Interviewed by: Ana Gomez
Fresh off a month long social media hiatus and now back with a new single, “Who Do You Think You Are?,” The New Schematics from Nashville, Tennessee, may just be 2018’s most driven and promising duo. We chatted with songwriter and frontman Cory Bishop to get an insider look at what’s to come for the band.
What The Kids Want: First, let’s talk about this hiatus that you guys just went on. That was a pretty bold move. How do you think it’s affected you?
Cory: The hiatus was really good to just mentally reset, on a personal level and with the music. We’ve been preparing to release music and launch a new brand- if that’s the word- for probably six months, and we’ve been planning the hiatus for about that long. It feels good, it feels right.
WTKW: It must be a huge adjustment, since I know you guys are a band that has a lot of interaction with fans on social media.
Cory: Yeah, it is weird. It’s like you haven’t talked to some of your friends for a while. It’s a weird relationship to have with these people, some of which you’ve never met, and you know that they really care about you and what you’re creating. We care about them too, their stories, what they’re listening to, even just the stupid things or the serious things that everybody likes to tweet. It all impacts what we’re doing, so it’s weird to not have that.
WTKW: I guess since you’ve been planning it for so long, it kind of felt natural, like the right thing to do.
Cory: Yeah, it did. And I think it’s healthy for anybody to do, not just bands who are trying to create hype or whatever, but just as human beings. It’s good to re-center in the real world and gather yourself to walk back into that.
WTKW: Exactly, I don’t think it should be as big of a deal as it is, like something that you have to announce, but it is, which is interesting.
Cory: Yeah, and I think with a lot of bands, they just stop existing. Like, how many indie bands do you know that break up and don’t say anything or just give up. If we’re not going to be around for a few weeks even, we do want to announce that it’s intentional and we’re not just giving up.
WTKW: The worst thing is ﬁnding a good band and then seeing they have no social media and you have no information about them. So I think it’s cool that your presence is something you’ve established already. On the topic of releasing all this new music, how are these upcoming singles coming along? What’s the process been like?
Cory: It’s been wonderful. We’ve really taken in a lot of new inﬂuences and been working with a lot of different producers in different settings, and we’re creating the most exciting stuff that we’ve had. It feels fresh, it feels like the best version of ourselves that we have to offer, and it feels as honest as anything else. It’s been a really cool process, and it’s also been a lot quicker in some ways. With music in the past, sometimes we’ll spend months, hundreds of hours, on just a few songs. But in the production process for one of these singles, we recorded one of these singles top to bottom, which is something we’d never come even close to. We knocked out “Who Do You Think You Are?” in three nights. It’s been really cool just taking what comes, rolling with it, and not overthinking it. That’s what we’ve been doing with these singles, and we’ve never been as happy as we are with the results.
WTKW: So obviously, this new music is being made much differently than it was in the past, but is that the only way you believe your music and the process has changed?
Cory: I do most of the songwriting, so for me personally, I’ve tapped into and come to embrace more pop inﬂuences. We’re probably never gonna be fully pop, we’ll always have this rock and roll element. Ever since I was ten years old and started writing songs, I had this weird aversion to pop, that weird phase where you think just because something is catchy means it’s not good. Over the past two years, I’ve listened to a lot of stuff with a really strong pop sensibility, so I’m realizing that since my writing comes out of habit, and to push myself out of habit is writing better melodies and getting to the point a little more quickly. I feel like we’re beginning to execute that, both in the songwriting and in the arrangement and production. It is satisfying, because I feel like people can take in a story and make it their own a lot more easily than something they have to listen to a few times to begin to grasp.
WTKW: Especially now, I don’t believe genres are what they used to be. I don’t think an artist can, or should, conﬁne themselves to just one genre or try steer away from one.
Cory: Totally. I’ve always said that I never want to sound exactly like only one other band. I don’t like it when other bands do, and I don’t think we do, because our inﬂuences are pretty broad.
WTKW: I think that’s a really good thing for a band to have. Going along with this process of releasing new music: although it’s just singles for now, are there plans for longer releases in the works?
Cory: We’re talking about both an EP and an album, and trying to ﬁgure out the place and the timeline. We have a pretty resolute goal for 2019 to put out an album, but it’s not even in production since we’re focusing on these singles. I feel like a band isn’t fully a band until they put out an album, and maybe that’s not the case anymore, but at least for us with our high regard for rock and roll history, we have to have an album.
WTKW: Since you’re focusing on these singles now, is there any speciﬁc order that they are being released? What was the signiﬁcance behind it?
Cory: Yeah, we want each new single to be better than the one before it. That’s basically the order we’ve chosen. In my opinion, the second single is better than the ﬁrst, the third is better than the second, and so on. It’s kind of a high standard for us, but that’s how we roll. It’s also the order that we’re recording them. We’ve got some more chill stuff coming too. I also like starting the year with a question, Who Do You Think You Are? I feel like 2018 is a lot more about asking questions, 2017 was more about trying to offer a lot of answers. I’ve latched onto the rhetorical device of asking questions in songs, I think that’s a part of all of the singles. There’s something powerful about asking the listener, or yourself, a question, instead of just trying to offer an answer.
WTKW: In this ﬁrst single, I know you get a lot of inspiration from trying to maintain relationships while touring. Are there any other topics you get inspiration from too?
Cory: I get a lot of inspiration from relationships with social media, like we were talking about earlier. Just seeing people caught in between these two world inspires me so much, because it also depresses me a little bit. It’s not just other people, it’s me too, and I’ve been addressing that in some of the songwriting. It’s been inspiring for me. Also the things my bandmate, Michael, goes! through, because since I’m married it’s a well of inspiration, but you’re not going through breakups or heartbreak anymore. Sometimes I can “borrow” my friend’s heartbreak and revisit my experiences through him. There’s also inspiration in saying I’m never going to break another heart, and my heart is never gonna be broken again, and there’s a million songs to be written there. I don’t know if we’ll ever release them, but I write songs about the political climate, I address some social issues. Really, there are no limits.
WTKW: In this day and age, I think it’s important to write things going on that affect everyone.
Cory: Yeah, and I think there’s a way to shroud it in metaphor without hitting it too on the mark, where even people who agree with you are rubbed the wrong way. There’s a little but of that, but I said in 2018 we’d release our best love song ever written, and I feel like that’s what’s happening since I have the best subject to write about.
WTKW: I know you’re eager for your fans to hear these new singles, and you guys have toured extensively in the past. Are there any tours in the works, or just shows in general?
Cory: Yes, but we’re gonna be touring less, and focusing on touring with some bigger ticket artists, which we’ve never done before. We’re hoping some of those pan out. We’ll be touring a little more focused, so not quite coast to coast, but we’ll still be doing multiple dozens of shows. We still book our own shows, and some of those are already booked. Eventually we’ll play for everyone everywhere.
WTKW: It seems like you would have a lot of advice for other young writers or people in a similar situation. What would you want to say to them and to the readers of Loveless?
Cory: For songwriters, your best songs are always in front of you. Don’t get too caught up in what you’ve written, be proud of it. Continue to be honest, don’t settle for a cliche lyric or something that’s just good enough. To our fans, we can’t thank you enough for calling us yours. We deﬁnitely wouldn’t be able to keep doing this if it weren’t for you.