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The Weak Days Interview | Track-By-Track

Cover art of "The Fabric of Our Lives"
(Cover art by Ashley Wong)

There aren't many bands I can think of off the top of my head that would attempt to write a multi-part fantasy-inspired concept record, and there are even fewer bands who could do it successfully. The Weak Days have pulled it off with great aplomb on their new EP The Fabric of Our Lives. The trio of Dustin Reinink (drums/vocals), RB Roe (bass/vocals), and Alex Ryan (guitar/vocals) have woven together a story that toes the line between the intensely personal and the universally relatable. Telling the tale of the Bard and the Botanist and the crumbling of their relationship, The Fabric of Our Lives takes long-time fans of the band in a totally new direction. I chatted with all three members about the EP and they were kind enough to break down each song in detail.

"No One Can Live Forever"

Ear Coffee: "No One Can Live Forever" really establishes the world and the sound of the album immediately and even differentiates it from Tight [the band's 2017 album]. How did it come together and end up being the opener of the EP?

Dustin Reinink: I had the lyric "I want a divorce" in my head, and it feels like it could kind of be a pit call [laughs], or it could in the same spot for a song. That's the pit call right before the fight riff. We wanted to do a song and overall a record that was more somber. We can make something that's a little bit more of a bummer and it can start off with these two characters. I play the Bard, RB plays the Botanist, and they're gonna get a divorce. That's where the record starts. It's kind of weird for an EP to just start at the bad point. You don't have context for the characters before this break-up.

Writing break-up songs has never really been my jam. It was interesting to write a song that wasn't actually me going through it and to write about these feelings I've had before that are super universal and aren't about me. You get both the sad feelings of fights like that and the nastiness, like in the song's bridge. Also, it's just Andy Shauf worship.

Alex Ryan: I think this song sets up the dynamic of the characters. The thing you don't get in most relationship songs is the other side, and for all of the EP you get both sides and representation of both people. To establish a theme so strongly in the first song is pretty important. It comes in quick but it has a lasting effect.

"Your Shoulder"

EC: Next up is "Your Shoulder." There are all these auxiliary parts, some really cool synth strings, and there's this super anthemic part in the middle where it's just RB's vocals...

DR: Hayley Williams doing the "All I Wanted" meme who?

RB Roe: As someone with a Brand New Eyes tattoo, I wish that were me.

Writing this song started with me just playing around with a synth tone I thought was cool. My brain is wired for show tunes — I love musicals. This felt like one where I could put a bunch of strings. In the original, there were also synth horns and a lot of other nonsense.

When we started, we didn't really have the whole record yet, so I wanted to play with this one being the morning after the fight. You get both sides of the story and the reconciliation. If we're talking about a pop punk guy who definitely hates his ex-girlfriend, you don't get that. These are two people who clearly care very deeply for each other and are willing to put in the work to reconcile the relationship. People should be friends with their exes.

The anthemic bridge section is the rallying cry saying that "we can do this but only if we're willing to put aside our differences and come together for the greater good."

DR: I feel like our culture prioritizes romantic love and de-prioritizes every other kind of love. There's often a sense of respect when you're still friends with your ex and you can actually love someone in a non-romantic way. Caring about something with someone can be a way to grow.

"The Seams" ft. Jessica Knight

EC: You mentioned that when you were planning the concept of the record, you had Jessica Knight [of Springfield band Looming] in mind. How did you get connected with her?

RR: I slid into Jessica's Instagram DMs! [laughs] I explained what the idea of the record was without going into too much detail and she hit me back and was like "hell yeah, I'm super excited!" Dustin and I love Looming and Jess has such a distinct voice — it was exactly what we wanted. We were over the moon.

DR: Actually a dream come true. We had thought of this character and come up with all the things we wanted to communicate and we thought it could just be Jess and it would be perfect.

EC: What actually is the character that she plays?

DR: She's called the Seamstress. She makes the tapestry in the first song. In "The Seams," she explains the whole situation, which is one part "here's all this lore," one part "radically accept yourself for who you are." Those are her two roles.

The song is pretty old actually. The bones were written around the end of 2017, I think? It wound up working so well with the concept and even some lyrics. The song grew a ton when we were in the studio with Chris [Teti, who engineered and mixed The Fabric of Our Lives].

RR: We had plenty of time to vibe it out more before going into the studio, which allowed it to grow so much.

DR: This song feels super put-together in a way that the others don't. It's just more fully realized.


"Intermissing"

RR: This was like an intermission, but we didn't want to call it that since that's what everybody would do. So it's called "Intermissing" because [the characters] are going to have to be apart and they're gonna miss each other.

DR: This was just a noise track. How do we make a nasty sound for like two minutes? Chris is an evil super genius, he let us just get weird with it. He and I were sitting on the floor with a wall of pedals just turning knobs.

"Til Then"

EC: "Til Then" has the heaviest section on the record, towards the end. How does the story of the EP intertwine here and how did the song become what it is?

DR: This song was also pretty old. I think I wrote the beginning of the lyrics at the end of 2017. That more aggressive part was a transition to the sound of old Weak Days. Across the song, there's less and less acoustic guitar and more and more electric. The whole idea was to get more aggressive and to have this moment of self-reflection before going into the characters' future. They have this "come-to-Jesus" moment where they recognize the faults within themselves. I was trying to work against the pop punk song formula. Maybe both people can be wrong and right. I didn't want the Bard to be the hero of the story.

RR: We wanted to deconstruct the idea that there has to be a hero in this story, because that's not real life. As much as I love fantasy and a hero with a great purpose, that's just not reality. There's an inherent realism with these characters in the fact that they acknowledge their duty to humanity. They realize they're not here to save anyone. Working towards the greater good doesn't make them greater than anybody else. We all need to do our part within our communities to make it work. [The song] is a good encapsulation of that.

"At The End of It All"

EC: This is a very quiet and straightforward end to the EP, contrasting with the last five songs. Why did you want to end on this kind of note, and how does the story tie in?

DR: The front half and all of the music was written by [A. Koji Shiraki, Dustin's friend and mentor], they wrote it a few years ago. The song is partially a cover, partially its own thing. I woke up one day thinking that it captured the feeling of the ending of the record. Even though you know things are bad, you wake up every day and work towards making things right. It's how I feel about everything politically that's going on. It's this idea as well as being the end of a break-up.

I always think it's interesting to end on a quiet note. For so long, I wanted to find the biggest thing, the most epic ending to a record ever. I don't have to make something grandiose; it can just be as simple as possible. The last lines are "between your shoulder and the seam / where selfishness and selfless meet." That lyric is very political to me. It used to be because I do selfless things for selfish reasons. Then in my head it became political action. They're the most important words on the record.

RR: Guiding [the EP] in really softly, there's a big climax, then having it just end back into the ether, speaks to the trials and pitfalls of life in general. It's just a moment [in time], it doesn't have to be the entire story. The EP's end says that the story is going to keep going on.

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

(Photo taken from The Weak Day's Facebook page)

The Fabric of Our Lives is out October 30 via Deep Sea Records. Pre-order it here.

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