With your lyrics did you sit down and let your feelings kind of spill out or did you say "i want to express this but sort of philosophize about my feelings too?
I had a really hard time writing lyrics. I knew from the start the things I wanted to talk about but I had a really tough time translating those thoughts into words. I think that I did a little of both as far as letting feelings spill out and the latter. I would try to just write thoughts out, write lines down and so forth and then try to bring them together to make them consistent.
How is the role of a singer different for you than playing bass?
The role of the singer is definitely different then playing bass. I had been playing bass in bands for close to 10 years and I had grown pretty comfortable with it. I feel like with bass, guitar or drums you have something to kind of hide behind, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s just that you have this instrument that is physically in front of you and covers you and with singing there is none of that. You have a microphone and the rest is out there for the world to see. On top of that you’re the mouthpiece so when the music stops its just you speaking or standing there while the rest of the band tunes. It’s a very new thing for me and definitely taking time to get use to.
What made your want to sing for a band?
There are actually a couple of things that made me want to sing for a band or just do something like Praise. I remember being 15 or 16 and getting the Automatic-Crossing Kill Creek record. A friend told me that Matt Wieder had written and recorded everything but drums. I know Brian Baker had done similar stuff for Dag Nasty as far as writing all the music and a lot of the lyrics. Anyways I always thought it was a cool thing because the end product is almost a direct representation of you. If something comes out that you don’t like in the song there is no one to blame but yourself. The initial songs I wrote for Praise were for another band but when that band broke up I decided that those songs would be used for Praise and I would attempt to do what I had wanted to do for such a long time. Initially I was just going to have my friend play drums and do the rest of the record but fortunately it has turned into something much more special. I was introduced to four dudes who share the same ideas and ideals as me and they took the songs I had written and really brought them to life. The second reason I wanted to sing for a band was because I felt like I had a lot of stuff inside of me that I wanted to say. Sure a lot of the things I want to sing about have been said before but think it should be said again and again until people start to listen.
Was there one instance where you said "i really have to sing for a band"?
I don’t think there was ever one instance that I said “I really have to sing for a band.” Its something I always wanted to do but was unsure if I would be capable of writing lyrics and actually having the voice to do it.
The song "Caught in a Cycle" is pretty honest. You talk about feeling trapped, like nothing works and unable to help yourself. Was there one specific thing that inspired you to write this song?
Caught In a Cycle is about depression and mood disorders. Everyone deals with mood swings or depression in one way or another. Some have it worse then others and some know how to deal with it better. Then you have some people who have actual chemical imbalances in their body who just cant deal with it. Since I was 14 I’ve dealt with depression been on and off anti-depressants and so forth. I’ve seen therapists and doctors and just heard the same things over and over again. It is a never ending cycle, I get depressed cant get out of the house, cant get motivated, don’t want to talk to anyone or be around anyone and so on (I know these are things that most people go through at times but I am talking about lasting day after day, month after month and year after year.) It just never goes away. It is definitely not a song asking for sympathy or pity that’s not something I am searching for. Depression is something Ive dealt with for a long time and writing this song was another attempt at dealing with is in a positive manner. You’ll have these doctors telling you that you need to be on medication is the only answer. So you get put on the meds and often feel like a zombie. I ask myself is it better to be off the meds and do nothing with my life or be on the meds and walk around like a zombie. Which one is really living?
"I am searching and searching for something to help but who can help me when i can't help myself?" Explain your thinking around this line about yourself and people as a whole.
I tell myself on a daily basis that I am in control of my life, my emotions, and my moods. If there is something I am unhappy with I have the power to change it. That line pretty much stems from that mindset. How I can I expect someone else to help me if I cant even do it on my own?
What would you say to someone who is feeling trapped/caught etc?
I think it depends on the person. I definitely think talking about it with friends and family helps. Letting it all bottle up inside is just going to hurt you in the long run. I say explore all your options and let the ones around you know what is going on, as hard as that may be.
Has writing this song helped in any way?
I suppose it has helped me. It’s a little weird having this stuff out in the open for anyone to read, criticize and analyze but I think its good for me and much healthier then holding it all in.
What was the inspiration behind the song "I Believe"?
I think that the lyrics to “I Believe” are pretty self-explanatory. The inspiration behind the song is me getting upset when I feel like the things I do in life, that I feel could bring some sort of positive change to the world around, are really doing nothing. I am definitely not as active in my community as I should be but I think that I do stuff in life at in attempt to make the world around me a better place. Writing this song was pretty much a reminder to myself that no matter how small the action is, if it affects one person in a positive manner, you have made a change.
You have always been a guy real opposed to violence and this expresses that feeling. Was there one event that made you say "i need to sing about this and not something else"?
To be honest the song "Peace is the Solution" was originally supposed to be a song about war but I ended up making it very broad and general so it can be applied to violence on any level. There wasn’t one event that made me want to sing about it. I just think the topic of peace is something that will never get old, and people always should be thinking about.
Do you see violence or willingness to fight as a growing problem around you?
I would like to think that most human beings are compassionate and don’t want to hurt the ones around them but unfortunately the stuff I see on news or often at shows does not reflect that thought. Much more can be solved by using your voice and talking something out rather then throwing a fist. Again this stuff has been said so many times before, I know I am not saying anything new, its just time that people start to listen.
Can you explain why you wanted to write the song Healing?
I wrote the majority of this song on the sixth anniversary of my brother’s death. There is really no easy way of dealing with death and the pain doesn’t really ever go away and I personally don’t think I have ever really dealt with it and accepted the fact that he is never coming back. Writing this song was my first attempt at actually dealing with the loss of my brother so that’s why I wrote it. The majority of the song is directed to my father because I think he often believes it was his fault, but there are lines in the song that are definitely for my mother and sister as well. I think all of us wish we could have done more to help my brother but in the end he made his choices and we couldn’t do anything about it.
Was it a hard song to write? Why was it important for you to let him know you don't blame him?
As I said earlier I’ve never really dealt with my brothers death, so yes this was an extremely hard song to write but I feel like it has definitely helped me with the process of dealing with our loss. I don’t really talk to my family about my brother because it makes me really uncomfortable. So writing this song was kind of important for my father and the rest of my family because its gives them an idea of what’s going on in my head. The fact that I am talking so openly about the whole situation is a sign that I am growing and dealing with it because a year ago there is no way I would be willing to air out my life like this for anyone to read.
Have you showed him these lyrics?
Yes I showed him the lyrics and I think he really liked them. I think he sometimes took me not talking about my brother with him as a sign that I was upset with him or blamed him for what happened. So like I said it was a way for him to know how I was feeling.
How do you think you can heal someone's pain? I mean that in the larger sense...
I really don’t think there is one simple way to heal someone’s pain other then just being there for the ones you care about. Listening to them and supporting them in anyway you possibly can. When I say “I wish I could heal your pain” in the song I am saying that there was one simple solution to make all that pain go away but the fact of the matter there isn’t. It takes years to even begin to heal from the loss of a loved one and I just wish I could do something to help begin that healing process.