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“I don’t like to force myself into working on songs,” says Greg Barnett, one of the band’s two guitarists and vocalists. “The way I see it, songwriting is something that I do because I find it fun. I like to think that I’m still very much in love with the craft of coming up with song ideas, and always writing; but not necessarily writing strictly with one goal in mind. I feel like it eases off a lot of the pressure for me and allows me to focus on being a songwriter.


“After [previous album, 2014’s] Rented World came out, we toured pretty extensively through the summer and winter of 2015; including a big run of festivals through Europe. Once we were done with all of that, we had time to piece together all of these ideas for songs that Tom [May, guitar/vocals] and I had collated over that time. Without that extra pressure, we ended up having a lot to work with.”


The ideas in question were being pieced together for After the Party, The Menzingers’ fifth studio album. Recorded in the back half of 2016 with acclaimed producer Will Yip, After the Party is an album of reflection and introspection; spurred on in its creative process by some considerable milestones. “There were a lot of factors involved as far as this record is concerned,” says Barnett.


“One of the main ones was hitting the milestone of the band being around for ten years. It’s mind-blowing to us that we’ve been doing it that long – I was a senior in high school when this band started. For some, Rented World was the last record they made in their 20s and After the Party is the first record they’ve made in their 30s. There’s a lot of reflection on our 20s on this record – our lives, and everything we dedicated and sacrificed to this band. As the songs came together, it became more and more apparent that this is where the album was headed. We took that overarching theme and ran with it.”


Before its release, anticipation for After the Party was uniformly positive. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the album thus far, ironically enough, has been its cover. Although it’s been said you can’t judge a book by such a thing, the situation changes when a) it’s an album; and b) the cover looks as great as this one. “It’s a photo that was taken at Asbury Park in New Jersey,” says Barnett.


“The photographer, Jim Moloney, took it back in about 1980. I think it’s perfect – which is funny, considering it almost wasn’t used. We originally decided on another one – it was fine, but I don’t think it was anyone’s first pick except my own. One of the things I’ve learned about being in this band for ten years is if not everyone in the band is completely gung-ho about a decision, then it’s almost always not going to work out. I told the guys to let me look around a little more for a photo to use, and not long after that I somehow stumbled across this photo. I stopped in my tracks immediately – I knew then and there that it was the perfect image to get across what we were doing on this record, and thankfully everyone agreed.”



After the Party by The Menzingers is out now through Epitaph.