The gifts just keep on coming this holiday season with today’s release of the newest 'Yeah So What' EP by alternative punk rock group American Blackout. Hailing from Fort Collins, CO, members Craig Miller (vocals/guitar), Damian Schoenecke (guitar), Ross Dougherty (bass) and Gus Mircos (drums) have been anticipating this release for almost a year. Needless to say, the band is excited for today’s debut, so we sat down with frontman Craig Miller to get the scoop on American Black’s new music and more. Here’s our chat:
The 'Yeah So What' EP is your third and final release of 2016. How long have you guys been working on this for?
For a while now. We released our first single “Pants on Fire” last January, and just released “Shots Fired” in September, so [the whole EP] has been about one year in the works. We recorded all five tracks at The Spot Studios, recording two at a time, then recording one last song to finish it up. Lately we’ve been getting it all packaged, mastered, and ready for release.
There’s been quite a bit of hype leading up to this release, with little sneak previews, bundles, and free giveaways. How have people reacted so far?
Everyone seems pretty excited about it. We’ve received really good reviews on the singles. We just previewed our title track, “Yeah So What” yesterday, which is our favorite song to play live. It’s upbeat and high energy, which is perfect because we get down at our live shows.
What can fans expect from this new EP? What kinds of sounds and influences are embedded in it? Any themes?
What I like most about it is that it’s a little bit of a deviation from our last EP, Summer’s Gone. It’s a much more matured sound and a lot less “poppy.” The last EP focused a lot more on relationships, whereas Yeah So What is more raw and edgy, especially “Shots Fired.” Our lyrics have matured and our sound is a bit more gritty. As always, we’ve got a clean, crisply produced sound from working at The Spot Studios, but [this new release] just ended up being more energetic rock’n’roll versus pop. We like the direction it’s going in.
Listen to American Blackout's new Yeah So What EP:
Are there any special guest features on this release?
No guest features. One major difference is that this EP was recorded with our old drummer Jason LaBella. We have a new drummer now, Gus Mircos, who will be playing at the EP release show with us. We’re grateful to have worked with Jason, and are excited to have Gus with us now.
What was the creative process behind this release? Any particular reason why you’re aiming for an end of year release VS a new year release?
An end of the year release was just how it ended up happening with the availability and materials. Our last full-length release was in January 2015, so we are due for another one. Also, December is a great time to go out, given the holidays. Regarding our creative process, we’ve been writing a lot, and have been picky about what songs we wanted to record and what songs we wanted to included. We’ve been much more selective, starting with a basic idea, gathering new ideas, and continuing that effort until those ideas materialize into a song.
Will there be a tour to accompany this release? Any holiday pit stops you plan to make?
Our EP Release Party is this Saturday, December 17th at Downtown Artery. Then we’ve got a series of shows in late January, including a show at The Moxi Theater. We plan to hit the road in March 2017, working our way through the Southwest, California, and Nevada.
Finally, as an alternative punk band in Colorado, where do you most find your niche?
We’ve been able to make a lot of friends in different genres of music. We love playing with Wiredogs, who will also be playing at our EP Release Party this Friday along with I Am The Owl. We like playing with those guys quite a bit. We met so many different bands through the SpokesBUZZ program and we have played with many other genres, like the Gasoline Lollipops, who are more bluegrass/folk. We like to mix it up and tailor our sets to the other bands’ styles. That’s what’s great about the Colorado music scene: everyone likes to work together, meet new people, and experience new styles of music.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.