With: Stephen Burnett
Our music is a rollercoaster of sadness followed by extreme aggression. We all thoroughly enjoy music that conveys emotion and brutal heaviness, so we reflect that in building songs. Music is a central part of our lives for all of us. Hence, the ability to express ourselves, as cliche as it is, by actually making a tangible thing from our thoughts is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Some songs (i.e. Still Sleep) were written entirely when I initially brought them to Stefan (Drums). Sheltered/Exposed was the most recently written track on the album and was written riff by riff together, each drum piece at the same time as the riff.
I usually either have a single riff or sometimes the majority of the structure of a song. From there, I would bring it to practice and work on it with Stefan to get a general basis for the song. We enviably get stuck at a riff, but we try to let a song ‘flow’ out of us instead of forcing another riff onto it to preserve a song’s momentum. From there, we try different things until it feels ‘right’. We approach them from a very intuitive place as we are all musically trained.
Our lyrics fit the vibe of the music; they’re sombre, dark, and sad, which is a complete 180 from Mike’s [Vocals] personality. They range from loss of relationships to uncertainty in life. Our song ‘Brotherhood’ is written about his good friend Ryan, who passed away in a motorcycle accident, but that is the only specific song. Everything else is very much open to interpretation.
We’re all hardcore music lovers; we live and breathe it daily and could talk about it for hours. Nothing is better than getting in a room with your friends and playing so loud that everything is quiet. All you hear is what you’re creating. There is no better feeling or reason to play than that.
None of us have a great eye or interest in visual art or artwork. It’s always been this important secondary component, music first and foremost. But when Ryan passed away, and Mike wrote Brotherhood, a homage within the title also seemed fitting. The album art is of a house just outside of our hometown, Cambridge, broken down and decaying, symbolizing the absence of that occupant and its subsequent deviation. There could be a million other cool interpretations beyond that, but that’s the basis of the idea. For our single artwork, Mike found Craig of Blood Stone Media Collective (@bloodstonemediacollective on Instagram), and he’s been doing all of our graphics ever since. He’s fantastic because he can look at the lyrics for a song and create an image with a story we never would have thought of. Except for the ‘Brotherhood’ artwork, a picture of the intersection where Ryan died, Craig has taken all liberties and created fantastic pieces each time. As for the story of the images for our singles, that’s for you to interpret yourself.
How did I get into heavy music? My Dad was a big Black Sabbath fan when he was a teen, so I had my early start with him introducing me to them. But my first real step in was actually from playing the video game Price of Persia Warrior Within. The soundtrack for that game was Godsmack’s ‘I Stand Alone’, and I was obsessed with that song, and soon the band after. I discovered Slipknot and System of a Down from school friends not too long later, and the rest is history.
Why is music important? I’m going to make a weird analogy to sports. I don’t enjoy watching sports at all. I don’t get the emotional investment people will have in certain teams and the thousands and thousands of dollars they’ll spend to watch them. For some of them, watching their team win is a spiritual experience to them. For me, music is 100% a spiritual experience and makes everything better when it’s around. For some, it may be entertainment, but I know billions out there feel the same way I do.