Interview with Saosin: The Road To Innovation

Saosin (Dave Gaslin)“Are you going to let me in, you asshole?”

Apparently, driving a stick shift in California’s infamously hellish traffic while giving an interview over the phone is one of Cove Reber’s talents.

“Jesus! This is horrible,” he laughed to himself. “I’m trying to do an interview!”

The talent for which most people know Cove Reber, however, is his singing. Vocalist for Saosin, he joined the band about a year after its formation. Former lead singer Anthony Green left shortly after the release of Saosin’s first EP, Translating The Name, in 2004 and went on to found Circa Survive. In that first year of existence when most other newborn bands are settling on band names and struggling to book gigs outside of their mothers’ basements, Saosin, aided greatly by the Internet, was already building up a loyal following. So when Green left the band and Reber replaced him, fans noticed.

“Old fans weren’t receptive at all at first,” said Reber. “Anthony left big shoes to fill. Luckily, I had the diehard Saosin fans who wanted Saosin to last back me up. And I had the guys in the band saying, ‘You’re the singer so be the man on stage. Be the hero to all these kids that are here singing your songs,’ and them telling me that they chose me for a reason, so I had the support of the band and that was a huge, huge, huge confidence boost. Without the guys telling me that, I probably would’ve been like, ‘I’m sorry, guys; I can’t do this.’ It was tough, I’m not going to lie. It was really tough until we put out the record. I was filling shoes every single day, and it sucked. It was seriously one of the worst times for me. It was so hard, so hard to do and live up to. I was trying to live up to expectations even I had too, so it was freakin’ brutal.”

From the situation, one might expect to see a bitter rivalry between Green and Reber: two frontmen battling through albums and ticket sales a la East Coast versus West Coast, but it was just the opposite.

“To me, being a fan and now being the lead singer, I’m kind of caught in this catch 22 thing, because I love Anthony, I love Translating The Name, I love ‘I Can Tell [There Was An Accident],’ I love ‘Mookie’s Last Christmas,’ I love Audience Of One, I love Circa Survive… I love everything that Anthony has ever done. I’m a huge Anthony Green fan. To me, when I was a fan and not the singer, Anthony Green was Saosin to me.

“A lot of the fans think that I’m the one who has been the singer the entire time. They don’t really know that it was Anthony. Every chance I get to answer this question, I praise Anthony because he’s an amazing vocalist and without him, this band would have never lasted because without him. I would have never been interested in singing for them. I don’t think the hype around Saosin at the time of Anthony being in the band would have ever been as big as it was had he not been the singer. So he in my eyes gets a lot of credit for the success of this band.

“Whenever I get bummed out or bugged with Anthony questions, I always attribute my success to him. It’s never a bad question, and between him and me, we don’t hold grudges against each other. We’re actually really good friends, so whenever somebody talks bad about Anthony in front of me, and they come up to me and they go, ‘Anthony sucks!’ I’m like, ‘Dude, you suck because you’re dissing one of my best friends here and you don’t do that around me.’ We stick up for one another and whenever somebody yells, ‘Circa Survive sucks!’ from the crowd, we’re just like, ‘Yeah, thanks, dude, you suck!’ I’m sure that it’s the same way for Anthony. He has called me up several times and is just like, ‘Dude, some kid just came up and started badmouthing you today,’ and I was like, ‘Did you beat him up?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, dude, it was awesome.’ I was like, ‘Sweet. That’s awesome. Thanks, dude,’ and he was like, ‘You’re welcome, man.’”

With a new vocalist at the helm and a mixed bag of fans upset at Green’s departure and fans grateful for the survival of the Californian quintet, hype immediately built up in anticipation of Saosin’s self-titled debut full-length album, which was released in 2006.

“When somebody adds an expectation for anything in life, it’s like, ‘Oh crap, now I have to live up to that.’ For us to be putting out our first record with so many expectations before going into a studio, it took its toll on us all I think, and I feel like it took its toll on us all in the sense that—and I just listened to these demos—but we have six different versions of every song because we were so unsure what parts were good and what parts were bad. While in the studio, we basically went through them all and chose the best parts from the melodies and then as soon as we had the best parts, I wrote the lyrics.

“One of the main reasons we chose Howard Benson to produce our record was because we knew that he would be able to choose what parts were the best vocal parts from all these demos we had before. With that said, I think that the choice that we made in going with Howard to produce the record was the right choice at the right time and that after we had decided that Howard was going to be the guy to produce the Saosin record, that weight from all of the pressure and all of the hype was lifted because we knew that he was going to do a great job with me.”