Alter The Press!


Interview: Walter Schreifels

Whilst overseas in support of his debut solo album, 'An Open Letter To The Scene', Alter The Press were fortunate enough to sit down with the musical legend that is, Walter Schreifels (of Youth Of Today/Quicksand/Gorilla Biscuits/Rival Schools).

Walter spoke to ATP about his recent solo tour around the UK, the forthcoming Rival Schools album, his already, almost complete, next solo album and more.

Alter The Press: How has the solo tour been going?
Walter Schreifels: It's been great, a lot of a fun and a super adventure. I'm traveling around by myself, so it's been very intimate. I love it.

ATP: How would you describe one of your solo shows?
Walter: I guess it's pretty much, 'An Evening With...' I'm talking, telling stories and I'm mixing up material; playing stuff off this solo album, doing some covers and playing some of my older material from different bands I have done.

ATP: You've finally released your debut solo album, 'An Open Letter To The Scene'. Why would you say it's taken you so long, considering you have been playing music since the 80s?
Walter: I guess, just to get my head around it, it would be, 'What would my album be? Is that something I really want to do?' When I think of singer/songwriter, it's, 'How would I describe myself as a singer/songwriter? Like, James Taylor, Elliott Smith? Who am I modeling after?' It just took me a while to be who I am, which took me a while to get it together.

ATP: Was it hard to narrow down the songs for the record?
Walter: It was tricky; I recorded a bunch of stuff, some would come out good, some would come out bad. I had my friend in the US get the focus of it because I like all my songs, pretty much, so I needed someone to have an outside perspective, which was helpful.

ATP: The album was released on Big Scary Monsters (UK), Academy Fight Song (US), Dine Alone (Canada) etc. Did you know who you wanted to release it?
Walter: I had people like Kevin (Douch of BSM) saying, 'If you make a solo record, give me a call,' people like that who had been following my stuff. When I got my shit together, I would give them a call to make it happen.

ATP: Did you think of releasing it on Some Records? (NY based label, part owned by Walter.)
Walter: Some Records is actually out of commission; we lost so much money putting out the records that it wasn't viable anymore. I guess I could put it out under the name of that but, to me, I wanted to make a break. To work with people who are doing record labels now, interested in it now, and have their own creative path with it. I'm very happy with what I've cobbled together.

ATP: You said, last month, you are working on a new solo record, hoping to be released in the fall?
Walter: I'm for it to be ready this fall, but now the new Rival Schools is coming out then, I might wait to space them out a little bit. I hope it makes a difference; really I just want to put out music. This new record, I think has songs better than this one, and I think the way I recorded it was very interesting, and new, for me. The good thing is that, where I am right now, I have a lot of outlets to put my music in and keep up a good clip.

ATP: So the new solo album is done?
Walter: Well, I could add a song or two, it needs to be mixed, I would need to mess around with it a little bit, but yes, it's probably 85% done.

ATP: Do you have an album title?
Walter: 'Jesus Is My Favorite Beatle'.

ATP: The new Rival Schools album is due out in the fall? Previously, it was expected to be released in July.
Walter: Yes, that was the hope, but to put out the record in July was too soon, the record industry has shaken up so much. We are going to wait for the fall to properly set up shit.

ATP: What can you tell us about the new album?
Walter: I always knew it was going to be good because we wouldn't have even bothered trying; I'm pleased with it. I think we had the trickiest time, making something where it makes sense with the last record, but it also saying something new, pointing towards something futuristic. I'm really kind of anxious in doing a third one, and getting momentum out of it. I think this record is great, I think anyone who liked the last one would like this one. It's saying new things too.

ATP: Is there a title yet?
Walter: No, we are still batting it around actually. There are a few horses in the race.

ATP: Who will be releasing it?
Walter: Atlantic in the UK and Atlantic/Photo Finish in the US. I'm happy with the deal, considering how it is. Rival Schools is a band people like, but didn't make anybody rich.

ATP: As soon as it drops, do you plan on being on the road right away?
Walter: Yeah, the album will come out, I think, worldwide, the same day. We will be jumping around, which is great. I'm sure we'll do a UK and a US tour.

ATP: Is there is a release date?
Walter: September 21st at the moment. That's what we agreed when I was in New York.

ATP: Do you have any plans to press any of the old Quicksand vinyl?
Walter: Actually, yes. 'Slip' is being remastered for vinyl, and it's coming out on Academy Fight Song.

ATP: What's after the solo tour?
Walter: Meeting Rival Schools in Tokyo for two days, then I'll be home for a little while. A bunch of shows in the East Coast, I'll be touring Europe in May with my band from the US. I was bummed that I didn't have them for the UK, but I might do some opening things here, if I can support someone worth doing, I would fly over from Berlin. After, I'll be spending the summer there.

'An Open Letter To The Scene' is out now on Big Scary Monsters (UK) and Dine Alone (Canada).

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!