It may not feel like almost a decade ago when Wyatt and Fletcher Shears formed The Garden out of their Orange County home as teens. Yet the eccentric twin brothers are already set to release their fourth studio album on March 13 through Epitaph Records.
The chaotic and experimental punk-ish duo aren’t afraid to throw genres and labels out the window on Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, but they’re also focused more on blatant honesty and a lack of sugarcoating than they ever have been before.
“The new record is about establishing who we are a little bit more,” Wyatt said. “All of the songs that we wrote are based off of personal experiences and our mindset — hence the name Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, which is another way to say ‘kiss my ass’ because we just want to do what we want to do. We’ve always been doing what we want to do — and we’ve experimented a lot musically, so we’ve never just had one sound — but I think sometimes it’s hard to be completely and brutally honest with lyrics and stuff like that. On the lyrics front, I think this is our most candid and honest record, and there are less hidden messages.”
But on what could be their most straightforward — or “balls out” as they’d describe it — punk-centered record since 2013’s The Life and Times of a Paperclip, The Garden still finds space to include some unexpected moments. Those include features from old friends and influences like rapper Khalif Jones and lo-fi firestarter Ariel Pink to a cameo from prop comedian Carrot Top. It’s that level of diversity and spontaneousness that has earned the Shears brothers a youthful following from a variety of backgrounds and musical preferences. They’re one of the only bands to play Riot Fest, Coachella, and Camp Flog Gnaw all within the last couple of years.
“We’ve never really been a part of a solid ‘scene’ or anything like that — and we always just felt like we were sort of on our own — so it’s cool to have people from all different walks of life come to our shows and enjoy it,” Fletcher said. “Like we only got to play Camp Flog Gnaw because we ran into Tyler, the Creator in L.A. and he took an interest in us. But that opened up a whole new audience to us. I think the more diversity we have in the crowd, the better, and it’s been really cool to see that.”
While their audience is significantly larger now than it was when they parted ways with the Burger Records crew they’d known since they were teenagers, The Garden isn’t planning to stop evolving anytime soon. They’re still motivated by the same internal feelings that pushed them into music in the first place, and they’re certainly still not concerned with what strangers will think of their music going forward.
“I think I’ll always feel like I have something to prove to myself, and I’ll never be content with what I’ve made in the past,” Fletcher said. “That’s always my motivation to make a new record in the first place. We don’t really care what other people think about it, because it’s the music that we want to make. If other people like it, cool. If not, then they don’t have to listen to it.”