As It Is: Are These “Insecure Emo Boys” Actually Pop Punk’s Next Superstars?
As It Is frontman Patty Walters and guitarist/vocalist Ben Biss catch up with MTV...
By Georgina Langford
A debut album that’s gone straight into the UK top 40 and hit number two on the Billboard Heatseekers chart; a sold out record release show and a rapidly expanding fan base; it’s been a crazy few weeks for Brighton pop punks As It Is since Never Happy Ever After exploded on the Internet. In fact, the commotion surrounding these rising stars of the scene is actually the result of a crazy few years hard work.
“Everything kicked off at the release show,” grins Ben Biss, guitarist and vocalist, laughing with frontman Patty Walters. Both still look shell-shocked, a week after the event. “We saw all the effort come to fruition in a live setting and it felt so good.”
“The entire atmosphere of that show was amazing,” says Patty, shaking his head in disbelief. “The album had only been out a few hours, so when people started singing the songs back to us, I knew that night was going to be something special. It felt like the floor was about to give way.”
Having just completed a five week trek around the US with fellow ones-to-watch Set It Off, Against the Current and Roam, As It Is are already going global, but these UK boys are trying - at least - to keep it real. “We feel like we’ve been thrown into everything a lot faster than we expected to be. So right now, we’re just five kids doing our best,” says Ben.
Considering it was only one year ago they were self-releasing their EP This Mind of Mine, the band have seen a lot change in 12 short months. The first UK band to sign to Fearless Records (home to Pierce The Veil, Tonight Alive and Mayday Parade), their music video for fan favourite Dial Tones is fast approaching a million views, and Patty can’t walk down the street without getting recognised.
With any level of success, however, comes the haters. “Some people don’t realise, through no fault of their own, that we’ve been playing shows to basically nobody for two years before this,” laughs Ben.
“People assume we have come out of nowhere,” agrees Patty.
“We’ve been quietly working away, playing shows, but we never really fit in to a local ‘scene’, and were never truly accepted. So the internet became our scene, which was great because we finally got to see people genuinely liking our music,” says Ben.
Let’s talk about the music: Never Happy Ever After is essentially that classic pop punk/emo combo of truly miserable, broken-hearted lyrics, fused with catchy hooks and sing-a-long choruses that will stick in your head for days. Calling the album “our baby – unwrapping the plastic on the CD was like cutting the umbilical cord!” Patty and Ben, along with guitarist Andy Westhead, bassist Ali Testo and drummer Foley (it’s just Foley, like Cher or Madonna) see this record as an outpouring of emotions. But just why are they so goddamn sad?
“Haha! We have a lot of things we never got over that we need to really vent,” Ben explains. “At least, to vent on a bigger scale than just to my pillow or in a MySpace bulletin.”
Patty elaborates, “All five of us have girlfriends, and we like them quite a lot: a big portion of the lyrics on this album are about the distance and the guilt that we felt when writing the record. It was overwhelming and impossible to escape, so it was a very sad process at times.”
Sharing vocal and lyric-writing duties, Patty tells MTV why he and Ben collaborate easily. “We've had very similar misunderstood teenage years, and we're both still insecure little emo boys! We have this yin-yang thing going on, where Ben will write the poetry and I’ll write to all the melodies in my head, and somehow it fuses together like Velcro.”
With some of their life goals already achieved (tour America: check. Sign to a label they love: check. Go on Warped Tour: about to be checked), As It Is have had to reassess what’s next on the bucket list. A lover of noughties teen dramas, Ben has a particularly niche dream… “I miss the days of bands like Fall Out Boy appearing on One Tree Hill. We don’t have shows like that anymore – it’s not like Made In Chelsea would want losers like us. So, here’s a message for the creators of One Tree Hill: if you want to do another show like that which has bands come on for cameos, hit up your boys As It Is!”
The debut album Never Happy Ever After by As It Is is out now. Catch them on their UK tour with This Wild Life from May 9th.