North Jersey yeomen The Elephant In The Room have been working hard at splicing together progressive rock, post-hardcore, and a myriad of other styles into their own mastodon-stomping blend, and it's wild enough to have gained the attention of one of their biggest influences. Casey Crescenzo, frontman of ubiquitous prog punk act The Dear Hunter, is set to produce their next LP.
We got in touch with singer/guitarist Alfred Vitale to find out a little more about this group's story, and just what makes them impossible to overlook. The transcription is below:
Tell us what The Elephant In The Room are all about. Your site says that “a lot of [your] beliefs and ideas are the complete opposite” of being an elephant in the room, so to speak—care to elaborate?
Well, in simple terms, "the elephant in the room" means that everyone can see the obvious but no one is saying anything about it. Some of our songs touch on that subject, whether it is about politics, religion, love, etc. It happens all the time. I think that our personalities are quite the opposite at times. We are very outspoken and passionate about whatever it is we believe in. I think it would be very hard for us not to speak about something and let out our emotions.
What brought you guys together in music-making?
I guess what brings most bands together: the music. It all kind of just happened and everyone/everything fell into place. We have all known each other for some time, with the exception of Greg [Szaro, drummer], who recently joined the band. Even still, we all played in other local bands, we have played shows together with those bands, we all have similar friends or acquaintances. The Elephant In The Room was almost created through mutual respect and admiration for each other's talent.
Theory Of Mind plays around with a wide variety of sounds. What influences were you indulging? How was it received?
Theory Of Mind was our first release. We were all a bit anxious and probably rushed the process a little bit. We just wanted people to have our music! Some of the songs on the record were very old; Joe [Savino, Jr., guitarist/vocalist] and I had written them before anyone else was even in the band. I guess that would explain the wide variety of sounds. We had a back catalogue of songs that we were dying to get out over a five-year span. We already began to progress and our sound matured by the time the album was completed. We got a lot of great feedback from the record, but at the same time we were our hardest critics. I'm sure if we could all go back we would do things a little differently. Don't get me wrong, we were ecstatic with what was created under the circumstances!
The 2012 EP, as short as it is, alludes to something even grander, and also feels a bit more lyric-driven. What got you writing? What are these songs about?
We had originally planned to release two songs a month until we reached 10 tracks. The process was very relaxing and rewarding. We recorded everything ourselves and had a direction we wanted to take. Fortunately enough, we were presented an opportunity to record with Casey Crescenzo from The Dear Hunter. Without hesitation, we put the recordings on hold and began to write, perfect, and fine-tune our material for this opportunity.
When it comes to the lyrics and the "meaning" of a song, I find it difficult to explain what each song is about. I think that people interpret things differently. What I write about might mean something completely different to someone else. I'd rather the song be personal for the individual and let them interpret it the way they want, rather than ruin it for them and make it about me. You can easily find a common theme in my lyrics. I write about things I am passionate about—being positive, thinking for yourself, propaganda, religion, love, the battle inside someone's mind. I definitely don't want to berate people with my thoughts and beliefs. Everyone should be their own person and each song should mean something to them.
How'd you get linked up with Casey Crescenzo? What do you hope he'll bring to your next record?
I first met Casey through a mutual friend, Andrew Cook, who happened to be his manager. Andrew used to play with Casey in The Receiving End Of Sirens, and currently plays drums for Rocket To The Moon—they have a great relationship together. My previous employer allowed me to be in contact with both Casey and Andrew for a number of opportunities: interviews, festivals, photo shoots, etc. We began to grow a relationship, and have always been in contact. One of these opportunities saw The Elephant In The Room open for Casey in October of 2012. I asked him if he would be interested in producing our record and he loved the idea.
I can't even express how excited we are about this opportunity. Casey is one of those guys that comes along every 10 years or so and surprises everyone with their amazing talent. He can do it all: write, perform, produce. He has the creativity, the knowledge, and all the resources necessary to make anything he touches great. When you mention his name, it is in the vein of artists like Thom Yorke and Dave Grohl for what they have done in their genres. We are beyond happy that he likes our music and will be able to use his experience to help create a great album.
What's it gonna sound like?
This question is pretty hard. We hate to break a sound into a genre and limit the possibilities. At the end of the day we are a rock band, and we like to push the limits beyond making catchy tunes. It is all about the melody but you need to have that "I get it" moment. The album will definitely be one of those CDs you can listen to from start to finish.
Where do you see yourselves fitting into this amorphous music industry? What do you ultimately want out of The Elephant In The Room?
Where we fit in doesn't really matter. Nowadays, no one really has the answers. Everyone is trying to figure out the next step to finally get the music industry back on track. Meanwhile, all the artists and musicians are busting their balls so people can hear their music, which in turn is a little easier than it used to be. That's what it has always been about... Ultimately, we want people to hear our music and see us play. And, all we want to do is play music.
The Elephant In The Room are recording their new album with Casey Crescenzo in May. For more information on the band, go to facebook.com/theelephantintheroomband.