Saosin would have to prove themselves again with their debut full-length album. Despite the danger of failing, the band avoided the safe route instead of strictly adhering to the style that had worked so well in the past. The days of power-screaming breakdowns were over as Saosin consciously moved away from the “screamo” formula that so many bands have carelessly fallen into.
“While writing the record, we had all told each other, ‘Don’t scream. Don’t scream, unless it’s like a yell almost.’ We didn’t want screaming to be a cop out. I think if you listen to bands like Brand New where he’s almost screaming, but he’s more like yelling to get that emotion out, that was the thing that we were like, ‘Okay, you can do that, but there’s no just copping out and just screaming because of the breakdown. Try to sing and try to get your emotion out through a vocal melody instead of a scream.’ That was kind of half of it, and the other half of it was we had been stuck in a genre that’s been so overdone and so overplayed that we didn’t want to be predictable.
“When we listen to and we see the numbers of CD sales of these crappy bands that do the predictable singing/screaming thing, we’re just like, ‘No, we don’t want to do that.’ I think the first two months of our record being out, I got hounded, I got hounded by people asking, ‘Why didn’t you scream in the breakdown in ‘Sleepers’? Why don’t you scream there? That’s the most genius part to scream.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, because it’s the most predictable spot to scream. Why would I want to do something that predictable when I sing a melody that’s soft and not predictable?’
“I feel like there are other reasons that we did that because I wasn’t really vocally ready to just start screaming my nuts off,” he added. “I wasn’t ready for that. It is the way that it is, and I think that the record really stands out when you put it up against a lot of the bands that we tour with and a lot of the bands that we get thrown into the same genre with. Our record stands out and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Saosin plan to up the ante even more with their next album, keeping the same “signature Saosin sound,” but adding a “unique kind of new flavor to it.” Reber, who has been drawing inspiration from the vocalists Chris Conley of Saves The Day and Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw for Saosin’s sophomore album, says the record will have a more mature, aggressive sound to it, but the same diversity of rhythm.
“I can tell you that from the stuff that we’ve started to write, it’s a lot in both directions. On the record we have songs like ‘Voices,’ ‘Follow And Feel,’ ‘Come Close’ and ‘Sleepers,’ where they’re kind of the best representation of what the CD is as a whole. But then you have songs like ‘Finding Home,’ ‘I Never Wanted To’ and ‘You’re Not Alone,’ which are like the far left, meaning that those songs are just like, ‘Wow, Saosin put out these really beautiful sounding, slower songs on the record.’ And yet, you have a song like ‘Collapse,’ which from start to finish is just heavy; it’s just super heavy and heavy sounding.
“From what I’ve heard from the new stuff that Beau [Burchell, guitar] and Chris [Sorenson, bass] have come up with, it seems to me like we’re taking those songs that are in those directions and we’re just pulling them to their extremes. So the pop-y songs sound way pop-y, the heavy songs sound way heavy, the slower songs sound super melodic and beautiful-sounding, and I think that’s going to be kind of the theme of our next record. We’re just going to take everything to its extreme and just run with it.
“I feel like this record was a lot of a learning experience for me. But the next record, I’ve been through a lot in my life and I’ve been through a lot with this band… not necessarily a lot of pain, but there have just been moments where I’m frustrated, so I think that that’s going to be the tone of the next record: just frustrated almost to the point where I sound angry and pissed off about a lot of things.”
While the battle to find themselves as a band was uphill, the payoff was big. The release of their debut received a positive and enthusiastic response from fans and solidified Reber’s role as the vocalist in the band.
“We went on Taste Of Chaos literally a week after our CD got released, so we played like three shows in southern California and then left for two months. When we came back to the US, we were already playing the new songs live and we already had a running start, so to speak, to kind of go with when we came back. So when we came back and started playing with Senses Fail, our jaws hit the floor the first night we played in Boston. We were just like, ‘Oh my gosh, what the heck happened?’ It was the craziest show we had ever played in the US. Kids were just going off… I think we played three old songs and seven new songs that night, and kids were singing the new songs louder than the old songs almost. I think we just kind of looked at each other like, ‘This is not normal. This is not normal.’
“We kind of, for the first time, felt like we were setting a bar.”
Photo Credit: Dave Gaslin