The annual Vans Warped Tour is not only a chance to reconnect with your inner awkward punk teen but it's also a good opportunity to get exposed to new music you can add to your Spotify playlists. This year, it just so happened that we discovered San Francisco's I the Mighty.
During their set, we witnessed lead singer Brent Walsh yell into the mic with gusto, "I want to see you guys jump. Jump with us!" There wasn't much of a difference in the crowd or fan base from other groups; it consisted mostly of screaming teenaged fans clad in black experiencing puppy love. However, the music was definitely harder and less of a happy, poppy sound than bands like the Maine (which we interviewed also). I The Mighty played new songs like "Love Your Sin" and older ones like "The Dreamer," which provoked a mini mosh pit. Walsh even got up-close and personal with fans by crowd surfing. The bearded frontman sang while numerous music-hungry fans groped him.
We sat down with Walsh, guitarist Ian Pedigo, and bassist Chris Hinkley to discuss Warped's no-mosh-pit rule and playing two sets a day.
New Times: What's the secret to not losing your voice after all that screaming?
Walsh: I haven't figured that out yet. Twenty shows in ten days. I don't know. We do warm-ups every day. Lots of water, not drinking a lot.
Not getting wasted.
Walsh: (laughs) Yeah. If I get legitimately drunk, my voice sounds noticeably worse the next day.
Did any of you guys attend Warped Tour before playing at it?
Walsh: Yeah, we all did in various years.
What were some of your favorite artists?
Pedigo: I saw Sublime a long time ago.
Hinkley: Taking Back Sunday.
Walsh: And this band called the Matches.
Ian: Oh, yeah.
Walsh: We grew up with them. They're like a small band from a big area, and they blew up. We got to watch them at Warped Tour. They are our hometown heroes.
Brent, I saw you jump right in the crowd at one point during the show today. What do you think about the whole "no moshing" rule at Warped Tour that they're trying to implement now?
Walsh: I can see why they implemented it. Obviously I think that Kevin [Lyman, creator of Warped Tour] probably got sued a million times. I just don't get how they are really going to implement the rule. We've seen people moshing at Warped Tour.
Ian: Yeah, like today.
Walsh: It probably helps people take it easy a little bit. People may be a little more conscious and not dumb. I think it's pretty unrealistic that people will never do it. But I think it's good to get people to be a little more conscious about being safe. We don't know if Kevin really did get sued, but it is 20 years of Warped Tour.
So "Love Your Sin" is about leaving a relationship that's not very fulfilling. Not necessarily unhealthy, but you're not getting what you want out of it. Can you guys elaborate on that?
Walsh: It's pretty much that. It illuminates a lot how good sex in a relationship can kind of be a Band-Aid, fog your vision up, of what the relationship actually is to a lot of mental things in the relationship that's happening because the physical part is so good that you kind of overlook it. It's kind of easy to stay in it because it's fun and can be exciting although you know it's not necessarily what you should be doing.
How is your new release different than your stuff?
Walsh: It was "Love Your Sin" and two acoustic renditions of our two bigger songs. "Dreamer" which is off (the album), "Karma Never Sleeps," and "Speak To Me," which is off Satori, which seems to be the most popular out of all the Satori releases. We did kind of a reimagined version of each song and took some writing liberties and changed some chord progressions and the choruses, stuff like that, and made them their own thing.
Is this the only day that you guys did two sets at Warped Tour? Or every day?
All: Every day.
Walsh: That's why I'm saying this ten-show stretch is really 20 shows in ten days. It gets a little gnarly on the voice. We are halfway through, and I'm starting to feel it today.
What made you guys decide to do two sets a day knowing that it's very strenuous?
Ian: Just to reach more people and reach a bigger audience.
Walsh: And we love playing acoustic too.
Ian: We are releasing two acoustic songs, so it made sense to play them.
Walsh: Which are the two acoustic songs that come for free when you buy "Love Your Sin." Include that they're free (laughs).