Since forming in 2006, Forever Came Calling have become a notably recognizable name in music, making a name for themselves with honest lyrics and catchy pop-punk hooks. A familiar name in the scene, FCC are seasoned veterans with five EPs, two full-length studio albums and one compilation on their repertoire.
But now, the Twentynine Palms, California trio—Joe Candelaria (Vocals/Guitar), John Swaba (Bass), Tom Lovejoy (Guitar)—are going back to their roots for their first release since 2014’s What Matters Most… (Pure Noise Records).
Retro Future, a 5-track EP representative of what matters most in life, marks Forever Came Calling’s highly-anticipated return and unpacks the band’s triumphs and struggles over the last decade. “The band definitely needed a little bit of a break so everyone could do life,” vocalist and guitarist Joe Candelaria explains. “We hadn’t done life in our 20s at all.”
Ultimately, several factors brought the band to their temporary halt, namely Joe’s mother suffering from a brain injury in 2015, which led him to question Forever Came Calling’s virtually non stop tour schedule. “With everything going on with my mom and different other personal stuff at home, a lot of times you question did I fuck everything up by being gone so long?” he reflects “Is there just shit I can’t get back?”
Retro Future’s first single “Borrowed Cars”, explores the idea of being lost in day to day life. “I was definitely still struggling with a lot of self doubt,” Joe admits. “I was being pulled in so many different directions. The song is a nod to that. A nod to being lost in the day to day life, forgetting how to get the fuck out of town. When you’re younger, it comes so much easier. As you get older, you start to get roots, and it starts to get harder and harder, and essentially, you forget how to do it all together.”
It was time to rip up the roots. It forced them to look at the band and look at the music analytically to see if it was all worth it. That same year, former FCC founding member Tim Lemos passed away from a drug overdose. The second single, “Kansas City”, originated from that wake up call. “I was flying to his parents’ to do a memorial service. “The wake up call was the pilot saying ‘We’re now over Kansas City’, and I just looked down and thought this is crazy,” Joe says. “What I’m I doing? How much of the world have I seen because me and him starting doing music? Now that person is gone. For me, the song is a nod to that moment in time.”
With help from producers Nick Thompson (Hit The Lights) and Rick King in Kings Sound Studio in Paducah, Kentucky, Forever Came Calling were able to get back to basics and rediscover themselves, as individual musicians and as a band. “There was no chaos. There was no white noise,” Joe explains. “I was able to get silence. That silence lent itself to a lot of really cool moments on the record.
Aside from the help of producers, the band’s effort on Retro Future is entirely independent, which rebirthed a new sense of excitement for the band, and revived sense of ownership. “As soon as I said it outloud,” Joe explains, “I thought ‘yes!’. That gets me excited about music. That gets me excited because being in a band and playing music is more about the adventure of it than anything else.”
Though lyrically deeply personal, Retro Future also marks a new sound, taking influence from new sounds like Manchester Orchestra and hip-hop while emulating bands like Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday. “‘Kansas City’ is the FCC calling card,” Joe says. “That’s why people listen to our band is because of songs like that. ‘Borrowed Cars’ is the adult version of that and then there’s two tracks that I don’t think people are going to expect from a band like us.”
Now, Retro Future stands to be Forever Came Calling’s boldest, most honest work to date, showcasing that sometimes letting go of how you thought things were going to play out allows for something brighter and better to take its place. “I spent the better part of my adult life planning for the future and planning out how things were going to work and being told that there is a plan.” Joe admits, “And you hit some of those accolades, things play out in good ways and bad ways. You get to a point where you look back and think holy shit, this isn’t where I thought I was going to end up. It’s about being in that moment and realizing maybe sometimes you have to tear up the map and start again.
“Retro Future” is about embracing what you love and making decisions based on your instincts,” Joe leaves off. “Saturn returns: the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, purging antiquated ideas and most importantly, believing in yourself.