album, as well. However, with the new record, they’ve let themselves be a little more honest and confessional. They’ve written a bit about their families, personal struggles, and vulnerabilities.

These first two singles have more of a pop vibe than their previous releases did — a far cry from their EP, This Mind of Mine, which was released in 2014. I asked Walters if this is a trend that will be further cemented on their upcoming album. “Yes and no,” he said. “On this record, there are going to be songs that are a lot darker, going back to earlier stuff . . . but there are also poppier songs . . . [We are] kind of doing the darker stuff darker and the poppier stuff poppier.”

While As It Is ‘came a long-ass way to be here,’ their future is looking more than Okay.

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