Albany, NY’s After The Fall have made quite a name for themselves over the years. With ripping fast tempos, super tight delivery, and intelligent, personalized lyrical content, the group has garnered lots of attention and a worldwide fan base.
I was recently able to catch up with guitarist/singer Mike Moak, thanks in large part to my buddy RJ at Mightier Than Sword/Academy Fight Song Records, who had the privilege of releasing A.T.F.’s “Collar City” 7” and “Eradication” full length. You may still be able to pick up limited edition copies of each at www.mtsrecords.com if they haven’t sold out yet.
GG: What’s up, Mike? After The Fall has been a band for quite some time… Who are the drummer and bass player? How did everyone meet, and how long have you been an active group?
MIKE: Chris plays drums, KC plays bass, and I play guitar and sing. Me and Chris started the band in 2001 when we were in high school.
GG: Where did your name come from? Is there a back story, or did you just think it was a cool name (It is) and went with it?
MIKE: It was a song title from an AZ band called BUENO, and our last band before ATF was called Down-Fall.
GG: Right on. You’re from the Albany area. Can you tell me a bit about the scene in the 518 from A.T.F.’s perspective.
MIKE: I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve met so many amazing people and seen a lot of amazing art, music, bands, and people come out of this city. However it is also very small and can get boring. From A.T.F.’s perspective, it’s nice to have cheaper rent and live within 3 hours of NYC, Boston, and Montreal in a city that has cool bands and good shows every now and then.
GG: As anyone who has ever seen you will attest, you play some of the most blazing fast punk rock songs in all of NY. How often do you guys practice as a group?
MIKE: We practice once a week for a bit before tours and shows.
(Side note… I am pretty sure the drummer drinks airplane fuel before he plays. Dude is insanely quick!)
GG: You have several releases under your belt at this point. Can you give a list of everything you’ve done to this point? What are the highs of your recording career?
2001 – Demo
2003 – First Evolve, Then Destroy EP
2006 – Everything
2008 – Split 7-inch w/ Transitions
2009 – Fort Orange
2010 – Collar City EP
2010 – Eradication
The high point was recording “Everything” at The Blasting Room with producer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag.) It was an amazing experience!
GG: Whoa… Nice! Now, you also have a new split release coming out with Caleb Lionheart (Pop-Punk band from Albany.)Tell us a bit about the tunes, the label releasing the record, and any record release shows to promote the split you may have coming up.
MIKE: We will have some shows with Caleb in April, and the record should be out by then as well. It has 2 new A.T.F. songs and a cover song. Better Days Records from Washington is releasing the split.
GG: Have you noticed a change in how your writing process flows from one release to the next? How does the band typically compose new music? Does everyone contribute equally?
MIKE: Things have changed drastically. We used to be a 4 piece, with lots of dueling and trade off guitar parts, but now we are a 3 piece. I write most of the songs, but KC and older members have written a few. Everyone contributes in writing their own parts and completing the songs though.
GG: What bands influenced your style and sound? What bands are you personally listening to, and what bands do you hope to share a bill with in the future?
Propagandhi, Descendents, ALL, Black Flag, Bad Religion, Born Against, Sick of it All, Kill Your Idols to name a few…
GG: All classics! Regarding lyrics, many of your songs seem to have deep personal attachment and message behind them. Who comes up with the lyrics to your songs? Does the band stand for anything politically as a group?
MIKE: We are all on the same page… Anti-Racist, Pro-Gay, Pro- Feminist. Most of our songs deal with specific stories, or personal struggles.
GG: How often do you try to play shows/go on tour? Are there any areas/countries you are actively trying to play? Which ones? What are your plans for 2012?
MIKE: We try to tour at least once a season and play a ton of Fests and weekends. We’ve been all around the globe, Europe twice, UK, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia… We hope to make it to Japan next!
GG: Hell yea, man… Japan would be an awesome tour! For the up and comers, what advice can you give to younger bands just starting out regarding getting shows, writing songs, and making a name for themselves?
MIKE: Just put your heart into it and make sure your doing it for yourself and having fun. Once it turns into a job or task and not fun anymore, it’s over.
GG: Good tips. Lastly, what are you best/worst memories as a band so far? Any particular moments when you wanted to say “Fuck this” and/or “This was the best experience I’ve ever had?”
MIKE: Worst – Van accident on Patroon Island Bridge, “Patroon Island” from Fort Orange explains that. Best – Costa Rica show opening Millencolin for 3000 people. It was amazing!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a brief introduction to After The Fall. You should definitely make it a point to check them out in the very near future. You can find them on Facebook or at their website (listed below.)
Big thanks to Mike and After The Fall for taking the time to speak with me. Make sure to check them out when they come to a city or town near you!