Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey, Joe D here. All is well from New York City, thanks for having me.
Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Turned to Ink¨?
Turned to Ink started by me jamming over some Lamb of God and coming up with the intro and verse riffs. From there Matt took over writing the chorus, that blistering second verse riff and some of the chugging. I took the track home and pieced together the structure, added the guitar lead to the chorus and the solos. Ryan wrote the lyrics to our demented heartbreak pop metal song. From the chorus we got the title which was a tad more matured than the working title “Beef Curtains. I find Turned To Ink to be the most energetic and fun song on the album and I love the Kanye reference in the lyrics.
Did any event in particular inspire the song?
I’d have to say the general struggle we were going through inspired a lot of Ryan’s lyrics.
The single comes off your new album Chaos Through Clarity – why taking so long on releasing this album?
At first we wanted to come out strong to we decided to go forth with a full length as opposed to an EP. We took a few years to actually write a lot of the material and once it came down to recording it was set back and after setback. Between financials, personalities, me going to jail and then losing a band mate we had our work cut out for us.
What´s the story behind the title?
The first song we worked on as the 5 of us in 09 was Through The Depths. I saw Ryan’s lyric “Chaos Through Clarity” and immediately knew it was the album title. At first we didn’t really know what it meant but boy did we learn. I feel like Chaos Through Clarity is finding what you love and going through hell to obtain it. Ryan says it’s a soul trying to find peace. Either way, we didn’t know how much art would imitate life naming it all those years ago.
How was the recording and writing process?
Come 2012 we decide to start recording the full length as we had a decent chunk of the album written by then. We were recommended to engineer David Andronico based here in New York. We immediately hit it off with Dave and recorded “Thank You For The Inspiration”, “Amongst Giants” and “Turned To Ink.” After going through the recording process with Dave I knew we struck gold. Up until then writing process was fairly simple. Basic pre-production was our original guitarist Matt or I would come up with a riff and the band would jam around it a bit. From there I’d put my producer cap on and work on the tracks at home then bring them back to practice and Ryan would write vocals over them. After doing the initial batch of songs with Dave we decided to have him on as a producer for the album as well because we were astounded by his ideas. Dave highly influenced a lot of the vocal work on the album and his post production touch is invaluable as it helps tie a lot of the album together. He’s the easiest to work with, extremely knowledgeable and I’m pretty sure at this point not one member of the band wants to work with anyone else for our next album.
What were the PROs and CONs of self-producing the album?
I think a pro had to be ultimate freedom. When writing music every beat is a decision to be made and how much people agree with those decisions is going to determine how much they enjoy your music. At the the end of the day I got to ask a lot of the questions to determine those decisions and with that I was able to sculpt the album to what it is. A con has to be the opportunity of taking the chance for a song to be better. When you bring in a producer you’re looking at their body of work and the ideas they could bring to the table based on their experience. Generally you have a goal in bringing your music to another level with a producer. As much as I played the producer role here my inexperience could have hindered us. Who knows though, only time will tell.
How did the struggles you guys went through your life influence the songs and lyrics on this record?
I think Ryan left it all out there for you to see but here’s a story of how I came up with the lyrics to “The Demons of Attica”:
Back in 2012 we were finishing up writing for Chaos Through Clarity and the last full song that made it to the album was The Demons of Attica. Our guitarist at the time Matt came to me and said he had an intro and verse to a new song which ended up being the guitar lead, chugging and drum parts you hear for the first half of the song. In our usual writing style I tabbed out the parts and got to working on writing more parts, the structure and finding the overall feel of the track. I ended up adding in the guitar ring outs in the pre chorus, changing up the verse guitar riffs to have a little more flavor and doing some drum writing. After that we did some jamming and Matt came up with the solo. We basically had more than half the song written and then I hit the wall on the track. That was until I went to jail in 2013…
I spent a lot of my time on Rikers working on music. The only thing I worked on that ended up making it to the album were some music and lyrics I wrote for Demons. One of my jail mates was a young military vet who suffered from PTSD and ended up getting caught in jail for a while because of his violent reactions. One day he tells me the story of how when he was in Attica prison he was possessed by demons. To this day it was the most bone chilling story I’ve ever heard. That night while playing the music over in my head I wrote the lyrics to the chorus “Let them come in, now you’re running, unlock the truth in this moment. They’ve taken over and no longer will you have strength to live”. From there a guitar part with big ringouts popped into my head for the next part of the song which ended up being that vicious breakdown. I figured out the rest of the structure and was eager to get out and show my guys.
We start working on the final parts of the album when I’m out. I tell Ryan the inspiration and story behind the lyrics I wrote and he masterfully wrote the rest. When it came to recording this was a song that our engineer David Andronico’s ideas really shined and further propelled the idea that he deserved a producer credit on the album. A lot of the vocal ideas and layers came from him including the cool effect you hear in the last chorus.