Blessthefall

author TL date 24/04/12

Back in January AP and I went to see the show with Asking Alexandria, Blessthefall and Chelsea Grin together, and this led to this gig review. Besides reviewing the concert however, we also had time to do an interview with Blessthefall singer Beau Bokan, which would have been posted ages ago, if it wasn't for AP's tight schedule. So eventually I agreed to come to the rescue and get it typed up and here's what came of it. We apologise for the delay in bringing you this and hope you will find the read interesting despite the wait.

RF.net: So first off, how has the tour been going? Has anything particularly funny, strange, awesome or awful happened yet?
Beau: Nothing awful yet, The tour's been great and it's cool to get to places that you've never been to and getting to play shows there.

RF.net: The bands you're touring with - Asking Alexandria and Chelsea Grin - are both quite different from your band musically, so have you had any concerns about the reception you might get from their fans?
Beau: Well at least for Asking Alexandria's fans they seem to have a pretty young crowd and that makes us excited to play for them because they're very impressionable and we feel like we have a chance to leave a positive mark with them. So I wasn't concerned with that and we just try to perform as best we can regardless.

RF.net: Do you feel like it's becoming more important in the music business to put together tours that cater to a more diverse range of fans?
Beau: Absolutely! The last tour we did was with Pierce The Veil and Motionless In White and that's pretty different and it worked great to bring together different fanbases for a good night out with a variety of different bands.

RF.net: So your latest album "Awakening" debuted at 32nd on Billboard, with over eleven thousand copies sold in the first week. Were you expecting the album to be that succesful?
Beau: Well with the way the industry is now... - I mean our last record did around that as well - But since our last record came out record sales have declined 30% overall so we had no idea what to expect really, but the fact that we ended up still selling a little more of the new album makes us feel that we must have done even better then. It's hard especially when you wait for two years before putting a new record out, knowing if the fans will stick around because there are so many new bands. Take Asking Alexandria who have only been around for about three years, they've just come out of nowhere and sort of taken the world by storm. So it's hard to know if the fans are still there, but we just try to put out good music as long as people want to stick around and listen to us.

RF.net: So considering what you're saying about the music industry, a lot of people are currently discussing iniatives like SOPA and ACTA - Do you think things like that are going to help your band make money?
Beau: Well it's hard to tell. I mean I'd like to believe that if some magic machine could put a stop to downloading it would mean increasing record sales and bands making more money. I think that kids are starting to notice that it really does affect the band however and not every band can survive because there are so many bands and all of them are being downloaded, and as a musician you have to make at least some money to be able to live. Some people think it's their right to download stuff just because it's out there but if you walked out of a MacDonalds with a Big Mac without paying that's stealing.

RF.net: But some people would make the argument then that they haven't stolen anything because you still possess the original?

Beau: Well at least to them it doesn't feel like stealing because the don't actually take anything, they just sit there behind their computers.

RF.net: So do you not think that downloading might have a beneficial effect to smaller bands though, helping them get their music out there?

Beau: Yeah it does that too and it's crazy to see how that works out because of word of mouth, and obviously if you're in a small band like that you just want your music to sort of spread like a virus..

RF.net: But then at some point the expenses get too high?

Beau: Yeah exactly.

RF.net: We were reading earlier about how you had actually planned to have a lot of guest appearances on "Awakening" but this somehow ended up not happening. Why is that?
Beau: Yeah we talked to Ronnie Radke and Tim Lambesis and some other people. Ronnie really wanted to do it but then there was a label issue that got in the way, and with Tim we just couldn't get the timing to match. We got Chris from Underoath to do electronics on the album though, and that was my favourite thing anyway because I've been a fan of theirs for a long time and I think he did a really good job so we were really lucky to get him involved.

RF.net: So can you maybe talk a little about what inspired you while you were writing "Awakening"?
Beau: It's inspired by true life events and there's a lot of me finding myself in the record. I'd been through a lot of shit and I sort of changed my life around and a lot of the songs are inspired by that. We've gotten a lot positive responses from people saying that the music have helped them turn things around as well and that's amazing. That's what we wanted it to do.

RF.net: How do you yourself see it as different from the previous two albums?
Beau: Well we're just growing. I think a true musician is always growing and we try to do that in every aspect of our bands whether it be recording or playing live shows. We just try to practice and correct our mistakes and then hopefully each album comes out a little better than the last one.

RF.net: It seems that a lot of the riffage on "Awakening" has sort of a classic heavy metal vibe to it. Was that something that you consciously tried to do?
Beau: Yeah we wanted it to be more metal. The genre we were in before I guess is more emocore or whatever you want to call it, and there are not really too many talented musicians in that genre. So we really just wanted to showcase what more we had to offer instead of just that and I actually think we did, and without showing off necessarily - You know it's not like every song has two thirty second solos or something like that. So yeah we wanted it to be more metal. We're very into good guitarists and bands like As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage are among our favourite bands, and you see they have so much credibility and they've been around for so long so we'd rather try to be more like that than just a 'hyped scene band' or something like that.

RF.net: You have a video for "Promised Ones" in which some of the members of the band form sort of a 'rebel force' and head into battle..
Beau: Yeah I think Attack Attack did a similar one too actually, haha, maybe they liked our idea?

RF.net: Yeah them to, but what we wanted to ask is whether this theme has anything to do with some of the current events in countries like Libya and Syria?[/iview-q][iview-a]Beau: Well it was an ex-girlfriend and she thought I was cheating on her at the moment, and she kept calling me at the studio over and over and over again, and she left this crazy voicemail that is actually much longer and when I heard I was just like "That's going on our album!". She always wanted me to write a song for her and I, but I wasn't really that into it so.. While the song sounds like a love song it's really a song about me telling her that it's not going to work out, and since she always wanted a song we titled the song the way we did.

RF.net: Did you ever hear any feedback from her then?

Beau: Oh she tried to sue us but it didn't really work out.

RF.net: Actually, coming back to the former question a little bit - Fair enough that you don't want to mention any bands you think are playing dumbed down music, but can you maybe then rather tell us who else you think are helping to push the genre in a good direction? Bands you think people should definitely be checking out?
Beau: Yeah, like August Burns Red for instance are amazing musicians and they've been playing for a long time, drawing good crowds without having to dumb down their music. I personally love them and I think they're going to be around for a long time. They're not doing what they think people will find cool, they're just playing good music. Then our friends' band Miss May I - they sound a bit like As I Lay Dying and are also really good musicians and good kids. There are a few here and there that are good, but to be honest we don't really listen to that much heavy stuff ourselves.

RF.net: What do you listen to then?

Beau: Well stuff like Coldplay and Ellie Goulding, and then when it is metal then stuff like Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying and August Burns Red..

RF.net: So in recent years there's been quite a bit of talk about how the 'scene' is getting too crowded and that it's getting increasingly hard for metalcore bands and post-hardcore bands to distinguish themselves. Do you think that's true?
Beau: Well I think in one way its easier for kids to just go and record some stuff on a laptop, triggering everything and making an album quite easily and that's part of the reason there are so many bands.. But then when you go on the road and you see some of those bands live, you notice that they can't do the same things that they do on record. A band like Abandon All Ships for instance, will come on and then hardly play any music and I don't really like that myself, and I think that allows for people to see what's good and what's not.

RF.net: So is this something you think about when you go in to record your own stuff, that you must be able to also pull it off live?

Beau: Yes, absolutely! And then.. I mean there are a couple of bands that can actually do all their stuff live.. Us we work on our harmonies and there are some notes that are suuuuper high which may not always go as well as I want, but we do have it as an ambition to be able to actually perform the stuff that we record.

RF.net: So what things do you think make Blessthefall stand apart from other bands in the genre?
Beau: Erh, I think our stunning good looks? Just kidding. I think we've found a really good sound on our latest record and our guys are getting to writing some really good signature riffs. There's a lot of competition and we think the best way to stand out is to come out and really play well live because we think everyone wants that full package. So we try to go over the top when we play so that you'll get that impression of our band when you come to watch us.

RF.net: Do you prefer to play in Europe or the States?
Beau: Well, right now Europe is pretty awesome. We were just in the UK and it was so cool to see a lot of people being super stoked on the shows. In America it can get a little over saturated with the amount of bands playing - Like if you live in Los Angeles you can see a ridiculous amount of bands in only one night, so people are pretty jaded unless you're breathing fire or something like that. Over here it's different because people seem to appreciate the shows much more.

RF.net: "Awakening" is obviously pretty new, but have you already started thinking about your next album?
Beau: Yeah I mean we're actually hoping to maybe have a few new songs out by early summer, and if not then, then hopefully right after the summer. And like I said before we're hoping to have gotten even better, so that we can do even better harmonies and more creative guitar riff than we've been able to before, so hopefully there's going to be more of that on the next record.

RF.net: So would you say it's going to be more riff centric?

Beau: Well we love our riffs but then there's also like.. Jared's screaming for instance is getting better every day, so it'll probably just be a bit more of everything..

RF.net: That's it for us. Do you have any shoutouts for the fans and readers?
Beau: Yeah, like; Keep telling your friend about us if you know us. If you've never heard about us then go check us out. We love all of our fans and we appreciate every single one of them and we can't wait to come back and play to them!

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