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INTERVIEW: Culprit

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Z: Thank you! We’ve been pretty good, just been trying to get out and play a lot of these songs off the new album when we can, between balancing every day work and personal lives.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Anything”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Z: Sure! Although we began writing songs for SONDER quite a while back now (2014), “Anything” was one of the first songs that we wrote collaboratively with Steve Cheung who joined our band towards the end of that year. The lyrics (written by Travis) are about a tough break up between Travis and his long-time girlfriend of 8 years, where all is really left out in the open in a very honest way without mystery. The song is just very genuine and transparent, and combined with the music we just felt it was a symbol of turning a new leaf for the sound of the band as well, and as such it was a fitting single.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Z: We had some plans to do a music video for “Gargantua” actually, the opening track on the record, which we still want to make happen… but we also talked about a video for “Anything” as well. Hopefully later this year we can bring that to life.

The single comes off your new album S O N D E R – what’s the story behind the title?

Z: The word SONDER comes from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, written by John Koenig. It is a new word that was coined along with others in effort to give a name to emotions we all experience but don’t have a word for. The short meaning of SONDER is the realization that everyone has a story. It is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. We threw around a bunch of ideas when trying to come up with an album title, and somehow this one just seemed to stick, time after time and we would gravitate back towards it… it just really resonated with a feeling we were connected to.

How was the recording and writing process? What was it like to work with Anthony Reeder and how did that relationship develop?

Z: The recording process was a bit of a long one as we started writing some of these songs back in late 2014 and demoing them in early 2015. We finally got into the studio with Anthony around the middle of 2015 and began recording everything. It was an incredible experience working with Anthony since it was really just meant to be. We first met Anthony Reeder when we were on the #MEBTour together in 2011 with his band The Paper Melody (from Yuba City, CA) and Happy Body Slow Brain (Now Rare Futures), and we instantly became friends. We also stayed with Anthony in Sacramento when we travelled there to record ‘Totem’ with Dryw Owens in 2013. Fast forward a couple years and he was making his way down south to move to LA to begin his recording and producing career. We ended up living together for a few years and so working with him on this album (not to mention being able to record some of it at Grey Area Studios) was really just the stars aligning for us.

How much did he influence the album?

Z: A lot actually. We never really introduced samples into our music but had always wanted to do some cool stuff for layering (a la The Receiving End Of Sirens – which we are all huge fans of) and so he helped bring that style to the table, ultimately guiding us into this new style and era of the band. We put a lot of trust in him and he absolutely killed it for us! If you listen to the outros on “Songbird” and “Collateral”, these show great examples of Anthony’s influence on the album.

After having released three EPs – would you say this first LP is the culmination for the band? Did you finally found your sound?

Z: Definitely. I think our sound will always continue to evolve a little, because what’s writing music without some sort of progression… but I think that we finally achieved a lot of things that we were searching for in our sound.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Z: Inspiration for the lyrics? I believe Travis would probably answer: Relationships, Space (“Gargantua”) and Video games (“Songbird”), haha. Those are all themes that are a part of SONDER. As for the music, I would say we draw a lot of inspiration from bands like Thrice, Circa Survive (both of which have had albums recently that inspired us greatly), Envy on the Coast, and much more.

Any plans to hit the road?

Z: Definitely. No immediate plans at the moment, but we’re working towards doing a longer (hopefully 7-10 days or more) “SONDER” tour in the near future.

What else is happening next in Culprit’s world?

Z: We’ve got an acoustic session we did recently with Idobithat will be going live soon, and a handful of fan-dedicated cover songs that will be a part of our “Live Acoustic Covers Series” on YouTube, etc. as part of a special campaign that we ran on PledgeMusic for the album. We’re also trying to re-produce the short run of vinyl at the moment, and planning more shows!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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