From Exeter, Rhode Island to the world, New England pop-punk stalwarts Another One Down! recently signed with Open Your Ears Records and now they’re out with A Bitter Descent Deluxe. Released this Friday, the deluxe reissue serves as both an introduction and a way to reach more listeners as well as a bonus for fans that are already onboard. Having played alongside bands like Metro Station and Meet Me @ The Altar and racking up 1,000,000 Spotify streams, things are only going to keep getting bigger for the Exeter pop-punk stalwarts. We had the opportunity to chat with Another One Down!’s frontman Marcus Simonini about the band’s new deluxe album, what it was like coming up through the New England music scene, his songwriting process, and more.
You guys are pretty newly signed to Open Your Ears Records and A Bitter Descent Deluxe just dropped this Friday (May 26th). What can we expect from the deluxe edition?
Marcus Simonini: The big difference with the deluxe really is that we just added a bunch of songs that either were going to be on the album or acoustic versions that we had done when we were promoting the album originally and we just really liked the vibe of them. The first song we have is “Good Grief”, that’s a re-recording of a song from our old EP in 2017 that we decided to re-do because we have pretty much all new members besides me since then. We play it live differently and it’s the one song that I feel represents our band a lot. We discussed recording it for the normal release but ended up liking the new songs we recorded. We’re really happy with that. There’s also our new song “Betray A Friend” which dropped three weeks ago now. It also made the album, but it just wasn’t done lyrically at the time. It was kinda in an in-between stage. That song is really representative of the direction we’re going in now.
Was it a conscious move to kick off this new chapter for the band by doing a deluxe re-release of your album?
MS: It was something that we had discussed doing even before the signing actually happened, for similar reasons. We like these songs, we like this concept, etc, but we’d like it to happen after we release these new songs. But then Open Your Ears hit us up and were like “What are your plans?” We brought it up to them that they could help with the re-release, just tied in with that we wanted to get on vinyl for the album originally. It was right during covid and right during when Adele did that whole vinyl thing that stopped the whole industry. If we ordered vinyl, they weren’t going to come in for a year. So now we can promote the vinyl, put out the album again, and reach a new audience with some new songs. It basically became a new beginning. Now we’re a signed band showing this album to people that haven’t heard it yet because we have this label backing. People that do like us already get something extra which is nice.
In listening to your music, what really struck me was how diverse it is. You know there’s obviously a lot of pop-punk there, but it also sounds like you pull from more straightforward pop too and big ballads. What bands or artists have inspired your sound?
MS: It’s all over the place really. There’s the obvious pop-punky ones like The Story So Far and Knuckle Puck and Four Year Strong. I used to be really into All Time Low. Nowadays I feel like we take more from artists outside of our genre. I got really into Death Cab For Cutie starting in college because of my bassist, so that was where a lot of the piano ballads and even just piano elements started to come in more. Lately, I listen to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers. That’s where more of the focus on lyrics came from. I’ve always been a guitar guy and honed in on the guitar elements, which I still do but I think a lot more about creating a cohesive piece of poetry rather than just throwing random lines vaguely together when I wasn’t as experienced as a songwriter. Listening to Phoebe Bridgers really flipped my thought process.
A song that really jumped out to me lyrically was “Stuck In The Wake”, especially listening to the acoustic version and how great it worked really stripped down. How did that acoustic version come together? And what was the writing process like?
MS: I’m glad you liked it. The writing of the song came together because I was friends with someone who was going through a really toxic relationship. It was really constant, every time we hung out, he’d be really stressed out and texting this person because it was constant turmoil. I’d written a lot of songs about my personal relationships and this time wanted to write about wanting to help a friend. You want to help them and tell them that something is wrong here and to look at all the signs, but they keep going back. So like you need to help yourself because I can’t make you get out of this relationship, but I do want to help you. It’s a weird struggle.
The song itself came together really quickly. It was one of those star-aligning moments that you hear about with writing songs which never happens to me. I’m always the one who’s like re-writing a song for two years. That was happening and I just happened to be on a boat with my dad and we got stuck behind the wake of another boat and he said “We’re stuck in the wake.” We were fishing and I was writing lyrics. I got home and it was all happening so fast, I just threw it together. We’d already done most of the album, but they were like this is definitely going on the album, and let me throw a solo on it. It really came together in three or four days. As I said, that never happens to me. I’m always overthinking things.
For the acoustic version, we had dropped an acoustic EP in 2019 of a bunch of our old songs and we also covered “Tiny Vessels” by Death Cab For Cutie. It was basically all just a guitar, a shaker, a little tambourine, and a cajón. For the music video for the “Tiny Vessels” cover, we bought a cajón because originally I had just used a programmed cajón. We then started using that cajón a lot whenever we would do acoustic sessions. We decided during covid that we wanted to do this acoustic session because there was nothing to do during covid, we couldn’t really do any shows. We did a Facebook live stream and decided to change the key so it’s a little more tame. It just ended up coming together so nicely. It still has the same heart as the original album version, but it’s more tame which we all liked so we just knew we had to record it. That was the thought process, the same with the other acoustic song on the deluxe.
I have to ask you about the music video for “Betray A Friend.” What was it like getting to flex your acting chops for that video?
MS: I am not a great actor, I will say that! It’s one of those things where when you’re a local band, it’s a lot harder to find local actors and stuff. The struggle with our last music video was that we wanted an actor but couldn’t get anyone, so I had to act. I did ok, but I’m definitely not an actor. Our last music video was so serious and about depression and heavy, so I wanted to do something very light. When I was a kid, I was really into Foo Fighters’ music videos because they never took themselves seriously. We took that and started writing ideas for concepts of betrayal and landed on the concept of robbing a house. It ended up becoming really kooky. We wanted it to feel almost like an old YouTube video, just like something stupid you’d watch in 2007. Somehow we ended up being Hamburglers by the end. I’m very happy with how it came out because it was a weird trip.
It looks like it must’ve been a ton of fun!
MS: It was fun, but it was really really cold. We did it in December because of time restraints. For all the outside shots, it was 10 degrees. So we’d run out, do whatever we needed and then jump back in the car and put the heat on.
What was the New England music scene like when you guys were coming up? Were they supportive?
MS: Yes and no. The New England scene is kind of strange because, at least in our scene, it’s very back and forth. Pop-punk will be the big thing and then two years later, it’s metalcore. It just 180s. It’s not like a gradual thing. When we first started, there was a band called Trophy Wives. They were from Rhode Island and really up-and-coming. That’s who produces our music, the guitarist from Trophy Wives. Everything was pop-punk. Even easycore-esque too, like how we used to be. That’s how we ended up on that path. Once it switched to metalcore in about 2017, they ended up getting signed and changing their name. When it became metalcore, everyone wanted to be Knocked Loose and it was a struggle for us for a bit. We were still making music and playing shows but it just wasn’t the same.
Also, we were the young guys for a long time. We were the up-and-coming band, like the 16 and 17-year-olds playing. Not that we didn’t get taken seriously, but we weren’t as in the in-crowd as a lot of people. Now, after it’s flip-flopped a few more times, it’s pop-punk and a little bit emo. Since we’ve straddled that line for like 10 years now, we’re like the weird veteran band even though we’re 25 to 27. It was a lot of fun but it is certainly a struggle when the scene switches what’s the popular sound. We went from being the young guys to people saying you’re still a band? But hey, we got signed and we’re still doing a lot of stuff.
And lastly, what’s next for Another One Down? Touring, new music?
MS: A little of both. We definitely want to tour. We’re doing a tour in June which is going to be East Coast stuff and we’re hopefully going to do more later this year or next year. I think the priority right now is new music because obviously we’re releasing stuff right now but most of it is stuff we already had out. So we want to keep releasing new stuff and take advantage of being on this label and having the push of our team behind us to get stuff out there.
Pick up A Bitter Descent Deluxe on vinyl here: oyerecs.com/store/