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With our first interview happening way back in November of 2009 with our most recent out of several happening this Saturday the band now finds themselves in this same place and unlike the last time, we talked about how incredible the process has been with John and Jared. It's definitely the most in depth and exploratory time I've had with the boys and we talked about how really the writing process has changed so much for this record in many ways!
The bands found themselves at a farm which had a studio but 'It wasn't your typical like chickens and cows farm' in John's words. It was the place where the band says they began self producing their own record for the first time in their soon to be three full length album discography. As well as being in John's words the first time he'll be truly honest with himself and do something that he has wanted to do in the past finally 'with these next songs that we're going to record to really pour everything that I've wanted to pour into the songs for the past four years. I'm really trying to actually do that for the first time.' but it may change the direction of the bands' sound and hopefully the true fans will stick around and enjoy it!
Obviously you have a lot going on with the new record and everything. I know it's still in progress but a little soft one to start. You guys have been touring non stop for the past like three years. If you could take out three like past bands you've toured with today who would they be?
John: Past bands that we've toured with?
Yes, past bands that you have toured with. Not just dream tour!
John: Man that's a tough one.
Jared: I guess there's Brighten. Who we toured with right at the beginning of this band.
John: I suppose if The Morning Light was still a band.
Jared: Yeah I would love to do a reunion of our first tour that we ever went on with The Morning Light and us and Brighten. It's crazy because it was a long time ago but I feel like I have a lot of memories from that tour.
John: Two down and then. This is hard because you meet so many good people. I would say Austin Gibbs.
Jared: Dude, yeah! If we could just do every tour with Austin Gibbs.
John: We love those guys. So funny.
Bring Austin out every time.
Perfect and then from what I've heard, you guys wrote something like fifty songs for this follow up.
John: We've written quite a few. Quite a few I mean a lot. It's probably right about that number. Yeah now it's the wittling down process. It's a big chunk of wood that we've got to carve out so so far, so good. I think we have a rough idea of what it will be.
Jared: Yeah even for 'Black and White' that's how it was. We had to narrow it down from about forty songs.
John: So hopefully we're getting better at it (laughs).
And then how do you think maybe it's changed from 'Black and White'. Like did the writing process change at all?
John: Yeah the writing process I would say was a lot different. It was a lot more carefree.
Jared: It wasn't so much a process.
John: We went in to, well just to let you know, I mean I don't know if anybody told you but we are producing this new album on our own. We already have nine songs that we've already written and recorded in El Paso, Texas.
That's what I was going to ask like I wasn't sure where you guys were in the process.
John: Yeah so now basically where we sit, I mean it's been a long time I guess coming to get to this point. Now everybody is excited about it at the label on their front and on our front we're all really excited. We just need to go back in and write and record a couple more. So we'll do that after this tour but the writing process for this was kind of a representation of that moment in time. We lived at a farm.
At a farm?
John: Yeah! It wasn't your typical like chickens and cows farm but it was-
Jared: It was a secluded property.
John: It was a large amount of land that has a studio inside of it and we for about three weeks or so just did nothing but write and demo out music.
Jared: I think we really surprised ourselves too because we'd been on tour for a while before that and we had all these bits and pieces of songs. We were kind of waiting to get in a room together and actually work them out and once we got to the farm, we were cranking out like sometimes three songs in one day. It felt very natural for us as a band and really did represent exactly who we were musically I guess as a band at that point in time.
John: I mean that differs from the first two records in a lot of ways. The last most recent record 'Black and White' that we did we had explored the option and the opportunity of writing with other people. I think we talked a little bit about that last time but this time we just wanted to go in and we wanted to do it all on our own and it's not saying that those people don't deserve credit but we just wanted to make it or not make it on our own.
Jared: I feel like it's kind of nice for the fans to be able to see us with out make up on.
John: Yeah absolutely. We'll see how it goes. We're keeping our fingers crossed.
And then so you said you recorded nine songs. So are you pretty far into making the record or is it still a lot to do?
Jared: I mean we originally were at a point where we thought these songs were possibly the album and there's some rethinking.
John: We wanted to add more songs. Figured ten wasn't really sufficient enough. Especially because of how much of our music there is out there and not only just other music but the same kind of songs. We want this album to be viewed upon as an album not as a single or what we put online first. So what we're really trying to do, at least for our fans, for our initial fans the people that are going to enjoy it or at least give it a chance to begin with, we want the idea of a full album to be in their heads and not just as the consumer where you're only forced into listening to one song. So we wanted to be the whole album experience. I mean the nine that we have might not necessarily all end up on the record but that was just a great foundation.
Jared: It feels very cohesive as an album. I feel more so with this one.
John: A lot can happen with in the next couple months but at least we have a good starting point.
Especially because you're doing it yourself, you kind of have more of a control over it.
John: Yeah and even just doing the nine there's a lot that we learned just about recording in general and about sound and how things work in the studio.
Jared: You can say you want to do an album yourself and you can say you're going to rent this or rent that.
John: I think we surprised ourselves. It's saying it! It's one thing to say like 'Yeah we're going to record our album' but then doing it and then realizing that it's a finished product. We handed it in or we allowed people at the label to listen to it and I wouldn't say everybody's reactions but the overall reaction was like 'Well if these are demos then these are the absolute best sounding demos'. Sounding, not like sonically, not the songs but the sound quality of the songs I don't think is very far off of much else that we've put out and it's not to say that Howard Benson like anybody could be Howard Benson because that's not what I'm saying. At all.
Jared: We just wanted it to be sort of like an exact representation of what we are right now and that's exactly what it's going to be. I wouldn't say it's raw I mean it's something that we did try to put as much polish on as we could but it's us.
Perfect and then obviously 'Black and White' was a lot different from 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop'. Do you think this one is a lot different sonically from that last record at least so far or is it pretty similar?
John: I don't know I'm not sure. I definitely think that it's way different.
Jared: Oh it's definitely different.
John: I think content wise I think the lyrics are completely different.
Jared: Oh yeah!
John: I think in a positive way for myself. Now whoever listens to it might have a different opinion but for me I'm continuing to try and with these next songs that we're going to record to really pour everything that I've wanted to pour into the songs for the past four years. I'm really trying to actually do that for the first time. I feel like I haven't been able to really do that on the other tracks that we've had thus far and I feel like I'm doing an alright job up to this point. Content wise, it might be a little darker.
You guys are getting older. You're not the same people that you were in the beginning.
John: Yeah a little more realization of kind of the reality of the situation and the reality of things. It's not neon hoodies and pumped up Nikes. I think it's more serious. I think it's more serious then that. Not saying that I didn't like that it just already happened.
Jared: Already got that haircut.
John: We already got that haircut but yeah this more serious. It's exciting because not only are we growing older but the people that have been with us for the past four years are also growing older naturally and I think that they deserve a little bit more substance this time around. I feel like I would be doing them an injustice if I just sang about the same old.
Jared: We're not trying to run ourselves into a rut. We definitely want to keep going as far as we can and try new things. I don't know we've all been listening to different artists and we continuingly find new artists or are always looking for something different between album cycles. It really comes from all different areas.
And do you think that's something that will probably come out next year or is it even possible for it to come out this year?
John: I really think that the plan is to get it out as soon as possible. So what we're going to try to do is literally we're going to move into and take over our management's offices in Arizona in Phoenix. Set up all of our equipment. Write and demo out the next batch of songs and then hit the studio and my goal is to try to first finish the album but then record a plethora of songs so that we have a bunch to choose from and make the best record at this point in time. But to answer the question, I think as soon as we can is the goal.
Perfect! So that's like after this tour? You're going to focus on that record for a while before you come back out.
John: Yeah and because we already have our foot in the door with the nine.
Jared: I think we just have to find the right few songs that are going to go along with what we had before.
Perfect and then this a little different but you guys did come back from overseas. Right after Harmony I think is when you went overseas. How did that whole experience go for you? With Australia and England.
Jared: It was mind blowing. We started in the Philippines. That was crazy! We were playing these shows in malls in the Philippines and thousands of kids were showing up and they knew the lyrics. I mean it was just crazy but it started that way. We did Australia and then we did Europe.
John: I think it's hard to really full heartedly be in the moment over there because I was just so excited and it kind of all flew by and now we're here and now I look back upon it and I'm like that was such an incredible time and such an experience. Just for people to be singing across the globe in places we've never been too before and maybe would have never traveled to if we weren't doing music.
Jared: We just felt really lucky to be able to go around the world and do the same things that we do here in the states.
John: It also added a lot of motivation I think for the new material. Just to continue to want to try to strive to be better. I think to be serious about what we're doing because there's so many bands that I feel just take it for granted.
Jared: I think with us we see something like that and we see ourselves going into Europe to play a show. I think we're envisioning what the next step would be like. We want to get to the festivals. We want to play the big shows over there and I actually feel like that just kind of really got everyone really thinking about you know the possibilities that we have ahead of us.
John: Yeah I just vividly remember the last show in London. It was a sold out show and we had a great set and everybody was super hyped and I think I asked Jared I was like 'How do people get sick of this? Like how would people ever get jaded?' I mean I understand outside forces but it was just such a good feeling that I think it made all of us want to strive to continue to be able to do that and I think that's what we're trying to do right now. Be an international band.
Well that kind of goes in line with what I was going to ask. I mean obviously this year especially with in these past few years you guys have been constantly touring. This past year has been crazy for you guys. Where would you want to be in like one year? Do you want to be doing that? Like getting to these bigger venues like what are your goals?
John: I don't know.
Jared: I think that there's that kid inside of me that wants to be the biggest band in the world. I mean that will always be like part of my drive or our drive. I do feel like I'm extremely happy with what we've been able to do.
John: I think for me I want to be able to write and record music for a long time and I think that if we can do two records a year that would be incredible.
Pull a Never Shout?
John: Yeah (laughs) I think so. I mean if we could do that or even a record and three months of touring in a year, I think that's how people don't get burnt out. I think you put out music and you're excited about it and you tour on it and then you go back into the studio.
Jared: Yeah I mean it's like bands tour and tour and tour on the same album cycles.
John: It's like how long did Kesha tour her two songs that were popular. You know what I mean like I just think that that as an artist would get (hard) but maybe I'm using the term artist loosely in that sense.
Jared: It's such a great experience to roll out the new stuff. Especially in the live sets and then even taking the older songs that we're maybe a little bit more bored with and revamp those and get those up to speed with where we are now. So what's the word I'm looking for? Just content. You always want them to feel new and exciting. New material is fun.