Since reuniting together for a second time back in 2014, Life Of Agony continues to play actively throughout Europe and the greater New York area. This time around, there’s no question that the band remains musically and personally stronger than ever, as they relentlessly feed off the positive energy of their devoted, hardcore fanbase. This month, the New York-based icons will be unveiling their fifth studio album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain, their first full-length effort in over a decade.
Staying true to their underground roots, A Place Where There’s No More Pain is a studio effort that embraces top-tier moments of Life Of Agony’s longevity, all while channeling a refreshing harmony within the band that is genuinely reflected by their sonic chemistry and the desire to create a bone-crushing blend of metal, alternative rock.
At the end of the month, Life Of Agony is set to play an anticipated headlining gig at Manhattan’s Irving Plaza to celebrate A Place Where There’s No More Pain’s official release. In addition, the band will also embark on a small run of Tri-State appearances this spring in Pennsylvania as well as their long-awaited return to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Life Of Agony’s Mina Caputo about A Place Where There’s No More Pain and the band’s upcoming run of East Coast shows supporting its release.
So, it won’t be long until Life Of Agony is set to release their fifth studio album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain. What’s it like to finally have this album see the light of day fairly soon?
I’m super, super, super, super excited. I think the boys and I have made an extremely bombastic and bone-crushing and delicious selection of hard rock, adult contemporary alternative songs… if you want to put them in that kind of genre. I really hate genres, I don’t know how to classify us, but I am excited. I feel like it’s our best work to date. I feel like it’s a new beginning for us in a sense.
There’s no doubt that the band has been better since reuniting again back in 2014. Fueled by the positive energy of your supporting fanbase, did you anticipate that it was only a matter of time for Life Of Agony to write and record another album?
Well, we don’t play the industry game very well. We were recovering from the nightmare that we experienced with Epic [Records], and I wound up doing another couple of solo records, and we just pretty much took a break.
When we started doing shows again just recently, it’s been a very different and fun experience for us. We were selling out everywhere in Europe. Things were just blossoming and expanding without us even putting any real effort into the machine at all, you know?
We got a couple of record deals on the table. We wound up going with Napalm [Records] because they gave the band our creative space, and they didn’t interfere. The only way the band would consider doing another record is if people would stick to doing their jobs and let the band be the band, and let us do our thing.
What was the recording process for A Place Where There’s No More Pain like? How does this record represent where everyone in the band is at in their lives, both personally and musically speaking?
The recording process was really cool, and interesting. We took advantage of… you know, how obviously everyone today is into file sharing, and working out ideas. Once an idea was worked out, and getting into the studio, we were banging out the songs organically. Creatively, we all seemed to be on the same page for once in our short recording history.
Since the album is already a year old to us, I think it’s a great representation of the harmony in the band. There’s a beautiful harmony that’s happening within the band creatively, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. And I think A Place Where There’s No More Pain is definitely a reflection of how we’ve been treating each other lately, how beautifully things have blossoming in different ways. There seems to be some sort of refreshing aroma to the core of the band in a way.
Like I said, this band is honest to themselves, or tries to be as much as we can with all of the strength that we have. There’s a great harmony inside of us, and I think the fierceness of the album, the rhythms, the landscapes that are all over the record.
I guess our new songs are like drugs. They’re new songs to the people to incorporate new memories and new feelings to help to get people through the days, and weeks, and months, and years with some kick-ass, bone-crushing New York classic alternative rock music (laughs).
There are many friends that I know in the hardcore scene who consider Life Of Agony as personal inspiration. If there is one message in particular that you would want your fans to take away from listening to A Place Where There’s No More Pain, what would it be?
I guess to feel good, and to care about how you feel. And to keep pushing that kind of momentum—you know, set your frequency, and your dial to an empowering level. To a level of allowing an openness, and willingness, and being in the receptive mode to receive wonderful things, and to give wonderful things.
Believe me, the band is also inspired by all of the fans, and all of the other bands and artists that have been inspired by us and our songwriting. We’re still journeying—each record is a new beginning, and we don’t know where this is going to go.
We let it “do us” in a sense, do you know what I mean? We don’t force the band down people’s throats. We’re not trying to constantly be in people’s faces—we like our little wanderings into the oak forest that we can’t be found. That’s the beauty about this band—we’re like an old oak forest, you know? Or a fine wine that is constantly being refined in a sense. I think with this new album, for one another more than anything, we really needed to give this album to each other.
But yeah[…], we’re touched, and we’re so moved by how the reaction of people to our songs, and how they use the band in a sense as a sacred herb. You know, Life Of Agony is not done. I feel like with this record too, it’s like the best of all of the albums and the best moments for me personally—the guys wrote an incredibly bone-crushing record. I can actually listen to the album now as a fan for the first time (laughs) in my recording history with the guys.
At the end of April, Life Of Agony will be celebrating A Place Where There’s No More Pain’s official release with a special headlining gig at Irving Plaza, in addition to returning to the Starland Ballroom in May. What are you looking forward to the most about these upcoming gigs?
I am looking forward to it all. I love being with the people, and singing, it’s like, my ultimate high. Being in somebody’s face singing my songs, you know?
I’d like to add that my first time seeing Life Of Agony was at your birthday show at the Starland Ballroom in 2015. To this day, your intimate acoustic cover of “Plush” [by Stone Temple Pilots] still gets brought up in conversation. It was one of coolest concert experiences I’ve ever witnessed.
It was a beautiful moment, definitely. I love the Stone Temple Pilots, and I love what Scott [Weiland]… I love Scott’s solo music as well, and love what he contributed to music, and fashion. Everything about them is so beautiful, and still is.
Me and [guitarist] Joey Z. felt compelled because we grew up going to Stone Temple Pilots shows in New York City and New Jersey. I think the first Stone Temple Pilots show I saw was on the Core tour, and it had to be 1992 or 1993. It was in New Jersey… I could be wrong, but it had to be when Core came out. They were on tour with the Butthole Surfers, and there was this crazy, crazy pit. People were slamming, and someone had their shin come out of their fucking leg—it was horrific, man.
We grew up with them, and we had to do something. It was a last minute thing like backstage. We were playing some of it, and we were like, “Let’s just fucking do it. Let’s do it for Scott.” And so we did.
Right on! On one final note—after your small run of U.S. shows, you also plan to tour briefly in Europe this summer. Do you anticipate for a lot of extensive touring in support of A Place Where There’s No More Pain for the remainder of 2017?
We don’t know, we’re taking it slow. We want to see how the world reacts to the album, and we don’t really believe in the future, we believe in now. The moment that we truly exist is right now. I know what you’re saying, but yeah, maybe there will be some more videos, definitely more touring. I don’t know about heavy touring because we’re exercising no a lot. We’re not really saying yes to everything. We’re kind of savoring our times together, you know?
We definitely don’t want to burn out. Don’t forget, we’ve been playing longer than you were alive (laughs), and it’s more special to us when we do two or three weeks where we go to Europe, we fucking do some festivals, we do some headlining dates, and then boom, we’re back home for a month, and then boom, go back out again somewhere. We like the little trips. We’re not really into doing 200 nights anymore.
If a big band wants us to open, or offers us a tour, then, depending on the situation, we will consider how we have the machine roll these days. We’re not interested in burning out, or over-playing… we’ve been there, we’ve done that.
We’re older, we’re wiser, we’re more aware of our decision-making, and we don’t want to say yes to everything. We like the low profile. This band likes creeping in the streets, you know? We’re that street guttural shadow that’s lurking behind. We’re not interested in how everybody’s trying to chase the same game. That shit is old, and spineless. We’re not those kind of characters.
We realized that this is an art project, and this is a religious experience. This is our sacred journey for us, for our people, and for eternity. It’s deeper than we can ever imagine. That’s where the band’s philosophy resides in a sense. So, we’re not really looking too far into that word, the “future,” because it’s all about the present-day now for us. That’s how we roll.
Join Life Of Agony as they celebrate the release of A Place Where There’s No More Pain at Irving Plaza in Manhattan, NY on April 28. The band will also be playing at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY on April 29, the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA on May 12, Mulcahy’s Pub And Concert Hall in Wantagh, NY on May 13, and the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on May 20. A Place Where There’s No More Pain will be available on April 28 through Napalm Records. For more information, go to lifeofagony.com.