Saves The Day


They’ve got three fantastic albums tucked under their belts, they’ve toured relentlessly across America, Canada and Japan and Xfm just can’t seem to prise their single ‘At Your Funeral’ from their CD player; all this and they’re only 21. It hasn’t come easy however, Saves The Day have been on the road pretty much non-stop for the past three years.

As I catch up with vocalist and lyrical genius Chris Conley, they’re mid-tour with Weezer and are playing in front of multiple thousands. Comprised of Conley, David Soloway (guitar), Ted Alexander (guitar), Eben D’Amico (bass) and until recently Bryan Newman on drums, STD found each other via High School, art camp and swiped D’Amico from another local band in the New Jersey scene. The recently departed Newman has been temporarily replaced with Damon Atkinson, who used to bash the skins for emo godfathers Braid and now dutifully does so for Hey Mercedes.

Conley is known for his heartfelt, eloquent lyrics which at times border on masochistic imagery: ‘The last time that I saw you, August of ’99, I should have had my hammer and a few rusty spikes, To nail you on a wall and use bottles to catch your blood’ from ‘As Your Ghost Takes Flight’; and ‘I’ll take my rusty spoons, And dig out your blue eyes, I’ll swallow them down to my colon, They’re gonna burn like hell tonight’ from ‘Rocks Tonic Juice Magic’ to name but two. So what exactly is it that inspires him? ‘It all just comes in a gust of wind so to speak’ he explains, ‘I try to grab it and give birth to it. An idea pops into my head and then it has to come out.’ Is it solely Conley’s wisdom which provides STD’s at times maniacal lyric sheet? ‘It’s absolutely a collaborative effort’ he confirms, ‘I just usually have the initial idea musically. I come up with the chord progression and the melodies and then everyone works with that. I go and get the clay from the river and everyone else comes back to mould it.’ Listing his influences as The Beatles, The Flaming Lips, The Pixies and Black Sabbath to name but a few, Conley stops, insisting that he could ‘go on for hours’.

The fact that they’ve accomplished so much at a tender age must surely be overwhelming. ‘I don’t think about it too much ‘cos it’ll drive me insane’ he states, ‘It’s a little too much to handle, things have happened pretty quickly. It doesn’t feel like it’s been overnight to say the least, it’s been extremely gradual. We’ve been playing for so many years and because we started out so young and happened to see a tiny little bit of success when we were that age, it’s just slowly snowballed. It hasn’t been really strange but at the same time it’s really strange, if you know what I’m saying.’ Conley laughs at the idea of the ‘strangeness’ of his career. With 1998’s melodic masterpiece ‘Can’t Slow Down’ and the album every punk kid should own – 1999’s melancholically chirpy ‘Through Being Cool’ happily on New York based hardcore label Equal Vision, the band were approached by Vagrant Records, home to Alkaline Trio and The Get Up Kids. ‘They called us the day ‘Through Being Cool’ came out’ recalls the singer, ‘They said they liked our progression from first to second album and they’d like to talk to us. So we went to California and had conversations with them, we hit it off and decided that was the way to go.’ Were they pleased with the label shift? ‘It’s just a label that has a little bit more means and gets goals accomplished’ he explains, ‘I think the biggest reason we went with Vagrant was because it has slightly better distribution than Equal Vision. It wasn’t a huge change, it was a comfortable step for us to take.’

With plans to make it over to Europe having just been fulfilled, STD are a band to watch out for, with last summer’s full-length ‘Stay What You Are’ carrying a more mature aura around with it, they could just be the next great stars of our generation.

Emily Kearns

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