After spending the bulk of quarantine writing its latest album, “I Went to Hell and Back” — which releases on Feb. 4 — U.K. alt rockers As It Is is ready to make the trip overseas.
“Spending so much of the past two years indoors and away from live music, our fans and each other, it felt really overwhelming to be back at a music festival where we were safely surrounded by people,” says vocalist Patty Walters.
As It Is will perform on a bill with Set It Off, Stand Atlantic and No Love for the Middle Child on Friday, January 14, at the Van Buren.
Despite a successful string of performances in his home country of the U.K., Walters admits he has mixed emotions about hitting the road.
“Trepidatious is a very appropriate word,” he says. “There is a certain amount of apprehension and concern that your health is in jeopardy.”
Because of this, Walters feels there is an onus put on touring musicians.
“Everybody who volunteers to come to a show — from the band to the promoters to the venue — are responsible for ensuring these shows happen safely in and outside of a pandemic,” he says.
Walters continues it felt weird yet natural to be back on stage during the band’s few shows in 2021.
“It’s hella weird because this is a moment that I have looked forward to and missed terribly then during the show I went back onto autopilot again,” he says. “Then, at any moment, I will realize that just months ago I was locked inside my home playing Animal Crossing and now I’m back to doing what I love.”
Amid his excitement to tour, Walters and his bandmates—guitarist Ish and bassist Alistair Testo — had to adapt to two unique challenges.
“We all live in different cities and countries, and we are also changing up who plays drums for us from tour to tour,” Walters says.
Despite these challenges, Walters is confident that he and his bandmates will wow audiences when they return to the road this month.
“We have a mutual understanding, and we feel that we have arranged a really strong setlist for this tour,” he says.
Walters says the setlist will highlight two singles that the band released in the latter half of 2021 — “IDGAF” and “I Lie To Me.”
Walters is also anxious to play the band’s latest single “I Miss 2003” for the second time when the band hits the stage at The Van Buren.
Walters teases that fans may get a sneak peek of an unreleased song, and tracks from three previous records.
“We’ll try to find a balance between our older records and the new songs,” Walters says. “We want to figure out what people want to hear along with what we enjoy playing.”
Tracks that Walters still enjoys treating listeners to live are the band’s flagship song “Dial Tones,” “Hey Rachel,” a nod to his family, “The Wounded World” and “The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry).”
“Those songs were singles for a reason and we’re extremely proud of them and they’re extremely well written,” Walters says.
Additionally, Walters admits that every song he writes is finished with the sole purpose of being played live.
“When we and I write a song, it is written with its ultimate home being on stage,” he says. “There are moments in the structure, the music and the lyrics that are built to exist most effectively in that environment.”
He also feels that having a supporting slot in the tour puts his band and its tunes in a new position.
“The beauty and the joy of being a support act is that you are there to impress fans and leave the stage with new ones,” Walters says.
“If fans have not heard of us before, I hope that the show will prompt them to do their research and see what we’re all about. If fans have, I hope that they are impressed with what we’ve been cooking up throughout the pandemic and the lockdowns.”
Set It Off with Stand Atlantic, As It Is and No Love For The Middle Child
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday, January 14
WHERE: The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix