It’s hard to believe that Saves The Day have been at it for over 15 years. It seems like just yesterday I bought their 1999 album, Through Being Cool. Now, in 2013, with some lineup changes, the boys have a new self-titled release on the shelves, a headlining tour, and much more to be excited about. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Chris Conley, the band’s vocalist/guitarist. He was more than excited about the current state of the group and had a lot to say. Check it out below:
Chris, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. Saves The day have got a lot going on, including a new self-titled record that hits shelves Sept. 17. Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process? Is there a certain theme to it?
Sure! Yes, there is a theme lyrically. It’s basically a love letter, about living in the modern world and trying to remember the simple connection that we all share and will pull us through the hard times. It came from my own experience living in this world and having to make ends meet and not wanting that to affect my relationships. Just trying to remember sometimes we can put all of that stuff aside and enjoy life. I think our fans are going to enjoy it.
I love the record; I think it’s amazing. Now I know you guys returned home to Equal Vision Records for this release, where you started out. What made you guys decide to go back?
Well, we’ve been talking to Equal Vision for a while. This time it was just perfect; we love everyone over there. It really just seemed like the perfect fit, for they are all like family at Equal Vision. After all, it’s where we started out. They always welcome us with open arms.
11 solid tracks on this release. Were there a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut? How does that normally work for you guys?
Actually, yeah, there were a quite a few. I’d have to say my writing process is interesting; I write a song every single day in the studio. I keep going without looking back. I started in March, when we got off tour. By June I had 50 or 60 songs; I chose maybe 13 or 14 to fully flesh out with the band. We all started working on the songs. We just focused on the songs we thought were the strongest, with chords and melody and structure.
Now I have to ask, can you explain the grapefruit on the album cover? Is there a deep meaning or do you guys just really enjoy grapefruit?
(Laughs) I do like grapefruit, but there is somewhat of a meaning. I was just trying to think of a visual to match the music. I kept feeling like the songs sounded like a neon grapefruit, if that makes any sense. We tried to work with that idea in various ways. It turned out great; we put it together with some incredible colors. Basically, for me, I think life is sweet, but it’s also bitter, just like a grapefruit.
That is an awesome analogy and I like it a lot! So, I am very excited you guys are back on a headlining tour, and I will be catching you at the newly renovated Starland Ballroom. How is the tour going so far?
Awesome, we are excited to go back to Starland, too! It’s going fantastic. The shows have been amazing. We are playing 30 songs a night. Fans have been rushing the stage, taking the microphone. It’s been absolutely amazing.
I notice you guys have been changing up the setlists a lot every night. Do you usually prepare it right before you go on stage, or is it a long process?
Yeah, we have been switching it up. We took two weeks to really compile each setlist. One of the reasons that we took so long was that we wanted to write a bunch of different setlists so we could change the performance every night.
We spent a bunch of time doing that. We had a little bag full of all of the song titles, and we would reach in and see what comes out. It really happened just like that. We got a really good list going of 30 songs. We had a lot of fun just putting the setlists together. The fans have been reacting really well to it!
And how is everything going with your new drummer, Dennis Wilson? I am excited to see him live.
It’s going fantastic. Dennis is amazing. He’s so talented and like family.
Now, I must say, it’s kind of hard to believe it’s been 15 years since you guys released your first record, Can’t Slow Down. Does it seem that long to you?
No, it doesn’t seem that long at all. It’s so crazy to think that. We’ve had an awesome career!
Being around the business for so long, what would you say has changed the most in the industry?
Good question. Bands think that they can become stars; there was no notion of stardom. If you want play a show, and your friends want come see you, then you should find some room or space to play in. You put up some flyers on a telephone pole, they take a bunch of photos and spread them around online, but then they go to make an album and they have no songs. It’s just kind of a backwards process nowadays. It’s a funny turn of events.
Being around the music scene here, there are a lot of New Jersey musicians who look up to you guys in many ways, and you’ve been at it for so long. Could you give them any advice?
Absolutely. First thing that’s most important: Write a lot of songs. Keep writing them even if you think that they’re not very good. Once you have a handful of songs that you’re really proud of, make a recording. As soon as you have the recording, go to shows of your favorite bands; give it to them. They may not listen, but they might. You also might meet people at your shows that play music, and it’s great networking. You can put shows together as a team. We found some other bands that we could book shows with. It’s such a simple process. It made it so much easier. That’s really all it takes. Write songs, record, play shows, do your music.
Thanks so much Chris, I am sure bands will listen to that! I look forward to seeing you on the road, and best of luck with the band and the new record!
Thanks Maria, and thanks to The Aquarian!
Catch Saves The Day at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg on Sept. 26, Union Transfer on Sept. 27, and the Starland Ballroom on Sept. 28. Their new self-titled album is available now through Equal Vision Records. For more information, go to savestheday.com.