Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Beachin' it with Take It Back!
Take it Back! is a band that has spent the past year and half constantly changing and evolving. Their Facedown Records debut "Can't Fight Robots" was a feel good, youth group friendly posi-core album built on the shoulders of crowd pullers like Comeback Kid and Set Your Goals. It was catchy and you could listen to it while you were driving with your girlfriend, but ultimately it lacked gravitas. Weeks after their album came out, TIB!'s lost two members, one of them being the vocalist, a death sentence for almost any established band. At that point nobody would've blamed them for quitting, but they pressed on. A year and half later they've become almost a new band, dropping the fluff for something a little more honest and aware. On their sophomore release "Atrocities," Take it Back! is darker, deeper and more satisfying for those looking for substance in their music.
Last week these guys graced the Florida panhandle with their presence and we got to have some serious hang time. After the show we went and hung out on the beach looking for sea life, both Cody and Josh sporting head lamps so they could spot crabs a little easier. I thought it would be a perfect time to ask them a few questions. We talked about their new album, metal kids and Kings of Leon. Here's what they had to say:
Tell me who you guys are. What band are you in and what are your names?
Nick: Take it Back! and I'm Nick and i do vocals.
Cody: I'm Cody and I play guitar.
Josh: Josh and I do drums.
Where are you guys and what are you doing right now?
Cody: We are on the beach in Destin, Florida.
Nick: hanging out on the beach at three in the morning.
Josh: Looking for crabs.
Cody: And stingrays.
Have you found any crabs yet?
Cody: Yea we can see them in the water, but I just took a shower for the first time in two weeks so I'm not getting in the water.
You guys have been tour. Tell me about how it's been going.
Nick: We've been on tour for a week and a half now with Four Letter Lie and A Bullet For Pretty Boy.
Josh: Wow he said it right.
Nick: I always get their name wrong.
Cody: It's Awesome. They're great guys.
Cody: Lots of fun. There's been a lack of hardcore kids but it's been a lot of fun.
Nick: A lot of confused looks while we play haha.
So you guys played in Pensacola tonight. How was it?
Nick: We had a good show tonight. There wasn't a ton of kids, but we played with a band called Who Cares that's from this area and it was the first night of the tour we felt like kids understood what we were going for stylistically.
Cody: There was probably 25 people at the show, but most of them were hardcore kids and got into our set, which was a first. Like I said we've had a blast on this tour but it's just been a couple kids here and there that were into the show, or our show at least. Tonight it was a breath of fresh air.
Tell me about your theory about the way metal kids hear.
Nick: It's like dogs with a dog wistle. They can only hear that high pitch, but humans can't. Metal kids can't hear anything unless it's tuned below, I'd say B. So you've got B and then A and then G sharp.
Cody: It explains the weird looks you get whenever you're playing if you're a hardcore band. You're just moving around but to them no noise is coming out, so that's why everybody stares at you. But hopefully next record we'll change that. We'll tune to like A or something.
Nick: We tune to D sharp standard so we're super screwed right now.
Cody: We should start tuning up more and then maybe we can meet in the middle somewhere. Maybe there's a high frequency they can hear, they just haven't figured it out yet. Like I know Iron Maiden was tuned up, so we'll see what happens.
I think they can only hear it if it's sweep picking.
Cody: Haha yea. We'll have arpeggios on the next record.
Is it tough being on tour with metal bands or bands that draw a different crowd than yours, to put it in a nice way?
Nick: It's a little difficult. We have a good time with all the bands. We really got along with these guys really well. But yea, musically we're all so different that there's always kind of the oddball most nights and unfortunately most nights it's us, not that kids, I don't know, it seemed like they liked it but they were confused as to what's going on.
Cody: A lot of those kids you could tell this was probably their first exposure to hardcore music at a show. They don't know how to take it.
Nick: Actual hardcore music.
Cody: Yea, well..Haha. Tough guy hardcore music.
Nick: We're not tough guy.
Would you consider yourself tough guy?
Cody: Haha. No absolutely not. We strive to be though. We're working on it.
Nick: Yea maybe someday. We got a few more breakdowns on this album so maybe next album.
Cody: Like I said we're all tuning down on the next album. Or up. Whichever works better.
Nick: We're all going to play basses on the next album.
So you guys just had a new record come out.
Cody: Yea, "Atrocities" came out Tuesday.
Nick: Nobody burn that.
Josh: It is not drop tuned.
Cody: But yea it did come out last week. Nobody knows it, but it came out last week. And we're stoked on it. Hopefully everybody else will be too. Hopefully it'll catch on.
We recorded in Minneapolis with Justin Carmichael, Alex Arthur and Griffin Landa and it turned out great. We stayed in downtown Minneapolis. It was awesome. Favorite city hands down.
How would you say its different than your previous releases?
Cody: It's a little darker.
Nick: A lot less pop influences. There's two tracks with singing on the entire record. With the last CD every track had a singing part.
Cody: I didn't write any of the lyrics, but from the outside perspective, a lot of the songs have more meaning, or at least they hit a little deeper. There's a lot of songs on the last record that had good meaning behind them, but this record has...I don't know. A little...how do I say it?
Nick: More substance?
Cody: Yea more substance. There you go.
Josh: And I think the way that the whole album was recorded was pretty neat. It's super raw. Nothing was over done or over produced. If I could I would pretty much make our first album like that because everything else was just overdone or just too much.
Cody: Yea, or just digital.
Cody: Like on the new record Josh's drums were just sampled with his drums, so it was all real drums.
Josh: Haha yea.
Cody: That's our actual guitar tone. And Nick's vocals sound incredible.
Josh: It really captures our lives sound as well which is really neat.
I have to ask you guys, how do you feel about Kings of Leon?
Nick: Haha! We love Kings of Leon so much.
Cody: Don't even get us started.
Nick: Our bio for Facedown Records states that they're one of the major influences for the new record. I think you can kind of hear it.
Cody: Let's just say I can't put their record in without listening to the whole thing. I have to go from start to end.
Nick: That's maybe the greatest record of 2009.
Cody: Absolutely. Hands down. But yea that's all we listened to when we recorded. We played Nazi Zombies and listened to that record.
Going back to the new record what were some of your influences besides Kings of Leon?
Nick: The last Verse album "Aggression" was all I listened to going up to recording that and then Have Heart "Songs to Scream at the Sun" that record was listened to quite a bit and Modern Life Is War was listened to. A couple other records. What else? Those were the three main ones that we just jammed while we were writing. I think it comes out in some of the songs. We wrote the album that we would want to hear.
Cody: I listened to a lot of Bad Brains too. I mean it doesn't really come through on the album at all but there's a couple fast songs. There's a 56 second song on our record.
Isn't that song called Minneapolis?
Cody: Absolutely. No reason other than Minneapolis is cool and we wrote that one in the studio and couldn't think of a better name than Minneapolis.
Tell me about the artwork, because you were saying the persom on the cover is actually a homeless guy that lives in Minneapolis.
Cody: Yea we were walking and just looking different places to shoot pictures and maybe find people, and we just came across this guy. Talked to him for a while actually. Got some pictures of him and yea it was awesome. I mean it worked out as far as the pictures went, but I mean we got to talk to him and it was great. And he had a pretty sad story. He had a rough year, but it was good and the pictures turned out great. The layout is awesome. There was some website we got album artwork of the week. Noisecreep I think.
Nick: Yea Noisecreep. We got album artwork of the week last week and Outbreak got it this week.
You guys came out with "Can't Fight Robots" about a year and a half ago, and then you guys had like a million member changes. Nick, you stepped up from bass to vocals. You've gone through a million other bass players. It seems like your focus has, maybe not changed but shifted, or maybe even more focused. What do you think?
Nick: Yea I definitely say with all the member changes it helped us to become more, I guess you could say united as a band and more unanimous in what we believe and what our goals are as a band, where as before we were a group of guys on several different pages with what we wanted to do, where as now we all know what we stand for.
Cody: There's a main purpose everybody has in the band and it makes things a little easier. We're still a Christian band but we've broadened our horizons and took a lot of different things into perspective too.
It definitely seems like there's this theme of social justice running through the new album. Tell me about that.
Nick: Yea, that's something I say we kind of all feel strongly about, but it kind of all started when I read a book called Jesus for President. That kind of opened my eyes to what our calling was as a band, I guess you could say. Whereas a lot of Christian bands, it's more important to... I don't know. We just didn't want to be another worshipful Christian band. We wanted to have a meaning and a message, not that they don't, we just felt like we had a different calling and purpose, and that's kind of the road we were led down.
Cody: And also just being aware of other things that are going on, you know? Outside of your normal realm of people's thoughts but just being aware of what's going on in the world and just helping out, you know? Where we can.
What were some of the things specifically in Jesus for President that made you feel this way?
Nick: It challenged a lot of what I learned growing up about what a church should be. I looked at a church as just a building of believers that got together, which is part of what is, but more so as a body of believers it should be more willing to get out and help the community around it. The disciples and all their followers sold everything they had and then gave to those around them who needed so no one had more than they needed and everyone had exactly what they needed, which is something that is very unheard of these days, especially in the age of mega churches. Where we're from there's so many. There's a church where we're from that has three gigantic cross statues that cost of over a million dollars, meanwhile the homeless population's rising daily.
Cody: I think it was a lot more than a million dollars. Like a couple million.
Anything cool happen on this tour?
Cody: Well the last tour we were lighting a lot of things on fire and blowing things up, even in the van. This tour it's kind of taken a back seat. We have one day left on this tour with the rest of the bands so hopefully we'll make something happen tomorrow. We'll see.
Josh: Also pretty exciting: Our trailer pretty much fell apart this whole tour.
Nick: It was the ghost of David Koresh.
Josh: Yea there's that story too.
Cody: We went to the branch Davidian compound in Waco and we're looking at that and that's when our trailer broke, right across from the compound. It was cool because we wanted to go out there and look at that, but at the same time we broke down out there, so that was kind of creepy. I always heard they were nice people though, but we never found out.
After this tour what do you have planned.
Cody: We're going to go back home and relearn the record as a band so we can tour on it heavy. A lot of the songs got written in the studio so we just have these songs that got pieced together. We just got a new bass player, like officially have a new bass player as of yesterday, so yea just go back and learn the whole record and then tour on it heavy and try to be gone as much next year as possible, so. It'll be good. We've got a lot of tour hopes. Like we'd love to to tour with Advent and Continuance. And Kiss is having a world tour next year, so we're trying to get on that.
Nick: A Kings Of Leon headliner would be nice.
Any last words?
Cody: Our record just came out so check that out. Wrench in the Works has a new record coming in January. I think it's January 10th. It's called "Increase/Decrease." That's going to be awesome. I've heard some of the demo tracks. Call to Preserve is writing a new album.
Nick: So far one of the members of Call to Preserve has confirmed that he is writing a new album. I haven't talk to the rest of them.
Haha, neither has that member.
Cody: Take it Back! doesn't just care about money, because we don't make money, contrary to popular belief. Yea that's it. Lambgoat.com lambgoat.com lambgoat.com. That's our plug for lambgoat because we love that website but we can't figure out if it's serious or if it's a joke website because it's always so funny.
Nick: Take It Back! thrives on hate and so that website is where I get mine.
You can check out Take It Back on their Myspace, follow them on twitter or read their blog.