But who the fuck is Patty Walters?
Do you know his band As It Is and their really ambicious last record The Great Depression? Listen to the opening song of this record, listen carefully. Can you hear his voice singing « this song might just save your fucking life »? As It Is never claimed to be heros but artists doing their job brilliantly: they are creating something unic to make people think by themselves about important subjects and help them to find their own answers. They are telling you a story. Probably, yours.
We’re not here to talk about your school, your friends or your job… Of course this is interesting but you already have many great songs from other bands. As It Is are here to speak about you and only you, about you feelings, your battles and your singularity; about the society you live in, its expectations and how it can affect you. They are telling you that it’s okay not to be okay, that’s okay to different, unic, to see the world in a different way.
So, who is Patty Walters? For sure, an open-minded, smart and involved artist, one of those who give you more questions than answers because that’s what true Art is about. That’s why we decided to meet Patty Walters. We wanted to talk about his new record but also about depression, anxiety, suicide, toxic masculinity and using Art as a weapon.
So consumer, just close your eyes and listen carefully, Patty has something to tell you.
(More pictures right HERE)
The Great Depression, a concept album
Patty Walters: « It’s about a protagonist we call the Poet. Among everything there’s a narrative, a plot and an ambiguous ending. It’s a metaphore about how as a society, we tend to romanticize depression, anxiety, suicide and mental health in general. There are a lot of bands in our scene that deal with these issues but at times it feels like instead of breaking the stigma around them, sometimes they simple glorify type. We really wanna remagine how it looks instead of romanticizing these topics. It’s more of an objective and realistic portrayal. »
« The biggest challenge musically was The Unwritten Letter because when the tittle The Great Depression came to my mind, I understood what’s gonna influence this record: like post-hardcore bands, mids- 2000 emo bands… So I wrote that riff in Unwritten Letter that opens the song. That was the first piece of music I’ve written. I was before any lyrics or anything else. It was what The Great Depression started with. So it was really complicated to finish because I put all my expectations into that song for this record. It’s very humbling it becames like a fan favorite. Playing it live is very cool because it was a very difficult song to write and finish. »
« Lyrically I think The End was the most difficult. It deals with a most sensitive subject matter. Ben and I were really pushing ourselves to be brutally honest and very blunt with our lyrics. At times it’s very hard to listen to but I think that’s the nature of depression, anxiety and suicide. It’s an objective reality. It’s very difficult to digest but it’s also what happen every single day and it was important for us to talk about. »
As It Is is a band really concerned by depression, anxiety and suicide, the boys don’t claim to change the world and mentalities with one album but really try to make people think by themselves with several interesting projects. They worked with Hope For The Day this summer and have even participated to the project Songs That Saved My Life…
Patty Walters: « I don’t think it’s necessarily the responsibility of every artists to be a good role model. I personally wanna use my platform in the best way I can use it for, to try to speak about things I think are important and try to behave as responsibly and respectfully that I can but that’s also just me as a person, a Hufflepuff. But I think, it’s not the responsibility of every artist to do all these things but for me it’s important. »
Can we really bring up such a topic without exposing ourselves? Isn’t it scary? Maybe music is just another therapy, not only for you consumer, but also for the artist. Do we really thing about that sometimes? Too many bands now write albums for their fans and almost forget to do something they truly appreciate and that represent themselves. « What do you wanna hear? » « What end should we chose for you? » It’s time to think music differently. We don’t have to ask music like we order some food in our favorite fast-food.
Patty Walters: « I think sometimes it’s almost easier because instead of being really vulnerable in the moment, with your friends or your family or just the people around you, sometimes putting a piece of yourself into lyrics or music is a little bit easier because it’s disconnect. Most of the times when I write lyrics, when I write a song it’s very transparent. Sometimes it’s actually easier for me than being transparent in person, in real life, face to face to somebody. So in a lot of ways it’s the easiest way for me to express myself. I think that writing lyrics was the first one of the first therapy I understood. It’s kinda healing through kind of embarrassing and realizing what I’m feeling. »
« My favorite thing with this record, the music videos and everything, is that people are finding so many hidding meanings and one of our biggest kind of missions for this record was that! I truly feel that so many artists don’t respect their fans enough to live things to interpretation. We really treat our fans like equals, boys and girls, like « find your own meanings, find your own ending to this record. » We truly believe that people that listen to our band are very intelligent people. They can find their own kind of truth in what we say. We don’t have to spell it out and try to appeal to everybody. We just speak about what’s true to us and sometimes a song that I write about my sister is true about somebody grandmother. We just have one of the coolest and open-minded fan base. We are so grateful. »
Emo isn’t dead
Patty Walters: « It was definitely musically and esthetically the record we’ve always wanted to make. We never entirely belong in anyone scene and I think it always worked in our favors. We were not necessarily one of those popular Pop Punk bands. We’ve always been this kind of outcasts and outsiders. I think it worked in our favors for a long time. We’ve stopped trying to belong, we just wanted to be our own band, independent, unique. We just wanted to be who we wanted to be. We are not letting anybody decide what kind of music we should be writing, what we wanna look like, our sound like… »
“We’re a band called my Chemical Womance and welcome to warped tour 2005”
Patty Walters: « I think it’s the way we’ve always cope with people making fun with this band. We make fun of ourselves as well. I think a big part of it is « that’s okay to make jokes. You can say anything you want. Wer’re gonna be who we are. We think it’s funny as much as you do. » «
This record is not only about depression, suicide and anxiety but also about being different in a narrow minded society. At the end of the music video for The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) we can clearly understand that despite of the tittle of the song, girls are also concerned and As It Is wanted it to be clear. We’re talking here about something much bigger.
Patty Walters: « Being a male, toxic masculinity is something I experienced growing up and I’m sure most of the men too but it works both ways. There’s toxic feminity. We all have expectations for our bodies, how we behave, how we feel, how we express ourselves… I’m male and I always identified myself as male but I’ve never thought I was masculine. Growing up, I was very effeminate, wearing skinny jeans when I was 13 years old, I had more female friends growing up too. I wasn’t one of those boys… It wasn’t always easy to be accepted that way. I just try to shatter toxic masculinity and feminity, just gender expectations. This record is about being liberated in terms of your sex or your gender. Just being yourself instead of being limited by binary roles. «
With The Reaper, we really want to smash down the doors and understand the story behind each room and choice. The guys here are not denouncing anything with the video but try to do something else…
Patty Walters: « It’s interesting. The album is separated in 4 stages and they represent the 5 stages of grief. One of the stage is depression and it composes the whole record. But there’s Denial, Anger, Bargain and Acceptance. So each of our rooms represent one of the stages of the record. I try to remember… So Foley is Barganing, Ali was Acceptance, I was Denial and Ben was Anger. Each plots and narratives represent that. »
You are the missing key
Patty Walters: « The end leaves things open to interpretation. It was about choosing you fate and your destiny and there was so much to do with this record, we wanted to let the ending open to interpretations because a lot of this record represent people like they are stuck in their anxiety or depression or a situation and a lot of people attribute certain bands or songs to the fact they saved their life and it’s fundamentally not true even if it’s flattering that we helped, it’s something we like to do as a band if you’re still there it’s because you saved your own life, that’s incredible. And the end of this video represent the fact you choose your fate, your own ending and getting yourself through that door. »