New Jersey’s With Sails Ahead are breathing new life into the post hardcore scene. They are proving that you can have the same influences as an entire genre without sounding like a clone. So what makes this band different? You’ll have to listen and find out.
N: I love the fact that your band is very upbeat but still has the whole “post hardcore” sound which I think is something that true fans will never get tired of. What is something that sets your band apart from other bands in the same genre?
WSA: “Thank you! We strive to be an accessible combination of what people love (and what we love) about progressive post-hardcore music. Though we lack the yelling necessary to truly claim that genre, our music is written with the intent of having meaningful and memorable songwriting while having music characteristic of being progressive (non-traditional song structure, odd time signatures, interesting, colorful guitar leads). This way, there’s something for everyone whether you listen to post-hardcore or not.”
N: Being a post hardcore band without heavy vocals today versus ten or fifteen years ago: Is there way more competition with other veteran bands that have been doing it for over ten years OR is it a close group of friends and family that all have the same general goal in mind to support those up and coming to take their place?
WSA: “On a grander scale with veterans that have been doing it for forever, it is very hard to win their fans over. Fans of established post-hardcore bands expect a lot from up-and-coming bands due to how insanely high the bar has been set, so we do our best to meet those expectations without allowing that to infiltrate our songwriting process and mindset. This way, we don’t feel some sort of competition with anyone, and we don’t feel miserable trying to make ourselves a carbon copy of what everyone already listens to. That even goes for post-hardcore bands we know and love on a smaller scale, even near home.”
N: What are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
WSA: “Hands down, as band- Dance Gavin Dance, I the Mighty, Saosin, Hail the Sun, Circa Survive, Chon, Stolas and Emarosa. We individually draw influence from so many various bands and musicians, but our vision of what we aim to sound like is inspired by those bands collectively.”
N: What are some of your favorite bands you’ve had the chance to see live or play with? Is there anyone you have had the chance to meet that you look up to?
WSA: “We opened for Sianvar almost a year ago- a super-group of DGD, A Lot Like Birds and Stolas members- that was insane. That show was at The Studio at Webster Hall in NYC, our first major city gig, so it made for an even more special night for us. We were scared to say more than ‘hi’ to any of those guys but Joseph Arrington talked to us a bit, he was super nice. Hail the Sun was our very first show supporting a big band we love, that was back in January of 2016. We opened for Emarosa back in November and that lead to Bradley Walden being my (Sierra’s) voice teacher. Our goal now is to just open for I the Mighty, and then someday DGD who we’ve all seen live a bunch of times.”
N: How do you think being from Brick Township, NJ has helped or hurt your music career?
WSA: “We’ve made some amazing friends as a result from being a part of the New Jersey music scene, especially the Ocean/Monmouth county area we’re from. But we joke about moving to California all the time. There’s only a few bands like us from New Jersey. Hardcore/heavy music is incredibly huge in New Jersey, whereas more post-hardcore/progressive bands like us are from the west coast. There’s really no crazy following for that type of music on a local level in our area, so that has hindered us in that regard. Though, it’s nice being a bit more unique than what is popular currently, and I think we have a small following here thanks to that.”
N: What are your favorite places to eat out when you are on the road?
WSA: “So hard to name just one, but basically any great sushi spot. We’ll go to Nagoya by our bassist Jaime’s house in Westfield, NJ before picking up the van to leave for a string of shows, so there or any decent sushi place is our number one go-to. We also love going to Ippudo in New York City for ramen. And of course, when we’re in a pinch, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.”
N: Since being in a band what is one of the most important things you have learned?
WSA: “The number one thing we’ve had to learn is patience. Sometimes things go wrong that are out of your control- sometimes it can be helped and other times you have to take a step back and make a plan B. This also goes for ourselves growing as a band; learning to work out kinks in our performances together. Sometimes you don’t get opportunities you think you’re ready for. When you do receive opportunities and don’t do as well as you hoped, it’s just a learning experience for next time. It’s all about the long-term strategy, really. If we can add something else also: Save. Money. Put aside money for future touring, merch pressings or when you have a big release coming up whenever possible.”
N: What are you listening to right now?
WSA: “To name a few albums some of us are listening to lately: Homey by Chon, Blonde by Frank Ocean, A Black Mile To The Surface by Manchester Orchestra, Heartsounds’ Dualistic Nihilist, and Avenged Sevenfold’s The Stage.”
N: Outside of playing music, what else do you enjoy doing?
WSA: “All of us love video games, and a couple of us play trading card games- namely the Pokemon TCG and Magic. Our guitarist Santino is a fitness trainer; he works at Planet Fitness and is also a certified nutritionist. Jaime just got back into roller-blading, so he’s really into that. I take cardio kickboxing two to three times a week which I absolutely love.”
N: What can we look forward in the future from With Sails Ahead?
WSA: “We’re about to head out on tour with our friends in Funeral Attire for some mid-August east coast dates, and our next EP is slowly coming together. We also have some cool local gigs in the works for fall, and hopefully more touring early next year!”
Listen to With Sails Ahead below:
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