“Post Earth” is the politically charged new record from Los Angeles’ melodic noise-punk quartet, FEELS.
It’s a strange call to arms—in many ways, a rallying cry for unification while pushing for the renunciation of nationalism. “Burn all the money, all the flags, all this stupid pride,” they demand on the cathartic “Find A Way,” solidifying their position as punk iconoclasts of the modern age.
Recently Culture Collide caught up with the band on their US tour to chat about taking on the system and which way the pendulum will swing.
Culture COLLiDE: The themes of frustration and hope are clearly born of our national political predicament, but are they also somehow intertwined with living in LA?
FEELS: No. The common themes of the album are more globally oriented, looking more outside of any territorial scope—stepping back for the wider perspective. Can we move beyond divisiveness and greed and work together like the family that we are as human beings along with all the other living things that we share our Earth home with? Obviously, US politics played a huge role in inspiring the lyrics to this album, but there are troubling nationalist movements fueled by fear and hate happening all over the world right now, and all of our fates are intertwined.
CC: This is your most lyrically centered, melodic album to date. Was it a conscious decision to tone down the noise so the message would come across more clearly?
FEELS: With our first album we really just wanted to capture the sound and energy of our live show as best possible, and we recorded it in a single day. For the second album, we did intentionally take the time in the studio to reveal more of the subtleties that we have always snuck in there. We were definitely thinking melodically and dynamically, but I could see how lyrically it is more accessible as well. The first album has some pretty lyrically driven songs on it too though, two that actually were specifically about environmental concerns and wanting to have real conversations about the fate of our planet…
CC: Do you feel like punk rock is still an effective mouthpiece to fight the system?
FEELS: Definitely! Creating a safe space for people to come together to acknowledge their frustration and have the kind of catharsis that can come from freaking out at a good punk show is so important! You gotta have healthy outlets for the kind of anger that injustice breeds, and to find others you can bond with who share your outrage… strength in numbers is everything! It’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed when you’re sitting alone in your bedroom. When you’re in a crowd of people it can be very inspiring and give hope that we are not alone! I definitely don’t think punk will single-handedly save the world but if it can inspire people to feel empowered and work together than I think it can help!
CC: How do you see us all collaboratively toppling oppression?
FEELS: Massive change has to happen at the top, but that’s not gonna happen without a lot of pressure from the bottom. Capitalism needs to be seen for the unethical and unsustainable cancer that it is, wealth needs to be redistributed… none of us is a scientist/economist/political genius and we don’t have the answers for how these things can be achieved but we do know that basic respect for our environment and each other is crucial to a sustainable future! We’d love for our record to be a solid soundtrack for getting pumped to take action, and maybe start some conversations, especially in younger kids. Maybe by showing our support for movement in that direction we can help rally support and clear the path for those who are the brilliant geniuses of the future!! On tour, we are having these conversations with people in different countries every night, and everywhere people are talking about these same things. We’re just doing what we can, in our own small way, to inspire and facilitate positive change. If everyone does what they do best with a similar intention we could really get somewhere!
CC: You’ve stated the ‘big question’ behind the album is “What’s gonna happen?” – is the band more optimistic or pessimistic about the future? Which way do you think the pendulum will swing?
FEELS: Well, we don’t know. Most great stories have surprising twist endings and just when you think all is lost something comes along and turns the tides. We haven’t given up hope. It is impossible to overstate the importance of what is at stake right now though, and how crucial it is for humanity to change course from total self-sabotage. The album title being “Post Earth” is really just meant to make you think… there is no such thing. We have one Earth and we have to preserve it, and we figure there’s nothing like being confronted with total devastation to get those gears turning. Everyone grows up with tales of the unlikely hero saving the world from evil, it’s an archetype that has been with humankind since the beginning! It’s a very interesting time to be alive.