D: I actually just recently listened to you guys, cause I wasn’t familiar until a couple weeks ago, it’s good. It’s heavier than I expected
R: Well thank you very much
D: It’s heavy but it’s still melodic with memorable hooks which lends to replay value.
R: I grew up listening to heavy, but I also like catchy
D: What did you grow up listening to then, in terms of heavy stuff?
R: I listened to like, White Chapel, Necrophagist, but then I also listened to Underoath and A Day to Remember, so I was like, I want to combine both worlds.
D: I think you succeeded.
R: Yeah, thats good to hear.
D: So how’s the fest been for you guys so far?
R: Um, it’s been sweaty, but other than that it’s been great. Way better than the last two times we’ve been on it.
D: Do you find big differences between a fest like this and your club tours that you do?
R: I think the biggest difference is, people who would never give a band in our genre a chance, end up watching the set and being a huge fan. Like somebody who is like “I don’t even listen to heavy music at all. I never even liked music with screaming really, but the energy of the live show is really fun.” So I think it’s cool cause you’re experiencing the live show before the recording, which is like, the opposite.
D: Do you find a lot of fans discover you guys at Warped Tour and then come out to the club shows?
R: Yeah, it’s awesome when I see them at the club shows.
D: You guys tour pretty extensively it seems. What do you do to recharge your batteries between off days and off times? Are you always in that creative mindset?
R: Oh, off days I try to think as little about music as possible. When we’re at home, I’ll do things around the house, hang out with my wife, or play video games with my friends.
D: What video games are you playing?
R: I play, right now, Battlegrounds. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s a PC game.
D: I ask that question having not had a system since Sega, but I imagine there’s people out there that know exactly what you’re talking about.
R: It’s my way to keep up with friends, cause I lived in Oklahoma for a couple years like eight years ago, and then friends from other tours, so it’s a good way to like, log on for an hour or two, get to chat with a bunch of people I’ve met. Sometimes I don’t even play in the game. I’m just on the chat with everybody and kind of browsing YouTube or something.
D: Let’s talk about the album a little bit since I’m new to it and I think some of our readers are unfamiliar. Can you go into a little bit of the theme of the album?
R: The theme is about death and different forms of death. Not just dying, but spiritual death or anxiety. Like the death of your confidence. Stuff like that. Some of the songs are fan submitted, cause I wanted to write about some of the stuff fans had been through. A lot of them chose to be anonymous, because one was about abortion and them dealing with how they felt afterwards. Like feeling guilty and learning to forgive themselves and be a good mother going forward. She always felt like “I can’t be a good mom because I did this.” But she’s like “I learned that I have to move on and be a good mother, because I can’t change the past.”
D: So when you absorb that, and you try to tell that story, does that weigh you down ever? To take on someone else’s story?
R: That story had a happier ending, so that was a little better. Songs like, our song “Stacking Bodies” is about the Rwandan genocide. That one’s not…it’s not a happy thing. It’s like how we’re numb to death almost cause it’s just a number on the news. Like “this many people died today.”
D: Yeah, people can become desensitized easy.
R: It’s like, oh yeah, people got blown up again. Not realizing these are individuals with families and lives.
D: Yeah, as long as my favorite TV show is on when it’s supposed to be on or my internet is connected then we are fine.
R: Yeah, exactly
D: That’s pretty intense, though. To be able to tell other peoples stories like that. Back to the festival a little bit, what bands have you enjoyed watching? Has there been anyone that really stands out or that you were excited about that you like watching a lot?
R: I’m always excited to see Beartooth. We did the tour with them last fall, and they’re just one of the best live bands, period. They’re amazing. You should catch ’em. Their crowd is…they probably have the biggest crowd. Knocked Loose is another one. If you like heavy music, Knocked Loose. They’re on Full Sail, but their crowds are as big or bigger than some of the main stage bands. So it’s kind of cool to see. And last, Dance Gavin Dance. They’re a little different, but Tillian’s singing is on another level. It’s insane.
D: We will have to try to check some of them out today. Now, who’s your favorite professional wrestler?
R: Honestly, didn’t watch wrestling, but, I see funny videos on Facebook
D: That counts!
R: I mean, I see old clips people share of just scenes, based on the little scenes I’ve seen, I like when Stone Cold Steve Austin gets the beer truck.
D: You know it’s funny, for someone who never watched wrestling, according to a lot of people you just gave the right answer with Stone Cold.
R: I feel like that’s the one everyone knows, or The Rock
D: So what’s next for the band?
R: We’re doing a co-headliner in the fall, I’m not allowed to talk about what bands it’s with until after Warped, and then we’re doing a European tour in January and February. And then ideally studio after that.
D: Yeah, the whole cycle over again
R: Luckily the co-headliner doesn’t start until November/December, so we are going to spend all of August through October just writing.
D: That’s awesome to hear. Well, really, that’s pretty much what I’ve got for today. Is there anything else you’d like to add or anything you want to promote?
R: Um, I’ll promote you.
D: Oh, nice, nice. Because I always forget to do that so thanks and thanks for your time.
R: Thank you.
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Interview conducted by Sean Cantor