Telle of The Word Alive Interview September 3, 2010

September 16, 2010 by: admin

THE WORD ALIVE

Fearless Records

Tyler “Telle” Smith (Vocals)

Phoenix, Arizona

Myspace.com/thewordalive

By: Shauna O’Donnell


HEY GUYS THIS IS SHAUNA O’DONNELL AND YOU ARE LISTENING TO MUEN TALK.  WE HAVE TELLE THE VOCALIST OF THE WORD ALIVE ON THE PHONE WITH US TODAY.

MUEN: HOW ARE YOU TODAY?

I am doing wonderful, how are you?

MUEN: I’M DOING PRETTY GOOD. YOU GUYS ARE FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA. I KNOW A LOT OF BANDS FROM THERE. WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU HAVE PLAYED WITH OUT OF THERE?

We have played with Bless the Fall, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Greeley Estates, Eyes Set to Kill and we are also talking about potentially playing a show with a lot of those bands and maybe even Job For A Cowboy as well. There are definitely a lot of bands all within thirty minutes to an hour of each other, so Phoenix is doing well.

MUEN: ON AUGUST 31ST YOU RELEASED YOUR FULL LENGTH DEBUT ALBUM TITLED DECEIVER. CONGRATULATIONS!

Thank you very much!

MUEN: WHERE DID YOU GUYS RECORD THE ALBUM?

We recorded in Ocala, Florida with producer and engineer Andrew Wade. He is the same guy who did our first EP, Empire. We basically felt like he understood the sound that we had and what we were capable of. Given the circumstances of how we wrote and recorded Empire, he just got to touch on what we were capable of we felt. Fast forward a year’s time and we are a band who has been on the road touring constantly, we’ve had a member change, we’ve worked really hard to improve all of us individually as well as the chemistry coming naturally from us working together on the road and so we felt like he could do something special with us at this point in our career. We feel comfortable with him and we have always got along with him when we were recording last time. We wanted to give him a shot and he did amazing I think.

MUEN: HOW DID THE RECORDING PROCESS GO?

It was great, it went pretty smooth. There were a couple times when we had to rush towards the end. I ended up having to add some vocal parts at a different studio in Memphis, Tennessee. It was at Leeway Studios, which is a famous studio, so it was kind of cool that it worked out that way. Most of the record we did with Andrew and he got us to do a lot of cool things that we didn’t even know we were capable of. I feel like his imprint on the record really made it what it is.

MUEN: DO YOU FEEL YOU LEARNED A LOT THIS TIME?

Definitely, I feel like the next time we go in to record, we are going to have a greater understanding of what we need to do, what works best for our band as a whole and what works best for us individually while we are recording. While we were home in Arizona before Warped Tour, we recorded a cover song “Heartless” by Kanye West for the Punk Goes Pop 3 compilation CD. I think just because we had been with Andrew, we took the process that he did and we applied it to this studio time. It really made that song come out great, so I definitely think we learned a lot from Andrew. I feel like if we go back with him again, it is going to continue to improve. He’s like one of the band.

MUEN: WHY DID YOU GUYS CHOOSE KANYE WEST’S “HEARTLESS” TO COVER?

We were going through a lot of different songs and a lot of different options. We didn’t want to do a very electronic, poppy song and we didn’t want to do a rock song. I feel like his song was a balance between that. Our guitarists tried testing different songs to see how they would sound and when they tried that song it just naturally came together really quickly and felt right. When everyone heard it, everyone collectively said “This is it! This is the one that we can still feel like The Word Alive, but still do justice to the original song.” It just worked out.

MUEN: YOU TRIED A FEW “NEW” THINGS ON THIS RECORD. WHAT WERE THEY?

We tried a lot of new things. Some will go over better than others and some might take a little bit more time. The all singing song is showing a more melodic, softer side of our band, but I feel like we didn’t do it in a cheesy way. I feel that the guitar parts are still really interesting, the keys, the synth and the orchestra on that song are all very unique in the way that we put it together. It sounds like an experimental softer version of us. I think that is why I like it so much, it’s still The Word Alive, it’s just us if that was what we were doing all the time. We wanted to show that we were more than just hardcore band, we wanted to show that we had other styles and tastes. We don’t ever want people to think that every song sounds the same when they hear our CD. I don’t think that anyone who listens to our CD could possibly say that every song sounds the same. We tried different chord progressions from what we’ve ever tried. We tried singing in different keys, we used keg hits, a turntable and all these things we’ve never used or tried to incorporate into our music, especially on the electronic side of things. I feel like all those dynamics made the CD stand out more.

MUEN: IT SHOWS THAT NOT ONLY CAN YOU SCREAM WELL, BUT YOU CAN ALSO SING WELL.

I have always considered myself a singer first and then a screamer. I learned how to scream for this band. I already knew how to sing and I got into the band because they liked what I was capable of doing with my singing voice. The band was a fan of my vocals when I was in the band In Fear and Faith. That is what led to me eventually join the band. On this record I feel like I do a lot more screaming then I’ve ever done before, but I also get to showcase different aspects of my voice that I’ve never been able to. I can sing, I can scream and I can do low stuff. I screamed in different ranges on this record compared to Empire when I was just learning how to scream. I really tried to show that I have different talents, just like our guitarists and drummer do. I really pushed myself and Andrew Wade was a big part of pushing me too to make sure that every part stood out alone. Vocally I really tried on this record to take it up a notch or two.

MUEN: TELL ME ABOUT THE SONG 2012. EVERYONE ASSOCIATES THAT WITH THE END OF THE WORLD.

It is one of the only songs on the record that isn’t about myself or a personal experience I’ve been through. I guess it’s about that dark side that a lot of people have where you get really upset and say “Man, I want to kill that person” or “They really hurt me, they really destroyed me and this person is taking my life away.” The kind of feeling that we all probably have felt. That song is that feeling coming out and being completely honest with yourself. It’s about how you would realistically feel if someone tried to take your life away that you were working so hard for. It is sort of a hypothetical “what if” song. Our former tour manager/sound guy had been with us from day one up until just before this tour because he needed to start pursuing other things. He is starting a family and we understand that, but we wanted to do a thank you to him. We wanted to name a song after him and on tour we gave him the nickname 2012, or we would call him Jeffrey Dahmer. We would joke about how he is like some creepy guy, who when he disappears at shows, is probably going off to kill someone. That song and him just kind of fit. It was a dedication to him, so we named the song 2012. So far, the kids really like that song and I think it’s because everyone can relate to getting really, really angry and almost bitter at someone. It sucks, but it is something that we all can relate to.

MUEN: TELL ME ABOUT THE ALBUM COVER, IT IS A MAN IN A WHITE SUIT THAT RESEMBLES MAYBE A DOCTOR AND IN HIS HAND THERE IS A BLACK SKI MASK. WHAT DOES THIS SIGNIFY?

When I was writing this album I went by the feeling of a lot of the songs as well as a lot of things that were in my heart and on my mind. It was a theme of exploring the dark side of people. In my case, the dark side of me, the dark side of my reality or the band’s reality over the last year and a half. We wanted to portray in an artistic way some of those feelings that we feel. There are people in your life whose goal is to have your life and do whatever it takes to take your happiness away from you. That is one form of someone who is a deceiver and then you have the song “The Wretched” which is about being betrayed by someone you care about. In this case it was one of our friends and being betrayed by someone is like they deceived you. I think the biggest depiction of what the whole album stands for is “We Know Who You Are,” which is the closing track and was written to be the final song on the album. The song says “This time your lies won’t get you far, we know who you are.” It’s about seeing someone for who they really are despite what they portray themselves as. Not every song is about this aspect, but enough of them were that we felt the overall feel was of being deceived in one way or another or calling out someone who was like that. We named the album Deceiver before we named some of the tracks. We were thinking about what we could express visually that would show kind of that feeling of someone who shows himself one way , but they are really another. We got the idea of “What do you think of when you are walking down the street and you see someone who is dressed in a nice suit?” In this case it is a white suit, you are going to think “Man, this person is probably pretty well off and has their shit together.” For all we know, that person could be crazy. You never really know who someone is until you get to know them. The album art represents someone who puts off that vibe, but they are holding their true colors behind their back. The second they put on that mask they are anybody who they want to be. They are a deceiver.

MUEN: WILL YOU BE MAKING ANY VIDEOS FOR ANY OF THE SONGS?

Yes, we don’t know which song or songs yet, there is a plan to, but what we have decided to do is to wait until the singles present themselves. We will base it off fan reaction and the songs that go over well live on tours. In essence it will be the songs we know that kids will want us to play for a long time because videos cost a lot of money. We want to do a video of the song that people will want to hear for the longest amount of time. If we are going to spend this much money, it is going to be a song that we are going to invest a lot of time and energy into. We want to make sure it is the perfect song. If multiple songs are doing well then we will do videos for multiple songs. We want to give the fans what they want to see instead of pre-determining which song is going to be the favorite. We all have our favorites on the CD and we all have what we hope or think will do well. Right now it looks like “2012” might be, but who knows how people will feel after the album has been out for a couple months. You never really know and you don’t want to judge based off the first couple weeks that people hear the songs, it’s too early. You are going to connect with a song that you can “digest” the easiest and “2012” is probably the least complex song on the CD. That means that kids are naturally going to be drawn to that song. I think it is a good song too and it has really memorable parts, but I think a big part of why it’s number one right off the bat is because it is easy to relate to.

MUEN: YOU HAVE A PRETTY BUSY TOURING SCHEDULE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR NEW RELEASE. YOU MUST ENJOY BEING ON THE ROAD.

We understand that you don’t get ahead by taking breaks and resting. You have to tour a lot and see everyone. There are so many fans who have not got to see us and we have been touring constantly since we recorded Empire. We have barely taken any breaks. The only breaks we have taken were because there was no available tour or because of radius clauses that we literally couldn’t tour. There has typically been a reason that we haven’t been on the road. For us, we understand the best way to connect with our fans is to be on the road as much as we can. We try and do that. This is what we love, this is our job and we give up everything for it. We might as well make the most of it.

MUEN: THE ANTI-HERO TOUR WITH BLEEDING THROUGH STARTS TODAY RIGHT?

Yep!

MUEN: HOW MANY DATES ARE ON THE TOUR?

I actually don’t know exactly. I know it goes from September 3rd to October 4th. I don’t know how many off dates there are.

MUEN: AT THE END OF OCTOBER YOU WILL BE GOING OUT ON THE MONUMENT TOUR WITH MISS MAY I. ARE YOU TAKING A BREAK IN BETWEEN THE TWO TOURS?

Yeah, originally we were looking to fill that gap, but we are realizing that is going to be one of the only breaks we’ve had this year. It’s going to be best to take a little time off. We are going to be playing the cover song “Heartless” so we need to practice that. We are going to take the time off to practice a new set and come out fresh for the tour that is going to end our year.

MUEN: DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR SIDE PROJECT GOING? I THOUGHT YOU WERE IN ANOTHER BAND.

Yeah, me and Josh from Confide who is also on the Monument Tour have a side project that is nothing like either of our bands. It’s acoustic, very mellow and natural stuff like that. It started off as a solo project of mine called Beyond Breath. Josh and I have been friends for years and he and I used to be in a side project together and he kind of just joined up with me in mine. We’ve been making music together over the last couple years whenever we get a chance. It’s getting harder and harder because both of our bands are doing more now than when we first started so we haven’t been able to record in quite some time. He’s got a lot of new equipment and we are going to be recording an EP while we are on the Monument Tour hopefully.

MUEN: YOU’LL HAVE TO LET ME KNOW WHEN IT’S FINISHED, I’D LIKE TO CHECK IT OUT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW. BE SAFE OUT THERE AND GOOD LUCK. BEFORE I LET YOU GO WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR SAY?

Thank you for having an interest in our CD and what I have to say. I hope that anyone who listens to this can be stoked on Deceiver and can buy it in stores or on ITunes. It would help us out.

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