Louder, stronger and phatter than ever, pop-punk maestros A are back and this time theyre serious. Hi-Fi Serious to be precise. Hi-Fi Serious is their brand new album, an explosive, hyperactive celebration of all things great and all things rock.
Having first thundered into the music scene with their supercharged 1997 debut album How Ace Are Buildings, A are now the best kept secret in the UK. But now, thats all set to change. Their new single Nothing is a feast of crushing riffs, electronic dynamics and super infectious melodies. Its A alright, but fuckin A, as with the rest of Hi-Fi Serious, its up to a whole new level. One set to rival the leaders of the pack.
"The songwriting has gone up seven notches," explains bass demon Dan Carter, "the vocals had gone up seven notches and everything else had to. We had to drag everything up to the same level. Everything had to be better, more, bigger and more international. I dont want to be in a twee little English band, I wanna be in a big international rock act. With devil horns."
A are making pretty good inroads to fulfilling Dans ambition, and recording the album at ICP Studios in Brussels was a good start. Having played in 27 countries to support the criminally overlooked second album Monkey Kong, frontman Jason Perry, recognisable by his seemingly ever present golf visor and bizarre dancing, remains full of enthusiasm for his travels.
"Its been amazing. Weve been from East German football stadiums to massive arenas to playing in front of five people in the Mid-West, then onto 20,000 on the West Coast of America the next day."
Meanwhile, the UK was undergoing a true rock rennaisance. The likes of Linkin Park, Blink 182 and Papa Roach were suddenly making rock cool again. Freshly armed with their best material to date, the scene is set for A to make a well deserved impact.
"Weve been A for the past however many years, unashamedly A and almost felt like a square peg in a round hole in this country," begins Jason at lightning pace. "People look at us and go, youre from California. And now the climate has come around to our way of thinking and all you see is black hooded tops, just kids into rock music."
With How Ace Are Buildings, A introduced themselves to the world with an album that featured so much boundless energy that Ritalin should have been prescribed. Electrifying pop-punk such as Foghorn and Five In The Morning jostled for space alongside the summery tones of Fistral and House Under The Ground.
This was followed with the stridently confident Monkey Kong. Featuring perhaps their best known track, Old Folks, Monkey Kong took the A sound one step beyond, with ever-evolving studio experimentation on Jasons Addiction and hardcore on Dont Be Punks. Meanwhile the single I Love Lake Tahoe - perhaps the most summery tune ever written about a snowboarding holiday destination - proved to be a hit in mainland Europe. The album added true eclecticism to the A sound, something that is only now reaching its full potential.
Almost constantly on the road, A hit all of the major European festivals from Reading to Bizarre, as well as playing with the likes of Blink 182, Feeder, Ash, The Offspring, The Bloodhound Gang and Faith No More. Their live show is documented in the mini-album Exit Stage Right.
Hi-Fi Serious, however, is definitely THE A album, mixing ultra-infectious emo-tinged pop-punk in tracks such as Pacific Ocean Blue and Somethings Going On, stomping great metallic riffs on Nothing and Shut Yer Face and the simply astoundingly ambitious title track, a perfect demonstration of multi-textured psychedelic prog-punk-rock. A particular highlight is Starbucks, which is not exactly a paean to the corporate multinational coffee provider.
"We had a big discussion on tour about what wed do if this all ended now, and we were like, we could probably sort something out in the long term, but well probably all end up working in McDonalds or something," chuckles Dan, "and this ridiculous conversation started, Id rather work in Burger King, No, McDonalds is better than that and it ended up with the ultimate job out of those sort of fast food jobs would be working in Starbucks!"
"Plus it would be good to have someone working in Starbucks who could work the till," quips Jason.
Having been long-term fans of Van Halen, A have acknowledged that influence most notably on The Distance a track that features searing Eddie styled solos from guitarist Mark Chapman. Mark was reticent at putting the track down as the rest of the band were eager to finish for the day and get some Belgian beer down. Having finally been persuaded, Mark cranked out the solo of his life, leaving everyone aghast and with scorched air guitar fingers. A moment captured on the soon to be released DVD.
Still, when not obsessed with rock or Starbucks, Jason likes to hang out with friends and check out new bands. Or so he thought in Philadelphia when his friend Jimmy Pop (frontman of debauched rock combo and regular A tourmates The Bloodhound Gang), suggested going to see a friend of his play in his band.
"We ended up going to an 80,000 seater football stadium to see N Sync!" enthuses Jason. "This is Joey, this is Justin, this is Chris. Wicked blokes. Were in the front row and theres 80,000 twelve-year-old girls, The Bloodhound Gang and me. We were totally out of place and looked like roadies. Joeys sister gave me some earplugs, youre gonna need these Jase and Im like yeah, whatever. No youre really gonna need them. I didnt put em in, Im not putting on earplugs at an N Sync show. The lights go off, 80,000 people scream and Im like SHIIIIT!"
The A assault on the UK will begin with their largest headline shows ever. Ambitious. So that leaves one final question - ambitions for Hi-Fi Serious?
"A swimming pool for me!" jokes Jason.
Jason Perry - vocals
Mark Chapman - guitar.
Check out Guyton Guitars. This is where Marks guitars are hand crafted, left-hand-style: -----> http://www.guytonguitars.com
Dan Carter - bass
Adam Perry - drums
Giles Perry - keyboards