The Tracys Talk Their Farewell Album Welcome To The Land of Nothing

Throughout turbulent times, punk rock has always remained a constant in providing an outlet for artists to produce angsty, evocative music-something known all too well to Brooklyn pop-punk band The Tracys. Consisting of Matt Ernst, Dave Klym, John Payne, and Larry Mancini, The Tracys is dedicated to everything punk stands for-which is why it’s so disheartening that their new album Welcome To The Land of Nothing will be their last. The members remain close-knit however and are far from done with the music industry as Matt, John, and Larry are continuing with The Sparkles who are set to tour the East Coast later this summer. It’s hard to imagine that this will be the last we hear of this rambunctious bunch as their collaborations are nothing short of pure punk-rock fun. In the meantime, Welcome To The Land of Nothing is eight tracks of non-stop creative chaos that will leave listeners jamming in honor of this band’s 10-year run. 


Q. The Tracys have just hit their 10th anniversary. Talk about your growth as a band and the growth of the rock industry that you’ve seen over the past decade.

A. The Tracy’s: Well, we all came into the band with various experiences in other bands. Dave was the most seasoned having played and toured the world with bands like Mike Plume Band, Itch, and The Populars. Matt had not played in a band for almost 20 years, having left the music world to become a visual artist. John had recently been the synth-pop band Puppetbox and Larry, the baby of the band, had played in various bands in Chicago before moving to NYC. The [starting] idea was just a once a week get together to drink beer and have fun but from the first moment we got together we knew we had a little something special. 

We recorded the first record before we had our first live show about 3 months after that first practice. You can hear the progression musically from one record to the next and I think we finally nailed it on Humdinger. As far as the industry, I’m not sure “progressed” is the right word. What’s happened over the last 20 years is the industry has become ‘democratized’ with technology making it easier and cheaper to record and promote your music independently, but the field is so huge and distribution so diverse, it’s very hard to get momentum and near impossible to make money. 


Q. One of the things that’s integral to The Tracys is the humorous tone embedded in the music. Why is it so important to incorporate humor into your songs?

A. Dave Klym: First off, if you were ever to sit in on us rehearsing or even just having dinner or a drink you would notice that I probably never stop laughing. These guys are the funniest guys I know. So it’s 100% fun with them. Also, punk rock for me has always been about offering sarcastic and funny takes on social views. That’s what’s always attracted me to punk rock. You say what you feel with a bit of venom. 

All these songs came about when I needed an outlet to vent about what I see going on in our society in 2022/2023. I chose to do it the old-fashioned rock n’ roll sarcastic punk way. I’d rather laugh than cry and that’s what this is. It’s been a tough go for humanity and people that genuinely want to be good and happy. This is a loud cartoonish painting of that. 

Q. Your new album “Welcome To The Land of Nothing” has been described as having an apocalyptic theme. How do you think this theme ties into current issues in our world?

A. The Tracys: It’s like dancing on the edge of a cliff. No matter your political perspective – and the band member’s political positions are diverse – these times are fraught and seem destined to spin out of control. This record is a reflection of that kind of frenzied, hysterical vibe out there… both left and right seem to be on a collision course even though in practical, historical terms we are the safest, fairest, most equitable society in the history of the world. We should be able to resolve our differences but something keeps pushing us to be in conflict. Social media is no doubt a huge and malign factor, but there is also something in the human character that craves conflict and can lead to disaster. Welcome to the Land of Nothing is a cautionary record if anything. We are looking over the edge, terrified but also laughing at the absurdity and hopeful we can pull out of this.


Q. What can fans expect from the album? Do you think it’s a proper send-off for The Tracys? 

A. The Tracys: Well, It’s a send-off. Not sure how proper! Basically, fans can expect good old-fashioned The Tracys brand rock and roll. Despite the somewhat serious themes, it’s a fun, sing-along record with big beats and bigger hooks. 


Q. How does The Tracys music differ from other bands you participate in? Specifically, The Sparkles who just released their debut album. 

A. Matt Ernst: The Sparkles are basically the remainder of The Tracys formed after Dave decided to leave the band for greener pastures on the West Coast. The Sparkles are a straight-up pop-punk party band with a synth-pop flair thanks to John and his keytar. With song titles like Dive Bar, Dream Boat, and Ghost In The Studio and a love song to the Gowanus Canal, you get the picture. The Sparkles are light on the angst, but still powerful musically and a super fun live show. Check us out on Spotify and YouTube


Q. Finally, What message do you have to say about your time with The Tracys and how has this band helped you propel your career as a musician? 

A. The Tracys: The Tracys have been a true outlet for what’s trapped inside us and for being able to express ourselves musically in a supportive and collaborative environment. I’ve never been in a band that melded so seamlessly and was totally without strife or ego. We all just wanted to make the best music possible and that is extremely rare. It’s sad to put a pin in it, especially before we fully achieved our goals of world dominance (joking),  but the time spent with friends and fans and the music we made was always a joy and for that we are grateful. Viva la punk rock! Viva la Tracys!

Pop Culture Press