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Then there were four

A founder's departure can't slow the Audition down



We like writing quickly," says Audition frontman Danny Stevens. "We like capturing the moment of where we are as a band."

No kidding.

When it comes to cranking out new albums, the Audition is surely one of today's more prolific collectives. When the group's Great Danger is released by Victory Records in March, it will mark the Audition's third studio album in three years.

What's more, this is coming from a pop-punk band that routinely plays 150 to 200 shows a year. And it's happening in an era when two-or-three-year gaps between albums are considered the norm.

So what's the rush when it comes to putting out new albums?

"We're songwriters," says Stevens. "Seth [Johnson, the band's guitarist] and I love songwriting. We just love writing, we love recording and we love putting out albums. We're fortunate with a label that also loves to put out albums. So it kind of works hand in hand, where we write and they release it."

The desire to get Great Danger finished quickly was one of the reasons the band — after having worked with Mark Trombino on its 2009 self-titled release and John Naclerio on its first two albums, 2005's Controversy Loves Company and 2008's Champion — chose to take over the production reins.

"We didn't want to have to search and fight over producers with people and wait," Stevens says. "We had these great [song] ideas. We just wanted it out. We wanted it done. We wanted it off of our hands. When you sit on things too long, you start second-guessing, and we didn't want to do that."

The Audition managed to write and record the album in roughly two months. The results shouldn't sound very unfamiliar to the band's fan base.

"For this album, we just tried to hone in on all three of our previous albums," says Stevens. "Like our first album, we had the fast, poppy, punky, in-your-face songs. We had songs on Champion that were funky, with kind of groovy bass lines and smooth singing.

"Then we had like our last album, the self-titled, was just straight-up pop songs, like singer-songwriter-type songs. I think what we wanted to do was to have a culmination of all three albums and just enhance it as much as we could."

Still, there are differences, not the least of which was last year's departure of bassist Joe Lussa, who'd originally co-founded the Chicago-based band with drummer Ryan O'Connor back in 2003.

The Audition ultimately opted to go forward as a four-piece, with guitarist Timmy Klepek taking over the bass for live shows. According to Stevens, even the band members have been surprised at how the Audition sounds with its leaner lineup.

"We really like it," he says. "Even our friends, our peers, have told us, 'You sound really, really good as a four-piece.' I think eventually we'd like to bring on another guitarist, but at this point I think this is really good for us."

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