Converge just released their highly anticipated new album "You Fail Me". While being on the road touring the US with Cave In visual artist and vocalist Jacob Bannon found the time for a short interview.
Creative Eclipse: Ok you've just released your new album "You Fail Me", what's the concept or theme of it?
Jacob Bannon: Lyrically/Thematically: After "Jane..." was recorded and released, I thought I was going to feel the emotional burden I was carrying lift from my shoulders. I had all the puzzle pieces there in front of me. Outlets bring closure, or at least that's what I thought. With that, I put myself out on the line looking for an emotional resolve with "Jane..." and it never came. When the album was released I didn't feel any better, nothing was changed. My depression kept collapsing on itself. At that point I stopped hoping and searching and I took a long hard look at my life and at my heart. I did a huge amount of soul searching and found so much failure within myself. That discovery was a massive realization. As I started to see clear again, I also saw the failure in friends and loved ones around me. How we fail each other, and how we fail ourselves. These are songs of failure. And ultimately, surviving self destruction and tragedy we all face in our lives. Musically our only goal was to write an album that moved us and challenged us. We feel we accomplished that.
CE: Lyrically it seems a lot straighter and more "offensive"...
JB: I wouldn't call it offensive. I would call it opinionated for sure. There is definitely a rage in the writings that are not apparent in previous albums.
CE: Please tell our readers something about the recording process of "You Fail Me". How was it different to your previous efforts?
JB: Much of the material was worked out in a live setting for some time before we entered the studio. It definitely added a new level of refinement to the album material.
CE: To me "You Fail Me" sounds harsh and raw but with a direct punk approach. Would you agree with that?
JB: It's a very raw album. Most loud music recordings are bland and devoid of the actual character that defines a band. We obviously didn't want that. Our goal was to record an album that was as raw and abrasive as our live performance. Although we attempted that with "Jane..." there are elements on that album that felt artificial to us. This recording was a much more successful attempt.
CE: You said with "Jane Doe" you were looking for an emotional resolve that never came etc. I think that this is obvious, because that's how Converge is functioning. This is how you work with Converge lyrically and thematically. No one would ever really expect that your "depressions" would be really solved and that you would do something really different with your lyrics etc. Do you think that makes Converge, especially your position, predictable?
JB: I disagree. Lyrically, there has always been a personal journey within our songs. Every song we create is laced with that. That's what makes the character of a collective band. For people not familiar with our music, they may not be able to differentiate these things, but they would if they listened with the right ears. It's not trashy noise and it's certainly not rage for rage's sake. It's about learning to coexist and combat the issues at hand. It's about becoming a better person. This is part of that path for me as it is for all of us in some way. Some may call it predictable, but I call it therapy. It's the foundation of what abrasive music is.
CE: Do you still plan to re-release "Petitioning The Empty Sky" and "When Forever Comes Crashing" (remixed & remastered as digipack releases)? If so, when will that vaguely happen?
JB: We have completed the audio and video portions of these releases. We are hoping to have them released in early 2005.
CE: We did that Dear Lover interview some time ago... what happend to this project? And when will those 2 records see the light of day?
JB: The records are recorded. Mixing and editing is now underway for both projects. I am very happy with them. I hope to also have those released in early 2005.
CE: Please tell us about the Converge/ Cave In project. You've recently recorded 5 songs. How were the recording sessions, real work or just jamming with friends?
JB: We are still in the process of recording and refining the material. There are more songs also slated to be recorded in the future. I was only there for two days of the first recording session. It was a guitar heavy environment. With three very fantastic guitar players in one room, it's tough for any other ideas to shine immediately through. As I said, we are still working on the project entitled "Virgin". We'll have more information available soon.
CE: What do you thing about this whole record piracy thing and the people that downloaded "You Fail Me" weeks before the official release date? There are a lot of people saying "hey I download it now, but will buy it anyways". How do you see that?
JB: Record piracy is a very damaging thing to independent bands and labels. We only ask that people respect our creative work and purchase it on their own. That way they can experience the album as it was meant to be experienced.
CE: what is your favorite European band in heavy music?
CE: Thanks for the interview. The last questions is for all those real converge fans out there (haha): What's the last tatoo you've got?
JB: A severed hand with all of it's fingers cut off. Below the hand it reads "Sacrifice"... Thanks for your time.
Interview conducted in October 2004.