Knuckle Puck frontman Joe Taylor on turning 30 and changing the bands sound

Joe Taylor is just one of those cool guys, you know? Even while speaking exclusively to over a faceless Zoom call, he was more than casual about his new Knuckle Puck album, Losing What We Love.

“I’m stoked,” he bellowed with a joyful intonation. “I’m really excited.” Fans are, too. Losing What We Love is Knuckle Puck’s first album since 2020’s “20/20”. They’ve released some sombre EPs since then, but this acts as a reinvention of the band. This was, Joe explained, the first time the band have really settled into a studio for another album. But it wasn’t business as usual for the band this time around.

“I really am so stoked with it,” he repeated. “Just the whole process of making the record and recording it was… we did it in a manner that we haven’t done since we started the band. Being more collaborative, hearing out ideas, and not getting one person so tunnel-visioned out on their own idea.”

Joe pointed out that Knuckle Puck allowed themselves to “hear other people out” while writing and recording. “Get that input,” he added, a process that made the writing, recording and producing a much more wholesome experience overall. “Being together made the process so enjoyable,” he went on. “So, when I hear the product obviously I’m stoked – because it rocks – but knowing how it came about is the best part.”

Writing and recording together is presumably something they haven’t done since before the pandemic (for “20/20”). That album, Joe looked back, turned out to be a bit of a weird one. It was written with a great sense of optimism and joy, and includes some of their best-loved songs… but it was released shortly after the pandemic took over. As a result, their good cheer somewhat fell on deaf ears.

READ MORE Knuckle Puck: ‘If you’re not getting introspective it will slip away’

Losing What We Love is Knuckle Puck’s first real contemplation of the past three years, post-pandemic, Joe said. “I feel it is just a reflection of all of us.” These sombre themes are all too obvious in the album’s title track (Losing What We Love). The heartbreak bleeds through its lines, with Joe screaming such injuries as “So who are we now / that you’re not around?” and “Who do we become / When we’re losing what we love?”ย 

Joe said of the song’s meaning: “I feel like you can still have somebody that you love, but pieces of them can kind of fall away. Or in relationships in general. You can still be cool with somebody, but not have the exact same kind of relationship.” With a hint of regret, he added: “Just growing pains, really.”

This shift in tone, and the change in writing & record, is something that feels a little different for Knuckle Puck. Joe assured me their label had nothing to do with their creative work. So what’s changed?

“I would say it’s more of a relationship change,” he said. “Working with your friends sometimes can be hard, but at the end of the day, we are all friends the line-up of Knuckle Puck is Knuckle Puck. I feel like you’re on a sports team and you don’t have to look behind you, you can just pass it.”ย 

“At this point, we’re all brothers,” Joe went on. “We all just hit 30, some of the guys are 31. [We’re] just hitting this point in our lives and we’re all really good friends, so it’s really cool.”

While many may lament reaching 30 and marching ever onwards to 40, Joe insisted it wasn’t something that he was hung up on. “I wasn’t too worried about turning 30 to be honest with you. But it definitely does make you look at, like, hey what are the next ten years of my life going to look like?”

Knuckle Puck – Losing What We Love is out Friday.

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