Good Old War {Interview}

Jake Craney

Favorites: Bloc Party, 3EB, Gaslight, Tokyo Police Club, The Kooks, Pete Yorn, Andrew McMahon

 There is no doubt about it, Good Old War has been on the grind with their acoustic driven tracks! This indie-folk trio has been captivating ears and turning heads. Luckily, GroundSounds had the opportunity to catch up with the guys, check out the interview below. 

After your time in previous bands, what attracted you to a more acoustic sound?

After Days Away dissolved into nothing, we knew that we wanted to do something different for technical reasons and simply because that obviously didn’t work and making the same mistakes over and over again is insane.  So, one of the big reasons days didn’t work, especially in a live situation is that the band was so loud and no one could hear the vocals over the instruments.  We wanted to focus on the vocals so we kind of unplugged and toned down everything so that the vocals could shine.   Another reason would be that Dan is an excellent acoustic guitar player and we thought it would be smart to exploit that.  I think overall it was a way of turning the volume down and letting all the elements have their own place and give everyone room to breathe. 

Your name came from words within all three of your names, which is pretty cool. Were there any other options you came up with from this process? No Good Art? Win No War?

I actually really like “win no war”! The other options were “arnwarwin”, “good old art”, you can pretty much guess the others.  They were all options but “good old war” was one that at first we were like “next!” but then it settled and we all kind of agreed on it, which is a good sign, so we went for it.  

Despite coming together just a few short years ago, you’ve already released three full-length albums. Where does your inspiration come from and how has the writing process been different now as opposed your time in previous bands?

I don’t really do too much of the initial writing, I’m kind of the guy that hears the bare bones versions Keith and Dan bring in and I add my flavor and rearrange with those two.  The inspiration comes from life, particularly things we are passionate about, and I think all three of us are passionate about people, especially the ladies in our lives, or our families.  The writing process is different basically just because there are only three of us sitting down writing all the parts.  Not as many cooks in the kitchen. 

Your newest release, Come Back As Rain, is filled with quality songwriting and very personal lyrics. Would you say that you’re a “lyrics-first” kind of band or do you begin by creating the music and write lyrics after?

It all depends.  Every song is different.  Sometimes a lyric or phrase will come to you and you think, “oh I gotta write a song about that” or its really nice arrangement of chords that evoke a certain emotion and it kind of clues you in on what the subject matter could be.  It’s always different.

I have to ask you about Coney Island, the first song I heard from you and still one of my favorite and most played songs. What is the story behind that song?

Well, Dan wrote that one, but I’ll try and be as accurate as I can.  The song (to me) is about loving someone who lives in a different city or part of the world.  When the love is strong you’re always going there to visit and spend time with this certain someone and the city seems magical.  When the love of the person starts to fade or just vanish, the love for the place seems to go as well.  The buildings go from majestic pieces of real estate to dilapidated husks of buildings once beautiful.  It’s as if the person and the place have some sort of symbiotic relationship. 

How has the music scene in Pennsylvania affected your band (positively, negatively, or both)?

I would definitely say positively, just because there are so many people to play with, tour with, or just talk about music with.  Surrounding yourself with like minded artists is important.  You learn from each other.  

Who are some of your favorite PA bands/musicians that we should be on the lookout for?

Hezekiah Jones, toy soldiers, Chris Kasper, Ali Wadsworth, Ross Bellenoit, to name a few.

You recently got the chance to perform on Conan, my favorite late-night host. What was that experience like?

It was surreal, educational, and frightening and nothing like I thought it would be. It was amazing.  

If you had to pick one song from your three albums to represent the band as a whole, which one would you choose and why?

This is really hard, but maybe the song “Woody’s hood boogie boogie”?  Only because it is kind of a song that represents a lot of the ways we write.  A lot of songs have heavy subject matter and a real upbeat feel.  That one right there has extremely heavy stuff going on with an uptempo bo diddley feel.  Somehow it works though, so we went for it.  

What are your plans for this Spring/Summer?

Write, record, play some shows.  Work, work, work. 

Where should readers go to stay updated and follow you throughout the year? or our twitter, instagram, Facebook, any of our socials online.

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