HAVE YOU GUYS BEEN WORKING ON NEW STUFF?
Kind of, here and there.
WELL, YOU’VE BEEN TOURING A LOT…
We’ve been pretty much nonstop since the record came out. Our guitar player’s working on stuff but nothing I’d really call “new material.” We found that it’s easier just to take time off to write a record than do it here-and-there piecemeal. It’s kinda counterproductive, I think.
YEAH, ‘CAUSE SOMETIMES YOU TALK TO BANDS AND THEY’RE LIKE, “WE’RE IN THE VAN, ON TOUR, PUTTING SONGS TOGETHER.”
A lot of that shit gets thrown out, so it’s not really worth it.
BUT ALSO YOU, I MEAN, ESPECIALLY WITH THIS LAST RECORD [LYRICALLY] IT’S ALL TIED TOGETHER. IS IT TOUGH TO WRITE AN ALBUM WHERE THERE IS KIND OF A COMMON THEME?
That was kind of our goal writing this record. We had done the piece-by-piece part before. Our record before this one was like that, and it didn’t seem to work, so we decided instead of touring for months and writing for months and touring for months and writing for months, we took a good chunk of time off. We took January until the end of April off just to write and record this album. I think it worked out because when you’re focusing all your time on one thing, it tends to be not just more productive, but also makes more sense. That’s why I think this record seems like it’s one piece because it was written like that.
NOT TO JUMP THE GUN OR ANYTHING, BUT DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT TRY FOR ANOTHER RECORD WHERE EVERYTHING TIES IN TOGETHER?
There’s a possibility. I think lyrically I did that already, so I don’t wanna reiterate what I’ve already done. I’ll probably do something a little different, but I’m pretty sure it’ll have a common theme because I’m really into that kind of stuff, all the songs flowing thematically. It’ll probably be theme-based but not 100 percent tied together, if that makes any sense. [Laughs]
WELL, JUST EVEN LIKE YOU SAID GETTING IT TO FLOW, YOU WRITE THE LYRICS, AND THEN TO ACTUALLY PUT THEM INTO PLACE, IS THAT HARD? AND THEN FIGURING OUT THE TRACK ORDER…
Yeah. That is probably the hardest part of the whole process because most of the lyrics I write when I’m only half conscious. I write most of my lyrics when I’m trying to fall asleep, so I’m kind of only half there. That’s why they come out kind of, “What? What’s this guy talking about?” [Laughs] Even that, I guess, comes naturally because I’m not even thinking about it. But then when I wake up the next day and I have to put them all together, that’s hard too, and then I have to put them to music, which is even worse. But it shows. When people really take the time to think about what’s gonna go where, I think the listener can really tell – especially when they’re following the lyrics. It’s a long, arduous process if people don’t really know. It doesn’t always fall into place; you have to think about it. Especially with the song order and stuff like that. A record with a theme, you’re gonna have to develop a timeline, stuff like that, so it’s rough sometimes. Other times it just kinda comes naturally.
JUST TO KEEP ON THAT TRACK ORDER TOPIC, EVERYONE HAS A SAY HOW THEY FEEL?
With us, I kinda have free reign to do whatever the hell I want. [They all write the music, but] when it comes to lyrics, the dudes in the band don’t really know what the lyrics are until we’re recording the record. I sing them at practice, but nobody’s really paying attention to me because they’re focusing on fine-tuning what they’re doing. So I can say whatever I want and that’s why I think I get away with what I do because my band members are like, “What? What is this about?!” And I’m look, “Oops, too late. It’s already done.”
“WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?” I LIKE THAT WHEN IT’S STILL A LITTLE VAGUE AND YOU CAN GET YOUR OWN TAKE ON IT.
Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m singing about! Sometimes I develop definitions to stuff after it’s already put to tape. It’s kinda backwards, but it works.
OBVIOUSLY I DID SEE THE PROSTHETIC RECORDS PRESS RELEASE AND LIKE YOU SAID IN IT, [THE ALBUM] HAS THAT WHOLE MISANTHROPIC VIBE… IT’S NOT THE MOST POSITIVE…
It’s metal. It’s not supposed to be filled with flowers and stuff like that. I try to do the best I can at saying what I wanna say and I’m not really afraid to express what I feel. There’s a lot of bands out there that are like, “I don’t wanna offend people,” and it’s like, if you’re gonna offend somebody, at least you’re saying what you feel, and if someone’s offended, they have a right to be offended. Like you said, everyone puts their own meaning to lyrics, so if they think a song is about a certain thing even if it isn’t, that’s what that person thinks and it’s not gonna matter what it’s actually about. I’ve had people coming to me like, “Oh man, this song really helped me out because I broke up with my girlfriend,” and it’s like, that’s not what the song’s about, but thank you. And another kid’s like, “I listen to your record when I work out.” Well, that’s not the purpose of this at all, but if it helps you through a workout, that’s great. [Laughter] As long as people are enjoying it and developing a positive meaning to such a negative message, then that’s cool. It’s just a bonus to what we do. When we write a record, we don’t expect people to be like, “This is awesome!” or “What the fuck? We liked your last record better.” But when we write a record, we just write it because we like playing music.
THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT.
We don’t write FOR the fans; it just happens to be an extra little prize that the fans like what we have to say and what we do. I think there’s too many bands out there today that are just trying to please people, and it’s ruining what the extreme underground music scene was formed on. Just to name a metal icon, Kerry King, if he heard there was a band out there that was just writing music so people would like it, he’d be FUCKING pissed because SLAYER has written the same album about 300 times, but they still have a huge fanbase and they still love what they do. They just write it because they wanna write it, and it works, so you can’t really argue.
BUT THAT’S THE SAME WITH A LOT OF GENRES. MY FORTE IS OLD-SCHOOL PUNK AND HARDCORE, AND TO SEE WHAT IS CONSIDERED “PUNK” NOWADAYS IS DISGUSTING.
I know! The kids who are “punk rock” shop at Hot Topic, they pay 17 dollars for hair dye, and they fuckin’ live in a mansion with their parents. The fact that there’s a genre called “pop-punk” is like, that’s bothersome to me. Some of the music might be good, but rename it. The genre’s name really bothers me because what is pop about punk? That’s the huge thing now: the pop-punk genre, Miley Cyrus’ brother starting a pop-punk band. Wow, are you serious? Everything the forefathers of punk and hardcore and metal have fought to build is coming down on them.
THESE WERE THE TYPES OF MUSIC THAT THE BANDS DIDN’T CARE IF THEY WERE LIKED OR NOT.
Exactly. And we’re the same way. A lot of people might call us assholes. But we’re not being assholes; we’re being true to what we wanna do. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, they don’t have to listen to [it]. I’m not out there trying to make friends. I wanna play music. That’s all I wanna do. We don’t ride in a bus. We don’t do many of the things that bands that are – not to be a dick, but bands that are smaller than us are doing. They’re riding in busses and they have 5000 dollar guarantees and it’s like, what they fuck are you doing, man? I understand you have to survive but I’ve been doing this for eight years and I’m still alive. I’ve never ridden in a bus. I’ve been on tour with bands with busses and it bums me out, but fuck it. I’m getting old and I’m just getting angrier and angrier as the years go by.
I THINK I’M WITH YOU THERE… BUT JUST EVERYTHING YOU SAY – YOU’RE DOING IT FOR YOURSELF, PLAYING WHAT YOU WANNA PLAY. STILL, YOU GUYS DEFINITELY HAVE PEOPLE THAT LIKE IT, TO I MEAN, THE OTHER DAY I GOT AN EMAIL SAYING YOU WON A REVOLVER AWARD.
It was the Readers Choice for the Golden Gods that were held in L.A. I was working on two hours sleep. I was kinda just like, ah fuck. We were in L.A. and then we drove home from tour and then I had to fly back out there. It’s draining. I had a good time, but it was like I was dreaming because I was standing in the same room as Jonathan Davis from KORN and Ozzy Osbourne and Kerry King and all these huge – I guess you’d call them stars, then there’s me. I’m like, what the fuck am I doing here?! Maynard James Keenan introduced ISIS and like SUICIDE SILENCE played. What is going on?! Ozzy accepted a lifetime achievement award. I was standing behind Scott Ian as he was doing a video interview, I was picking my nose. You see these people on TV and in magazines, and you don’t think they’re real. Then you see them in person, you’re like, What?! I didn’t understand what the fuck was going on. We get to accept an award and it’s gonna be aired on MTV2. It’s beyond me. It’s cool it happened, but it’s not why I do it. I guess it’s better us than some of the other bands that I would HATE to see on that stage. I had to write an acceptance speech and I didn’t ‘cause I don’t really care…
SO WHAT’D YOU SAY?!
I said “fuck” a lot. I literally just said, “I know you don’t know who we are. I don’t care. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” [Uncontrolled laughter on my part] People are like, WHAT?! I should not be writing an acceptance speech. I fucking don’t think I matter that much. I’m in the same room with Tom Araya and Scott Ian. I just didn’t really care because the audience for the thing was like the most underground band they listen to is KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, so they had no idea who I was. “ACACIA what?” They don’t know how to pronounce my band name so no matter what I said I was gonna get weird looks. So I just decided to swear a lot.
THAT’S COOL, THOUGH.
It was definitely a step in the right direction for us. I hope, anyway. [Laughter] Like I said, I’m not in this to get recognized, but if I do that’s cool.