Deathcore band's vocalist talks technique, money management, disrespect
You’ve got two relatively brand-new guitarists [Nick Conser and Devin Shidaker, both of whom joined in 2010]; what changes are they bringing to the band’s sound?
I think they’ve brought a whole new aspect and insight to the writing process, where before we had a lot of songs that were basically written either before I was in the band or were a group effort, and we kind of chose to stick to the formula of the songs that were written before we were actually signed and stuff. So that was kind of our signature for [2009's Depths]. Whereas on this one, we have a bunch of different influences we were able to bring in, and some new styles and new techniques, different aspects that people probably didn’t expect us to do since we had our old guitarists.
So both those guys were in by the time you recorded Contagion?
Yeah, actually one of ’em actually came in right when we split during the writing process—we kind of decided to scrap everything, so that everyone in the new lineup would all have their input and no one would be left out.
So is the second album a better reflection of the band than the first?
I think definitely. It’s a very good representation of the band, especially because by the time the first one was out, we didn’t have the same situation going on—some people were not involved in the whole writing process of that one, where this one, everyone had their hand in it. I think that makes it a little more fun, because we all had our own part, played our own part in creating it, so every song’s not missing a few people.
What do you think still needs improving about the band’s music?
I think probably what we want to do is just sort of push our technique and incorporate a lot more of the old-school sound of death metal. We’re influenced by stuff like that.
What do you think you personally could do better, as a vocalist?
Oh, I definitely want to do a lot more playing around with different ranges and techniques. I was able to mess around with a little bit of that, but there’s a lot of things I do live that, at least for me, keep it a little bit interesting so I’m not doing the exact same thing every day. Next album I want to actually put that stuff on the album, with more creativity of range and pitches and stuff like that.
There was only about an 18-month span between your first and second albums. How fast are you thinking about going back into the studio?
I don’t think it’ll be that soon, but for me it kind of feels like it all depends on the demand. Cause I know after the first one people were really into it, so there was a big demand, they were excited to hear what we could come up with after growing a little bit, since we were a fresh band. But I think we won’t wait too long like some bands do—a two-year span or something like that. I think we’ll keep it pretty short between them, but not necessarily as short as the last two were.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from all the time you’ve spent on the road in the last year or two?
For me, I’m still learning it, but better money management, and how to make everything we earn as a band last. That’s really important.
Why do you think deathcore gets such a bad rap within the metal community, and what do you think your band could do to appeal to listeners over the age of 30?
It gets a bad rap because for the most part it is a very new genre and it does seem to have a lot of younger fans as well as actual musicians. As far as the older fans, it’s almost like they feel that we haven’t paid enough dues to be respected and put up there with some of the legends and veterans of the more pure style of death metal. It’s just very hard for them to accept it because of that. But I think there’s a lot of bands that have done that, but still don’t get recognition, because the whole deathcore sound and style is still gonna be scary. But by now it would be at the point where those [veteran] bands should be dead and gone by now. The ones that are still doing it, they’re doing it for a reason.
As far as going for an older audience, I would like to think that we do have that appeal. It just comes with the whole intent of the band. A lot of bands that may play a similar style to us, the music they do gets exploited as like money machine bands or merch machine bands or something like that. Their focus and emphasis is on their look to appeal to those younger crowds. Where for us, we’re not that concerned about how much money we can bring in or having the brightest and coolest merch to sell off to everybody. We kind of just go onstage and want to put on a good performance, and we don’t single out anybody or try and project our music to a certain age group. We try to keep it universal, and hopefully people can see that and just get into it.
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Helmet, Saint Vitus, Crowbar...what more do you need?
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