What's this, an interview, on the blog? Yep! I recently got the chance to interview one of my favourite bands, Latin For Truth, while in the studio tracking their upcoming album entitled Youth Crew Blues. The band took some time out of their currently busy schedule to answer a few of my questions, and here they are for your reading pleasure.
I'm glad to see the time's finally come to track the new album - surely it'll be worth the wait and struggle, but do you think it's been harder than it should've been to get to where you are now?
Charles: I think every band or musician needs to pay dues, we're working on ours. If everyone was handed a career or spots on tours without putting in years of hard work then we'd prolly all be complete tools who drop friends for neon designs and lifeless tunage. Also, the intricacies of a working band are a mix of personal and financial juggling. So you intend to tour six months of the year on some years and then end up touring less than one, but it happens. That's just the way it goes, the sky rains shit on fields of good intent.
Tom: There's no way for me to answer that honestly without putting us on some sort of high horse, so I guess I'll say that as the new guy, I've always felt like LFT has constantly gotten the weak end of the stick and deserves way more than they have. We've seen people take shortcuts that we could have taken as well, but I don't mind putting in the work so I can sleep guilt-free.
What exactly's been going through your heads and hearts during the tracking process? How has it compared to your previous releases?
Charles: The head and the heart are important pieces of the writing machinery. I would say, personally, both are swelling up with pride. We talk a lot about good intent, the reason being it's one of those things that are important at our level, make sure your intent is always good, we have a lot of misfires for one reason or another and it feels like all you can do is measure your efforts by intent, not outcome. I feel like we haven't even started the race, like we've just been stumbling for the past five years and with this record, with what I'm hearing in playback in the control room, we might finally begin the race.
Tom: I wasn't around for the old records, but I know that we're all kind of in this state of disbelief right now. The fact that we're finally recording it is hard to handle, because we've waiting so long to get this done.
Aside from the line-up change, what would you say will be the biggest difference between Eleven Eleven and Youth Crew Blues? When can we expect it to be out?
Charles: I think the biggest difference is our attitude towards writing. Also, Tom plays guitar on two of the tracks and I do bass, which might seem weird, most bands in our genre don't trade out instruments. We all wrote for the record, traded riffs, I still penned the lyrics, but it seemed to help me, handing away more songs to Zack and Tom. I focused more on the theme and ideas for vocal arrangements. The guitar writing was split up 30/20/50: me at thirty percent, Tom at twenty percent, and Zack at fifty. With splitting up the writing differently, we all focused on personal influences, let them shine in our songs, and it turned out for the best. It makes for an eclectic listen. I'm not sure when it'll be out, we're not sure what the mixing and mastering timeline is at the moment. We'll know soon and be able to get a date out to people.
Tom: Musically Youth Crew Blues is much more visceral than Eleven Eleven. Since we don't have a front man anymore, we spent less time concentrating on proper song structures and making sure parts worked with vocals and more on making sure each part kicked you in the dick. The heaviness and catchy parts of Eleven Eleven are still represented, but in entirely different ways. None of us were thinking of or listening to Pop Punk when we were writing this record.
What do you guys hope to achieve this year? What else is in the cards for the band apart from the album and tour with Rust Belt Lights?
Charles: We hope to start touring full time and maybe find a secure spot on a decent label. We have a tour with Carridale and Born Without Bones in April/May, trying to line up a tour with our friends in On My Honor, and we have a bunch of leftover songs from YCB so maybe a split or a seven inch.
Tom: I really just want to get another release of some sort out by the end of the year. We're trying to get some stuff set up tour wise for the summer that's not definite yet, but if it happens it'll be really cool.
Charles, will you still be releasing your poetry books at some point in time?
Charles: Yes! Funding for that release was used to pay the down payment for this recording session and that seems to be the story of my life, ha. I have so much material written, even have two copies of the first finished book, Our Gorgeous Hell Raiser, but it's not in the cards at the moment 'cause my extra money goes towards LFT things. Maybe when YCB comes out we can make the first book a part of the pre-order package.
I know you're big on PMA, and I personally admire the band's existential and subtextual themes, but from an objective point of view, do you think that your lyrics can sometimes be interpreted as pessimistic or somewhat pretentious? I know that they come from personal experiences and ideals, but I'm curious of your writing techniques.
Charles: Maybe it's a problem or maybe not, I really enjoy the written word, to such an extent that it makes me come off as pretentious at times. It's an obsession that gets worse with age. I can't curve it without feeling unnaturally leashed. I'm not into writing hooks or deluding emotions so our intellectual property is easier to swallow. I know our fans are intelligent like minded individuals and I feel it'd be an insult to them to pen something like, heart on my sleeve or misery loves company, 'cause that to me is essentially like writing, the sky is blue. Of course our hearts are on our sleeves, we get in front of crowds of our peers and yell our deepest thoughts and of course misery loves company, that's why we all cling to our fans who understand the things we write about. I personally just want to dig deeper and deeper till I come out on the other side of myself, where I'm stronger, smarter, and living a healthy lifestyle, both emotionally and physically. Words are powerful things, you have to understand your purpose of using them. When I write for LFT, more specifically with YCB, I'm writing notes to myself. I can only be honest and true to myself and for the most part it equates to honesty with people reading and interpreting the lyrics but like everyone else, I have very deconstructive ways of communicating. Those portions are the pessimistic, sarcastic, and pretentious bits. I feel like if I didn't acknowledge that side of my personality I'd be lying to my audience and untrue to myself. So I'd agree with the objective view point. I'm fucked from toe to top but gold is a verb and I try so very, very hard to do it as well as I can. I feel like you create better art when you let your ambition wander, I could be wrong and I could suck really bad at what I do, ha.
What're your thoughts on how Hardcore has evolved over the past 30 years?
Tom: Hardcore has 100% had it's ups and downs, as does every style of music, but I feel like most Hardcore today still stands by the idea that music can build a community, and through music that community can enact true social change. I feel like Hardcore has constantly grown stylistically as well. To me Hardcore has always been about pushing musical boundaries and disregarding whatever's popular or getting hyped in favor of creating something unique. Bands like Antpile, Sleepwalkers, Defeater, and Hostage Calm, that move past the norm and take Hardcore to a real thought provoking place help keep it exciting for me. That's not to say every single band needs to try to reinvent the wheel every chance they get, but it's awesome when someone pops up and puts a new spin on things.
Charles: My views are askew, Punk and Hardcore are just words and the whole thing is kind of a weird detached micro-culture where moments of brilliance happen and moments of complete archaic bullshit happens. I'm glad that over the years bands associated with the culture aren't afraid to be musicians and work hard at their craft, even put some time into making intelligent, great sounding records. It seems juvenile to hold it against a dude who wants to play his instrument well and be socially and politically active. All that goes with the meshing of melody with that caustic attack to song writing that got tagged as melodic Hardcore, without bands like lifetime, LFT wouldn't exist. I hope that we all keep pushing it forward till the lines can't be seen, no one will know where Hardcore starts and Pop Punk, Jazz, Gospel, Folk, etc., ends. To be ambiguous about the subject, We're all young angry pups barking at the sun so it's about time we all bark together under the same shade and hopefully it'll retire and climb out of the sky.
If you could take your band anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Charles: I don't know if hell is on earth, but I want LFT to play there. I just want to be Satan approved.
Tom: I guess I'll be practical. I'd like to try to make it overseas sometimes within a year or two. It'd be nice to be able sit around London and say music really can take you places.
Who've been your favourite bands to play with live? Who would you like to share the stage with in the future?
Charles: Veara is easily my favorite band, absolutely love them as people and as a band, also, Some Mistakes, Born Without Bones, and On My Honor. In the future? Paint It Black, Hostage Calm, None More Black, Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Hall and Oats, Jawbreaker, FUGAZI... the list is endless cause the only way I can get to a show and not drive three hours is by playing it.
Tom: Besides what Charles said I also like playing with Veara whenever we get the chance. To dream big I'd like to play with New Found Glory to fulfil that teenage dream, Saves the Day, and I guess Open Hand is playing shows again, so I'd love to do something with them.
Tom, how challenging has it been managing your time between [your other band] Some Mistakes and Latin For Truth? Are you in it for the long haul?
Tom: So far it's been real easy to manage my time between LFT and Some Mistakes. I've been able to put just as much effort into both bands as I've wanted to without having to play favorites. Now that LFT is starting to tour more my friend Mark McGinn will be filling in for my at some Some Mistakes shows, but we'll still be pushing as hard as we have been.
I would say I'm in it for the long haul with both bands. LFT is a band that I was a big fan of before I joined and it's an honor to be apart of something like it, and Some Mistakes is a band made up of kids that grew up together. Regardless of what LFT does I could never abandon them because SM truly is a second family to me.
Do you guys think you've found your home in regards to management and record label?
Charles: I know we've been a band for five years and I'm 24, but we're a young band in a lot of ways. Daniel at Kaedyn Entertainment is doing well on management and MTS rules. I can't really tell what the future holds for us, I go by a quarterly prediction.
Tom: Daniel's done an awesome job so far and has helped us out a good bit, so I don't see us for any kind of new management for a while. Mightier Than Sword is a label I'm still really excited about and I feel honored that they've been willing to work with us. I'm willing to work hard for them as long as that feeling is mutual.
What've you guys been listening to lately and do you have any recommendations for people to check out?
Charles: I've been rocking these albums lately:
Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, And Bastards
Crime In Stereo - I Was Trying to Describe You To Someone
Cheap Girls - Find Me A Drink Home
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
Sam Cooke - Live At Harlem Square Club
I will always suggest kids to check out Tom Waits and Edith Piaf, both have amazing discographies.
Tom: We'll since we're recording the new record right now I've been trying to avoid anything to similar to our genre, but here's a few things I've been stuck on:
Neurosis - Times Of Grace and the live bootlegs
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis
Foundation - Hang Your Head
Outcrowd - Demo
Deathbed - Opression
Antpile - Demo
As far as bands that you could call our peers, check out Campaign, Crucial Dudes, Veara, Trainwrecker, Rust Belt Lights, and Born Without Bones.
Any last words?
Charles: Thanks you for amazing questions and to anyone reading this, don't be afraid to love yourself, that's where all the positive energy in the world starts.
Tom: Thank you so much for giving us an interview with some depth to the questions, let's do it again soon!
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