Over a year since our last proper feature for Arkansas shoegazin’ grunge rockers I WAS AFRAID, the band is back with more quality sounds that once again managed to find a great deal of beauty lurking beneath gloomy, nostalgic textures. Their new 7”/MC EP called Lonely Frontier is te follow up to their last LP, Endless Ecstasy, and was recorded with Mat Talbott of HUM earlier in 2016. The result is 4 spacey tracks that range from quiet to loud with atmospheric guitars and distorted riffs, topped with Darby Johnson’s calm vocals and introspective lyrics. We sat down with the band to discuss their latest developments and break down the new record for you. Play it loud and scroll down to read the full interview.
Well well, as promised the last time we talked, you kept it busy! Your new EP is right here and it sounds really good! How do you feel about it now that it’s released for everyone?
Thanks for the kind words, man! Glad you dig it. Since the last time we spoke we have been super busy, that’s for sure! We are super proud of Lonely Frontier. We put a lot of time and effort into crafting these songs into what they came to be. We feel like we presented a new side of I Was Afraid and that these songs are the most mature and powerful songs we have ever written. We have had a lot of great feedback from our friends and fans!
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Sunday Drive Records?
Sunday Drive worked with a few bands we are friends with and Jonathan had liked our sound. We did a Texas run last Feb and he came out to the shows and enjoyed our live sound. He approached us about doing some new presses of Endless Ecstasy on tape, and we agreed! After that him and Darby began talking and it just kind of fell into place from there. We wanted to put Lonely Frontier out with someone who would make it a priority and push the record as much as we would. It was just all kind of a no brainer and we trust SDR to push the record to its full potential and they have done a great job so far!
You’ve decided to use cassette as one of the formats for this release. How do you feel about tapes remaining a phenomenon in the world of overwhelming digital solutions?
I think tapes are awesome. Tapes are cool collectibles and they are usually easy on the wallet. Plus 90% of the time they come with a digital download like vinyl does. We have done every release on tape and it’s always proved to be a good investment. I think people are so into the collectible side of it, that even though it’s available everywhere online, it’s still desired. The record will also be available on wax. And we are excited about that.
Ok, so back to the very content of “Lonely Frontier”, lyrics-wise, what themes run in the body of this EP?
The story of the ep deals with distance, self discovery and hope. The character realizes at the end of the EP that the things that he left behind were actually worth going back for.
Can you drop us a quick track-by-track breakdown?
Contrails – The character leaves everything behind
In Orbit – Self contemplation, self realization
Lab – The character regrets leaving and formulates a way home
Pinholes – The character attempts to return home with more of a perspective. The distance brought him closer to what was really important.
Ok, so looking back, what have been the highlights of 2016 for the band?
Ah yes, all the adventures in 2016 were some of our favorites! We started the year off with a run of dates in Texas with our friends in Fairlane and Ringfinger. In March we took a trip back down to Austin and played Broken World Media/Funeral Sounds showcase at SXSW with a ton of rad bands. Basically right after that we drove up to Illinois and tracked the record with Matt Talbot at Earth Analog. We did close to a month on the west coast in June with our friends in Headcold and then met up with Head Injuries for a string of dates. But obviously the most exciting highlight was releasing the new 7″.
Finally, what are your plans for 2017?
In 2017 we plan to promote the 7″ as much as possible and create as many opportunities for ourselves as we can. Currently we are planning our record release, which we will be doing early in February. Throughout the year we will be touring as much as we can and hopefully doing some foreign dates toward the end of 2017 if all goes well and funds allow. Between all that we will be writing our new full length that we will hopefully put out by mid 2018. So, again….we plan to stay as busy as we possible can!