Fucked Up Get Unapologetically Real
We’ve all lost a good amount of people over the past few years for a variety of reasons. There’s COVID-19, overdoses caused by tainted drugs, car accidents and the usual cancer or other fatal diseases among others. With a genuine & unbridled approach, Toronto hardcore punks Fucked Up are reacting to loss the best way they know how, with their music and the release of their sixth album One Day that came out on January 27 via Merge Records. It’s the band’s first record without guitarist & co-vocalist Ben Cook, who left in 2021. In turn, vocalist Damian Abraham, lead guitarist Mike Haliechuk, guitarist Josh Zucker, bassist Sandy Miranda and drummer Jonah Falco each took part in the songwriting and recording process in one way or another.
Abraham and I had a talk about the album taking nearly three years to be released, the central theme of One Day, being into podcasting before it was cool and hoping people can take something away from the album after giving it a listen.
Northern Transmissions: One Day had all the instrumental parts recorded for it right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit back in March of 2020 with Sandy’s bass lines being recorded during the prior month of February. While sitting on the album before it got mastered in April of last year, were you able to make any tweaks within the tracks or make any minor improvements or did you let it stay the way it was upon completion?
Damian Abraham: I think by the time we set it off, it was kind of locked. The last vocal session I did, I rewrote two songs because I felt like the lyrics didn’t really fit and that was really the only tweaking that I did. I find that with me, once I send my tracks to the rest of the band I lose them and I’m out of the process so anything I do I gotta do before I send it off to Mike [Haliechuk].
NT: How does it feel to finally have this album coming out after nearly three years since the band completed the recording of it?
DA: Really bizarre. When I was recording my vocals throughout the course of the pandemic it still felt like it might never come out. It just felt like this thing that we were working on in earnest and now to have it come out and be in the world it feels really weird because I forgot how honest & vulnerable I was being with the lyrics. To hear them after working on it so long ago it feels like I was in a really open place then as opposed to now I guess.
NT: Would you say that honesty & vulnerability is the central theme of the album? I know that Fucked Up’s previous releases often revolve around certain themes and concepts, especially with David Comes To Life being a modern day rock opera that takes place in the United Kingdom during the ‘70s & ‘80s.
DA: Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of it for me, coming back to writing lyrics was about how I would want to go out. If this was the last time we were able to afford the luxury of recording an album, what would I want to say and who would I say it to? What are some things that I really struggle with internally and constantly? The other thing that happened was we started losing people that we loved over the course of the pandemic for a number of different reasons. I think part of it is trying to immortalize them, capture them a little bit and what they were like or celebrate them, which is a better way of putting it.
NT: You have so many dedications in the liner notes of people who’ve passed on over the past couple of years so I totally get why you said that. Along with being a musician, you’ve been the host of the podcast Turned Out A Punk since 2014. Being a person who entered the podcasting medium before it really, really blew up to the point where it seems like everyone and their grandmother has a podcast now, what are your thoughts on the growth of podcasting over the past few years?
DA: It’s interesting because I think it is such an easy medium that I feel like everyone should try it because it is one of those things that anyone can do. It also speaks to how niche the world and our culture has gotten where these podcasts are so microfocused and I think it’s wonderful. I do think it’s the modern zine, except that it’s way easier to do than a zine. As someone who has tried to make zines and has failed at making zines for years, I find podcasts to be way easier.
NT: With zines you have to get a ton of paper together and use a lot of staples while making copies upon copies of them where with podcasting all someone has to do is press play to hear your content.
DA: Exactly. You actually have to physically assemble it, I guess you have to edit with a podcast but it’s not the same as using an x-acto knife, going to Kinko’s to make the photocopies which you then take home to cut up and make the layout pages and put the text on top. I can fire out a podcast in a day if I’m focused, it’s definitely a much more accessible medium.
NT: What do you aim to accomplish with the listener after they give One Day a listen? What do you hope to connect with them on?
DA: If someone is going to give us the opportunity because there’s so much media and there’s so much saturation, I hope that we give them something. If it’s sonic enjoyment or a lyrical thing, I hope there’s something that someone can take away from it because the reality is that there’s so much media. It’s amazing how the economy of media, and by extension art, has changed so much. You could spend years making a film, it can come out and it can have as much impact as someone coming up with something off the top of their head and ripping off a joke. That can have way more cultural resonance than this film that was focused on and given a life to. There’s such a democratization of media so if people are giving our music any chance or any focus I really feel blessed and I hope they get something out of it.
Pre-order One Day by Fucked Up HERE
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