The Spill Canvas fueled our early-2000s teenage angst with artfully depressing hits like “All Over You,” “Our Song” and “All Hail the Heartbreaker.” But the fact is, much like many of our other emo favorites, they haven’t stopped making new music. They’ve been through a few ups and downs over the years, including a five-year hiatus, but now they’re back in full force. Hivemind, their latest EP, dropped earlier this summer, and they’ve hit the road with Punchline and Selfish Things to support it.
The Spill Canvas began as a solo project for singer/songwriter Nick Thomas. He and bassist Landon Heil have been the longest-serving members of the group, with various others having come and gone. But now, with the addition of drummer Bryce Job and guitarist Evan Pharmakis, The Spill Canvas have really hit their stride.
Thomas tells us that before Hivemind, things hadn’t been going so well for him “to say the least.”
“I was a bit lost,” he says. He was performing a solo show while the band was on hiatus, (which he says was “awful”), when he met Job. “He kind of helped rejuvenate the whole ‘machine.’ He’s excited to be making music, where as we (myself and Landon) are kind of jaded and tired. I wish it didn’t feel that way, but it does become a job at some point.”
The foursome hadn’t written music together prior to working on Hivemind, but they managed to make it work despite this, and despite being spread across the country. Although Thomas is the main songwriter, he says that he enjoys getting the other guys’ ideas as well.
“I’m so particular with the words, so that’s always been my perspective,” he says. “But I try not to be too bossy.”
Thomas and Job say that inspiration for the new tracks came from their personal lives.
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“A lot of us are married or getting married, so we’re not necessarily writing sappy love songs anymore,” Job says. “Nick has had a recent diagnosis with some mental health things. So some of the songs are just about his wife dealing with that and being a little crazy sometimes. But we’re all a little bit crazy sometimes.”
The song he’s alluding to is “Roller Coaster Daze,” the third track on Hivemind.
Punchline’s Steve Soboslai is ALL about this one.
“I’m obsessed,” he says. “I’m gonna go out and sing it with them every single date on the tour, until they tell me not to.”
Punchline, from Pittsburgh, has been around since 1998. They released their eighth studio album this year, LION, which they produced themselves. No easy feat.
“We thought we could make something that was, sound-wise, competitive with our other records," he says. "It’s really resonated with our fans, more so than our past couple of records, and the work paid off.”
LION is a delightful mix of upbeat pop-punk along with some more underground vibes. But the group’s signature sincerity and charm can be heard in every single track.
“There’s a little something for everybody,” Soboslai says.
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The first track on the record “Friend From the Future,” was actually the last song that Punchline wrote.
“We all thought it clearly should be the first track,” Soboslai says. “It breathed fresh air into the project, because we had been working on it for like two years at that point. “
See The Spill Canvas and Punchline on Sept. 14 at RBC. Tickets are $15.