Was there anything written before Jeff came in?
It’s just collaborative across the board. I think Pete and I may have—I know there’s a few riffs on the album I had for a while and they just happened to come together this time—but then there’s stuff that was written completely spontaneously, like ‘Parody.’
The main riff in ‘Parody,’ we were getting ready to start rehearsing and Jeff was playing that main line on his bass, testing his gear, and we’re like, ‘what the hell is that?’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know, I’m just testing out my gear,’ and we’re like, ‘let’s jam on that,’ and the song was written.
That’s capturing the moment. For whatever reason, that was supposed to happen. We did not even try. And Jesse, on this album, just came to life. I don’t think—I know it’s his best work to date. The versatility, the soul. Lyrically hitting some darker moments this time.
He was telling me that, on previous records and recordings he did, he was putting out this image of who he wanted to be, it wasn’t even who he was, whereas on this one, he dug deep into who he was in these moments. They’re pieces. Each song is a moment in time we were able to capture, and I’m just really thankful that those moments came to us.
At the same time, the record is cohesive.
The last two years there’s been a lot of struggle, but we always maintained hope, you know? It’s probably the most hopeful piece of work I’ve heard in a long time. I’m a fan of this record and I’ve never been a fan of anything I’ve done. I can be satisfied with the things I’ve done, but to be listening to these songs because I really enjoy them is a whole different level.
I have a niece and I love her to death, and she puts me to levels in the human spirit that I never imagined, but what about when it’s my own kid? Then how’s it gonna feel? That’s how I feel about this record. Everything I’ve done before has been cool, but man, I could die happy now.
How’s the tour been?
Awesome. We’ve done a few shows. Two shows sold out in Flint, MI, two nights in a row. It’s like, ‘what the hell, man? What’s happening, this is crazy.’
Tour’s been a long time coming.
I think a lot of people are just really excited and didn’t think we were really gonna do it, and we just decided we have to do this. But I think it’s because we really believe in this record.
How has it been going from you guys to Nonpoint? Kind of an odd mix.
First of all, they’re more rock and roll than you realize, but then they have this band Ankla out with us too, and they’re like a Latin Slipknot or something. So you have them, then you have us, then you have Nonpoint, who falls in between the two, I believe.
But man, people are fired up when we play. They can feel the energy. It’s definitely an experience to see us live, you know what I mean? We put 180 percent into everything we do when we’re on stage, and it’s because we want people to connect.
So, once again, that’s been pretty overwhelming too. The response has been great. We’ve got three of the guys from Nonpoint, every show, watching three quarters of the set until they have to go and get ready, rocking out. That’s just so amazing. They’re great, great guys, so we’re really happy.
There aren’t a lot of bands doing what you’re doing, where the music is accessible, but there’s no sacrifice of soul or feeling to make it that way.
That’s one thing we always vowed to each other, is that we wouldn’t let that happen. But I’ll tell you what, Equal Vision’s got a lot to do with us being able to do that. That’s the whole reason we were so psyched to work with them.
We wanted to send them samples as we were recording, and they didn’t want to hear anything, like, ‘Nope, just give us the album when you’re done. We trust you guys.’ What label does that? So now we have a record that we’re proud of without any compromise.
We even remixed the record. We mixed it with someone, we got it home, and we just weren’t happy with it. Our producer took it, was like, ‘Give me two weeks,’ remixed the whole thing, and it was like, ‘There it is.’
And it was no disrespect to anyone involved, it was just there were some compromises made and we just couldn’t live with them. That was one of the main things that started to push things back a little. We said we wanted more time so that everyone’s happy with this.
A few versions came through where dudes were psyched, but there were just certain things we had to work on, and we just had a meeting and said, ‘Look, everyone needs to be happy with this record, because the performances are there.’
It just goes to show how important mixing is too, and capturing exactly what it is the band and you personally want. But when it was done, we knew, we were like, ‘Oh man, there it is!’
What Have We Become is available now through Equal Vision. For more info and updated tour dates, check out seemlessband.com.