Young and relentless
Dreaming big and working at it every day, Against the Current have always believed in themselves. Their debut album ‘In Our Bones’ will make you a believer as well.
Words: Ali Shutler.
“I always forget we only put our first EP out two years ago. What we’ve done since then is crazy,” starts drummer Will Ferri. Following on the heels of ‘Infinity’’s release came the ‘Gravity’ EP and now, written amidst a couple of world tours and constant levelling up, Against The Current are set to drop their debut album. Confident, heartfelt and bubbling with excitable charm, it captures the trio looking skywards. It’s been a wild ride so far and ‘In Our Bones’ is only going to turn up the crazy.
What began in third grade with Will linking up with guitarist Dan Gow was cemented in the summer of 2011 when, after a rotating cast of others, they met vocalist Chrissy Costanza via mutual friends. “It was always just like pulling teeth before. It was Dan and I doing everything and it shouldn’t be like that. It felt like we were forcing other people to be a part of it and it was just unnatural.” That changed with Chrissy. “She’s just an amazing lyricist and that’s great. Say what you want to say and mean it rather than me force-feeding shitty lyrics to some kid singing in our band,” continues Will. “It felt great. It felt like everyone was doing something and not just filling in space. That was really important.”
“I was pretty awkward because I’d never been in a band before and I didn’t know these guys,” adds Chrissy. “They had their way of doings things set up already,” but it was a perfect fit. “I guess it worked because it’s just kept going.”
Working around school, Against The Current hit the ground running. “We did the most we possibly could with what we were given but we always wanted to do more.” They played a handful of local shows and battle of the bands “to get our bearings. I remember we had to write a song the night before our first gig because we only had three songs and it was too short,” laughs Will in disbelief. From there, Against The Current went online. Reacting to the world around them, the band could tap into an international scene and throw the doors open to anyone who wanted in. After that, they “went back at it for real. We got most of the awkward stage out before anyone knew anything, before we put out any music.”
“I think it worked out well because when we actually did start doing things, we were finally ready for it,” explains Chrissy.
Against The Current are confident but never cocky. They carry a blue-sky dreaming with them, which is grounded in the reality of hard work. When Chrissy says backstage at the O2 Arena, “I have the mentality that if you say you’re going to do it, then you will do it. People say ‘Do you hope that one day you’re headlining arenas?’ and I’m like ‘Nah, I don’t hope it. I know it.’ We’re going to do it,” you believe her. This self-belief isn’t a new look that’s come off the back of signing to Fueled By Ramen or a by-product of their global audience. It’s something that, since the summer of 2011, has always been in their bones.
“I don’t know if we were thinking about being like, an international sensation but we definitely knew we could do a lot,” ventures Will. “We just thought it was going to happen,” starts Chrissy. “That it’s just what we’ll do. We’re going to make music and we’re going to be big at it.” While they never sat down and discussed these dreams, there was a shared expectation for Against The Current. They looked up and saw other bands doing well so why couldn’t they do it themselves? “The reason we’re so comfortable being thrown into this crazy world is because we always aspired to be living it,” says Will. “We’ve learnt so much from reading about peoples lives in this industry and soaking up any information that we can from the outside that it was a seamless transition; living it rather than just thinking about it all the time.”
Originally planned as a third EP before FBR came knocking (‘Runaway’ and ‘Roses’ were both written with that in mind), ‘In Our Bones’ is the result of five years’ hard work. “Listening back to it, we learnt what Against The Current can actually be like,” reflects Will. “I knew we could do it but actually hearing it for real, knowing we can go in this direction and emote these emotions, it’s crazy.” From the open window escape of ‘Running With The Wild Things’ through the “we’re born to be electric” sway of the album’s title track and the revenge fantasy of ‘Forget Me Now’ until the wildfire sparkle of ‘Blood Like Gasoline’, ATC’s debut takes everything the band have worked towards and solidifies it. Dreams are brought to life as the group proudly rallies for acceptance, attitude and empowerment alongside a big sense of self-belief and even bigger songs.
“We just became better songwriters in general,” continues Chrissy. “Especially working with [outside] songwriters because we learnt so many different ways to go about doing the same thing ultimately. We just focused on a lot of these really intricate subtleties that we never really had time to focus on before. We got really deep into it.”
“The way most of them think about it is, they’re trying to take your ideas and elevate them,” starts Dan, before Will continues. “I think if you don’t have your head on straight and you don’t have a voice, it’s so easy to come out of those writing sessions and realise that the songs make you feel nothing. We’re lucky to have had pretty much none of those experiences.“
“You also have to be able to tell them, be able to be really honest and say this isn’t us. This isn’t going to work for us, we need to do something different,” adds Chrissy.
Despite a constantly expanding pool of opportunities, the band have made sure they never lose themselves in the hype and empty promises of the world around them. ‘Wasteland’ – the last song written for the album, and one of Chrissy’s favourites – shines a light on how “you’ll get fed so much bullshit being an artist.” Comparing the industry to a drug trip with changing faces and slurring phrases, Against The Current know that if they’re not careful, “you’ll wake up one day and everything will be gone. Your career will be destroyed. You have to stay grounded and you have to stay sober.”
Trying to write as much as possible, the band ended up with around forty songs before trimming it down to the twelve that make up ‘In Our Bones’. “Every song is different, every song has its own story and stands alone,” explains Chrissy. “The album itself is very true to us. It was definitely hard to cut it down but by the end it was clear that yeah, this is the right track listing.” Despite the diversity, “they all sound cohesive because they all come from a genuine place. It feels like it’s coming from all the different sides of one person.”
Taking the songs to “the next level” and expanding on their previous work, ‘In Our Bones’ is another step up from a band constantly on the rise. “We always want to be getting better. We always want the next release to be our best one. It’s just our natural drive.”
“We’re chasing our dreams non-stop right now because it’s what we want. It’s exactly what we want and we’re going to relentlessly go after it. We’re driven by our passion for music and to make this work. I think anyone can look up to that and resonate with it. We’re getting rewarded to be who we are,” says Chrissy, taking that confidence and putting it front and centre. “Writing music and touring is really natural for us so to be able to do this, and it be our life, it doesn’t get better than that.”
Against The Current cut the established with the daring: from YouTube covers and self-released EPs to the dynamic anything-goes-as-long-as-it-feels-right attitude. Despite the snark and the raised eyebrows, Against The Current have stayed true to themselves. As much as ‘In Our Bones’ is a celebration of that, it’s also there to inspire others to do the same. ‘In Our Bones’ is “about being strong. Knowing you’re special and you’re meant for something,” while ‘Brighter’ brings ATC’s motto of, “you can start any day. Never say it’s just too late. Every day you wake up, go after it,” to life.
“We try to be good role models, but we’re just genuine,” says Chrissy with a smile. “We are who we are. We’re good enough people that you could take us home to your parents. But we still try to be cool.”