Interview with Bleeding Through frontman Brandan Schieppati

- Apr 08, 2006 at 02:18PM
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The day was March 5th, 2006, and I was in downtown Toronto at The Phoenix concert theatre just getting geared up to watch a pile of totally sick bands rock the hell out of the mid-size venue. After a few quick phone calls and a mini walk to the back side of the concert hall, I finally found the tour buses, tour managers, and more importantly Bleeding Through frontman Brandan Schieppati. Bleeding Through had finally returned to Toronto, and on this night in particular had brought with them an arsenal of brand new tracks from their 2006 Trustkill release The Truth. Despite his tattooed, and typical “rockstar look”, I quickly realised that Brandan was in fact a totally soft-spoken and immensely kind individual. Boasting no brash ego whatsoever, Brandon and I made our way to the back of his bus and had a nice, relaxed conversation about his band’s newest release, their previous work, and the origins of some of his musical motivations and influences.

January 9, 2006, way the day that your album The Truth officially dropped. Now although it’s mad early in the year, I feel that your album could easily be up there with the best of 2006. How do you personally feel about the record?
Brandan: I’m pretty excited about the record. I think that we had a lot of expectations going into it from surrounding people and groups and labels and whatnot, so I think that added pressure made the whole recording process kind of tense... but I think it made for a good record coming out of it. I think there’s something different in the record, not necessarily something that really jumps out at you, but something that just feels different. I think it’s definitely a stand-out record of the year.

Just to show I’m not alone in this thought, after a week, The Truth hit the number one spot for independent releases in the U.S. Furthermore, you’ve been climbing charts worldwide and been featured in numerous magazines and publications. Why is the press now going wild for Bleeding Through, and how does this all make you feel?
Brandan: I think the reason why the press is going so crazy for us has to do with the rising popularity of bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu and stuff like that. It’s sort of like a darker image of a band and more of a heavier feel and I think that people are sort of climbing towards us because we have some similarities to those bands, whether it be visual or musical. It’s kind of cool because a lot of the hard work we’ve been putting forth in the past five years finally feels like it’s starting to pay off a little bit.

Speaking of reactions to the album, what have the fans been saying? Do your old fans like your new material, and are you adding new fans to your base?
Brandan: I think it’s this sort of thing with every new release there’s going to be a lot of critics. I think that the release is stronger than all the rest of the records and I don’t think it’s so different that people would wanna play the whole “I like the last record better” thing to it. But there are people that are saying that this record is not as good as the last one, which I would have to say you’re crazy if you think that... but I think that for every kid who stops liking us we’re adding, like, three new kids. It’s growing and that’s what’s important, I think, in the overall scheme of things. We’d like to keep all the people who have been there from the beginning interested in Bleeding Through but you can’t always please everybody all the time... it’s sort of a hard business I guess like that.

This incredible record is concrete proof that Bleeding Through as a unit has grown tremendously since its last release. The Truth demonstrates a sick slew of new songs which are faster, harder, and more aggressive, yet remain more melodic and tight than ever before. What the hell happened?
Brandan: I think we just sort of grew as musicians, and I think the thing where this line-up has been playing together for the past three and a half years, so we just grew to know each other as far as vibes that we give off when we write and overall attitudes of the songs.... Then working with Rob, our producer, he really just helped us become more song-structure oriented and sort of trimming the fat off all the tech parts and stuff like that, because I just don’t think we were really good at that type of stuff. I think we were really good at certain things, like an intense thrash feeling with heavy parts and overall melodic feel, so we just wanted to use more of that because we enjoyed playing that more, and it’s just sort of what I thought we were good at.

Cool. When compared to your previous efforts, were there any things in particular that you guys did differently when writing and recording this album?
Brandan: I think we just had enough time. I mean, we took a lot of time writing this record. We practiced every day for like, six hours, and really went over every song and made sure it was exactly how we wanted it to be. We recorded stuff numerous times to kind of revise things, and we just had time to really craft it and to really mould exactly what we wanted to put down on record. I think before we just had to rush to get the release out so people could hear it, y’know? We just had more time to have fun with it actually.

Cool. Your new slew of tracks all seem to be pointing at messages focused around the theme of power. Are there any principle ideas or even lessons that The Truth is trying to convey?
Brandan: I think lyrically there’s a sort of thing of like, the overall feel of just being beaten down and having this little bit of strength left over to be powerful and stand up against certain things that might keep your heart down, or your soul, or anything like that.... So I think it’s just sort of like a rebuilding step, and that’s what this band is about sort of.

So the songs are a kind of motivators?
Brandan: Yeah. Negative motivators. [laughing]

The Truth has definitely carved out its own little niche in the loud music world, ultimately sounding unlike anything else. In a time when, after a while, a lot of bands end up sounding the same, how did you guys manage to release such a unique-sounding disc?
Brandan: I don’t think we sound like any of the other bands that are sort of related to our genre because we don’t really listen to too many bands from our genre. It’s not like anything where we think they’re crap... we think those bands are good at what they do. We think that As I Lay Dying is a great band and Unearth is a great band and Atreyu’s a great band, but I think that we personally listen to styles of music that are a little bit different. Or if we do listen to sort of a metal band or hardcore band, it’s a lot of older stuff like Entombed or early Slayer, and then we’ll listen to like, I don’t know, Integrity and stuff like that. So I think that we don’t really derive any ideas off the other bands that we’re sort of linked together with.

Keep the influences at bay.
Brandan: Yeah, keep it a little bit different.

The Truth was produced, as you said before, with the aid of Rob Caggiano. He’s done Cradle of Filth, A Life Once Lost… How did you hook up with Rob, what was it like working with him, and what do you think he brought to the table when helping with this album?
Brandan: Well we got together with Rob because we put the word out there that we’re looking for a producer for the record and a lot of producers were coming forth with like, “I think Bleeding Through’s a good band, I think we could make a good record....” But Rob came forward right away and said, “I think this is what we should do different. You guys need to do this.” He came forth with ideas and we really saw eye to eye on them. So working with him was a really alluring experience. It’s almost like music school, learning how to actually write a song and be comfortable with your music and have faith in your music. So that’s what we gained with him, and also what we gained is that a lot of people think he influenced a lot of our metal sound, a lot of our kind of Cradle of Filth-ish type stuff... but he really put a lot more emphasis on our melodic singing parts and stuff like that.

Cool. Where do you draw your inspirations, and also motivations for touring and playing music on a no doubt gruelling and near-daily basis?
Brandan: I think it’s that this is just what we wanna do and I think we could be doing something totally horrible like punching a clock in, y’know? This is like a gift so we look at bands from the past and we don’t forget that. Y’know, watching bands on the stage when we were like 14 and being like, “Wow, wonder what it’d be like to be up there. Wonder what it’d be like to tour and go to Europe and Japan and stuff....” And so I think that’s still what keeps us motivated is that we’re living a dream and that we could be doing something completely different that we wouldn’t be happy with. There’s definitely gratification and there’s definitely a pay-off to this, it’s just really fun.

Working as hard as each of you guys no doubt do, what do you like to do in order to wind down at the end of a long day or a hard show?
Brandan: Well we call this bus the Mellow Bus, and Every Time I Die’s bus is the Party Bus. We always switch busses or whatever just to hang out, but this bus is just watching movies and just hanging out, and I don’t know, keep it pretty mellow. It’s the sleeping bus, we sleep a lot. I guess it’s just sort of a get-away, because we’re always surrounded by the loud environment of shows and stuff so to get away from that... it’s actually soothing just to kinda come to your bus and just hang out. We know people in different towns so just meeting with people and seeing friends is kinda cool.

Makes sense. Just a few more… The Truth tour’s been seeing sell-out crowds like crazy. How has this tour been for you guys, and are you having a good time with the other bands?
Brandan: Yeah, this tour’s insane. Like all the shows except two were sold out, and even those two that weren’t still had like 900 kids at the shows. So it’s like, I don’t know, it’s just this sort of thing where we’re kinda like, “wow,” every day. We just don’t realize. I think that since the last headlining tour there’s been such a jump on this tour due to, I think, that our new record’s been kind of pushed a little bit and also the bands that we took on tour with us were really good bands that have a really good following. Tonight I’m sure you’ll see that. This is only our third time in Toronto, and Every Time I Die’s been here like 80 times, so I’m sure they’re gonna have a fucking amazing set but that’s why we’re bringing them on the tour with us... cause all the bands are amazing in their own right.

Alright, last one. The Truth tour ends last week in April. After that, what lies ahead for Bleeding Through?
Brandan: Well we’re going to take a month off, and then in May we’re going to Australia and then after Australia we’re going to do some of the UK festivals. This summer we have a couple things in the works... we might do Ozzfest or we might do some of the festivals, and that’s about it.

Any last words, shout outs?
Brandan: Nothing. Just listen to music with an open mind I guess.

Totally. Thanks a lot man.
Brandan: No worries.  [ END ]
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