Wicked Bears - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Casey Keele of Wicked Bears. We discussed how the pandemic impacted the writing and recording process for new album ‘Underwater’, lyrical and musical inspiration, artwork and physical media, and more. Check it out below. 

First, thanks for the interview.
Thank you!!

Your new album ‘Underwater’ came out March 3rd. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for the album?
It’s been such a long process. We started in 2019, and we’ve been trying to figure out how to finish it since then. When 2020 came and swept us away, it made getting this record made seem like a distant star. When covid hit, we wrote the second half of the record online, then essentially stopped working on the record until the vaccine came out. On top of that there were so many hurdles, real and imagined, that kept us from being able to do this, and we’re so relieved it’s finally here.  
Where was your head at while writing the album? What were some of the biggest lyrical and musical influences?

Lyrically, being underwater is about living ignorantly, or being stoned all the time, or whatever way we live our lives to tune out the things we don't like. It felt like during covid times, I was doing a lot of that, plugging my ears and trying to focus on things that don’t make me feel like shit or make me think the world is a terrible place. I was influenced a lot by the Menzingers and by They Might Be Giants. While we were writing this record, I had a playlist of all my favorite They Might Be Giants songs that I listened to a LOT. I love how they pick a theme for a song and there’s a consistent story that they tell. Go listen to “Man, It’s So Loud in Here” to see what I mean. 
I really like the dynamic change and tonal change from the intro to when the song picks up pace in “Hypothetically. Was the song always written like that and/or what made you create it that way? 
The way I originally wrote the song, I pitched it to Nick like a Brian Adams song, very slow and sappy and sentimental. I was like, let’s get some piano and a mandolin or something. Nick really reigned it in and got us back to a more punk place, I think the transition at the beginning of that song rocks very hard.

Do you have a favorite lyrical or musical moment from the song? Why?

I’ll have signed up to watch someone die, that I'm not sure I wanna watch die!” is probably my favorite line, but the best part of the song is where the narrator decides he doesn’t really mean any of it and when they finally find love, they don’t want this song getting in the way of that. The narrator has a bad attitude but they know that when love comes along, it trumps everything. The guitar part is sick too, Nick is so good at writing cool guitar melodies it’s crazy.

The artwork for the album is interesting. Who came up with the concept for it and designed it?
@monumentalslime on Instagram! That’s our buddy Trey. He’s the drummer of the band Problem Daughter and he’s a mad man. We showed him our record and handed him the keys. We love what he came up with. The bear in the coffin made me so happy.
You released a vinyl pressing with Wiretap Records. How important is having physical media like vinyl or cassettes to your band?
Physical media is a lot of fun. It adds a new way to listen, something to collect, and a way for people to support a band that they like. We're very grateful that Wiretap could help us make vinyl a reality for this release.

You played at the Ska Punk International Festival. What did you think of that experience?
SPI Fest was amazing. Chris with Ska Punk International has created such a wonderful community and it was a real treat to be able to be a part of it.
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for having us! Go stream Underwater if you haven't yet today!

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