“We’re going to come out and do the thing we do every night, which is put on the best show we’re capable of and hopefully we’ll turn some heads,” offers Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell.
The Wonder Years are returning to the UK for the first time in almost a year this week to support Enter Shikari on their massive arena tour. It’s a return visit that’s always held a certain significance.
“When we’re over in England and we’re headlining our stage at Slam Dunk Festival, I’m thinking ‘the first time we came here, we played the Watford Rugby Club. We played in Stoke-on-Trent to literally five paid attendees.’ We did it with no work visas, we lied about what we were doing to get into the country. Honestly they wouldn’t have cared anyway because we didn’t make any money. We lost a ton of money coming over to do that tour. It was our first ever tour. We played a club in Exeter and we slept in the apartment above it because there was nowhere else to go.
Then, in 2015, we’re headlining our stage at Slam Dunk. It’s a trip, it’s never not a trip. It’s never not strange for us. We can never forget the journey. Some bands write a song and people love it and before they’ve even played a gig, they’re playing huge shows. I remember thinking when I was younger that that’s the way to do it but it’s not how we did it. The first time we left for England, our keyboard player had fleas because he’d been in this crust punk house. We slept in this flat in Liverpool and we didn’t realise it was this communal space. The guy was only renting the bedroom and we slept in the hallway. I woke up to a kid from the Czech Republic (maybe) who was also living in the apartment, dressed in a Spiderman outfit pretending to shoot me in the face. It was…” he pauses. “We can’t forget that kind of thing because that’s how we got to where we are.”
“We’re getting a little bit older,” Soupy concedes. “We’re not 22 anymore, I’m 29 years old and we’re going to listen to our bodies. The last thing we want to do is walk on stage and half ass a show. If you come and see The Wonder Years, we want to put on the show you deserve. We’re just going to listen to ourselves and we’re going to go out there and listen to our bodies, physically and emotionally, and ask ourselves, do we feel good about the amount of touring we’re doing. If we don’t, we’re going to pare it back. We don’t want to walk onstage angry, jaded, sore or too tired to jump. We want you to get a great show everyday.”
When The Wonder Years first got asked about touring with Enter Shikari, they were nervous. “Are their fans going to hate us? We don’t sound anything like Enter Shikari.” The band realised that yeah, maybe they will be hated but after asking their friends while over for Slam Dunk, the response was “oh fuck yeah, do that.” The realisation that, “There’s no band like Enter Shikari,” suddenly hit. “If you’re a fan of Enter Shikari, there is no other band like them to be a fan of. You have to be an open-minded music fan. The people that like Shikari like a lot of stuff so we decided, fuck it. If they think we’ll do good with them, our friends think we’ll do good with them, who else are you going to trust? We’ll do it.”
The seven-date run concludes at Alexandra Palace. A venue that Soupy has taken on before. “I’m excited to play Ally Pally,” he offers. “We did it with Warped Tour but it was so rushed. I remember being really upset with how I played that day. We didn’t have time to dial in the monitors and I couldn’t hear anything. Somebody was checking their guitars next to us and I could hear them more than I could hear my own band play. I just really wanted to put on a great set that day and I feel like we could have done better. I’m going to redeem myself this time. I’m putting them on notice. Alexandra Palace, I’m going to put on a great show.”