Interview: With Confidence at Slam Dunk Festival

Australian quartet With Confidence have earned a huge amount of attention since the release of their debut EPYouth back in 2013. The band have since signed to pop punk mega-label Hopeless Records and are due to release their debut album Better Weather on June 17th. We caught up with vocalist Jayden Seeley and guitarist Luke Rockets at Slam Dunk North to talk all things Better Weather, Warped Tour, and Harry Potter. Let us introduce you to Hopeless Records’ latest find.

CelebMix: First of all, you guys just wrapped up a UK tour with As It Is. How are you finding the UK?

JS: We didn’t really know what to expect coming in because obviously this is one of the first international shows we’ve played, but it’s been incredible. So many people have been singing our words, so many people have been coming out. I don’t know what else to say. It’s been incredible.

LR: We’ve been extremely fortunate in the sense that we’ve toured with As It Is previously in Australia so we’re very good friends with those dudes, and they were gracious enough to bring us along. The crowds over in the UK have blown away all our expectations, it’s been incredible.

JS: That and the pubs here are like really fucking good, so much better than Australia. We’ve been to pubs that are 700 years old, that’s insane. Except the roofs are really low, and I’m very tall, so I’m crouching through these pubs. Other than that it’s been fun.

CelebMix: Were there any stand-out shows on the tour?

LR: This is difficult and we don’t want say anything that’s going to create some kind of bias. They were all equally as wonderful as the next.

JS: They were great in different ways. I’d say some highlights were both of the Scottish shows, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Glasgow’s crazy, they just want to go fucking wild there which was really cool.

LR: The “here we fucking go” thing is nuts. We were very confused when we walked onstage to that chant.

CelebMix: You’re also playing Warped Tour this summer, how are you preparing for that?

JS: I guess we’re preparing for it right now. The touring leading up to it is sort of preparation for what will be the biggest tour we’ve ever played. It’s two and a half months or something. But we’re so stoked for that; we haven’t even released our first album yet and we get put on one of the biggest festivals in the world in my opinion.

LR: There’s a lyric from a Blink-182 song in ‘The Rock Show’ that’s “I couldn’t wait for the summer and the Warped Tour”. Since I was about nine I have aspired to play the Warped Tour and it’s finally happening. That one lyric. I did my research, I was like “what’s the Warped Tour?” and sure enough it turns out to be the coolest festival in the whole world. Bar maybe Slam Dunk.

CelebMix: So your debut album Better Weather is due out on June 17th. For people that aren’t familiar with your band, how would you describe your sound?

JS: I feel like there are two things that we really cling to as a band. The first is obviously putting a focus on catchy melodies and songs that people love to listen to, but at the same time we want them to be very emotional so people can connect to them. We want people to be able to empathise. I think that is predominantly what makes up With Confidence.

LR: Yeah! It’s catchy until you cry.

CelebMix: Along the same lines of that: would you say your music has a message? Is there anything you want people to take from your album, or seeing you play live?

JS: Definitely, yeah. I think with the new album there are a lot of themes. One that’s really prevalent is mental illness, and how it’s really stigmatised everywhere. Like, someone will bring up anxiety in a conversation and everyone will go “oh my god, I’m terrified, I don’t want to talk about it” and it’s something we’ve all experienced one way or another, whether it’s ourselves or our close friends. So we’ve written a few songs about that and I think hopefully we’ll help bridge that gap a bit more.

LR: There’s a lyric on the record from a song called ‘Voldemort’ which is my personal favourite lyric, it’s “despite the weather, it gets better” and I feel like that encapsulates the whole message of the album.

CelebMix: Can you elaborate on your decision to call a track ‘Voldemort’?

JS: Happily! So, it’s a little lame but I’m a massive Harry Potter fan, and we all know the line from Hermione Granger which is “fear of the name only increases the fear of the thing itself”. So it’s the idea that mental illness is Voldemort, and everyone’s terrified to talk about it, but I think once people start talking about mental illness it’ll stop being so terrifying, and that’s what that song is about. It’s Voldemort! We should start talking about Voldemort.

CelebMix: Considering you guys have so far only released two EP’s, you have had an incredible amount of success and support online — ‘Distance’ reached number two on the iTunes alternative chart and number ten in the general iTunes chart. How have you found that social media buzz—is it ever overwhelming?

LR: For sure, one example that springs to mind is that when we announced the signing to Hopeless Records, I’ve never seen my Twitter feed blow up in a way like that. The absolute support we got was overwhelming, but it was to the point where it was too hard to keep up with the response people were giving us.

JS: It has blown up but I think we always try to remember who’s tweeting us and put a face to the name. I feel like we know the majority of the people who like our band now, which is crazy but I think that’s something that’s really important to us as well, being able to connect online through social media. It has been getting pretty wild lately.

CelebMix: Finally, who are your favourite bands right now—who influences you?

JS: One that’s always stuck with me is a band called The Dangerous Summer, they used to be signed to Hopeless Records but they’ve broken up now, unfortunately. They are something that I think encapsulates the idea of having a really cool key melody but also a really strong emotional message. The Dangerous Summer is definitely up there for me.

LR: For me I grew up exclusively on Blink-182, Green Day, and Sum 41—who are freshly signed to Hopeless Records, and are also on Warped Tour, which is making my whole year. But another band I really love is Motion City Soundtrack, and we have the privilege of doing their final ever Australian run with them in September, so that’s cool. But yeah, just bands in that genre!

Be sure to check out With Confidence’s latest video ‘Keeper’ below!

 

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Written by Faith Ridler

Faith Ridler is a UK based student, music journalist, and twenty one pilots aficionado. Follow her on Twitter @FaithSpeaksNow!