“You’ve grown with these songs already, but there’s more of an excitement when you’re playing them,” says Nikki Misery, one of the band’s two guitarists. “Once we started really getting stuck into them every night, I feel like altogether we started to realise things about them that we wouldn’t have otherwise. There’s a lot more to these songs than I think even we thought initially – certainly a lot of emotion. Touring this album has made these songs a lot more real to us.”
Unbreakable was pieced together throughout 2018, and marked yet another line-up change for the revolving-door band – lead vocalist Ashley Costello is the only original member, while Misery is currently its longest-serving member with an eight-year tenure. The newest addition to the fold was guitarist Austin Ingerman, who made his debut on Unbreakable and helped to firmly cement the band’s current incarnation. “Oddly enough, this was probably the easiest recording process ever,” says Misery.
“Austin is such an amazing player, and we were all mature enough to just let the songs come a bit more naturally this time around. Almost every time in the past has lead to bickering over one thing or another – like, ‘I thought this would be cool!’ ‘I thought this would be cooler!’ That sort of thing. This time around, I think we were all on the same page. The song is what counts, but you can still hear influences from all of us when you’re listening to it. We all just wanted what was best for it, and that’s what we got.”
The album sees the band pulling from an expansive array of sounds – including, but not limited to, alternative metal, dubstep, mainstream rock and angsty pop. One doesn’t need to look further than “Shut Up,” one of Unbreakable’s lead singles, as a standout example of the way New Year’s Day effortlessly hybrid their genres to create something distinctively theirs. Misery is particularly enthused about the song, too: “I’m normally not the type to go on about how easy a song was to write, but this one was really something else,” he says.
“We literally had the whole thing completed in less than a day. We were on a roll! Ash just had this idea, and I started building on it. Soon enough, we were all on board and working together. She was like, ‘Do you guys like this?’ She didn’t even have to ask – we were all, ‘We love this!’ The whole process had us all super-stoked. It made me feel really proud to be a part of this band.”
In 2020, the band will tour Australia for the second time, following an appearance at the inaugural Good Things festival at the end of 2018. It will mark the first time the band have done headlining shows here, and they’re bringing a full-scale production with them. “We’re completely wireless now,” says Misery of the New Year’s Day live set-up that has been a part of the entire Unbreakable world tour.
“I’m playing through a Line 6 Helix onstage, and I’m getting everything through the in-ears. I was the caveman of the band for so long – I was adamant that there was nothing like having an amp behind you, and just cranking it. On the last tour that we did, though, the rest of the band finally convinced me to give it a try. I haven’t looked back since.” Of course, there may be a slight ulterior motive on Misery’s behalf: “Really, what’s been the best is the load-out,” he laughs. “We used to just lug all of this gear around, and now we just have this one rack with everybody’s stuff on it. It’s been like a dream come true!”