Strung Out are a 5 piece punk rock band from Southern California. Forming in 1992, the band signed to NOFX frontman Fat Mike's label Fat Wreck Chords in 1993. Fourteen years later, the band have just released their seventh full length album, 'Black Hawks over Los Angeles'. Pennyblackmusic spoke to guitarist Jake Kiley at their first British show in four years at the Underworld in London.

PB : You've recently released 'Black Hawks over Los Angeles'. How does it feel for you?

JK : It feels really good. It's another progression in Strung Out's history. I think we might alienate some fans, but that's part of the progression I guess – We've been getting flak for changing the style we play but seven albums and so many years on it's impossible to stay the same, have the same influences – People change and we've changed and I guarantee that if these people were in the same position they would do the same.

PB : It's been three years since your previous album, 'Exile in Oblivion'. Is it good to have new music out there?

JK : It's fantastic. We love everything we've played and written before but it's awesome to get new tunes out there to see how it reacts and it's something new to play live – we're a live band so it's amazing to be able to do that.

PB : You've worked with the same producer, Matt Hyde on the past two albums, who is best known for his production work with Hatebreed and Slayer. Did you want to work with him again because your were looking for specific style of sound or did you just want to work with the man himself?

JK : We love working with Matt and we like the way he works. We've always respected Matt's work. I don't want to sound like our past producers weren't any good. They were, but back in the earlier days we plain couldn't afford Matt. Now, with the cost of recording going down and having a certain amount of money to spend, it means we kind of get the option to work with who we want and where we want so it's a great feeling to be recording with him.

PB: You've always been a Fat Wreck band from your very first album, 'Another Day in Paradise' until now. Do you have a special relationship with them?

JK : Yeah for sure. I mean I don't necessarily think the guys at Fat Wreck “get” what we're doing, but they know we're good at it and that we love it and the fans love it so we're in quite a priviliged position where they give us our advance and we go out, record the album and they'll just let us get on with it – it's perfect.

PB : 15 years after forming, is it strange touring with bands that are just putting out their earlier albums ?

JK : It's not so much strange, but it's kind of nice that there are bands forming now that we can sit alongside when we've been going for years – there are bands out there that are so young and we respect so much that it's cool that we're still cool enough to play with!

PB: And do you have any thoughts of slowing down?

JK : No, I mean as long as we're still able to play, put out albums and tour then we'll keep doing it – it's what we love and we're priviliged to have come so far being able to do this – it's been an awesome experience and none of us really want it to end.

PB : Who do you currently rate in the punk circuit?

JK : I don't know. There are always bands I rate in all genres, I love Protest the Hero and got the chance to play with those guys while one of their guitarists couldn't. It was great – those guys are fantastic. I rate all the Fat Wreck guys too. There are some really fantastic bands there.

PB : You haven't been to Britain in some time. Any particular reason?

JK : Well, yeah. We had some real issues with our last booking agent and the shows just weren't coming forth – we didn't come for the entirety of touring 'Exile in Oblivion' and it was sad – we love it here and we love the crowds – so now we've got a new booking agent and we've been able to come over and do these shows and it's been amazing.

PB : Back to the album, do you have a particular theme? You seem to take on quite an anti-war stance at times whilst maintaining other themes of a more emotional nature. For example on 'Letter Home' you seem to be addressing a very personal issue.

JK : Yeah the song, 'Letter Home' was about some letters that I think Jason (Cruz, Vocalist) received, In all fairness a lot of the lyrics are totally personal to Jason. We're not a political band – but there are some things you just can't avoid talking about – we've never seen blackhawks over Los Angeles but things are so weird in this day and age that it could happen maybe...

PB : How do you feel the current scene has progressed compared with that of 10 years ago?

JK : It's progressed. I mean there are bands that started way after we did and have changed their style so much and then there's bands that have shot to fame for all the right reasons – like Rise Against. It's pretty much all about Rise Against Stateside now...so yeah, the current scene is healthy and it's nice to see there's still this popularity of our scene as there was when we started.

PB: What are the plans for the future of Strung Out ?

JK : Just to keep going and playing shows until we can't do it anymore...

PB : Thank you.















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