New Found Glory

By paul

Andy had a chat with New Found Glory’s vocalist, Jordan Pundik earlier this week, ahead of the release of their new album, Not Without a Fight.

PT: Hey Jordan, how are you today?

Jordan Pundik: I’m good man, just hanging out at home in San Diego. I just got home three days ago from Australia and Japan. It’s good to be back for a couple of weeks.

PT: You guys have had one hell of an eighteen months. Before we talk about the new album, I want to ask you a few things about the past year or so, starting with From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II. You guys were pretty much the designers of the modern pop-punk cover song, did you always plan on eventually releasing a full length of covers?

JP: I don’t think so; I think we wanted to keep the full-lengths to originals. I think the EP was more just something where we didn’t have a record coming out for a little bit and we wanted to give the kids something that would be fun and they can have while they wait for the next real record.

PT: How hard was it to whittle down the songs?

JP: Our band’s quite a democracy when it comes to the whole cover-songs thing! We all have to agree, and there were a bunch of others that we didn’t end up doing that I want to eventually do, maybe.

PT: So can we expect a Part III in the From the Screen to Your Stereo series?

JP: Maybe, but I think we’re kind of cover song’d out at the moment!

PT: Which are your favourite songs from that record? Which do you think turned out best?

JP: I really like the way King of Wishful Thinking came out. I think his [Patrick Stump’s] vocals fit perfectly for that song. It’s funny because when I was talking to him, he said that Fall Out Boy were going to cover that song, so he was stoked to sing on it for us.

PT: Six months later, you put out the Tip of the iceberg E.P. with the International Superheroes of Hardcore disc thrown in. Explain to me from the beginning how the ISHC came about.

JP: Well we were demo’ing and writing songs for Coming Home and we were all living in this house together for a couple of months. We were so drained everyday from just writing New Found stuff, and trying to think of catchy melodies and catchy guitar parts. When it became night time, all the gear and equipment was set up in the living room, so we could basically we could record or write whenever we felt like it. At night I’d be on guitar and Cyrus would get on the drums and we’d write stupid fast punk/hardcore songs and I would do the same three riffs over and over again just in different octaves. It was really funny – I guess you had to be there. Chad would just start screaming stuff over it and every night we would just write a couple of hardcore songs and record them right there. We eventually pressed a thousand copies of them and sold them on our Myspace, then Bridge 9 decided to put out the full collection of songs. It was a lot of fun, I think the Superheroes are going to make another appearance pretty soon!

PT: You played guitar with the ISHC, what it was it like to take a step back from centre stage?

JP: It’s nice to not have to worry about anything other than just playing your guitar parts right and rocking out. I don’t have to be ‘the singer guy’, I don’t have to connect with the crowd and everything. I can just stand up there and act stupid. Not that I don’t act stupid when I sing, but you know what I mean!

PT: Would you say doing the ISHC thing has influenced your sound on the new record?

JP: Totally. We grew up listening to hardcore and going to hardcore shows, when New Found started touring, all we would play was hardcore songs. I think we have to still maintain our sound, y’know. That’s why we did that Tip of the Iceberg EP, we just wanted to do something fun and showcase where we came from. We always have that influence, maybe not so much on Coming Home, but on every other record. We always try to bring that into our song writing because if you see us live, I feel we’re more of a hardcore band.

PT: The new record’s called ‘Not Without a Fight’. The album title suggests you’ve got something to prove this time around…

JP: Every record that we write is basically about what’s going on in our lives at the time. In the last two years there have been lots of ups and downs with relationship s and things like that. I feel like when we write about relationships, there’s always a struggle, or a fight between two people. Keeping those relationships cool with your family, friends, significant others, I feel like that’s more of where the title came from. This album is all about confidence and being confident, and overcoming shitty things that happen. As far as this being us ‘coming back’ as it were, I think there’s a little bit of that connotation in there. The last record, Coming Home was like a slowed down version of New Found Glory, It was like New Found Glory on marijuana, too much campfires or something! I love that record and I loved where we were going with that, but I think with this new record it’s showing we’re comfortable with who we are. We’re a live band, and with Not Without a Fight I feel like we can really play all the songs live, whereas with Coming Home we could only play one or two songs live – they weren’t energetic enough.

PT: Now you had Mr Mark Hoppus recording for you. What was he like to work with?

JP: It was really funny, every day in the studio. It was really good to have him to be the sixth member, just to give his opinion and so on. He’s been awesome, he’s always been a supporter of New Found, ever since we started. They [Blink182] took us on tour in 2001, he’s a really good dude and he has really good ideas. It was cool because even though we weren’t on a label and we didn’t know what the future was holding for us, he still decided to do it with us.

PT: How far does his influence extend into the record?

JP: We’re obviously big Blink fans, but we never wanted to sound like Blink. What he brought to the table was he was able to be the Devil’s Advocate for a lot of things. If we had an idea and something wasn’t clicking or something wasn’t going right. Mark was there to tell us which ideas were good and which were bad. He’d always be the middleman, he was a good guiding force for us.
With this record, we had all the songs pretty much done before we recorded it, and it was just great to have him be an extra set of ears for us in the studio.

PT: It’s coming out through Epitaph as well. What made you decide to go with them for this release?

JP: We’ve known Brett [Gurewitz, founder of Epitaph Records] for a long time because he’s come to see our shows a lot. He’s always been talking about signing us, and at the time he was going to sign us without even hearing the record. We were meeting with a lot of labels and different people and something just wasn’t clicking. When Brett said that he wanted to put out our next couple of records, it was kind of a no brainer for us. First of all, he’s really good at what he does and he’s really passionate about it. Not only that but he’s in a band as well, so he understands that whole side of it too. It was really good to have a friend at the record label who knows what it’s like to be in a band. As well as that, everyone that’s been working there has been working there for years, no-ones losing their jobs, but all these major labels are going through a lot of crap right now and they have been for the last five years you know. With Epitaph, everyone’s super passionate about what they do, and it just fits with how we feel at our band.

PT: And you’ve got the new single, Listen to your friends out now, with an awesome new video too. Did you guys come up with the Ultimate Fighter concept yourselves?

JP: We’ve all been fans of mixed martial arts for a long time, especially Chad – he’s way into it. It all kind of just tied together with the theme of the record. We always want to keep our videos fun and exciting. When you have a song that’s three minutes long, it’s hard to put a story to it, so we just like to have fun with them. We wanted to make the video as energetic as the actual song, and I think we did that.
It was a lot of fun to make, although I was literally sore for like four days after.

PT: So who can really lay the smack down in the band? Out of the five of you, who would win in an all out rumble?

JP: Probably Ian [Grushka, bass], because all he’d have to do is smother the rest of us with his stomach!

PT: More than anything with you guys it seems you’re enjoying yourselves more than ever at the moment. Would you agree with that?

JP: I think there’s this new overall confidence within the band. I think now more than ever we’re just comfortable with who we are and what we do. With the new album and now being on Epitaph I kind of feel like we’ve closed the first chapter of our band. It’s a whole new beginning for us.

PT: Now you’re heading back over here for a couple of dates in May. What can we expect from those shows?

JP: Hopefully we’ll play a bunch of new songs. We played about two or three new songs live over in Japan and Australia and they went down with the audience really awesome, so hopefully it’ll be the same everywhere else! Bayside’s coming with us which we’re really excited about, they’re great dudes. We’re just about to head out on tour with them and Set Your Goals and Shai Hulud in the States, it’s gonna be fun!

PT: Can we expect you back for a full tour or any summer festivals this year?

JP: We’re definitely going to get back in August or September, we’re still just figuring everything out at the moment though!

Andy R

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