It’s been a minute — make that nearly four and a half years — between albums for Massachusetts punk rockers Four Year Strong. But the group promises that it was time well spent in preparation for the new Brain Pain, whose video for the track “Get Out of My Head” is premiering exclusively below.
“It has been a long time coming,” co-frontman Dan O’Connor tells Billboard. “We did a bunch of touring and stuff for (2015’s Four Year Strong) and then did a lot of conceptualizing about what we wanted to do for the next one. One of the things we wanted to do, which we never had a chance to, was really take our time and put out exactly the record we want and not have any time constraints at all. Usually we’re always working on a deadline.
“So for (Brain Pain) we just wanted to start writing and write as many songs as possible without having an end date in mind. We would know when the record was done. So that’s what we did this time.”
The exercise resulted in nearly 50 songs for the album, out Feb. 28, with plenty of trial and error to arrive at the 12 tracks Four Year Strong recorded with co-producer Will Putney. “It was pretty awesome,” O’Connor affirms. “We were able to explore all kinds of different areas musically and go down some of these weird avenues and just explore and see what happens. We were able to write some weird songs and then say, ‘OK, those were weird, let’s get on to the next song.’ At least we got them out. It wasn’t some idea festering inside us anymore.”
Day adds that, “All of us thought, ‘Wow, this is exactly what we were picturing for this’ — and rarely does that happen. We’re always happy with what we get out of the studio, but this time we had the time of focus on what we wanted.”
Co-directed by the band and Miguel Barbosa, the comically violent “Get Out of My Head” and its colorful The Truman Show vibe “came together really fast,” according to O’Connor. It marks the second time Four Year Strong has helmed one of its own clips, following “Talking Myself in Circles,” and it also gave the group a chance to share some visual love in its home town; O’Connor’s daughter appears with him in the clip, while friends and former crew members are also part of the cast. “The actual treatment and concept was a lot more complex,” Day notes. “Once we started shooting it we realized, ‘Man, there’s a reason people are professionals at this. You’ve got to be organized!’ But the one thing we did have to our advantage was a very clear vision of what the end product was going to be, but we were winging it the whole time and ended up with way more footage than we were going to be able to fit in a three-minute song.”
Four Year Strong kicks off its tour for Brain Pain on release day in London, Ontario, rolling through early April in North America and heading to Europe during May. “The (new) songs are really fun to play, so I’m really excited about it,” O’Connor says. “A bunch of songs have already been released from the record, so people should know them, and we’re going to include a lot of songs from (the album) in the set. We’ve been working on this long enough, we’re really looking forward to playing them for people.”