This month I had the pleasure of interview Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory for Mixdown Magazine Australia. Head over to mixdownmagazine.com.au to see the October edition of the Mag.
New Found Glory has been a household name in the punk scene across two decades, creating genre-defying music while touring relentlessly Now, after 17 years of circle pits and sing-alongs, the band are set to release their 8th full length studio album, Resurrection. Mixdown were lucky enough to chat with lead singer Jordan Pundik about the new album, life as a four-piece and his personal reflections on the band’s progression over the years.
Resurrection is set for release next month, what can we expect from the new album?
Well now that we are a four piece, we are definitely committed to that. You’re going to hear riffs as catchy as the vocal melodies, up-lifting lyrics, songs you can mosh to and sing along to.
How did you find the writing process for this album, compared to your previous releases?
This is the most prepared that we ever were for writing a record. Cyrus (drums) and I would go up to Chad’s (lead guitarist) house like once a week and sit at the dining room table. We would write and talk about how we want the songs to sound, what we want to write about, and what we want to say. By the time we got to the studio we were pretty much all done, and we could actually focus on making the songs sound good without having to think about lyrics or melodies. It was a really good experience. The last few records were like “AH! We have to finish this record, we only have 3 songs done and we only have one week of recording left.”
You recorded Resurrection with Paul Milner (Death by Stereo). How was that experience? What did Paul bring to the table with this record that differs from other producers?
Paul’s great. He helps me keep my confidence in the studio, as I tend to get into my own head. My voice starts to suffer because I’m thinking about it too much, and I try to think of a melody or harmony, and I piss my self off and get frustrated and punch walls or whatever. Paul is really good at stepping out of the control room and calming me down by talking me through it. He has always been good with that. He also has a lot of dirty jokes; we are always having a laugh.
When listening to Resurrection, I can’t help but feel nostalgic and reminiscent of earlier 2000s New Found Glory, revisiting old punk roots whilst still maintaining a fun pop sound. Was this the intended direction of the album or a by-product of your writing?
I think it was a little of both. We committed to only having one guitar, a bass and drums. In past records we had a rhythm guitarist, and we would just layer guitars to make it sound full and heavy. Going into this record knowing we were going to be a four-piece and write that way, we wanted to make the riffs equally as pitchy as the melodies. I remember just listening to Cowboys From Hell (Pantera) and hearing what Dimebag did. We would just listen to those riffs. They only had one guitar player and look what they did. They were a four piece. They were fucking brutal. Not saying that New Found Glory is brutal, but we have always been known to have heavy guitar parts with melodic vocals, and we wanted to still stay true to what people like about our band, but with this new formation.
We will see you back in Australia for Soundwave 2015. It has been a few years since you have been on our shores. What can your fans expect this time around?
Well, a lot of the same, we are just more overweight [laughs]. It will be the first time that people are seeing us as a four piece, and I just feel that based on the feedback that I have been hearing from other bands and other people that have seen us lately when we have been doing one off shows here and there, they are saying that we are sounding tighter and are having more fun as a band. For me, that’s all I needed, and the confidence I needed. Before, I was a little skeptical on what people were going to think, like that we aren’t as heavy anymore or that we sound wimpy, but I haven’t heard anything like that, it’s been all positive. People can expect the same, but in a good way.
What gear will you guys be bringing down with you?
Ian, our bass player uses Ampeg. A drum company called SJC, which makes really cool custom drums, sponsors Cyrus. They are based out of Massachusetts. Chad will probably be using his Mesa Boogie, but he likes to change it up once in a while. There are songs where he will want to change the tone of it and will use like a Bad Cat or his Vox, but most of the time it’s a Mesa Boogie, Dual Rectifier. I’m not really particular with Mics. Most of the time I end up breaking everything, so the band really never spends money on me for gear [laughs] because I’m always smashing it or dropping it or like, ripping the cable out.
How do you prepare your voice for a live show?
I’ll try any voodoo there is, especially when I’m on tour for a long time. Most of the time I like to relax with red wine for some reason. A couple of glasses helps me relax and relaxes my vocal chords. I mean it dries it out a little bit, but I supplement the dryness with throat coat… or I’ll just pound water all day. So I’m just constantly pissing and drinking water [laughs]. I also do a warm up called VoixTek by Ron Anderson, who is a well-known vocal coach here in California. His warm ups are great. That’s pretty much it. I try and not think about it, because when I do, I get in my head and just sing like shit.
You’ve been around for 17 years now, how do you feel the punk scene has evolved in your time? How are NFG able to stay relevant in the scene after so many years?
As far as the relevancy goes, I definitely think it has to do with how we engage with our fans and how we are as people. I feel like I’m pretty modest. I feel super awkward when people treat me like a rock star. I don’t feel like I am. People that don’t know me or see me probably view me as one, but I just don’t really feel like I am. None of us in the band really have that mentality. We are just like everyone else, only we started a band, got lucky, and followed our dreams. We are fans of music and are always searching for new music to listen to and new bands. We are always giving new bands a shot and take them on tour like A Story So Far, The Wonder Years and Man Overboard. All of these bands are becoming popular now, and I feel like we are able to take bands on tour that people care about. That to me also helps us stay relevant.
February 21 — Soundwave Festival, Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
February 22 — Soundwave Festival, Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
February 28 — Soundwave Festival, Olympic Park, Sydney NSW
March 1 — Soundwave Festival, Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
BY MICHAEL EDNEY