Writing The Next Chapter – Story Of The Year

After a three-year absence Story of the Year are back to blitz the world again with their new album ‘The Black Swan’. Talking to Glasswerk, lead vocalist Dan Marsela reveals the bands inspirations, their past and what the future holds for the St Louis quintet.

“My first inspirations were bands like Skid Row and Motley Crue, then the 90's came and I was in love with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But it wasn't until I started going to punk rock shows that I really got into playing live. Seeing bands like Suicide Machines, Goldfinger, H2O along with a thousand others, that's what really inspired me to do what I do now.” reveals Dan.

The band formed around 1995 but under the name Big Blue Monkey. A name, which was later, changed to Story of the Year. Dan explains the reasoning behind the name change: “Story Of The Year was actually a BBM song title. At the time we knew we wanted a more serious name, but something that our fans at the time would recognise. So we went with that.”

Sharing the same love for music and live performance united the fivesome and ensured they were all paddling in the same direction. “When we started playing music, we loved everything about it. It was a total release from everything that pissed us off about the world. It was all about having fun and expressing our individuality” Dan remembers. “And the best part is, we still feel that exact same way. We still love it as much as we ever did, if not more. Music is our lives. We do things how we feel they should be done and we don't bow to anyone in the process. So no matter how big we get, at least we know we did it our way.”

When the band formed, the sound that they produced was fresh and new, and not many artists had the same style. In the late 90’s they were one of the few bands that brought this to the mainstream music market along with bands like Glassjaw.

Following their first album ‘Page Avenue’, SOTY’s second album, ‘In The Wake of Determination’ did not sell as well. Dan sees this in a positive light, as the first album was something everyone liked, whereas the second was highlighting the band’s ‘die hard’ fans. He explained: “We definitely would have loved for In The Wake to have the same impact that Page Avenue did. But I think that the fans that we have now are die-hard fans, and they love both albums. We have the best fans in the world, and I would rather sell 175,000 copies to fans that actually give a shit about the music and the message, rather than sell a shit load records to people who only like one song or something like that.”

When looking back on what they have achieved over the past few years, Dan picks out his key moments with the band. “Some of our favourite bands to tour with are Letter Kills, Monty Are I, Anberlin, Funeral For A Friend, and Foo Fighters. I'm probably forgetting some important ones, but those stick out in my mind. We played one show with the Foo’s a couple of years ago and they are one of the best bands on the planet. We’d love to play with them again someday. Both albums had their great moments during recording too. During the recording of Page Avenue, we went to Hawaii and recorded all of the orchestra stuff for ‘Sidewalks’ and ‘Dive Right In’. That is a sweet memory.”

When on the road or not recording, the guys from Story of the Year like to listen to their peer’s work. Dan himself has recently been listening to the new Bad Religion album, as well as Every Time I Die’s latest offering. Dan’s other passions in life are relaxing at home with his wife and dogs, or going skateboarding. “I ride my skateboard a lot. That's the only thing that makes me as happy as playing music.”

'The Black Swan' is out now on Epitaph

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