Pop-punk is a genre we don’t usually cover on the site, but we are always on the lookout for new artists to cover and talk about. The Way Away, stumbled across by Nemo purely by accident, are a band from Minnesota who have proven to be of interest, so we decided to take some time to ask them a few questions, which the band kindly took the time to answer for us.
How did The Way Away come together as a band?
The Way Away started about three years ago by Matt and three other guys not currently in the band. Matt was originally playing lead guitar, but the original singer quit fairly early on and he moved to vocals/rhythm guitar. From there, we added Jeff on bass when the old bass player left the band, and after Carry On was released last fall we added Wyatt on drums to fill that position, which was also vacated. This past spring, we lost our lead guitarist, and Jeff switched from bass to lead guitar, and his brother Jake started playing bass. As you can tell, we’ve been playing a pretty long game of musical chairs, but we finally feel like we have a solid lineup that will stick.
What stands out to you the most from your time together as a band thus far?
This past summer, we were chosen to play our local date for the Vans Warped Tour, and that was a pretty big deal to us. We’ve all been going to Warped since our early teens, so to be chosen to play something that means so much to us and that a lot of our favorite bands have played was very special.
What has been your favourite live show to date?
We used to have house shows at the house a few of us lived in together (cleverly named The Way Away House), and after a few venues fell through, we hosted a going-away show for our best friends Infinite Signal, who moved from Minnesota to California. We had five great local bands play as well as acoustic acts in between bands. We had never seen so many people in our house before, and the energy at that show was unreal. It felt like one big party more than it did a show, and having the music community in one place for one night was so much fun to be a part of. We were fortunate enough to play that show as well, and that was the first show we played with our new lineup. The house show community in Minneapolis is strong, and that night was a perfect example of it.
How did you go about writing and recording your debut EP, 2014’s Carry On?
We started writing Carry On in the fall of 2013 in the basement of the TWA house, where three of the members lived at the time. The songs were written in a few different ways. Some were ideas that one of us had, wrote out, and brought to practice to work on as a group. Other songs, like ‘Always’ for example, we just started jamming and practically wrote themselves. A few of the songs were completely different by the end of recording from how they were originally written, and it was cool to watch those songs grow throughout the process. We contacted the guys at Treespeak Studios to record and engineer the album because we heard work they had done for some of our other friends. That was probably the best decision we could have made, because Xander Moser is a phenomenal engineer. The EP was recorded in our basement since Treespeak is currently building their studio, but that almost made things easier since we were in an environment we were comfortable in.
What has been your favourite song from Carry On to play live?
‘Retrospect’. The song has some cool shifts and different feels to it. It’s one of the songs that people know and sing along to, which is always fun. We took a few risks in that song that worked out really well and are fun to play live.
You recently released a new single, ‘Echoes’. What were your influences when you were working on the song?
‘Echoes’ was the first song that we wrote with our current lineup, so the influences were a lot different from Carry On. Jeff used to play guitar in metalcore bands back in the day, so his influences shine through a lot more on lead guitar than they did on bass. We wanted to take this song in a different direction than our old material. We’re pretty big Bayside fans, and that band was a huge influence on the song. They write a lot of songs in minor keys, which is something we hadn’t done before we wrote ‘Echoes’. The lead guitar and drums draw a lot of influence from early to mid 2000’s metalcore. We wanted this song to hit a lot harder and have more attitude, and we think we accomplished that goal.
What can you say about your upcoming material at the moment and when are you hoping to release this material?
This new batch of songs, for lack of a better word, is different. The writing process for the new songs has been a lot different from Carry On, and we think it’ll show once they are released. We’ve grown a lot as songwriters and wanted to challenge ourselves by taking a lot more risks, some that seemingly come straight out of left field. These songs are definitely the best songs we have written to date, and it should be that way with any new material. We are aiming to release a five-song EP towards the end of this year or early 2016.
How would you describe the Minneapolis music scene to UK music fans? Is there a focus on any genre of music over others or is it all fairly balanced overall?
Metalcore is very big in Minneapolis right now, and that’s largely due to our scene’s roots in the genre dating back to the early 2000s. The genre itself has evolved quite a bit, but even with all of the changes the genre itself remains widely popular. On a local level, emo music is a large part of our scene.
Are there other bands from the Minneapolis music scene that you would urge people to check out?
Of the bigger Minneapolis bands that could conceivably play in the UK, we’d recommend Banner Pilot, Motion City Soundtrack, and After The Burial. We have some great local pop punk bands here as well, so we’d definitely urge people to check out Charlie Siren, Infinite Signal (though they’re actually in California now), Insomniac, Let Yourself Go, and Unturned.
The Way Away‘s material can be found on a pay-what-you-want basis on Bandcamp, which is available here.