Having governed a strong following for their heavy yet beautifully melodic sound, Arizona quintet Blessthefall are ready to tear Australia a new one on the Boys of Summer tour next January. With new album, ‘Hollow Bodies’ out now via Fearless Records/Shock, the band is all set for a new chapter in their already successful career. Killyourstereo.com spoke to lead singer, Beau Bokan, about the tour, the album and plans for 2014.
You guys are on the road with August Burns Red currently. How’s it been going?
Man, it has been so awesome. It’s a great experience and August Burns Red are some of our closest friends in the band world and we love touring with them. They’re an amazing band and amazing people, they treat us so well.
Yeah, any fan of either of your bands can’t help but notice just how close you guys are. How’d that come to be?
You know it’s hard to come by but there are some people you just hit off with. We toured with them first off in 2009 and then we shared a bus with them in New York. Sharing a bus with a band, you’re either going to love ‘em, or you’re gonna hate ‘em! (laughs) Being in the same vehicle in that close quarters and all but we just all really hit it off well with them.
It’s always good to see when bands get along and don’t have beefs with one another.
Oh yeah, that thing is just really bad and unprofessional.
2013 has been huge for you guys. With your most critically and commercially successful album, Hollow Bodies coming out in August right after you did Warped Tour, that’s full on. Speaking of, what was it like being a big name on Warped Tour?
Oh man! (laughs) It was epic! We did the Monster Stage last year and that was an awesome experience for us. So [for them] to ask us to come back and do Main Stage that’s not a joke. Kevin doesn’t just close his eyes and tick bands you know, he pays close attention to these bands. We were a bit nervous actually. I mean, putting out the new record and all and with so many height bands that kind of just blow up out of nowhere it’s kind of hard to get lost in the show. But it was a huge eye opener; we got to win over a new crowd and see all our old fans come out and show support too. It was an amazing experience and I hope to do it again someday.
Now that we’re talking about touring, we’ll chat about Boys of Summer. C’mon, you’ve GOT to be excited!
Oh yeah! This is our first headliner over there. We’ve done some tours and what not so we’re a bit nervous. (laughs) We kind of know what to expect in the States and Europe but we don’t know what to expect from Australia. We’re a little nervous and we hope the fans come out and like the new record.
Hopefully we won’t disappoint you. The other two bands, The Color Morale and Like Moths To Flames are both prominent bands in this scene, have you toured with these bands before?
Yeah, we toured with Like Moths to Flames on Warped Tour and Elliot is friends with the guys from Ohio. And we’ve toured with The Color Morale so we know them pretty well and what not. It’ll be a good tour for friendship, and hopefully it’s the whole package and gets a great turnaround.
It must make you feel a bit more comfortable and excited doing it with your friends I guess.
Absolutely, something like this is a fairly big endeavour so to be with friends will settle our nerves and their nerves, and that should give Australia an even better tour. (laughs)
Last year, Blessthefall came out with August Burns Red for the Leveller tour, what was that like for you guys?
It was interesting. It helped us to get a lot of new fans, but we also had some winning over to do. With ABR being so prominent in the metal scene, they have some old school metal fans so we were like, “Okay, we gotta win these guys over. They probably think we’re pussies with our long hair and tight jeans so let’s show ‘em we can throw it down!” (laughs) But I mean, on those tours it takes a couple songs to warm the crowd up and everything. In saying that, for Boys of Summer, we should hopefully not feel that vibe because it’s OUR headliner, you know? We should be able to just walk out and have them get into it and we’ll bring it! Hopefully… (laughs)
We’ll move on to the new album, Hollow Bodies for a bit. Blessthefall worked with Joey Sturgis for the first time; now that guy… holy shit he has worked with some great albums from The Word Alive, Crown the Empire, Asking Alexandria… the list goes on. What was it like working with such a prominent figure?
Yeah, it was pretty rad because I think he’s used to having to write a lot of parts for these bands and kind of having to do all the work so when we came into the studio it was a bit of a shock to him. We’re very professional and prepared for albums, so we come in with all our songs that have been demoed twice to make sure it sounded good and he was stoked. He said to us, “Whoa, this is awesome! Not many bands come in with this much work done!” So he put his touch on it saying stuff like, “Let’s make this nasty and heavy” or “Let’s make this sound huge!” He’s got a great ear for it all. I think people give him a lot of shit because they think he just programs drums. But we did all our drumming in a huge live room and studio. Pretty much everything on the record we can recreate live and that was our main goal. Though, I think there is a piano solo we can’t do because none of us play piano…
The production is definitely a selling point of the album and another one would be the heavier mood. What brought on the decision to make it heavier?
When a band is at where we are, with our size and stature in the scene, they normally say, “Okay, let’s right radio hits and get big.” But we could’ve gone that direction; we have the talent to write that sort of stuff and what not but we were like, “Nah! Let’s give them what they want to hear!” We also want to show people we can step out of our box. The last two albums, although I love them both, sound very similar so we wanted to move away and show what we’re capable of. Talent wise mainly. We’re not showing off, doing solos and all that crap. Plus, the style writing is a bit different to anything out there. I don’t know if you can compare it specific band or genre at this current moment. Plus, this heavier sound will really affect our live show too. With Australia being possibly our first tour with the record [Hollow Bodies] under our belt, it should be really energetic and exciting.
If there is one thing I love about the album it’s the title, Hollow Bodies. What the fuck does it mean?!
(laughs) We pretty much took a line from the [then unnamed] title track and went with that. The song is a metaphor; it’s really about zombies and based off The Walking Dead, but it’s a metaphor for the bands and people involved in our scene who are soulless without purpose. They just want to write music to be rock stars and be popular when we’re the exact opposite. So that’s we’re the title came from.
Besides doing the Boys of Summer tour, what plans do you guys have for 2014?
We’re doing a headliner in April in the states, and this is gonna be like, our BIG headliner. We’ve never really been big in [live] production so we’re bumping the venue sizes and we’re increasing the production. We’re also bringing out some great bands. It’s gonna be crazy! We’re taking two months off beforehand as my wife’s having our baby, so it’s going to be a whirlwind of a year.
Last message for the readers and the fans.
Well to the new fans, I say welcome, welcome to the family and for the old fans we deeply appreciate your support through all these years and please keep supporting us. We put our heart and soul into our music and there’s no gimmicks, there’s no underlining things, nothing but what we love to do. Thank you.