When Write This Down burst out of Minneapolis in 2010 with its self-titled national debut on Tooth & Nail, the band was instantly heralded as one of the most compelling, intense and original acts in the hard rock stratosphere. With two years of wall to wall touring under its belt supporting the likes of Blindside, Project 86, Disciple and The Letter Black, the foursome sounds even more ferocious on its sophomore album Lost Weekend, exponentially upping its artistic ante and ambitious songwriting style.
“There’s a huge difference between our two albums, starting with the fact that the first disc was just all over the map and we were still trying to find our identity,” recalls front man Johnny Collier. “With this one, we sat down and consciously decided to have me sing a bit grittier and not so clean, plus we’ve always loved having dual vocals. That turned into me doing a lot of the screaming and [guitarist] Nate [Rockwell] doing the choruses with me singing along. We found our formula on how to work and build our sound, which led to this album having a true identity.”
As for the searing sounds contained within the dozen cut collection, expect intricate vocal interplay, massive riffs and towering percussion, thanks in part to production from Pete Stewart, the legendary lead singer/guitarist for alternative rock pioneers Grammatrain. In other words, the project should have no problem falling in line with a diverse influence pool that includes rhythmic heavyweights like Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters and Korn, the dueling vocals of Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, crossed with even the pop/punk stylings of Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy.
“People have always said we sounded our best when we’re our heaviest, and as we thought about our heaviest songs from the past, they were always the ones we considered to be anthems,” observes Collier. “So we basically said, ‘let’s just write 12 anthems,’ bounced riffs and ideas off one another, and made them sound as huge as we could.”
Besides the larger than life sonic explosions, there’s also plenty of lyrical meat on the project to mirror the group’s goals of interjecting a much needed dose of positivity into heavy music terrain. Considering the group’s primary fan base is in their teens and 20s, the foursome specifically addressed that generation’s yearnings, hurts and hopes from both personal and observational perspectives.
“The whole idea behind Lost Weekend is the rebellious streak that everyone most likely goes through at some point when they’re growing up,” Collier unveils of the conceptual collection. “On this record, we want to be as honest as we can and reveal all the things we’ve seen and sometimes even done behind closed doors. But this isn’t a chance to point fingers or be judged. It’s a chance to learn from our mistakes and find some redemption.”
Those sentiments unfold at barreling speed on the lead single “Crash and Burn,” which is one of the project’s most personal tales as it chronicles the four fellas resolving to stick together in their artistic pursuits through thick and thin. The anthems keep coming courtesy of the brotherhood-based “See Ya Never” and the tongue-in-cheek “I’ll Make You Famous,” though there are also a few unexpected twits. The group turns in a clever, aggression-fueled cover of No Doubt’s ‘90s classic “Don’t Speak,” while the acoustically-framed “Cheap Affairs” rides the emotional roller coaster of a fractured romance.
“Especially on this album, we wanted to let people know we’re not robots who just get up on a stage and sing, but we’re struggling just like them with relationships, following our dreams and sometimes the stuff you don’t want to talk about,” confirms Collier. “We’re like everyday guys, that’s all we really are, but the difference is the platform we get to talk about it. It’s great when kids really respond to a song and say it helped them relate to whatever they’re going through. Chances are we were going through something when we wrote it.”
Between the band’s commitment to connecting with their listeners and the adrenaline-infused amalgamation of Lost Weekend, chances are Write This Down will last the long haul. And luckily, that just so happens to correspond with the players’ nomadic personalities, or as Collier cheekily puts, “restless souls who can’t sit still and don’t know anything else other than this. Our ultimate goal is to still be making music and touring in ten or fifteen years, and ideally, for the rest of our lives.”
Members: Johnny Collier, Chad Nichols, Nate Rockwell, Nick "King" Lombardo
Current Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Albums: Alarm the Alarm EP (2007), Write This Down EP (2007), Write This Down (2010), Lost Weekend (2012)