Though they are in the midst of rapping up a tour of the southern US in support of their recent album, Something To Smile About, one of the many Mikes from Florida-based easycore group We Still Dream took some time out to partake in a little Q+A with yours truly. Plenty of details abound on topics ranging from the writing process for Something To Smile About, the pressure to continue topping yourself artistically, and the state of the Jacksonville scene in the wake of Fred Durst and company. Click here to check it out.
Something To Smile About was released on August 6th via Anchor Eighty-Four Records.
Dying Scene (Jay Stone): Sorry to start with a few boring, generic questions. Don’t worry; they get marginally less boring and generic as we go. First and foremost, with whom are we speaking? My money is on Mike. (Editor’s note: 60% of the five-piece band’s lineup share the same first name: Mike Davis and Mike White on guitar, Mike Monahan on drums. The band also features Dustin Monk on vocals and DJ Tarbert on bass.)
We Still Dream (Mike Davis): Dead on the money, this is Mike Davis and I play guitar.
For those who might be unfamiliar, give us a Cliff’s Notes version of the history of We Still Dream.
In 2008 me and a few friends got together and wanted to start something where the vocalist didn’t scream the whole time. After practicing in a small sweaty shed for a few weeks we found Dustin recorded Oh Snap and have been doing our thing ever since.
You’ve got a bunch of shows coming up along the southern US, including a few with The Promise Hero. Who’ve been your favorite bands to share a bill with to date?
I personally love playing/touring with Giants at Large and Heart to Heart. They are awesome dudes and their music has so much emotion. I’m always exited to watch them.
Congratulations are in order for Something To Smile About (for the uninitiated, it was released August 6th via Anchor Eighty-Four, making this interview unfashionably late). What sort of feedback have you been getting, primarily from the fans (ahem, Dreamers) that’ve been with you from jump street?
A lot of people have been saying this is our best record to date. All I know for sure is that we worked really hard on it and so far it’s my favorite one to play.
Chapters obviously opened some eyes a few years ago and exposed the band to well outside your Jacksonville hometown. Was there much internal pressure to raise the bar this time out, knowing what they say about sophomore slumps?
There is always a lot of internal pressure present when we are writing a new record. Understand that we all do this because its what we all love to do, but we are endlessly striving to top ourselves and improve upon different areas of the band. As a result riffs, lyrics, and whole songs are re written and discarded on a regular basis in order to get the perfect song that everyone is happy with.
Were the processes or the inspirations different when it came time to write and record Something To Smile About than for your earlier work?
Yes and no, we have always written the music then given it to Dustin to write lyrics. This time around was no different in that aspect. Except we spent a lot more time changing things to fit the vocals better and seriously stressing the little things, transitions and stuff like that.
How’s it been working with Anchor Eighty Four this time out? Seems they’ve got a pretty good thing going if you ask me.
Cody over at Anchor Eighty Four has been great. Without him there is no way we could have made this happen. It’s nice to have someone who really cares behind you. He even flew out for our three cd release shows just to hang out.
We Still Dream are obviously a perfect fit in the 21st century pop-punk world. And yet, pop-punk now obviously has a very different sound and feel to it than it from the Ramones through probably the year 2000. Who do you think was the biggest influence for the change, and do you think it’s fair to even call both styles “pop-punk”? Or is that just a pretentious, music dork question?
In my opinion it is fair to call both styles pop punk. Styles and genres of music change with the generations. One generations Hardcore, Rock, or Hip Hop usually sounds far different than the one before it. Pop punk is no different in that aspect.
Seriously though, how many times have you been asked some variation of “what’s it like having three Mikes in the band”?
More times than I can count haha. We get odd looks from people when we call each other by our full names.
You guys are obviously from Jacksonville, Florida. Give outsiders a taste of what the scene is like in J-Ville nowadays. Apparently we’re far enough removed from Limp Bizkit being a thing that people feel comfortable admitting that’s where they’re from again?
The scene in Jacksonville can be brutally unforgiving or totally supportive and awesome. It all depends on the amount of support and hard work you put into it. Most people aren’t really afraid to admit that they jammed Limp Bizkit in high school haha.
Anything else you might want Dying Scene readers to know?
Make sure you like us on your favorite form of social media and come out to a show. Our favorite thing to do is play for people and our shows are fun so come hang out. Also, check out www.anchoreightyfour.com/store to pick up our new record on Vinyl or CD, and digitally on iTunes!
Congrats again on Something To Smile About. Good luck on the road!
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