“Heavy rock band” blessthefall had their swagger on when they came through Spokane supporting long-time rockers Atreyu. Although it was rainy and miserable and getting press passes was a cluster I finally got in from the rain and had the opportunity to interview Matt Traynor and Eric Lambert of blessthefall before they hit the stage. Here’s the very short, very informal interview.
Anthony Saia: So what did you guys listen to when you were driving over from Seattle last night?
Matt Traynor: What did we listen to…
Eric Lambert: What did we listen to? Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.
MT: Marcel the Shell, the Youtube sensation.
EL: Have you seen that?
AS: No I haven’t.
MT: You’ll have to check it out.
AS: Have you seen the baby monkey riding on a pig backwards?
MT: I think I did see that…
EL: I haven’t seen that one yet. Yeah, we listened to some weird stuff.
MT: I put Pandora on, I let it chose for me.
EL: Yeah, we listened to a lot of rap today, since Matt was driving. There was some Luda, there was some Usher, I don’t know, there was a lot of stuff.
AS: Just like whatever?
EL: Yeah, pretty much.
MT: I like rap.
EL: We don’t like listening to heavy music all the time because we’re surrounded by it so much. It’s nice to listen to other music, keep your ears fresh.
AS: For sure, for sure. So as far as the show tonight, are you guys ready to go?
EL: Ready to go! I haven’t been nervous for a show in a long time.
MT: When you psych yourself out, that’s when things start to go bad.
EL: We just go up there, have a good time, have some fun.
AS: So let’s talk about your guys’ genre a little bit. Do you feel like you fit in the pre-conceived genre of the post hardcore? Or do you like to think of it as something completely different?
MT: I just tell people rock.
EL: Yeah, it’s easier to tell adults rock. “What kind of band are you in?” and we’re like, “…heavy rock, man.” We’re most straightforward than the whole post metal core etc.
MT: I fully agree.
EL: We’re just like, “We just play heavy rock.” You know we have singing, we’ve got screaming, we have breakdowns, we have catchy choruses. We dabble in everything except auto-tune and dance beats. It’s the only thing we try to stray away from.
AS: Alright, so about this tour, how did it come about? Did they just call you guys up and ask it you wanted to do this?
EL: Yeah, I think we’ve been trying to hook up with Atreyu for a while now, ever since we did Taste Chaos and we have the same company agents so it was just kind of bound to happen, and then we found out they were doing a headliner, and they hit us up and our company agent was like, “You guys want to do it?” and we’re like, “Yeah! Sweet! Let’s do it!” So yeah.
AS: And you guys are going up to Canada?
EL: Yeah, we’re on the whole run. So it’s a good 5 week tour, which is awesome.
AS: What do you feel about the weather up here in Spokane?
MT: Its always rainy.
EL: It’s always rainy in Washington. We went through a little bit of snow today going through the mountains, but not much. It’s more Seattle than anything that’s just always raining. It’s cold here in Spokane, the last two times we’ve been here it’s been freezing.
MT: Yeah, thank god it’s not snowing, because last time we were here there was ice and it sucked.
EL: Well not the last time, but the time we headlined here on the last tour, about a year ago.
MT: Yeah, that’s right.
AS: You guys are from Arizona though, right?
EL: Yeah, we’re warm blooded creatures.
MT: I can’t take it.
AS: I can understand that. I’m from California myself. Seriously though, are we really talking about weather? Let’s talk about Witness and the whole writing process behind it and then move into your guys’ plans for the new album.
EL: It took a long time, I feel like we put a lot of time in our last record, and it was hard because the moral was so up and down while we were writing the record, because we were writing for Witnessand looking for a singer at the same time for half the record. We had half the record written without a singer. We got in a little writer’s block slump, like everyone go unmotivated because we just weren’t finding a singer, and then once we found Beau again we really picked things back up and started writing again, and it came together pretty well. It was cool.
AS: And then, are you guys going to take some time off and start writing a new record?
EL: I think so. I think in the winter, we were going to do a headliner, but we figured it’s time to do another record. So we’re going to do a record, right after this tour we’re going to start writing for it and bringing out the studio work in April.
AS: So like a late 2011 release?
EL: Yeah, so about this time next year.
AS: Are you guys planning on headlining a tour for when that comes out?
EL: Yeah, we’ll probably be headlining next fall. Yeah, so that will probably be our next headlining tour.
AS: Now, a rough question to ask but as far as changes in band members and stuff like that, have you guys seen that trend everywhere around you as well?
EL: It just happens, you know? It’s hard for bands to keep their same band members. It’s just like saying you’re going to be best friends with your sixth grade best friends your entire life. Like freshman year you think you’re in this clique that you’re going to be in forever, and you realize after a couple years that they’re not the right people to stay in your life.
MT: People don’t want to go through the change, but it works out better in the long run.
EL: Yeah, being in a band is about being big and successful; it’s about going out and having fun with your buddies, and I think that if we would have kept our old singer, we just would have been kidding ourselves. We probably wouldn’t be a band anymore, if we didn’t split apart when we did. But having Beau was a huge refreshment and it got our friendship back together, and now we just have fun. We’re just a bunch of goof balls, we don’t take ourselves seriously.
AS: With that, any funny road stories you’d care to share?
EL: Oh, Jesus.
MT: Anything on all our tour videos.
EL: Yeah, we just get in laughing fits, we’ll laugh over nothing. Like Matt and Jeremy will always just start dying over the smallest things and they feed off each other and they’ll literally be laughing for like thirty minutes.
AS: How did the whole ‘Purple Dog on a Sunday Afternoon’ thing come about?
EL: Oh jeez, I don’t even remember, it was so long ago. I think it was the last day in the studio, it’s 4 am in the morning as we’re trying to finish our record, and I got on acoustic guitar and sang the first thing that came to mind, and that came out and it haunts me to this day. We were trying to do a clap track, a singing track, and a backup singing track without a click which didn’t work out.
MT: It sounded good in our head.
EL: It sounded like a good idea. We recorded it, and kids today still ask us to sing that damn song. And we never do.
AS: I had a buddy, Jesse, that I used to work with and he’s like, “Put His Last Walk on,” and there’s a whole bunch of silence and then this song come on and I’m like, “What the fuck is this?!” and he’s like, “Oh just listen, it’s hilarious.”
MT: It’s so random.
EL: Yeah, that’s just one of the goofy things we do.
MT: One of the many.
EL: We’re not trying to be a super serious band, ever. That’s not our jam. I think our label tries to make us out to be this serious metal-core band, or whatever.
AS: Yeah, some of your press photos…
EL: Yeah, you know they really push for it, and we’ll humor them sometimes because we’re like, “Well alright, it’s good to have some clean cut photos sometimes,” but we got a part of the 2011 Most Anticipated Record for AP and they wanted us to do some super gnarly, dark photo, and we were with the photographer and he was doing it and was like, “This sucks!” and we were like, “Yeah, we know, this fucking blows.” So we went to a car wash down the street, in Santa Monica, and started spraying each other with hot pink and green wax, and we were all completely stripped down, like in our underwear and everything, and it came out awesome. There’s just foam flying everywhere, it’s just really a colorful, fun photo shoot, and just us having a good time. That’s more of our personality, versus just standing there with our arms crossed being like, “We hate the world, we’re going to light everyone on fire…” you know?
AS: So obviously you guys are trying to get away from that image a little bit?
AS: As much as you can?
EL: We know image is important, but at the same time we’re not trying to kid anyone and try to be the super serious band, because that’s just not who we are.
AS: Yeah, that makes sense. Alright, I know you guys have to warm up. Final question: Any advice for any kids out there that are trying to start bands?
EL: Keep trying, don’t give up.
Eric: I mean, we went through a singer change. That’s like the most gnarly thing you can go through after being signed by a label and being somewhat of a success. I think if you have enough passion and initiative to do something, I think you can get it done. It’s just all about, you know, keep going at it, just don’t take no for an answer. You’ll get somewhere.
This show was packed but these guys were really awesome to give us some of their time before they went to warm up. A little while later they got on stage and killed it. I was actually there to see them anyways – don’t tell Atreyu.