Hey guys, how are you doing?
Could you tell us who you are and what you do in the band?
I'm Justin and I play guitar.
I'm Dan, I play drums.
I'm Lee, I play bass.
We're here in Cologne for Euroblast festival, where you'll be headlining tomorrow.
What do you think about this year's line-up?
I think it's awesome.
Yeah, pretty excited about it, a lot of talent.
Excited to see Jeff Loomis and Monuments.
Are you looking forward to playing?
Euroblast festival is often associated with the 'djent' phenomenon.
Although you guys were playing this style of music long before 'djent' was a thing,
you're often considered a part of it. What's your take on it?
I think it's cool, part of it is cool,
because I feel that if somebody can find out about your band, just by...
Maybe someone would call us that, and then someone that might like something that sounds that way,
maybe would hear of our band by that and I think that's cool.
But I don't really care too much about it,
because we are just playing the music that we grew up listening to.
Before a couple of years ago I didn't even think that word was around.
So it's kind of whatever, you know, that's my take on it, I don't know.
This is your first show in Europe in a while.
What's the difference between playing shows in North America and in Europe?
I think the difference is that we can play a lot of shows a lot closer together out here.
Whereas we could stay in one country for like 4-5 days,
we'll tour in the United States and we'll drive 400-500 miles between each show.
The amount of travelling is just dramatically increased.
There's a lot of things that we realized when we're on tour at home that we don't get over here.
Like how connected we are, even with just our cell phones
and being able to be on the internet on a daily basis.
That's sort of taken away when we're over here,
and I think it's actually kind of a good thing,
because it makes you realize how connected you really are.
Maybe you're too connected, you know what I mean?
We spend a little bit too much time on our cell phones.
Everyone's like, "where is the Wi-Fi?" and then you've got 20 people on the touring package
all using the same signal in Europe, and that just doesn't work.
We get to hang out a little bit more over here,
just because there's a lot less time to spend on computers and telephones and stuff like that.
We're actually going out and hanging out with each other, appreciate the sights...
Talking to each other, in real life,
not posting on Trent's Facebook page and saying "hey grab me a beer from the dressing room"
and he does, you know what I mean?
You guys tour a lot, like this year you were on the Vans Warped Tour,
you supported Whitechapel on their headlining tour,
and you just completed a short run with Reflections and The Contortionist.
It seems like you guys are constantly on the road, so where do you find the time to write new music?
It's tough, usually what we'll need to do is designate a time to do that.
Sometimes we have such a sort time at home where it's like,
we're home with just enough time to pack again.
That's kind of crazy but being on the road is part of what we do.
We were on the road for 8 months or something in 2011.
But we have a pretty extended break coming up after this,
because Euroblast is our only European appearance this year, for the rest of the year.
So we'll be finding time to do that, to get back into writing,
as soon as the show is over and we fly back home.
In December last year, you announced that a new album was in the works.
And then in March, you posted a short preproduction video with some teasers for new material.
Since then we haven't really heard anything about it, so how is it coming along?
Shortly after that video was released, we did continue writing for a while,
and then we went on the Warped Tour, which was 56 days long.
Yeah, two months straight, so that's kind of where the bulk of that time went.
We actually managed, I set up a little rig on the bus and managed to do some recording,
actually on the tour, but that's never easy.
It always seems like technically maybe we could do some work on the road,
the reality is that there is so many distractions around where it's hard to be 100% focused.
When you've got the studio rig on the bus you've got people tripping over the wires,
you know what I mean, it's just a mess.
Personal space is a premium on tour, you're always sharing your space with someone.
We just got home from that at the end of August, a month and a half ago, pretty much, two months.
We've been writing since, we actually have some stuff recorded already.
I'm not sure what the plan for that is yet, but the full-length is in the works right now.
It's too early to say any definitive release date,
but I have a feeling we'll be working pretty hard on it, as soon as we get home from Euroblast.
In the video, there's a running joke about you being very apprehensive about working with producers.
Is that still the case?
Well we found my little nephew, he's one and I think he's going to be a natural.
He is just bringing out parts of our music that I've never even heard or thought of before.
No I'm just kidding, we've always enjoyed being able to produce it ourselves and track it ourselves.
Now this one, I'm pretty sure we'll be either taking on a co-production role,
or just producing it ourselves, but we will probably be working with someone else for mixing,
because that's kind of a challenge in itself.
I feel like once you are at the end of your recording process, and then it's time to mix your own thing,
at least me personally, I'll get a mix that sounds so heavy.
And then I'll put in like another album, let's say like a Pantera CD,
where I go "that's what music sounds like", and I scrap it and start over.
You get so desensitized to what you've been so used to hearing, you know.
But we're definitely going to look into that, I think we might have something up our sleeves.
Earlier this month, live footage of a new song started appearing on YouTube,
I think it's called 'A Wolf Amongst Ravens'.
Are we going to hear some new material at the festival as well?
Actually we're going to perform that song tomorrow night.
We also heard that you play it in drop drop C, that's an octave below drop C,
how do you make that sound good?
I don't want to say it was a fluke because... I don't know exactly,
I know how it happened, but I can't really explain it fully in detail.
It's definitely strange, because it was more of an experiment than anything else.
Actually our string company La Bella, they came out to our show in New York last year,
and they were like "here are some prototype .90 gauge strings".
Trent ended up taking them home with him, because we only had a couple.
And then he called me and was like "Hey, you've got to hear this".
He threw it on his Ibanez RG2228, he threw the .90 on there
and he tuned it down to C sharp, so the rest of the guitar was tuned to B flat standard.
And the sound, we use the Fractal Audio Axe-FX,
and he made this patch that was the strangest sounding thing I've ever heard before.
I was like "you know what, I kind of think that's cool".
It was weird because you're hitting this low note,
but there is this overtone that actually made it sound musical.
When I heard that, I thought "maybe we're onto something here".
Because every other time that I've tried to tune my guitar down low, it doesn't sound right.
It sounds like a bass with a big muff like high distortion pedal.
That's cool and everything, but not for metal.
Well maybe it is and I just don't know.
Anyway, basically what we did was we made this patch, and then we did some sort of post EQ.
I used it in Logic Pro to try and see if this is going to be able to be recorded.
I literally took all the low end out of the guitar completely.
There is no low end in the signal whatsoever.
And then Lee's bass, he is tuned to the same note.
Yeah, I took a 5 string and I ended up tuning it a half step up from standard,
and then I tuned the B string up a full step to C sharp.
I play the parts a little bit differently than these guys,
but yeah, I went up instead of going down,
to keep the tension on the really light set of strings instead of something heavier.