Misery Signals

author PP date 13/04/07

Finally it happened. It was the interview we had been hunting for since the release of their latest album "Mirrors" in August, with an attempt failing due to mobile phone signal problems and another one just lost in the email. I'm of course talking about Misery Signals, and since they were coming back on yet another amazing tour, this time with All That Remains, I had a third go of trying to get hold of the band for interview. This time no problems, and Ferret Records sat us in a dressing room with a couple of guys from the band, where their guitarist Ryan was just working on some new riffs for their next album with his small recorder. We got straight to the point, and a lengthy and detailed interview was the result of half an hour with the band. Read on to see what Ryan, Kyle and Stu had to say about a variety of aspects about the album, touring and about bands who get a 'freeride' to fame.

RF.net: Hi guys, please introduce yourselves to the readers
Kyle: I'm Kyle, I play bass for Misery Signals

Ryan: I'm Ryan, I play the guitar.

RF.net: You are on a tour with All That Remains, one of the most highly regarded metalcore bands out there. How is it going?
Kyle: It's been really solid, good turn outs, good crowd response. Pretty much everything that we expected

RF.net: They've received you well then?

Kyle: Yep

RF.net: Even though you're quite different from them? The same reaction for you guys as for All That Remains?

Kyle: It's weird yeah, their fans seem to be open to more than your average fan.

Ryan: It's awesome too because we're just coming off a tour in the States with them as well so we've done quite a bit of different places with them. Some Canadian shows and all of US, and now we've been staying over here.

RF.net: Are the crowds any different here in Europe than in the States?

Ryan: Always [laughs]

RF.net: How?

Ryan: Sometimes here it's hard for me to tell, maybe i'm just not used to the crowds here, but it's hard for me to tell if kids are into it, if you know what I mean? They'll be just perfectly still and watch attentively, you know, and at the end of the song go crazy.. clap and make a ton of noise we weren't expecting and want another song. It's like "where were you when we were actually playing?" [laughs]

RF.net: Before this tour, you toured with Between The Buried And Me and Darkest Hour, came in Europe as well, I would consider those quite 'cult' bands. And now you're with All That Remains. How are you able to get on such high profile tours all the time?
Kyle: Our management is the same management as Darkest Hour's and we've done a lot of tours and done the states as well so it's basically who you know. When the opportunities come, our name is brought up, and if we're available we do it, if we're not we don't. We're friends with a lot of these bands that we tour with from doing tours from before, so it's a lot easier.

Ryan: Sometimes we found out that bands request or wanna take us on tour just because they like the music, they like the band. It always helps. It's awesome to feel like you're on a tour because someone likes you rather than just, you know, politics.

RF.net: How would you describe Misery Signals to somebody who has never heard you before?
Ryan: Very poorly, man [laughs] People ask us to do that all the time, like friends and the family or like my cousins who have never heard this type of music before. It's almost impossible to describe that kind of..not that it's uncategorized, but if youi don't have a frame of reference it's hard to say what it is, because I think we do have a distinct sound, but yeah.. I don't know, how would you describe it? [laughs]

RF.net: The media tends to label you guys as either metalcore or hardcore or a hybrid of both - do you think that's fair?

Kyle: Sure.

Ryan: I mean everyone wants to put bands into categories and those are definitely the scenes we've been associated with, the scenes that we came up in. That's where we started, so, we're definitely related to that very strongly. I don't know if necessarily what you think of. I definitely don't wanna be what you think of for any of those classifications, but we definitely are related to that and associated to it, sure.

Stuart Ross, the band's other guitarist, walks in and looks slightly confused over what's going on in their dressing room and why he isn't involved in it as of yet

Kyle: And this is Stu Ross

Ryan: He plays guitar for Misery Signals

RF.net: Hi how're you doing

Stu: Good

RF.net: The media is likely to label you as metalcore or hardcore. Are you happy with this label? Are these genres oversaturated in your opinion, and how is Misery Signals able to triumph in one of the most productive genres of the last few years?
Kyle: There's definitely oversaturation in the scene. There's a struggle to be something different, to do something out of the box, and I think that we know that, and we make an extra effort to do things that other bands wouldn't typically try.

Ryan: It's weird too because it seems like when you go to the internet, there's a hundred of every type of band, in every little niche, one band will start to get big and 50 bands will appear that sounds like it. Maybe it's always been that way, it's just easier to find that than before, I guess. Myspace and the internet really push everything, so it's strange that way

RF.net: Before the release of your most recent album, your original vocalist left the band. Could you tell us about the conditions surrounding the break, and how you feel about it today now that you've had some distance to it?
Ryan: I think it's best for everyone. It's always hard to lose a family member, especially a vocalist. Someone that, you know, identifies the band a lot of the time by how the vocals sound. It's really hard to have made that transition, but I think it's been great. I talked to him, he's happier in his life, all five of us are more on the same page than we were. That's a lot of the reason he left, you know, he had a lot of artistic differences than us and a lot of just personal differences than us. So I think that we're a more cohesive group now and taking a step away from it, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner actually. With the way things were going down, that stuff has to end anyway, it's just the way we worked together. And Karl is doing awesome (our new singer), and we're really excited to do another record with him and get back in the studio and see what he can do. He was a young vocalist when he joined, and he's grown a ton since then for just being on tour, being a full time singer since then. So I can't say too many bad things about the split really.

RF.net: To replace Jesse, you put up an instrumental piece on Myspace, that people could record their own voice over, and send for you guys to check out, and by this method you found Karl. Can you tell us why you chose this way, and what kind of submissions did you get on top of Karl's of course?
[laughter] Ryan: All types, terrible submissions. Including a couple of guys that just would take the song and pluck around you know, just making fun of us. It was really funny sometimes. But there were a lot of bad ones.

RF.net: So what made you choose especially Karl's submission then?

Ryan: His just kind of fit the profile of what we were looking for. Before we went and did a public search for singers, we had a few people come and try out, friends of ours, people that we knew from our area, people that were singers of bands around there. It's good to start on a level where you know someone already, you get an idea about them, it's less of a gamble that way. But none of those people really were rhyming exactly how we wanted them to, so we broadened the search and went public. And of the people Karl's was the audition that stood out the most. We got a couple of hundred of them, literally. His was just far best, there were one or two that were close, but his was just the best. We started talking to the guy and he's young and ambitious, energetic and we had him down and it just worked. A lot of times you can just tell, like, a lot of people we tried out we thought were gonna work. You know, with all the voices like this, and it's great, and they're this type of person, and then they come to jam and it wouldn't be good. With Karl, we didn't know that much about him, he came to jam, and that's when we knew it was allright.

RF.net: It's been a while now since you released "Mirrors". Could you tell us how you feel about it now, since it's been over half a year?
Ryan: Go wild Kyle

Kyle: I feel okay about it. [laughter] I feel that we took a step in the right direction with writing it, but at the same time, now that we have an established vocalist, who has been with us for a while, we're excited to get back in the studio and put out another record. I don't feel like we've made a ton of progress with this record as far as gaining fanbase versus the last record, because there's such a gap in between the two records, and getting the new vocalist kind of threw us off course for a few months, but I still feel good about it. I still like playing the songs.

Ryan: Yeah in a way that record was like starting over for us, and this time when we go back, it'll be like an extension of what we got now we won't really have to reset. And that's something we're all excited about. There's a lot of stuff about "Mirrors" that we think is great. There's definitely some songs that we're gonna be playing for a long time and are super happy with so.

RF.net: So have you given any thought to the next album yet, how it's gonna sound like?

Ryan: Ummm... not too much, i mean privately we've all been sort of coming up with ideas and right now I was just over there [points to the corner of the room], that's my little recorder right there, working on riffs, trying to put ideas together. But it's all very open. If you think too hard in advance what it's gonna sound like, you get too specific early on, and you sometimes limit what you're able to do creatively. I think it'll be good for us to just get into a room together and start making songs, and be like "this is what the next album will sound like as a concept"

RF.net: So are we talking about something perhaps like the new Poison The Well record, sort of really really experimental or are we talking about straight in your face hardcore?

Ryan: I doubt that we'll do as much of a change as they have. They've been sort of all over the place in their career but, I think we ought to have a more of a foundation to our style, that will stick with us no matter what we try and do. Even if we choose to experiment more, or even experiment less and go more to basics, I think there's still gonna be that Misery Signals sort of overtone to it, and I don't think with Poison The Well, or certain bands that choose change like that, you can't even recognize them necessarily. That's not something we wanna do, pull the rug out from under the people who've been with us.

RF.net: "Mirrors" was received quite well by some sites, if you know the site Decoymusic.com, they put it in their top10 of the year, and they're a big site. Are you happy about the critical response you've got, have you had a chance to read anything?
Kyle: Yeah I think 95% of the reviews that the record has received have been great.

Ryan: It's interesting being in a band like us, because we do get really good critical acclaim down in our circle at least, but that doesn't necessarily always transfer to record sales or more kids coming to the shows. We still feel good about growing and having people to get it, get what we're trying to do. But it's a different kind of satisfaction I guess.

RF.net: If you could describe "Mirrors" in your own words, in just a few sentences, what would you say?
Ryan: Conceptually or musically?

RF.net: Both. [followed by a lengthy pause with silence and subtle laugther] How about you [looking at Stu], you haven't said much yet?

Stu: Um.. I don't know. I'll explain musically in a few words, and you [points at Ryan] explain it conceptually in a few words. I would say it's heavy, and aggressive but at the same time it's very melodic and ambient at times,

Ryan: Little bit creamy?

Stu: Little bit creamy and smooth [laughter]

Kyle: That was like 6 words

Ryan: As far as conceptually, a lot of it is about the way we betray ourselves versus the way we actually are, and sort of the difference between living a life just without never giving a shit about anything, or constantly questioning whether or not you're a good person or whether or not your deeds affect yourself or people around you.

RF.net: My favorite track on "Mirrors" is "The Failsafe", because I love the beautifully layered melodies that are contrasted with the heavy parts. What about you, what do you like best about the album?
Ryan: That's one of my favorite songs to play live too, a lot of people like that song so it's well received live. It's the song we did the video for, so. It was actually the last song we were working on when we went to the studio, trying to get a few last minute things on it. This song we actually changed while we were in the studio as one of the only ones. Listening back, I like a lot of the stuff that's a little more of a departure from the rest of the album, like "Migrate" and "The Offering", both of those are kind of more ambient songs, more low key and have more experimental cuts. So I enjoy listening to those cause we don't necessarily play them that often, and they're a little bit different to the rest. But I think my favorite songs to play live are "The Failsafe" and "Mirrors", it's a long song but it's fucking.. gets me psyched!

RF.net: Playing it tonight?

Ryan: Most likely

RF.net: You haven't decided yet?

Ryan: [laughter] No, depends on the time.

Stu: We got 45!

Ryan: On this tour our time schedule is varying so.

RF.net: Can you tell us about your life as a band right now - what goals are you currently pursuing, long term and short term?
Stu: Ahhh! The goal is to tour so much that we all.. hate life [laughter], i don't know. We're just trying to do some quality touring and play some fun shows, and get the album out there and the songs that we worked hard on, get them out and make them come across live the best we can. At the end of this year, make the best Misery Signals record yet.

RF.net: That implies that you tour alot. I wouldn't know about your US touring plans, but since you tour a lot, you must have some kind of crazy tour story that you can share with us, something really strange perhaps?
Ryan: Strange shit happens all the time, I'm just trying to pick one that's printable. [laughter]

RF.net: Everything's printable, we're don't censor!

Ryan: Everything's printable?? [shock mixed with laughter]

RF.net: Yeah everything, give me the craziest!

Ryan: A lot of it is embarassing, so!

RF.net: It's always nice to get something new that you haven't told other magazines or webzines or whatever!

Kyle: Tell him about yesterday...

Ryan: Oh yeah, yesterday is actually a good example. We had a show booked, our first UK show. Something happened with the club where the pipes broke, and it was flooding the entire club. We weren't there yet, fortunately, and the city had to turn the water off from the club. With no running water they had to cancel the show, because you can't open the club with no running water, so.

Kyle: Or that's what they told us, because it was Easter sunday

Stu: There's a kid who worked at the club today

Kyle: Oh really?

Ryan: Yeah it was a legitimate story. Yeah so shows canceled, we had a show today in London and just drove here early and we ended up hanging out. There's like one place in the entire city where you can park a tour bus, and it's under this Tesco store. It's easter sunday, so Tesco's closed, everything around there is closed, we're just kind of sitting around with the whole day off. Under this parking garage that we were in, there's all these dumpsters and leftover shit from the store. And we ended up pulling out these seats from the garbage, and setting up this kind of room basically, some tables, had some drinks and play cards. We set up this garbage realm, where we partied, it was awesome.

Kyle: It'll probably still be there tonight

Ryan: We might go back and take the bus back there tonight I think and hang out! [laughter]

RF.net: What kind of music do you guys listen to yourself these days, when you have time off? + what is the coolest band you would recommend us (and the readers) to check out?
Ryan: Depends who from the band you'd ask. All of us are dudes that like a ton of different stuff. I listen to a lot of hip hop and weird sleeping music and that kind of stuff. Right now I guess I listen to Mew, that band you know them?

RF.net: They're Danish!

Ryan: Yeah, that's right, they are fucking awesome. Thank you guys!

RF.net: If you had one small band from near where you're from or anywhere from the scene that you would recommend us that we probably wouldn't know, who would it be?

Ryan: You got any of those?

Kyle: All my friends bands are dead, they just keep breaking up

Ryan: Dude we're gone so much it's hard for us to get plugged in. It's hard to keep a social life let alone keep up with the local scene.

RF.net: Lets say on a larger scale then, a band that you know that isn't big yet but should be big?

Ryan: Well.. what do you guys think? I don't know man I'm a bad talent scout, I'll never run a record label

Stu: There's a band.. i don't know them at all, but a band from Vancouver called Daggermouth, kind of like a fast punk rock band.

RF.net: Yeah I know them [laughter]

Stu: I don't really know anything else, that's the only smaller band I can think

Ryan: We live in like a time warp, we don't know anything!

RF.net: Lets move into some more general questions then, downloading. "Mirrors" leaked a couple of weeks before the release date, what do you guys think?
Ryan: It's good to have a release date as a band, have an event, and sort of have that first week where a lot of people look at the album sales and sort of judge where you are as a band by that. So it kind of hurts that, but downloading as a whole for a band on our level, isn't that huge of a bummer really.

Stu: No I think it helps the bands grow. Personally I download a lot of music, I don't have any problem with it!

Kyle: Misery Signals supports downloading!

Stu: Because of it, me downloading a record I'm gonna go see a band's show. If you get a record and you really like it..

Kyle: ..then you probably end up buying the record anyways

RF.net: There's a band here in the UK called Enter Shikari, I don't know if you heard about them, they mix techno and hardcore together. They didn't release a single album but they sold out a 5,000 person venue here last week, it's quite impressive!

Ryan: The internet is going crazy man.

Kyle: The internet is going nuts

Stu: Internet is crazy.

RF.net: What is the single most encouraging thing about the music industry today?
Ryan: Probably just that, that there isn't an abundance of smaller bands. The playing field has been leveled a bit, because it used to be however many small amount of bands pushed by big labels, and that was your choice. But today you have 10 times more access to new shit that even I did, when I was 17. I think it's real easy for you to get out and break out from being stuck in one sport, sort of. It's not easy to be succesful careerwise but its easier to get that jump start. So that's encouraging for anyone on the smaller level, it's not as overwhelming I guess.

RF.net: What about the most discouraging then?

Ryan: Just that everything that's big sucks [laughter]

Stu: I find it really hard for someone in our position, who really tour a lot, I mean we probably did close to 11 months on the road in the last year, and this year we're not resting at all, we've already jump started to the same sort of scenario. It's really frustrating for me, or discouraging for me I guess, to work so hard and then to see certain bands.. I mean whatever, it's more of a jealousy thing I guess, but to see a band that doesn't tour and doesn't work very hard and they'll just blow up, and they're big. It's like seeing a pop singer, who gets discovered with one single and gets huge world wide. I think that's discouraging, when you put a lot of energy and emotion into what you're doing, and sometimes people just don't get it, you know?

Ryan: Some people get the freeride

RF.net: Who would you say has had a freeride, as of late?

Ryan: Dude. Lots of bands. [laughter]

Stu: Lots of bands we probably shouldn't talk about!

RF.net: I'm trying to get some scandalous statements out of you here! [laughter]

RF.net: Last question..How about you make up a question for him (Stu to Ryan), and you have to answer it honestly as well so this is your chance!
Ryan: Stu don't fuck me here man, you know a lot about me man [laughter

Stu: I could ask some random question about Ryan's personal life!

Ryan: Like what's up with that thing on your testicles?

Stu: We don't need to know! Let me think... [pause]

Ryan: Do I have time to eat this? laughter

Stu: Yeah, I'm kind of working on something right now.. [pause, followed by slow construction of a question] What do you think... is the most.. important or.. powerful effective moment on "Mirrors", section a song? Of the whole record.

Ryan: So like picking a riff or?

Stu: The climax, that hits the hardest!

RF.net: That's a good question!

Ryan: Umm... man! My first instinct says the outro of the whole record, the double bass climax in "Mirrors". I was thinking about maybe the end of "The Offering", where its like a melodic sort of orgasm, but that's close. But I think the end of "Mirrors" brings it home, that does it for me.

Stu: I agree.

Kyle: I think a lot of our endings kick ass

RF.net: Interesting. That's all I have for you guys tonight, thanks for the interview. Any last comments for the fans, the readers?
Ryan: Hopefully we get to come play in your area soon.

RF.net Any plans of going to Denmark?

Ryan: I would love to. Hopefully next time. We'll be back before the end of the year in Europe, there's been talk about it. And I'd love to get to a lot of the places that we haven't been. Thanks

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