Kingston, Pennsylvania’s Title Fight have steadily been gaining more and more acclaim over the past few years. Their progression from traditional hardcore into a more melodic and emotional sound has captured many new fans, and made them one of the most popular up-and-coming young bands in the hardcore scene. Their new album, Floral Green, is their best work yet, with noticeable improvements in both songwriting and production quality placing it head and shoulders above most of the other records released this year by bands in any genre. Title Fight will be bringing their raging, energetic live show to RVA this Friday, with an early all-ages show at Kingdom.
Kingston, Pennsylvania’s Title Fight have steadily been gaining more and more acclaim over the past few years. Their progression from traditional hardcore into a more melodic and emotional sound has captured many new fans, and made them one of the most popular up-and-coming young bands in the hardcore scene. Their new album, Floral Green, is their best work yet, with noticeable improvements in both songwriting and production quality placing it head and shoulders above most of the other records released this year by bands in any genre. Title Fight will be bringing their raging, energetic live show to RVA this Friday, with an early all-ages show at Kingdom. In advance of their appearance, we caught up with guitarist Shane Moran to talk about touring, recording, and remaining involved in the DIY scene in the face of increasing popularity.
It’s only been like a year since your last album came out. How come you decided to put another one out so quickly?
We had a window of time where we could write and record, and we figured this was kind of like our full time job, so why not write?
That makes sense. Do you feel like you guys are more prolific now than in the past?
I don’t know about prolific, but I think we definitely tour a lot more, have more records, and play more shows than we ever have, so I think our popularity has increased a little bit.
I was wondering about the progression of your sound over the last couple of albums. It seems like you’ve really moved away from the hardcore sound you had to a more progressive, melodic thing. Was that a conscious shift? What brought about that change?
I think some of the most recent songs are harder than anything we’ve done in the past, but I think there’s a good deal of variety to our albums. I think that’s cuz we want to keep pushing the bar and seeing what we can do and not paint ourselves into a corner. So I guess it’s just a little bit of exploration, musically.
Well, with that exploration, that and the fact that you are getting so much more popular, do you still feel connected to the D.I.Y. hardcore scene you were coming out of in the beginning?
Yeah, definitely. Most of our shows are still in those kind of venues, and we play shows with bands that come from and still live in that world. And we run a D.I.Y. venue at home, so that’s always going to be a part of what we do and support.
I was actually going to ask about the venue [Redwood Art Space]. How are things going with that?
It’s alright. We had to move it and it’s being renovated, so there’s some work being done, but it’s good. The area really needs something like that, someplace besides a bar where kids of all ages can look forward to going and seeing music.
Are you guys still pretty heavily involved in that, or does being on tour kind of force you to take a backseat with it?
Being on tour definitely takes away from it a little bit, but when we’re home, we’re pretty invested in it. While we’re gone it’s just all our friends helping out with it, so even though we aren’t as close as we used to be, we are all definitely still very much involved.
I wanted to ask you a few things about the new album. I felt like the guitars sounded a lot thicker and brighter than they had in the past. Did you do anything different when it came to recording the guitars?
Yeah, this past record was the first record that we really treated as an album. We wanted to have a pretty live feel for some of the past albums–they were minimal recordings and we were trying to do a lot of things at one time. With this album, we really took our time and layered the guitars, and paid a lot more attention to detail. That’s the reason you hear different tones and things like that.
Yeah, I was curious because I know you recorded Shed with Walter Schreifels from Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand, and the new record you just did with Will Yip, the guy who engineered Shed. What was the difference between recording with a big-time producer vs. being able to kind of take charge of the recording process?
Shed was a really good experience and I’m really grateful we were able to work with Walter, but on the new record Will was as hungry as we were to make something special, and we had a lot more time and research ability to be able to really hone in on every angle. Shed was really awesome and I wouldn’t change anything about the recording, but with Will we were just really able to sit back and be involved with every part of the process. He kind of just acted like an additional member of the band. I can’t really say one was better or worse than the other, they were just different.
Floral Green has been really successful–you’ve had songs premiere on NPR, and the album made the Billboard Top 100. Have you seen any change in your touring or day-to-day lives now that you;ve had this increased level of success? What has it been like?
It was kind of hard to tell. Day-to-day it kind of all blends together, but I think it’s definitely good. We’ve had a lot of good press, but for the most part there haven’t been any huge changes. We are still mostly playing just small clubs and doing the same thing we’ve been doing.
How does that contrast with the larger shows like Warped Tour and things like that? Do you enjoy doing those tours too, even though it’s a different experience?
Yeah, there is something I can appreciate about every tour. There are just different worlds and different experiences. But to be honest, we have just kind of reverted back to our own world and doing the smaller tours. It was definitely cool but I don’t know that I’d do it again. Being around those kind of people and personalities was kind of exhausting, and I don’t think that’s where Title Fight needs to exist. It’s definitely cool getting to play to so many kids, but there were also some things about it we didn’t like.
Since you’re coming to Richmond soon and I know you’ve played here before, do you have any particular memories about playing in Richmond?
Richmond is one of the first places that we started coming to. We did a weekend in 2007 or 2008 on one of the first trips we took. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends there. It has always been a good time. We’ve always liked playing the smaller shows; we played Ramakins a few years back, and Nara Sushi before it closed. Richmond has always been fun.
What do you guys have planned for the new year after the tour?
We are going to do a lot more touring in the States, Australia, and we are going to go back to England. Basically we are just going to stay busy.
Title Fight performs at Kingdom (10 Walnut Alley, Shockoe Bottom between 17th and 18th Streets) on Friday, February 23, along with Tigers Jaw, Pianos Become The Teeth, and Single Mothers. Doors open at 6 PM. Admission is $12–advance tickets can be ordered HERE.