You guys have been doing quite a few shows over the last few months… How has everyone been responding to you guys coming back right now since you’ve been gone for a while?
It’s pretty interesting. It’s definitely a slow introduction– re-introduction, I should say, to A Life Once Lost. We’ve been gone for two years now, so you got to think of the time lost, how the scene has evolved, the (inaudible) of kids within music. This year, you’re listening to hip hop, this year metal, and then all of a sudden you’re listening to fish or something. (laughs) You know?
You’re evolving as a person, you kind of grow up. The re-introduction has been kind of cool so far. The first show we played, we played the first new song. And people were just like, speechless; no applause. People were just like, “What the fuck was that.” Then as we kept playing it, it progressively got louder and louder and louder. So far, it seems a lot of people are really into the new songs we are playing. We’re definitely starting to– you hear people saying, “I came here to see you guys, A Life Once Lost. I haven’t seen them in like 3 or 4 years.” And it feels good to know that people’s radars and in their minds, you know?
Yeah. I heard your new song, Expression of Hate, how do you feel it represents the rest of the new album you guys are working on?
It was the one song– We have about– 7 or 8 songs done right now, with vocals and stuff. Not all of them are recorded yet. I think that– we just happened to use that song because it really hit so hard. I mixed it down a little bit, it sounded really good. It’s a small introduction to where we are taking the music. It’s not really giving it all away and tonight you’ll hear two new songs we’ll probably play. The over all difference and sounds, it’s just amazing. We tuned down now to a B, we were on D before, so it’s kind of skimming a few steps. But, there’s just more room to write music in it’s ‘fuller’ sound. It feels right, right now. The new songs are really good.
With you guys having such positive lyrics with your past albums, how did you want to approach writing for this one?
For the last four years, it’s just been kind of rough emotionally, on me. I think my lyrics on this record, probably won’t be viewed as a positive thing, but more of like a lot of disappointment in people that you trusted and that you put a lot of time and effort into; friends, especially. Just large groups of people t
Again, I’m getting older as well, it feels nice to settle into a comfort zone now, when before I was on tour 10-11 months out of the year for like 4-5 years in a row. (laughs) It’s a really hellish touring schedule. We made the best of it. Never felt like I actually had my feet on the ground, I felt like I was just kind of drugged [sic] behind. Not that it’s a bad thing, but the last two years have definitely been like a refocus on me. But there’s been a lot of disappointment in two years. The record, lyrically, is more “disappointing” lyrically, kind of touching on that stuff, just a lot self-loathing shit, you know? Depressing. (laughs)
I saw you guys on the 2005 Sounds of the Underground tour. How would you say the fans from then are accepting A Life Once Lost now?
Umm… It varies from show to show. But overall, the old fans are still there, if they are still there (laughs) if they’re listening to metal or whatever they’re listening to. Even the people that are coming out and seeing us now, especially the younger kids who have just gotten into metal over the last two years; we haven’t been around, we’re not on anyone’s radar. And even when we dropped Iron Gag, it was a bomb on the label’s behalf because there was zero promotion. No one even knew we had a record coming out.
I was talking to somebody and they were like, “I was working at a record store and all of a sudden, we got a box of your new album.” We had no– there was just no press for it. There was nothing for it. We’re playing in front of kids that are eager to get into [metal]. I feel like the music is pretty acceptable to a large audience from hardcore, to punk, to metal, to stoner-rock, you can get into it, if you give it a chance. The fans that are coming out, are pretty awesome now.
How do you feel with the new album you’ve connected, or are still connecting with it personally?
I think, personally, it’s a sonic difference. It’s just way warmer and bigger and it’s a lot of fun to sing to it. It’s really grabbing me from my fucking balls right now and it feels pretty great. I think overall, when it drops, it’s going to turn a lot of heads. I think what we were doing with A Great Artist back in 2002, we were doing things that these bands weren’t doing. No one was treading in that water yet. You had us and our inspiration was coming from Meshuggah, and Pantera, and Candiria. And now we put out A Great Artist and it was just– it never really clicked with a lot of people, then we put out The Hunter and it started making sense. Then all of a sudden you have all of these younger bands are just kind of cruising by and it’s sick for them, and fuck man, I’m not jealous at all, I wish them all the success in the world. I think this record is really going to put a lot of people in perspective of who we are and what we do in metal. I think we’re a very under-looked band, very underestimated.
Each CD you release is a transition period, how do you feel this transition from Iron Gag to when you release your new album is going to be from an improvement standpoint?
You have to progress, you’re in a band, and you find and comfort zone and a safe place, and you don’t ever tread outside of that, then you’re, you know, a fucking pussy. You’re just doing what you do because you found and formula and you’re not experimenting, and you’re not testing the waters. That’s not what a musician is, that’s not what a band should be. You evolve as a human being, I was 19 years old when we first started this band. I’m 31 now. It’s been just one of the most insane journeys of my life, to have the chance of doing a lot of the things I’ve done. And I’ve grown up, I was an asshole before, I’m still an asshole now, but I think mentally and the way that I perceive things now, it’s just– you grow up and you grow past, and you kind of just mature.
And I think what we’re doing now as musicians, and as a band, and as friends, and as people, we’re maturing; the step to the different tuning, the reproach of making the songs more devastating, you know what I mean? We’re a metal band, we’re not a hard rock band, we’re not a hardcore band, we’re a metal band. We’re a metal band now. And fuck, you’ve got to come with your A-Game nowadays, there’s so many bands out there. You get lost in the shuffle. If you’re not constantly evolving, you’re just fucking stagnant. Just don’t waste our time.
At which album did you start noticing that you could really feel your energy you have on stage to be able to incorporate it into your albums?
Umm… I feel like, you know. You know– It’s kind of– You kind of always try to do that, and even when you’re not a serious band, and I’m not saying we weren’t a serious band. When you’re younger, this stuff just isn’t on your radar. Playing local shows at church halls and your friends fucking parents garage and stuff, that’s on your mind.
I think growing into the album, later you start to notice it a little more. Again, like I said, you always try to capture it, but it’s really hard and I haven’t really found my comfort zone yet. Actually I have… I just recently started to find my comfort zone in the studio. And to be able to capture the emotion you have live is so hard, it’s so hard. It’s hard— Man, that’s a really hard question to answer because I feel like every record I’ve recorded, I’ve always put everything into it, just like I do when I play live.
I mean, I’m not smashing the microphone on my head in the studio or anything, but my delivery and approach to it is always the same as when I’m going to play a show live. I’m not like “half-assing” it in the studio, its fucking pointless. Again, it’s like wasting people’s time.
Everyone communicates or expresses music in a different way, how exactly do you try to do just that?
Umm… Just… Intensity. That’s how I express it. I don’t play (inaudible) when I sing, that’s my thing and I can only do so much instead of just standing there, taking up space. Why not utilize all of the space? Just try to be a little more interactive and visual. I always liked that when I was younger, I’d watch singers sing and they were a little more passionate about what they were saying. You might not necessarily know what the fuck they’re saying, but you can kind of see in their face, in their body motion, in their hands, and their eyes, and you knew what they were feeling, and you knew how intense it was, you were just like, “fuck.”
And that’s how I approach– again, like going and playing a show, I’m intense. That’s what I do, (laughs) that’s what I’ve always done, ever since the beginning. I’m not here to waste people’s time. I’ll give it 110% every time I play.
Since starting A Life Once Lost, with everything you’ve contributed and wanted to contribute to metal and to your fans, has it changed at all from then to now?
Ummmm… No, not really. Musically, our goal is to evolve, never to stand still. Lyrically, it’s always kind of been the same, a lot of stuff based around relationships in life, a subject that everyone can relate with. The personality of the band; we’re all sarcastic assholes. (laughs) You kind of want to present yourself in a way that will be memorable, I think that in my mid-twenties, I was very open about my drug use and drinking and stuff like that. Kind of just more being an idiot.
Now, you kind of stop and look at the crowd and you’re like, “Fuck man, that’s not like what I’m supposed to be.” I’m here and kids are buying our records, buying our t-shirts, and coming to our shows, and they’re talking to us, they’re communicating with me about things that I’m doing with music and that’s fucking amazing. Why am I going to sit here and be a negative influence on these kids? You’ve got to maintain some level of positivity and some level of maturity, you know? You cant act like a fucking smack asshole all the time, you definitely have to grow up and out of it.
What do you want new fans to feel about A Life Once Lost as soon as the new album is released?
Umm.. I don’t know, really. They can feel however they want to feel. There’s really no particular response that I’m looking for. I play music because I play music. I don’t necessarily play music to make money and sell merch and stuff like that. I play music because music changed my life and it influences me as a person everyday. Why abuse it? There’s really no sense.
Describe how you try to make music come alive, like in the studio, how do you try to do that? Or even with your lyrics, how do you try to make it jump out?
Umm… With trying to make it ‘jump out’, it’s more like accenting certain words and emphasizing certain phrases and stuff like that. As far as the recording process and making it come alive, it’s just– that’ just– I think it’s a goal every band tries to do. You don’t want a stale record that kind of stinks unless you’re like a low-fi black metal band that lives in the woods, in a cabin or something like that. I think everyone wants to do it, everyone wants to make it always fucking on point and shit. We just work our asses off. (laughs)
You’ve been working with Melissa Cross… You’ve been doing vocal lessons for other people–
I just started to show interest in it, I’ve done it in the past with people and stuff; utilizing her lessons and techniques and just reproaching how I scream, it’s really helped me out; I mean you can’t really tell, I’m losing my voice a little bit. But yeah, it’s fun, and why not?
Fuck man, I’ve been in a band for close to twelve years now and have been singing for 12 years and now I’ve finally started to grasp the concept of preserving your voice, and the breathing techniques that have given me more power and why not show other people? You know, I have interest from a few people, it’s nothing crazy, it’ll take time… Obviously, she is the queen of scream… Sorry. (laughs) But she’s an amazing woman and she’s very nice and she’s helping me with that. It’s cool. She’s helped me out a lot.