Vocalist Stella Perkins of Fishbug performs at the third-annual Athens Area High School Battle of the Bands at The 40 Watt Club in downtown Athens on Saturday, Jan. 18. Fishbug won judges’ choice and told the audience to look out for an album in the coming months. (Photo/Erin Schilling, 404.291.9654)

Local pop-punk band Fishbug is recording a new album this January. Consisting of Stella Perkins (vocalist, guitarist), Moss Ivy (guitarist), Parker Dillard (bassist) and Isaiah Pope (drummer), the Fishbug four mesh different musical styles and backgrounds into one wild sound. The Red & Black spoke with Moss Ivy, Parker Dillard and Stella Perkins about the new album.

The Red & Black: How did you convince Isaiah to come back to the band in November? Or was it the other way around?

Parker Dillard: He always wanted to be in the band. It was a situation with his family where he just couldn’t be there. Then the family conflicts got resolved. So we were finally able to play with him again, and it just clicked like it always does.

R&B: What was it like playing with Isaiah again?

Stella Perkins: It was kind of mind blowing because we had this other drummer fill in, named Robert. He was super cool and fun to be around, so we were writing some stuff with him. I went over to Parker’s house, and Parker and Moss were jamming with Isaiah for fun. And it was super obvious they were having the absolute best time. And it was the day after that practise that both of them came to me and were like, ‘we should get Isaiah back because we haven’t felt like that playing with a drummer in a really long time, and it’s just not the same. And I was like, “absolutely, yes, I agree!”

R&B: How many songs are set to be on the upcoming album?

Moss Ivy: We don’t know yet. It’s gonna be over 10 but we’re trying to trim it more than the last one.

R&B: In the past, you’ve mentioned artists like My Chemical Romance, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Cake as inspirations. Are there any other artists or styles that have inspired the music in this album?

SP: Yeah, recently, I’ve been listening to Grouplove, which I loved when I was younger, but it’s a lot happier and upbeat than a lot of the stuff I had been listening to, and that’s been in the back of my mind when I’ve been writing lyrics and melodies. Also, Haley Heynderickx, her album, “I Need to Start a Garden,” has also been in the back of my mind when I’m writing melodies because she does it really well.

PD: For this one, Wilco played a very big part, and of Montreal was a big artist we listened to.

MI: I’ve been listening to the Violent Femmes a lot.

R&B: Have any recent events in the band, Athens or the country influenced this album?

SP: Quarantine and the pandemic affects everything, no matter what. In writing “Inchworm” [first album], at least for me, a lot of the songs were really angry and pissed off in general about various things. And when we were talking about the vibe that we wanted for album two, we came to the conclusion that we wanted it to feel really good. There are some sad songs, but the music and the melodies are all pretty upbeat and kind of warm, which is a weird way to describe it, but I get that feeling listening to music sometimes where your chest gets warm and you’re like, “oh man, this is so nice.” It makes your brain smile. But yeah, that’s what we wanted which is gonna make it super different from the first one which is also very exciting. So the pandemic, kinda feeling shit and not being able to do certain things inspired us to make an album that was happy and reassuring and nice.

R&B: Right, there’s one song on “Inchworm,” “You Matter,” that’s kinda nice, but a lot of that album is pretty angry.

SP: Yeah, and the music itself is really intense. Some of the guitar parts and bass parts are filled with different notes and super fast and hard and kinda punk. And we wanted to strip this one down and try to make it more genuine with less parts.

PD: The kind of music that we’re writing — and we hopefully always will write — is kind of a reflection of where our heads have been at.

MI: Yeah, I think there’s reflections of us being sad from everything, and that comes through in some songs. But there’s also reflections of us being ready for the future and trying to get in that happy space.

R&B: Have you found artwork for the album yet? And who was the artist for “Inchworm”?

PD: We’re slowly collecting artwork to look through. A couple artists actually worked on the “Inchworm” art. Trinity James — she’s a good friend of ours and we went to high school together — Audrey Kennedy and Kaden Robertson all pieced it together over the course of the time we were recording till about a month before we released it.

R&B: Have you settled on a name for the second album?

PD: I don’t think we have anything settled yet. We got a few ideas, but nothing that we’re married to yet.

MI: I think we’re gonna take around a year to record this. So we’re gonna really be thinking about these things over the course of recording.

PD: We feel like that and the artwork will make itself apparent once we have a better idea of what the whole album is gonna be like and how it can contribute to its identity.

SP: There was one name we thought of with Robert, cause he came into the situation right when we were like, “OK, it’s time to start writing a second album. What do we want?” So we came up with a name with him, but it’s not tied to any song. We don’t have a title track… “Inchworm” didn’t have a title track. I honestly have no idea what the name’s gonna turn out to be.

Q&A has been edited for length and clarity