Often times bands and artists find themselves at their best when their lives are in ruins. The band Yellowcard was far from in ruins, but they were clearly on the ropes early last year shortly following their last release "Lights and Sounds." Founding member Ben Harper (who also runs Takeover Records) left the group amid some band controversy, and lead singer Ryan Key was diagnosed with a cyst on his vocal cords and forced to undergo surgery.
"It was a struggle filled time in our band, and I will always remember that time because of that record.” Key said of the bands previous release.
"Everything that happened on that record was so necessary for our career. If lights and sounds had sold 2 million copies, I just don’t think we would have gained any perspective on our lives. When we wrote it was a very artistic time in our lives. We wanted to reach out of the box we felt like we had been put into."
Amidst all they had going against them, Yellowcard wanted to do nothing but get back to the studio in late 2006.
"We realized we needed a fresh start, so we really just jumped right into the studio," Key told AlternativeAddiction.com. The band returned to the studio with new guitarist Ryan Mendez, and a new level of emotional intensity.
“Paper Walls is much more about the driving energy of the band,” Key explained. “There’s a real contrast of subject matter on this record. Some songs are about being confident, about finding who you are, and who you wanna be. And then there are songs about loneliness, and searching for someone else to be in your life.”
The contrast is the product of Key's free hand writing style that he uses to capture his feelings and emotions at a certain moment.
"I write a lot of free hand, I’ll just ramble and ramble for pages and pages," Key said. "Then I’ll read through it later and start to sort out what’s going on in my life, by reading back the way I express it on paper. You find a line here and a line there, and things that you like and what would be a good way to start a song.”
Key finds it most difficult to write songs about relationships, especially now as he gets older.
“I’ve always liked writing songs like that, but they have always been a struggle for me to write. I struggle with them in a different way now, because I feel like I have found myself as an adult, and I am comfortable with who I am and who I want to be.”
"Paper Walls" hits stores July 17th, while the band will be in full swing on the Warped Tour - where they will be for much of the summer.