What’s going on everybody? Once again, this is Greg Allis with Live High Five and we are here in Syracuse, NY where Senses Fail is doing a headlining performance in support of their new album, Renacer.
There was a bit of a credential snafu this afternoon, and that happens sometimes. Credential snafus take up time, and we don’t have any time here, so no more credential snafus in the future, please.
But that’s ok, because we’re here with Gavin and Dan and we’re going to have a little interview with the guys.
G- So guys… Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! This is the tail end of the current run, right?
G- How has everything been going?
D- It’s been going good. We started in the beginning of April, and it’s been almost 5 weeks to the day. It’s been a good tour. Low key, the shows have been good, nothing too crazy. Well, with the exception of ripping the air conditioning vents of the vehicle.
G- What happened now?
D- It’s a long story, but we went under a low bridge, and some damage occurred. We’ll leave it at that. But everybody is safe, and everybody is ok. It’s been cool… The shows have been good.
G- And you have a nice little companion with you… A little noise maker.
D- Yeah this is my dog, Rick.
G- Hi Rick!
D- This is his maiden voyage out here. My wife and I have 2 dogs, and we decided that maybe it would be beneficial for both of us to bring one along with me, and he’s been really awesome! He’s adapted really well and been a great companion to everybody, provided everybody with entertainment. A nice little friend to hang out with.
G- A little comic relief when things get unnerving?
D- Yeah. It’s nice to wake up to him kinda snuggling up to me. It’s cool.
G- As long as it’s not Buddy (Nielson- singer), I guess.
D- (laughing) Exactly. I’d much rather wake up to Rick burrowing between my legs than Buddy.
G- So, it took my a second to get the pronunciation right, but you guys are currently touring in support of Renacer on Staple Records. How have the fans been reacting to it, and have you noticed any fan favorites off of the album so far.
G- The reactions have been great. We’ve been playing between 5-7 new songs off the new record every night. There’s a lot of variation of sound on the record, and that’s a new thing for Senses Fail, but people have definitely been very receptive.
As far as favorites… I’m not sure.
D- It’s hard to say. I don’t know. I think people have been into “The Path.” There are a few songs that I think, regardless of whether you’ve heard the record or not or know the songs too well, I think that there are a few songs that, even hearing for the first time, there is a good energy to them that people can get into.
“The Path” has been really good. “Canine” has been really cool. And then we’ve been doing a song called “Between The Mountains and The Sea,” which is the last song on the record, and it’s the slowest, longest song that the band has ever done, and it’s kind of cool. It’s at the end of the set, and everything kinda chills for a minute to catch their breath, and I think that one has been going over very well. That’s one of the sing along kinda thing, and I know for me at least, it gives me time to chill out, look around, and see people singing along. And people have been singing along to it, so…
G- Well, if people are singing along to it, that’s great! And you brought up “Canine,” so that’s the second dog reference of the interview, so that’s cool. It’s also the first time I’ve interviewed with a dog, so that’s what’s up.
In regards to Renacer, tell us a bit about the recording process for the album? How long did it take you to record, where did you record it, and who was behind the boards?
D- It took us about 5-6 weeks to record. We did the record in L.A. with Shaun Lopez. He is…
G- From Far?
D- Yes Shaun Lopez from Far. Guitarist from Far, and he also had a band called Revolution Small for a while, and he also does a band called Crosses…
G- With Chino (Moreno.)
G- I’ve been trying to get that first 7” for ever. It’s a monster to find and I can’t find it anywhere.
D- Apparently, they’re working on new stuff right now, so we’ll see what happens with that.
But, Shaun is an awesome dude. We’ve always been fans of his stuff and work, playing and producing and whatever, and it was just time for us to do something different. So, we reached out to him and he was into it. We collaborate don some songs and stuff.
So yeah… It took about 5-6 weeks to do the record out there, and it’s just a different kind of deal for us now. We’ve got different members in the band and different people working on songs and writing and everything, so it was a welcomed change of pace for us. We’ve been a band for a long time and we’ve done a bunch of records, and we kinda stepped a bit in a different direction on all fronts, just working on something fresh.
G- I dig it. Now, you guys have been around for a while, done extensive touring, and have a lot of recorded output. It’s a tough business…
G- In your opinion, what would you say is the most difficult thing about being in a band and/or on the road?
G- Normally I would say things like seeing your dog everyday, but Rick has solved that problem.
G- (laughs) He’s taken care of that.
D- It’s just a lot of work to write and record the records, then go out there and perform the shows, get from point A to point B, you know? Being away from your family and friends.
Luckily, all of us here are really good friends, and that always helps when you’re with people you enjoy being with. It’s rough being away from home sometimes, but I don’t know. Playing new songs sometimes and getting a mixed reaction from people that don’t know it can get a little scary or overwhelming, but we’ve been lucky that people have been receptive.
G- Nice, and after this run, what will you be doing and what are the plans for 2013?
D- We’ve got about 4-5 days off, and then we’re going to the UK.
D- We’re doing a little headlining tour over there, and a couple of festival dates. Mostly UK, and then there are 2 shows in France, and 1 show in Belgium, which is an interesting add-on to the end, but it’s cool. We haven’t been there in a while and Belgium is like one of my favorite places in the world. Belgium is definitely my favorite place in Europe, so that’ll be cool.
G- (laughing) Is that for the beer?
D- Well, it’s a combination of things. The beer is awesome, but I like the old world, old European feel of that city. I don’t think there are many places in the US that you walk around and kinda feel the history. It sounds corny, I know, but Belgium has that. There’s lots of tight, windy streets that open up to big squares, and it’s got a really cool charm to it.
G-It’s also a very diverse and eclectic mix of people, population wise. I’m told that Belgium is the easiest country in Europe to move to, so a lot of people move there for a couple of years, get their citizenship, and then go live in Paris or whatever. But I like it in that there’re all the Belgian things, beer/food/culture/language, but there’s also just an eclectic mix of life. You might find a really interesting vegan restaurant or something.
And the beer is good, too.
G- Well, you didn’t mention anything about the Belgian Senses Fail fans… How are the responses out there for you guys?
D- Good! Well, we haven’t been there in a long time, which is why it’s going to be so cool to go. We haven’t been there since 2007, I think, and it’s been a while. We don’t get over to Europe a ton, and it sucks. It’s just so expensive to tour over there and it’s one of those things where it’s really hard to bite the bullet and get over there. So, we’re glad to be able to get over there.
The shows are good. The last time we were was one of our last times with Taking Back Sunday, so it was a good tour. TBS, Underoath, Senses Fail.
G- That’s a banger right there!
Now, since I have two of you here, they can either be ones that you’re listening to or ones that have inspired you… 4 albums every fan of you should know about and why. Go!
D- That’s a tough question. Umm, well one of my favorite records of all time is Faith No More “Angel Dust.” Great record! Huge inspiration to me, whether you can hear it through the music we make or not. What else?
G- The new Ghost BC record has been getting some pretty heavy rotation on the bus here. It’s spooky.
G- Dare I ask… Did you guys get the dildo box-set?
G- (laughing) No.
G- That’s good.
D- I saw that it was available, but I didn’t place my order yet. (laughs)
G- I might Amazon it in a little while.
G- As long as you don’t eBay it, guys.
D- Well, if it’s used and for half price…
G- Rick, do you have anything to say about this?
Rick the dog looks at us blankly… He’s a dog, and they do that.
No he’s quiet right now.
D- Well, one of the first records I ever listened to as a child after digging through records was Made in Japan, a live record by Deep Purple, which is a big deal for me in starting out playing. So we’ll take it past and present there.
G- Nice. Ok, so we’ve got one more, and I guess we’ll go 2 and 2, so Gavin, you’re next.
G- Umm… I don’t know. It’s been so long since I’ve listened to records. I don’t listen to music on tour all that much, so it’s hard to think about. I mean, there’s the stock answer of, you know, “London Calling” by The Clash being a great record, but it’s not news to anyone.
G- Yeah… Someone is like ‘I like Led Zeppelin.” Who doesn’t?
D- Yeah ‘The band was really influenced by The Beatles.” No shit?!
G- It’s like, come on.
G- Well, that’s ok. We got 3 and you can say London Calling. We did pretty good.
Now let’s see if I can stump you even harder… Do you have a favorite song to you have ever written? If you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of you before, to try and make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
D- Ooh that’s a good one. That’s a good one. Umm, well I’ll go with the ones I like to play live first. The answer to that is ANYTHING off of the new record, because it’s new and it’s cool and it’s fun to play. “Canine” is fun to play. I love playing “Closure/Rebirth” because it’s like, well… this will tie into my next answer. I think that “Closure/Rebirth” is probably the song on the record that has a little bit of everything. It has vibes of everything. It has an uptempo energetic beginning, then it kinda chills, then it has a shoe-gazing, dreamy outro, which is really cool to play live and dynamically different for us, and I think that it probably foreshadows where we would end up musically in the future.
So for me, I’d probably give someone that song to listen to if they’d never heard the band. Especially now, since this record is so different for us and we’ve shifted our selves.
G- Nice one. Gavin, how about you?
G- I would have agreed with Dan, but that’s not an interesting answer. So probably “Canine” because it’s fast, heavy, and fun to play. Yeah if you don’t at one point start bobbing your head or feel the urge to, like, go off, then you’re a robot. You’re a replicant, and Harrison Ford is coming for you.
G- (laughing) Alright. Now, just one last question for you both today. You’re on the road, you’ve been on the road a lot, you’ve recorded a lot, and you’ve done a lot in the music industry. It’s a tough business and the industry is a lot different than when you started, but there are still kids out here that have the same dream you guys did when you started, and they need you help.
In your opinion, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
D- Don’t do it if you’re planning to make it in music. Do it because you like to make music. I think if you expect to just one day be rolling in tons of tour buses and making millions of dollars and selling out arenas, it’s probably not gonna happen. It could happen, but I don’t think that that should be the goal. Fame is not something you should be focused on. You’re jinxing yourself.
You’ve gotta work hard, write good music, and have people that you enjoy being with and creating with, and if you built it, they will come. If you can write good songs and have a good work ethic, then you have a shot. There are no guarantees in anything.
We’re really lucky that we got in at a good time and are very fortunate at the pace which things happened for us.
And yeah I don’t know. If we were just starting out now, I don’t know. It’s a whole different climate than it was 10 years ago. So, I think that if you’re really passionate about playing an instrument or songwriting, that should be what drives you to keep doing it.
G- Excellent answer! And to take it one step further with you, Gavin, give us something to keep your sanity and keep yourself clean on the road. Baby wipes has already been said.
G- Baby wipes has already been said. Hmmm… Change your underwear, change your socks…
D- Big time.
G- And unless it’s a problem, don’t stay totally clean. It’s good to have a beer every once in a while to help keep your sanity. And fuck, bring a dog!
G- Rick, you are now a member! And he’s happy, too!
Well, I just want to say again, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. Travel safe, play hard, and I look forward to doing this again.
D- Cool man.
G- Thanks so much!