Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Eric: We’ve been great, thanks for having us!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Sucker”?
Darren: Yeah, “Sucker” is a song for anyone who’s fallen for the same thing over and over. Watching history repeat itself once again and finally realizing some things just never change.
Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?
Darren: Yeah, absolutely. Past relationships. A lot of them.
Any plans to release a video for this track?
Eric: We’re planning another video for the new album as we speak, but it will be for a different track. “Sucker” was released as an audio single before the album dropped because we felt our fans had waited so long for new music that it would be a nice gesture to do a surprise single before the record officially released.
The single comes off your new (and fifth) EP True Blue, the first new music since 2015’s Indefinite. You’ve mentioned taking time off after intensive touring in 2016; do you in any way regret taking so long to release new material? Do you feel that many of your older fans still relate?
Darren: Regret? Eh, nah not really. There’s not a lot of regret or remorse on this album and I love that. I definitely needed the time off to get myself together and my life figured out, somewhat. It was nice getting to recharge the batteries before I resurfaced with this. Older fans should relate. I’d be living in a fictional state of mind if I told you every old fan is going to love it, becayse it’s different. We’re blossoming into something new. I’m not that same person anymore. In my personal life or my writing.
What’s the story behind the title?
Darren: True Blue means devoted. It required a lot of devotion for this comeback record to happen. There’s a lot of themes and messages on this EO. It’s about love, lust, friendship, break-ups, dedication, sorrow. Not a lot of self loathing like on Crocodile Tears or Indefinite though. I like when people make it their own though and relate on their own terms.
How was the recording and writing process?
Eric: I joined the band in early 2017 so this was the first time writing with the band. Coming from a metal background — I was lead writer on all the A Hero A Fake (Victory Records) albums — I was excited to write in a different style but honestly a bit nervous at the same time because it was stepping out of my comfort zone with someone I had just come to know.
We really didn’t have a process in mind to start with but we ended up building a cadence that worked out very well and encouraged a lot of collaboration and iteration. Darren had riffs and song ideas that he had been working on so he would bring those in and show them to Dom (bass) and I. We’d work them out acoustically and sort of build a skeleton where we had the major parts of the song idea down.
I’d take those ideas to my home studio and build up the rest of the instrumentation, add additional guitars, put drum ideas behind parts and then build out production elements. Once I had a song demo ready, I’d shoot it over to Darren to check out. He’d hear the direction I went with the ideas and then that would spark some more ideas on his side that we’d incorporate. We’d go back and forth like that several times on every song until we had it ready to bring into the studio.
This was the first time I had gotten to work with a singer/songwriter type where the vocals were a core part of the song idea from the beginning. In metal, we’d always write just cool instrumental parts and then add vocals over top. But writing with Darren, it was clear he had lyrical ideas and vocal melodies already in mind and that helped to shape how the songs developed. I absolutely loved writing with him and I think our chemistry really showed in how the songs turned out.
What was it like to work with Gene “Machine” Freeman and how did that relationship develop?
Eric: Machine has done some of our favorite all-time records and has been on our dream list of producers for a long time. Darren began communicating with him a couple years ago about doing a record and eventually decided to nail down a few weeks once we saw how our writing direction was developing.
We actually recorded in a much more “pop” style structure than neither Machine or the band had done before. Normally on a metal or rock record, you do the standard drums, guitar, bass, then finally vocals type of tracking process.
However, we recorded guitars first and worked out song structure before anything else. Once we had that skeleton down, we went straight into recording vocals. Doing vocals this early on really pushed us to be better overall songwriters and gave us the flexibility to rearrange song parts or completely rewrite sections — which we did quite a bit. It was just a super creative process and Machine pushed us all hard to develop our ideas into better, complete songs.
We recorded drums last for this record, and I think it was a really cool experience for us and Jacob (drums). Normally the drummer is the first to track and so they are just playing what you would of practice back at home. But this time he got to hear how the vocal lines were coming together and the changes we made to guitar melodies and leads. He had the opportunity to mold his drum parts to how the song had evolved and it really just made the record more cohesive, dynamic, and better highlighted the emotion behind each section.
How much did he get to influence the album?
His influence on the album was definitely positivity and encouragement. He lit a fire in us that definitely shined throughout the whole tracking process.
What aspect of the color blue did you get to explore on this record?
Light, dark, and in between.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Darren: The workplace and my bed.
Any plans to hit the road?
Eric: We have a few more one-off shows around the Carolinas coming up but will be announcing a small fall tour with a great up-and-coming band within the next few weeks. There are more tour plans in the works for the winter and spring but not ready to announce yet 🙂
What else is happening next in Brigades’ world?
Darren: Touring, writing, putting out more content, doing what we love the most.