INTERVIEW: West of Corey

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

Corey: Hello! Well lately we’ve been busy getting everything done with the CD project and follow-up promotions. It ranges anywhere from stressed to super excited. There is a lot of business stuff that needs to be tended to such as: college radio promotion, press campaigns, building the website, getting things copyrighted and registered, etc. We’re currently getting into rehearsal mode and anticipating playing out. We’re very excited keeping the momentum going.

Can you talk to us more about your song “No Resistance”?

Corey: It was one of the two first songs developed for this project in 2009, the other being “Star Gazer” (although “Halfway to Walker” and “End of This Love Song” both had an earlier inception in a previous band). “No Resistance” is the one song that stands out to me as representing well the overall capacity/vibe of the band: it’s a driving blues-rock tune with great tone, vocals, and rhythm section; some quirky parts, and some nice leads. I really like the drum/bass breakdown section; that makes me smile almost every time I hear it. My favorite part though, is the single note at the very end (that is actually repeated throughout the song several times)! Beep! That note came about because I was just checking to see if my rig was on or coming through the system, and the engineers asked me what I did. It was just a test note! They suggested using it in the song and I’m glad they did; I love it! The random things are sometimes the best.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Corey: Nope. It was just a riff I started jamming and I liked it.

West: The song ‘No Resistance’ was written with the thought in mind that a lot of people in the world really don’t interact / engage in the world personally or responsibly. Many just hide behind their own constructs / intrinsic thoughts and they really become prisoners to their own repeated numbing behaviors that keeps them in a box of sorts. They lose the grit / inertia to make a truly meaningful life out of the circumstances they find themselves in; they ‘resist’ / have ‘no Resistance’ to the real resolve it takes to strive for better meaning to things; they simply drift along and accomplish very little in life. I’m not trying to criticize or demean some folks, but rather shine a bit of light on their contracted thinking, so as to break out of that restricted mind-set, at least for a little bit of their precious life. Sorry to get ‘heavy’ on the psychology soup-box, but that’s what this song is about! ☺.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Corey: Not yet, but I like how you think!

The single comes off your new album Slammed – what’s the story behind the title?

Corey: Ha! Great question. So West had a buddy that needed to stay with him for a while and some things in his room needed to be removed from it in preparation. There was a desk (which you can see under the guy [West] on the cover) that didn’t fit through the doorway. So, the door had to be removed. Then, after we got the desk out, West said he wanted to lie down on the desk. So I was looking at him lying on this desk, and looking at the door that was off its hinges next to me, so I thought I should put the door on him. Why not right? Your buddy is lying on a desk, and there’s a door nearby, so put it on him, naturally! So that was great, and he hammed it up with some additional silliness, at which point I realized it was a photo opportunity. Of course! I love following intuition, inspiration, and silliness even when it make no logical sense.

West then suggested the name of the band be Slamming Doors, so we got all excited about that. But Janine later pointed out that another band in Duluth, MN had that name already. Regardless, as time went on, I still had the intention of using that image for the cover; I just thought it was great -one of those things that makes you wonder or chuckle or whatever. Eventually, Slammed popped into my head and no one objected, so that’s what it is. I also consider it a metaphor for how I want people to feel after hearing the CD. Slammed by music they love (I hope)!

How was the recording and writing process?

Corey: The writing process was pretty uniform throughout: I introduced guitar ideas, and they’re developed in collaboration with others. Most of them were just me and West working in that capacity, but “Halfway to Walker” and “End of This Love Song” were developed while in the band 73 Paces.

The recording process went hand-in-hand with the writing. We would write enough to fill a 2-4 hour session and then track it. In total, we had about 60 sessions encompassing approximately 1,000 person/hours.

How has Metallica and Stryper influenced your writing?

Corey: Well, I’ve loved both of them for years, so they’re imbued in my musical character! Janine thinks this question is hilarious, and I think it’s funny too. I didn’t expect that those would be identifiable in my playing, but I love it! Great question. To more specifically answer your question: Metallica has really instilled an appreciation for raunchy, chromatic, pissed-off, riff-based playing. I love gnarly distorted diad-based guitar riffs. They also aren’t scared of diminished 5ths, which can be really well utilized in a metal song. Stryper is just amazing; their solos are incredible, so I suppose I have it in me to strive for tasty, extraordinary guitar solos because of bands like them. Some of their riffs are really amazing too. I also appreciate how some of their rhythm guitar parts are simple and totally rock.

How did you go on balancing and playing with different genres on this record?

Corey: I just played whatever I felt like, and we kept the ones that West thought were worth developing. The way I see it, there are 6 different sub-styles on the record, each being represented by 2 songs: 1) Blues-rock, 2) Hard rock, 3) Acoustic, 4) Acoustic rock, 5) Metal, and 6), Quirky. None of that was planned, it was all intuitive and just worked out that way. I like it, since it makes for an interesting, diverse album; but I suppose there are others that may argue that it’s not homogeneous enough. I don’t really care since I love them all! I hope others appreciate the diversity that may be a bit unusual. It’s very fun for me to explore sounds in my rig to match the part; a riff just doesn’t sound right to me unless it has the right tone. As one of the engineers said, “each song has its own thing going on”. As far as live performances go, it will be a little tricky, but it’ll be fun. I have a lot of patches I use via my MIDI foot controller, as well as 4 or 5 guitars to cover the feel and sound of the songs.

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

Corey: I didn’t; that’s the main reason why I like to collaborate with people! Actually, I should say I was inspired to re-write the last two verses of “Halfway to Walker”. I mainly did that because the original rendition was basically repeating the first verse. I turned the song into a double meaning between a literal trip to Walker, MN (for Moondance Jam), and a figurative trip through the life cycle of my being in the band in which the song was written.

West: The song lyrics to most of the tunes, were mainly written in the past year. In some of them we tried to convey the difficulties and pit-falls of relationships from the perspective of frustration yet power to take control of them and do something about it. Other songs reflect social concerns of the environment, politics coupled with introspective thought, hopefully to invoke thinking more about important issues that we all deal with in our lives. Inspiration for all these lyrics came from a lot of life experiences I guess; then contemplation and action to convey the meanings, within the powerful medium of rock music that a lot of people relate too. Music is the perfect vehicle to express important issues that surround us all.

Any plans to hit the road?

Corey: Yep, but we haven’t gotten it figured out yet. It may be a ~3 stop test run in towns supported by the college radio stations that favored us, or it may be a few showcase shows getting us recognized enough to be invited as an opener for some bigger acts. Stay tuned! Should we come visit you? 🙂

What else is happening next in West of Corey’s world?

Corey: We’re right in the middle of the college radio promotion, so we’re doing follow-up on that and preparing for a national radio show that features new bands. We’re also in the process of getting setup with online retailers.

Rehearsing is the next main focus right now, as well as ironing-out some business/marketing stuff. Other than that, I’d like to release a 6 song re-mix follow-up to Slammed featuring two singers that were originally on 4 of the songs. This would be a throwback to the inception of the band and a fun variation; plus we already have some of them tracked! So why not?  Also in that collection, I’d like to have acoustic mixes of “Silent Dove” and “Course of Things to Come”, and perhaps another remix or bonus song that didn’t make it onto Slammed. Janine and I are itching to write more songs (I have about 7 or so ideas I feel good about, and she has tons of lyrics).

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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