With over 900 shows played in 20 different countries, 7 studio albums and over 15 years as a band, it's safe to say punk rockers ITCHY are one of the busiest and most hardworking bands around. Formerly known as Itchy Poopkidz, the name isn't the only thing that's changed - with this new album comes a much more diverse, polished and mature sound that's been earning the group rave reviews. We had a chat with the hardworking band about their new album, lessons learned from being in a band for 15 years, and their most memorable moments onstage.
Congratulations on the new record! How's the reception been to 'All We Know' so far?
Panzer: Thank you! The feedback on the new record is really amazing and we´re just blown away by all the comments. It´s always exciting to hear and read how the people out there react to our new songs, but this time it just couldn´t be better. It feels great to get so many positive reactions when you´ve been working so hard for something.
This is your 7th studio album, how did you find the process for this? Is the routine of recording a full length getting easier?
Panzer: Recording a new record is always a long journey. It takes time to find new ideas, new influences and new topics to sing about. There are days when you´re full of inspiration and then there are days when you simply get nothing done. I think that our experience of writing songs since 15 years helps us a lot. During the recording process in the studio, we know what it´s important to focus on and it also helps that we´re better musicians now than we used to be in the beginning of our career. When I think about how we recorded our first demo CD back in 2002 I just can´t stop laughing, even though I love to remember these days.
What's your typical writing process like?
Panzer: It always starts with Sibbi and me writing at home seperately. That´s where our first ideas come from. I need time for myself to find out which direction I wanna choose this time and to create new melodies. After that first period we meet up in our rehearsel room and work together on the new songs. We wrote over 40 songs for "All We Know“ and it was kinda hard to decide which 13 songs should find their way on the new record. Our Producer Flo Nowak also helped us to find our way and to decide which songs fit us best this time.
Where do you normally draw inspiration when creating your music?
Sibbi: Musically it comes from the very diverse range of music that we listen to personally. We have always written very diverse albums ourselves in order not to get bored. When it comes to lyrics I think the inspiration is your everyday life. Whenever i think this or that topping is worth writing about then I write about it. Sometimes it's a simple song about love, sometimes it's about hate or sadness, and in times like these, where there are a lot of disturbing things going on in the world, I feel the urge to write about that as well. Sometimes there are topics that you just have to get of your chest. Unfortunately that is the case more than often at the moment.
With over 900 shows played (congratulations, by the way), you must have some crazy stories from live shows. What's been your most memorable moment from playing a show?
Panzer: One of my favourite stories of all times is when Sibbi had a complete blackout on a huge festival some years ago. There were 20 000 people going crazy in front of the stage and then, during our last song, Sibbi suddenly forgot lyrics and chords at the same time. He just stopped playing in the middle of the song. I guess he didn´t even remember what his name was in this moment. After some endless seconds of silence and confusion, I ended up explaining our guitar player how to finish the song in front of 40 000 irritated eyes starring at us. It was wonderful.
Sibbi: Memorable it was. Or embarrassing. You decide.
You've been a band for over 15 years, what's the main thing you'd say you've learnt from spending so much time together?
Sibbi: Nobody's perfect (laughs). No, it's a great thing, that we get along so well. Panzer and I, we have been friends for 30 years now, which is a damn long time, no that I think about it. The three of us see each other more than we see our families and girlfriends at home. We never fight or scream at each other. There are tough discussions at times, but that's important. But since we all want the same thing, it's all good. Our whole live-crew consists of good friends as well, so it feels more like summer camp when we are on the road.
You've a got a huge run of European shows lined up over the next few weeks, what are you most looking forward to with getting back on the road?
Panzer: We just came back from our tour with punk rock heroes Bad Religion and that was beyond description. I have been listening to Bad Religion since forever and it was such an honour to open for them each night. Great band, great people....that was really special for us. There are also some really nice festivals coming up in the next weeks. Taubertal Festival in Germany for example is one of our favourites, because it has such a unique scenery. Surrounded by hills and old castles we always face an overwhelming audience. We love to play there.
Your sound has really evolved over the last decade and a half, what do you think has been the biggest change in your music from your first album to now?
Sibbi: When we started out it was more of a pop-punk thing. Over the years we grew the balls to try out whatever we want whenever we want. That's why our albums are as diverse as they are. It's still rock, there are still punk-rock songs in between, but there's a lot of other stuff going on as well. What hasn't changed is the fact that our audience and we ourselves are drenched in sweat after each show and this will hopefully be the case for the next 50 years.
If you could choose any 4 bands to play a show with, who would they be?
Panzer: Well, that´s tough. I´d say Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Hot Water Music and The Living End.
Sibbi: I'd say the Beatles, which will be a little difficult, the Beach Boys, The Avett Brothers and Silverchair.
Do you have any messages for your fans in Australia and New Zealand?
Panzer: We really hope to come over and play a tour in Australia and New Zealand soon! That would be another little dream come true for us. 2018 we'll hopefully make it.
All We Know is out now via Arising Empire.
Written by Nicole Roberts