>> Interview with Tyler Smith (Vocals) by Nathaniel Lay
What made you guys decide to re-do “Battle Royale” for Deceiver?
TS: “Battle Royale” was the one song from Empire that we really felt was the closest to our current sound. We love playing it live, and we love the crowd reaction to that song especially. We wanted to make some changes to show off some of the things we do differently live and incorporate those aspects.
What changes were made?
TS: Well the biggest change was the tuning. We dropped it from Drop D tuning to Drop C tuning, which makes the song feel heavier overall. We added a few vocal changes, making things more intense at times than the first version.
This album is much more aggressive. Was this a conscious effort? If so, how did you go about approaching this?
TS: Definitely. We’ve been touring non-stop since June of ’09, and as we progressed as a band and we were starting to get a grasp on the direction we wanted to head towards, we realized we could go bigger, go heavier, and more melodic all at the same time. When we write, Tony and Zack don’t sit down and say “I’m gonna write a heavy/technical song”. They just write what feels good, and we were feeling like going in a heavier direction so it just came naturally. We still have some of our softest and most melodic parts we’ve ever done though amongst the chaos.
After the praise of Empire, were you nervous on following it up with something even better?
TS: Not really, actually. We felt Empire was just the first glimpse into what we were headed for. We had not yet toured when we wrote and recorded Empire, and after some member changes the group we have now is The Word Alive. We were very proud of the songs as we were writing them.
How have the two singles been received by fans so far?
TS: So far, we’ve been more than happy to hear people’s reactions. The hard work seemed to pay off because everybody is stoked on them so far!
From the release of Empire last summer to now, what all has happened to the band (specific occurrences, incidents, etc) that helped flesh out the themes of this album?
TS: Well a lot of Deceiver is personal, based off of my life or the band’s life so whether it be personal relationships of mine, or obstacles the band had to overcome such as switching management companies, switches our online merch store, as well as the biggest change: replacing our former drummer. A lot has happened, but the songs are still about overcoming all of these things. It just portrays a much darker picture of how hard it can be at times than our last CD.
What would you like people to know about this album that may help gain additional interest in the project?
TS: Well we’re very happy to have our good friends Dave Stephens, screamer for our best friends in We Came As Romans on the track “The Wretched”, as well as our buddy Levi Benton of Miss May I on the track “2012”. We think both of them killed it, and we’re very excited for people to hear our first guest appearances on a TWA album. We also have our first all singing song, “You’re All I See”, which will really take TWA fans in a whole new direction. It’s still us, but the lighter side of us.
What are you hoping people will say about your album? How they translate lyrics?
TS: I know the band really put all we had into this album, so we can only hope that people will recognize that and be half as stoked on Deceiver as we are. We really feel like we made a great record; we hope 2010 and beyond shows that. Personally, I really hope the lyrics stand out to everyone. I spent a lot of time and many hours of writing for this album, and I hope people see that we’re writing about real things that anyone can relate to. But I wanted to be as personal and still unique as possible.
How has it been on Fearless thus far?
TS: Fearless has been great for us and to us from the start. We have a very close relationship with our label, and without them we wouldn’t have had the early success we’ve received. Much bigger things are yet to come; the first full-length is usually when a band can really climb the ladder so to speak, and Fearless as well as our management behind us are seeing to it that we do just that.
What are you most looking forward to with the remainder of 2010? Least?
TS: Definitely Warped Tour on the Glamour Kills stage, our CD being released August 31st, and all the touring we have for the rest of the year. We’re blessed with having a full schedule for the rest of 2010 with some great tours. We’ll just have to wait and see how amazing it really will be.
Tell us about the tour you have with Bleeding Through after Warped Tour.
TS: It’s gonna be the heaviest tour we’ve ever done. We’re excited to explore different tour options from now on and this is stacked with great metal bands.
Does the band plan on doing some kind of release show or party for Deceiver?
TS: Yes, actually, we have a hometown CD release show August 28th, which will undoubtedly turn into a party afterward! We’re gonna play a lot of songs off Deceiver and just have a lot of fun!