Making their way across the pond for the first time, the American pop-punk band, Knuckle Puck set out throughout the UK on the energy-packed Intercontinental Tour with Trophy Eyes, Seaway, and Neck Deep. If you don’t know this band, get to knowing them so you can catch them live when they come back to the UK for Slam Dunk Festival. With a recent signing to Rise Records and their first full-length album coming out this summer, Knuckle Puck has a lot of big things coming for them this year. We caught up with vocalist, Joe Taylor, drummer John Siorek, bassist Ryan Rumchaks, and guitarists Kevin Maida and Nick Casasanto to talk about their beginnings up through what they’re up to for the next coming months.
So when and how did Knuckle Puck start out?
Joe Taylor: I had a band before this band, and we broke up. Then I contacted Kevin because I went to high school with him, and I got in touch with John through Kevin because I knew he played drums. He ignored me a little bit- but I contacted John. Then I contacted him again. And then we finally got together and play some music. Kevin came home for Thanksgiving break, he was going to school, and we suckered him into being with the band. Then we needed another guitarist, and we had a couple different people with us, and Kevin said he knew Nick. But he had a real job so he really couldn’t come hang out with us. When summer neared, he came and hung out and we played our first show…And then we found Ryan.
Yeah, just on the street somewhere?
Kevin Maida: He was passed out in a ditch.
JT: We didn’t have anyone to play bass for us for a long time, we’d have friends fill in. But then were just like, “Hey man, wanna come on a two-week tour with us and Seaway?” And he was like..
Ryan Rumchaks: “Uh, yeah.”
Nick Casasanto: At the ripe age of eighteen.
JT: Yeah, he had to sign a permission slip and everything. [laughs] No. But yeah, so here we are.
So you’ve toured with Neck Deep before, how is this go-around different?
JT: We’re not in America!
RR: It’s really cool to be able to tour with a band that you’ve toured with before. That’s cool in itself because you know everybody and it’s comfortable.
NC: Since we know them, we feel less pressure to always be hanging out so we can kind of go out and check out the world that we’ve never been to.
Are the shows and crowds different from back home?
KM: Not really.
JT: Well, you know what’s funny- here, when they start screaming a part of a song…
RR: Their accents!
JT: The accent sticks out a little bit. That’s literally the only thing. A lot of it has felt the same as it does at home.
NC: Ryan and I were watching Seaway last night, and they have the one line that goes, “Your best friend’s my girlfriend.” I was watching kids sing that line back to them, and you can clearly see their mouths saying gurlfriend ‘cause your mouth moves totally differently. It was just funny.
You recently signed to Rise Records, which is really cool, given that Rise is starting to get more diverse with their artists. What made Rise stand out from other labels that made you decide to sign with them?
KM: Pretty much from the start, they always reiterated that they would let us be the band we want to be, and they would be down for anything we wanted to do. Like, it was our call. Whatever type of band we wanted to be, whatever music we wanted to make, they would back that.
And with that, you announced your first full-length release dated for this summer. How is this new record going to be different from your previous releases?
NC: We don’t give a shit about anything. [Laughs.] We will throw anything we god-damn want into the album.
JT: I think that it’s gonna be different from anything we’ve ever done just because we’ve all been able to get together and work on this. I think it’s going to be super cohesive, and not only cohesive, but epic almost. I grew up really liking albums like Commit This To Memory [Motion City Soundtrack] and The Everglow [Mae]. I think those are two good examples of an album that you put on from start to finish and it feels like an album. I’m really excited because I think that our full-length is gonna be kind of like- not like those albums, but when you listen to it, you’re going to feel a sense of completion. Not just, “Oh this is a bunch of songs.”
NC: We spent a lot of time talking. Just talking about what we want out of the album, like, “We need to have this, we want to have a song that going to be like this.” We spent more time talking, more than anything, about just how it’s gonna be. We’re actually able to make it happen, rather than “we’re gonna write some songs and see what happens.” We actually had a vision.
When you head home, you take a break then you’re heading off on the American Candy Tour with The Maine, The Technicolors, and Real Friends – who you are really good friends with. How do you guys feel about this tour and what was the process of joining this line-up?
KM: Just like any tour, we got the offer and we were like, “Why wouldn’t we do this?” It’s a really cool opportunity, especially being able to do a full tour with Real Friends.
JT: Yeah, it’s been a long time coming for that.
And after that, you come back to the UK and play the Slam Dunk Festival – that should be awesome. What are your thoughts on it?
John Siorek: Sick.
RR: It’s awesome.
JT: Yeah, Taking Back Sunday is playing and I love Taking Back Sunday. I’m real excited.
NC: It’s not real.
RR: We haven’t left yet and we know we’re coming back. It’s awesome.
KM: And people have already told us awesome things about it.
Your album comes out this summer, and a TON of other artists are putting out new records this year as well. Who’s release are you looking forward to?
JS: Cloakroom already put out the best record of the year. So that happened. Aside from that, I’m looking forward to the Beach Slang album.
NC: I’m looking forward to the Seaway album. That’s going to be insane.
JT: The new Wonder Years album, the Foxing album.
Who’s a band/musician that you’ve been impressed by lately?
JT: Tom DeLonge. [Laughs.]
NC: Foxing, for me.
JT: You know who I recently got into – Weatherbox. The dude from Weatherbox is like, crazy. Just his writing is so good. It’s definitely inspiring and impressive.
Proudest moment as a band.
KM: When we played the Metro in Chicago recently with Real Friends.
NC: We’re in the UK.
JS: Playing a sold-out Metro was pretty sick. Coming here is sick.
JT: When we got our first vinyl records. You know, you have records of bands and it’s just like, “Our music is on this.”
If you could say one thing to your fans and those who look up to your band, what would it be?
KM: Thank you. Because you don’t have to, but you do and that’s awesome. So thanks for liking our band, coming out to shows and just supporting us because that’s insane.
RR: Yeah, thank you.
JT: Thanks, guys.
Knuckle Puck return to the UK in late May to play the Slam Dunk Festival! Buy your tickets here:
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