I love how you manage to render your tracks so personal and organic. Does the music come first, or do you focus on the lyrics the most?
It varies. As the vocalist, part of me walks through life kicking around lyrics in my head, trying to retain memorable thoughts that I think are good lyrics. Sometimes I find myself thinking about a concept that I believe would make good lyrics. I have a few on-going lists of lyrics that I keep handy (I have a list of notes on my phone, for example) that has random one-liners like “die a hero” or “volunteer slavery,” and other notes that have full-on lines and lines of random lyrics that I try to pen when I can’t actively write music. For me, it’s kind of similar to writing riffs on a guitar; you don’t know how or when you might use a certain riff but having it in your back pocket means that on the awesome occasion that it fits perfectly into a new song, you can just grab it. Sometimes I do start with music though. I like to write full-on instrumental tracks or map out an entire song with just an acoustic guitar. Then I’ll listen to it over and over for a few weeks and let the vibes of the song tell me what kind of lyrics they’re asking for. One thing's for sure though, I don’t like to sing about arbitrary things, so even if the music does come first, I try not to skimp on the lyrics.
Do you perform live? If so, do you feel more comfortable on a stage or within the walls of the recording studio?
Yeah we perform live. We spent so long (like 4 years) before we got out and started playing shows. Which is ridiculous by many standards and its a long story :]. At this point, we probably feel more comfortable off stage, but it didn’t take us long to feel perfectly within our element on stage. We really enjoy playing live and in many ways it brings us together a lot more than spending hours off stage does. You are very hard pressed to replicate the passion and energy of a live show in the studio and we feed off of that energy. We always walk out of a show feeling very fulfilled, so I’m sure that over the course of the next couple years, my answer would definitely change.
If you could only pick one song to make a “first impression” on a new listener, which song would you pick and why?
I would personally say Down. Mostly because I think that song has the most energy and dynamics and showcases a wide variety of the different things we like to do and the direction that we’re heading. It’s also the shortest song on the album, so people are more apt to give it a shot than they would be if I went up to someone and asked them to sit through my 8 minute song :]. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people on the songs on our album and it’s not clear to us what the most popular song is; everyone seems to have their own favorite. Which is really cool, reassuring, and validating so I’m really thankful that each song can bring something different to everyone.
What does it take to be “innovative” in music?
I think it comes down to passion, ultimately. It takes the passion to recognize that making positive strides in the music industry means facing a lot of adversity, challenges, uncertainty, doubts and factors outside of your control. Having passion gives you the fire to want to push through all of that and all of the pain, heartache, frustration, and fear that comes with it. Having passion is what drives your attention to detail for your art and what enables you to let loose and generate something that is raw, powerful, meaningful and engaging. Having passion hones your attentiveness to the market, its booms and throes, and gives you the awareness to make creative and bold decisions about how to react to an ever-changing market. Having passion helps you stay relevant, because passion is a timelessly valued quality even though genres and styles change. Having passion gives you the discipline you need to get better at your own abilities and performance so that you’re equipped with the tools you’ll need to do something no one’s done before. Having passion gives you the determination to disprove the people saying it couldn’t be done.
Any upcoming release or tour your way?
Yeah! We’re dropping our debut album Mysterion on June 5, 2015. The album is the result of over 6 years of writing, re-re-re-re-recording, and a lot of random difficulties. It feels a bit like a frankenstein album, like taking the wheels of a ‘57 chevy, the fender of an ‘83 buick, the body of a ‘71 Grand Prix, and the engine of a 2008 Escalade and somehow making a vehicle that is hopefully going to get us from point A to point B over the next year. But at least it’s got a killer paint job and a badass sound system :].
Anywhere online where curious fans can listen to your music and find out more about you?
Our facebook page is sort of the hub of our communication to the outside world. We’ll have a bunch of stuff available on our website as well. We’ll have the entire album up for free on soundcloud and eventually youtube. It’ll also be available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc.