One Step Closer: “We are doing what we love. Sometimes, that requires a sacrifice”

“It’s going to be a sick year,” claim ONE STEP CLOSER. On the strength of their about to arrive new album ‘All You Embrace’, that seems a pretty safe bet. Check out our latest Upset cover story.

Words: Stephen Ackroyd.
Photos: Spencer Chamberlain.

Hailing from the steadfast city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, One Step Closer stand as a testament to the enduring spirit of hardcore. They’re a voice echoing through the charged air of packed venues and the solitary spaces where fans seek solace. With their upcoming album, ‘All You Embrace’, set for release in May via Run For Cover Records, they chart a course through the choppy waters of growth and change.

This album marks a defining moment following their lauded releases ‘This Place You Know’ and ‘Songs For The Willow’, which earned them critical acclaim and a devoted following. They’ve expanded their melodic horizons without compromising the fervour of their sound, inviting listeners into a bold, anthemic journey through their most impassioned music to date.

One Step Closer’s trajectory has been anything but conventional. In a short span, they’ve vaulted from the local scenes to international stages, with live dates stretching from the neon buzz of Tokyo to the historic venues of Europe and beyond. Tour life, naturally, thrums with the pulse of the highway, each city blurring into the next, but for One Step Closer, every stop is a vivid memory in the making.

“Everything is going great,” vocalist Ryan Savitski exclaims. “We are in the middle of our trio tour with Anxious and Koyo right now, currently heading to Cleveland for our show,” he shares, the energy palpable even off-stage. “It’s goin’ good, chillin’ in the van like always,” adds guitarist Ross Thompson. “I think we’re heading to a coffee shop right now, then to the show.”

The journey to ‘All You Embrace’ was laden with life’s shifting tides, as Ryan recounts, “Since the last record came out, the band has been touring like crazy. We got to tour the States, the UK and Europe a bunch. Made it over to Japan, South East Asia, and Australia for the first time, too.”

“I think being gone as much as I’ve been has created a lot of life changes,” he muses. “Changes with friends, family, and just relationships in general. That’s how the overall theme of the new record came into play.” These shifts in personal landscapes crafted the thematic backbone of their newest album.

“This is the most proud I’ve ever been of something we created”

Ryan Savitski

“The first LP allowed us to do so many cool things and introduced us to some amazing people. We got to see the world from the music we made, which is all I wanted to do since the beginning of the band. Have ties with people I’ve never even thought would be possible. Lots of unexpected things for us, but we are insanely grateful.”

The record’s lead single ‘Leap Years’, embodies the album’s emotive heartbeat, born from Ryan’s reflections on absence and belonging, “The song is about being gone and the effect that it’s had on my relationships with people, constantly feeling like I’m missing out on life back home. It’s been a challenging thing to work around, but at the end of the day, we are doing what we love. Sometimes, that requires a sacrifice.”

“I kinda wrote a loose structure of the song on guitar,” he continues. “Originally, it didn’t have a big chorus. Once we started working on it more, we added a chorus, and it ended up making the song so sick.”

“When we were writing the record, we really wanted to showcase every side of OSC possible. This song fills the spot of being familiar enough to the older stuff with a more melodic touch. I think it’s a perfect song for the pacing of the record, and it ties everything together super well.”

The latest taster of the record, meanwhile – the just dropped ‘Giant’s Despair’ – is a lesson in dynamic impact. A building cacophony that packs melody alongside a satisfying crunch and enchanting shimmer. A lesson in the progression the band have made, it’s a marker laid down on the promise of the album to come.

One Step Closer’s creative ambitions for ‘All You Embrace’ were lofty and pure. “Our goals were pretty similar to what they’ve always been; we just want to be true to ourselves and make something that represents OSC to its fullest,” Ryan explains. “Once we were in the studio making the record with Jon Markson, I think everyone’s goal shifted into pushing ourselves as musicians and getting out of our comfort zone a bit. I feel like everyone in the band learned a lot from recording this new record.”

“My main goal for the record was to create a cohesive environment to it,” Ross adds. “When you put the record on or any of the songs, I wanted it to put you in a certain headspace.”

The quest for authenticity is paramount for One Step Closer, with Ross stressing the importance of instinctual songwriting, “For me, that just means writing whatever we want to hear. Not thinking about what we should do but what we want to do.” Ryan echoes this sentiment, “It’s writing what comes to us naturally. Not overthinking the music and being ourselves.”

“We’re all surprised with this record and how it came out”

Ross Thompson

“We ended up writing around 18 tracks but only recorded 12 songs,” Ross continues on the recording process. “We spent the first two days narrowing down what ones we felt worked best together and sequenced the record until we landed on one that felt right. There are a lot of songs that definitely could have made the record; maybe we will record them in the future.”

This album may bring surprises for their fans, Ryan teases. “It’s a healthy mix of everything that OSC has done in the past but a more realised version of it. Plus, some stuff that we’ve never done before. This is the most proud I’ve ever been of something we created.” Ross shares the sentiment, “Honestly, I think we’re all surprised with this record and how it came out.”

Looking ahead, Ryan’s hopes are simple yet profound, “I think I just want the record to allow us to continue what we love to do.” Ross imagines an energetic future, “I hope it allows us to play shows where people are feeding off the energy of everyone in the room and just losing their minds.”

The rest of the year for One Step Closer is as dynamic as their sound, packed with tours and festival appearances, as Ryan outlines, “We’ll finish up this trio tour and then head to the UK and Europe in mid-May. Got another tour through the summer that will be announced soon, along with a couple festivals. Possibly another tour in the fall and some other things that are not announced yet. It’s going to be a sick year.” ■

One Step Closer’s album ‘All You Embrace’ is out 17th May. Follow Upset’s Spotify playlist here.