Tag Archives: Dance Gavin Dance

Music Junkie

Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix is addicted to bringing the rock

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there is no denying that Papa Roach has earned their rank as one of the most successful bands to come from the Sacramento region. They’ve sold upwards of 10 million records worldwide, have toured the globe for over a decade playing venues packed with adoring fans and have truly lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. But for every high point, there’s been a low. Be it battles with their record label or battles within the band itself, Papa Roach has shed its fair share of blood, sweat and tears, most notably when they parted ways with long-time drummer Dave Buckner in 2008. It wasn’t a smooth split. Buckner, who in the early ‘90s co-founded the band with vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, filed suit against the band saying that they owed him money. They ultimately settled out of court. Papa Roach has since continued on with new drummer Tony Palermo of the San Diego rock group Unwritten Law.

Through all the ups and downs, there have been a number of things keeping P-Roach pushing ahead, Shaddix explained during a recent interview with Submerge. “I would say our relationship with our fan base, the kids that are coming out to the shows being affected by the music,” he said. “We’ve just got that drive inside of us as a band. We’ve got this heart that just fucking pops. It’s all we got and it’s all we need. We all are living this dream, which sometimes can seem like a nightmare, but I’d sound like a bitch if I were to complain. We just love it.”

As for the incalculable hardships that always seem to creep their way into the picture, Shaddix said that after a career like theirs, he and his crew are ready to take on anything. “It’s always a challenge. You’re always up against a challenge,” he said. “But the members of this band are always up for it. I think it makes it easier for us as time goes by too because we’ve just seen so many genres come and go and so many trends come and go.” He chuckles. “We almost came and went.”

In the following interview, we chat with Shaddix about his band’s deep Sacramento roots, how making music is like a drug, their plans for a new full-length record and more. Be sure to catch Papa Roach live in Sacramento for their first time in years when they headline Ace of Spades two nights in a row on Feb. 25 and 26, 2011.

What are some of the first thoughts that come to mind when you think back to Papa Roach’s humble beginnings when you were gigging in and around Sacramento all of the time? Do you ever trip out on how far you’ve come?
For me it’s a daily kind of realization, more so when I’m home around the people that I was with. Not only am I with my band on the road, but then it’s like we’ve got sound guys and light guys, a whole crew, you know? I never had that back in the day. Then I come home, and I’m back around my wife. She’s been with me since I had Papa Roach in the very beginning. We’re old school. We go through our old photos, and we see pictures of me and my wife and my band from way back in the day. My band was in my wedding way back. It’s a trip, you know, especially when I come back home.

I used to go watch you guys in the late ‘90s at this little club near where I grew up, the Gaslighter Theater in Gilroy, Calif. Do you remember that place? That was right on the brink of when you guys were getting the major label deal and whatnot I think.
Fuck yeah, dude! That was a really cool time for P-Roach.

I tripped out when talking to Eric Rushing, longtime Sacramento music enthusiast and promoter, the other day about that era of P-Roach because he was like, “Yeah those were my shows even down there. I was at most of those shows!”
Yeah for these upcoming shows that we’re doing in Sacramento, just to interject on that point, it’s kind of a full circle for us 10 years later. Eric and Brett [Bair] have been very successful. Brett used to manage Papa Roach; we split the sheets, we’re still OK, and we’re friends and such. But it’s cool to see that people who started in Sacramento are all still around here killing it. That’s even kind of why we wanted to put the type of bill together that we put together.

Yeah that’s cool. It’s all Sacramento cred-bands.
Yeah, bring it on home!

So the first night it’s Track Fighter, Will Haven and you guys. The second night it’s Lonely Kings, MC Rut and you guys. So many good Sacramento-based bands! I’m especially digging MC Rut lately. They’ve got a crazy work ethic. Are you familiar?
Fuck yeah, dude. That record is one of my favorites. I mean you’ve got to work hard in this business no matter what. If you want to make it, you’ve got to go in and slug it out in the trenches and build a fan base by playing rock shows. That’s the proving ground for rock music is touring. If you come with a hot song for a minute, that’s all good, but can you go out and tour and pack houses and rock audiences throughout America? Not just like San Francisco and New York, I’m talking, like America, you know what I mean?

Bringing it back to Sacramento for a second, don’t you guys own a studio space downtown? What’s that space all about?
Yeah right now it’s just pretty much essentially a demo studio for Papa Roach, and we’ll have some bands go in there. Like Dance Gavin Dance is going in a few days. They’ll be in there making some noise. Michael Rosen, he used to run out of J Street Recorders, Brian Wheat’s studio, he’s been bringing down some of his gear. He’s got really good gear, and he’s pretty much running it like a proper studio at times with bands. So that’s cool as well. We just don’t want it to collect dust while we’re out on the road.

Must be nice to just to get new riffs and song ideas recorded fast?
Yeah, exactly. I just got a new jam from Tobin [Esperance, bass] today actually. He programmed it on his computer, did the beats himself. There’s no guitar on it yet. It’s just keyboard sounds right now, but it’s like Papa Roach meets…I don’t know, it’s real good though.

So it’s sounding like there’s going to be another full-length ready for release sometime when? Next year?
Pretty much what we’re doing is this, Doomsday Radio, 2012, Papa Roach.

Oh really? I didn’t see that anywhere in any of my research! Is that a working title?
Yup. Working title, Doomsday Radio. There you go, print it.

Throughout the years Papa Roach has morphed quite a bit musically; it always seems like you’re progressing your sound. Can you talk a little about the many phases of your band?
I think for us it’s always been, “Go where the music takes us.” That’s the goal with Papa Roach: If it moves us, we think it will move our fans, and sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not. I think more times than not it has moved our fans. That progression that you speak of, we’re still in it. The track that Tobin just sent me, I was like, “Oh shit here we going again, we’re flippin’ it up.” But I’m into it, man. Music is this drug, and you want to try all different types of them. It’s like sex, you know, it’s like you do it the same way over and over and it just gets boring, so you’ve got to flip it up, put a wig on her, hit it doggy style. Switch it up.

What sort of vibe does the new song that Tobin sent you have? I read somewhere that Jerry [Horton, guitar] said the new record will have more electronic elements or something like that?
Oh yeah, for sure. It’s like somewhere between Prodigy meets Nine Inch Nails meets Papa Roach. It’s still got our sound to it, though, like when you hear the groove and the vibe, it’s still us, it’s just sometimes we want to use that texture in the music. I think we started to dabble in it with songs like “Burn” and “Kick in the Teeth” [off of 2010’s Time for Annihilation…On the Record and On the Road]. I think that it’s fun and our fans are receptive to it, and we like it because it opens up a whole new floodgate for us. I think it can make our music more beat-driven at times, which will be fun.

What’s one big goal of yours for the next record?
I don’t want to make a record that sounds like I’m a 35-year-old man, because I am a 35-year-old man, or I’m going to be, but I’m an exciting motherfucker when it comes to making music. I don’t want to make music that sounds compromised. That’s the goal for the next record is to kind of–and we’ve discussed this together–is to make a record that’s a little bit more experimental at times and a little bit more progressive. The last couple records have been song, song, song, etc. If you look back at one of our first releases, Old Friends from Young Years, there was a whole concept behind the way the record was laid out. I think we want to do something like that again.

Like as far as flow and transition tracks and whatnot?
Exactly, just to kind of dig deeper and make it more of an experience this time around. Not really a concept record, but something that is more than just song, song, song, song.

Even to the way that we’re going to do music videos in the future and the way that the band is imaged as well. For us, it’s a goal to kind of evolve all elements of what we do just a bit.

You might be getting older, but I sense that you are just as hungry as ever to succeed.

Yeah, look at the Chili Peppers. You don’t think of it that way. You think it’s just timeless. That’s what we’re going for. We’ve got a long, long road ahead of us. This is just another step in the path for us.

Papa Roach has heavy staying power in the music business, doesn’t it? It’s been so many years, but you guys remain relevant.
We definitely don’t take that shit for granted. But the fight is not over, dude. You look at a band like Green Day, they made that record, you know what I’m saying? For us, we still feel like we have that record in us. We still feel like we haven’t made the record of our career. Maybe it’s just that junkie inside me.

Papa Roach will play live in Sacramento for the first time in years at Ace of Spades (1417 R Street) on Feb. 25 and 26, 2011. Tickets are available at Dimple Records, The Beat, Armadillo (in Davis) and online at aceofspadessac.com. Grab their latest album, Time for Annihilation…On the Record and On the Road, a collection of nine live renditions of P-Roach hits and five newly recorded tracks, at record stores everywhere or through any major online retailer.

No Shelter Here

A Lot Like Birds, Not to Reason Why, Early States, The Dreaded Diamond, Cryptics

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 – The Refuge – Sacramento

Words by Bobby S. Gulshan – Photo by Cait Loper

The Refuge played host to an eclectic bill of hard-hitting bands from around Northern California. The Cryptics, a three-piece from Santa Cruz, Calif., opened the evening with a set of tunes that combined bite and sweetness. Part power pop, part jagged punk rock, The Cryptics relied on pulsing, driving rhythms and machine gun staccato guitar riffs. As the audience trickled into the space that serves double-duty as a Lutheran Church, the Cryptics took the chance to warm the crowd and prepare them for the night.

The Dreaded Diamond brought an unexpected hint of soul to the evening. The two-piece brother and sister act–featuring Juli Lydell on keys and vocals and Tyler Lydell on drums–combine a heavy percussive attack with melodies that at times soar and at other times lilt with emotional fragility. Despite only featuring two people on stage, there was no lack of presence. Juli’s stage persona is magnified not only by precocious lyrical content, but also her witty engagement with the audience. Songs like “Alphonse Muca” contain enough complexity to run the gamut from indie folk to soulful pop, making you wonder what Natasha Bedingfield might sound like if she had street cred.

Early States brought an air of big stage pomp, featuring a lighting rig and stage smoke that would be appropriate on an arena tour. However, the big-time stage setup was justified by the bright energy the Sacramento three-piece brought to the audience. A faithful cadre of fans crowded the front of the stage and danced to the techno-infused pop and sang along to infectious choruses. Early States sound relates to that of Muse without the paranoia, and in fact presents an epic send-up of an emerging generation flush with optimistic possibility. Fans sang along to “Stop Calling Me Out,” the chorus of which describes defiance in the face of frustration and judgment. The band ended with “Smoke in My Eyes,” a song driven by a jangly guitar riff reminiscent of classic U2 and a perfect coda to an energetic set.

“We’ve been called ‘moody,’” said Not to Reason Why guitarist Ian Simpson. In stark contrast to Early States, Not to Reason Why, a four-piece instrumental group from Petaluma, Calif., enveloped the venue in a sinuous darkness, like objects roughhewn out of obsidian. Combining hauntingly gentle piano melodies and arpeggiated guitar lines, Not to Reason Why lulled the audience into a reflective moment, and then would lambaste them with sonic dirges that would be well suited for the soundtrack to the end of days. The final tune, “Good Afternoon,” began with the bass player picking up a guitar, and the drummer switching to bass, as the band wove a tense lullaby that eventually arrived at epic, post-metal bombast as the drummer returned to his post and stark white light enveloped the stage during a powerfully sludging finale.

A Lot Like Birds closed out the evening with their pummeling brand of hardcore. The screams were accompanied by the melodic wails of Kurt Travis, formerly of Dance Gavin Dance, and the twin vocal attack added depth to the presentation. A Lot Like Birds convulsed with tense energy, attacking with a sonic barrage. Most of the songs they played remain untitled, but what’s vital is the energy. A Lot Like Birds are technically savvy, and some of the tunes proceed with a barely controlled chaos, as if it will fall apart at any moment, only to turn on a dime and crush you with a driving breakdown. These guys can play, and they definitely left a pint of blood up on that stage. The audience was whipped into frenetic frenzy, head banging and writhing to every single break. The final tune, “My Body at War,” drove the crowd into a swirling mosh pit. The pure catharsis of A Lot Like Birds was the perfect exclamation point on an evening of wide ranging sounds.

Face Value

Jonny Craig is front and center on his solo debut

Jonny Craig is a name many of you might be familiar with. The now Lexington, Ky.-based singer is currently frontman for Rise Records’ indie core sextet Emarosa. However, now that he has a bit of down time from his regular gig, he’s decided to start from scratch, so to speak, with a brand new project—his first ever solo album, A Dream Is a Question You Don’t Know How to Answer.

Local music fans may also know Craig for more infamous reasons. He also served as co-vocalist for local groove-heavy screamo heroes Dance Gavin Dance—a group that Craig left on bad terms. In our 2008 interview with the band, Dance Gavin Dance’s then co-vocalist Jon Mess (also no longer in the group) said of Craig, “We just couldn’t get along with him at all. No one in the band liked being around him.”

That was some time ago, however, and both parties have moved on. In fact, Craig and Emarosa even toured with Dance Gavin Dance earlier this year. The “Squash the Beef Tour” just wrapped up last month on Oct. 19 in Omaha, Neb. Craig wasn’t too forthcoming about details but he did say the experience was a positive one.

“It was good,” Craig said through spotty cell phone reception from Dallas, Texas. “We’re all good to hang out again, and that’s about it. It wasn’t awkward.”

Despite the messiness of his break up with Dance Gavin Dance, Craig also said that he wasn’t surprised to tour with them again—albeit as part of a different band.

“Nobody holds grudges in the industry that we have,” he said. “You can’t just hate somebody forever.”

With the past behind him, Craig is on the road now with the equally talented Tides of Man serving as his backing band. These are just his first string of dates as a solo artist; however, Craig and company have gotten off to quite a start. Craig played his first solo show in support of Northern California punk legends AFI.

“It sounded good, but everyone was really nervous because we’d only practiced once,” he confided.

Despite these auspicious beginnings, Craig said he is looking forward to building his new endeavor from the ground up.

“It’s a little harder to do a solo band, because you have to start over, so I’m not going to be drawing 200 or 300 kids like Emarosa or Dance Gavin Dance would, because no one’s going to hear about the show,” Craig said. “But it’s still fun to go back and do shows like you were doing when you first started playing.”

Submerge spoke with Craig before sound check for his Nov. 23 show at The Door in Dallas.

Has having to start over with a new project reignited your passion for the music—having to rebuild a fan base with your own music?
In a way, it kind of sucks trying to go back and build a fan base, but then again, there’s not so much pressure. Like, “Oh, I’ve really got to nail this one, because everyone’s watching.” It kind of gives me a chance to go back and breathe a little bit and not be so worried about everyone’s opinions. Only I’m the one that matters. The backing band, if I mess up, they don’t care. Instead of having six opinions, you only get one. It makes it a lot easier for someone who fronts a band. It’s like, “There’s only one person writing this stuff; it’s you. So just relax, have a good time.” All you have to do is make sure your band is in place, and you go with it.

From what I’ve heard of the album, there seems to be a lot of different styles from song to song. Were you looking to branch out and try different things?
Like I said, we wrote skeletons to the songs, and then I sang over them. I just sang what I heard on the tracks. And then we were like, “This song’s a little funky, let’s put some weird guitar behind it or piano.” That’s how it really got decided. It was just me singing what I heard, and then it went from there. After we had the skeletons and the melodies down, then we did all the real guitar work and all the stuff that made the album—like the fillers.

So it sounds like a lot of it came together in the studio then”¦

Is that a lot different from how you’ve worked with Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance in the past?
No, man. I just really like to go off the head when I record. I don’t like to over think melodies, over write things. I just like to go in and bust shit out, and think about it on the spot. If I don’t like it, I’ll start all over and find something new. I like to be 100 percent—I wouldn’t say improv—but not so organized. I like to relax and think to myself, “Hey, I want to go in here and do whatever I hear, because I’m going to trust myself. Instead of being like, “Oh, this needs to be catchier,” you know?

Before you mentioned that with this project, you don’t have to consider other opinions, just your own. Did that give you more leeway to explore the kind of stuff you were hoping to, like maybe stuff you weren’t able to do before with your music?
That’s the best thing about it. I didn’t go in writing anything. I didn’t go in expecting it to be, oh, like, “Let’s write an acoustic album,” or, “Let’s write a pop-y hip-hop album.” I just wanted to get in there and see what we could come up with. It was all about whatever came to my head. I hate people who over think everything and are so critical about what they play and how it sounds. I want to have fun singing. I just wanted to make an entire album just like that and show people that it can be done without stressing, and without really having much of a care except that you love music.

I watched the video for “I Still Feel Her, Part III” while getting ready for this interview. Was that a concept you came up with yourself or was it a director’s idea?
That was my idea.

Is it pretty true to the lyrics?
No, it has nothing to do with the lyrics. It’s a private meaning for me, and I’m not going to give it away.

It was pretty racy in the beginning with the two women making out half naked on the bed. Have you caught any flack for that?
No, you know, it’s whatever. Controversy is my middle name.

It doesn’t seem like something you shy away from.
Yeah, you know. I like to have fun. I like to do what I want, and I don’t care what anyone else does”¦ I just think a lot of people put up a front. Obviously, people aren’t as perfect as they portray. Like, they want to be in this band, and they want to be responsible and be role models for kids and stuff. I make music for myself, and I shouldn’t have to hide who I really am, because I make music to keep myself alive. I’m sorry that I might not be the best role model for someone’s child, or I might not be the best person for someone to look up to, but I want to be myself. If people say, “He drinks too much, or he does this or that.” I’m not going to hide who I am just so I can be bigger”¦ It’s just not who I am.

Writing music, I’m sure, you put a lot of yourself into that also”¦
The funny thing is, I never hid behind anything. And if you can’t grasp who I am or what I’m about, then that’s your problem. I guess that video—without giving too much away—is just me being like, this isn’t something I care about, people saying I drink too much or party too much”¦ I’m not going to get into it. It is what it is.

Jonny Craig will played The Boardwalk in Orangevale on Dec. 1, 2009 with Tides of Man and Sleeping With Sirens.

Happily Ever After

Dance Gavin Dance Has A New Line-up, A New Record and Big Summer Plans

Dance Gavin Dance has seen more roster changes than an MLB team. It’s tough to pinpoint why the Sacramento-based post-hardcore band has had a tough time keeping members, but one thing is for certain: it never slows their tremendous momentum when someone leaves. If anything, it further fuels the fire lit within their fixated fans, who cause a ruckus on Myspace pages, Twitter updates and message boards. The band owes a lot of their success to the Internet and their young, tech-savvy fans who never hesitate to turn to their computers, iphones and Blackberrys to show their undying love (and, in many cases, hate) toward the band.

With their third full-length album (Happiness, due out June 9), a new lineup and the entire summer spent on Warped Tour to look forward to, the band seems very happy indeed with where they are. Submerge recently sat down with guitarist/co-vocalist Will Swan during a rare break from touring to chat about the new record, hitting the road and their dedicated, albeit crazy, fans.

I got a copy of Happiness to prep for this interview and I must say, it sounds a lot different than previous material.
It always does; every new record is way different than the one before.

Is that something you go for consciously?
I just want to write whatever comes out. Being the main writer, I try not to have an agenda. So every record, I feel, is just a natural progression. This is just what we were feeling at the time.

The guitars seem less distorted and sound much clearer. Can you talk about that?
We wanted to get a really clear tone so you can hear all the riffs. It’s more like a classic rock tone.

Rhythmically speaking, it seems groovier and almost dance-y at times too.
Yeah, I wrote “Don’t tell Dave”—it’s song number eight, the like, dance-funk song—while we were on tour with Senses Fail. I recorded the drums, bass and guitar. I just wanted to play it with the band [laughs] and they were down, so I taught them the song. It just kind of came together. I was really happy to be able to put it on the record. I have lots of funk influences; I like George Clinton a lot. There’s definitely a lot of funk that came through on this record.

You took over the screaming responsibilities after John Mess left the band. Is that something you’re comfortable with?
You know, at first I didn’t really like it. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable and better at screaming. On the new record, being able to write my own parts and now being able to perform those songs, it’s a lot better feeling than playing someone else’s stuff.

Would you say Happiness is your best material to date?
Yeah, well of course, I always like new stuff [laughs]. I do hardcore comparisons between records. I feel like this one is the most cohesive vocally. Me and Kurt [Travis, lead vocals] worked together to try and come up with actual themes. We worked more together as one.

There’s one part on the record that really stood out. Who is that rapping halfway through the song, “Powder to the People?”
That’s me.

No way! It doesn’t sound like you at all. How did that idea come about?
Everyone keeps telling me that; I had to lay something over that song and I didn’t really know what yet. I got to the studio and our producer calls me and says, “I’m not going to be there for half an hour.” So I just sat there and listened to the song and thought, “What can I even do here? Rap might work!” So I just wrote the rap right there and when our producer got there I laid it down and he liked it. That song was already so weird I thought it would be cool to do something off the wall.

Another track I’ve been curious about is, “I’m Down with Brown Town.” What does that song title mean?
It’s got a couple meanings. It’s a heroin reference; it’s also an anal sex reference, it just kind of came about. While Kurt is singing, “I’m down with Brown Town“ [on “Nasa,” the track leading up to “I’m Down with Brown Town”], I’m screaming, “it’s only seconds away,” then the next song starts.

So you’re foreshadowing the next song?
Yeah, exactly. But kids online have no idea; they are all confused. Then “I’m Down with Brown Town,” the actual song, has another heroin reference; it’s like the heroin section of the CD. None of us have had a heroin problem, but we know people who have. Those songs kind of tie together both musically and lyrically.

You guys will be shooting a new video soon. What song will that be for and can you hint at the treatment?
Yeah, up in Portland. It’s for the song “Tree Village.” We’re doing all our stuff in one day, then there will be other shoots for the story while we’re not there. So we’re going to go up there and do what we got to do. The treatment for the video, I’m going to keep that under wraps. It’s a weird, kind of abstract treatment. It’s more visual; you’d have to experience it. Anything I said about it would just be like, “what the fuck?”

You’re doing a couple weeks with The Audition and Closure in Moscow leading up to Warped Tour. Are you looking forward to the summer?
Yeah, for sure. I cannot wait to go on Warped Tour. We’ve never done Warped. We played it once in Sacramento, on the Ernie Ball stage. It was fun; we had a good crowd. If we have a crowd like that every day, it would be great.
Your lineup has changed again recently. Are you confident it’s solid now?
Yeah, I think so. I always feel pretty solid about it, though. [laughs]

After perusing your Myspace comments, message boards, etc., I’ve come to the conclusion that you guys have some crazy fans. Why do you think so many people love to hate you guys?

[Laughs] The Internet is just a place for people to complain. They don’t even understand. I try not to pay attention to anything anyone says anymore. Our fans are so crazy. I cut my hair, because it’s getting hot you know? And I’ve been getting a ton of shit for it. Kids are like, “Why did you cut your hair?”

Yeah, you had quite the afro going on. So they’re missing it?
Yeah, they totally are!

Change in Course for Consider the Thief

Consider This!

It doesn’t take too keen a memory to recall when the underground was rocked by a relatively new animal; a post-hardcore beast gnashing a row of melodic incisors, besmirched by a heavy metal overbite. The critics called it metal-core, then screamo, then a whole host of hyphenated hyperbole until a style of song that sprung from an Iron Maiden fever dream began to homogenize, embraced a pussycat’s slippery sheen, and is now essentially a safe haven for tough kids gone soft. It’s sad but true: Screamo is a fucking joke. Metal-core is a caricature in a Mall of America comic strip. The death rattle for a once mildly exciting punk rock overture has shaken its final clangs.

Sacramento’s Consider the Thief (nee Heartshed) has been toiling within the confines of this breakdown-heavy haze. They are set to release what will no doubt be regarded as either a complete about-face from what their fans expect, a risky career move in a still-fledgling existence, a “fuck you” to what would have surely been a cakewalk into the mainstream-or most likely all three. Guitarist Sean O’Sullivan, formerly of Dance Gavin Dance, attempts to explain the chronology of events leading to this spring’s release of Signs and Wonders.

“All of us paid our dues playing in heavier bands for years before this,” explains O’Sullivan. “After the release of Soldiers and Saints [the band’s self-released debut EP] we decided we wanted to take a leap of faith and write songs that didn’t rely on what had become a crutch for us: screaming and busy guitar/drum work.”

Soldiers… found the band contented in a sound equal-parts Vheissu-era Thrice and a just-crowning Thursday, emerging behind a wall of punishing metal riffs and algebraic time signatures, capped by guttural yelps and pin-prick melodies. It was an underground release that garnered the praises of everyone from Punknews.org to mega-hip glossy rag Alternative Press, who placed the group among their “100 Bands You Need To Know” in 2009.

While still unsigned, the band (rounded out by pianist/vocalist/guitarist Dryw Owens, vocalist/guitarist Jordan Wells, bassist Zack Walkingstick and drummer Lucas Allen) seemed to realize that their artistic bents remained malleable, and with a creeping disdain for the impending creative flat line of their young catalog, they turned a musical corner.
The process was a trying one for O’Sullivan.

“Writing this record was pretty intense for all of us,” says O’Sullivan. “The first song we wrote after the EP was the softest any of us had been a part of. There was that learning curve with the new material, how to go about writing more dynamic and emotive songs. I suffered writer’s block at one point and during that period experienced a lot of growth and was humbled by watching the other guys write.”

The result of such growth has ushered in an atmospheric wash of layered songwriting more akin to the vibrancy of UK sonic-rock supergroups like Radiohead, with a marked emphasis on lyrical themes. These themes rear most poignantly with takes on the Christian parables “The Good Samaritan” and “The Prodigal Son.” But O’Sullivan is quick to note the band’s neutral stance with regard to the presumed theological imprints on their music.

“It wasn’t really a purposeful thing at first,” explains O’Sullivan. “I personally feel it’s important for an album to have a well-rounded lyrical theme. My biggest worry with the lyrics on this record is that people would think that we’re some sort of bible-thumping Christian band. These stories Dryw sings about [are] just as powerful to an Atheist as they are a Wiccan or a Catholic. We’re not trying to convert anyone with a sing-song Jesus chorus; we just want to convey the power and relevance these stories still have.”

The fear of alienation, while something that most artists might invoke as tantamount, took a back seat for Consider the Thief in the process of writing their new material.

“We had a good laugh as we were writing these songs,” says O’Sullivan. “We knew that the kids who love our old material would most likely not gel that well with the new stuff. The vast majority of people have had nothing but good things to say.”

With their initial successes, O’Sullivan points out the band’s gratefulness for exposure on a national level while still remaining unsigned. Signs and Wonders will be self-released by the band, and should be available exclusively on iTunes by May, with a CD release show still in the planning stages. In the meantime, Consider the Thief is gearing up for its future.

“We’ve been so focused on writing and recording that we hadn’t really thought too far into the future, but we are now,” says O’Sullivan. “The reality is sinking in that we have to move on this—that this is something really important to us and, hopefully, to others, is really motivating us to spread it around.”

Breaking a mold that in previous bands they most assuredly helped create is bound to receive attention, good or bad. For the record, O’Sullivan summed it up as succinctly as possible.

“What bugs me most about the current music scene is the overwhelming fear of failure bands seem to have when it comes to doing their own thing,” he explains. “Bands are giving up because they can’t survive and we’re seeing good, hardworking bands break up or lose members to horrendously awful Auto-Tuned crunk groups, and there’s no desire to attempt something that might not pan out. I’m not saying we have that ideology of creativity cornered, but I can for sure say that the record we just wrote is as honest a record that I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m 100 percent proud of it and of the guys I work with. Hopefully people take notice of the bands that are working hard and support them so that they succeed…otherwise we’ll see screamo-crunk-whatever in the top 40!”

Love It, Or Hate It!

Natalie Gordon of Agent Ribbons

Natalie Gordon of Agent Ribbons

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I love Valentine’s Day because my grandparents send me funny little cards with cartoons on them, and there’s always five bucks inside! I’m glad that some things never change.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
I would say that I’m motivated across the board by love. However, I enjoy writing songs from the perspective of the sad or vengeful lover since it’s easier to be funny or creative with that kind of premise. Most of my songs are dark and kind of twisted, and I find that more entertaining than writing about how in love I am!

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
In high school, I had a boyfriend that made me a silver Green Lantern ring for V-Day. Also, when I was in elementary school, my dad dropped off a bouquet of roses for the school secretary—Ms. Johnson—to deliver to my classroom. She had to interrupt our lesson in order to put it on my desk, and everyone teased me long after. They said that Ms. Johnson and I were in love.

Bryan Nichols of Zuhg

Bryan Nichols of Zuhg

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
Love it, it’s pretty much a for sure night that you’ll get laid. Or at least eat a bomb dinner somewhere and get drunk!

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
For me it’s hard to write a bunch of love songs about the same girl. So, I think it’s easier to write hate-type songs. I try hard to not write songs about girls, though”¦ Everyone does that. The new album only has about three out of 12 songs about the ladies on it.

Kurt Travis of Dance Gavin Dance

Kurt Travis of Dance Gavin Dance

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I hate it, because it is a holiday that was made up for corporate BS, to make money. Capitalism sucks.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Neither, there are way more things in the whole wide world that have way more substance and meaning then love or hate, like trees, flowers, oil and war. And outer space. And war in outer space. Galactic War.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
Box of chocolates, blah blah blah. Who cares?



Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I guess I like it, wouldn’t say I love it though. I like it ’cause it’s just a cool day to kick it with your girl and any problems or whatever you go through, you forget about them that day and your focus is on the one you’re with.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Definitely hate. Without hate all you would have is people just happy with the way things are, and that’s not me. I’m not happy with the way some things are, and I’d rather fight for what I believe in.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
This one time, at band camp”¦

Nate Welch of Bidwell

Nate Welch of Bidwell

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I wouldn’t say that I love it, but I definitely don’t hate it. It’s just a good excuse to throw a tie on and act like a baller. Well that is if you have a date of course.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
I’m not a big fan of hate, so I would have to say love. But I probably have written a few songs while I was pissed off so you can call it what you want. Love makes everything better and music is no exception.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
A few years back neither my friend nor myself had a date for V-Day so we thought we would just hang out. I had the bright idea to go to drive-in movies with him on the most romantic night of the year. So there we where surrounded by a bunch of cars full of guys and girls all trying to get some action. It wasn’t till our windows were fogged up that we realized maybe two straight dudes in a steamy car wasn’t the best way to pick up on chicks that night. Pretty embarrassing. I think we turned a few heads.

Mackenzie Knoester of Aroarah

Mackenzie Knoester of Aroarah

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
We all agree [the whole band] that it depends: If we are dating it is a great night out, lots of fun. If we are committed, V-Day can be a nice reminder of how much you love your honey or a sick reminder of how corporate America has made love a commodity. If you’re single, usually it is depressing!

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Everything outside the norm! Love can really get some rocking tunes out of us where as depression, hate and fear push for a more relatable song for a fan. More people notice the bad emotions over the good, creating a want to hear that you are not the only one feeling a specific emotion or being in an irregular situation.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
My senior year, I asked a guy to homecoming and he said yes just to say no two days before the dance. Well, after high school, he and I got together and three years later for V-Day he decorated our garage like our senior homecoming and took me to the dance! We’ve been together for six and a half years now.

Ricky Berger

Ricky Berger

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I love any excuse to appreciate people I adore, eat too much sugar and wear red. Those candy hearts with the writing on them are so tasty, especially the purple and white ones! And flowers, you get flowers! I might add, though, that every day should be treated like a truly special occasion and that love should be expressed consistently, not just when Hallmark, See’s Candy and jewelry stores unite to tell us we should.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Well, I think that hate is maybe just another form of love. Perhaps the truest opposite of love is apathy since one has to actually care about someone else to hate him or her. The human experience in general motivates me to write me music, every loving moment of it.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
Well oddly enough, the only time I’ve ever had a special someone on Valentine’s Day, we parted ways. My valentines have always been the many loves of my life: My family and circle of friends.

Thaddeus Stoenner of Them Hills

Thaddeus Stoenner of Them Hills

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
While I definitely don’t have any strong love for the holiday, I do appreciate the irony of it. The fact that a pagan festival celebrating fertility has slowly morphed into one of the most consumer oriented and materialistic holidays under the guise of proving one’s “love” is endlessly hilarious to me. Luckily all the girlfriends I’ve had have been cool enough not to give a damn about chocolates or teddy bears.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
I’m probably guilty of writing a couple hate-based songs back when I played metal. These days I find love to be much more of an inspiration lyrically. I can’t write love songs about boys and girls, but I write about loving dirt and furry creatures and the like. I am also fascinated with the many ways love can manifest, how it can be used to hurt as well as heal, and how something as beautiful as love can be twisted to make people do terrible, horrific things.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
We had an anti-Valentine’s Day party once. It resulted in several fistfights, random hook-ups, naked dancing to Beyonce, and eventually one of our friends being tied to a chair.
I thought it was funny.

Autumn Sky

Autumn Sky

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
Love it! But not for the reasons everyone else does, I guess. I think it should be about all sorts of love, so that’s how I look at it. Family, friends, romantic, or even the love we should extend to strangers.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Most of my songs definitely center on the love of something, whether it’s a person, a thing or just life in general. I’m definitely not a person who can relate to the feeling of hatred. Love is just something I’m more in touch with, and it’s something I’m much more inclined to share.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
I used to not celebrate it in high school, because I had such hard feelings about the day. I had not had much luck in the guy department up to that point. It was very Meg Ryan of me. I used to just sit in bed with a bag of Pirate’s Booty, watching old movies instead.

John Borba of Alpha Children

John Borba of Alpha Children

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I would say it’s a love/hate relationship. I love the guarantee of sex. Hate the spending of money to get it. You know, to me it seems like Valentine’s Day promotes prostitution, because it’s the one day a year I have to pay for sex! Except a prostitute is usually willing to do more for the money.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
I think it’s a combination of the two. We write about a lot of things like injustice, or knowing the difference between right and wrong and defending what is right. I hate this cynical, shamelessly introverted and selfish mindset a lot of the world has adopted. To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, a lot of the world spends so much time thinking about what it could get away with, that it doesn’t stop to think if it should. I think preserving the concept of love, and loving others is something that more of us should be writing about rather than girls, or breakups or”¦ trivial shit.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
Well, one year I was without a lady on the V-Day, so I got together some of my buddies to go out and have a few beers and maybe pick up a girl in search of some Valentine’s Day lovin’. We go out and have a few drinks and miraculously meet some cool girls and they invite my friend and I back to their place. The drinking continues and suddenly I notice it’s 11:45, so I grab the girl whose attention I’ve been carrying the whole night and playfully whisper in her ear, “Valentine’s Day is almost over, and we’ve got something to take care of!” She makes a huge smile and drags me into her bedroom. Noticing us leaving, my friend and his love interest for the night head off into another room. So I will leave the gratuitous sex scene out”¦ because there was none. She had intended to get into her bathtub and told me to wait 10 minutes and join her. So I waited 10 minutes and entered the bathroom. She was asleep in the tub. So I had to drag her amazing, glistening body out of the tub so she wouldn’t drown. Towel off her naked body, and put her into bed. Then go sleep on the couch. I got nothing for V-Day but blue balls, but the best part was my friend got crabs.

Jennifer Valdez of March Into Paris

Jennifer Valdez
of March Into Paris

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I love Valentine’s Day because I’m the type of girl that loves to spoil the person I care most about in this world. Plus it’s another reason to go to Victoria’s Secret!

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Mostly hate motivates me more when it comes to writing music. It’s a way for me to get any frustrations or bad memories out of my system and the resolution becomes the song itself.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
Well it didn’t happen on V-Day, but it is a funny story that has to do with love. In the beginning of our relationship, my boyfriend wanted to make the first time we had sex very special. He planned this romantic night and made me wait in the other room while he set up the bedroom. He had rose petals all over his bed, great contrast to the white comforter of course. This was the first time for both of us having sex on a bed with rose petals, well there were hot candles all around and it was some hot sex. The petals sort of melted. Don’t ask me how! But when we were done we got up and his white comforter and sheets had pink and red all over it and the petals were not so pretty anymore.

Danny Cocke of Owltrain

Danny Cocke of Owltrain

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
It really takes a lot to inflict such powerful emotions like love and hate for me”¦a lot more than a holiday. But really, hate is a useless emotion anyways, so I try and let go of it as quickly as possible.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
I believe music tells a story, and it transforms experience. Love and hate usually play a role in all our lives, so it will always be reflected in music. I don’t usually find much inspiration in hate and I’d rather ponder on the beautiful things of life.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
One time I dressed as a giant heart and walked up and down the mall yelling for people to, “Mind the ways of the olden days,” and, “Don’t take your time and life for granted,” and. “Eat fiber,” and, “Squirrels have feelings too.” I guess everyone found all of this extremely offensive, especially on such a sacred and beloved holiday such as Valentine’s Day. The great Richard Valentine himself was stirring in his grave while I was taken out of the mall in handcuffs. And all I really wanted was a date for the night.

Big Chuck of Whiskey Rebels

Big Chuck of Whiskey Rebels

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I don’t really care about it; I’ve barely ever paid attention to it. At this point I think it’s just a way for Hallmark and florists to make bank. And chicks dig it. I don’t hate it; it’s just corny!

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Well, they say there’s a thin line between love and hate, and my songs celebrate both with equal enthusiasm. Things I love, things I hate and things I love to hate. Each day is a celebration of life and love it or hate it, you have live it on your own terms. You’ve got to make that hate work for you!

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
I truly have no noteworthy stories! It was cool back in the day though, getting like Smurf and Pac-Man Valentines and eating candy. Good times!

Brooke Sobol of Blame Betty

Brooke Sobol of Blame Betty

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
Three cheers for Valentine’s Day! How else would we know when to be romantic? Or when to buy flowers or candy? How else would we know when to put on a red dress and go out to dinner? Or when to have sex? Thank God for Valentine’s Day!

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
There’s definitely more hate than love in my songs. It’s easy to get all fired up by the bad stuff. Anger! Yeah! And I guess love is just kind of private to me.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
Years ago, I decided I’d give my boyfriend at the time some photos of me posing in lingerie. I blew up red balloons and taped them to a wall in the shape of a heart. My sister came over and took the pictures with me standing against the wall, inside the heart. Well, they came out really ridiculous! I had bad hair and couldn’t pose provocatively for the life of me. Plus, that was back in the days before digital cameras—when you had to get your film developed. Yikes!
Shawn Peter of A Single Second

Shawn Peter of A Single Second

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I love it because it’s all about the love, hate it because I have to be all love-y and stuff and spend a lot of money on flowers, dinner, etc. when I’m always broke. And the corporate BS of Valentine’s Day? Really?

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Love, because music is life. Really without it, what else is there? It’s true expression of what’s inside and no matter what language you sing, speak, yell, scream”¦ you know where the band or artist is coming from.

Zack Gray of Early States

Zack Gray of Early States

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I’m not a hater, but I think I lean more towards disliking V-Day. I’m really not a fan of the whole, “card giving” thing. I have received so many cards from people in the past, but I have never been one to return the favor. You can take your girl out any other time of the year. It’s just another holiday that I feel obligated to spend money I don’t have. This V-Day I am playing a show! But don’t get me wrong; I will be spending some time with my girl on the 14th.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Definitely love. Although a lot of my songs are about the harder and more complicated parts of love. I’m more motivated to write when I’m going through a difficult situation regarding love, rather than when I’m extremely happy.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Love, because music is life. Really without it, what else is there? It’s true expression of what’s inside and no matter what language you sing, speak, yell, scream”¦ you know where the band or artist is coming from.

A.V. of State Cap

A.V. of State Cap

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
Hate it when I’m single, hate it even more when I have someone to take out because I’m probably going to be spending hella money to make sure I have a date for next Valentine’s Day just to spend more money. “What you won’t do, do for love”¦”

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
An artist’s best work is made when they’re depressed about love, more specifically about not having love. So love and hate pretty much go hand-in-hand when it comes to inspiration.
Do you have a funny V-Day story? Back in elementary school this girl that I was hella diggin’ gave me a Barbie Valentine card with a tip on how to do your own French manicure at home. I was so confused.



Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
I love it. It’s the one day of the year when single ladies are going to want to have more fun due to having no boyfriends. Your chances of sexy time are increased on Valentine’s Day.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Hate, hate, hate. When you got that anger brewing inside of you and you start a song, you’re going to want to spit murder at someone or at something and words seem to fall and go together in a form that I like, so hate on.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
No, but if you want to make a funny story with me, ladies, you can hit me on our Myspace, and we can make some magic. Or not.

Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe

Valentine’s Day: Love it or hate it?
Valentine’s Day is one of the many holidays I feel really neutral about, along with Independence Day, Halloween (though at least that’s another excuse to wear a costume) and New Year’s Eve. I don’t think I’m above it, like those people who brag about not owning a TV; I just have never had a valentine on Valentine’s Day so I’ve never known the joys of it.
Valentine’s Day is an aisle of cheap candies and stuffed animals in shades of red at Longs that I walk through on my way to buy a bottle of shampoo. This year I’m playing a Valentine’s show at Vox Gallery in West Sac, it’s a benefit for a local art group—yeah! That’s what love is really about.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Love! I may be moody, but I don’t write songs about hate.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
Ah I wish! Someone promised me a Valentine surprise this year though so maybe.

Intalect1 of Soulifted

Intalect1 of Soulifted

Valentines Day: Love it or hate it?
I never really thought about it before. I guess I don’t really love it or hate it. It seems to me like it’s just another one of those Hallmark holidays to get you to buy candy and cards for your loved ones. But hey—at least it’s about love.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
Both of them, love and hate, each one has its positives and negatives and both of them have motivated me to write music. I would say I have written more songs about love, but they aren’t necessarily love songs. Some of my songs are about spreading more love to one another while others are about love gone wrong, which could turn into hate.

Cole Cuchna of The New Humans

Cole Cuchna of The New Humans

Valentines Day: Love it or hate it?
I’ve never felt an attachment to Valentine’s Day. I don’t think I’ve ever had a girlfriend that was too into it either. I just proposed to my girlfriend, so I’m not sure if I need to do something extra special this year or if the proposal covers the next couple holidays. I’m hoping for the latter.

What motivates you more to write music: love or hate?
I couldn’t really say love or hate fuels my writing. Obviously I love music, but I’ve never felt that romantic “inspiration” everyone associates with musicians. I don’t fall in love and go running to the piano. I need a neutral mind to compose properly.

Do you have a funny V-Day story?
When I was 18 or 19 I dressed up in a suit and brought flowers to my girlfriend while she was at work. I wasn’t trying to be funny at the time, but I guess it’s kind of funny now looking back.

Dance Gavin Dance

No More Drama in the DGD

Dance Gavin Dance’s mélange of screamo and R&B has earned the group quite a following both here in their hometown of Sacramento and beyond. Though its members’ mean age is around 20, the group has already traversed the country six or seven times, most recently in support of Poison the Well. With just a few California dates to come (including Bamboozle Left in Irvine and four dates as part of the Artery Foundation tour that will bring Dance Gavin Dance to the Boardwalk on Apr. 19), the band is now ready to re-enter the studio with a new singer, Kurt Travis, in tow. Submerge sat down with Jon Mess (co-vocals), Zachary Garren (guitar) and Eric Lodge (bass) outside Sargent’s House of Coffee on Alhambra Blvd. and discussed the forthcoming album and the rift that caused Dance Gavin Dance and original singer Johnny Craig to part ways.

You’re going to be heading into the studio soon, right?
Jon Mess: Yeah, Apr. 20 [2008].
[Eric Lodge and Zachary Garren both laugh.]

4/20, huh?
All: [Laughter]
EL: That first day won’t be too productive.

Do you have a bunch of songs done already?
ZG: We have nine so far. We’re going to finish up the ninth one today.

How has the writing gone for the new album now that you have a new vocalist?
EL: We kind of write without our vocalists in mind. We like to incorporate parts for our vocalists, but like, it’s just the people in the band who play the instruments who do the writing, so it’s not really affected by the vocals or anything. So far it’s been going really good. We’ve been progressing pretty steadily. We’re really stoked on the new stuff.

How would you say you’re progressing? Which direction do you see the songwriting heading?
ZG: It’s more groovy.
EL: Each song is tackling a different genre or sub-genre, I guess you would say. But yeah, it’s definitely more groovy, more energetic.
JM: There’s a lot of different types of sounds.
EL: But it still sounds like it’s us. It still sounds like you’re listening to Dance Gavin Dance.

Jon, you’re one of the vocalists. Lyrically, how is the writing going for you? Have you written a lot of the lyrics yet?
JM: Yeah, I’ve got about five songs done. It’s cool. I don’t know how it’s going to end up, but I think it’s going to be a lot better than how I collaborated with our old singer. It’s a lot more coordinated, a lot more thought out. Vocally, I think it’s a little more together.

With Jonny leaving the band, it didn’t seem like a very neat breakup.
JM: There was definitely some drama there, yeah.

Why did you guys part ways?
JM: We just couldn’t get along with him at all. No one in the band liked being around him.
ZG: No one outside of the band even liked him.
EL: Ever since we started the band, we knew that we didn’t get along. We tried so hard–literally, so damn hard–for two and a half years. It just got to the point that the band was going to be done if we didn’t do something about it.
JM: It was affecting everyone to the point where no one wanted to be in the band at all, because of the way he was bringing everything down.
ZG: The way he was acting, his attitude…

I’ve heard the tracks that you guys recorded when Jonny was the vocalist. It’s a really aggressive sound. Did that animosity sort of fuel the fire at all?
EL: I think it more just motivated us. Like, we’ve got to write the best record that we can and show everyone what’s up. The aggression–I don’t know where that comes from.

Kurt’s the new vocalist, but was there ever an inclination to just continue with Jon as the sole vocalist–especially after your last experience?

JM: It was an idea, but that would be very much changing… Well, you’d have to change the music. It would just really change the whole band in a way. It would be hard to keep growing in terms of popularity and touring and whatnot. Because then we wouldn’t be able to play our old songs. I don’t sing like him at all. We needed someone who’d be able to sing the old songs. I can’t sing the old songs, and none of us could, so we just threw that idea out the window and didn’t discuss it any further. And I don’t know if any of us wanted to be in a band that was all heavy screaming and whatnot.

Before you were mentioning that the stuff you’ve been writing has been really groovy, and that’s the one thing that jumped out at me listening to the songs with Johnny’s vocals had a really R&B vibe to it. Is that something you’re trying to amplify more with the newer stuff?
ZG: I think that’s just Will [Swan, guitar]. He’s black. He said he’s been channeling his black side.
JM: There is a song that doesn’t have a name, and it’s called “R&B Song.”
EL: We have another new song that’s going to have a big dance crescendo.
ZG: I think we all sort of like that stuff anyway.

How long did you search for a new vocalist?
ZG: About a month I think.
EL: We knew about Kurt [Travis, formerly of Five Minute Ride], obviously. The day after it happened, we saw Kurt as an option. Our manager, Kurt is like his baby boy. Our manager said, “You know there’s Kurt.” We tried a couple people out, but none of them could come close to what Kurt could do, so it was a pretty simple decision.

Given the tumultuous history with your last singer, was Kurt someone you’d considered replacing Jonny with before?
ZG: I do remember once we’d discussed it.
JM: It was considered. We got to the point where we decided that it was better to do it now than have it happen on the road. But honestly, we didn’t kick him out. He quit, and then he wanted to come back; and that happened a lot. He would quit and then the next day he would say he was just kidding or something. This time, he did a series of events that were a big deal, and he quit, and we just said, “Fine, man. See you later.” A lot of people are saying, “You guys are so stupid. You kicked out your singer.” Well, he left the band, and we just said, “OK.” We didn’t argue. Maybe it was just a mutual thing. Then he wanted to come back. I don’t know. He was a little out of his mind.

You’re heading into the studio in April. Do you have a release date set for the album yet?
EL: It’ll be out Aug. 19 [2008].

Do you have a title for the album yet?
ZG: It’s sort of up in the air.
JM: I sort of wanted to have an end of the world type theme.

Does that fit with the lyrics you’ve been writing?
JM: I don’t know…
EL: We were going to have four-part songs about these paintings Jon had done [laughs].
JM: We have a bunch of ideas. We don’t know which ideas will come into fruition or whatever.
EL: It could be anything–continuing part threes and part fours maybe from our EP. Kind of like movies: sequel!

A sort of concept album?
EL: Yeah, but not a full concept album. Like some parts will be a concept, but it’s kind of random. We’re still working out the details.
JM: Or maybe it’s just a huge hype gimmick. There’s going to be a new CD, you like the first two, so maybe you’ll like the third part.

Also check out our interview with Will Swan from Dance Gavin Dance (June, 2009)

Also check out our interview with Jonny Craig (Dec, 2009)

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