AS IT IS // Mind Over Matter

We owe a massive thanks to As It Is for writing their new album, The Great Depression. To touch upon the negative aspects of the human condition – mental health, doubt and despair – with such an unabashed honesty and hopes of creating a positive change, feels incredibly refreshing.

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REVIEWS: TROPHY EYES: The American Dream // AS IT IS: The Great Depression // PLINI: Sunhead`// THE SPIRIT: Sounds From The Vortex

No gimmicks, no treading on eggshells. Their subject matter needs saying as much as the opening statement did. What’s more, the album sounds pretty good, too. “That’s half the battle,” laughs front man Patty Walters.

Let’s be real; call them a rehash, call them emo, call them whatever the hell you want, because haters are gonna hate. Even so, Walters says this is the first album As It Is have released where he’s had the confidence to care less. “People are entitled to their opinions but it doesn’t in any way affect my pride and my enjoyment of this record.

“It’s a record I’m so proud to have written, more than any other.”

There’s always been a division about As It Is, about their sound, about their look, about their mantra. Walters is quite happy with how their journey is going. Resting comfortably on album number three, who’s to say they’ve gone wrong down the line?

“We’ve never entirely belonged under any one umbrella of genres or bands,” says Walters, “We’re not a cool band and we’re never really trying to be. We’re trying to be ourselves and evolving in the only way that makes sense for us – by writing about these topics and exploring other avenues as far as musicality goes.”

The themes of mental health awareness run rife within The Great Depression, and for Walters has not shied away from being clear about the direction and intent of the release. “It was very important and personal to me for a number of reasons, one of which… I don’t know if it’s to do with getting older, or maybe I wasn’t in the same pain and position I was in writing our previous two albums, but writing this album about my struggles and thoughts did not feel fulfilling.

“I don’t know if that’s true for anybody else [in the band] but I knew I wasn’t going through the personal journey that would have led to a great record, and exploring topics that were more societal, more universal, more current to the modern world we live in, was much more satisfying and much more fulfilling.

“Writing a concept record with characters that is ultimately about the downfalls of societies and stigmas and prejudices, all this stuff was far more fascinating to me.”

“It’s a record I’m so proud to have written, more than any other.”

With their 2017 album Okay, As It Is spoke at length about the mental health of not only Walters but society at large. It led to what Walters describes as a path toward several eye-opening discussions, and eventually The Great Depression. “The real mission statement of the record is to lead the listeners of the band to speak up and not be afraid to be invulnerable, to be imperfect. It lead to so many conversations and epiphanies.

“When you hear these things, when you hear these very personal and troubling stories, you feel the weight on the receiving end, and you hear them night after night, and in many ways it’s a blessing and a curse.

“I had to ask myself if we were in fact doing the right thing, whether that message was right, whether that record [Okay] was right – so I did a lot of soul searching, wanting to explore if this scene, if this band, if this world, glorifies, romanticises mental health in an unhealthy way. If by talking about it in the way that we have instead of getting rid of the stigma, we’re actually going too far – so [The Great Depression] started as an exploration of that and became something else entirely but with that still at its core.”

Ultimately, As It Is asked themselves if the world is ready for such a powerful message. “I think we’re relatively fortunate we have some very open-minded people supporting our band,” says Walters. “On Okay we experimented with darker, lighter, poppy elements, and people were generally very accepting of us experimenting musically. We didn’t necessarily shy away from this subject for very long – we knew it was interesting to us and it took over in our minds, [so] we strapped in and wrote it.

“It’s unconventional as most records go, and I don’t expect it’ll ever happen again in the As It Is discography, but it’s a really special record to be part of for that reason. We assumed that as long as it’s important to us then it’s likely to be important to somebody else.”

Order As It Is’s new album The Great Depression here.

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