new I Am The Avalanche song, Q&A, and 15 songs that influenced their new album
Vinnie Caruana is always busy and, despite 2020 being plagued by a pandemic, this has been one of his busiest years in recent memory. He already put out new releases with his bands Constant Elevation and Peace'd Out, he's done a handful of solo livestreams, and he's got the first I Am The Avalanche album in six years, DIVE, coming out on November 20 via I Surrender Records (pre-order). The only thing he hasn't put out this year is a new Movielife album, but The Movielife did wrap up 2019 with a couple holiday shows and they had planned a mini-tour for 2020 too.
Vinnie says he has "very clear intentions" when approaching the songwriting for his several different bands, so it probably won't surprise you that DIVE sounds distinctly like an I Am the Avalanche album, just like The Movielife's 2017 album Cities In Search Of A Heart -- their first in fourteen years -- sounded distinctly like a Movielife album. IATA have always been a little more on the gnarly, straightforward, classic-style punk side than Vinnie's other bands, and when we asked Vinnie what inspired this album, his answers followed suit: "A lot of Jets To Brazil, Samiam, Knapsack, Jawbreaker, Rancid, Bouncing Souls, No Use For a Name, Seaweed. The punk shit that me and Mikey blast on a late night drive on tour."
IATA recently released two singles from the album, and we're now premiering a third: the title track. "This is a classic Avalanche drinkin’ song," Vinnie says. "Tonight our worries and troubles don’t exist. Tonight you're drinking and singing with the fucking Avalanche." We couldn't put it any better ourselves; "Dive" is a screamalong punk anthem and it sounds as classic Avalanche as it gets.
Vinnie also made us a playlist of 15 specific songs that influenced the album, and answered some questions about the new record, life in the time of Trump and COVID, longevity, and more. Read on for our chat, Vinnie's playlist, and all three singles...
BV: When I Am the Avalanche initially formed, The Movielife had just broken up, but now The Movielife is more active and put a new album out in 2017, you have an active solo career, you released music this year with Peace'd Out and Constant Elevation, and now you've got a new I Am the Avalanche album. How do you keep the songwriting for all those projects separate? And, more specifically, what makes an I Am the Avalanche song different than any of those others?
Vinnie Caruana: I have very clear intentions when I’m writing. There’s always a plan for the year, and I have a clear picture of that. What makes IATA’s songwriting distinctly IATA, is when myself and Mike Ireland write together. The sound of this record is the sound of us drinking beers and playing guitar together in his apartment.
This is your first IATA album since Trump took office and it sounds like it was inspired by the political and social issues that have been increasingly dividing the country ever since the 2016 election. In these chaotic times that we're living in, what do you hope people take away from DIVE?
There’s a lot of hope in this record, and a lot of fight. We are all warriors. We all have miles of shit to trudge through, and we have no choice but to get through it. And Fuck Trump and all who support him.
You revealed when the album was announced that you were diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. We're sorry to hear and we hope you were able to recover and stay healthy since. In what other ways has the pandemic affected you, or I Am the Avalanche, or this album, and how are you feeling -- health-wise, sanity-wise, anything -- about everything at this point in the isolation/quarantine/social distancing/etc process?
Thank you. My wife and I feel better. My sense of smell hasn’t fully returned and I’m not convinced it will. We had plans to tour on this record of course. So that will have to wait. At the moment, I feel drained by the current state of our country. It sucks here. Personally, this is the longest I’ve gone without traveling. Traveling and shows have been my life since I was 18. I miss my life.
I Am The Avalanche and The Movielife had both planned to do some shows in early May, which of course couldn't happen. I know you've done some solo livestreams -- any plans to do one with the full band?
We hope to do some IATA full band livestreams. I think our fans would wanna crack a beer and hang with us. This will happen.
At this point, you've been playing in well-known bands for nearly 25 years. You've gone from VFW halls to being part of the early 2000s emo boom and you kept pushing forward even as mainstream interest in punk/emo/post-hardcore died down and -- at least from my perspective -- you've allowed yourself to progress as a musician while staying true to your roots. As far as the way you approach your music today, what's remained constant over the years and what's changed?
I feel like a songwriter now. I feel like I know what I’m doing. The feeling that I get when writing/jamming/recording/releasing/performing music is exactly the same as when I was a teen. It still means just as much and makes me so happy.
On a similar note, not only have you been active for so long but you've been especially prolific lately. What sparked this burst in creativity?
One day I’ll be dead. And I’d like to think that I’ll die while making a record. I’ll always be making a record. It’s my favorite thing to do. I’ll never stop writing. If I do, I will have lost myself and my soul will be dead, and I don't have any interest in that.
Anything else you'd like to add that I haven't asked about?
Do something kind for someone today. Make their day. Peace and Love.
15 SONGS THAT INSPIRED I AM THE AVALANCHE'S DIVE
Chunk Song - Bouncing Souls
Headache - Frank Black
Magic Mountainman - Seaweed
Your Gravest Words - The Lawrence Arms
Raise Your Glass - Guns n’ Wankers
Not Your Savior - No Use For A Name
All Things Good And Nice - Jets to Brazil
Thursday Side Of The Street - Knapsack
When I Get Old - Descendents
The Nights Of Wine And Roses - Japandroids
Horror Show - The Libertines
Your Mother Should Know - The Beatles
Kick Down The Doors - The Professionals
Out Of The Blue - Julian Casablancas
England Belongs To Me - Cock Sparrer
DIVE drops 11/20 via I Surrender Records. Pre-order here.