INTERVIEW: We The Kings talks new music and the 10th anniversary of their debut album!

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2007 was a huge year for alternative music. From The Academy Is’s “Santi” to Fall Out Boy’s “Infinity on High” to We The Kings’ debut release, “We The Kings”. With it being ten years since all these albums, We The Kings kicked off hopefully a great year of many ten year anniversary tours with their current tour with friends in Cute is What We Aim For.
I sat down with the two guitarists from We The Kings, Coley O’Toole and Hunter Thomson just a few hours prior to taking the stage at Brighton Music Hall, which was actually the first show to sell out of the tour, to talk everything their self-titled. Coley and Hunter reflected on the past ten years and also dropped the bomb that new music will be the focus for 2017. Read our chat below and catch the rest of the tour if you can! Tonight the band finds themselves in Chicago if you’re in that city tonight but if not, the band fully intends to be back on the road very soon!

Obviously you have so much going on but this is the tenth anniversary tour of the first record for We The Kings. You’ve started with a great string of sold out shows, tonight’s sold out. Maybe how has this tour been going so far?
Coley: Amazing.
Hunter: We knew that the record was going to be so much fun to play again but we didn’t realize how many fans were going to be coming out to sing every single lyric again. So it’s been amazing to see. The past couple of nights, we’re watching mouths like knowing the words and I’m like, I can’t believe Trav knows the words, one! And I’m looking at these kids and they’re all singing along and I’m like I don’t even know the words I just know how to play the guitar for them.
Coley: It’s nice! You see kids at the show you’ve seen every single tour and the kids you haven’t seen since the beginning are all adults now.
Hunter: Exactly! We’ve like had these relationships building for ten years and it’s kind of cool to see the progression of their lives, where they’re at in their lives. Where we’re at in ours and it’s been a really awesome experience.
Coley: I mean there was a grown man rocking out with every word and he’s a fan. It was pretty awesome. So much energy. I was rocking out for him because he was just going so hard.

Perfect! And was it something the band kind of always intended to do?
Hunter: Yeah, of course, I mean this was everything for us. It gave us this lifestyle that we keep on getting to live. I mean we put out the record not knowing what it was going to do and then it caught fire and “Check Yes(Juliet)” started blowing up on radio and then we were like okay, we can maybe do this! Growing up ten years ago, we’d see all these bands that we were touring with that now don’t exist. After even just a couple years later, we made it to ten? We got to do the record again. We have to play these songs again.
Coley: A homage to the magic that it is.

Then considering this tour, maybe looking back ten years ago, you have done many things since. You have put out several records, obviously continuing in this success that you started then. Maybe something you would have told yourself then that you would have avoided if anything and maybe something you wish you had done?
Hunter: Good question. Put me on the spot.
Coley: Man, it’s hard. There are things that don’t turn out as expected but our heart and soul go into it. There’s tours that we’ve done for the fans that we don’t make a lot of money off of it but we love doing it. Whether they are good business decisions or not, they keep the fan base growing and I think that’s awesome. You just have to be smart in this world to last ten years.
Hunter: What I would have told myself back then is just always have a positive attitude because sometimes there’s just long days and then there’s long hours and there’s things you have to put into it. Sometimes you get done with the show and maybe you didn’t think it was a great show and it wasn’t a great day then you have fans coming up to you that want photos and you want to be as positive as possible to those people. So I would have told myself to be a little bit more positive I guess.

Then I know for “Sad Song”, you just released the remix of but for the band, the last record was 2015. Is it something where you see how much these fans are still coming out, these fans are still obviously very supportive of the band, you have the reunited Cute Is What We Aim For back out with you. A great package.
Coley: It’s perfect/
Hunter: We’re all really close too. The first day it was like hey guys it’s been a while. Let’s get back into it!
So maybe speaking of that energy, is it something where “Sad Song” is a good indication of an album to come?
Hunter: Yeah, definitely!
Coley: There’s always songs.
Hunter: I think Trav said it best. He’s like “We’ll never not be doing this”. It’s one of those kinds of things.
Coley: Where we just keep creating. You win some, you lose some but the band keeps evolving and that’s good.
Hunter: Times change, music changes.
Coley: As we get older, our lives change. Everybody is married now, we have kids.
Hunter: We’ve become adults.
Coley: We have real responsibilities back home.
Hunter: Mortgages to pay.
Coley: Utilities, mouths to feed.

Perfect! And speaking of that, I know for the most part, the band has remained the same unit since this record was released. I know like Charles came in a few years ago but you’ve remained pretty much the same unit. Do you feel the songwriting process is the same rhythm or do you think it’s still changing?
Hunter: We have a steady pattern but things change. We’ve just kind of evolved, it’s adjusting. I guess that’s a better word.
Coley: Styling has changed. Everybody kind of throws their ideas into the mix and you get a stew. Then you play it out that way but yeah it’s always going to change just because as music listeners, we’re all influenced by something. And you go through those phases where you hear something and it totally changes how you feel and how you think so you don’t imitate it but you just play with the ideas.
Hunter: And then sometimes, personally I’ve been listening to ” The Artist in the Ambulance” record by Thrice non-stop and I hadn’t listened to that record since it came out but I’m getting back into that music. I just love it. Coley made me listen to something different and how that changes.
Coley: I’m always on the hunt for stuff. If you like to read books, you’re always on the hunt for books and that’s how I am with records. The records that move you. You come across a lot of bad ones but you come across a lot of great ones too! There’s a lot of music out there. There is a LOT of music out there and with that said, it’s amazing to have survived ten years with so much music out there. It’s also about the brotherhood within the band and we get along well. You’re seeing the quarters we live in, we’re very close. To last that long, you have to have open communication and a lot of respect for one another.
Hunter: There’s some Fuck you’s here and there but there’s a lot of sorry’s.
Coley: Exactly, there’s just no room to pent in that emotion it has to be said and move on to the next city. But we all love each other.
Hunter: That’s very true.

Then maybe to end it off, this is quite the long run and then you go overseas for Slam Dunk and then Hawaii as well.
Hunter: Yeah that’s the beginning of June.
Coley: I’m excited for that. I’m excited for Slam Dunk. The Slam Dunk festival is always so fun.
Hunter: It’s so fun for us. We always have a good time over there.
Going to be focusing on the ten year for that set?
Coley: Yeah probably! I think they want it. After especially the footage from this run.
Hunter: It kind of makes sense. Less Than Jake is doing their twenty year and they’re one of the headliners over there too so if we don’t, it will be weird.
Coley: It’s going to get my vote.

Then you’re still very early in this year. Like I keep saying, you have Slam Dunk then you’re going to Hawaii and this tour is still very early. Kind of what is the focus for We The Kings for the rest of 2017?
Coley: New music.
Hunter: Yeah, new music.
Coley: Yeah, primarily new music and you know keep playing in some form or another and then eventually supporting a new record with a tour but the goal is new music without a doubt.

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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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