Within the past year and a half Issues have been touring almost constantly going around the world and back home. As if that weren’t impressive enough they also released their second album. If there ever were a perfect chance to snag a chat with them now would be it, so we managed to have a conversation with Skyler Acord. He answered questions about the new album, touring, and did a small 'would you rather?' with us!
Q: What motivates you the most to keep making music and touring?
Sky: I just absolutely love music and making it. There wasn't and won't always be a living for me in this industry but the love of it keeps you going.
Q: Is there anything that sets the band back or hinders you from achieving what you want?
Sky: Sometimes I feel like some of the musical choices we make keep us from most mainstream audiences, but that's just who we are. We're weird. Being weird worked for plenty of other bands much bigger than us like System of a Down, Depeche Mode, Incubus etc. so I don't see an immediate need to tame our sound.
Q: If you were to create a dream tour for Issues who would it be with?
Sky: I'd love to tour with The 1975. I feel like our lighter songs would be a super cool mesh with their live show.
Q: If you could be a member of any other band who would it be and why?
Sky: If I got an offer to play with Allen Stone I'd be on the next plane out!
Q: Are there any artists you'd like to work with and write a song with?
Sky: We had talked about collaborations with our friends in State Champs and One Ok Rock, both of those would be super fun to get into.
Q: Each of you bring unique talents to the band, does anyone have any other special or cool talents?
Sky: We all are pretty good at super smash bros. Nobody can beat us!
Q: What are some of your biggest inspirations in the creation of Headspace?
Sky: Different songs have different stories. Chon was a pretty significant influence in our incorporation of more advanced harmony and chordal extensions, and we love the vibes of bands like TesseracT and The Contortionist, so we played with some things like that. Both of those elements added a lot more emotional content to the songs.
Q: There was an amazing amount of support for Headspace. What were your expectations for the release and did the response meet that?
Sky: The music industry is greatly different from when we released our last album, so we were admittedly a little disappointed with our initial sales because we didn't understand how to read the numbers. All the new music streaming services threw us off. We weren't sure how people actually responded until we played our first warped tour show and saw how huge our crowd was, it was insane! We were so happily surprised. People are really into our weirdness.
Q: Do you ever see Issues tackling more political issues like in Blue Wall in future songs?
Sky: so if the feeling hits us, but I don't see us becoming a largely political band. Blue Wall is just very relevant to us because of our diverse roots and the effect of police brutality on all of us directly and indirectly.
Q: Touring has to be exhausting at times. What are some things you do in your free time while on tour?
Sky: We play a LOT of video games and hang. If you see us, bring your 3ds if you want to get your ass kicked at Pokemon or super smash bros!
Would you rather….?
Have extra days in between shows or get tours done quickly?
Extra days for adventures!
Play a festival or headline a tour?
Headline a tour!
Have an intimate show or rock a stadium?
When you have a lot of one you miss the other... So I'll say rock a stadium!
ISSUES put out their latest album 'Headspace' later this year, with which they toured Europe, UK and attended all of Vans Warped Tour with.
Stream their album below!
Music anno 2016 is as genre and label-less as it can be.
Everywhere bands are pushing boundaries, breaking the cycle and combinining genres up until the point that we have no clue what to call it anymore.
One of the prime examples of this phenomenal is Bad Omens.
Bad Omens are a relentless force you're bound to have heard off by now!
The band signed with Sumerian Records and will release their debut and self-titled album 'Bad Omens' tomorrow.
Prior to this release, we want to share with you the extensive chat we had with frontman Noah Sebastian who's responsible for most of the lyrical content of the band.
When we first asked for this interview, we were convinced we were about to get acquainted with an extraordinarily drivven musician, however we could not in a million years have anticipated the extent to which we've been given the answers to our (many) questions.
The result is a rather personal interview with an extraordinary individual aswell as a talented musician.
We hope you enjoy reading this as much we enjoyed conducting this interview!
You are about to release your debut album 'Bad Omens' on Sumerian Records. Hearing the songs it's quite understandable that you got picked up by a big label so quickly but we do wonder.. how did this happen?
Well basically after I finished recording our first EP and we got picked up by our current manager/management (Jason Malhoyt/Imperial Artist Management) we shopped it out to various labels. But Jason our manager had worked with Sumerian in the past and had just so many great things to say about them and their work ethic so we were pretty convinced from day one that that was the label we needed to be on so we pushed extra hard in making that happen and luckily for us they were into it!
You've released four songs so far and have gotten quite the incredible response. Any particular reason why these four songs were released as singles? Was the success anticipated?
We really had no idea how well the listeners would respond to the songs, but I can say that the order that we released them and the reasons why was very deliberate. We really wanted to showcase the fact that our album has quite a few different styles of music on it and that we aren't a one-trick-metalcore-pony haha. It was also very important to us to show our fans that we don't care about genres or labels and that we make music the way we want to no matter how extreme it may feel going from a track like "Exit Wounds" to a track like "The Fountain". One thing that myself and the band have always wanted to promote is open mindedness when it comes to music. There's way too much of a high school "clique" mentality in our music scene between genres and we want to play our role in eradicating that and not allowing fans to feel isolated or ashamed for liking a certain kind of music.
You have a guitarist all the way from Sweden, how did this happen and does it affect you in any way?
Well our bass player Vincent and Joakim (Jolly) have been best friends for about 10 years now and when the band was in it's earlier stages we realized we needed a second guitar player so Vincent made that connection between the band and Jolly. Obviously getting a guitar player from another country is not ideal but once Jolly displayed his impressive skills as a musician/songwriter/producer I was convinced that we needed him on board. He's a great leader and has irreplaceable value not just in our music but as a positive influence on the band. Outside of Bad Omens Jolly has been my partner in all kinds of musical projects so I'm eternally grateful to have met him and have him in my life and in the band.
Bad Omens started out as a solo project. Why did you decide to make it your main focus?
I've just always been very passionate about music and never taken "no" for an answer when it came to pursuing it. So once the EP was finished and so many people we're saying how much potential the project had I decided to take it to the next level and that's when management came into the picture.
You guys are embarking on a huge tour through the US supporting Asking Alexandria this Fall. How do you think that'll be? Is this the first time you'll be touring with a band this big or on a tour this big?
I am beyond excited and I think the tour will do amazing. The first two Sumerian Anniversary tours we did obviously went really well but I think this one is for sure going to be the biggest of them all between the line up, the cities, and the venues we'll be playing. Not to mention how close we've gotten with some of the bands on the package doing two tours this year already with Born Of Osiris, After The Burial, and one with Upon A Burning Body it just feels like one long off day on a massive tour haha.
Are there any plans for some shows in Europe?
None yet but I am really hoping we get to go there next year! We also really want to go to South America.
The four songs you've released so far are all accompanied by a music video, will we be seeing more music video's from other tracks on the album?
Absolutely. At this point in time it's our intention to shoot one for every song on the album.
How many songs did you originally write for the debut album?
We really had no set number of tracks planned for the album. Basically the writing process before we went to the studio was us locking ourselves in a basement for a month straight reworking songs from the EP, and also writing new ones for the album and we ended up with 12! But had we had more time I'm sure we would have had even more.
Who or what inspired you to become a musician?
Well I had a very strange upbringing. I bounced between living with my grandparents which was a strict, religious, republican, school focused household haha and living with my mom who was the polar opposite and introduced me to rock music and R rated movies at a very young age. I was even named after the singer of Skid Row (Sebastian Bach) whom I got to meet when I was really little while he was doing Jekyll and Hyde on broadway in New York City, so that was really cool for 8 year old Noah. But I guess the short answer is that I've always really gravitated towards music (rock and metal in particular) and been romanticized by it. I got my first guitar when I was 10 and ever since then music has been the one consistent thing in my life I always turn to that makes me feel okay. Creating music makes me feel like I have a purpose in the world I'm living in, instead of just "living in it" if that makes sense. I also think the state of the world would be much more positive if there was more creators than consumers. I'm not trying to push some political anti-corporation agenda or anything, I just think that human beings would be happier and healthier if they took that big leap and followed their true callings and passions. Relentlessly.
The album artwork for 'Bad Omens' looks incredible. Is there any story behind this? Why is the artwork the way it is?
Honestly we had nothing to do with the making of it. The guy that took the photos is a friend of the graphic designer at Sumerian who showed us the photos after we told him the general vibe we had in mind for the artwork. Once we saw it, it just really spoke to all of us and we immediately knew that was the one. Not to mention the red fabric ties in with previous elements we used in the Glass Houses music video so it just all kind of came together really organically and totally unintentionally haha.
How would you describe your music to someone who has not listened to you before?
I would say that it's a tasteful and mature approach to contemporary heavy rock music that remains loyal the genre, but isn't afraid to dance with any foreign elements or instruments. The thing that strikes me as the most dynamic about Bad Omens is that our songs are a taste of something that is both familiar and new to the listener at the same time. We take a lot of risks sonically and content-wise that I don't believe you hear or see in modern metal-core music.
Does the album have any specific theme?
When discussing our album it's impossible to pinpoint one central focus because it tackles a variety of subjects and themes. It's worth noting that every single song comes from a real experience and very personal place. If any, I would say that the most recurring concept of the record comes from perpetual introspective thinking. We not only as a band but as people do our best to actively spread open-mindedness and self-awareness because people don't take responsibility for their actions or emotions as often as they should. If this album says anything it's that you have to face and accept yourself before you can truly grow into the best person you're capable of being.
We work with a lot of unsigned artists who try to make a name for themselves in this industry. Do you have any advice for them?
I could honestly talk about this for days haha but my best advice right now is PRIORITIES. It starts and ends with the music. Too many bands get distracted with gimmicks, logos, and trivial things like matching outfits that they forget about the actual music itself. More people want to "BE IN A BAND" than actually play or write music, which are two very different things in my opinion. So my best advice is keeping your priorities in check. All the bells and whistles of being in a band are great but cool lights and contact lenses won't write good songs for you, and they certainly won't compensate for the insane amount of work that's required to be in a successful band. Last I would say staying grounded and doing your best to maintain a good positive attitude. You never know what one bad experience/encounter with a fan or peer can do for your career, so don't be a dick.
Bad Omens' debut album will release tomorrow (August 19th).
They'll be on tour through the US supporting Asking Alexandria later this year.
Grab your tickets for the tour, stream or buy their debut album and jam Bad Omens as loud as you can starting with 'The Worst In Me' right here below!
Although many bands are currently busy at 2016's Vans Warped Tour, we were lucky enough to catch up with one of the band's on the tour, The Color Morale! We spoke to lead vocalist Garret Rapp and discussed their upcoming album Desolate Devine, their latest music video "Walls," their amazing fans, Warped Tour, and more. Check out the interview below to find out all that and more.
How was the process like creating your upcoming album Desolate Devine? Was there anything you guys did to keep yourself focused?
Garret: We're a very diverse band with many different hobbies and interests. I would say for Aaron and Devin it was T-25, Mike and Steve it was NHL 16, and myself it was finding new comic/toy stores in the area. Anything you can do to maintain sanity while spending 2 months creating a record.
Aside from your single “Walls,” can you tell us what your favorite song off Desolate Divine is so far and why? Do you think that it’ll be the second song you guys said you “might” add to your Warped Tour setlist?
Garret: Well, we added "Clip Paper Wings" to the set list daily and it's been a blast to play live. The response to "Walls" has been INSANE. I think my favorite track on the record is "Broken Vessel." It almost has an indie vibe.
What was your personal inspiration behind the video for "Walls?" Was there any other ideas you had in mind before the final outcome? If so, what?
Garret: Filming for "Walls" was extremely stressful. We did the live performance in Chicago and the acting was filmed in Hollywood the next week while we began Warped Tour. Sam [Halleen] did an amazing job with the video. The lyrical content deals with keeping yourself away from vulnerability so we wanted the video to express the same message alike. The importance of face to face connection was the focal point of the music video. In my experience, as long as we're connected to another...we are set up to succeed and push through any problematic situation in life. It's when we leave ourselves stagnant and secluded that we are vulnerable to our own shortcomings.
Do you think fans will like that you're going to focus more on clean vocals rather than unclean vocals for the new album?
Garret: Absolutely. At first you will have your group that complain about it (as with "Know Hope"), but eventually it settles in. Aaron is a beast and enjoys screaming vocals while I haven't really enjoyed doing them since "Know Hope." Right now as an artist, I prefer singing as my form of expression for this record. But who knows, maybe next record we'll fire out 8 tracks like "Silver Lining" and have Aaron yodel.
We heard that you wanted to focus on unclean focus to relate to a bigger audience, but was there another reason behind it as well?
Garret: Not at all. I wanted to focus on singing because I enjoy singing. It's my current preferred technique of the voice. I don't enjoy screaming, I originally did it because it's what came out. Aaron and I didn't plan things, we wrote what came out emotionally. He and I grew a ton on this record as songwriters and it really shows in these songs.
What do the lyrics, “I feel at home with shadows from ghosts of the living / I dance along to melodies as silent choirs sing / I’m sick of always giving when there’s nothing left to lose / This place we’re in is breaking / It’s trying to break me too,” from “Walls” mean to you?
Garret: You can only use things for so long, especially excuses. I've turned my back on great people these last couple of years when it comes to intimacy in relationships and dating. I got to a point this last year where I found myself at the bar daily while we were home just to come to terms with the life I was living, which is extremely detrimental to healthy living...a place I got to after "Know Hope."
7. So we know you’re one of the many bands playing the Vans Warped Tour this year. Is there anything that makes The Color Morale unique compared to other bands when you play live?
Garret: I would like to think that every set we play, I try to find something unique to the day and/or area that impacts another. Maybe it's a conversation after our set, maybe it's bringing a 6-year-old and her daddy on stage because security was going to make her get down off her dads shoulders while they were watching us. I always try to be extremely aware and mindful of the people and places around me.
Is there any band/bands you’ve gotten closer to on the tour so far?
Garret: Warped Tour is always a great place to meet new people! SO MANY! Super stoked on Oceans Ate Alaska, In Hearts Wake, Wage War, Capsize, Real Friends, Emarosa, Too Close To Touch, and so on....so many new friends!
What are some of the most rewarding things a fan has told you when it came to your music? (If any, or multiple fans).
Garret: There hasn't been a day on this tour I haven't seen a tattoo inspired by our lyrics. I'm also given letters and art inspired by what we do. It's absolutely rewarding to receive artwork from others inspired by you.
Do you have any advice for your fans who want to pursue a career in the music industry?
Garret: Start a band, connect, make friends, play shows every weekend to the other bands because no one shows up...do this for a few years and embed in your marrow the reason your an artist. At that point you are set up to never take no for an answer and remain thankful for every single person you get a chance to inspire.
Interview by Melanie Gomez
Be sure to check out their new record Desolate Divine Aug 19th on Fearless Records.
Follow the band @thecolormorale and me @garretrapp for updates and daily shenanigans! Thank you! - Garret Rapp
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