Interview: The Wrecks

November 20, 2018

Photo by Leslie Dylan

It’s not every day that you get to casually sit under a floor lamp with a rock band. Strangely enough, I got the chance to do exactly that.

Southern Californian alt-rock band The Wrecks came rolling through on their headlining Panic Vertigo tour, playing a show at the legendary El Corazon November 11th, 2018. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to sit down with these fine fellows for an incredibly fun interview in the dimly-lit green room of the iconic venue. 

The Wrecks consists of bassist Aaron Kelley, vocalist Nick Anderson, guitarist Westen Weiss, guitarist Nick “Schmizz” Schmidt, and drummer Billy Nally. They’re currently on tour to promote their latest EP, as well as try out some new material for their fans. 

Alright, the date, November 11th, 2018… We are here at El Corazon with The Wrecks for their Seattle date of the Panic Vertigo Tour, following the release of their EP this past February. Yeah? How’s it going, guys?

Aaron: Yeah, we’re doing great!

Nick: It’s nice to be touring with music out, because we did a headlining tour one year ago, and we had three songs out. And now, we still only have eight songs out, which is like 33 minutes of music, but at least people know the songs we’re singing now. That’s really great. 

For sure! Cool, so you guys were formed in Southern California a few years ago. Your first EP was released in 2016? Sounds about right? And then you just released Panic Vertigo. How’s that been?

Nick: Was that this year? It feels like it was a long time ago. We put it out in January?

Schmizz: We put it out right as we started the New Politics tour. About February. It was early.

Nick: Yeah, it’s been great. Like I said, besides having music out, we’re excited to be touring on these songs, but we’re also excited that we’re playing new songs on this tour to kind of showcase a little bit of what’s to come. But still, people won’t have any clue what music is coming up next. We’re really excited about it ‘cause I think the basic consensus is if you think you know what The Wrecks sound like, you’ll be wrong. And that’ll be fun to show people that.

Okay, so I guess following that, how would you define your sound? Like what would you consider yourselves?

Westen: I don’t know, we don’t even know.

Nick: I don’t know. People just have to go and listen to it. If they like alt, if they like alt-rock that’s catchy and fun and energetic, they’ll like our band. Our demographic is everybody, so if you have lungs that work, even if you’re not a human, you’ll like our music. 

So following the release Panic Vertigo EP, you guys just released a single recently. It was on the EP but you released it as a single a few months ago, right? And that song was…?

Schmizz: James Dizzle?

Nick: James Dean?

“James Dean!” Yeah. How’s that been? How’s that release into the world been as a single? 

Nick: It was good! We didn’t really push it hard as a single. What happened is SiriusXM Hits 1 took it from us and just started playing it like crazy and that was great; it was super awesome. It wasn’t really where we thought we wanted to go, right into like the “pop” realm, but we recognized that maybe it worked in that realm? And it kinda did its own little thing and then fell back into our arms. And, you know, we didn’t really push anything on the EP too much because we are so excited about what’s new to come, but we did want to release those songs because the fans knew the songs. They would sing along at shows even though they didn’t even know what the studio recording sounds like, so we wanted to put them out anyways for the fans and give them something that we had been working on. But even at that point, we were already very much ready for the new music and the new album.

Westen: We actually were debating, thinking “should we just skip this and go straight to the album?”

Nick: Yeah, we were debating on skipping the EP but we thought, no, the fans like the EP, we like the songs, we already recorded it, we’ll just do it.

Westen: Yeah, with Panic Vertigo, with “James Dean,” like you were saying, we didn’t really know what song – because we obviously wanted to try to pick one song to send to our label to push more than the others, and like, our label wanted this song, we wanted a different song, and then Alt Nation was playing “Panic Vertigo” and then this one started playing “James Dean,” so we were like “oh, alright.”

Nick: Apple Music featured “Figure This Out.” 

Aaron: And Spotify put “Way With Words” on one of their playlists. 

Westen: We just didn’t know what to do!

Yeah, that’s kind of a lot!

Nick: So every single song on the EP was getting different national exposure from different publications, so we didn’t know what to push as a single. 

Schmizz: It’s been kind of just a smooth little cruise.

Nick: A smooth little cruise for the EP, and then next year it’s gonna be wild.

Westen: It’s like a little canoe, paddling down the river, and the album is going to be like a tank flying down the mountain.

Photo by Leslie Dylan

Speaking of “James Dean,” there’s a lyric in the song that’s very “Seattle,” and the lyrics goes, “I got into Nirvana, smoking marijuana my first year in school.” So obviously, growing up, you got into Nirvana; that’s a Seattle band! I’m assuming we like Seattle?

Nick: Oh yeah. Our first Seattle show was at the Crocodile, which we knew Nirvana had played at. 

What other Seattle artists do you listen to?

Schmizz: I always loved a lot of grunge. I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan, huge Audioslave fan. Chris Cornell was one of my biggest idols growing up. I only speak for myself, though.

How many times have you been to Seattle now?

Nick: I wanna say five? 

Westen: I think five or six times now.

Nick: Twice with Nothing But Theives, once with The Hunna, once with The Maine, once with New Politics, that’s five…

Schmizz: All Time Low!

Nick: All Time Low, that’s six.

Billy: This is our second headliner.

Nick: And seven with our headliner.

Billy: This will be eight.

Nick: Eight! Whoa, no way. We gotta fact check that. That might just be the most we’ve ever played in a city, other than L.A. Wow, this is our eighth time in Seattle. That’s incredible. 

That is pretty incredible. Well I’m glad you guys are back! Do you guys have a favorite song to play live?

Nick: Let’s see here… I think my favorite is…

Aaron: My favorite is “Freaking Out.” For now, at least.

Nick: Ooh yeah. That’s a new song; we haven’t released it yet. I’d say that’s my favorite too.

 Okay, so one last question: What is next? When can we expect new music?

    Nick: We have new music recorded, and we would like early next year to start introducing, to start this kind of flow of new everything that we’re really excited about that we’ve been concocting in the background.

    Schmizz: It’s the new sauce.

    Nick: It’s the new sauce! The new Wrecks is the best Wrecks, and we think you’re going to eat it up. We did a taste test, and the people love it. 

    I’m looking forward to it! Thank you so much for coming out, you guys.

The Wrecks Panic Vertigo tour takes them around the country until the final show in Austin, Texas on December 9.

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