Memphis, Tennessee’s Devour The Day visited Syracuse, NY on August 4th as part of a large festival billing put on by long-standing rock station 95X. The duo of Blake Allison and Joey “Chicago” Walser have put together a blazing array of heaviness on their Fat Lady Music debut, Time and Pressure, an effort co-produced by the founding members.
And in even better news, Devour The Day are playing TONIGHT, October 2nd, in Clifton Park, NY at our beloved Upstate Concert Hall with Hinder and Candlebox, so you all may want to get off your keisters and make your way to check it out… They’re a lot of fun to watch perform!
I met up with singer/guitarist Blake Allison after their ripping set to talk about Time and Pressure, their synergistic writing and production approach, and what else the group has in store for the rest of 2013 after their appearance in Syracuse, NY at 95X’s all-day bash!
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! First and foremost, great set today! It was a lot of fun! How’s everything been going?
B- Thanks I appreciate it! Today’s set was awesome, and this tour has been going great. It’s been nice to get out here and learn a new instrument and have to figure it out on the go. This is a great experience for me, and we’re in the thick of it. We have a lot of touring to do for the rest of the year, and a lot of support from all over, especially on Sirius and 95X helping us out. If you’re reading this, call them and request the song one more time!
G- Request the songs, folks… This is how this happens!
So, let’s talk about the album. 2013’s Time and Pressure is out on Fat Lady Music and, as we could see today, the reception to the songs has been really good! Have you noticed any fan favorites?
B- It’s so hard to guess. We spread ourselves pretty thin on this record, and we have a lot of songs geared towards different people, and they’re all working towards those genres 100%. I would say that the most well received thus far has been “Good Man.” I think that that song tends to connect with more than just the fangirl or metalhead or rock dude. I think that it appeals to more, anybody with a serious longing for improvement.
We also have a song called “Reckless” that seems like every girl who listens to it identifies with it, which is great. And we have a song called “Respect” that is very fast and very driven. It’s got some double bass and, if you were an Egypt Central fan, you never heard me do any doubles on Egypt Central. But we figured since it’s a new band and since I’m not technically playing drums, why not throw some double bass in there. We’ve been having a lot of fun with this new music. It’s an enhancement of our previous band, and Joey and I are extremely excited!
G- That’s great, man!
Now, everything about this record, the writing and production, was all pretty much done by you guys in house. You put it together, so tell us a bit about the process, both with the writing, the co-pro, and everything? How long did it take to get it really set for yourselves?
B- Our approach, and I’m not saying this is what the result was, but our approach in what we wanted to do with the record was the most minimalistic record we could, putting the soul to tape. We didn’t want anymore fillers or filters. We wanted to write the song and let that be it, and what you’re listening to is the demo process. We didn’t do any recording in a big studio. We did a couple of overdubs but, for the most part, everything was tracked inside our studio back home.
The result you can totally hear. It’s a great sounding record and you can definitely tell that it was done inside somebody’s house. It’s hard to go out there that doesn’t have the super studio quality because that’s your competition, and they’ve all got these A-List guys. We did the record on our own, and it was a risk, but we decided ‘Screw it… Let’s do it!’
G- ‘Life is risk.’
And how long did it take you to record?
B- We’ve been working on the record for a while, but a lot of it is back catalogue stuff, stuff that we felt was a little too aggressive for our previous band, and stuff that we put on the backburner that were great ideas, but we never had a chance to bring full circle.
So, when we started writing this record, I’d say 80% is new material, but the 20% is stuff that Joey and I had worked on before. The other 80% was done the day we decided to move forward, and we wrote 3 songs in a week in Memphis. That caught the attention of our label, in as far as maybe we could do something completely different.
(Regarding our previous band) We toyed with the idea of a new singer, or just calling it quits all together. We decided that we needed to keep moving because it’s cool, and it’s what we wanted to do, and if we connected with the listener, this was the heart and soul of what we do. No fillers.
I don’t even know what I’m doing as a singer. I honestly don’t. I started demoing the songs with Joey, and he and the label thought it would be a great idea. I fought them and said ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ and I feel like I’m still trying to figure it out and I have a long way to go, but it’s so much fun. I’m glad they talked me into it.
G- Well, it sounded really good today, so I’m glad they did, too!
B- Thanks man!
G- Alright let’s ask some fun questions! 4 albums every fan of Devour The Day should know and have in their collection.
B- Ok. Rage Against The Machine Evil Empire because the first record was incredible, but Evil Empire and the musicianship that goes on in that record is life changing for me.
Blood Sugar Sex Magic by RCHP absolutely! Front to back, that album is killer. Mother’s Milk is great to, but that record is a life changer.
I guess we can shoot forward… The Used made an incredible record called Artwork, and when I heard it, I thought ‘They’ve got this down to a science.’
And last but not least, One By One by The Foo Fighters.
G- All heavy hitters! I think most of your fans already have those in their collection. I have all those records!
Now, this is your first record and you’re still a new band on the go, but do you have a favorite song that you’ve ever written or that is most fun to perform, or if you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of Devour The Day before, to try and make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
B- That is, like, the best question I’ve ever heard!
G- That’s what I shoot for!
B- As you only get one shot with everybody out there, I think “Good Man” is very well. It’s a song that anybody could identify with. And if I had to pick any of our songs, that one is the most fun to play, and it’s the one that represents the band the best.
G- Dig it.
And another fun questions. You’re on a stacked lineup today and you’ve got some good stuff coming up in 2013, but are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? If you could put together your own feasible 3-band dream lineup to go on tour with, who would you pick?
B- I’d like to go on the road with… Man, you’re making me choose. Sevendust was a great tour, and I wish we can do it again… It’s so hard to say. It’s more what bands could we play with and connect with those fans.
There is a band out there called Four Years Strong and I think that we would connect with their fans.
G- Great band.
B- I would really like to tour with Shinedown. Zack is a friend and I’ve seen a lot of shows of theirs. We tried, but we had conflicting booking. They invited us out, and it was hard to let go.
G- One more.
B- I would say The Foo Fighters, but that’s just personal, though. I would get done playing, and then I would go into the audience and watch them.
G- Not an uncommon choice. Dave, if you’re reading this, everyone wants to go on tour with you, so remember Devour The Day.
And to finish up today, it’s a tough biz, but the music dream never dies and there will always be kids looking to start up bands and try to make it happen. You’ve been on the road and know what it’s like. From your experience, what advice can you give some of the up and comers out there who want to make it in the biz, on the road, and try to become a professional musician like yourself?
B- Write your own music. There’s the seen in Cool Runnings…
…Where they compare themselves to the Swiss and the guy says “The hell with the Swiss!’ That’s what I’d have to say. Don’t write music because you know it’ll work. Just keep writing music that’s good. It’s hard to make risky music and be confident enough to show it to somebody.
It’s easy to copy somebody’s riff, Vanilla Ice it, turn one note around, just because it works. I think a lot of kids suffer form that because they look up to these bands so much and hold them in such high regard that they feel they need to be just like them. I don’t think that works at all. If you’re not creating something new, people won’t be interested, and it’s really hard to do.
I’m still trying to do it. Subconsciously while you’re writing, you want to play what you know. So, inventing something from nothing is the hardest thing to do and the first thing that makes a band original.
G- Right on. Remember kids: Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so make sure to take some risks out there when performing your music.
Well, this has been great, man, and it was a great set today! I want to thank you again very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five, and we look forward to seeing some good things in the future! Play hard, travel safe, and we’ll catch up with you guys next time in Syracuse!
B- Alright, man. Thank you very much!