Chad Bowar: How come it took over 3 years between albums?
Doc Coyle: Quite a few reasons. First, we did a lot of touring for our last album. We did close to two years of touring. A lot of 2007 was spent on the road. We purposely told ourselves we weren’t going to rush writing an album. We wanted it to come to us naturally and be really inspired. We took our time with the writing process. It took us about six months to do a lot of the writing. We went into the studio in March of 2008. We ended up running out of time in the studio. We thought we were going to be able to get everything done between March and May and the album would be out in August.
We ran out of time and that threw the whole schedule off. It added another three months because we had to go on tour. Then when we were pretty much done with the vocals in L.A., we found out that our mixer Colin Richardson wasn’t going to be able to do it. Then the label told us if we weren’t able to lock down a mixer, then the record would have to be pushed back. In metal they don’t usually put out albums in November, December or early January. If we couldn’t get the album out by Halloween, they were going to push the album back, and that’s what happened. It ended up working to our advantage. We got to work a lot more on some of the recording things and got the little things that we wanted to be in the record.
We also have some really great tours lined up. If we would have put the album out earlier, we may not have been able to get these tours. So it ended up working in our advantage even though people had to wait a bit longer. And what we’re doing maybe feels a bit fresher than it did a year ago.
The band explored a few different things soundwise on this CD.
Yes, we went for it. We didn’t show a lot of fear as far as going out there and doing the things musically that were interesting to us. It was a liberating experience doing this album. It was the first time we didn’t feel we had to cater to our fans or a current musical environment. We were able to do what we wanted. There’s so much diversity. There’s super heavy stuff, and melodic stuff and rock influenced stuff. That’s the the beauty of not being the biggest band in the world. We don’t have all this pressure to recreate some huge album. We had a lot of freedom.
It is a tightrope. When you are a diverse band, it’s getting that perfect balance between what people already like about you and do things that maybe people aren’t familiar with. That way you can keep your fans and still grab some new people.
Your last CD was a concept album. Is Earthsblood the same way?
My brother wrote his songs, Byron wrote a few songs, and I chipped in a couple spots. It wasn’t an overall theme for the whole album. The songs are about a lot of different things. Half the time the stuff Dallas sings about I don’t really know about. Maybe in the past we were more specific, but this time we were more hands off and let guys express themselves. As long as it sounded good and the melodies were something people could latch onto, that was important to me.
God Forbid introduced melodic vocals on the last album. What’s the balance between screaming and singing on this one?
I’d say there’s more melodic vocals on this album. But they are handled with a little more finesse. We spent a lot of time on the vocals. We recorded vocals for a month. There was a lot more intention. Before, Dallas would just sing stuff and there wasn’t a lot of input from us. This time there was a lot more collaboration. We have a better command of our ability. There was a lot of time spent figuring out who was going to sing what, since three of us sing and everyone has certain things they do well.
It’s important to keep the identity. Dallas sometimes would write things and not keep Byron in the loop. You can’t not have Byron there. His voice is what people want to hear. Dallas’ singing voice is great, but you can’t change the band. It still has to be God Forbid. It still gives me goosebumps when Byron screams. He has a great voice. We can play almost anything, and if he screams on it, it sounds like God Forbid.
You had somebody different recording the vocals this time, right?
Yes. We used Eric Rachel to do all the music. He’s worked on pretty much all our records. We intended to do all the vocals with him, but we just ran out of time in the studio. We ended up doing it with Christian from Fear Factory. We share the same manager and we are friends, and I liked some of the records he worked on before. Plus he had a studio in his house, so we didn’t have to rent a studio. It was important to have another set of ears, to lead that charge creatively. The vocals are so important in what we do. It’s the difference between an underground band and a band that has the ability to cross over. Most normal people listen to vocals, and if you don’t put as much effort into recording the vocals as you do the music, then you are going to be lacking something. He was on the same page as us and made us feel really at ease. He had some great ideas and we really valued his opinion in the studio. He was really into making a heavy record, but if we’re doing melodies, then they have to be really good melodies.