Wishful Thinking really makes you think with their latest 6 minute epic track Destiny Pt. 1 which was released alongside RUOK? Day in Australia. I had a chat with the band’s frontman Carl about the song’s relationship with mental illness, and we also chatted about Wishful’s return to the punk music scene in 2019 after a 13 year hiatus.
Interview Date: Tues 31 August (pre-release date)
Okay, Wishful Thinking, you guys are releasing a new single on the 9th of September and it lines up with ‘RUOK? Day’ / ‘Are You Okay? Day’ in Australia. The song is called Destiny Pt. 1 and it's a good sort of track to follow on from your previous single You Can, because it’s very much about anxiety as we have previously chatted about before.
So getting into Destiny Pt. 1, what is the new song about? And is it about a person?
Carl: Yes it is about a person, Destiny is kind of a character. It all kind of started when our bass player Alistair wanted to do something themed, I suppose, and with Alistair and his wife, I probably shouldn't speak about this on video without his permission, but I know that he deals with anxiety and depression a lot and that has also been something that’s a part of my life since I was a whipper-snappers.
As you mentioned with You Can, like when I write, it's just usually what comes out anyway, you know,
if I look back through the catalogue of stuff that I've written over my life, there's so much stuff about sadness, anger, depression and anxiety.
When Alistair suggested that idea it didn't take much to go ‘Oh yeah, that’s what we should do’.
It just so happened that the finished product ended up around RUOK? Day That wasn't a planned thing.
Sure it wasn’t wink wink
No it really wasn't! It really was just a happy coincidence, you know, as you're getting ready to upload it and stuff someone had mentioned that it was RUOK? Day and I mentioned it to Alistair and I was like ‘do you know that it's RUOK? Day in like three or four weeks?’ And he was like, ‘No, that's perfect!’. So that sounds bad like we're cashing in on anxiety, but certainly wasn't the intention to originally release on RUOK? Day, we've been kicking that song around for... I don't know how long, but at least six to eight months. It's been on our radar.
Alistair had written a bunch of pieces of songs that he'd put together, and it was just kind of like this mess of music that went for six minutes, you know, chopping and changing,
and he kind of sent it to me and said, ‘Do you reckon you can do anything with these bits? Do you reckon you can, you know, grab this bit and use it for a song and grab this part and use it for a song’, and I don't know if I just misunderstood him, but I was just like, ‘Nah, I'm just gonna make it one song’.
I just started writing lyrics and stuff over the top of it, and we just put it all together, and we started mucking around with it. Originally it didn't sound much like how it sounds now, but we were just like, ‘Hey, this is kind of cool, you know, this could be something cool’. As I was writing lyrics, and we were… Cause none of us live in the same town, we were always emailing the song back and forth to each other and saying, ‘okay, you try this’ and ‘you try that’.
Alistair had mentioned, ‘would would it be cool if we had like a character to sort of embody these feelings that we have?’, because Alistair had written some lyrics, and I had written some lyrics, and we would just kind of mashing them together.
I came up with this idea of “Destiny” because it was... I don't know the song was really about not just anxiety, but this anxiety that comes with like trying to figure out what are we doing here on this earth? What is what is happening with humankind? and what is consciousness? and what happens when we die? and all of those types of questions.
Alistair and I both grew up religious, and so when you're religious you kind of have all the answers to those questions, you know, we're here because of this, and we're here to do this, and that's the end of the story. As we got older, we kind of put those things aside, we were like, ‘alright, well, where do morals come from? And how should we treat each other? And what is the point of existence? And is there a meaning for anything?’ For me, those were HUGE, and still are HUGE questions! By the time I was writing the lyrics for Destiny, Alistair was already working on another song that he wanted to be sort of a continuation of that story.
I quite even just the concept of destiny, because it is very forward thinking/ futuristic thinking of like, something's got to come out of it, you know, it’s almost something to look forward to.
Carl: Well, I hope that because I have a tendency, when we released You Can I did an interview, I can't remember who it was with, but they were just like, ‘what can we do to help ourselves? So we don't have to end up writing a song like You Can?’ kind of just saying how, you know, sad and depressing it is, and I was just like, ‘Yeah, I get that, but I didn't really see You Can as a sad and depressing song, like for me, I get these depressive feelings and anxiety and stuff, and the way that I cope with those, is to write it in a song’. When I listen to that I’m like ‘it’s cool, that a happy upbeat song’, and I kind feel the same way about Destiny, and it wasn't until I was listening to it with someone the other day, and they were like, ‘this is dark’, and I was like, ‘Oh, it's not...
...it's not really supposed to be dark. It's just supposed to be, you know, this is what people go through. This is what people experience. This is real’.
Yeah, it’s relatable.
Yeah, and so for me, it’s very cathartic, like it helps me, you know. I think back to depressing records that I listened to when I was a kid, and I think that those albums, you know, helped me feel like I wasn't by myself and this isn't abnormal, what I'm feeling this is something that actually lots of people experience and I felt a part of something as opposed to lonely.
I just wanted to talk about one of the lyrics in Destiny Pt. 1 where I believe it's in the first section, where you've got ‘Waiting on the day, when everything will be ok’. Could you explain a little bit more about the lyrics in the song because there are some different parts within Pt. 1, and it’s very much like a Jesus of Suburbia construct with the multiple parts.
Carl: Yeah, I've often thought about where would I put the markers between sections, like I didn't write it with: this is a bit, and that's a bit, and that’s another bit, it just kind of went.
I think those were the last lyrics that I wrote for the song. The song was pretty much finished, and we had that bit, and then that bit repeats again a little bit later on, and in both of those parts, I wasn't really happy with what we had there. I think those bits actually kind… because it was the last bits that were written, I think it really sums up the whole song because it is about Destiny kind of going ‘Okay, I'm experiencing this stuff’ and I think most people with anxiety and depression can understand that, that you know, you wake up every day, just waiting for those feelings of anxiety and the feelings of depression that you have to go away.
I think that's something that has been true in my life and something that I really hold on to, which is, every time that I feel depressed, no matter how long it goes for, there is a point where things become okay, you know where that depression and that anxiety will subside, even if it's just for a short period of time, there is a time where that ends.
I really kind of felt that the character would be feeling the same way. So, you get that that first bit where it describes her, you know, falling on her bed and smoking and it's really fast paced, and hectic, but then you kind of get this this breath where she’s just waiting, you know, just waiting for a moment where everything is going to be alright, then the next line that was actually something that Alistair put in, he was like, ‘Can we put on this “but nothing ever seems to change?”’ and I think that's kind of true as well. It's kind of like this paradox that yes, you have these ebbs and flows, where things do you get okay, but then you get caught back in this frustration, because, you know, inevitably in the future, it will pick up again, and something will happen, and it will ramp up again. I suppose that's where I was coming from with those lyrics.
Are you guys nervous about releasing a six minute song?
Carl: Yes... Yes hahaha
Haha do you think that radio would like that?
Carl: No, oh I don’t know?
Alistair had spoken to me about it when we were putting it together, and he is he's kind of our promotions guy, he's the one who submits things to radio stations and does a lot of our PR. And Especially in today's day and age you want something that's, you know, “snappy” that grabs your attention really quickly, and in a world that's really fast paced, and we just pass over things and go from one to the other. I think a six minute song could be very, very forgettable, and so yeah, I am really worried about that. But at the same time where we're at as a band, I'm not sure if I talked to you about this last time, but you know, the band we were big years ago, and we've got this chance to come back and do something. So you know, why not take a chance? Why not go okay, well we've released lots of two-three minute short songs that are really catchy. So we've got the opportunity, let's stretch ourselves and push ourselves and do something fun. At least if it all falls to hell, in six months time, we can look back and go, that was pretty fun! You know, how cool is it that we now have that thing? You know, that we can look back on in 20 years time and go? Yeah, well, at least we gave it a go. You know, we gave it a shot.
And speaking of Green Day before with Jesus of Suburbia, like I think about that, when they first did that. I remember when that album came out, just thinking, ‘what are they doing, two - nine minute songs!?!? on an album!?!?’
Yeah, radio hated it, they wouldn’t play it. They would only play a shortened version.
Carl: Yeah, and now you looking back at it, like I was watching some of the clips from the Hella Mega Tour, which is the Weezer, Fall Out Boy and Green Day concert that's going across America now. And I’m devastated that I didn’t get to go in November last year!
Oh yeah I had tickets too!
Carl: Weezer and Green Day are two of my most long term favorite bands, and to be able to see both of them on the one night was going to be like a childhood dream come true. So I just keep telling myself ‘they'll come back, they will definitely come back’.
But yeah, so I was watching some clips of that just last night actually, and you know, at every Green Day concert these days they play Jesus of Suburbia, it's one of their most popular songs, and I’m like yeah, they took a chance, and you know what, they smashed it! So hopefully, that will happen with us, and maybe it won't be a radio hit, but maybe it will just be something that people really like. Green Day have written many long songs now since since Jesus of Suburbia, but that's the one that stays with people and some of the other ones aren't as well known.
We kind of have plans to release like another one or two of these kind of six-seven minute songs, so maybe this will just be the introduction to something that we might like to do now. So I'm nervous, yes, I'm worried that we're gonna, you know, once again throw a whole bunch of money at something that won't come to anything, but we've got this chance to do it. We can't tour right now so we might as well spend our time writing some good stuff.
I think that it will be good, I think that it will stand out because no one’s really done a long sort of epic punk rock story ballad like this for a while. It’s something different.
Should we be expecting a music video with this release?
Carl: not at this stage, because we can't, we can't get in a room together. So we are planning to catch up as a band in September, I'm not confident that it's going to happen. We have plans to all fly and meet in Melbourne, at the end of September, but yeah, I don't see that happening anytime soon, and the guy that does our videos and photoshoots and stuff like that he lives in Melbourne, and of course there's two of us who aren't in Melbourne. It's been really hard even to get new promotional shots, or any sort of content for the internet is ridiculously hard for us at the moment. Which is just one of the drawbacks of living in different cities. So maybe a lyric clip, if I can get my act together in the next few days haha.
(I would like to report that Wishful did get their act together to make you all a lyric video, Yes Boys!- Jess)
What we really want to do is we want to jam it, you know, in a really cool looking studio, have a camera in between the four of us, moving around. Because I think that's like I love as we were saying with Jesus of Suburbia by Green Day, when you see them play that live, that's when it kicks off! So it’s an experience! That's what we really wanted to do.
We also wanted to show people like yes, we can play this song from start to finish, because that's something you have to take into consideration like we as a band have never played this song together.
Alistair and I wrote it, we sent it to Leigh, Leigh learnt it, he played the drums in a studio, you know, he sent us the tracks, we played over the top of it. Same goes for the songs from our last EP, we've only ever played those songs together, maybe once or twice, just because we haven't had the opportunity to get together since March of 2020. Yeah so, it really sucks!
With Drastic Park, I get very jealous when I see that they get to play a show because there's a break in COVID restrictions, they always seem to play in between lockdowns. Yeah I'm so jealous, I wish we could do that!
You mentioned before that for this song, you guys had to send parts back and forth. How did it work? Did you feel that it worked really well or a bit disjointed? Because you’re all spread across a few different states.
Carl: it was all recorded in different studios. So I have my own home studio. My brother has his own home studio. Alistair he kind of records on his laptop, I think, and the hardest thing was drums. We actually had to get Leigh into a proper studio, and by proper I mean a mate’s of yours’ garage at the back of his house.
Because we are punk rock we still try to be as DIY as we possibly can.
The writing process was really quite difficult. One on hand it's incredible, you know, 15 years ago, you couldn’t do this, it wasn't possible, internet speeds weren't fast enough, recording software wasn't good enough. So, on this hand, we have this amazing opportunity that I can write a song, you know, within a day, I can write drum parts, bass parts, guitar parts, vocal parts, and I can have this thing that I can send to the guys and go, ‘Hey, learn this, learn that’, and then they can actually chop and change that to go ‘how about if we add this here and that there?’. It is really incredible that we can even release music at all. If COVID had happened, like I said, 15 years ago, we'd just be dead in the water haha, but now we have this opportunity.
On the other hand, it gets really frustrating, because when you jam together as a band, it's all in the moment, and you can go ‘Hey, how about you try this? Or how about you try that? Or, you know, I really like what you did there? Can you do that here as well?’, and we didn't really have an opportunity to do that. Like we will electronically we will write drum parts for Leigh. But we can't expect him to just play exactly what we sent him, you know, he's in the band, he's got to make it his own, and he did and then he recorded it, and then that's it, it was done.
There's certain parts, and it's not just the drums, it's all the instruments that like if I hadn't been able to sit in the studio with the other guys, when they were recording it, I could say, ‘Oh, no, don't do that’, or ‘do this’ or ‘try a different guitar tone’, or those types of things. So it's not that I'm unhappy with the finished product, it's just that you kind of do listen to the finished product and just go, oh it would have been good if maybe one of us could have done something there, or, you know, I really liked what he did there, I wish he could have thrown that in again later. That would have been nice.
But to be fair, I think I feel that way about even the stuff that we recorded 15 years ago, there was still stuff that we did there because we were in a proper studio and because we only had a certain amount of money and so much time that, you know, stuff got rushed and stuff got left out.
I think that's probably the constant battle of the musician to try to listen to one of your songs and just be happy with the way it was finished.
Just accept the fact that I don't know... I think even if you were in the most expensive studio in the world, with some of the best producers in the world, you'd probably still hear the song at the end of the day, and be like God it's not quite the way I thought it would sound, and that's okay. You know, some of the songs that I've had to live with for 10-15 years. I really didn't like them when they were first recorded. I thought they sounded terrible. But now I listened to them, and it's just the way the song is and people love it.
I want to talk a little bit about Wishful Thinking’s history, because well according to Wikipedia, I know it’s a great legitimate source, you guys were a band between 1998 to 2006, and then the band went on hiatus, and you have recently come back on to the scene in 2019.
Where you guys were you nervous about coming back onto the scene? Did you feel a little bit left out or were you more excited to just jump back in?
Carl: I didn't feel left out, I felt very out of place. So I mean music was my life from like 1998, when I was 17-18, and you know what it's like when you're a teenager, like all you do is…. your life is music, if you're a musician, you know, in your spare time you play guitar and write songs, when you're going to work, you listen to music, it was just constant - music was everything to me. And when you get older, you kind of have all these ‘distractions’, you know, I'm married, I have kids, I work.
The music that I love now, you don't get as much time to spend with it. You know, I was thinking about this the other day with MxPx’s album Life In General, I don't know if you're familiar with that album, but I would guess that I've listened to that album in the 1000s of times. I can sing every word on that album, I know how to play the songs on that album. Nowadays, when I hear a new album that I like, I get to listen to it sort of in the car on the way to and from work, and that's kind of it, you know an album that I love now, I might get to listen to 100 times, if I'm lucky.
So coming back into the music scene, I just felt like a bit of an imposter. Because you know, you're playing alongside these bands that are still young are still in that stage of life that I used to be in where music could be just everything that they did.
I remember not being able to eat because you just were young and poor, and so all you did was stay at home and listen to records and stuff just to try and stave off hunger haha. So yeah, I felt a bit out of place, I was obviously older, and I know that not everybody feels this way, but I remember when I was in my 20s, I used to see guys who were in their 30s playing on stage, just be like, ‘Get off stage you old guy!’ you know, ‘What are you doing? and THEN to be that guy on stage… and people always laugh me and just go ‘you’re not old, don't be stupid’, and I know that now haha
But there’s still that part of me like you know that kid in his 20s like What are you doing old man, get off stage haha. It took a few shows for me to go, ‘oh it’s okay, you can still be this age and play an event. You know, all my musical heroes are all in their late 40s and 50s now, and I still look at them and just think they're the coolest people in the world. So I see no reason why I can't do it!
It was really scary, when we did our first run of shows, it was just a Reunion Tour, so there was no pressure to be anything sort of thing other than, you know, four old dudes on a stage reliving the past and getting up there, to play a few shows and then go back to normal life. It was fine.
But when we decided ‘No, all right, let's keep doing this!’, and it was just a simple conversation in a hotel room in Melbourne with the four of us just going Why can't we keep doing this? If people keep asking us to play gigs, and people keep asking us to release new music, Why can't we? And as I mentioned before, we actually do have this opportunity now that we can record in our homes, and we can, write and send it to each other, so why not?
It was a bit scary and it still is, like you know we were getting ready tour with Drastic Park who you know is young and cool. I did feel a bit like the odd one out, I felt a bit like should I be doing this? Should I be there? But you know, it was nice because the guys in Drastic Park and the guys from SoSo who we are going to be doing this Stacked As tour that we've been organizing… I think part of me was just like those guys are gonna laugh at you and tell you that you’re shit. But I think the fact that they didn't, you know, they were like ‘Oh we’re really digging your new tunes and we really love your stuff, we've been listening to your old stuff, and that's really rad and we really love it’.
That was really nice to just be able to go Oh alright I think it's gonna be okay. I think I think we'll be alright. So yeah, little bit scared, but ultimately speaking, it's more fun than scary.
*Carl and I went into an extensive Green Day/ Good Charlotte loving fan rant after that haha*
Let's get back to Wishful Thinking, so Destiny Pt. 1, when should we expect Pt.2?
Carl: Oh, that's an excellent question, Destiny... that the song itself is pretty much written. But we do have kind of two songs that we are really loving and would like to release before that, and it kind of goes back to your original question like, is radio going to like it? Or are they going to hate it? It will probably depend, if radio love it, then we might do another one. If they hate it, we might not, but you can't always use that as a judge, because they could love that one and hate the next one.
At the moment, I think we've been releasing a new song about every three months, so if we do release those two songs beforehand you'll be waiting about nine months for Destiny Pt. 2, but if decide that
‘hmm... No actually, Destiny Pt. 1 did really well’, and you know, there's lots of people saying we'd like to see where the story goes, then I don't know maybe we'll do it sooner.
So I don't know, I wish I could give you a better answer than sometime between now and when you die, that would be my best guess hahaha. You will definitely hear it before you die.
Are you guys working towards an EP, or are these standalone singles?
Carl: If you ask different members of the band, they will have different opinions on what we're doing. I'm old school, I want to do an album. I've wanted to do an album since we got back together. Alister thinks that we shouldn't really do an album until we have, you know, a song that I don't know takes us up to another level where there's actually a want for an album, I think that's maybe why where things are different, than when you know, back in the early 2000s you'ld record an album and then promote it, whereas now it's like you promoted and then you drop the album.
I would like to think that Destiny is part of something big. A record that has the kind of like an American Idiot… It's not necessarily a concept album, but it's an album that has kind of themes that weave through it.
Because like you said, Destiny kind of follows on from You Can like they weren't supposed to in any way, shape, or form. They were just two songs that we released together. But I've also been listening to them over the last couple of weeks and going no these two songs, these two would fit, you know, on an album together…
Yeah it works thematically.
Yeah, but we would have to at least remix them so it sounded like they had a bit more sonic cohesion to work on an album together. But yeah, and I was also listening to songs off our last EP going, you know what, there's songs on this EP, that that would fit along thematically with that as well. So at the final track on our EP, What the Hell Am I Gonna Do is about exactly the same sort of thing, as Destiny is about, you know, what am I supposed to do with my life and in this world, and I was thinking about yesterday going ‘that song would be a perfect final song!’ if we ended up doing an album.
But at the moment when it comes to it, we can’t tour which means we can’t get money, so it’s very hard to push a product when we just don’t know what the future holds.
So forgetting the other band members, yes haha, I think that Destiny will be part of something bigger. But even if it's just like a three track EP, you know like a part one, part two, and part three, it might just end up being something like that. And hey if that happens, then that's cool!
Carl, did you have any final messages you want to say on behalf of the band, anything you'd like to say about Destiny, Wishful Thinking or any messages want to get out to fans?
Carl: Look, if you're a fan and you are consuming this interview, please we do plan to get on the road sometime soon. We are very sorry that our last two tours has had to be postponed (One More Time Tour feat. Drastic Park, and Stacked As Tour feat. Drastic Park and SoSo). It was obviously not what we wanted and not what we planned for. You will see us live again! That would be my message…
… before we all die haha.
Carl: Yeah definitely before we all die, you will see us again! Because, you know, for me especially I want to get on stage before I die, because I have missed it! It's coming up on two years since we were on stage, I think in March next year, actually, I shouldn't get too ahead of myself. It's been 18 months. It's just, you know, getting back together and being able to gig again were the best things in the world, and I missed them even more now that we can't do it so we want to do that, we'll see you all soon.
We hope you like the song. If radio doesn't play it, show it to a friend,
because it's a really… well I think anyway, it's a really good track so get into it. And that's about it!
And just for a Stacked As Tour Update with SoSo and Drastic, we were talking about it pre-interview, but you guys are now looking at moving it to next year?
Carl: Yeah our hope is that, I mean, I think it's everyone's hope that by 2022 this whole mess will be finished, you know, or at least finished to a point where life can resume to some sort of normality. We have obviously struck up a friend, that would be only online with Drastic Park, we've done the same thing with the guys from SoSo and we're really really keen to meet those guys so I think we're all trying to do our best to make that happen, we all really want to make it happen! Like, I think we're three bands that sound really similar, that have similar sort of musical tastes, similar sort of performance styles, and we all think the touring together is a really good idea! So, it's really my hope that that'll happen early next year sooner rather than later.
We will all be looking forward to it!
That was Carl, the frontman of Wishful Thinking chatting about their new song Destiny Pt. 1 which is out right now!!! Don’t forget to chuck Wishful Thinking a follow on their socials and keep stalking them, Drastic Park and SoSo for Stacked As and other pop-punk Tour Date info.
WISHFUL THINKING SOCIAL MEDIA
Links to mental health services if needed, it's okay to not be okay, speak to someone, remember you have a huge community of friends and family who love you.
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/
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