Issue 50 of Stencil Mag

Page 131

This record is “a look at how your mental illness has affected everything around you, but not just in a bad way.” so can you also elaborate on that, and maybe how it helped shape 'Would You Still Be In Love' overall? There was a moment during the writing process. Where I was going through with the reconciling of the fact that I’m lucky to go through with things, the deep highs and lows. That helps you process things in an artistic way. It happened while I was writing the first song on the record. It’s pretty remarkable that someone who has that type of instability, can find like a functional way to exist in society. Specially in this society, where everything has to be so mandated and everyone is trying to fit a certain mold. Somebody with mood swings, and mental illness doesn’t really fit into it.

We've read that there's a "newfound confidence" from you on this album, so where do you think that's come from, and how refreshing or important is that for you to have as an artist? It sort of comes from the relationships we have with people, maybe your fan base, or even yourself. You’re not looking to get anything out of it, other than that joy of playing. You’re going to be disappointed if you’re trying to get on the charts or something. If you really enjoy singing what you’re singing to people, then that in itself is really gratifying. So there’s a confidence knowing that that is something you can do.

On the track 'Love' there seems to be a lot of violins and piano in the background. So, can you tell us a bit about how that particular cover song came together? The original accompaniment is extremely dynamic. When I was originally recording it, I thought about doing it super bare bones. Then I kept hearing different vocal accompaniment in the vocals. We met the composer Summer Swee-Singh when Circa Survive was touring in Los Angeles who had done a map up on YouTube of a couple of our songs. We invited her to come play and she was really enthusiastic about music, and about writing. I sent her a couple of songs that I had been working on which were bare bones, I thought that it would be cool to see what she came up with. She literally just nailed it, like everything she did on it was perfectly timed out. I didn’t edit anything. She just took it, and put an incredible composition around it by herself. I got really lucky, so we just mixed it in there.

Also, how did the idea for covering this Disney track come together? I took my son to the doctor’s office. They had an old TV there which only played VHS, it was on this big high up stand. It was playing the old Robin Hood Disney movie, we were sitting there waiting and then that song came on. I got taken back to that time of being a little kid, because I remember the song and watching that movie. Sitting down, and just being so comforted by it. In the doctor’s office I googled the lyrics and it made me feel incredibly emotional. I knew I wanted to play and cover it. I didn’t think like “I’m going to put this on my album!” I thought I’ve got to figure out how to play this. Then the next day I met Brendan (Circa) who taught me how to play it, and I started covering it at shows. It ended up being something perfect for the record.

Album ender 'Real Magic' is a metaphor for where you're at in your life today. So can you tell us about maybe how rewarding this particular track was to put together, and why it works so well at the end? I didn’t write the lyrics for it. I just had this melody where I’d make up lyrics on the spot, it was just stuff that my kids could laugh at. I did that for three days with the song before I put serious lyrics to it. It was my kids that said it was a happy sounding song, that it was cool, and what my songs should sound like! They said that I should write more songs like that. I didn’t really have any serious lyrics for it. So I just started putting something down. In my mind it’s not really a complicated idea, it’s just the idea of something being like what real magic is, just noticing everything that’s around you. All of the little synchronicities. When a song on the radio comes on that you really like hearing. Or somebody that you were just thinking of called you, or something like that. It’s not anything super deep. It’s about learning from stuff that’s difficult, stuff to go through. Finding purpose in pain. It’s something that people go through all of the time, and it’s what eureka moments are built about. It’s what makes the world go around!