Interview: Famous Last Words’ JT Tollas Discusses New Label, Working with Matt Good, Solo Project and More!

Petoskey, MI’s Famous Last Words are a force to be reckoned within the post-hardcore world. They’ve got 4 incredible releases under their belt: Pick Your PoisonTwo-Faced CharadeCouncil of the Dead and The Incubus. These guys have faced adversity and come out clean on the other side, more times than they care to count. Now, armed with a new line-up, a hunger to get into more ears and a desire to create in a way that they see fit… they’ve landed with SBG Records. On May 17th, they will drop their first non-conceptual release in years, Arizona, recorded with Matt Good (Asking Alexandria, The Word Alive, Attila, etc). I had the chance to send over some questions for an email interview with my good friend and vocalist, JT Tollas, which can be found below! After reading the interview, be sure to check out the videos for “Runaways” and “No Walls” below and, above all, do yourself a favor and check out Arizona either by pre-ordering or streaming it on your subscription service of choice, when it drops!

BearlySinister: Thank you for taking the time to do this with us. It’s always a pleasure! 

JT Tollas: 

Hey man! always a pleasure.

BearlySinister: Your new EP, Arizona, will be released on May 17th via SBG Records. Previously, you’ve worked with InVogue Records and Revival Recordings. SBG is a fairly new label, from what I understand, but already has quite an impressive repertoire. Can you tell us what led to the decision to work with SBG and how you feel they’ll help further your career? Also, how did you come into working with Matt Good?  


We actually met Shan (Owner of SBG) at a show we played in Arizona. SBG is a completely new kind of label this is far more fit for this modern age of the music industry than anyone else we talked to. We get the freedom we need from SBG while also getting full support. We met Matt while we were recording The Incubus. He actually did a lot of sound design on that record. We just loved working with him on that record and loved the music he was pumping out as a producer, so we made it happen.

BearlySInister: How has your sound evolved from the release of The Incubus and what can fans expect out of the EP? 


I feel like this EP is much more raw. It’s dark, but in a very personal way, to me at least. All of these songs are about my own struggles I’ve dealt with and just needed to get off of my chest. But I think our whole band can relate to these songs in one way or another, and I’m hoping others will be able to relate and really feel these songs too.

BearlySinister: This is your first non-conceptual release since your debut EP, Pick Your Poison. Did you have another concept in mind or was it always the plan to step away from it for this release? 


We didn’t know what we were going to do before this record. We were all in really low places as far as our moral with the band went. We ended up deciding to just go to the studio with Matt and to see what would happen. We didn’t originally have any intentions or real ideas of what we were going to do when we got there, which is very different for us. But it really gave us the opportunity to do some “soul searching” if you will. I think we all had a lot of built up emotions and we all needed Arizona to happen in order to get it all out.

BearlySinister: What can you tell us about the incredibly different directions that the videos for “Runaways” and “No Walls” took? One seems to be a funeral wake scene (signaling the end of an era, perhaps?) and the other is a combination of a lyric video, with you singing/screaming along in the background of the video. 


We decided to give change a try, not just in our music, but in all avenues. We were really just kind of following our feet wherever they took us, instead of making everything so specific. We really let the fates decide on this one and it’s actually been a pretty freeing experience.

BearlySinister: Speaking on the title of the EP, is the term Arizona used to pay hommage to where it was recorded? Or is there a deeper meaning behind the title? 


It was used to pay homage for where it was recorded, but it’s also much more than that. It’s where a lot of major turns happened for this band, and us as people, and a “resurrection” of sorts happened. 

BearlySinister: Speaking on Cody [Paige] joining the band… he’s from FL (which, ironically enough, is where Evan is from.) How did you learn of him and what led to the decision to add him into the band?


Evan knew Cody before Ty and I did. He told us about this drummer he knew from the local scene who was really good and an awesome dude, so he flew in and we gave him a try. We all immediately clicked which made it a very easy transition.

BearlySinister: Speaking on the decision to move on as a four-piece, what was the deciding factor there?


Having less people just makes thing easier sometimes. We felt really comfortable as a four piece and we sounded just as tight as ever.

BearlySinister: While you currently have no touring plans announced, are you going full force once the EP is released?


We definitely have plans to tour the EP once it’s released, but we have other plans too. Those details will be released in due time.

BearlySinister: Many individuals who have seen you on your most recent tour, have described the two new songs you played (“No Walls” and “The Game”) as a more focused version of the sound you created with The Incubus. Were these songs originally written during those sessions or are they completely new animals/?


They are completely new. Nothing from Arizona existed until we actually were in Arizona writing and recording.

BearlySinister: Let’s move into your new solo project, PostScript. What led to its formation and what are you able to accomplish with it, that you’re unable to with FLW? 


PostScript is a pop project at heart. I love playing heavy music with FLW, but I honestly don’t really listen to it much anymore. I would never want to change FLW so drastically just to put out my own other style of music, so I created PostScript. It gives me the option to write whatever the hell I want.

BearlySinister: Are you planning an EP or full-length of material for this project? Or strictly focusing on singles?


I actually just very recently signed a deal with SBG and will be hitting the studio with Nick Scott starting March 10th to start my first full length album for PostScript. I couldn’t be more excited honestly.

BearlySinister: You guys mentioned heading back into the studio to record more music, after this EP was finished up. Is that material planned for a future release or is there a second EP on the way, that we’ve yet to experience?


I think we might just ride this “see where our feet takes us” wave. W are gonna see how everything works out and keep up the grind from there as usual.

BearlySinister: That’s about all I have for you! Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers, your fans and the general public?


Thank you for staying with us over the years. I think you will all love Arizona, and I hope it speaks to you the same way it speaks to me.

Be sure to pick up your copy of Arizona by heading to the following link and check out the videos for “Runaways” and “No Walls” below!

1. Runaways
2. The Game
3. Broken Glass
4. Scream
5. No Walls

Famous Last Words is:

JT Tollas – Vocals
Evan Foley – Guitar
Tyler Myklebust – Bass
Cody Paige – Drums

Connect with FLW on Social Media:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram