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'There's Such a Duality': Against The Current Embrace Their Nightmares and Daydreams Era

Tuesday, 28 November 2023 Written by Will Marshall

Photo: Izzy Lux

“I love an era,” Against the Current vocalist Chrissy Costanza says with a smile, reached over Zoom during a gap between tours. Alongside drummer Will Ferri and guitarist Dan Gow, she is throwing around one of music’s buzziest words to describe an important transition for a band who have become adept at navigating them.

Formed in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2011, Against The Current have always lived up to their name. They started out by posting covers to YouTube, and found themselves building an audience that way rather than by touring in vans around the country. One big momentum shift in their story was their signing with Fueled By Ramen — with whom they released two albums in 2016’s ‘In Our Bones’ and 2018’s ‘Past Lives’ — and another came with the announcement of their exit in the summer of 2022.

Now, midway through another world tour, with many dates sold out or close to it, the band are once again proudly independent just like they were at the start. They’re calling this their Nightmares and Daydreams era, pulling the name from a lyric on their 2022 single Blindfolded. “I think, for us, when we left, we realised there’s such a duality to everything in life,” Costanza says. “And the thing that you wanted most, the daydream, can easily become a nightmare before you realise it, and vice versa.” 

When asked what it was that made them decide to go the independent route again, Costanza reflects on searching for a sense of authenticity in initially signing with a label. Their decision to leave, meanwhile, was ultimately because they felt that the people most invested in the band had moved on. “Social media is so different now, YouTube wasn’t something that made us popular with the bands that we wanted to be like,” she says. “We wanted validation that we were a, quote unquote, real band.” 

Will shrugs when pondering whether there’s anything they’d do differently now than when they were at the beginning of their career. “I wish we’d stood our ground a bit more,” he says. “We were young and trying to figure it out, and we listened to people’s advice but it wasn’t always for the best.” Chrissy agrees, but flips the thought on its head. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what they think because they’re not the ones coming to your shows,” she says. “Our fans have always been there and they’ve always shown up.”

That feeling of support is partly what gives them the confidence and drive to step out on their own in terms of regularly reimagining their songs, too. The sleek, punchy pop-rock of Blindfolded, for example, started life as a very different proposition, with a subsequent acoustic version revealing its core. “It was a lot more pop, with a lot of acoustic guitar,” Will explains. “It was a top down, cruising in the summer kind of tune and that’s just the way it was written. We all loved it, but it wasn’t the direction we were going in. Taking it back to acoustic was fun, because it really shed light on the original energy of the song.” 

Since the beginning, Against the Current have often released different versions of their songs. “It takes us back to when we were doing covers on YouTube,” Will grins. It’s fun to reinterpret and flex those creative muscles again.” Equally, speaking with Chrissy and Will reveals musicians who understand, and are still in touch with, where they came from. Chrissy is keen to point out that there are thematic carry-overs from their most recent EP ‘Fever’ in their newer music to ensure continuity. 

“I don’t like when eras happen in a vacuum, and once an artist leaves one era it’s like it never happened,” she says. “It’s like who they were before ceases to exist, and it’s jarring and bizarre.” To that end, there are thoughts that started on ‘Fever’ that they plan to continue or conclude in this new cycle. 

What’s particularly interesting to note, though, is that unlike previous world tours or phases tied to releases (“We’ve always treated EPs like albums,” Chrissy states) this refresh hasn’t produced new music other than some standalone singles. Yet. “There’s not a Nightmares and Daydreams album,” Chrissy begins, refusing to be drawn on whether there could be at some point down the line. “They’d be really terrible secrets if we just announced it,” she laughs. “We’re still figuring out what the next music is going to sound like, and what next year will look like. I like buttoning up the year without anyone knowing what’s next.” 

As for the remainder of  2023, their Nightmares and Daydreams Tour brings them to the UK and Ireland for a few dates barely a year since their last appearance as support for Pierce the Veil, and around 18 months since their most recent headline run. “People keep showing up for us there,” Chrissy exclaims, pointing out that no matter how many times they tour here, the crowds seem to keep getting bigger. 

She’s not wrong — their upcoming London headline show is at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, the same venue they opened for Pierce the Veil at in the not too distant past. “It’s so rewarding and satisfying,” Chrissy says. “We’ve been touring in the UK for a decade now, and we love it. It’s nice to see it keep growing, with the OGs that keep coming back, and we make new friends every time as well.” For a band that have resolutely stuck to their guns and done things their own way, it’s particularly satisfying. “We couldn’t ask for more,” Chrissy says.

Against The Current Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 29 2023 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Thu November 30 2023 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Fri December 01 2023 - LONDON O2 Forum
Sat December 02 2023 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Mon December 04 2023 - GLASGOW SWG3 TV Studio
Tue December 05 2023 - BELFAST Limelight
Wed December 06 2023 - DUBLIN Academy

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