Hello there, who is answering my questions?
This is Trey. Guitar and shenanigans.
I saw on your Facebook-Page that you shared some new tracks with the fans before the release. How are the reactions to the new material so far?
Trey: Thus far it’s been mostly positive. There have been a few people who don’t like it for whatever reason, and that’s fine. Can’t please them all.
How important are Facebook or Twitter nowadays to promote a band and a new album?
Trey: We don’t have a twitter, but I know where you’re going with this. Whether you like social media or not both of those platforms have proven to be pretty important in the marketing and overall success of a band. First and foremost you need to write good music that people want to hear, and you can definitely do that without the internet, but I’d imagine it being very difficult to abstain fully from social media. Why not use every tool at your disposal to your advantage?
“Sky Burial” is the first record on Relapse. How did you get in contact with the label and why did you choose them?
Trey: They contacted us after some well-connected friends of ours let them hear the early mixes of “Sky Burial”. So we had luck on our side. In regards to choosing Relapse, it just made sense. They’re very good at what they do. Relapse has been successful in a very fickle industry for a long time and there’s a reason for that. We had a few other labels approach us, but it was a very easy decision to work with Relapse once they expressed their interest and explained their approach to helping us out. It helped that they all were and are really good people.
Your music takes the listener through nearly every genre of extreme metal and punk. How did you come up with this mixture? What are your influences?
Trey: What aren’t our influences would be a better question. We’ve all been into music of various forms since childhood whether that’s heavy metal, punk, hip hop, country, folk, etc... The way we approach our music is with as little restriction as possible. If one of us comes up with a cool riff or progression then we’ll try and hammer it out into something regardless of what kind of music or band influenced that part. Why limit yourself, you know?
Where are the biggest developments to your first record “Sundown” in your opinion?
Trey: I think we’ve grown as song writers since “Sundown”. Though I still think that the songs on that record have a certain appeal that the new ones probably don’t I think that “Sky Burial’s” tracks are more meticulously crafted. There’s more attention to detail on “Sky Burial” than on some of our previous releases. I also feel like the record as a whole feels more cohesive than “Sundown” did. It’s more of a complete release rather than a collection of songs.
Five out of eight tracks on the album are longer than nine minutes. How do you create those monsters?
Trey: Not on purpose, I can tell you that much. I swear that we try and write shorter songs but we always end up extending parts, adding different instrumental breaks or coming up with parts later in the process that we can’t just leave out. I think having the songs be longer allows us to explore the layers within them more fully than by cutting them off at the 4 or 5 minute mark. We’re definitely not trying to write long songs, though. It just continues to happen regardless of how we alter our approach.
Is it easier for you to create a long track than doing some “normal” 3,5 min songs?
Trey: I probably answered this in the last question, but I’ll go into some more detail. I respect musicians who can create fully realized songs that only last 3.5 or 5 minutes. It’s not that I don’t think we could write short songs, I just think that the kind of parts and riffs that spring from us end up needing more time to flesh themselves out and mature or require a less traditional strong structure and narrative.
What are the lyrics about? Do you have any lyrical concept behind the album?
Trey: Mike covers a lot of ground on the lyrics. He talks about everything from accepting death, to fighting for your existence, to issues with traditional dogmatic spiritual paths, or just utter disgust with the world at large. There are a lot of themes based on Native American poetry and myth along with themes with Tibetan symbolism. There isn’t an overall concept or overarching narrative to the album, but I do think that you could find similar lyrical themes across most of the record.
The Cover-Artwork is amazing. Who made it and how is it connected to the music?
Trey: Orion Landau is the man responsible for that piece of art. He does a lot of work for Relapse so you’re probably familiar with his stuff even if you didn’t know his name. Orion and I spoke at length about the ideas that we as a band had for the cover and layout, and he read my mind more or less the entire time we spoke. He wanted to create a ritualistic kind of image that combined a lot of the symbolism in the lyrics and music into one stark image. Pretty soon there’s actually going to be a “Making of the Artwork” kind of piece focused on how he put it all together. Keep a look out for it. It’ll cover the whole experience in a lot more detail.
Can we expect you here in Germany in the near future?
Trey: Hopefully sooner rather than later. We don’t have any immediate plans to play in Europe, but we’re hoping to be over there by fall. We’re doing a lot of touring and festival stuff in the US during Spring and Summer. Hopefully by the time we’re looking at going to Europe the record will have gained enough traction over there that an appropriate opportunity will arise.
Thank you for the interview! The last words to the allschools.de-readers are yours!
Hope you enjoy the record as much as we enjoyed making it. Further, when we do find our way to your country, make sure you keep a meticulous record of how many times we embarrass ourselves. It’s bound to happen quite often.