Interview: Too Close To Touch talks new record!

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Last night was my last show of November and easily my last night out this year as we delightfully go into hibernation for the next month. November was my busiest month this fall compared to the classic Rocktober. In that month, I interviewed many new bright faces as well as classics in the music scene but one that I was a highlight was my return with the incredibly talented Kentucky boys in Too Close to Touch. Too Close is currently out with Crown the Empire who I also interviewed on this run but are coming off an incredible year.

Since our last talk with the band, they won Best Underground Band at the APMA’s and released their second record, “Haven’t Been Myself”, on Epitaph. Read our new interview below with lead vocalist Keaton Pierce where I picked his brain about everything new record and their journey so far as a band. While the band will be taking the holidays as most do, look for plenty from the band in 2017!

Like I said, we last talked to the band at Warped Tour in July. You now have this second record out. Maybe how has this tour been going, your first big tour since Warped Tour.
It’s been amazing. Every band on the tour package is awesome. Everyone gets along really well. The crowds have been great. A lot of kids coming out and a lot more that are familiar with us now too since the end of Warped and the record release so that’s been great. Crowd response has been extremely great.

Then it’s almost two months since the sophomore record came out. Maybe how is that to have it out? I know you’ve released two albums in pretty rapid succession for the band.
It feels great. It was a weight off my shoulders to drop it and then it has done really well for us. It has done great things. Already like leading into next year and stuff. I definitely just wanted to release that music to just kind of have that weight off my shoulders. Mentally and emotionally since I just had to get my thoughts out into the world. So that was great and we’ve hopefully avoided the sophomore slump. It’s humbling and exciting. We’re lucky.
When did you kind of start the writing process for the second one? The first one didn’t come out that long ago at all, about a year and a half maybe.
Beginning of the year, we did a little writing then we left for the Secrets/Palisades tour. That was extremely stressful because we had to write on the road because we were ending the tour in California, staying a week in an Air B&B out there. We didn’t get to go home between then. Then we spent six more weeks doing back to back tours which was wild. So yeah we wrote when we could on the road but I don’t do well writing on the road. Everyone can kind of sketch out ideas and stuff but you can’t really fully demo. So we did that, and the Air B&B then wrote a lot in the studio. A lot, a lot. Split the record in two halves when we recorded it so it wasn’t too much of an overload. Like alright write eleven songs right now! Each half kind of portrays a different period. We haven’t talked about what songs we wrote the first half and the second half. If anyone can figure it out, but you won’t. It’s totally random. So yeah then we wrapped it up on May 15th.

And was there a reason behind having these two records come out pretty close to each other? Obviously the first record had a lot of success and kind of put you on the map but was it something where you had been working on that record for a very long time or did you just want to get back into the studio right away? Just you know some bands go like three, four years between albums.
Well see, we wrote Nerve Endings like over a year before it was released. We sat on it. It was done before we were ever signed with Epitaph and that we did in two separate sessions too over a year span of time. Then once it was done we shopped it out. Three years ago on Halloween was when we wrote the first batch of songs for the first album. But during that time too, as we were beginning to grow as a band, we reached a point after when Nerve Endings was finally released, we were like we love this record but we’ve heard it so many times now. There was a direction we wanted to go with the music, a little bit darker of a direction. We got to analyze what types of songs were received the best from Nerve Endings . Songs like Nerve Endings and Hell To Pay and stuff. As soon as we got back from the Hands like Houses tour is when we got on a conference call and we were like alright it’s time to do it. #2. It moved pretty quick. Yeah it’s been almost a year ago that we decided that. It’s kind of weird to think about. We’re really excited though that it’s out.

Then when we last spoke to you at Warped, you were one of the breaking bands this summer and the breaking bands were our focus. Since I’ve talked to other bands you were out with like Palaye Royale and bands that look up to you. Maybe how do you think Warped as such a unique lineup helped you this summer?
I think that Warped Tour is a really good time to almost shadow other bands and study like tendencies and stuff. There’s tons of bands out there that are extremely good live. What makes this frontman of this band so special? Is it the way he communicates with his fans? You learn by shadowing your peers that are more experienced then you. So between that and obviously making a lot of friends out there. That was great too because you get even more advice and stuff from the bands that have been doing it but perfecting our live show. Warped is grueling to play live. It’s punk rock summer camp. You’ll come back and be in incredible show shape. Drink a ton of water and stuff. So I think that’s really helped. That was the best thing we could have had to lead up to our releasing the new record too. It started the gears turning before the album even came out. The best kind of promotion is playing in front of thousands of people all summer.
You played at the perfect time. It was a good build up to the record versus maybe dropping it in the middle of the tour.
And that’s all just our team. Careful planning and being patient with things because it was fairly soon after Nerve Endings , about a year and a half.

Perfect! Then maybe to end it off, you’ve been touring non stop. Too Close To Touch has been since pretty much the signing of the band. What is coming up in the next few months for the band?
It has been a crazy year. We had three weeks off between the beginning of the Secrets/Palisades tour in February and end of Warped Tour in August which gets pretty grueling sometimes. That was the best three weeks of my life was our off time and the record was done too so it was like decompress. But then it wasn’t at the same time because then I was like okay now I’m about to play Warped Tour for the first time. So I’d say that week and a half before the rehearsals. So next year! We’re going to take the holidays off to spend it with our families and friends back home. I cannot say what we’re doing this next year. I can say we’re going to be hitting it just as hard as ever. Trying to do bigger things. Just continuing this momentum that’s beginning to build. You got to capitalize on that. Once the hard work ends, even harder work begins. You just have to constantly climb. So yeah touring. I think we’re going to sit on this record for a little bit. I mean obviously we’ll always be writing and doing little stuff. We’re really proud of this record. “Crooked Smile”, we did a Serious Octane Test Drive where they did Crooked Smile against AFI’s new song and one other band and fans vote for it. We won 69% compared to the other two so “Crooked Smile” is now in regular rotation on Octane.
That must feel incredible. You’ve put so much into this band. So many bands strive for years to be at this point that you’re already at.
I would be lying if I said I’m not extremely happy.
You guys have worked so hard.
Yeah and there’s a lot of untold stuff about this band. We’ve known each other for a while before Too Close to Touch started playing music. We had just been writing music together and figuring out what we wanted to be. So super excited, super humbling. Always stay humble, that’s always number one. And if I ever just become the world’s biggest asshole, just have someone direct me back. I can’t be mean.

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Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.

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