John LaRussa, founding member & guitar player in Inhale Exhale, was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the band’s new album, upcoming plans, & more. Check the interview out below. The band’s new album, Movement, will release on October 9th on Red Cord Records.
First off, let’s look backwards. Obviously after 3 albums you completed your contract with Solid State. Was it a mutual decision between both parties to not re-sign with the label? How was your relationship with the label while you were there?
Honestly it’s something that was worked out between our manager at the time. Most of the staff didn’t even know about it I guess; they told me that one day they came in and Inhale Exhale was gone. We were even talking studio time, and some sort of digi-pack was talked about that would combine all our albums or something. I didn’t really support the decision. There’s more to it, but I won’t go into it further. I was always happy with Tooth and Nail for the most part. No label is perfect. Yes, sometimes more could have been done for our releases. Industry people have pointed that out numerous times, but I never wanted to go down that road. I felt like they supported us. I respect and enjoyed everyone I worked with there. They were always assertive and helpful, and I would work with them again.
In February ’11 you announced that you guys were going the independent route & releasing a new EP. What made you change your mind to release a full length instead?
Basically we didn’t realize that we were announcing our departure from Tooth and Nail at the same time, and we got approached by labels a couple of weeks later. From there we also had a lot of songs as I was writing a lot at the time and we wanted people to have more than an EP. The EP would have worked nice but I think we didn’t want to just throw something out for the sake of just having something released. We wanted our fans to have a complete album. After that and many talks we settled on a small contract with Red Cord. Something mutual. They have great distribution through Sony/Red/Provident so we knew people world wide would be able to buy it. And Joey and the staff there seem to have the passion and work ethic we wanted behind the release.
You went the donation route before Kickstarter became a popular option for bands. The statement said you were trying to pay off debt acquired trying to tour. Were you able to raise enough to help in that area?
No, because we took it down after a very small amount of time. It helped with little things, but we didn’t have anything crazy like some bands have with debt. It was a blown engine, along with a few other van repairs. Those things hit bands hard when they happen, because being in a touring band you have to make sure it’s done right. And that’s expensive, you’ll pay for it later in the money you tried to save getting some idiot to do it that makes empty promises. I know by experience haha.
Where did you end up recording the new album?
I produced, tracked, engineered and mixed the album in my studio. I go under Revelry Recording. We talked to some producers, but after discussing as a band we decided to have me do it. I was fine either way.
How was the writing process for the new album? Did not being on a label have any impact on that at all?
I think it gave us more time. That’s about it. But time is everything I guess. I don’t think there is any musician that completes and album and doesn’t wish they could go back and change some things, but we were satisfied before recording. I think we all really enjoy the songs for “Movement”.
Had you already begun recording prior to signing?
We started recording before officially signing. But we were already in an agreement to sign.
What is the album title & do you have a release date set?
Yeah, the new album is called “Movement”. And it will be hitting stores and online October 9th, we’ll be doing some giveaways before and pre-order packages. We’re working with Orange amps and some other great companies. There’s going to be a vinyl release too. Some cool stuff.
What can we expect from the new album sound wise? Is it heavier, faster, more melodic, or perhaps none of those things?
It’s all of that. Beside the melodic part. I think we’ve always had a melodic side to our music. It’s definitely hard hitting. Some songs are a kick in the gut. It’s a stem of our last album, but it hits harder in every aspect. More technical, heavier, faster and we tried to make the clean singing count more. Make ‘em matter. I feel that Ryland has always been good about not just throwing singing in for the sake of singing. I hate that. It also has an old school hardcore/thrash feel to it in some spots.
Do you know when we will hear the first single from the new album? Do you have the song chosen?
We do, at this time it’s a song called “Party Drama”. Hopefully we’ll have it up in the next few weeks. I think the label is planning one of those lyric videos that people are putting out lately.
How about lyrics? What kinds of themes were covered?
Well Ryland lives in his own head a lot. But he and I stay in communication a lot with the lyrics, and I heard them obviously over and over again producing it. As you now know, the album is called “Movement”. This is a brief summary of what the album is about when people ask and what I’ve gathered talking to Ryland. He feels things pretty deep. And he’s always writing from the heart, and if he’s not it’s something completely out of this world. He has one song on the album called “The Collectors” that’s about being taken by aliens. But it’s really not that simple, I think it’s more about his paranoia and worries in life and how he just wants someone to take him off the earth. He cuts hard on this record about things he’s been through and even him and I have been through together the last couple years. Here’s the example below…
“Movement” stands for us constantly in motion moving through seasons in our life. And it stands for people coming in and out of our lives and eventually parting ways and moving in different directions. Whether it’s because of differences in values, morals, growing up quicker than others, or someone doing things to hurt us, we all take things from it and learn from others in some way. It’s all helpful, if we are hurt by someone (friend or not) we learn from it (hopefully) and remember how to handle things better. Or maybe it’s someone that inspired us with actions or handed over some insight that we needed at the time. Either way these things define us as a person, the impressions or scars remain.
Yeah, that’s being worked out now. We’ll be shooting two videos for the release. It’s actually being worked out right now. They will be for a song called “A Poise for Poison” and a song called “Low” as of now.
A reader mentioned that you had recorded a song called “Your Eyes” & was curious to know if it will be on the new record. If so, will it be different from the demo you released?
Yeah, that was a demo I threw up over a year ago or more. I put it up on my studios Facebook for the heck of it. Not really mixed much or mastered. I called it “Your Hands” randomly, not “Your Eyes”. Someone must of ripped it from there and put it up on the web, because a bunch of people told me there was a song up on Youtube. I had no clue what they were talking about. That song is quite different now and is called “Under Sheets Stained in Blood”.
Are there any guest features on the new record?
No, we thought about it, maybe some friends of ours that people would be pumped to hear with us, but decided not too, & it was only thought about briefly. We did a cover of “Back to School” by the Deftones with Sonny from POD at a Chi benefit show in LA, so we thought about having Sonny on the record earlier on. Maybe next album.
Do you guys plan to be on the road quite a bit besides the Europe tour? Perhaps land a support position on a bigger tour?
We’re feeling that out right now. We have the a bunch of spot dates and festivals we’re playing, then Europe (Oct), and then it’s looking like Australia/New Zealand next year maybe, but we are planning to do support tours that can work out for the US.
Last but not least, & I’m sure I know the answer, but with all these bands reuniting in the past few years, I’m curious if there is a chance we will see a Narcissus reunion?
You know there were talks a few years ago, but I honestly was too busy. The guys have asked me a couple times before. We were one of those bands that did things the old school way like many at the time. We had a good label supporting with Century Media, but it was different times, harder times for hardcore bands in my opinion. We did Warped Tour when it was still just punk music mainly, besides I think Finch and Glass Jaw that were on it. I do get approached every time I’m on tour about Narcissus, which I’m thankful for that time in my life. But with any band from the past, I’m never sure if people would care. Would you want us to do a reunion? Would people reading this want us too?