Interview: TWIABP – Josh Cyr on ‘Assorted Works’

Posted: by The Editor

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (also known as TWIABP or The World Is) is back at it again with a new compilation of tracks entitled, Assorted Works. For many, this band hardly needs an introduction. Over the past ten years, TWIABP have created a unique legacy for themselves. While their sound is eccentric in it’s own right, the group has never conformed to industry standards, which have made them a favorite to many. From eclectic members to sporks for merch, they have never failed to start conversations. 

Assorted Works is a collection of songs that were once scattered across the depths of the group’s decade long career. With three full length albums, countless splits, and various EP’s, they felt it was nearly impossible for fans to easily access their discography. Unless you bought their April Fool’s tape in 2014-which featured every song the group ever made, played on top of each other, all at once- you may have trouble collecting your favorite B-side hits. Alas, a solution is here.

Released last month, through Triple Crown Records, Assorted Works offers both new and long-time fans a sweet treat. The record displays the evolution of their career and represents an ode to the past. Outliving many of their peers, TWIABP continue to pave their own path towards an unpredictable future. I spoke to, bassist, Josh Cyr about the decision to release this compilation, the future of the band, tumblr antics, and much more. 

The Alternative: So, How was FEST?

Cyr: Fest was great. We hadn’t been there in like four years. We played at The Wooly, which, have you ever been there before?

No, I haven’t.

It’s one of the mid size venues at Fest, and the room was full, and there was a line outside the whole time so that’s a good sign. It was just a lot of fun. It was super high energy and I was just stoked to see that people give a fuck after so many years.

Did you talk to Bam Margera?

No, Chris [Teti] and Dave [Bello] saw Bam, but I didn’t see Bam around.

Well kind of getting away from that, actually getting into the album itself, what influenced the decision behind creating this compilation of songs?

Basically we have all these EPs and singles that are scattered around and kind of hard to find. Instead of having to track down a bunch of random splits or old EPs, we thought why not just have it all on one thing. So if somebody wanted to have all that, it’s easy. You can just get this double LP; it has all this stuff on it, or you can just stream it on Spotify instead of having to scroll through the list of however many different releases we’ve done. And not everything that we’d release was on Spotify anyway. 

So how did you decide which ones you wanted to put on the album?

I don’t know. We just kind of talked about what we’ve done, what would fit. It was kind of hard. I can’t remember what we left off at this point because it’s been so long since we talked about it. But we have so much stuff that I just forget what we’ve done over the years. Just kind of thought about what people might want to have on a thing.

Was it more of everyone coming up with this idea as a band or did you feel like fans were kind of wanting something like this?

It was definitely just us. Like it would be cool if we had this for people that are still interested and don’t want to collect a bunch of random records. 

The band has seen a lot of evolution ever since it started, especially the past few years as far as member changes and everything else. How do you think this is affected the sound of the band since then?

Well it’s definitely changed. You could definitely tell, even on just this compilation, if you listen to shit from, you know, Josh Is Dead, the second EP that we ever did. Just how that sounds compared to something like A Body Without Organs, which was recorded while we were doing Harmlessness. Whenever somebody new is in the picture, they have their own things to offer to the group. Everybody kind of just comes from different musical backgrounds and has different tastes. 

The sound changing doesn’t have so much to do with who’s in the band at a certain point, rather we’re just getting older and growing as humans and have different topics to talk about. Like in “Mega Steve” we’re like, “Hold my hand and be my best friend”. Which is still very relevant obviously because who doesn’t want that? But we also talk about physically harming Donald Trump, shit like that.

So kind of going along the same lines but kind of different. The scene has changed a lot over the past 10 years since the band started. So aside from sound, how do you think that you’ve adapted to that or maybe rebelled against that?

I don’t know. We never really tried to conform to any kind of genre or scene things. We’ve just kind of done our own shit and gone with the flow. I think I saw that you had a Twitter post saying that we made it out of the Tumblr emo thing. Like you’re still relevant somehow, which is totally true. I don’t even know how we got sucked into that in the first place. It was maybe just what was going on at the time and what kind of bands we were playing with, because those are the types of shows we could get. You know, punk, DIY and underground music spaces. That’s just kind of what was happening and we were just doing those shows. And I guess also our lyrical content because in the earlier days, at least, it had been considered emo.

I don’t really know how we’ve managed. Really honestly all it is: 1. Not breaking up and 2. Writing music that we want to write, what makes us feel good and saying things that we need to say.

As far as the industry and marketing your band goes, do you think that you’ve found ways to adapt to that as well? It’s definitely changed since 2009.

Yeah. Marketing our band is kind of difficult. I think it was definitely easier to market us back then. You could say that we fit into a certain mold. It’s definitely the type of thing that’s been a major hurdle for us over the years. A lot of people think that we’re too weird. We’ve been turned down for tours because people will say the actual words, “That band is too weird.” And I don’t know if they mean like our music or our personalities because we never really been afraid to say it how it is. We’ve just kind of always done our own thing.

I know that a lot of the time a band’s presence on social media has a lot to do with marketing and gaining fans. Going back to the Tumblr thing, I hate to compare it to that, but at the time around 2012 the band was really well known for coming up with all these crazy tweets and crazy merch and posting wild memes all the time. And well you still kind of do that, just not as much. So how do you think that you’ve grown up as a band since then or maybe changed?

I guess as we’ve gotten older we’ve kind of just calmed down a lot. We’re not really online a lot as much as we were then. And honestly even back in the day, I personally had very little to do with that stuff because I didn’t have a smartphone or a laptop for a long time. I wasn’t on the internet a lot. It was other members of the band that were on the internet more. So like half the shit I didn’t even know existed. Like you remember that Tumblr book that we put out, the book was Tumblr posts. I remember reading through those, before we put it out, it was the first time I had seen like most of that.

I do a lot of the Twitter stuff now. Chris does too. Usually if it’s a relevant post, it’s probably Chris. If you see a stupid joke or a meme, it’s probably me. But yeah, it’s just like you get older and you stop….

Being as crazy online.

Yeah, exactly. We’ve grown as people.

I know the band has a ton of music, but I never realized that there’s only actually three full length albums and the rest are all splits and EPs. I never actually realized that. Do you think that it’s just easier to create these splits and EPs than focusing on creating one solid album?

Oh, it’s definitely easier to do that kind of stuff. Yes. Like when we were starting out, we weren’t planning on ever being a thing. So we didn’t even think about writing a full length. It was just like, “let’s put out a couple EPs, maybe put out a split with our friends,” like the Deer Leap split. After that, we were just like, “Well this seems to be going pretty good and people probably want us to do like a full length at this point.” We were writing some songs, and we were like, “Why don’t we just put out a full length?”

It’s always kind of taken us a long time to put the full length records out. A lot of bands do one record every two years because that’s an album cycle. It’s just if we’re sitting on some shit and we want it to be out in the world, we’ll just release the single or do an EP or a split with somebody. 

I know it’s easier, but do you still prefer doing those things or?

I think at this point I like focusing on releasing an LP. We’re working on some new stuff now that will be another full length, but we are also working on some things for an EP at the same time. Really, we will write a bunch of music and then figure out what we want to do with it. Some of it’ll go on a record and some of it will be saved for something else. We enjoy writing and playing music. So we’re just going to do that and then figure out what we want to do with the songs after.

So when you get together and you write, is it ever with the intention of creating an EP or an LP or whatever, or are you just getting together and seeing what happens?

It’s partly both. Our most recent writing session was like, “Let’s write for an LP.” We’ll say that we are writing for an LP, but we’ll also write way more songs than we intend to use. We’ll keep it loose while we’re writing the songs, we’re not like, “Okay, this is going to be like track one, two, three, four, whatever.” There’s not a structure like that. But really it’s just, we’re writing a bunch of songs and then we’re going to see what to do with them after. 

So releasing so many different things, how’s working with bigger labels like Epitaph versus Triple Crown versus a DIY label like Broken World media was?

Well working with Epitaph is really cool. And also working with Triple Crown is cool. Epitaph pretty much is just like, “You guys can do whatever you want.” Which is great. And I know they’re a bigger label but they kind of operate like a smaller label. So it’s just like, “Yeah send us some demos,” and they’ve never been like, “Oh you guys should probably keep writing.” It’s just like, “Yeah cool. Like let’s fucking do this shit.” Like, “You want to put your own label on it too? Yeah that’s cool. Do that.” Like, “You want to release some shit with a different label? Yeah that’s cool.”

I mean through Broken World we pretty much had complete artistic freedom. Whereas there are some limitations with Epitaph, they have to like what we’re writing. With Broken Worlds it was, you know, we have to like what we’re writing and that’s it. And as far as releasing this comp with Triple Crown, Fred was just really stoked. He basically was like, “You guys want to release a compilation and you need some help doing so, I would love to help you do that.” 

So what advice would you give to kids trying to mature to that level? Growing from a DIY label into something a little bit bigger.

Really, it’s just don’t let shit get to you. Don’t break up and don’t give up. That’s literally it. Just keep fucking doing it.

So would you say in all that Assorted Works is a good representation of the band for newcomers or do you think that this is more geared towards long time fans or maybe both?

Probably both. For long time fans, it’s a compilation of a bunch of shit, some stuff that maybe you haven’t heard. It’s three years of things that you don’t have to go searching around for. And for new fans, it’s pretty much the evolution of our band over the years. Starting with some very, very early stuff and ending with some newer stuff. So you get an idea of what we’ve been through and the things that we’ve done and how we’ve evolved. Which, as a new fan of a band, I would really like. 

So I saw something on Twitter.. I don’t know if you did this on purpose or if it just happened to be, but it was a short version of Assorted and it said “Ass Works.” And with just knowing how the band is, will you ever make “Ass Works” t-shirts because I feel like the world would want to see it.

Oh Holy shit! You know what, that’s definitely something that we should do and I’ll give you full credit. We did intentionally name this Assorted Works so that the abbreviated form could be “Ass Works”. That part was intentional. A bunch of immature babies.

So you kind of talked about how you’re working on some stuff now. Can you expand on that a little bit?

Yeah. I mean we’re just working on a third LP for Epitaph. We’ve just been getting together and seeing what feels good. That’s pretty much where we’re at right now. We have some skeletons of songs that need to be, you know, fleshed out. But we’re also going to be working on some different shit that we’re going to hopefully maybe be able to release ourselves at some point.

Is there anything that you wanted to talk about, about the album?

I’m just glad it exists now. I think it’s cool. And I’m happy that people seem to give a shit about it.


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Emily Kitchin//@DeathNap4Cutie