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To a whole generation of teenage nu-metal fans, Papa Roach meant the favourite poster hanging on their bedroom walls.
Starting their career in Vacaville, California in the early 90’s and rising to fame in the year 2000 off the back of their career defining album Infest, Papa Roach went on to sell over 20 million records worldwide. Despite many other nu-metal bands fading away from the spotlight, Papa Roach continued touring and releasing albums for more than 20 years. This month the four-piece collective released their tenth studio album Who Do You Trust? An LP that lyrically questions the state of affairs in the band’s home country and musically marks a sonic evolution expanding their reach to a younger generation of Roach fans whilst firmly holding on to their older devotees.
“We had a couple of songs off our last record that really did well for us, one of them being the song Born for Greatness, it had some cross over in the sport world in Hockey and American Football and we used a song like that as a jumping off point for the new songs off our latest album.” Papa Roach drummer Tony Palermo told Hysteria: “The song was a different vibe for us than some of the earlier Papa Roach music and we think we owe it to ourselves and our fans to evolve and not rehash some older riffs by keeping the songs fresh.”
When Tony replaced original drummer Dave Buckner in 2007 his punk rock background gave the band a more edgy sound whilst maintaining their trademark hip hop grooves and bouncy tempos they had established in the early days of their career. “I think Who Do You Trust? is our most eclectic record to date, its got a pop punk song, a punk song, some pure pop songs for us and of course there are heavier songs which we can’t ever steer away from. I like to play energetically and loud and I think it fits really well with the style of music we play, it wasn’t really a hard fight when I first joined the band, I just stepped in and took over Dave’s position and tried to play those songs as true as I could as well as keeping in mind that I wanted to add some of my own flavour to the music.”
There’s so many musicians making music in their houses and it’s cool that they have that outlet but I think it’s really tough to stand out because there’s a saturation of bands out there. We are very fortunate we have our own lane that we fit into.
[ Tony Palermo ]
In an age when there’s an abundance of music to listen to it’s imperative for bands to stand out, something Papa Roach have been mindful of, especially when it comes to falling into the trap of being a nostalgic act or getting sonically too comfortable and staying in a similar path as their contemporaries. “There’s so many musicians making music in their houses and it’s cool that they have that outlet but I think it’s really tough to stand out because there’s a saturation of bands out there. We are very fortunate we have our own lane that we fit into; I don’t know anyone that sounds like us. We can take you to a pop number and then a heavy tune and it still sounds like us.”
Not only is the band taking a fresh new approach to their music, they are also touching on subject matters which they never did in their previous records. The title gives you a hint into the current political climate in the US and the way the media has been portrayed as the enemy of the people and a line in show business that is all too familiar but for Papa Roach it takes a double meaning of being personal and political: “The title of the album started off as the song of the same title, it’s fitting for the times. We’re not really a political band but there’s a lot of political turmoil going on in the states, we also try and leave record titles and lyrics open for interpretation. On social media there’s all this fake news and you don’t know what to believe in and that’s the question of who do you trust and what do you trust? The title encompasses a lot of things that are going on right now that aren’t just political, in the lyrics of the song it suggests whether you could even trust your own family, it’s suppose to be thought provoking.”
Since the band first started their lyrics have matured moving beyond themes of being broken or feeling down, especially in the last few records where they’ve gone for more interesting word play alongside making people think and letting their listeners decipher what the songs mean to them. This new chapter in the band’s history is one that is about looking forward, pushing themselves artistically and welcoming new fans to the Papa Roach family whilst not forgetting their loyal fans who’ve been there for the ride since day one acknowledging their past successes and everything else they’ve accomplished along the way.