The Color Morale come down under this January for Boys of Summer. A unique take on post-hardcore has earned the band much respect throughout their career, but what attracts people the most is the brutally honest lyrics and overall framework. The confessional and almost-self-help style of lyricism has governed a significant following throughout the post-hardcore and metalcore world. Killyourstereo.com sat down with Garret Rapp to discuss the group’s upcoming voyage to Australia, ‘Know Hope’ and the stories behind him, the band and their message.
Being Aussie-Virgins, you must be pretty excited to come to our shores soon Garret?
Good trio of international bands on the bill…
Yes, Blessthefall and Moths are good friends of ours. We’re not familiar with Glorified or Storm the Sky – being local bands – but I look forward to getting to know them. So it will be a lot of fun getting to spend time together overseas . We’ve played with Moths a bunch of times so really looking forward to seeing them again.
Being your first time out here, can fans expect older songs to make an appearance seeing as you’ve never played them here?
I think we’re heading in the direction of Know Hope. We’ve kind of moved away from the first two albums because that’s not where we’re headed. We’ll be doing more of the Know Hope sound and all on the new record too.
Let’s talk about the Know Hope album. I’ve been following you guys for a while and I noticed the significant change from your growls on My Devil In Your Eyes and We All Have Demons to these sharp false-chords. What brought on this change?
Well, they felt more accurate. It was something I experimented with and emotionally I felt it connected better and told the stories better than the way was screaming [previously]. If I listened to the first two albums then I wouldn’t believe what I was saying. They were more accurate in delivery and what I was saying basically. I don’t know it was something that was more authentic.
No, I see what you mean. It has more heart and personality to it.
Exactly. Gave it that extra layer of feeling and power.
I love the title. I love all the song titles but just something about Know Hope really strikes me with curiosity. What does it mean?
It’s a perception versus reality concept. You hear it and you think negatively and it was kind of a statement to open people’s eyes. For me, I was going through a really hopeless time and heavy, detrimental things and I wrote “know” and “hope” on the back of each eyelid and laid in bed one night. So I titled the album that well before we even wrote a lyric for it. It was just a phrase that I really needed in my life. It wasn’t though out to be a gimmick or catchy or thought out at all. It was just there one night. That was just something I needed personally. It ended up being twelve songs of life. Not really lyrics, just my life.
That’s very personal so thank you for sharing that with us. We’ll talk about the musical and production side of it for a bit.
Well, it was very chaotic and…I don’t want to say improvised but it was definitely written in the moment. There’s a lot of feeling and a lot of heart in those songs. And you can hear it, I feel like, with the way we recorded the album. It was two months in the studio and we did it up in Michigan. It was very stressful, very chaotic, we pushed ourselves further then I think we could be pushed. But what better way to translate what you’re going through; that’s what music is, saying what you can’t say in words in songs. Not just the lyrics too, even the instrumentation I feel is very emotion invoking. But to sum it up best: it was very in the moment.
Know Hope is without a doubt your most successful album; critically, commercially and fan demographically. Not only has it received lots of praise but it has sparked something in your fans that has made them go out and tattoo your band’s name, quotes, lyrics and pictures on their skin. How does that make you feel?
It’s surreal. Knowing what I chose to do to deal with my struggles, it’s given me a lot of resolution as to why I had to go through that. It’s kind of given me an answer. Like I said, it’s not really words, it’s just feeling and meaning. And I’ve always had a hard time believing a singer in a band could save somebody’s life. I think they can give them the nessicary thought processes or inspiration to save their own life. But that seems to be something I’m told daily, that this line or song or quote saved someone’s life. From me personally, Know Hope isn’t all positivity and bells and whistles. There a lot of negative confrontation on that so to hear someone took positivity away from that. It makes me feel very accomplished.
Now, a bit of a personal question. Are you a religious band/musician? Pretty much everyone I read talking about you on the internet says you are. But then again the internet is Hell in a hand basket so I just wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth and not Steve on tumblr.
(laughs) No, absolutely not. We’re not a Christian band.
But are you yourself religious in any form? And if so, why do you not take to the whole Christian metalcore label and idea?
Because I’d be lying. I’m not a religious person. That’s something I’m not. At one point in my life I may have had a different belief system then today but I wouldn’t want to be something I’m not to sell records. I’m just going to be myself and do what I’m doing. If someone wants to subscribe and believe in that then go for it but I’m not going to stop them or force them. I’ve grown up with Christians and I’ve faced a lot of stuff over the past years so in doesn’t really appeal to me. But I don’t like the whole idea of the Christian music franchise. I think the whole thing is really hypocritical in a sense to begin with.
It’s a religion not an industry kind of thing?
Yeah, exactly. When you keep kids in a safe box and then you put ‘em in the real world, it feels odd. But in summary, I think I should be what I am and what I am is not religious.
Thanks for your insight on that. We’re running out of time so any last message or statement to the readers?
Just thank you. Thank you for your support and help so we can do what we love and live at the same time. But also so we don’t have to resort to gimmicks or outfits to make money. (laughs)
Oh God, no! (laughs) But in all seriousness thanks. We can’t wait to come to Australia! We’re excited to see a kangaroo finally!
You can catch The Color Morale on The Boys of Summer tour (excluding Perth dates).