The Flatliners’ career is a testament to perseverance and dedication. With a lineup that has never strayed from the original members who met as teenagers, the band has since logged countless miles on the road and amassed a dedicated legion of fans along the way.
Now approaching 15 years of hammering out bombastic tunes everywhere from dive bars to festival stages to European concert halls, The Flatliners hold fast to the DIY punk-rock ethos that has been at the band’s core since its genesis. The band came out swinging with youthful exuberance on their debut record, Destroy To Create, in 2005, and they’ve honed their anthemic style with each subsequent release: The Great Awake in 2007, Cavalcade in 2010, Dead Language in 2013 and Division of Spoils in 2015.
But a frenetic touring schedule and prolific recording output takes its toll, and The Flatliners decided to spend the majority of 2015 off the road to recharge and spend time with friends and family. Striking a balance between home and road life is a difficult task, but frontman and guitarist Chris Cresswell concedes that it’s a necessary one.
“That’s what we’ve been in search of for probably the last seven years. We noticed it in ourselves, and that’s what we’re really striving for now,” he says. “We have a lot of people in our lives that are super supportive of what we do, and we’re supportive of each other.”
The downtime has proved to be a beneficial move for the band, and despite them laying low there was still plenty going on behind the scenes. Early on in 2015 the guys found themselves without the familiarity of the jam space they had inhabited for nearly a decade—four walls that had been the incubator for hundreds of songs and uninhibited creativity. Several months were spent renting rooms wherever they were available before the band was able to settle into a new space, but the guys did their best not to let the upheaval hinder their burgeoning roster of new material. Borne out of that chaos was Nerves, a two-song EP released on October 28, 2016. The recording, The Flatliners’ first on Dine Alone Records, features the battlecry stomper “Hang My Head” and ever-so-slightly more subdued yet equally powerful “Mud,” both of which Cresswell says are a taste of what’s to come on The Flatliners’ forthcoming full length, due out sometime next year.
“We’ve been working hard to refine what we do. Nerves is the appetizer,” he explains. “We definitely wanted to lead with songs that sound like the band people know already but also give a good indication of where we might end up going.”
The poignant tracks are connected in their examination of the state of human interaction—or lack thereof—in today’s tech-obsessed society. “Those two songs in particular are about trying to keep up with life around you but also wading through the potential bullshit of people thinking that the internet is more important than their friends,” Cresswell explains. “It’s become a thing where it’s kind of inevitable that you’re fighting for people’s attention now, whether you’re a band or an individual, and there’s not as much value placed on face-to-face human interaction as there is in elevating the profile.”
Nerves offers a satisfying stop-gap to satiate fans until The Flatliners release their next album, and it also serves as a capstone for a year of newfound creativity. As the group’s steadfast members reach milestones in their personal lives and learn from each new experience they weather as a unit, Cresswell looks forward to what still lies ahead.
“It feels like we’re onto something, and it’s exciting for a band to be 15 years into their existence and have this. It’s a refreshing thing.”
Opening Act: Not Scientists