AA: What was the first album you fell in love with?
The Division by 10 Years was the first album that I truly became entranced with. To me, it was a masterpiece album and I could get lost in each song. Jesse Hassek told me early in my musical career, "Never give up on your dreams. If your passionate about something, don't let anything stop you."
AA: What got you started writing music?
I've always been passionate about singing and playing saxophone, so writing my own music was naturally the next step in my late teens.
AA: What was the first song where you thought that you could write?
I think that all writing musicians crank a plethora of songs until they reach a level they deem satisfactory, so it'd be difficult to recall my first. I believe the fan response of "Traveling East" was what really pushed me to continue and built up my confidence.
AA: Can you tell us a bit about the EP "Traveling East"?
The EP was released on October 28th, 2015 with producers Justin Kyle of Jamie's Elsewhere and Eric Ferraro of Asmara. It also features the Japanese artist Maico.
AA: Are all the songs also going to be on your forthcoming album "Seeking Light"?
There will be 6 brand new tracks on the new album "Seeking Light" that will be released in January of 2017. Guest vocalists on the album include Garret Rapp of The Color Morale, Juno Gold of Sycamour, Ryan Tyler of Viridian, Sebastian Elizondo of Darkness Divided, Gabe Tide of Black Tide, & Rory Rodriguez of Dayseeker!
AA: Can you tell us about the album?
The new album will contain songs that describe each of the lessons I learned while traveling the world, while I was seeking the light of knowledge.
AA: Did the philosophy behind each song shape the song from the start or come once each song was in the can?
For my creative writing process, each song was written initially as a philosophical document (available for reading on our website), then I pulled lyrics from what I had written.
AA: Did you have a fixed idea of what you wanted the album to sound like?
I wanted to experiment with a few different styles of rock, to kind of see what I was capable of. The concepts of lyrical content were fixed, but the instrumentals were basically open.
AA: How easily did the album come together?
The instrumentals were written very quickly, but coordinating so many guest vocalists was difficult and took most of the year. We also spent quite a bit of time on more than a handful of music video shoots, so each song will get a video.
AA: Which song got the whole album going?
AA: I can't really say that it's one song particularly, since the framework for most the songs were completed in early 2016. We had decided to release "Tragedy of Leusden (ft. Garret Rapp of The Color Morale)" because it was one of the first completed, regarding mixing/mastering/editing.
AA: Were there any songs that you struggled with?
"Point of Enlightenment (ft. Sebastian Elizondo of Darkness Divided)" was a tough song vocally, even though the cleans are restricted to the verses, they are pretty high.
Read Part Two of the Interview