Paint Fumes’ last album If It Aint’ Paint Fumes, It Ain’t Worth The Huff was about panic attacks and broken backs. Now, three years later, Paint Fumes is releasing their third LP What A World. This time their minds are on heartbreak and surviving in a fucked up society.
“This world is just a fuckin’ joke these days, and not a good joke,” frontman Elijah Von Cramon tells BTRtoday. “I think this [new album] has songs that are more about just trying to deal with the mental stress of living in this society,” drummer Josh Johnson adds.
In 2016, Cramon was hit by a truck and Johnson fell off a cliff and many of their songs concerned the gruesomeness of their injuries and difficult recoveries. But now, with Cramon fresh off a horrible breakup and his father back in jail, he’s got more than puddles of blood to write about.
Cramon says half of the songs were written pre-life shattering break up and half post, making for a really interesting tracklist. “Heavy Night” the only single out for What A World so far, shows a lovesick side to Paint Fumes. They aren’t just the in-your-face, fast and loud punk band we’re so used to blasting at full volume in our garage. “Heavy Night” has a soothing yet chaotic melody conveying yearning for the one you love. Still drenched with distortion and fuzz, the song asks to heal not only their loneliness, but also their aching bodies.
Cramon calls “Heavy Nights” his favorite on the upcoming album and is excited that it’s not just about “sad shit or panic attacks for once.” Listen to the single and read the entire interview with Paint Fumes’ Cramon and Johnson below.
BTRtoday (BTR): We haven’t chatted about Paint Fumes since 2016, can you believe it? What’s the band been up to for the past three years?
Elijah Von Cramon (EVC): It’s been too long. We have been touring a lot. Also, recording and writing a lot.
Josh Johnson (JJ): Writing a new record, doing a tour with King Khan & the BBQ Show and one with Shannon & the Clams, a tour in Europe and trying to get along with each other. I finally moved to Charlotte, so we all live in the same city now
BTR: Give me the rundown of “Heavy Night”—what’s the entire story behind it?
EVC: “Heavy Night” is probably my favorite on this new record. I think it shows that we aren’t just a yelling punk band. I also just really dig the feeling of it and the fact that it’s not about sad shit or panic attacks for once.
BTR: Tell me about this third album coming out in August, any real-life stories that went into the songs? What’s your ideal reaction from your listeners?
EVC: This record is weird one cause some of the songs I had written a while ago and then the others were more recent. Some of them were written before this terrible breakup I had and then the later ones were after the terrible break up. I usually try not to write about stuff like that and try and write about just feeling uncomfortable existing. But it was a heavy breakup. I don’t really have an ideal reaction for our listeners. I just want them to perceive it however they perceive it [and] I hope people dig it.
JJ: It was mostly written while being on the road. For the last album, both Elijah and I were getting back on our feet from serious injuries. He got run over by a car, I fell off a cliff. I think this one has songs that are more about just trying to deal with the mental stress of living in this society.
BTR: How has Paint Fumes matured into the fine wine that it is today?
EVC: I don’t know if I would call it fine wine. More like a bottle of night train. [Laughs] But I guess we’ve been through a lot of bad shit and it’s only made us stronger and push harder. We ain’t going nowhere anytime soon, so maybe people can sense that energy and urgency.
JJ: We haven’t [aged to a fine wine]. We taste like hot Wild Irish Rose [wine].
BTR: Are you toying with anything completely new to all of you guys with this album? You told me your dad was a big reggae fan. Has that come into play at all this time?
EVC: [Laughs] My dad’s music has definitely not come into play, but yeah he was a reggae musician. But I don’t ever take any inspiration for him except for maybe being mad/sad that his dumbass is back in prison. But one of the things that’s definitely new about this record is that I’m not playing chords on this record or live anymore. I always write hooks with the demos I make and this record we actually used them for once and recorded them.
JJ: Yeah, Elijah’s dad was a big inspiration on the bass playing on this record.
BTR: Is there a meaning behind the album name What A World?
EVC: This world is just a fuckin’ joke these days, and not a good joke. It’s just unbelievable sometimes how terrible people can be and how terrible people have been and are being treated. So yeah, what a damn world.
BTR: After the album release, what else does Paint Fumes have in store for the future?
EVC: We’re headed back to Puerto Rico in November, which I’m really excited about. I love PR and it will be so good to see all of our friends there. It’s wild what they have gone through and continue to go through. That island has some of the sweetest kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Then in February we head back to Europe, which is always fun as well. We also are playing Muddy Roots Music Festival which is exciting. And just the same shit, I guess—touring our asses off constantly. We also will be recording a new full length and 45 in between all of that, so keep an eye out. Hopefully it won’t be a whole three years before we can do this again.
JJ: Writing another new record, touring in the states and in Europe, and a new diet besides Taco Bell.