While the concept of resurrection continues to be debated to this day, it appears that French-Canadian duo Story Untold have had a born-again moment. After departing from pop punk rainmakers Hopeless Records, they embarked on a new vision (albeit down two members) to be more authentic in pursuing what they wanted to write, rather than what would make them the next Simple Plan. With Story Untold’s new and considerably darker EP, nx future, out now, we caught up with vocalist Janick Thibault to take stock of their new incarnation.
You recently left Hopeless Records. What happened there?
I think it was just that we got signed as a four piece pop punk band and then right now, I don’t know if you saw, but we’re only two left. I mean, we changed our sound over the years. We put out one EP with them in 2016 and I think that’s the reason why we got signed with them. The EP was pretty pop punk [of the] Simple Plan/All Time Low variant, in that vibe. And I think that’s the vision they had for us. We did the album that came out in 2018 and then when it came time to start writing demos for new stuff, we wanted to go in another direction. I started writing songs and we sent them to Hopeless and I don’t think they liked the direction we were going for. I think it was just a mutual agreement, they just didn’t know what they could do to bring us to the level we wanted to achieve. So we just parted ways because we really wanted to do something different, reflecting the vision we had for the band at that time.
The direction you wanted to go in – how would you describe it?
I mean, I don’t really know because when we left Hopeless, we were still four [people] in the band. But we were going for more of a rock/alternative direction. We got inspired by bands like Bring Me the Horizon. There was also PVRIS, nothing, nowhere…a darker sound with more mature lyrics and a darker vibe. So that’s pretty much what we had in mind and I think that’s how it came out. I mean, the songs are darker, the lyrics are more honest and I think it reflects in the songs.
Is it just you that writes the lyrics?
Yeah, pretty much. When we did our first album, there were a lot of co-writings. I co-wrote most of the songs with Paul Marc from Silverstein, he was a co-writer with me. But in my opinion, I think I write my best lyrics when I’m all by myself. I feel it’s more personal and more true to me, and I’m more proud of what I come up with when I’m alone. Now, everything is written by me but back then, like I said, there were other people involved. Right now it’s just me and my personal experiences, my work…writing these songs was very therapeutic in a way because I let out everything I wanted to say for years that I didn’t allow myself to go as deep [on]. If that makes any sense.
There’s one song on this new release, ‘nxt my father anymxre’, which does sound very personal. Did your dad end up hearing that?
I mean, I warned him before. I think that’s the only song on the EP that’s not personal to me…I wrote it from a kid’s perspective, from someone that’s left alone by his parents and that doesn’t have anyone to turn to and everything he’s trying to do, his parents are just like, “Fuck that, you can’t do it. You’re never going to amount to anything.” I wrote it from that person’s perspective but it’s also a lot coming from me because I wrote it in a way that [reflects] what I think people would think of me. I think there’s a lot of people that still want me to fail, like some friends from high school. I remember when I was in high school and I would do YouTube covers and all that stuff, they would always be like, “You know, it’s not going anywhere. Why the fuck are you doing this?” And, “You’re not going to do anything in life.” And so, I gathered all of those things together and wrote that song.
When I came up with the line, “You’re not my father anymore”, I just thought it fit perfectly, but it’s not about me. I have a good relaxed relationship with my father and it’s not about him. I don’t know if he was upset about it because I sent him a message on Facebook before putting out the song. And I was like, “Hey, we’ve got this song that’s called ‘nxt my father anymxre’, and just so you know, it’s not about you, it’s about a lot of things but it’s just mixed in the song.” And I think he just answered with like a thumbs up or something. So it was just like, I don’t know if he’s mad…
That sounds like something my parents would do. You’ve just had this new release drop. What are your plans now that’s happened?
To be honest, I don’t really know because the thing is, we would like to tour but right now, the situation is pretty much shit for us…I think right now we’re just focusing on the writing as much as we can and then just trying to evolve and improve or sound like what we did for this EP. This EP was like a test in a way because it was very fucking different from what we we used to do in the past.
What’s the pandemic situation like where you are?
Oh, it’s pretty bad. I mean, they just announced yesterday some new lockdown rules because cases are going up again here in Canada. I don’t know what happened. I mean, we didn’t get vaccines, so I guess it’s taking a long ass time to get everyone vaccinated. It’s not good. Everything is closed. We can’t go to shows. I think they opened up gyms, I think, last week and they just closed them again. Restaurants are closed, venues, same thing. I think they opened up venues two weeks ago and you were allowed to have 20% capacity in the room and now they just shut it down again. So we can’t do anything. It sucks, it really does.
What makes you so committed to this band when it’s so difficult to pursue it right now?
I started playing music when I was 11 and I started posting videos on YouTube when I was 12. So I’ve been doing this for the vast majority of my life. It’s pretty much everything I know and I love doing it. I mean, I’m not doing any of this for money or whatever. I’m just doing it because I love it. So even if the band wasn’t working, I would still be writing songs and maybe write for other people or I don’t know, just post videos on YouTube. Even if there were no lockdowns, no pandemic or whatever, I would still be doing this and writing songs in my room because that’s what I love to do.